words | 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

Recognize the Situation, and Pivot – 1/16/24

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

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 of Truth, there is a high likelihood of the customer’s perceptions being affected based on how you handle the situation.

This is a Moment of Truth because of the topic, or the situation itself.  The Topic could be the complaint, the question about an order or an account, an encounter with a new customer, or engagement with somebody who’s upset.  The Situation could be a stressful emergency room visit, an encounter with a government agency, a wait time at the restaurant, or the arrival of the tech at the house 60 minutes after the scheduled time.

During these Moments of Truth, the employees have some control over the interaction. While it’s up to the customer to create their perception about the organization or the employee, this is where the employee needs to understand the critical nature of the topic, the critical nature of the situation.

Recognize the Critical Nature

The best employees in customer service recognize the critical nature of these situations and become agile. They have the ability to pivot – to flex their attitudes and actions in the moment.

The best can stop all other activities and focus on that individual.  They can downshift, pulling their emotions back to keep the situation calm.  They understand the frustration with wait times, and proactively communicate with the customer to decrease the perception of the wait and reduce the angst and anger.  Staff have empathy for the customer and convey understanding of the situation back to that customer.  The best staff have patience, speak with a specific intent for how to best communicate with that particular individual, and work through these situations with and for the customer.  They recognize and pivot.

Identify the critical Topics and Situations that you encounter.  Get in-tune with these situations, recognize when these critical moments are happening, and adjust your behaviors and words to deliver a great experience.

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It’s Not What You Did… – 12/12/23

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

The statistic we have quoted a lot relating to customer retention is that 68% of lost business is due to perceived indifference. That means that about 2 out of every 3 customers were lost because the customer perceived that that company was indifferent to them.

It’s kind of an odd way to look at things. This statistic does not suggest that the company specifically did something to lose the customer.  This statistic can be interpreted to convey that it was what the company did not do that lost the customer.

So, let’s think about this as it relates to our individual roles…

The reason for the customer loss may not be the billing error as much as it is the LONG process to get the error rectified.

The reason for the customer loss may not be the content of the e-mail in response to the customer complaint; instead, the reason may be the lack of empathy conveyed in the company response.

The reason the customer decided to start buying the product elsewhere may not have been the callback from the company after the customer left a voice message with a question; the reason could be the fact that the customer call was not returned for a week after the message was left.

The reason they didn’t renew their annual membership wasn’t that the membership was a bad value. It’s just that the only time the organization contacted the customer was when the company was trying to sell the customer something.

When you think about how to better the customer experience, instead of always focusing on how to improve what’s currently done, consider what aspects of the experience lack urgency on behalf of the customer, lack empathy, lack responsiveness, or lack an intent to develop a relationship.

To improve retention, don’t always focus on what the company did.  Sometimes focus on what the company did not do.

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Talk Up Your Teammate – 12/5/23

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

It happens all the time in business. The salesperson transitions the new customer to their service representative.  The nurse tells the patient about the doctor about to come into the room.  The gatekeeper tells the customer about the supervisor they’re about to transfer the customer to, in order to address an issue.

An employee is handing off the customer to a teammate.  At this point, the initial employee has a few options.  They can (1) Simply conduct the handoff, (2) Make the handoff with a little ambivalent or not-so-positive statement about their co-worker, or (3) Talk up their teammate in the handoff process.

We should strive to set our co-worker up for success.  We also want to deliver a great customer experience, one where we’re infusing positivity and building customer confidence.

So, let’s be intentional when we’re making that transition, discussing the co-worker about to enter the conversation, or transferring that call.  Let’s be intentional to infuse some positivity and confidence.

Our account holders love working with Jenny!  She’s very upbeat, is very responsive to requests or concerns, and she really enjoys getting to know our new customers.

Dr. Smith is excellent.  He asks about you, likes to listen and learn, and he’s cared for and helped patients in situations such as yours for over 20 years.

Julio’s definitely the best person to answer your question and help you resolve this issue.  I’ll let him know the details of the situation, and I’m sure he’ll ask you questions to confirm things.  He’s good at determining the cause of the issue, identifying a solution, and following through on his promise.

Part of delivering a great customer experience requires that we strive to be a great teammate.  And when we have to do those handoffs of the customer to a co-worker, be intentional about infusing some positivity and building customer confidence.

Talk Up Your Teammate.

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