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Know the Customer’s Value Proposition - 2/12/19


I’ve written about how it’s important to build up your co-workers when talking to customers. When the nurse is getting ready to send the patient down to radiology, she lets the patient know what great work and great care that the radiology tech provides. When the teller contacts a Read more

Paint a Picture, Take a Picture - 2/5/19


Many of us are visual learners. In order for us to understand the concept, we need to be able to see the concept illustrated. And by seeing the concept illustrated, I’m not just talking about taking something that somebody says and merely typing it into an email. I don’t Read more

Recipe for Reputation Rehab - 1/29/19


As another corporation is trying to recover from self-inflicted reputation wounds, it is seeking to get back in the good graces of consumers. It’s laying out a 6-point plan to improve its performance, but – in the end – publicizing this plan is also about rehabilitating its reputation. Read more

Don’t Dwell on the Customer Crazies - 1/22/19


Whether or not you’re a fan of Duke University basketball, you may have heard of the “Cameron Crazies.” This is a nickname for Duke fans that attend home games in Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium. One of my friends was one of those Cameron Crazies. He was Read more

Retain through Responsiveness - 1/15/19


In a recent Bloomberg article about online retailers, there’s a story about a women’s cosmetics customer who used an online app to order some items. She waited weeks for the delivery after it was shipped to the wrong address, and she had great difficulty in getting the issue resolved. Read more

Bring Something Extra to the Table - 1/8/19


As somebody who has customer service as a part of their role and responsibilities, you are often talking to customers who could access the answers to their questions or the solutions to their problems via a website or some social media resource. But instead of going to those communication Read more

How to Have a Truly HAPPY New Year - 1/1/19


Don’t worry. After today, I will get away from my holiday-themed tips, but for now, let me ask you a question. What would be a good way to have a truly HAPPY New Year? Is it lowering expectations so that everything exceeds your expectations? Is Read more

2018 Holiday Poem - 12/25/18


Annually I write a note at this time of year, And the goal not once but every time is to bring you some cheer. I try to encourage, And I work to state the truth Because as we continue to grow more “wise,” We can’t lose sight of the joys of youth. So this year Read more

Be SomeBODY to Your Customer - 12/18/18


Jenny lives on a farm, and she's often running errands to get things for the animals or the family. She goes to one particular store to get her hay, and she always chit-chats with the person at the register. Marie is always friendly and cordial, and Jenny always buys Read more

A Representative Success! - 12/11/18


I was in a meeting recently with a client, and it was interesting to chat with one of their best customer service representatives. This is an employee who works with the same business clients every month, and when she described what she does, best practices started flowing. She knows her Read more

A PB&J Customer Service Lesson – 3/27/18

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment


When my daughter was in elementary school, she had a teacher who gave the kids an assignment – write instructions on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Simple enough, right?

When the assignment was turned in, the teacher stood at her desk, pulled out a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, and a jar of jelly, and she began to read the first student’s instructions out loud – “Put peanut butter on bread.”

So, the teacher put the loaf of bread in the center of her desk, and she slammed the jar of peanut butter on top of it. Some students laughed; others sat in disbelief.

The teacher began to read the second student’s instructions – “Place a slice of bread on a plate, and spread peanut butter on the bread.”

The teacher opened the bag with the loaf of bread, pulled out a slice, took a paper plate off the shelf, and put the slice of bread on the plate (so far, so good!). Then she unscrewed the top of the peanut butter jar, put her hand in, grabbed some peanut butter, and spread it by hand on the slice of bread.

This was met with equal groans of “Ewwww!” and “Gross!”

The teacher was illustrating how the kids need to be thorough in their descriptions/instructions. When explaining what to do or how to do something, we can’t assume that the person reading what we’re writing will make the correct assumptions about what we mean. If we want them to be clear, we need to be specific enough to be understood correctly.

Think about the instructions you give co-workers and customers on how to do a task – how to complete a form, sign-up for a service, submit documentation, provide you with information. If you want it done a specific way, you have to be very specific in providing instructions.

Make sure you get what you want in the form you want it from others. Don’t assume others will interpret general instructions the same way.

Learn from this PB&J Customer Service Lesson.

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Don’t Carry the Baggage – 11/15/16

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment


It’s so easy to react in a certain way, and it’s so natural.

There’s a customer coming toward you – oh no, not THAT customer! Complain, complain, complain.

Fred – your co-worker from Sales – wants to meet with you – ugh. That will take 3 hours, you’ll get in 2 words, and you’ll have 17 To Do’s afterward – without a Thank You!

These are our feelings when we see certain people or know we’re going to encounter them. This is how we react when we see that name come up on caller ID. These are our thoughts when we think we know what is about to happen.

This is our baggage. These are our preconceived negative notions that we take into conversations because we’ve had bad experiences in the past or have heard negative things about an individual.

The problem with carrying this baggage with us into these interactions is that it can cause us to carry a negative attitude – seeking that which bugs us and focusing on what might go wrong. It can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You have a good chance of having the interaction you expect. So expect the conversation will go well. Expect success.

Sure, you only have control over half the conversation – what you say and how well you listen. You have no control over what they say or how well they listen – but control your half with good intention. Control your half with openness. Control your half with a positive attitude. Control your half with professionalism. Control your half with a vision of success.

I know that certain people you have to deal with at work elicit negative reactions. But don’t let that initial reaction taint your approach in your response.

Don’t Carry the Baggage.

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Of Donuts and Delivering a Great Experience – 2/2/16 TOW

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Are you a Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme raving fan? Take the poll in this Tip of the Week, and let us know!

Why are we discussing donuts? It’s because it’s rare to find someone who likes both brands equally. It’s because when you order donuts from one of their stores, you have decisions to make. Do you want sprinkles? How about chocolate or cinnamon? Good old fashioned glazed? Jelly? Maple? Hot and now?

There are many choices, and where there are so many choices, some customers want varieties and others want the same thing every time. To deliver the right donut, the employee can’t assume what the customer prefers.

In customer service, it’s easy to hear a key word or phrase coming from the customer and assume we know what they want; it’s easy to incorrectly read something into an e-mail or letter from a customer.

So when the customer has many choices in service delivery, how do you make sure you deliver the right experience in the right manner? Consider these 3 points in your dealings with customers.

#1 – Educate – Let them know the options. This gives the customer the best possibility of getting what they want the way they want it, because they know what service they can receive, when, and how. This also enables you to proactively set expectations with the customer about the experience.

#2 – Ask – Identify their true issues, needs, goals, and preferences in the service experience by asking specific questions – the what, why, when, and how of the need itself, as well as how they’d prefer it addressed.

#3 – Confirm – Before moving forward, restate your understanding of what they just conveyed. Remember, you want them to have a great experience, so convey you listened and you care by confirming (and then doing) the right thing.

To provide a great experience, truly know the customer’s choices prior to delivering the service.

Educate, Ask, and Confirm.

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