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In the topic 'Customer Service'


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Outside In: Customer Perceptions Define Service/Quality Levels

First in a four part series on The Three Rings of Perceived Value. Customer service and continuous quality improvement have always been important. As organizations struggle to grow revenues and reduce costs in our challenging economic times, service/quality is becoming even more critical. It’s where organizations thrive, survive, or nosedive. The June 30 blog post, […]

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Our Dell Dance to the ‘Bureaucratic Boogie’ Highlights a Common Service Breakdown

The CLEMMER Group has been purchasing our computer equipment from Dell since we began in 1994. We like their technology, customizing equipment to our needs, value, and next day onsite service. That may change. I just got off the phone from a painful hour of experiencing Dell’s inward focused bureaucracy as Gary, our IT support […]

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New Consumer Survey Shows Customer Service Is Critical to Success

It’s a classic good news, bad news story. Consumers are willing to spend from 7 – 22% more for better customer service. But 60% believe organizations haven’t increased their focus on providing good customer service. That’s slipped from 55% in 2010. And 26% of this group feels organizations are paying less attention to service. The […]

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The Three Rings of Perceived Value: An Integrated Customer Focus

Many organizations today are striving to increase their customer service or product quality levels. Legions of executives are declaring themselves "customer-focused" or "customer-centric." Yet customer service levels are slipping and many of us are frustrated by attitudes of indifference, navigating technological mazes ("press one to hear that your call is very important to us"), or […]

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How “Internal Customers” Create Silos, Turf Wars, and Tyrants

As many organizations work to focus on customers and increase service/quality levels, we’re seeing a growing problem with “internal customer tyranny.” That’s where one department uses its status as a “customer” of another department or support group to make their own lives easier. Too often there’s little or no connection to whether the real customer […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on… Serving the Servers

Many of this month’s blog posts have been around improving the rampant levels of declining customer service levels in most organizations. Managers often point to frontline servers attitudes as the source of the problem and look for quick motivational or training fixes. But who hired the servers? Who trains them? Who provides the systems and […]

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Three Root Causes of Dropping Customer Service Levels

A television producer called me recently to discuss a story she’s working on around declining customer service levels and what to do about it. We agreed that there’s been a big drop in customer service over the past two years. I believe this problem is rooted in three common causes: Misuse of Technology – forcing […]

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Service Strategy Differences between Retail Staff and In-Home Service Technicians

A long term Client sent me an e-mail looking for advice on how to best position his expertise for a new position he is pursuing: “What would you say are the major differences between the strategies to support service excellence in a retail environment with fixed locations/employees (i.e, McDonalds) versus a service company with technicians […]

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How Customer Service Training Often Reduces Service Levels

A big city public transit system just released a report addressing its terrible service and image problems. While some of the panel’s recommendations deal with the organization’s culture, much of it is focused on “fixing” drivers, counter staff, and other frontline service people through training and “attitude change.” The way too common “fix our customer […]

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How to Motivate Employees to Attract New Customers in a Recovering Economy

Last month Return on Performance magazine asked me to respond to a series of questions on motivating employees to attract new customers in a recovering economy for their “Winning Tips” section. My responses below reflect many of the internal service and servant leadership themes found throughout my work – and this month’s issue. Ask yourself… […]

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Are You Seeing – and Hearing – Your Team Members in 3D?

My last post looked at a common cause of poor internal or external customer service rooted in not seeing – or hearing – customers in 3D. A major contributor to this problem, and the resulting “functional chimneys,” is management’s failure to listen to the needs of service teams and their individual contributors. “If you don’t […]

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Are You Seeing – and Hearing – Your Customers in 3D?

3D is all the rage today. Movies like Avatar take us to a new level of realism. TV manufacturers are furiously announcing new 3D systems. Apple has reportedly filed patents for special 3D glasses technology. Adding the third dimension of depth to a movie brings us up close and puts us into the action. Are […]

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The 85/15 Rule: Get at the Root Causes of Poor Customer Service

Recently, I was approached by a misguided manager looking for training and motivation programs to “fix” their frontline service staff. This is a fairly wide spread and common problem showing a lack of understanding about basic customer service cause and effect. And it’s focused on treating symptoms rather than the underlying disease. How reasonable would […]

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Keys to Delivering Outstanding Service and Quality Levels

Last week we sent out the Improvement Point below to subscribers. “Despite all the talk – passionate speeches, glossy brochures, clever ads, high tech videos, convincing sales pitches, snappy slogans, strategic plans, and solemn annual reports – the service and quality action delivered by most organizations is mediocre at best.” – from Jim Clemmer’s article, […]

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From Casual to Moderate to Intense Levels of Service

A workshop attendee recently visited our web site article library and read “Casual, Moderate, and Intense Levels of Customer/Partner Focus.”. She sent me an e-mail asking for further insights to the intense level of service I highlighted in that chart. She also wanted ideas on how to accomplish this on a smaller scale within a […]

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Customer Focus is Finally Returning

When I wrote my second book, Firing on All Cylinders: The Service/Quality System for High-Powered Corporate Performance in the early nineties, customer service and quality improvement was becoming a key focal point for both the public and private sectors. Movements like Total Quality Management, Continuous Quality Improvement, and related customer service initiatives were helping many […]

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Tips, Tools, and Techniques for…Leading a Customer-Centered Organization

Here are a few of the hundreds of “leadership action menu ideas” from my Leading a Customer-Centered Organization workshop resource workbook: Train frontline service staff in how to systematically identify root causes of service/quality problems and involve them in a continuous improvement process. Provide a process for frontline service staff to track and systematically analyze […]

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Customer-Focused IT

IT professionals who are very technically strong – even nerdy – but weak in “people skills” have become a stereotyped joke in many organizations. But with the increasingly critical role IT plays in organizational success, fewer people are laughing. Last month I wrote about how I have used the burgeoning research on Emotional Intelligence in […]

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How Customer-Centered is Your Organization?

Is your organization’s customer service lower than you’d like it to be? Does your customer service training create some short-term change, but then after the training, behaviors revert back to the way things were before? Do members of your team agree conceptually that you exist to serve your customer, but then make decisions that are […]

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