retention | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Keep in Mind 3 Key Questions - 11/22/22


Customers want to be heard.  If they have an issue or need or something that requires your support, they want to be understood. When we are trying to find a resolution or fulfill a need, when we’re trying to help a customer achieve their goal, sometimes we can be so Read more

Don’t Let This Shot Affect Your Next Shot - 11/15/22


When I was a teenager, I used to play a lot of golf, and I was pretty good for my age.  I’d have a good attitude and enjoyed the game, but if I hit a bad shot, I’d get upset.  And more often than not, that one bad shot Read more

Value the Customer – Actions to Adopt and Avoid - 11/8/22


When conducting research for a local government CSS client, we interviewed and conducted surveys with many of their customers.  We analyzed the results of the research based on those who had a great experience v. those who did not.  We uncovered that there were distinct differences between customers who Read more

Appreciate to Appreciate - 11/1/22


Why doesn’t Jay, my co-worker, respond to my e-mails or get his task done on time? It’s hard to respect the delay, the incomplete work, the lack of follow through on the part of your co-worker. Why does the customer seem so harried and so frustrated? It’s hard to value the customer Read more

The Customer Can Hear Your Attitude - 10/25/22


Sherry was sitting in the lobby, waiting to be called back for her appointment.  Just off the lobby was an office that Sherry was sitting near.  The person in the office was on a phone call, but Sherry couldn’t see the employee.  She could tell it was a call Read more

How to Handle the Customer’s Error - 10/18/22


Are all of your customers perfect?  Anyone?  Bueller? Of course, customers are not perfect.  Neither are we, but let’s focus this Tip on what they do wrong and what we can do about it in a professional, positive, and productive manner: When the customer isn’t clear, you respond: Is it OK Read more

Critique Yourself before Others Do - 10/11/22


When we’re criticized, we can get defensive, push back, deflect blame to others, and focus more on defending ourselves than really listening to what the other person is saying.  And some of us who get defensive, once we allow our emotions to settle, take time to reflect on what Read more

Find a Connection Point – Part 2: Situational Connection - 10/4/22


Last week we highlighted key topics to consider when you want to find Personal Connection Points with the customer.  Today, we’ll cover some key questions to ask to uncover information about today’s situation that you can use to establish a rapport with the customer.  This is Part 2 - Read more

Find a Connection Point – Part 1: Personal Connection - 9/27/22


Some people are born almost like a master at communication.  They know how to establish rapport with just about anybody, and they do so in a way that seems so natural and so real.  They can form relationships and be laughing with somebody they met two minutes ago like Read more

Be Proactive without being Pushy - 9/20/22


Delivering great customer service isn’t just about responding and reacting.  It’s also about being proactive.  Developing relationships involves reaching out first, not just extending our hand when somebody reaches out to us. But it’s all too clear that those of us who are in service roles prefer those roles to Read more

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

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

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 benefit.  So they solicited ideas from three of their best technicians.

The manager gathered the techs in a room and identified existing customers with common issues that weren’t yet resolved.  After sharing the situations with the techs, he sent them off to individually come up with the best solutions.

The next day, the manager met again with the technicians to hear their ideas.  The first tech – Jackie – researched data on her customer, and offered her best guess on what would satisfy the customer and get them to renew their contract.

The next technician – Mark – focused on the issue with the customer’s system, and he came up with an idea for how to compensate the customer for the issue and fix the system.

The third tech – Stacey – came up with what seemed like a crazy idea.  She didn’t offer compensation.  She didn’t focus on past customer history in the database.  The other three people in the room looked at each other but didn’t say a word in response.  Finally, the manager said:  Why would you possibly think that’s the way to resolve the issue and to retain the customer?

Stacey responded:  Because I called him up and asked what was his understanding of the issue and what we could do to fix it.  This is what he suggested.  It sounded reasonable and was within policy, so we went ahead and fixed it.

We can spend a lot of time coming up with the most creative and complex and high compensation ideas to address service recovery situations.  Yet, sometimes the quickest and easiest way to identify a solution in a service recovery situation is to ask them.

Consider asking the customer what would make the situation right.

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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

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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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