Customer Service Tip of the Week

Never Before… - 8/4/20


The importance of customer service is at the forefront again in our economy.  We noticed this clearly in the early 2000s when the country’s economy struggled, and we noticed it again during the Great Recession several years later.  Today, with yet another set of unexpected and extreme economic challenges, Read more

Effectively Teach the Customer - 7/28/20


The 1985 Harris and Rosenthal research project conveyed what really improves student learning based on the interaction with the teacher.  The top two factors that teachers used to increase learning were (1) The duration of the interaction with the student and (2) The encouragement of the student.  In 3rd Read more

Meet on Equal and Even Ground - 7/21/20


“To be of most service to my brother, I must meet him on the most equal and even ground.”  Henry David Thoreau wrote this in 1841, and it applies almost 180 years later in customer service. We often talk about empathy, and empathy relates to an employee having an understanding Read more

When Customers are…Jerks - 7/14/20


Some people are a little extra…uh…difficult to deal with these days. Customers may have concerns or complaints – many of which are justified. But some customers act like…well…jerks. They’re not kind or understanding or have any idea how poorly they treat others. They’re obnoxious and yet, we still have Read more

Customers Appreciate Your Kindness - 7/7/20


The 3rd grade teacher had a phrase she used with her students. She wanted them to be “kind-hearted.” It was a phrase she used over and over again; no matter what she taught, this was an overriding emphasis on how she would communicate with students and how she expected Read more

6 Common Sense Responses to Customer Service Encounters - 6/30/20


I’ve run into this personally and professionally, and it drives me batty! Sometimes there’s a lack of common sense in the customer service provided by companies. And often that lack of common sense is due to the preference of a business to provide service in a certain method, to Read more

Caring for Co-workers through COVID - 6/23/20


A recent Buffer.com study asked employees who are working remotely due to COVID-19, what was their greatest struggle. While there were many different responses, the Top 2 totaled 40% of the struggles identified - Loneliness and Collaboration/Effective Communication. When you hear something like this - that individuals working remotely are Read more

React, Reflect, Respond - 6/16/20


Sometimes you can’t help it. You gasp. You get upset. You get angry. You have this look of shock on your face. You say something defensive. You react. I love people who are in customer service roles. These are the folks that people say things to in the business world Read more

Serving the Technology-challenged Customer - 6/9/20


The IT helpdesk representative was on a call with a customer, and in trying to troubleshoot an issue, the employee said, “Let’s start by opening Windows.” The customer said “OK,” and there were 2 minutes of silence. The employee twice asked, “Are you still there?” with no response. Finally, Read more

Address the 4 P’s for a Customer-friendly COVID-19 Walk-in Experience


This is not about what is medically most effective – please see the CDC for those guidelines.  This is about how to help your customers have a great experience as an onsite visitor at your facility or storefront.  For a comprehensive approach to a customer-friendly COVID-19 experience, address the Read more

I’m Big on the “Same Page” – 7/1/14 TOW

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Let’s get on the Same Page. How do you get everyone on the Same Page, going in the same direction? Before we move forward, let’s make sure we’re on the Same Page. You need to ensure you’re on the Same Page with your customer before you end the call.

I seem to find myself using the phrase “Same Page” over and over again. I’ll use it in training, when providing strategic guidance on culture change, in meetings with my clients, and in one-on-one discussions with staff.

The phrase comes out of my mouth so often because it applies to so much in service interactions and service cultures. In healthcare, you often have to communicate with patients about next steps. What must the patient do to care for themselves at home post-discharge? Who must they contact to talk about billing and insurance? Where should they go, and how should they prepare for an upcoming procedure? Getting on the “Same Page” means that you and that patient have a common understanding of what needs to happen next and when.

Many local governments are trying to change their cultures to be more flexible, more customer service-oriented, more high-tech while maintaining high-touch. So their employees may have to change behaviors and mindsets; they have to understand their greater purpose beyond the policies and procedures, and beyond the codes and ordinances. The leaders must get everybody on the “Same Page” about the reason government exists and the important role that customer service plays in serving the community.

