restaurant | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

“You’re the Boss” - 2/20/24


Terrence is excellent at what he does.  From a technical standpoint, he knows how to keep the facility clean.  He’s the lead custodian, and he knows that keeping things straight does not necessarily mean keeping things sanitary.  He knows what chemicals to use and not to use, how to Read more

Customer Understanding Leads to Relationship Growth - 2/13/24


We’ve worked with educational organizations at all grade levels over the years.  One special and unique characteristic about the staff who work in these organizations is that there’s a clear intent to know about the students as individuals, to focus on them rather than purely focusing on what’s delivered Read more

Define Customer Service Success Differently - 2/6/24


When I’m watching television, listening to the radio, or listening to a podcast, it’s always interesting when the topic moves to the question:  How can you be a success?  The speakers often discuss the process of becoming a success with the assumption that people believe success is defined by Read more

Care Enough to Give Them a Heads Up - 1/30/24


Nothing bad at all might happen.  Every day in the office could seem like every other day.  Sights and sounds and smells might continue to be the same.  But we have a lot of construction going on around our offices, and the building manager knows the type of work Read more

Be Better than AI Customer Service - 1/23/24


There was a recent CBS Sunday Morning Show story called: How artificial intelligence is revamping customer call centers. The journalist described how artificial intelligence is being used in customer service, and he noted the millions of pieces of information that can be processed in a matter of seconds. There are clear Read more

Recognize the Situation, and Pivot - 1/16/24


The customer has a complaint, or they may have an important question about an order or their account.  You may be talking to them in an emergency room, in the lobby of the government building, on the phone, or in a video conversation.  And in many of these Moments Read more

Sharpen Your Service Delivery - 1/9/24


You work so hard at being responsive and providing high quality information.  You work hard at fixing problems.  But is your delivery…dull? I’m not saying that it has to be exciting, but let’s think of the word “exciting.”  It means that something’s interesting, has energy, is positive.  Just by its Read more

Make Empathy Your Superpower - 1/2/24


I was facilitating a Service Excellence Training class for a Higher Ed client in the Northeast several years back.  As I was walking through the portions of our technique for defusing the angry customer, I talked about empathy.  I talked about accepting responsibility. Immediately, one of the hands in the Read more

Holiday Poem 2023 - 12/26/23


The days are getting longer, The skies are getting brighter. Festivities behind us, And festivities before us.   There’s ups and downs and change coming, And we can’t predict when or where. There’s challenges and joys and opportunities around, Of which you may or may not be aware.   But one thing we know as we look at each Read more

Refresh, Rejuvenate, Refocus - 12/19/23


It’s that time of year.  We’re going 100 miles an hour, and holiday time is upon us.  We not only have all the work to do, but we somehow have less time to do it.  We somehow have other things that are of competing interest, and even though those Read more

I’d like a burger, fries, and some customer service, please…

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service Please leave a comment

Is it too much to ask to get some consistently good customer service from a fast food restaurant?

Well, according to the article McDonald’s customer service push irritates some franchisees, yes, it is too much to ask. Apparently McDonald’s corporate has acknowledged a need to improve its customer service, but some franchisees aren’t too happy. It’s not that the franchisees don’t care about customer service (I’m making a BIG assumption here with some franchisees), but they are first and foremost concerned with profits. And profits are driven by product margins, volumes, and efficiencies, right?

Apparently, McDonald’s corporate is also pushing the Dollar Menu (lower margins) and promoting offerings (such as wraps) that are less efficient to produce at the franchise level.

This issue is actually a microcosm of what a high percentage of businesses have experienced in the last 20+ years with the advent of rapid technological advances. The improvements in technology and ease of market entry for competitors have driven down prices in many industries, negatively impacting gross margins. Also, as customer service have expanded from primarily phone and face-to-face to include social media, smart phones, and other communication vehicles, the process of delivering customer service has become more complex.

So I feel the pain of the McDonald’s franchisee…really…I do. But at some point they need to look at customer service more strategically as a source of retention, additional revenues, upsells, cross-sells, profitability, and long-term viability and growth. If they did, they wouldn’t be focused as much on gross margin concerns. Instead they’d be focused on those things which they control which truly drive long-term client retention and growth. They’d make their own decision to focus more on customer service.

What do you think about the franchisees’ concerns and the state of customer service in fast food restaurants?

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website! http://www.cssamerica.com/


Groupon Now Rewarding to Retain

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service 1 Comment

If you’ve used Groupon as a consumer, you understand that you get deep discounts (50%+) from local businesses. If you’re a business, you realize that that can drive lots of consumers to your business, but you’re only probably getting half of what the consumer pays Groupon; so you may only be receiving 25% of your normal payment.

So the only way that Groupon really works for a business is for that company to receive repeat business (at a higher per purchase level). So for Groupon to succeed, it’s all about their business clients retaining and growing business with those Groupon customers.

The theory for the business is they take a short-term loss on a consumer purchase to establish and grow a relationship with that consumer. The reality is often different, however. The business could be cannibalizing their own business by selling at discounted rates to existing customers. They could be involved with Groupon only to attract customers who buy purely on price (and a deeply discounted price at that!). So if the discount goes away, so will that customer.

To help its clients with retention, Groupon has created Groupon Rewards. They promote a “Hassle-Free Setup” followed by “Automatic Rewards” followed by “Customer Analytics.”

No, Groupon does not say that it is cutting its fees. It’s apparently proposing to manage a loyalty program for your business, where consumers get discounts once they’ve spent a certain amount. Not exactly leading edge stuff, but it does promote consumers buying before they get the discount.

So let’s focus on the broader lesson here. If you want to grow your business in a smart way, getting customers in your door (such as what Groupon has historically done) is only the start; long-term success is driven by retention and growth.

Interested in improving your company’s customer retention? Check out our Fast-Track Retention & Growth Assessment: http://www.cssamerica.com/cssfastrga.htm

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/


The 3rd Time Better be the Charm

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service Please leave a comment

A friend recently relayed this customer service story to me, and food stories are always a special treat! Enjoy!…or at least, Learn…

Twice this weekend I noticed that servers, in their desire to speed up the delivery process (I can only assume) were actually stepping over my words while I was ordering. I’m not a particularly slow orderer, and I haven’t noticed this much before, but it was odd.

Once was at a local sandwich shop. I was ordering the pick two so you have to pick a sandwich, a side, and a soup. I was giving my choices, but before I even got them out of my mouth, the cashier is prompting me for the next thing that I have to decide. I said “and I’d like…” (getting ready to say “a medium drink”), and she interrupted me in mid-sentence to ask if I wanted a drink. I can almost see this occurring if there was a long line behind me, but there was no one else in line. It probably would have even been okay if she was cheery and bubbly or perhaps apologetic, but this young lady was none of those things – not a smile to be found.

The other experience was at a fast food restaurant the next day. I gave my order for the combo; she says “what?” in a terse voice, so then I began to restate my order, and before I could finish restating it, she interrupted by saying “Drink?” I was in the process of telling her that; oh, and, again, there was nobody behind me in line.

These may be perceived as “little things,” but is interrupting others good customer relations? Is being rude good customer service? Is not listening good for repeat business? Is it a good thing to be so task-oriented that you don’t focus on the person for whom you’re doing the task?

Hopefully the 3rd restaurant encounter for my friend will be better, and based on the tone of the story, it probably will be at a different place.

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website! http://www.cssamerica.com/