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Handle Interruptions Heroically - 6/18/24


In the middle of a project, Jimbo, the customer service team member, had to stop what he was doing because he received an e-mail from a customer complaining about their experience at a recent event. Later that day, Jimbo was asked by his boss to put everything on hold for Read more

From Employees to Teammates: The Shift - 6/11/24


Be a great teammate. Be a good team player. We’re all part of the team. We’re no longer employees, we’re team members! The phrase “Team” is used in describing co-workers so much more than it was used years ago.  Then, we would be talking about employees, talking about staff, talking Read more

Nurture New Relationships - 6/4/24


Freddie was a new business owner in town.  He was launching a franchise, had acquired some funding from a local bank, and was in search of staff who cared about customer service. All the while, he was in the process of renovating a storefront for his business, so he was Read more

There’s Positivity in Patience - 5/28/24


The employee at the financial services firm was working with a new client on a relatively simple loan.  The documentation was about as clear as it could get to the employee, but the customer had lots of questions.  The employee calmly, clearly, and specifically answered each question.  The meeting Read more

The Goal – A Great Experience - 5/21/24


The following is a narrative of a great experience (people, process, service, facility) at a minor league sporting event – key points that could apply to any business are in bold… Mark and I pulled into the parking lot, excited about the game.  The Slapshots had been on a roll Read more

Your Best Ability is… - 5/14/24


I enjoy watching sports, and I’ve even listened to some sports press conferences over the years, just to hear what coaches are saying.  Basically getting the leadership perspective from the sports industry either out of my interest or curiosity, or to figure out how to apply it to the Read more

A Complaint is a Gift - 5/7/24


A complaint is a gift.  Okay, so the complainer is not always a “gift.”  The customer’s delivery of the complaint is sometimes more like a stocking filled with coal than a vase filled with roses.  But this is why we need to be able to differentiate the complaint from Read more

Mastering Confidence in Customer Service - 4/30/24


It’s not what you said…it’s how you said it. If you’ve ever had someone say this to you, raise your hand.  (I just raised my hand) Usually this is being said when someone is upset with you, but regardless of the reason, that phrase illustrates that HOW we say something often Read more

Be Amazing - 4/23/24


Watching Michael Jordan steal a pass and then dunk a basketball is amazing.  Taking a rocket to the moon is amazing.  The taste of my mom’s homemade beef soup is amazing. We all have our personal examples of what is amazing.  Usually, it’s something that we cannot comprehend, that we Read more

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

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/