renewal | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Handle Interruptions Heroically - 6/18/24


In the middle of a project, Jimbo, the customer service team member, had to stop what he was doing because he received an e-mail from a customer complaining about their experience at a recent event. Later that day, Jimbo was asked by his boss to put everything on hold for Read more

From Employees to Teammates: The Shift - 6/11/24


Be a great teammate. Be a good team player. We’re all part of the team. We’re no longer employees, we’re team members! The phrase “Team” is used in describing co-workers so much more than it was used years ago.  Then, we would be talking about employees, talking about staff, talking Read more

Nurture New Relationships - 6/4/24


Freddie was a new business owner in town.  He was launching a franchise, had acquired some funding from a local bank, and was in search of staff who cared about customer service. All the while, he was in the process of renovating a storefront for his business, so he was Read more

There’s Positivity in Patience - 5/28/24


The employee at the financial services firm was working with a new client on a relatively simple loan.  The documentation was about as clear as it could get to the employee, but the customer had lots of questions.  The employee calmly, clearly, and specifically answered each question.  The meeting Read more

The Goal – A Great Experience - 5/21/24


The following is a narrative of a great experience (people, process, service, facility) at a minor league sporting event – key points that could apply to any business are in bold… Mark and I pulled into the parking lot, excited about the game.  The Slapshots had been on a roll Read more

Your Best Ability is… - 5/14/24


I enjoy watching sports, and I’ve even listened to some sports press conferences over the years, just to hear what coaches are saying.  Basically getting the leadership perspective from the sports industry either out of my interest or curiosity, or to figure out how to apply it to the Read more

A Complaint is a Gift - 5/7/24


A complaint is a gift.  Okay, so the complainer is not always a “gift.”  The customer’s delivery of the complaint is sometimes more like a stocking filled with coal than a vase filled with roses.  But this is why we need to be able to differentiate the complaint from Read more

Mastering Confidence in Customer Service - 4/30/24


It’s not what you said…it’s how you said it. If you’ve ever had someone say this to you, raise your hand.  (I just raised my hand) Usually this is being said when someone is upset with you, but regardless of the reason, that phrase illustrates that HOW we say something often Read more

Be Amazing - 4/23/24


Watching Michael Jordan steal a pass and then dunk a basketball is amazing.  Taking a rocket to the moon is amazing.  The taste of my mom’s homemade beef soup is amazing. We all have our personal examples of what is amazing.  Usually, it’s something that we cannot comprehend, that we Read more

Talk About Yourself to Build Customer Confidence - 4/16/24


When you’re dealing with somebody who is anxious or nervous about a situation, a customer who feels like they don’t have much control, an individual who is unsure and uncertain, it’s important to put the customer at ease.  It’s important to build their comfort level.  It’s important to help Read more

Frame the Ways to Get Back Your Customer – 3/7/23

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

Every organization that gains customers is in a position to lose customers.  For the sports organization, it’s the lost account holder.  For the healthcare provider, it’s the member who enrolls with the competitor at the end of the year.  The retailer, the software provider, the financial services firm – lost customers occur, typically with clear financial repercussions.  Even with local government, it’s the customer moving elsewhere, the customer circumventing the system, the resident griping and complaining.  Maybe that loss is loss of support, but it is still a loss.

So, if you’re smart enough or lucky enough to get a chance to identify the reason for the loss, maybe there’s a chance you win them back.  Or at least there’s a good chance that you can put some improvement in place to mitigate similar losses in the future.

If you’re formulating a survey or talking with the customer, create some structure around how you ask about exit reasons.  Use this framework as a starting point:  Think about Product, People, Process, Policy, and the Place.  You’re trying to get a holistic view of the customer experience in those controllable categories of exit reasons.

For Product or Service, what about the product could have been improved?  What could have been done so it stood out a little more relative to the competition?

For People, think about the organization, the culture, how those communications flow and how those relationships are developed.  Ask the customer about the attitude, skills, knowledge of your team.  How do they communicate with the customer?  And did the company as a whole proactively communicate with the customer – trying to keep the relationship strong?

