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When You Can’t Say “Yes to the Address” - 2/7/23


I was interviewing a frontline staff person for one of our local government clients recently as part of our CSS Training Development Process.  They described their customers and the difficult situations that they face, their tougher conversations with customers. This individual supports local events, so there’s a lot of planning involved.  Read more

How to Fix Other People’s Problems - 1/31/23


I was helping a friend navigate some healthcare processes recently, so I conducted a 3-way call with my friend and the physician practice to try to get things cleared up.  The employee I spoke with on the phone - let’s call her Katie. There had been poor communication between different Read more

What to do When You’re in the Middle - 1/24/23


Bob and Sarah are arguing, and you’re in the middle.  Bob’s an employee, and Sarah is a customer, and they have a difference of opinion.  Somehow you’re involved even though you didn’t have anything to do with the interaction in question, the complaint being addressed.  You find yourself being Read more

Is the Customer Issue an Organizational Issue? - 1/17/23


Customer retention is vital.  Most of next year’s customers are going to be those who are this year’s customers. So, the more you lose today, the fewer you will have tomorrow.  Organizations conduct research, data mine, or bring in consultants to help identify those customers who may be most Read more

Decide Who’s Driving the Bus - 1/10/23


I once heard a speech titled: Who’s driving the bus? I knew the speaker beforehand, so that made his talk extra special.  It was funny and relatable and held many words of wisdom.  The crux of the speech was that every one of us has our own facets, our own Read more

Create a Personal Vision for the Year - 1/3/23


This time of year is all about the New Year’s resolution.  We’re going to exercise or eat differently!  Then…2 months later, who knows what’ll be happening, but at least you set a goal.  For many of us, that’s progress. For businesses, that New Year’s resolution often has to deal with Read more

Avoid Making a Bad Situation Worse - 12/27/22


Twitter.  When you hear that word, does your temperature rise?  Do you roll your eyes?  Do you ask: What is Twitter? From a customer service perspective, Twitter has evolved into a virtual place for consumers to complain about businesses.  For those businesses savvy enough to understand the importance of communicating Read more

2022 Holiday Poem - 12/20/22


The year is winding down. The work is still up front. We’re making that transition to close out the 12th month. We’re trying to find a balance between personal life and work. Trying to be kind to people even if they’re acting like a jerk. It’s taking all of our patience and our Read more

Open Minds and Ornery Customers - 12/13/22


We all have to deal with some crazy customers, at times.  They might be loud or sad.  Flighty or mad.  They may have unrealistic expectations or think it’s OK to skip past people in line because their need must be more important than the others.  Some are rude, some Read more

Apply These Values for Great Customer Service - 12/6/22


One of the industries where we do a lot of our work is local government.  These CSS clients are not necessarily selling a product or having the number of competitors that a lot of our private industry clients and our sports clients face.  But they need to deliver a Read more

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

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

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 and the frustration that followed would be followed by another bad shot and more frustration.  It would snowball, and everything would go downhill.

One day, I was playing the third hole on my home course with my Dad.  I was hitting my second shot, and instead of the ball going straight to the green, it took a sharp left turn into a big pine tree.  The ball pinged from branch to branch until it dropped to the ground.  Highly upset at hitting such a horrible shot, I flung my club into that same tree.  But the club did not drop to the ground; it was stuck up in the tree.

How My Dad Responded

Now my Dad could have responded in a number of ways.  He could have yelled at me for throwing my club.  He could have told me to climb up the tree and get it.  He could have given me a stern lecture on my poor behavior. 

He did none of those.  Instead, he walked over to the tree, climbed up, and got my club.  He then handed it to me and walked away.

I don’t know if I had ever been so embarrassed in my life.

How I Responded

Needless to say, I stopped throwing clubs.  Today, I rarely play golf, and when I do, I don’t play or score nearly as good as when I was a teenager.  But I seem to take more joy in playing.  And when I hit a bad shot, I don’t let it affect me much at all.  More importantly, I don’t let it affect my next shot and eventually ruin my round.

In customer service, you have many opportunities to get frustrated.  And while the immediate reaction – the frustration – is understandable, don’t let that bad situation affect the attitude you take into the next situation, the next conversation, the next encounter.

Don’t let one frustration snowball and ruin your whole day.

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Become a Great Teacher – 7/5/22

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

Are you one of those people who really liked school?  School is always made more enjoyable by great teachers and professors.

Do you love sports?  Many coaches in football and basketball, in hockey and baseball view themselves as teachers…teaching the game they love to their team.

True leadership is about growing your people…teaching them…educating them…providing the wisdom of your experience so that they can improve, maybe even more quickly than you did in your professional life.

The common thread in these comments about teachers, coaches, and business leaders is their role as a teacher, an educator.

Every one of us, regardless of whether we’re in a leadership role in the organization or not, needs to view ourselves, in part, as a teacher.  We are educators of our customers.

For a new customer, if we want them to have the best experience possible, we need to view ourselves as an educator, teaching them how to best work with the organization, navigate our processes, get the information they need, and learn how to have the best experience possible.

When resolving an issue, we need to let the customer know their role in making the resolution happen.  We need them to be clear on what’s going to happen next, what to expect, what we’re going to do for them, and how they can avoid similar situations in the future.

And if we want to grow business with our customer, we need to educate them on other products and services, other ways that they can get value out of their experience with us.  We need to constantly build their awareness and knowledge of how they can grow their satisfaction in being a customer of ours, how they can deepen their relationship with our organization.  And we do so by helping them to understand the products and services and experiences that will bring the greatest value to them.

For the benefit of your customers, become a great educator.

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Reach Out to Customers the Right Way – 3/31/20

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

Depending on what industry that you work in, business is either booming, or it’s greatly slowed down.  I’m not sure if there’s much of a middle ground these days – where industries are working as normal.

If you’re in one of the industries where business has slowed, there may be an opportunity for you, and a need to address.  When customers are not coming to us as often – to take out a loan for a financial institution, to order products, to buy tickets to a sporting event, to submit plans for new construction – those are times where we lose touch points with our customers. Those are times when we lose contact. Those are times where there are gaps in the communication which can lead to relationships going stale.

Therefore, these are times when we need to ramp up our proactive communications with customers.

Three Types of Proactive Touches – Pick the Right Ones

Too often, businesses view proactive touch points with customers only as opportunities to market and sell. However, you may recall that we recommend three different types of touch points with customers.  One obviously is a proactive communication where you’re marketing and selling, but the first touch point is one where you are seeking information from your customers, asking questions, conducting short surveys, or inquiring about the customer.  The second is actually a proactive push of information, but it is not sales and marketing-oriented. Instead, you are sharing information of value. You’re trying to help the customer.  You are offering educational information to help them personally or professionally.

So, two of the three proactive touches have nothing to do with marketing and sales, and these softer touches are the ones to ramp up at times like these.

When the number of times that your customer reaches out to you goes down, ramp up the number of proactive touches to your customers.  But with empathy, remember that these touches are focused on learning about them and how they’re doing; these touches are about providing information valuable to them – to help them.

Keep your proactive communications with your customers going.

Don’t let relationships go stale.

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