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

Patient Experience Pros Don’t Have Unlimited Resources, Therefore…

Posted on in Business Advice, Healthcare Please leave a comment

Blog 10-8-14The healthcare industry is seemingly struggling to come up with a common and manageable definition for the “Patient Experience.” Maybe it’s because “experience” is such a broad term just like terms such as “feeling, perception, opinion” – which are often the words used to evaluate the Patient Experience. As an example, when the article Hospitals Focus On Patient Experience Through Design addresses Patient Experience, virtually the sole focus of the experience is the facility – the layout, the furnishings, the look/feel of the physical surroundings.

Therefore, Patient Experience could reference a facility, an employee, a phone call, or a website. It could reference a process, a wait time, other patients, communications, quality of care, cleanliness, food quality, or noise. It’s just too much to consider in terms of the multitude of definitions and aspects of an encounter or relationship that the patient has with the provider.

Patient Experience professionals don’t have unlimited time or resources. They can’t redesign a facility, turn all employees into Disney cast members, and get processes working like a Toyota assembly line to create the optimal Patient Experience. Instead, to make Patient Experience management…well…manageable, ask yourself this one question:

How do we focus “Patient Experience” efforts on that which has maximum impact on the patient’s feelings, perceptions, and opinions?

I’m going back to those 3 words – feelings/perceptions/opinions – because patients make the decision about whether to return if needed or seek care elsewhere based on feelings/perceptions/opinions. The answer to that question helps you to determine what impacts the patient’s willingness to recommend your organization to others. The answer to that question results in your understanding what can make a patient decide to give you the positive or negative rating. And the answer to that question helps you to better understand how they decide to be compliant with their self-care or post-discharge instructions. They decide all of these points based on their feelings/perceptions/opinions.

Through research, you can determine – statistically – what aspects of the experience have the greatest bearing on willingness to return, willingness to recommend, ratings, and compliance. By asking patients what impacts their feelings/perceptions/opinions, you allow them to guide you toward what would move their experience from good to GREAT! Don’t view your role as a Patient Experience professional as one that requires you to fix all the people, process, and facility ills in the healthcare world.

Let the Voice of the Patient guide your plans and priorities.

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Ticket Sales Down Due to Accounts Reducing Seats?

Posted on in Business Advice, Sports Please leave a comment

Blog 9-24-14Typically, fewer than 6% of season ticket accounts are likely to reduce their number of seats year-to-year. That’s based on a history of our CSS fan research in the Sports Industry. So when we read stories like USU football: Aggies looking to increase season-ticket sales where the Athletic Director notes the main reason for recent drops in season tickets is a reduction in seats by individual accounts, it’s odd to hear. The AD states “that the school’s tracking system shows the Aggies haven’t lost as many season-ticket buyers as they have the number of tickets bought. Many fans are buying two or four season tickets this year instead of six or more in years past.”

So what can cause a relatively unusual action – reducing the number of tickets – to occur? Among the factors not controllable by the club are the economy, the financial status of the accounts, families downsizing with kids going to college elsewhere, etc. But what are causes that the club can control?

What we’ve found is that when fans are keeping their accounts but reducing the number of tickets, this is a symptom of a wavering commitment to the team. The somewhat controllable factors are the following:

  • Concerns with the “Direction of the Team” – Fan is uncertain about whether their investment is worth the lack of a plan (or a poor plan) for improving performance of the club. The fan is less likely to want to invest big on something that seems like it’s going in the wrong direction.
  • Lack of Personal Connection – From a controllable perspective, there are no strong ties to account representatives that can communicate more 1-on-1 with accounts to allay concerns and strengthen ties. A strong relationship is not being built. Weakness drops commitment.
  • Decreasing Pride in the Team – The organization is doing little in the community or little to overcome negative perceptions of players, coaches, and other personnel. It’s no longer the “cool thing” to be a fan of the team – it becomes more of the cool thing to bash the team or hide your fandom. The organization is doing little personally with the fan to overcome these perceptions.

Much of the decision of the account to decrease their annual season ticket purchases is out of the control of the “business side” of the club. But that can’t be an excuse for failure. Look for those aspects of the organization, the experience, and/or the people involved that are controllable.

Look for those attributes that decrease perceived value or create doubt about the future direction of and relationship with the club.

Find ways to keep the accounts from dropping seats.

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From Anaheim Schools to All Our Ears – Purpose and Strategy

Posted on in Business Advice, Education Please leave a comment

Blog 9-11-14I’ve been hearing the word “Purpose” a lot lately. It’s being used to address a person or organization’s mission and how that mission is above and beyond the function being performed.

“Purpose” in the world of education has a very clear meaning to Superintendent Michael B. Matsuda of the Anaheim Union High School District. In a recent Orange County Breeze article, the Superintendent welcomed the students and families into the new school year, but he did it in a different way – strategically, yet personally.

When people think about strategy, they think about planning, tactics, timetables, and milestones. But what that strategy should start with is the Vision, Mission, or Goal – in this Superintendent’s case, the strategy starts with a discussion of Purpose. He notes that “we must align all stakeholders under the common goal of graduating our students college and career ready with purpose.” He links those educational purposes then to community purposes: “A quality education for every child will benefit them through job readiness, a better economy, higher property values, and lower crime rates.”

He then gets into tactics, talking about feeder districts and higher education stakeholders. He talks personally about needed actions for staff and parents, and he discusses fiscal matters. He ends by closing the loop on whom the Purpose is for – the students.

The key lesson learned from Anaheim for K-12 schools and other school districts is this: Before launching the next great initiative, before getting too strategic, and DEFINITELY before getting too tactical, do two things. First, be clear on the Purpose and how that Purpose is about the experience of the student and preparing the student for the future. Second, be intentional about identifying all the stakeholders in the process and educating them on how living that Purpose relies on them and – ultimately – impacts them.

Be clear on the Purpose to best align all actions and stakeholders toward a common future.

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