secret shop | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

The New Burger Experience - 7/16/24


Floyd loves a good hamburger. Any chance he gets to try a new spin on an old standby, he takes it. Recently, a burger joint opened near his house, and Floyd was very excited! It was owned by and named for a world-renowned chef, so it had to be Read more

Boost Customer Happiness - 7/9/24


There’s a cooking show that a friend of mine watches, and the premise is all about reverse engineering food.  They may take a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, analyze it, and determine the ingredients just by tasting it.  Then they figure out a recipe.  The cook will try to make Read more

Brainstorm to Better Yourself - 7/2/24


I’ve led enough sessions with clients on continuous improvement topics to have solid experience on how to lead ideation exercises, brainstorming to develop new ideas.  Oftentimes these sessions start with the right question; the first answers may not be the ultimate solution, but they can serve as a jumping Read more

The Power of the Pause - 6/25/24


When I’m facilitating a meeting, and it feels like it’s going off-track or the discussion is going a little longer than it should, I may say something like “let me pause the conversation so that…” or “let’s pause just for a minute and consider…” I don’t like the word STOP. Read more

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

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/