Business Advice

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

Orillia’s Orientation Toward Customer Service

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

Blog 7-3-15 - 3rd postI know, I know – Government customer service is an oxymoron – I’ve heard the joke often, but I’ve worked with too many local government organizations to believe it’s true. The reasons it’s difficult to deliver great customer service typically fall into 3 buckets:

  • The easiest way to change a culture is to change the people, and it’s often very difficult to change staff in local government
  • A key to creating a particular desired culture is to have rewards and recognition (i.e., incentives) for staff who exhibit the needed behaviors and attitudes; many governments have policies and budgets that greatly limit such rewards
  • Many local government agencies are enforcing code, ordinances, laws, and regulations. It’s hard for the customer to feel great in situations when you’re telling them “no.”

I’m sharing these obstacles to great local government customer service because they’re a reality…but they’re also an excuse.

The Orillia City Government has been working on its continuous improvement strategy, focusing largely on customer service. According to the article City expanding customer-service focus, the City approved a customer service strategy in May that included the following components:

  • Continuous monitoring of customer satisfaction and feedback;
  • Exploring ways to expand access to services online;
  • Exploring opportunities to offer expanded payment options;
  • Establishing a dedicated customer-service team, comprised of staff from each city department, to monitor and receive feedback on the city’s customer-service practices;
  • Reviewing options to provide general reception on the first floor of the Orillia City Centre;
  • The implementation of corporate-wide customer-service standards to ensure consistent levels of service in all departments and locations;
  • Expansion of the city’s website to offer more information regarding the appropriate staff contact for all areas of the corporation; and
  • Regular customer-service training for staff.

Review your organization’s customer service strategy. Does it include research, broader service delivery vehicles, dedicated customer service resources, facility navigation, standards development, and training?

Review your strategy if you want to move it forward in a more comprehensive way. Learn from Orillia’s strategic orientation toward customer service.

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Tap the Employee to Better Treat the Patient

Posted on in Business Advice, Healthcare Please leave a comment

Blog 7-3-15 - 2nd postIn the article Hospital shows improved patient satisfaction, the author highlights a hospital that is using key strategies to drive up patient satisfaction. And in hearing Ivision Memorial Hospital leaders describe the approach, one starts to draw conclusions. Here are some quotes:

What we do is we get a group of people from all aspects related to that process, get them in a room for four days and really give them the leeway to fix the problem.

We’re firm believers that the people who know the work are the best ones to fix it.

Next year’s score card goals are set to change, some of which are based on staff suggestions.

What we’re really going to push in this next year is something we call our bright idea program. The idea is that we give staff a way to improve their work.

Did you catch the theme? The CEO and Chief Quality and Strategy Officer are constantly talking about using the voice of the employee to drive improvements. Whether it be on an improvement team or through an employee suggestion system, the best ideas to improve the patient experience are coming from those closest to the patient on a daily basis.

Leaders must chart the vision and set the strategy in most organizations, but the employees are the ones often with the best ideas on how to execute the ideas and improve patient satisfaction.

Create a patient satisfaction improvement strategy where the employee’s voice rises up for the benefit of the patient.

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Redesign around Millennials (and Others, too!)

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service Please leave a comment

Blog 7-3-15Millennials. I’ve been in so many meetings lately where they were the main topic of discussion. Why? Because they’re different. How they communicate, how they socialize with each other, why and how they move toward a brand and what could pull them away is different from other generations.

But couldn’t we say that about most of the customer groups out there? Aren’t first-time customers different than those that have been with you for ten years? Aren’t those that transact business with you purely via the web different than those that will only come into the store to make a purchase or get service?

The uniqueness of Millennials is important to note, but it’s important to note because every customer group (every customer) is unique.

To improve the customer’s experience, conduct this exercise with whomever the key 3-5 customer groups are for your business:

  • Research – Conduct research – surveys, focus groups, interviews, etc. – to identify what is most important to them about their experience. Is it speed, simplicity, self-service options, self-evident steps, text-based options, face-to-face dialogue, quality, or kindness? Identify just a few key attributes of their experience.
  • Journey Map – Use those attributes as guiding principles to redesign your customer’s experience by breaking up the experience into several Macro-process steps; here are six sample steps:
    • They identify a need for and inquire about “stuff”
    • They find stuff
    • They request/order stuff
    • They get a status on stuff delivery
    • They receive stuff
    • They complete/pay for stuff
  • Redesign – During evaluation of each step in this customer continuum, how well does the experience in this step address the guiding principles? For example, when they’re requesting/ordering an item, is it “simple, quick, and self-evident?” If not, then that’s where there’s opportunity for a redesign.

The lesson on the laser focus on Millennials is to look at each customer or customer group as unique. Know what’s important to them so you can design your world around theirs. Research. Journey Map. Redesign

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