strategy | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

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

Be Kind to Yourself When the Customer Isn’t - 9/13/22


I was having a debrief call with one of my clients recently, and this was regarding a survey of employees who work events.  One of the survey questions asked employees for advice on how to improve the customer experience.  When the employees shared their input on the guest experience, Read more

Being the Emphatic Employee - 9/6/22


Empathy is the key quality of somebody who’s great at customer service.  We talk about it often - what it is, how to convey it, what it looks like, and how it makes the customer feel. But along with knowing how to be empathetic, we also need to know how Read more

The Good, the Really Good, and the Ugly of Customer Service - 8/30/22


Here are three helpful customer service stories.  They may not be from your specific industry, but it’s always good to learn from others. The Good… Paula submitted a ticket to the I.T. vendor.  Below the signature line in the reply she received was the following:  Please share your comments or needs Read more

A Great 2-Minute E-mail - 8/23/22


I know.  You probably get e-mails all the time from customers griping about some aspect of your organization or their experience.  You’ve got too much to do and too little time to do it.  I could not begin to tell you how many times I’ve been told by staff Read more

When They Want to Talk to Your Boss - 8/16/22


“I want to talk to your supervisor.” That’s their opening salvo.  Before you can hardly finish your greeting, the customer is asking for your boss.  This is done by a customer who has tried to get an issue resolved, and it hasn’t worked, so they want to go to somebody Read more

When Passive Voice is a Good Thing - 8/9/22


It’s all your fault, Mr. Customer! We may want to shout it from the rooftops, but other than venting and absolving ourselves of guilt, this wouldn’t help much in the grand scheme of things. We have a customer sitting in front of us or on the phone, and maybe they are Read more

They’re Stressed, So You Can… - 8/2/22


Wow!  That customer looks stressed!  Maybe it’s their body language or their expressions; they could be fidgety or talking really fast. In the past, when we offered guidance in these situations, we focused on how to navigate the conversation step-by-step - what points to cover and what points to avoid. But Read more

Find the Hidden Compliment - 7/26/22


The fact is, they ARE complaining:  The room is too cold.  The wait is too long.  They wish the parking spaces were bigger.  The new app doesn’t have a mapping function.  They cannot pay with their phone.  The website is unclear. In these types of complaints, the ones that are Read more

When You Know More Than They Do - 7/19/22


It was 95 degrees outside.  That’s not too bad when you’re inside and enjoying the air conditioning; but when Rachel’s A/C went out, in came Rachel’s worry.  Luckily, she knew the company to call, and a technician from Acme HVAC (fake name, real company) came out the next morning. Rachel Read more

Let Dialogue Drive Service Delivery – 10/6/15 TOW

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


In talking with a client recently, they shared their approach to developing future services. Thinking 10 years down the road, they noted how technology, the community, and customer needs all would change.

This is a company with strong relationships with customers, and although they value innovation and creativity, what they value most is the relationship with their customers.

The core of their development of new services was described, and if you pulled out all the fancy terminology and new age infographics, their approach to new service development is simply based on having ongoing dialogue with customers.

The company described an iterative process where they initiate dialogue with current customers and non-customers. They ask about changing needs, preferences, and desires. They ask anticipatory questions about future trends, and they ask about what the company could best do with services and the experience used to deliver the services.

In short, they let customer dialogue drive the approach to service delivery.

Your customers use your services, they pay for your products, they judge your experience, and they stay or leave – they talk you up or down with friends – based on their opinion of your organization.

Uncover what they want and need and how they’d like to receive it, then deliver on those desires.

Let Dialogue Drive Service Delivery.

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I’m Big on the “Same Page” – 7/1/14 TOW

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


Let’s get on the Same Page. How do you get everyone on the Same Page, going in the same direction? Before we move forward, let’s make sure we’re on the Same Page. You need to ensure you’re on the Same Page with your customer before you end the call.

I seem to find myself using the phrase “Same Page” over and over again. I’ll use it in training, when providing strategic guidance on culture change, in meetings with my clients, and in one-on-one discussions with staff.

The phrase comes out of my mouth so often because it applies to so much in service interactions and service cultures. In healthcare, you often have to communicate with patients about next steps. What must the patient do to care for themselves at home post-discharge? Who must they contact to talk about billing and insurance? Where should they go, and how should they prepare for an upcoming procedure? Getting on the “Same Page” means that you and that patient have a common understanding of what needs to happen next and when.

Many local governments are trying to change their cultures to be more flexible, more customer service-oriented, more high-tech while maintaining high-touch. So their employees may have to change behaviors and mindsets; they have to understand their greater purpose beyond the policies and procedures, and beyond the codes and ordinances. The leaders must get everybody on the “Same Page” about the reason government exists and the important role that customer service plays in serving the community.

In one-on-one personal conversations, the phrase “Same Page” suggests that all parties understand the situation, the goals, the next steps, and timeframes. This leads to well-understood expectations, work more likely done right the first time, and clearer communications.

In more strategic discussions, the phrase “Same Page” suggests that everyone in the organization understands what they’re here to do, and everyone understands their role in moving toward objectives, goals, and vision.

Communicate more clearly with others. Ensure that conversations don’t end before you’re on the Same Page.


A Customer Service Life – from Utilities to Consulting and Politics

Posted on in Business Advice, Government 1 Comment

Is it easier to deliver great customer service in a private industry than in a public or governmental organization? Yes, because customers of a federal, state, or local municipality don’t have a choice; there’s no competition, and therefore customer service at governmental organizations suffer. Or…No, because all private businesses care about is new sales and marketing, and they don’t truly care about customer service – they view it as purely a cost center.

So who’s right – the Yes crowd or the No crowd?

The real answer is that it’s easier to deliver great customer service if you have leaders who care about customer service – regardless of whether the organization is private or public.

Mayor Terry Sinnott is recognized in the article Meet your Del Mar mayor: Sinnott uses customer service strategies to better Del Mar for his success at San Diego Gas & Electric, as a customer service consultant, and as Mayor. When asked about his philosophies, Sinnott stated “Real effective customer service is based on learning, and you have to interact with customers to learn what they are experiencing and what’s positive and negative, and from that information you can develop new skills and strategies to make it better,”

He continued “The challenge is to figure out the strategy, set goals and help the organization understand the idea and know how to implement it,” he said. “Similarly, issues or ideas presented on the City Council must be represented to the community as best as possible.”

So the crux of these key points is that leaders need to listen to improve, and a big part of listening is asking the questions of all key stakeholder groups and using it to strategize. We’re not asking and reacting, constantly changing based on what fire or hot button issue is present. Instead, we’re asking, learning, strategizing, and implementing improvements for the long-term.

There are many nuggets in this article. Check it out, and make continuous improvement a planning-oriented part of your long strategy for success – whether you operate in the private or public world.

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