The Ultimate Starter Guide to Employee Empowerment

Employee Empowerment the Smart Way

This morning we released CTS Service Solutions’ Ultimate Starter Guide to Employee Empowerment. This guide walks those new to the idea of strategically and consciously attempting to increase employee empowerment in their organizations through many of the basic ideas surrounding empowerment as well as nine tips for empowering employees effectively.

The Ultimate Starter Guide to Employee Empowerment

One of the concepts discussed in the guide is the idea we share at CTS Service Solutions called Smart Empowerment. Smart Empowerment was created as a reality check to some of the more airy and fantastical concepts of empowerment floating around — the short form answer that empowerment is always good and more of it is always better. Read more

Be Your Customer's Hero Customer Service Book

The New Book Revealed: Be Your Customer’s Hero

Be Your Customer's Hero Customer Service BookService triggers that set customers off. Power words that influence customer perception. Go-to tactics that turn difficult situations around.

My new book Be Your Customer’s Hero: Real-World Tips and Techniques for the Service Front Lines is finally here. And I couldn’t be happier with the end product!

I am truly thrilled to put this book into the hands of customer-facing professionals all around the world.

Be Your Customer’s Hero (HERO) is a different type of customer service book. Short chapters. Straight talk. Effective techniques. HERO was written to serve busy frontline professionals and the even busier managers and business owners that work with them.

HERO is not about theory; HERO is about results. Read more


Faces of Customer Experience: Nicole Miller

Meet Nicole Miller!

photo.PNGMy name is Nicole Miller and I graduated in 1990 at Marymount University where I received a bachelors degree in business and fashion merchandising.

Since graduation, I have always been in the retail industry and am currently the district manager for the Once Upon A Child stores. I am fortunate and proud to work for the original, owner and founder of resale, Lynn Blum. This year the company is celebrating 30 years of business.

Lynn started her stores with a cash box, ad in the paper, and a 350 sq foot store in Toledo, Ohio. The growth has been amazing. Now there are 250 franchised stores nationwide.

False Dichotomy

We know that the answer is often somewhere in between, but the fun of this section is that you have to pick just one!

Paper > Plastic

Personalization < Privacy

In-Store Shopping < Online Shopping

Transactional Relational

Mac > PC

Customer Service > Customer Experience

Captain Kirk < Dr. Spock

Talk > Text

Dog < Cat

Movie Theater > In-Home Rental 
Read more

Usage of Live Chat to Answer Question

3 Questions to Ask Before Launching Live Chat for Customer Service

At CTS Service Solutions, we believe one of the best ways to improve  customer experiences is by making interactions ad easy as possible and by decreasing the hassle-factor.

Enter live chat.

Live chat contains a number of attributes that contribute to hassle-free experiences. From ease of first contact, to low-to-no hold times, to the convenience of customers interacting with service reps while performing other tasks, live chat offers an opportunity for organizations to assist customers quickly, easily, and cost effectively.

Live chat allows organizations to assist online customers in real time. When customers run into a problem, the customer can immediately take advantage of the live chat feature, interact with reps, and hopefully have their question answered or issue resolved quickly.

Live chat seems like a no-brainer.

However, investing in a new or lightly staffed customer service channel comes at a cost. Live chat is not for every customer, or every organization. Using data from a recent Software Advice report, we have formulated three questions to help you determine if live chat might be an effective channel for your customers. Read more

Innovation is No Longer Optional | Hand writing light bulb

Innovation Is No Longer Optional

The pace of change is faster than ever before. Those in technology-based fields already understand the forces of constant change that form competitive pressures in those industries.

But what about the rest of us?

Innovation is No Longer Optional | Hand writing light bulbWhile the need for innovation might not be as obvious and the penalties for failing to innovate might be less drastic — even in non-tech industries, innovation is no longer optional.

  • Sell a service that really doesn’t change much? You had better be improving the experience that surrounds it.
  • Sell a commoditized product? You had better be innovating the way it’s packaged or delivered.

What parts of your organization are screaming out for change? Where can you find competitive advantage by looking for opportunities to innovate?


A version of this post originally ran in our eNewsletter The Customer Conversation. Subscribe here.

Photo credit:

Renee Cloyd

Faces of Customer Experience: Renee Cloyd

Meet Renee Cloyd!

reneeRenee Cloyd is a wife and mother of three young boys ages 11, 9 and 6 who balances her busy home life with a full time job as a Center Director at Christ Lutheran Children’s Center.

