retail | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

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

The Proven Value in What You Do - 4/9/24


Forbes wrote an article last year based on a compilation of the results of research on customer service and the customer experience; it was titled:  100 Customer Experience Stats For 2023. In reading the article, you’ll note that many of these key research findings are about you – the value Read more

A Tale of Two Texts - 4/2/24


Having to get allergy shots once a week is never fun, and for Janet, it became an even bigger frustration. She had the shots typically scheduled on Tuesday around 10:30 in the morning, figuring she would avoid the morning rush as well as the lunch rush by going mid-morning.  However, Read more

The Secret Sauce for Great Customer Service - 3/26/24


I was working with the League Office for a major American sport several years back, and one of the executives asked me to describe our Secret Sauce that helped our clients improve the fan experience and customer retention.  I gave him a sense of what makes us unique and Read more

The Miracle of an Apology - 3/19/24


Unfortunate but true story… The manager basically lost his mind.  He terminated his employee on the spot.  She had told the customer that there was going to be a delay in the shipment.  The employee called up the customer ahead of time to let the customer know what was about Read more

It’s Not About the 5-Minute Wait - 3/12/24


Robert went into his supervisor’s office to update her on a situation at the payment desk.  Robert said that a customer was about fourth or fifth in line, waiting to be served, and the customer was complaining loudly about the wait.  He was there to make a property tax Read more

Lessons from the Greats - 3/5/24


I was recently facilitating a workshop on the customer experience, and I made the point that it’s usually beneficial to look at your personal life for great experiences; identify what really resonates with you in a positive way in order to uncover ideas to improve your own customer service. So, Read more

The Empathy Roadmap - 2/27/24


For some people, empathy comes naturally.  There’s an innate desire to learn about the other person and to sincerely convey that sense of interest and caring.  But for many of us, sometimes it helps to have a communication plan.  It helps to know what to do in order to Read more

“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

A Story of Above and Beyond, Olives, Ellies, and Giant Babies – 9/20/16

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


A giant baby store – let me rephrase – a baby store that’s huge (like a big box retailer, not a store for giant babies) can be intimidating for first-timers. So much merchandise, so many options, so much selection – all to care for an 8-pound little human.

These stores can also be intimidating for those who are very experienced with babies – although the most recent personal experience was decades ago. To whom am I referring? Yes, grandmothers.

Ellie is such a person – a wonderful grandmother who was invited to a neighbor’s baby shower, which meant a visit to the dreaded baby superstore. When Ellie entered, she thought she knew what she wanted, but she was overwhelmed with the store size and selection. Standing there in the cavernous confines of the store – looking around, partly amazed and partly bewildered, Ellie was greeted by Olive – an employee.

Olive asked Ellie if she could help, and Ellie described the first item she needed; then Olive walked with Ellie to the other side of the store and found the gift. Olive asked if Ellie needed anything else. There was one more item, and that resulted in a trek to a different part of the store.

Then Olive walked Ellie to the front to check-out, and as they reached the cashiers, Ellie noticed a table with giftwrap. Ellie asked what the table was for, and Olive noted that customers are welcome to wrap their gifts for free after purchase.

“Wow! That’s a great idea. Since you did such a good job of helping me with everything else,” Ellie said, “maybe you could wrap for me, too!” Ellie and Olive laughed, Ellie said thanks for the help, and she paid for her items.

As Ellie got her items together to leave the store, Olive showed up, greeted Ellie, and said “I’ll be happy to wrap those for you!”

“Oh no. That’s not necessary,” Ellie replied. “I was just joking.”

“But it was a great idea – I’m happy to help,” Olive finished.

So Olive wrapped the gifts, Ellie went on her way, and there was a story set to be retold numerous times.

Service Excellence is often about treating people special. Treat a customer special by doing for them that which they could do for themselves.

Signup for FREE Tips!    Contact Us    More Resources for You    Visit Our Home Page


Be Less Sexy to Build More Customer Loyalty

Posted on in Business Advice, Carolinas Please leave a comment

Loyalty – you get it from a dog by loving it, rescuing it from a shelter, or giving it a treat. Loyalty – you get it from employees by valuing them, being loyal to them, and building trust by doing what you said you’d do. Loyalty – you get it from a consumer by…what?

In the article Retail analysts: Do the math on loyalty cash, the discussion is about loyalty cards, or discounts on store credit cards, or credits that can be applied to the store. According to a Charlotte-based analyst, the reason to offer these types of rewards is evident – “The obvious benefit here for the retailer is the additional trip.”

So to answer the question above, loyalty – you get it from a consumer by…giving them a discount? Hmmm.

Not real creative stuff here; but the analysis that companies have to make before they embark on these “cash for the consumer” loyalty programs must be done by looking incrementally. What is the net increase in profitability through these programs? To calculate, you have to look at the revenue from the sale less the item’s cost (standard profit stuff) less the cost of the program. Then compare that to what the company would have generated in profit if it had done…I don’t know…nothing! Or maybe if it had improved between-sale communications with the client, or if it had improved customer service, or if it had improved service recovery processes, or if it had been more particular about what customer service-oriented characteristics it looks for in employees, or if it were better at motivating employees.

In other words, these types of loyalty programs should be a last resort. It’s like a price drop for a salesman to get a sale; it’s weak; it’s like having a sale but not wanting to call it a sale.

It might be harder and less sexy to improve performance, hiring practices, client relationship development, and customer service than to have a new cash-based loyalty program, but in the end customers evaluate businesses based on the Employee Attitudes, Service Processes, and Products/Services, and these loyalty programs often put too much focus on a small piece of the loyalty puzzle.

Sometimes it’s good to be less sexy to be more successful in building customer loyalty.

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/

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


How You Interact Means $ and Sense

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

According to a Bain & Co. retail study, when customers view their interactions with sales employees positively, the customer will purchase – on average – 50% more items. Also, "The odds of repeat visits also go up significantly," Bain noted.

So how can you provide a great experience in that 1-on-1 “Moment of Truth?” Well, let’s start with a couple Don’ts:

· Don’t script…unless you can really ensure all staff sound sincere (Chick-fil-a does a generally good job with staff responding to a customer’s thanks with “My pleasure”), the script will hurt more than it helps.

· Don’t push…don’t push your product to the point of ignoring the needs of the person you’d like to purchase the item. Instead, pull information from them about the issues/needs/goals they’re trying to address. Then you can provide the solution in the form of your product or service.

· Don’t rush…in society’s often frenetic pace, patience with a customer is one of the greatest virtues you can have in conveying that you care.

How about a few Do’s:

· Do view the conversation as a sandwich. The meat is in the middle, but you have to have that great bread surrounding it all. Open positively, and close with appreciation. Make sure the last opinion the customer has is that you cared about them and appreciated them.

· Do ask questions. We do a great deal of mystery shopping at CSS, and invariably the employees who perform best are those who ask enough questions to specifically understand that customer’s unique perspective, issue, or need.

· Do paint a picture for staff of what is GREAT customer service. Companies need to stop assuming that employees know the difference between good and GREAT. In order to deliver GREAT customer service, businesses need to be very intentional about describing what it is, what it looks like, and how to do it.

To get more business, loyalty, and dollars from customers, use these common sense suggestions for improving customer service.

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/

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