values | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

How to Fix Other People’s Problems - 1/31/23


I was helping a friend navigate some healthcare processes recently, so I conducted a 3-way call with my friend and the physician practice to try to get things cleared up.  The employee I spoke with on the phone - let’s call her Katie. There had been poor communication between different Read more

What to do When You’re in the Middle - 1/24/23


Bob and Sarah are arguing, and you’re in the middle.  Bob’s an employee, and Sarah is a customer, and they have a difference of opinion.  Somehow you’re involved even though you didn’t have anything to do with the interaction in question, the complaint being addressed.  You find yourself being Read more

Is the Customer Issue an Organizational Issue? - 1/17/23


Customer retention is vital.  Most of next year’s customers are going to be those who are this year’s customers. So, the more you lose today, the fewer you will have tomorrow.  Organizations conduct research, data mine, or bring in consultants to help identify those customers who may be most Read more

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


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 Read more

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


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 Read more

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


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 Read more

2022 Holiday Poem - 12/20/22


The year is winding down. The work is still up front. We’re making that transition to close out the 12th month. We’re trying to find a balance between personal life and work. Trying to be kind to people even if they’re acting like a jerk. It’s taking all of our patience and our Read more

Open Minds and Ornery Customers - 12/13/22


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 Read more

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


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 Read more

Redefine “Access” to Treat Customers Special - 11/29/22


One of our clients puts on major events throughout the country.  When we conduct post-event surveys, many of the attendees rave about the access they had to certain entertainers, locations in the venue, parking lots, or even information.  Others decry the fact that they lacked that access. This does pose 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

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

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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