wait | 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

A Tale of Two Texts – 4/2/24

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

Having to get allergy shots once a week is never fun, and for Janet, it became an even bigger frustration.

She had the shots typically scheduled on Tuesday around 10:30 in the morning, figuring she would avoid the morning rush as well as the lunch rush by going mid-morning.  However, that meant she had to leave work mid-morning for the appointment.

Long Wait, Short Staffed

The last two times she went to the doctor’s office, she had a long wait, not getting her shot until 30 minutes after the scheduled time.  This day, she noticed there was only one person working the check-in desk and one person giving the shots (last month, there had been 2 of each), and that person giving the shots was also doing all the allergy testing. The employee was going 100 miles an hour, so Janet was not upset at him.

Janet could tell it was a staffing issue of some sort, so she asked the employee how to get in touch with the manager to discuss the wait.  Janet didn’t want to get the employees in trouble for the delay, but she wanted to voice her displeasure, and she also thought she might help the staff by conveying to the manager the negative impact on the patients with these lower staffing levels.

The employee said that the manager wasn’t available then, but Janet was welcome to text the two managers who shared weekday responsibilities.

Two Ways to Text

So, Janet texted the two managers, noting the delay, how it appeared that staffing was lower than it had been a month ago, and noted that the staff that were there were doing a really good job.  About 45 minutes later, the on-call manager replied: OK, I’ll get the schedulers to help find some help.

A few days later, Janet followed up with that co-manager to see if anything would be changing.  There was no reply.

When Janet went back to the office for her shot the following week, she encountered the exact same issues with lower staffing and longer wait times.  Again, she sent a text to the two managers, virtually the same as what she had sent the prior week except noting that this is the fourth straight week where this situation had occurred.

This time, the other co-manager replied within 10 minutes:  Good morning, Ms. Smith.  Thank you so much for your support and understanding. The staff are trying to do everything in their power to be on top of everything.  We are working on the schedule and the staffing.  For today, I’ve reached out to other team members to see if they can come in early to help with the delays.

True Story, Tip Lessons

These are actual texts from actual co-managers about actual situations that occurred in a healthcare setting.  Yet the empathy conveyed was so different.  The timeliness was so different.  A statement on what long-term action would be taken was different.  The conveyance of short-term action that had already been taken was different.

Maybe behind the scenes, the exact same action was taken or planned.  But in terms of what was conveyed to the customer, the first co-manager’s text could be interpreted as curt and impersonal.  The second co-manager’s text could easily be interpreted as personalized, empathetic, action-oriented, and strategic.

In customer service, it’s not only what we do on behalf of the customer that matters.  Often, it’s how we communicate our caring and the initiative we’re taking on behalf of the customer that matters just as much.

To provide better customer service, communicate your caring and your initiative.

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The Miracle of an Apology – 3/19/24

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Unfortunate but true story…

The manager basically lost his mind.  He terminated his employee on the spot.  She had told the customer that there was going to be a delay in the shipment.  The employee called up the customer ahead of time to let the customer know what was about to (or not about to happen), and to see what the customer wanted to do.  The only options were to wait for the late shipment or to cancel the order.

The manager was livid.  His employee had put the sale at risk by telling the customer about the impending delay and letting the customer know they could cancel.

The next day, the manager called the employee, was contrite, apologized profusely, and asked the employee to come back to work.

This employee was one of the best in the office.  She was being proactive with the customer.  She had the customer’s best interests at heart, and she was trying to provide good customer service.

The manager was so focused on the potential lost transaction that he didn’t recognize everything that his team member was doing, and why she was doing it.  He was so focused on that potential lost transaction, that he didn’t consider the magnitude of the loss of one of his best employees, the potential loss of her clients, the loss of trust and credibility with those employees who remained.

Fortunately for the manager, the apology worked.  It was basically a miracle that he could be so knee-jerk in the reaction one day, and the next day have the employee accept the apology and say she would return to work.

There are mistakes, and then there are MISTAKES.  And many of these mistakes are with our team members, our co-workers – not just with our clients.  Often, the best way to address the mistakes is to quickly and sincerely apologize.

To apologize is to humble one’s self.  The humility of an apology can sometimes work miracles.

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It’s Not About the 5-Minute Wait – 3/12/24

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Robert went into his supervisor’s office to update her on a situation at the payment desk.  Robert said that a customer was about fourth or fifth in line, waiting to be served, and the customer was complaining loudly about the wait.  He was there to make a property tax payment, had been standing there for 5 minutes, and the line had not hardly moved.

The supervisor, Janice, came out of her office, saw the customer, and listened to him from a distance for about 10 seconds. Janice turned to Robert and said:  It’s not about the 5-minute wait.

Robert and Janice walked up to the customer to speak with him, and they took the customer to the side, away from the rest of the group. They chatted with him about his situation, and Janice was right.

The customer had to be at work in 15 minutes, and he was a 15-minute drive from his job. He was going to be late.

His mapping app on his phone had directed him to the right building, but the parking spaces were full. So, he had to find another parking area – which was a block away.  That took five more minutes of driving and a 6-7 minute walk to get to the building.

The man lived 20 minutes from this building, so, he had left his home a long time ago to get to this location on time, to make his payment on time, and to get to his job on time.

He actually had to make the payment in person, because the County’s web payment portal was down, and the payment was due today.

Robert just assumed it was an impatient customer raising a ruckus.  Janice didn’t make any assumptions, and – after witnessing the customer from afar for a few seconds – she was pretty sure something else was going on.

When a customer is making a big deal about something that doesn’t seem so big, consider that maybe it’s not about the 5-minute wait.  Show a willingness to ask, listen, and learn.

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