upset | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

The New Burger Experience - 7/16/24


Floyd loves a good hamburger. Any chance he gets to try a new spin on an old standby, he takes it. Recently, a burger joint opened near his house, and Floyd was very excited! It was owned by and named for a world-renowned chef, so it had to be Read more

Boost Customer Happiness - 7/9/24


There’s a cooking show that a friend of mine watches, and the premise is all about reverse engineering food.  They may take a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, analyze it, and determine the ingredients just by tasting it.  Then they figure out a recipe.  The cook will try to make Read more

Brainstorm to Better Yourself - 7/2/24


I’ve led enough sessions with clients on continuous improvement topics to have solid experience on how to lead ideation exercises, brainstorming to develop new ideas.  Oftentimes these sessions start with the right question; the first answers may not be the ultimate solution, but they can serve as a jumping Read more

The Power of the Pause - 6/25/24


When I’m facilitating a meeting, and it feels like it’s going off-track or the discussion is going a little longer than it should, I may say something like “let me pause the conversation so that…” or “let’s pause just for a minute and consider…” I don’t like the word STOP. Read more

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

Fight Fret with Reassurance – 6/27/23

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

I bought tickets for this weekend’s event, but they’re not showing up on my app.  I was told we could request a refund, but I don’t see a way to do that online.  I need this fixed by tomorrow.  The information on my bill is wrong, and it says it’s due next week.

The customer is confused or anxious or upset.  There’s an urgency, or there’s a misunderstanding.  The emotions are not positive, and the answer may not be immediately clear.

We need to seek details.  We need to determine alternatives.  But we also need…to reassure.

To reassure is to calm down.  It is to build confidence.  It is to alleviate fears.

If the customer is calm, if they have confidence in a resolution, if they have faith in you instead of fears in the situation, the conversation can end more quickly.  The odds of them wanting to talk to your manager diminish.  The likelihood they’ll question what you say or answer-shop decreases.

So, reassure.  Let them know that you can help, how you can help, how you’ve helped others.  Talk in ways that convey your understanding of them and their situation, your understanding of solutions, next steps, and timelines.  Use the phrases like “we will help you,” and avoid phrases like “I think we can address this.”  Convey your experience, resources, and tools.

The facts and the details of the issue and solution are important to address when the customer is worried.  But it helps to provide reassurance, as well.  It helps to speak with authority and to use words that convey more certainty of actions rather than uncertainty of next steps.  Convey your confidence to build their confidence.  

When the customer frets, provide reassurance.

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Avoid Making a Bad Situation Worse – 12/27/22

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

Twitter.  When you hear that word, does your temperature rise?  Do you roll your eyes?  Do you ask: What is Twitter?

From a customer service perspective, Twitter has evolved into a virtual place for consumers to complain about businesses.  For those businesses savvy enough to understand the importance of communicating with customers in customers’ preferred communication vehicle, Twitter can be an effective and needed place for service recovery to occur.

Bad Incident, Good Service

For this Tip of the Week, Twitter was a source of a tip.  A writer shared a personal story about his recent travel.  He called the airline in question by name.  But the Tweet was positive.  He said he had a stroller damaged on a trip.  He noted that the airline handled the “situation promptly and fairly,” and it “never turned into a fight.  Just fixed it.  Appreciate the customer service.”

This issue was apparently caused by the airline, and luckily they were dealing with a reasonable customer.  This was a customer who had engaged businesses before where one of those company’s issues was made worse by how the company responded.  Companies can often get defensive.  They can argue insignificant points about the situation or try to deflect blame from themselves instead of focusing on empathy for the customer and the solution to the situation.

This customer actually appreciated the customer service, but they also highlighted their appreciation for the company not turning a company-caused issue into a fight with a customer.

A Different Definition of “Good Customer Service”

Yes, customer service in today’s world is such that good customer service is often defined as companies just not making their initial mistake worse by how they address the issue.

When dealing with a customer who’s complaining about a mistake your organization made, you’re in a delicate position.  Be a little extra in-tune with that fact so that what you say and how you say it is not something that makes the situation worse.  Offer the empathy, find a path to a solution, and avoid the defensiveness and arguments that can lead to the fight.

Avoid making a bad situation worse.

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Open Minds and Ornery Customers – 12/13/22

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

We all have to deal with some crazy customers, at times.  They might be loud or sad.  Flighty or mad.  They may have unrealistic expectations or think it’s OK to skip past people in line because their need must be more important than the others.  Some are rude, some are disrespectful, and some just flat don’t know how to communicate politely or professionally.  So, it’s understandable why our emotions are triggered, and we can reflect their ornery nature if we’re not careful.

One way to deal with the ornery customer is to have an open mind.  I’m not suggesting that we capitulate to their concern.

Rather, we need our mind to be open to finding new ways to navigate the conversation.  New ways to get to resolution.  New ways to close a conversation.

I’m not talking technique, per se, about how to handle the angry customer.  We’ve dealt with that many times in these tips.  Instead, I’m talking about how we handle ourselves intellectually in a conversation that has the potential to go down the tubes emotionally.

Openness is about allowing the new, the creative, the different, the atypical path forward.  What people can you involve in the conversation or direct the customer to in order to move forward?  What process can you begin that can make the conversation more productive?  Is there an action you can take in front of the customer – right then – to show that you’re in it with them?  Is there an action you can have them do at that moment so they feel like progress has started (and to distract them a little)?  Is there a way to end the conversation with your promise of a follow-up call, e-mail, or text by the end of the day?

When you’re dealing with the ornery customer, you have to deal with the emotions.  But if we keep an open mind about the possible solutions for the situation, maybe that emotion won’t dominate our reaction.  Maybe we can more quickly close the conversation and move to the next step.

Keep an open mind with the ornery customer.

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