values | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

“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

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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