At CLCC, we strive to provide a quality early childhood program. In our center, forming strong ties to the families and the community is the key to the success of our program.

False Dichotomy

We know that the answer is often somewhere in between, but the fun of this section is that you have to pick just one!

Paper > Plastic

Personalization > Privacy

In-Store Shopping > Online Shopping

Transactional Relational

Mac < PC

Customer Service > Customer Experience

Captain Kirk < Dr. Spock

Talk < Text

Dog < Cat

Movie Theater < In-Home Rental 
Read more

Understanding the Other Side of a Bad Customer Experience | Noodles being spooned into takeout box

Understanding the Other Side of a Bad Customer Experience

Creating great customer experiences and delivering great customer service almost always boils down to one thing: being able to understand the experience of customers — to walk a mile in their shoes and to build a better shoe or create a better walking path with that knowledge.

It begins by understanding what your customers are going through, especially when the experience is not a positive one.

A Tale of Takeout

My wife and I were both exhausted. On most nights, my wife cooks dinner, as my culinary repertoire is limited to frozen pizzas and eggs. However, on Tuesday, she just didn’t feel like it, and she decided to grab takeout from a place nearby — but not that nearby.

She usually only gets takeout from this restaurant coming home from the office. It’s on the way and really only adds 15-20 minutes to the commute home; to leave the house and get it is another matter entirely. It’s about 45-60 minutes total, 15-20 minutes of car time each way and about 15-20 minutes parking and going into the restaurant. There is virtually no parking in front of this Japanese/Sushi/Hibachi restaurant in a busy shopping center; you almost always end up parking in a separate lot, sometimes pretty far away. Read more

Woman Holding Help Sign | Self Service Shold Never Mean Solo Service

Self Service Should Never Mean Solo Service

Technology is an integral part of frontline customer service. From information kiosks to digital signage, from mobile point of sale devices to the customer’s own smartphones; technology is part and parcel of even the most basic face-to-face interactions on the service floor.

Self-Service Metaphor | Leave Me Alone SignWhile much is made of online shopping replacing retail shopping, less is discussed about how online shopping is shaping customer’s expectations in stores. Amazon, Zappo’s, and the like are catering to a wide swath of the population that likes to be able to shop without ever having to deal with another human being. They prefer, and even expect, technology to serve them what they want, when they want it.

Innovations like this one are popping up in a variety of industries and serving a wide array of needs. In some cases, I would argue that self service is the best service. Read more

Carol Euliss headshot crop

Faces of Customer Experience: Carol Euliss

Meet Carol Euliss!

Carol Euliss headshot cropI have been an RN for 36 years, a childbirth educator for 20 years, and a doula for 16 years. I have worked for Community Health Network in Indianapolis, IN for 27 years. I teach classes, coordinate a hospital based doula program, and attend births in the role of a doula. I have been privileged to assist hundreds of babies into the world and help families have positive birth experiences.

False Dichotomy

We know that the answer is often somewhere in between, but the fun of this section is that you have to pick just one!

Paper < Plastic

Personalization < Privacy

In-Store Shopping < Online Shopping

Transactional Relational

Mac > PC

Customer Service < Customer Experience

Captain Kirk > Dr. Spock

Talk < Text

Dog < Cat

Movie Theater < In-Home Rental 

Tell Us More About Yourself…

What was your first job and what did you learn about customer service in it?

My first job was in a vending business of which my dad was a partial owner. I was a hostess who filled in for different hostesses when they were on vacation. I would change locations every week or two. I filled vending machines, did minor maintenance on machines, cleaned coffee machines, cleaned tables, and made bank deposits from the machines for the vending company. Read more


Customer Information Form Basics: What You Need to Know

dreamstimefree_192239The words Big Data are spoken every day in corporate offices around the world. And the benefits of it to companies and customers is, well… big.

And while Big Data is becoming more accessible to small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the basics of customer information — small data, if you will — is still where customer and experience meet for most organizations.

To collect this information, you need a method, and the customer information form is a tried and true way to get to know your customers. Let’s look as some of the basic types of information your form should have and then look at five tips to be effective with the form.

Four Types of Customer Information

Not all information is equal. But the more you know about your customers the better you can serve them. Here are four types of customer information you should consider having your form capture.

Basic Contact Information

This is the solid foundation you need to stay in contact with your client. Name, address, phone number, email address and the like are essential to making sure you can contact your customers in a timely fashion. Almost every form captures this basic data; the trick is having the real-time systems in place to make sure it is accurate. Read more