Regarding Process, how self-evident is the experience?  What are the wait times or lead times like for the customer?  Is everything as self-evident as possible?  Are the terminology and technology and paperwork simple enough and clear enough for any customer to understand and navigate?

Do the Policies restrict the customer experience or enhance it?  Are policies conveyed clearly, and are they in the best interests of the customer?

And what about the Place?  This could mean the physical facility or the environment that people experience online or with your apps.  Is it intuitive and clear and, again, easy to navigate?

There are many reasons why companies lose customers.  To win them back, organize your thoughts within this framework.

Consider the Product, the People, the Process, the Policy, and the Place.

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Diss the Dissatisfiers – 8/3/21

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Do people still talk about “being dissed?”  When I was growing up, we used to talk about how someone may get dissed by others – short for disrespected; you could also define “diss” as holding in contempt.  I understood the term “diss” and used the term, at times, to describe the situation – it seemed like a cool slang term to use, even though I may not have been the coolest person in my school (as my family members would attest).  But I digress…

In general, it’s not good to diss someone, but someTHINGS are sometimes worthy of being dissed.  Let’s talk about customer dissatisfiers.  Some businesses are so focused on creating the WOW experience or reciting their customary script that they forget that one or two negative experiences can easily overshadow that one WOW.

For many organizations, before they try to determine how to delight the customer, they first need to shore up the quality and consistency of their experiences.  They need to identify those key customer dissatisfiers.  They need to determine what situations or responses or reactions or processes or product experiences that could cause a customer never to come back.

The fast-food restaurant has a “B” sanitation grade.  It had incredibly fast service, but who would want to eat there?

The boutique had snobby employees.  They had interesting products in a nice ambiance, but who wants to pay money to somebody who’s treating them as “lesser than?”

The big box store took forever to check out.  Sure, they had a large selection, but who wants to wait in line over 20 minutes to buy a $10 phone cord?

The sporting event played music so loud that you couldn’t hear anything else.  Sure, the team won, but if the between-play music dominated the environment and didn’t allow you to talk with others, didn’t the music detract from the experience?

I appreciate when businesses try to create the WOW.  But organizations need to also identify those key aspects of the experience with their people, products, processes, places, or overall experience that can drive customers away.

Find those pain points for your customers – the reasons that could cause their exit. And then find ways to ensure you take the pain out of your experience.

Diss the Dissatisfiers.

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Why Did They Walk Away? – 6/22/21

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

Granted, the drive-thru line was long, but Cynthia thought it would move pretty quickly.  After almost 10 minutes of only moving up one spot, she drove away.

Benny was on hold, but the system didn’t tell him for how long.  Then he looked at his watch; 5 minutes later he looked again. And 3 minutes later, he looked again. Then 2 minutes later, he hung up.

Jenny took her lunchbreak to go to the bank and get a few questions answered about her account.  She got into the branch and stood in line.  She stood, and she stood, and she stood.  Eventually, she could not stay in there any longer.  She was frustrated and had to get back to work.  She turned and walked away.

Three different customers with three different needs – they were trying to get their needs addressed three different ways.  And if each of the three companies did a customer satisfaction survey, they would never know why Cynthia or Benny or even Jenny left.  Technically, they might not have information on those three customers, and none of their systems may even know those three people had a need.  These customers left – maybe to never return.

The companies lost business that day and maybe customers for a lifetime, and they didn’t know why they walked away.  They didn’t know why they hung up the phone or drove away.

This is the big problem with gauging customer satisfaction based on numbers of complaints or who visits your office the most.  If we don’t find other ways to uncover what the customer experience is like other than surveys that occur after the transaction, then we could miss information on some of the most important customers – those who were so dissatisfied that they left before getting served.

Take a step back and look at your overall research strategy.  Do you incorporate mystery shopping?  Do you conduct annual surveys of customers gauging more broad-based perceptions?  Do you conduct research such as focus groups with customers who don’t engage with you anymore or who have not renewed contracts or have closed accounts?

Make sure that your customer experience research provides the answer to the question:  Why did they walk away?

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