restaurant | 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

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/