In one-on-one personal conversations, the phrase “Same Page” suggests that all parties understand the situation, the goals, the next steps, and timeframes. This leads to well-understood expectations, work more likely done right the first time, and clearer communications.

In more strategic discussions, the phrase “Same Page” suggests that everyone in the organization understands what they’re here to do, and everyone understands their role in moving toward objectives, goals, and vision.

Communicate more clearly with others. Ensure that conversations don’t end before you’re on the Same Page.


Jason Millard did the Right Thing – 6/24/14 TOW

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It’s living your dream – or at least having the opportunity to compete in the pinnacle of your profession. There’s no guarantee you’ll succeed, but it’s important to at least have the opportunity.

Jason Millard had that opportunity. As a pro golfer, there would have been nothing more exciting than to have had the opportunity to compete in the U.S. Open golf tournament.

Jason had that opportunity. And he gave it away.

Jason was playing in a 36-hole qualifying tournament in Tennessee, and he played well enough to make the U.S. Open field that was to take place just a couple weeks later at Pinehurst in North Carolina. Despite qualifying for this major tournament, Jason didn’t feel right. He wasn’t certain, but he thought that his golf club may have touched the ground in a sand trap – a 2-stroke penalty in the world of golf. He was not sure he did it, and nobody was around to confirm that he did or didn’t ground the club.

After the round, he asked a rules official what to do, and the rules official said it was up to Jason.

For days, Jason continued to practice for this glorious opportunity at the U.S. Open, but his stomach, his nerves, his inner feelings kept eating at him. He wasn’t sure if he had grounded the club, but what if he had done so? If he had, he should have been penalized two strokes and not qualified.

As he began the long drive to the Open on tournament week, about an hour into the drive, he knew he couldn’t continue. It was that one potential thing he might have done wrong that stopped him; whether he grounded the club or not would never have been proven on Twitter or television, never confirmed or denied by a playing partner.

It was all on him.

He decided to call a penalty on himself, and he was disqualified.

Sometimes doing the right thing should occur because it’s the right thing to do – even if there’s short-term pain involved. To be great at customer service, you need to do the right thing – even when nobody is looking over your shoulder, nobody is listening in on your call, nobody is evaluating you at that moment.

Ethics and great customer service go hand-in-hand. They both involve integrity and trust.

Do the right thing, even if nobody is looking.


From a School Office to Your Business – 6/17/14 TOW

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Theresa has worked in the elementary school office for years, and she loves it. It’s not just that she loves her job; the people she works with, the parents, and the children love her, too. Why? It’s because of the little things – not that a little thing like leaving her chair and walking to the counter to greet a parent is a reason to love somebody. Not that a little thing like kneeling down to get on a child’s level to talk is a reason to love somebody. Not even a little thing like packets she puts together in anticipation of conversations that relate to common needs (such as information for a prospective parent, student placement paperwork, student/parent handbooks for new families) is a reason to love somebody.

It’s not any one “little thing.” It’s the sum total of the little things that she ALWAYS does. It’s the consistency of the approach, the attitude, the welcome, the smile. It’s the all-the-time sense of caring she projects and the pure focus on “you” that she imparts.

Theresa is a real person. These are real stories. And although these are all little things, in society today, it doesn’t always require a home run moment to create a WOW! When you are interacting with recurring customers, it’s often your consistent excellence that creates a WOW! It’s your consistent sense of caring, your continuous willingness to learn, your ongoing responsiveness, and your striving to fix issues quickly that makes that incredible impression.

If you’re looking to WOW your customers, particularly those that are recurring business for your organization, here’s a thought. Stop trying to hit the home run. Find out what you’re good at, what you care about that can benefit the customer, and just become more and more and more consistent about the excellence in service you provide.

Create consistent excellence to create the WOW!