retail | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

A Story of Willie and Aubrey - 2/8/22


The gift shop was a great experience!  Aubrey had bought items online from the shop for years, but she had never stepped foot in the store itself.  However, when travel plans took her on a trip to new surroundings, she took time out of her day to go to Read more

It Matters Who You Know - 2/1/22


The season ticket account holder has an issue, but he’s not too concerned about it:  I’m going to call my guy, and he’ll take care of it. The patient is confused about their bill.  The family member says: I know someone who can help. The husband discovers a problem in the Read more

Put an End to 1-Star Ratings - 1/25/22


If you ever had service performed on your car, I would not doubt it if you received the immediate e-mail asking for that 5-star rating. They want the big ratings because that makes them look good, and to get the big average rating you have to avoid the 1-Star Read more

Signs of Service Recovery Situations - 1/18/22


As we continue the slow trend of more and more customer interactions becoming in-person again, we need to remember those signs that we’re about to enter one of THOSE conversations.  It can typically take only 5-10 seconds to realize this is going to be a high-risk situation with the Read more

In Survey Development, Think in Reverse - 1/11/22


We often meet with clients interested in conducting a survey, and when we discuss the project, many clients come with questions in-hand.  They are interested, curious, even excited sometimes about the possibility of tapping into the voice of the customer! And when we review their questions and start to see Read more

Foster Positive Feelings - 1/4/22


I bet a lot of you all are like me - when you’re asked to share your feelings, it’s not always something that feels comfortable.  It obviously depends on the situation and who’s asking you to share your feelings.  So, many of us might hesitate in sharing our feelings. However, Read more

How to Make the Situation Right - 12/28/21


The manager in the field office felt that - when problems arose with customers - the company didn’t do an especially good job of responding effectively.  He felt like this was hurting customer renewals of annual service agreements.  The company developed many customer service and retention initiatives with little Read more

2021 Holiday Poem - 12/21/21


Breathe and rest and relax and rejuvenate. Close the eyes, and fill the lungs. Take a break, and be with friends. This is a time to begin. Renaissance is called a rebirth. Birth can bring new life. Life gives opportunity for living. Living gives opportunity for joy. We have so many outside factors, So many things that tug Read more

“I’m Sorry” Doesn’t Mean “I’m Guilty” - 12/14/21


Individuals and organizations mess up; that’s part of life… They told me that they were going to be at my home at a certain time; they were REALLY late.  The customer service representative said they would get a message to a co-worker, and the co-worker would call me back; I Read more

Apply Selfless Service - 12/7/21


Andrea had worked in human resources for years, and the company decided that it wanted to hire employees who were more customer service-oriented, regardless of the position.  After making that decision, they added some creative questions to the interview process. One of the most interesting questions that Andrea had to 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/