trust | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Talk About Yourself to Build Customer Confidence - 4/16/24


When you’re dealing with somebody who is anxious or nervous about a situation, a customer who feels like they don’t have much control, an individual who is unsure and uncertain, it’s important to put the customer at ease.  It’s important to build their comfort level.  It’s important to help Read more

The Proven Value in What You Do - 4/9/24


Forbes wrote an article last year based on a compilation of the results of research on customer service and the customer experience; it was titled:  100 Customer Experience Stats For 2023. In reading the article, you’ll note that many of these key research findings are about you – the value Read more

A Tale of Two Texts - 4/2/24


Having to get allergy shots once a week is never fun, and for Janet, it became an even bigger frustration. She had the shots typically scheduled on Tuesday around 10:30 in the morning, figuring she would avoid the morning rush as well as the lunch rush by going mid-morning.  However, Read more

The Secret Sauce for Great Customer Service - 3/26/24


I was working with the League Office for a major American sport several years back, and one of the executives asked me to describe our Secret Sauce that helped our clients improve the fan experience and customer retention.  I gave him a sense of what makes us unique and Read more

The Miracle of an Apology - 3/19/24


Unfortunate but true story… The manager basically lost his mind.  He terminated his employee on the spot.  She had told the customer that there was going to be a delay in the shipment.  The employee called up the customer ahead of time to let the customer know what was about Read more

It’s Not About the 5-Minute Wait - 3/12/24


Robert went into his supervisor’s office to update her on a situation at the payment desk.  Robert said that a customer was about fourth or fifth in line, waiting to be served, and the customer was complaining loudly about the wait.  He was there to make a property tax Read more

Lessons from the Greats - 3/5/24


I was recently facilitating a workshop on the customer experience, and I made the point that it’s usually beneficial to look at your personal life for great experiences; identify what really resonates with you in a positive way in order to uncover ideas to improve your own customer service. So, Read more

The Empathy Roadmap - 2/27/24


For some people, empathy comes naturally.  There’s an innate desire to learn about the other person and to sincerely convey that sense of interest and caring.  But for many of us, sometimes it helps to have a communication plan.  It helps to know what to do in order to Read more

“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

Trust-building in the Moment – 6/13/23

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

The customer is often the ultimate supplier of the information we need to help them.  So, we want customers to be open with us, to share their feelings, goals, issues, perceptions.

Building trust is a long-term enterprise, but many of us don’t have much time with the customer.  However, we still need the customers to be open enough to share with us so that we can be most effective in helping them.  Here are some keys to building trust in those short but important moments of truth…

Speak to what they’ve said.  The most important action is listening – asking the questions to get the information we need.  Most of the keys below are about what we say or what we convey, but it all starts with what we hear.

Speak with intent.  We need to be intentional about what we say.  Tossing in unclear words or commitments, having a tone that lacks confidence, making promises or sharing stories that don’t relate to what the customer conveyed can cause the customer to lose our main point.  It can cause them to think they haven’t been heard; they can lose confidence and trust.

Note what you can do by illustrating what you have done.  For customers to have faith that we can help, tell them what we can do, but it strengthens the story to tell them what we have done with others.  If we can illustrate a potential resolution that will be done for them by noting similar action taken for somebody else, it helps to build their trust and confidence.

Be open to engender openness.  If we want them to be open, we need to be open.  It’s hard to get somebody to share if they don’t feel like we’re willing to do likewise.  So, if you have questions that you need answered on their behalf, tell them that you need to investigate.  If you’re not 100% certain of the best option, tell them, and also let them know what you’re going to do to close that confidence gap.

Do what you said you will do.  Finally, so many of us judge trust based on whether or not the person did what they said they’d do.  This requires three things.  First, be clear with them on what we promised. This may include sending them follow-up messages to reinforce what we have verbally stated.  Second – obviously – do what we said we would do.  Third, tell them what we did.  Action is only as strong as the customer’s recognition that the action we promised actually occurred.

Tap into these 5 keys to build trust in that moment of truth.

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

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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 great customer experience.  They need to excel at customer service.  They need to have core values that everybody can live.

The core values of a local government entity can often tie-in really nicely with any type of business.  Think about these example core values and how they can apply to your organization:

Trustworthy.  Can your customers trust what you’re saying?  Have the expectations you’ve set in the past been met by reality?  Or have the promises of sales not been able to be delivered by operations and customer service?  Make sure your operations can deliver on what is promised.

Clear. Sometimes confusion can lead to complaints.  Because where there’s confusion, customers and employees can more easily do something wrong or miss a step.  Where there is lack of clarity, sometimes two people can have very different expectations.  Are your communications clear – simple, specific, repeated, and documented?

Timely.  This is a nebulous word when it comes to customer service.  What one person thinks is timely may not be the same as another.  So, it’s important to define timely expectations for the customer, or ask what their definition of timeliness is, and – if unrealistic – redefine that to a reasonable expectation.

Open. Since local governments are typically funded by tax dollars and fees, transparency and openness are an expectation.  So, when you think about your business, is there information that is hidden from the customer because of fear of the reaction or how it might affect their decision?  Has that hiding of information – or at least not sharing of information – ever come back to bite the company in the end?  Make sure we’re open up front, so the customer doesn’t get the unnecessary surprise on the back end.

Learn a few lessons from our local government clients.  Make sure your customer service is trustworthy, clear, timely, and open.

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A Story of Willie and Aubrey – 2/8/22

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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 the shop.  Aubrey was greeted immediately by Willie, the shop owner.  Her first words were “Hi, I’m Aubrey Matthews.”  That’s all she had to say.

Willie was immediately excited, as he recognized the name and instantly knew that this was a long-distance customer.  They had never met, but Willie was so excited to meet Aubrey face-to-face and to talk.  They chatted and walked around the store together.  Though Willie had never met Aubrey and never heard her voice, he instantly knew who she was – a treasured customer.

Willie cared enough to know Aubrey’s name, her preferences, her “story.”  It made a huge impression on Aubrey, and Aubrey bought several items that day as well.

Now, what’s the lesson?

When you interact with a customer, don’t just think about their order or issue – think about THEM.  Who is the person you’re speaking with – what’s their story?

When you complete a call or transaction, document some of the personal side of the customer (Were they rushed, emotional, have some upcoming event?  What did you learn about them personally?).

When you then initiate a contact with a customer, don’t just consider the issue or service you’re going to discuss, consider the characteristics of the customer you’ll be talking with, as well.  Don’t view it as “Company” and “Prospect.”  View it as Willie and Aubrey.

Engage the customer as a unique individual.

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