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“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

2014 Customer Service Crystal Ball – Part 2 of Trends

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service Please leave a comment

Blog 3-5-14Did you enjoy Part 1 of 2014 Customer Service Trends? Check out the first 3 Customer Service Trends if you haven’t already. Here are the final 4 of 7 key Trends we see:

Big Data Will Be Overplayed (Just Like Social Media Customer Service Was Overplayed)

I attended a “Social Media for Parents of School Kids” meeting 4-5 years ago. The presenter – a school psychologist – told us that in 5 years e-mail would no longer exist because Facebook would replace e-mail.

Still waiting…

Social Media Customer Service was not the be all, end all, and neither is Big Data. One way to define “Big Data” is to take all the information you have on your customers and to – as much real-time as possible – analyze it so you can use it to tailor your customer interactions and target your retention/marketing/sales strategies. This topic is getting so much publicity, but the reality of its use – and how pervasive that use will be – will not match the hype.

Too many companies don’t acquire enough information on customers, or they don’t communicate well enough internally, or they don’t have a customer service/retention culture as it is; therefore, inserting systems and data – Big Data – won’t change any of that. Companies can have the best systems in the world to analyze and share data, but if companies can’t/won’t acquire data, or if they don’t break down silos, or if they don’t care about employees and the end customer, Big Data is useless. Big Data will be overplayed in 2014.

Small-to-Midsize Businesses Will Seek To Hire Octopodes

Or octopi? Or octopuses? Apparently the accurate plural of Octopus is quite controversial on the web – Google it and find out…

Companies – especially the small-to-midsize organizations, will seek to hire the customer service “octopus” – the customer service employee who can do it all…Tweet, get on the phone, be face-to-face, compose e-mails, communicate on Facebook, etc. These special individuals are those that are responsive, consistent, effective, and personable. Businesses of this size are generally too small to have dedicated resources to manage each of their customer service-oriented platforms, so they’ll need a few exceptional people who are well-versed and capable in multiple communication vehicles. This need is not as significant for bigger businesses because they can segment their service platforms simply due to scale.

A New App Called “The Butler” Will be the Hottest App in the World

Have you heard of it – “The Butler?” Neither have I. It doesn’t exist, but it’s coming…

We hadn’t heard of Twitter 10 years ago, and we hadn’t heard of Facebook 20 years ago. Most of us hadn’t heard of Microsoft 30 years ago. So something that doesn’t currently exist or few of us know today – “The Butler” – is coming. My hope is that it’s a self-serve app (not a search engine like Google or an application like Siri). Instead, it’s an app where I load in (or link) the names of my cable company, bank, phone provider, and other random online orders/accounts.

I can then – with the touch of the app or a simple voice command – tell “The Butler” (I’ll call him “James”) to complain to X Telecomm company that my cable is out. I can ask James to check on the delivery status of those flowers I ordered for my wife. I can determine my account balance. I can get the pharmacy on the phone. I ask a question or convey an issue (regardless of the company) – and my voice is heard by the company, or the answer is provided.

By this time next year, there will be a HOT customer service app that we do not know today. I hope it’s The Butler.

What’s Old Will Always be New

Essentially, customer satisfaction is about those one-on-one relationships and moments of truth. In that respect, the future of customer satisfaction will be the same as the present. The main difference is the path companies will take to get there. Never overthink customer service. In the end, it’s about you and me – the 1-on-1 – conveying we care while we meet needs and address issues…

To learn more about how to improve customer service in a changing economy and world, visit our NEW website at http://cssamerica.com/home/


Beat the Worst at Customer Service

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service Please leave a comment

The American Consumer Satisfaction Index was released with its latest findings on customer satisfaction across multiple industries, but if we look at the 15 worst companies in America for customer service, we’re not looking at as many industries as you might think – largely social media, telecommunications, utilities, and the airlines came up short.

In fact, the article The 15 Worst Companies For Customer Service notes that the worst 14 are all from these four industries. Does this mean that customer service is just about the industry, not the company? No, it just suggests that companies in certain industries don’t prioritize customer service.

The Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIns of the world don’t see (or value) how customer service impacts their bottom line. Airlines care about retention, but they haven’t universally seen the financial link between customer service and retention/revenues. Utilities and Telecoms have a legacy of lack of competition, so why provide great customer service if the customer has nowhere to go?

So what’s the common thread? These individual companies don’t see, quantify, value (however you want to describe) the link between customer service and financial success. Either they don’t realize the financial impact of the business they’re losing, or they don’t understand the cost of poor service. Either way, they’re not seeing the link.

So if you care about customer service and you care about your organization, here’s the key point. Before you sing the praises of investing in, focusing on, and striving for great customer service, take the time to identify the true revenue being lost, costs being added, profitability being harmed by poor customer service.

To beat the worst at customer service, start by putting a dollar figure on the benefit of being great at customer service.

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website! http://www.cssamerica.com/


Google This…Then Think Differently About Retention

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

Go to Google News and search on “business retention.” When I did this recently, there were 102 items of business news for the last week alone, and they are from close to 100 different locations.

Why is this term becoming so ubiquitous (never used that word in a blog post before…very exciting!)? “Business retention” programs are proliferating, and it’s because communities are realizing the value of a company and its jobs and its fees and its taxes and its construction projects and the salaries it pays. Communities are realizing the value of a customer, and their customer is a business.

When the economy tanks (as it did around 2008 and earlier this century as well), businesses in general start talking a lot more about customer service and customer retention. Whereas it’s sexy to talk about new sales, new clients, and new businesses coming to town, all of that “new” stuff is an addition to what already exists – your current customers.

What we tell our economic development clients is the same thing I’d tell most any other business – don’t limit your retention strategy to “delivering great customer service” or to “having lots of face-to-face meetings with your customers.”

Your strategy needs to be based on data, facts, intelligence – some of which you acquire by asking your customers questions, and some of which you acquire by conducting ongoing research on your clients (via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google News, MarketWatch, etc.). Your strategy needs to involve a mix of pre-planned Touch Points that occur throughout the year to pull information from customers via surveys/research/meetings/calls/e-mails or push information of value to them or marketing information for them. But the Touch Points also have to include those (as we say with our healthcare customers) PRN touches – those provided as needed based on that intelligence we just noted.

When you think about how to retain your customers (whether that customer is a business or an individual), you still need to deliver great customer service. But also develop strategies to gather intelligence, and provide strategic Touch Points to develop relationships that grow with your existing customers.

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Listen to our 2012 Customer Service Trends podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/2012/1/12/stepping-up-service-6-customer-service-trends-for-2012.html

Interested in improving your company’s customer service? See more at our new website! http://www.cssamerica.com/