secret shop | 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

Great Customer Service is Up to Great People

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

There’s a lot at play in the customer’s experience – it’s the phone system they wade through, the website that gives them directions, the signage that helps them navigate the store front, the process for returning an item. But what’s most at play in customer experiences it the interaction, the 2-way dialogue between employee and customer.

In the Southern Business Journal article It’s the customer! Learn to see service from patrons’ vantage point, the author quotes a sales manager at the “Wright Do-It Center” that says one of the keys to “great customer service for her store is hiring the right staff members — finding friendly, outgoing and positive people. New employees go through extensive customer service training, she says, and management tries to look for opportunities to reinforce what staff has learned.”

In other words, the best CRM system, the best phone system, the best website, and the best process need the best of employees to make it all work. They discuss the use of “secret shoppers” to assess performance and identify improvement opportunities. They address surveys to research customer preferences. But whatever needs to be changed or improved in the customer experience, it comes down to people designing the change. People implementing the change. People delivering the higher level of service.

No matter what your organization does to improve customer service, remember that it all starts with people. Try to hire, train, motivate, and otherwise enable employees to become great at customer service.

Identify the criteria you use to hire people, how you evaluate them, how you hold them accountable and motivate them to grow, how you tap their knowledge to understand the voice of the customer, and how you use their talents to constantly improve customer experience.

Don’t get so caught up in investing in the latest technological advance or marketing scheme that you lose sight of the key to it all.

To keep and grow with your customer base, keep and grow your best talent first.

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/


Secret Shopping to Uncover…Great Customer Service?

Posted on in Business Advice, Healthcare Please leave a comment

We’ve done enough secret shopping for our clients to know that employees are not happy to learn that they might be shopped. It’s tough to get evaluated, and it’s especially tough when the evaluator is some mystery person. But in the article Secret shoppers reveal best in customer service, a mystery shopping engagement in California results in…awards!

The secret shoppers identified eight residents who provided exceptional service, and the eight individuals were rewarded with certificates and prizes.

This is the part that many organizations forget when they do research – whether that research is a customer satisfaction survey or a mystery shopping engagement. The goal is not just to see what you can do better, but it’s also to celebrate success. We often talk about redirecting people when they do poorly and reinforcing what they do right. It’s not about punishment; it’s about improvement. And one of the best ways to improve is to highlight (and then replicate) success!

We have a hospital client which we meet with quarterly to review patient satisfaction survey results and create Action Plans for the upcoming quarter. Well over 60% of the Action Items listed deal with sharing positive results with staff, recognizing customer service stars, and celebrating success.

So when your organization does research, remember that’s it’s not about the “gotcha” moments. It’s about finding opportunities to improve and opportunities to reward and recognize.

Get shopped to highlight great 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/


With Customer Issues and Complaints, It’s All About Speed

Posted on in Business Advice Please leave a comment

Fast…Do it fast…Make them feel like you’re moving at light speed…Make them feel like there’s continuous action…

When you’re dealing with a complaint or a customer issue, a key to retaining (and even increasing business with) that customer is speed.

Studies have shown that if you resolve an issue of a customer, they will tell 5 people about the great work you do. If you resolve issues quickly, you have an 82% chance of repurchase v. only 54% chance of repurchase if you resolve it slowly. So speed aids retention to the tune of 28%!! Speed.

It takes a lot for some customers to complain; so if they care enough to complain, convey you care, too, by acting to resolve that issue fast.

Tell them you want to help them. Tell them what you’re doing to address the need. Give them status updates along the way. Ensure your organization has communication and service delivery processes in place which are speed-oriented and geared toward service recovery situations.

Evaluate how you handle these situations. Look internally, and test externally with mystery shopping, but assess, and improve.

When it comes to Service Recovery, find a need for speed.

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/