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

Get Engaged – 12/30/14 TOW

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


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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Be Clear on What You Value – 11/11/14 TOW

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Today is Veteran’s Day in the United States of America. Many veterans, those currently serving in the military, and those who have friends/relatives who have served seem to have a strong attachment to their particular branch of the service. The values espoused by the branches often relate to courage, honor, loyalty, respect, and integrity. Those associated with the military latch onto those words and try to embody them in all they do.

To a business, those words are akin to the Core Values of an organization. They represent what the organization wants its culture, its people, its image to be about; Core Values are the desired characteristics of the employee and the company. Those qualities – when defined – help in so many ways.

Unfortunately, we have some clients that have not yet created Core Values. They have an organizational Mission – so they know what they’re there to do. They often have a Vision – so they know the long-term direction they want to go. But they haven’t defined the fabric of the people they desire to live that Mission daily and move toward that Vision. They can’t look for specific personal qualities of a prospective new hire because those qualities haven’t been defined. They have difficulty rewarding specific attitudes and actions, because the attitudes and actions aren’t fully determined.

Now you may say that – if the company has a Mission and a Vision – they can reward behaviors that align to those; they can hire people to do the job needed to live the Mission.

True, but we’re talking something deeper than a job description. Surely you’ve experienced two people with similar job experience but could tell one would be a better fit organizationally than the other. I’m certain you’ve seen employees with technical skills but without the attitudes or actions that are a symbol of what your company truly values.

On this Veteran’s Day, it’s important to appreciate those that give us the freedoms we have and often take for granted. Let’s learn a lesson from them at the same time. Take time to identify what the organization truly values in its people. Then seek, hire, reward, and retain those that are an example of what makes your company great.

Be Clear on What You Value.

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The Customer Decides the Company’s Fate – 9/2/14 TOW

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week 1 Comment


Argue with the title if you want – “Nobody decides MY fate!” or “I’m in control of my own life.” or “Our nutty CEO decides our company’s fate.”

Feel free to make whatever argument you’d like to make (and I’m sure many are valid), but here’s my perspective. I’ve worked with local government organizations where community complaints about a particular agency cost the leader his job and cost the municipality millions of dollars in rework that also served as repentance.

I’ve seen professional sports clubs where the dwindling attendance caused executives to lose jobs, or the teams spent millions more than in the past to acquire new fans through marketing, advertising, and sales efforts.

There are so many healthcare organizations today whose CEO is seeing that their government reimbursement is being impacted more and more by the results of patient satisfaction surveys.

In other words, the customer’s voice matters. . .BIG TIME!

That means that we have to listen when they care enough to complain. We have to have a process of frequently soliciting feedback to understand their feelings, perceptions, plans, and suggestions. We have to ask at the end of conversations about experiences so we can fix issues on the spot, and so we can find out what they really liked.

The customer deciding our company’s fate means that once we have them, we have to create a culture that seeks to serve. We have to view them for their lifetime value, not transactional amount. We have to nurture the long-term relationship rather than focusing solely on the task at hand. And we have to become so vital to them, so trusted by them, so much in relationship with them, or so pleasing in their experience with us that – when the fateful decision is made – they decide to stay and grow with us.

In other words, if everyone in the organization truly believes that the customer decides the company’s fate, how would we be different than we are today?

Ask the question, and then live the answer.

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