culture

Who Loves Ya, Baby? - 2/25/20


Telly Savalas played Kojak - a hard-nosed detective who solved crimes while eating a lollipop.  He was a tough guy with a tough attitude but a soft side.  He used to say:  Who loves ya, baby? So, who loves their customer? If you want to see somebody who loves their Read more

6 Actions for Attitude Adjustments - 2/18/20


The battle over one’s attitude can feel like a never-ending fight… I need to stop letting little things bother me. I need to not let that customer’s anger infect my mindset.  Just because my co-worker isn’t doing what they said they’d do shouldn’t mean that I should have an attitude Read more

A Hair-Cut Above...and Below - 2/11/20


After going to the same barber for more than a decade, I decided to leave.  The customer experience went down, and the price went up.  For my last several visits, I was the one who was driving the conversations – when I could get a word in edgewise between Read more

When Employees Fight Over a Customer - 2/4/20


There’s nothing like the feeling of comfort I get from a warm greeting at a business establishment.  A feeling of “you are my most important customer” and “I cannot wait to serve you” brings a tear to the eye of a customer service consultant.  But that’s not the only Read more

LOTS of Opportunities to Appreciate Customers - 1/28/20


They give us their money, and we give them merchandise. We say “Thank you!”  That is the old-time stereotypical opportunity for a company to thank their customers.  But there are opportunities all day long for us to convey appreciation to our customers. Beyond the actual transaction, there are so many Read more

When Jack Gave Arnie a Tip - 1/21/20


Jack Nicklaus may have been the greatest golfer ever.  Many think that Arnold Palmer was the most important golfer of the 20th century.  These two greats were contemporaries, so they became competitors and friends all at once.  And when somebody who is one of the greatest of all time Read more

Make it Abundantly Clear - 1/14/20


Becky was laying in her hospital bed and staring at the whiteboard on the wall.  It had a room number, the room’s phone number, and the date.  It had the pictures of the pain scale, with happy-to-sad faces and ratings from 0-10.  It noted when the last meds were Read more

Become the Wishing Well - 1/7/20


When you don’t know if the next step will solve the customer’s problem, give hope a chance.  If you’re not certain how things will progress on their project, give hope a chance.  If you want to end the conversation by having them feel positive, even if uncertain, give hope Read more

Why Silence is Golden - 12/31/19


In the world of customer service, to begin finding a resolution, sometimes we have to initiate conversation. To keep things moving forward, oftentimes we have to proactively engage in discussion.  To have effective dialogue, we need to avoid those long periods of dead silence. But don’t let those truths of Read more

2019 Holiday Poem - 12/24/19


There is joy absolutely everywhere, Sometimes you just need to look for it. There are birds and babies. There are flowers and sweet older ladies. You just have to look for them. People hold doors open for others, with smiles. There are days when you can see for miles. You just have to look for them. There Read more

Build a Great Customer Experience – 11/7/17

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


Over the last 5-10 years, much of the management thinking about how to create a great customer experience has changed. In the distant past, to design a great experience, organizations would create the environment, the policies, and procedures that would deliver what the customer wanted the way the customer wanted. This is a great approach.

More recently, much of the thinking about customer service has focused on the fact that culture is the main driver of a great client experience. While it’s wonderful to have a great environment, policies, and procedures, people are who deliver the service in that environment, who work within those policies, and who execute those procedures. Oh! And people (employees) are the ones who interact with customers. This culture focus, too, is a great approach.

But what drives culture? We often talk about those aspects of an organization that impact culture such as Mission, Leadership, Training, Incentives, Communications, etc. But what drives culture?

In the end, the people are the culture. You want people who care about the customer and can convey that to the customer. You want people who can care about the organizational mission and the employees they work with in living that mission daily. And you want people who can balance the care of the customer, the co-worker, and the company. So, in short, you want people who care.

Not to sound dramatic, but to build a great culture, to get people who care, you have to build the collective heart of the organization. Leaders need to care as much or more about their employees and customers as the employees care about those they serve. There has to be continual leadership focus on relationship-building with staff, showing you care about them as unique, talented individuals. There has to be a desire on the part of leadership to be vulnerable enough to ask staff for opinions and open enough to listen to them and share with them as well.

Employees will care more if they feel leadership cares, if leadership asks, listens, shares, and supports staff.

Building heart is not all on leaders, however. Staff need to do these same things with others – co-workers, customers, and even their bosses. The more we all listen, learn, support, and help others, the bigger the collective heart will grow.

Build heart to build culture and to build a great customer experience.

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Get Better to Get a Raise – 10/10/17

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


I was giving a speech recently about organizational culture, and the focus of the talk was the approach to culture by best-in-class organizations.

One organization I highlighted bases employee raises – in part – on how much staff have improved their own skills and capabilities. In one sense, that’s an odd thing to consider. Isn’t it the organization’s responsibility to develop staff? Shouldn’t staff just do their job? Isn’t performance more important than skills and capabilities?

Those are all logical questions, but let’s instead focus on the following questions. What if your organization rewarded you for developing your skills and capabilities? What if your organization realized that the way to improve organizational performance is to improve individual and team performance? What if the organization believed employee development to be a shared responsibility between the company and the individual?

If that was the case, it leads to questions you can ask yourself. How are you improving skills and capabilities?

What are you reading? Who are you asking for feedback about your own skills, capabilities, and performance?

What are you doing to learn more about technology? About communications? About engaging your customers?

And about what are you being inquisitive that could improve your skills?

Ask and answer these questions for yourself.

Tomorrow, your customers will be different, your technology will be different, your leadership will be different. Maybe even your company will be different. Find ways to get better today to prepare for your tomorrow.

Make your own case for getting a raise. Build your skills and capabilities.

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Appreciation Multiplies – 9/19/17

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


Aaron did a GREAT job on the project! Working in the graphics shop at the company, he would help his internal customers address many different design and production needs. But there was something a little different this time.

This time, Jackie – his customer – sent a note of appreciation to Aaron’s boss after the project was completed. The boss – Mark – replied to Jackie and noted how consistently high quality is Aaron’s work. Mark noted how patient and calm Aaron is with customers. And Mark highlighted how Aaron’s customers feel “cared for” and “confident.”

Mark said that he’d share Jackie’s kudos in their monthly department newsletter and share the feedback with his entire team at their next meeting.

Aaron didn’t do good work for Jackie to get all this appreciation, but the appreciation still came. From Jackie. From Mark. Through e-mails and newsletters and meetings. In specific descriptions and in sincere tones. Appreciation came.

But what’s more, appreciation multiplied. The Thank You’s not only came in many forms, but many people now heard what attributes are appreciated by customers and what behaviors are desired by leadership.

When you are appreciative of the efforts of others, remember that conveying appreciation is a necessary thing, a good thing. Sharing that appreciation lets the other person know what they did and how they did it was “spot on.”

And sometimes, that appreciation multiplies.

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