values | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

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

Decide Who’s Driving the Bus – 1/10/23

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

I once heard a speech titled: Who’s driving the bus?

I knew the speaker beforehand, so that made his talk extra special.  It was funny and relatable and held many words of wisdom.  The crux of the speech was that every one of us has our own facets, our own unique characteristics.  And in different situations, sometimes it’s better for certain of our characteristics to drive our behavior, our attitudes and actions, and other parts of our personality to take a seat further back in the bus.

Sometimes it’s good if we are action-oriented.  Other times, it’s better if we sit and listen, observing the situation. Sometimes it’s preferable to be a team member, and other times it’s preferable to take charge in those emergency situations and direct others in how they can help.

We all have varied skills and attributes that can come to the forefront, but the speaker’s point was that we need to be intentional about which of those attributes takes the reins in a given situation.

Be Situationally Agile

That’s especially true for us in customer service, yet being situationally agile is one of the more challenging skills to hone.  When we reflect on an encounter after it occurs, we often know what would have been the best thing to have said or the best approach to have taken, but in the moment – that’s where we’re often challenged.  In the moment, we need to clearly think “How should I handle this situation?” instead of just jumping in like a reflex.

Take Stock of Your Talents

This requires that you understand your talents and your abilities.  When needed, can you be a great listener?  Can you take the lead and direct professionally?  Can you advise like a consultant, or sell when it’s in the best interest of everyone for you to do so?  Can you calm a situation?  Can you play facilitator to gather in all the ideas?  Can you confidently and convincingly convey your own ideas?

Take a moment now, and simply write down the list of your talents and your abilities.  Focus on your communication skills.  Be very clear on your capabilities so that you can be more intentional about making the right version of yourself the bus driver at the right time.

Decide who’s driving the bus.

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Create a Personal Vision for the Year – 1/3/23

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This time of year is all about the New Year’s resolution.  We’re going to exercise or eat differently!  Then…2 months later, who knows what’ll be happening, but at least you set a goal.  For many of us, that’s progress.

For businesses, that New Year’s resolution often has to deal with something…well…New!  It’s a new direction or a new way of doing business.  Maybe it’s looking for new customers, developing a new product, or creating a new culture.

With many of our clients, it truly is about that new Vision.  They want to paint a picture of what the future could be, of what success could look like, of the impact and benefit the organization could have on its customers and its community.

Oftentimes, this visioning leads to strategic planning.  Sometimes it leads to more focused annual planning; it leads to effective alignment throughout the organization based on the common vision.  And sometimes – at a minimum – it creates a litmus test within which decisions can be made.  In other words: Will Option A better position us to achieve our vision, or will Option B?

Create Your Personal Vision Statement

This is also a perfect time of year for us to individually think about our own vision.  As you know, our days can go by quickly if we’re spinning a lot of plates – engaging and supporting the customer, the company, the co-worker.  It’s a lot to just try to get done.  But if we want to end the year in a better situation or with a better set of skills or with more success stories to tell, consider taking a few minutes to paint your own future picture.

Where do you want to be by the end of the year in your role or your career?  What kind of relationships do you want to have with your customers?  Where do you want your experience level to be greater, or your skills better?  How much enjoyment do you want to have in your role, and what are a couple of the things you need to start doing, stop doing, or do differently to bring more joy and enrichment to your own job?

If you create a personal vision of what you want this year to become, you have a much better chance to achieve it.

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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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