Welcome to CSE on the Fly, a question and answer forum where we ask industry leaders compelling questions to understand the roots, development, and growth of exceptional customer service.
This week, we managed to catch Lise D’Andrea on the fly between travels and ask her some pointed questions about the initial development of her company, Customer Service Experts, it’s remarkable growth and associated challenges, as well as looking at the leadership role she plays. Recent 2016 Brava Award winner for Baltimore CEO of the Year, Lise has an interesting and well-informed insider’s view into the customer experience world.
Lise, what was the founding vision for Customer Service Experts? How did you become an expert in the field of customer service?
I’ve always had a passion for giving and receiving excellent customer service. Early on, I learned and adopted some incredible service principles and tools while working for several top service-centric corporations. When I went on to create CSE, I found I could help others achieve their goals and improve their bottom line by training employees and providing the tools they need to deliver exceptional guest experiences.
It’s always been my goal to assemble a team of leaders committed to providing expertise and resources that would improve a client’s customer service and increase their employee’s skills and engagement. After more than twenty years, we are now truly a working lab in service improvement. The very same strategies that we deliver for our clients, we test and implement within our own organization. I guess you could say we continuously strive to “walk the walk!”
Lise, what were some of the challenges you experienced while growing Customer Service Experts? How did those challenges help shape you as a leader?
In 2014, our leadership team made the strategic decision to go from five vertical markets to three. We focused our efforts in further developing our airport consulting practice, along with continued work in the food and beverage and retail sectors. The airport industry, as exciting as it is, presents its own set of challenges. We found out very quickly that the procurement process in the airport industry was much more complex than in other industries. While working to build our business in airports, we discovered continuity and crossover in the food and beverage and retail arena, which now continues to strengthen and build our client base.
Our entire team was part of the strategic direction to shift our attention to airports. There was considerable risk with committing our focus to just one industry. All of our employees were involved and made incredible strides in developing our expertise and focus. I knew we had to have a confident, unified, and committed leadership team to be successful, and they proved me right! As a result of their hard work, dedication to strategy and flexibility, in 2015, we achieved our most successful year in the history of the company.
Leadership within a company can be demonstrated in many ways. In what ways do you, Lise, demonstrate leadership?
I think I can best describe my leadership style as collaborative. Everyone at CSE continually works together to share ideas, combine talents, and work in partnership with one another and our clients. We are a highly collaborative group and we constantly consult with each other to make sure we are providing each client with a custom solution that’s perfect for them. It provides us with exactly what we want to share with our clients: the importance of training and empowering team members to deliver exceptional service in all they do. We have an incredible team of dedicated and passionate employees who continue to inspire and amaze me with their creativity and commitment.
Describe CSE’s services, Lise. How are they innovative or revolutionary?
We are a customer experience consulting firm and an established leader in customer service optimization and workplace culture. We offer customized training, professional development, mystery shopping, employee and customer surveys, reward and recognition, and workplace culture strategies. What’s unique about CSE is that we are a full service firm and our clients can rely on us to provide a complete solution with a partnership approach, all from one source.
Finally, Lise, why do your clients love doing business with CSE?
We work very hard to practice what we preach and to consistently follow our CSE service standards both internally and with our clients. We are committed to being courteous, developmental, responsive, and efficient. Beyond that, we deliver impactful results that make a difference to our clients, their employees, and their bottom line - all while having fun in a creative and collaborative way!
Lise has worked hard to ensure that Customer Service Experts is dedicated to helping clients improve their airport guest experience. Check out the below links for more information about how CSE could help you today: