survey | 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

G.A.B. – The Survey Guiding Principles – 3/28/23

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

You’re excited!  The company has okayed your conducting a survey, and you immediately think of a half dozen questions you want to ask every customer.  You document your questions, get input from others, and all of a sudden you have a Word document with 36 questions instead of 6.  Now, what do you do?

Some clients engage us before they get into the particulars of the survey instrument.  Other clients come to us after they’ve already created that 36 question survey.  In either case, before you dive into the details of the survey questions, here are 3 Guiding Principles that could govern your decision-making about the overall design of the survey:

Goal-driven – Make sure that the questions are addressing your overall goals for the research.  The goals should drive what information you seek, which should drive the structure of the survey and the wording of the questions – it shouldn’t be the other way around.  Create the survey instrument around your goals, and when you have that draft put together, make sure each question aligns with what you’re trying to accomplish.

Actionable – For each question, give consideration to what would be done with the information.  Could you act upon the results?  What will the metrics potentially tell you? Are you evaluating attributes against each other, against historical data, against national benchmarks?  And how are you going to act differently based on ratings?  For the open-ended questions, are you going to utilize the common themes to improve operations, change strategies, reward and recognize others?  If the question is not actionable, why would you even ask?

Balanced – Ensure that there is a relatively even mix of questions seeking positives as well as questions seeking opportunities for improvement.  This is something that few of our clients consider.  Some clients are primarily looking for constructive feedback – and the tone of the survey can get the customer thinking too negatively and elicit too many negative stories.  Others are looking just for positives to use to market themselves internally or make themselves look good.  Instead, the survey should be balanced.  Research should help you to identify what is not working well while also helping understand where you can strengthen your strengths.

Let the goals of the survey drive the focus of the questions.  Ensure that the questions are structured to be actionable.  Create an overall balance of identifying what could be better as well as knowing what already is providing a great customer experience.

Design your survey to align to the G.A.B. Guiding Principles.

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

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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 at-risk of being lost.

But every individual in an organization can help identify at-risk customers.  Let’s ask some questions: When is a complaint a sign of risk?  When is an issue a sign of risk?  When is a lack of activity a sign of risk?

Defining Risk

By Risk we mean…Risk of losing a customer.  Risk of having many customers having the same complaint or issue that your customer is experiencing.  Risk of customers not using your services, not engaging with your business, finding other ways to get their needs met.

As with most aspects of customer service and retention, frontline staff are often best-positioned to help the organization as a whole.

Finding Organizational Issues

If the complaint is about a highly-used process or some aspect of the product or service, that could be a bigger risk for the whole organization if other customers are using that same process, product, or service.  However, when a complaint is about an individual employee, that actually may not be a sign of risk for the whole company.  Maybe it’s a localized situation.

When the issue being discussed is about organizational communications or tools such as website functionality or inconsistency in information flow or content, that could be a risk to the whole organization.  However, if the issue is some characteristic of a transaction that’s unique to that person, that may have less likelihood to be a risk to the organization.

When the lack of activity is because the organization has not been reaching out to the customer, has not kept their relationship fresh, then that could be a risk to the whole organization.  However, when the lack of activity is due to some change in circumstances in the individual’s life, it may not be a sign of risk for the whole company.

Issues that you see one-on-one with your customer may or may not be symptoms of bigger issues for the whole organization, but it’s helpful to the company for you to occasionally take a step back and consider whether a concern for one customer could also impact the many.

Determine if the customer’s issue is an organizational issue.

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Be Proactive without being Pushy – 9/20/22

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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 sales, and when we think about proactively reaching out, often we think that we’re selling to others – Ick!  However, if we don’t reach out to our clients or customers, we are not fully meeting their needs.

So, if we are not pushing products, why are we proactively reaching out to customers?  Here are some examples of why to reach out.

Freshen: To keep the relationship fresh.  If they haven’t heard from us except when they are buying something or complaining, those quiet periods are when relationships go stale.  It’s when they view us more as a commodity than as a partner.  We need to keep the relationships fresh.

Understand: Reach out to better understand them and their needs or issues.  This can be via an informal survey; maybe as part of a conversation, you ask about how things are changing in their business or their lives.  You’re trying to learn from them to better serve them.

Match-make: You reach out because you have a base understanding of their needs, and your organization has something that might help them, in particular.  You’re trying to match who they are with what you can do for them.  In some ways, we’re doing them a disservice if the customer has to go to your company for one thing and 3 other companies for other services – all of which you provide – but they don’t know that because we haven’t informed or educated them on all you can do for the customer.

Thank: You proactively reach out to convey appreciation and show that you value them.  You literally reach out to say Thank You and to check-in on them.  It makes them feel like an individual instead of an account number.

Request: You can even reach out to simply ask them if they know of anyone who might be a good fit with your business, who might benefit from a relationship like your customer has with your company.  You’re not selling; you’re just giving them the opportunity to make a connection for a friend with you and your organization.

Great customer service includes reaching out to customers – be proactive without being pushy.

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