strategy | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

A Story of Willie and Aubrey - 2/8/22


The gift shop was a great experience!  Aubrey had bought items online from the shop for years, but she had never stepped foot in the store itself.  However, when travel plans took her on a trip to new surroundings, she took time out of her day to go to Read more

It Matters Who You Know - 2/1/22


The season ticket account holder has an issue, but he’s not too concerned about it:  I’m going to call my guy, and he’ll take care of it. The patient is confused about their bill.  The family member says: I know someone who can help. The husband discovers a problem in the Read more

Put an End to 1-Star Ratings - 1/25/22


If you ever had service performed on your car, I would not doubt it if you received the immediate e-mail asking for that 5-star rating. They want the big ratings because that makes them look good, and to get the big average rating you have to avoid the 1-Star Read more

Signs of Service Recovery Situations - 1/18/22


As we continue the slow trend of more and more customer interactions becoming in-person again, we need to remember those signs that we’re about to enter one of THOSE conversations.  It can typically take only 5-10 seconds to realize this is going to be a high-risk situation with the Read more

In Survey Development, Think in Reverse - 1/11/22


We often meet with clients interested in conducting a survey, and when we discuss the project, many clients come with questions in-hand.  They are interested, curious, even excited sometimes about the possibility of tapping into the voice of the customer! And when we review their questions and start to see Read more

Foster Positive Feelings - 1/4/22


I bet a lot of you all are like me - when you’re asked to share your feelings, it’s not always something that feels comfortable.  It obviously depends on the situation and who’s asking you to share your feelings.  So, many of us might hesitate in sharing our feelings. However, Read more

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


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 Read more

2021 Holiday Poem - 12/21/21


Breathe and rest and relax and rejuvenate. Close the eyes, and fill the lungs. Take a break, and be with friends. This is a time to begin. Renaissance is called a rebirth. Birth can bring new life. Life gives opportunity for living. Living gives opportunity for joy. We have so many outside factors, So many things that tug Read more

“I’m Sorry” Doesn’t Mean “I’m Guilty” - 12/14/21


Individuals and organizations mess up; that’s part of life… They told me that they were going to be at my home at a certain time; they were REALLY late.  The customer service representative said they would get a message to a co-worker, and the co-worker would call me back; I Read more

Apply Selfless Service - 12/7/21


Andrea had worked in human resources for years, and the company decided that it wanted to hire employees who were more customer service-oriented, regardless of the position.  After making that decision, they added some creative questions to the interview process. One of the most interesting questions that Andrea had to 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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