Customer Service Tip of the Week

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

The Deeper Reason to Transform the Customer Experience - 6/2/20


Why are government offices putting up plexiglass between their staff and their customers?  Why is restaurant takeout being done in such a way that is contactless and yet still fosters engagement between the employee and customer?  Why have so many traditionally onsite businesses converted to delivery businesses? The answer is Read more

Motivating Yourself when Working Remotely - 5/26/20


For any of us who are working remotely, we are finding ourselves more and more having to be self-motivated. And while many people are naturally self-motivated, others need to have that manager who gives us the encouragement. Many of us need to have that ongoing informal dialogue with co-workers Read more

Defining Organizational Agility in a Time of Uncertainty


You may have heard references in management theory over the many decades about the importance of a business being an “Agile” organization, but oftentimes that is a word thrown out in generalities to illustrate vague points about how organizations should be managed and make decisions.  In this time of Read more

30 Minutes or Free – 1/6/15 TOW

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I once worked as a Domino’s Pizza delivery person. It was a GREAT job during summer as a college kid, in particular. You get to drive around, make pizzas, and if a customer canceled an order – you get to eat free! I had a plastic cup in my house filled with cash from tips – it made me feel wealthy at the time (even if they were just 20-25 $1 bills).

This was a while ago – when bell-bottom pants were in (Were they ever really “in”?), when I knew how to drive stick shift, and when Domino’s had its 30 minute guarantee. The 30 minute guarantee stated that if the pizza arrived more than 30 minutes after it was ordered, you’d get it for free!

At the time, I was working in the first Domino’s store in a small town in North Carolina, and one of my deliveries was to a home in a relatively new neighborhood. I looked at the map hanging on the wall (this was pre-GPS and smart phones), wrote down my directions, and headed out. As I entered the development, I took my first right, my next left, and I was well on the way to getting there just in the nick of time – until it happened. I was on the right street, about a quarter-mile from the house, and all I had to do was drive down this road, take a left, and I was there.

But the road I was on was a dead-end. It hadn’t been completed. There was a fence at the end of the road, about 50 feet of undeveloped land, and then I could see that the road started up again on the other side. I had to improvise, and improvise I did! I found the house! But I was 5 minutes late.

They got 2 pizzas for free, but I received a nice tip. Then I went back to Domino’s, having just delivered the first free pizzas in this store’s history.

I explained what happened to the manager, he said “okay,” he walked over to the map, drew lines to show where the street was a dead-end, and went back to making pizzas. There was no blame.

In life, in customer service, and in the pizza world, sometimes things just happen. Sometimes it’s a bad experience, it’s a delay, or it’s a free pizza. And sometimes, there’s no reason to spread blame. Responsibility is something we should be quick to accept, but blame is something we should be slow to pin on others.

Blame is rarely solution-oriented, it rarely benefits the customer, it rarely fosters goodwill or a healthy culture. Focus on responsibility and lessons learned, and avoid the focus on blame.

Be okay with giving away the occasional free pizza.

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Get Engaged – 12/30/14 TOW

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Don’t worry; there will be no pre-wedding discussions here.

When we talk about Engagement in the customer service world, we’re either talking about Employee Engagement or Customer Engagement. And since “Engagement” is a buzzword nowadays, we need to have an understanding of what it really means.

Engagement in business essentially means the level of commitment that an employee or customer has with a business – it often has an emotional component or a tendency toward positive action/participation on the part of the engaged individual.

It goes beyond caring, but it’s based in caring. To take action, to have positive emotion, to be involved and attentive, the starting point is caring about that with which you’re engaged.

But it’s more than caring. One easy way to picture an Engaged community of customers or of employees is to picture the opposite – apathy. If you had apathetic customers, you’d have to bombard them with communications, marketing, offers, and enticements to patronize your business because otherwise they just wouldn’t care.

If you have apathetic employees, when they show for work, the quality and timeliness of what they do, and the attitude they convey to others would essentially be irrelevant to them. It would be all about them, and nothing about the organization.

Organizations should want engaged customers – those customers who are inwardly compelled to be a part of the company. Organizations need engaged employees – those proactively offering ideas and making decisions in the best interest of the company and customer alike.

For Employees
As an employee of an organization, you should want to be engaged. You should want to care enough to initiate positive change, to take ownership over customer needs, to make your organization look good, and to come up with the next great idea.

Ensure your values are in sync with those of your company. Make sure your company’s vision is worth achieving. Look at your customers and co-workers, and decide whether these are individuals you want to help. Get engaged with your company, or look for an opportunity where you can get more fully engaged.

For Businesses
Create values and a vision worthy of engagement. Then, look to hire and promote those individuals who can personally align with the organization’s purpose, how it operates, and where it wants to go.

Be a part of an Engaged Community.

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2014 Holiday Poem – 12/23/14 TOW

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Reflect and renew.
Have patience and progress.
Consider and compliment.
Collaborate for success.

At this time of year, you have a unique opportunity.
You get away from work for a moment or two.
And how you spend that time and what you learn,
Can impact the mindset and actions taken by you.

Think back on the year, and fill yourself with good.
Renew your commitment to your family, friends, and your values, too.

Don’t rush through the day or past people or through roles.
Take time to do it right, move forward toward your goals.

Know your impacts on others, and think about their needs.
With each show of appreciation, you’re planting positive seeds.

Find opportunities to work with others, on dreams that are new.
Openly share your gifts and talents, as you encourage them to do.

As the holidays approach, look around and take your time.
There’s nature and friendships and relationships intertwined.
There’s support and care and situations to shine.
There are people out there needing you – you just have to seek and find.

Enjoy this week, and get ready for next year,
By appreciating each breath and those you hold near.

Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas, too!

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