government

Should I Stay or Should I Go? - 2/23/21


Should I stay or should I go?  That’s not just a classic song by The Clash.  It’s also the question customers ask more and more, especially during difficult economic times. A recent study in the Charlotte Business Journal noted that 50% of North Carolina businesses are concerned with how to Read more

Optimism – A Force for Good in Customer Service - 2/16/21


Will 2021 be a better year than 2020?  I have absolutely no idea.  Maybe it would be nice to see into the future and know for certain, but I can’t and I don’t.  But as I wade further and further into this year, I can hope that the water Read more

To Assure, Ensure You Do This - 2/9/21


Vince Lombardi – famous professional football coach – became a big hit on the speaker’s circuit during his time coaching.  He applied many of his principles in football and life to business, and one of his great business quotes is:  Confidence is contagious and so is lack of confidence, Read more

Let Your Goal Determine Your Question - 2/2/21


In the early 2000s, when the economy hit the skids, companies realized that they couldn’t take their customers for granted.  They needed to ramp up customer service.  They needed to listen to the Voice of the Customer. During the Great Recession in the 2008-10 timeframe, much of the “new marketing Read more

Excellence is Not Perfection, and that’s OK - 1/26/21


Surveys have questions with ratings that range from Excellent to Poor.  We custom-design and deliver Service Excellence Training.  Tom Peters wrote the book “In Search of Excellence.” But how do you define Excellence, particularly in customer service?  Let’s start with what Excellence is not.  Excellence is not something reflected in Read more

Bring Magic to Your Account Management - 1/19/21


One of our first sports-industry clients was the Orlando Magic.  They were a true leading-edge organization in the early 2000s when it came to dedicating resources to season ticket holder retention.  They didn’t make customer service, relationship-development, and renewals simply a function of the Sales department.  They broke it Read more

Customers Want Easy, but Easy is Difficult - 1/12/21


New employees go through days of training to learn products and services.  They have formal workshops to learn how to use their office applications, web functions, and whatever programs are specific to their department.  They test new technology, and they get quizzed on knowledge of policies.  This is hours Read more

Make 2021 the Year of Building Relationships - 1/5/21


I’ve been very fortunate over this company’s 20+ years in business to have great and long-lasting relationships with many clients, colleagues, business partners, and co-workers.  It’s a gift to be able to call on these individuals for advice or referrals or to be a sounding board.  And it’s just Read more

Bring Warmth During Winter - 12/29/20


Winter is upon us.  Now, winter can mean different things to different people in different regions, but just the word conjures up cold.  It conjures up visions of snow.  It conjures up feelings of wind and lack of warmth. Although some of us may like the cold at times of Read more

2020 Holiday Poem - 12/22/20


When in the role of customer service,We are wired to give and give.It’s built into our DNA.It’s simply the way we live. In order to give to others,We need to find ways to give them their fill.We need to pour empathy and openness into them.To serve, we need to have Read more

Strategize on Sinking Your Competition – 3/8/16 TOW

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If you could change one thing about your competitor’s customer experience that would make them fold, what would you change? Literally think of specific customer service situations that could occur that could hurt another company’s business.

To spur your thoughts, think about a key competitor of yours. Now here are some suggestions to consider:

  • Ensure your competitor doesn’t respond to e-mails.
  • Make sure there is conflicting information on the website, at the storefront, in customer forms, and provided on the phone.
  • Miss deadlines.
  • Ensure your competitor’s customers wait for long periods of time without telling them the length of the wait or explaining the reason for the delay.
  • Have staff argue with each other in front of customers.
  • Avoid greeting customers when they come in, never smile during the encounter, and don’t thank them at the end.
  • Make sure your competitor’s employees never apologize or say “I’m sorry” for an issue.

Am I suggesting these because I want you to subvert the success of your competitor?

No, I’m suggesting these scenarios (and whatever other scenarios you come up with) because they are the same reasons why customers could leave your business. Or even if you’re in a government organization, these are the reasons why the customer will call to complain or post hateful diatribes on social media.

Take a minute to be subversive. Brainstorm on how to bring down the customer experience of others. Then, use that brainstorming information to evaluate your own organization. Ensure you plug the leaks in an otherwise strong customer experience so that your company’s customer service doesn’t drive customers away.

Strategize on Sinking Your Competition.

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Customerize Your Business – 8/25/15 TOW

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Most of us have seen flow charts. You document Step A followed by B followed by C. What does the employee do first? What report do they produce? To where do they route the call?

We’ve all seen e-newsletters that go out to customers. You share what you’re doing, note great offers, and pitch the latest product.

Everyone has gone to a business website. It says what we do, it’s organized by our products/industries, and it talks in the language to which we’re accustomed (I’m guilty of having “consultantese” throughout my site).

But what if we “customerized” our businesses? Let’s take a hospital. For processes, they might say – if a family member wants to visit the newborn baby, how would they want to find the hospital? What would they want the parking experience to be like? How would they want to find out where the relative is located and how they can find the baby? How would they want staff to greet them, and what would be the best exit experience?

Consider the sports team. They’re constantly sending out the marketing mailings to season ticket holders (STH), but what if they customerized the newsletters? Imagine Brian, the STH, getting an e-mail with a Subject heading identifying information about his favorite player. The body of his e-mail addresses only those things of interest to him – the kid’s club, his favorite visiting team coming to town, and a gift coming his way for his upcoming birthday. Brian’s e-mail is all about Brian, and the e-mail comes from his personal account representative, Marie.

If you work in a government organization, imagine having a website that’s been customerized. Instead of it being about government departments and services, it’s about the resident or business. Instead of the list of options including 38 departments and agencies, it lists common questions that the typical resident may ask. Instead of it listing 3 pages of detailed text instructions on how to appeal a tax bill or submit a plan to renovate a deck, it has a simple flow using customer terms and having graphics similar to most advanced websites nowadays.

To have the best experience for your customer, remove yourself from the internal focus of most companies. View your world through the eyes of the customer for the benefit of your customer.

Customerize Your Business.

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Unblurring the Lines – 6/16/15 TOW

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Forty percent of customer dissatisfaction is due to a customer’s expectations not being met. Maybe the company overpromised, or it didn’t even do the bare minimum of what the customer should expect (source: TARP).

But that statistic begs the question: What SHOULD the customer expect?

In today’s world of self-service (from websites to checking out at the grocery story to printing your own boarding pass for your flight), the lines of customer service are being blurred. With customers responsible for more of their service in some of these self-service vehicles, the lines of responsibility between company and customer are not as clear as in years past.

We’re working with a client now that’s running into this predicament. Many complaints are from customers who don’t realize how processes work and what’s their responsibility in service delivery v. that of the business. It’s a government organization where customers schedule appointments or submit plans or request services, and there’s not an obvious distinction between who does what.

The way we’re addressing this is by having customers and employees meet and basically define roles and responsibilities in key services/processes that make up the vast majority of projects. Which responsibilities are those of the customer, which are responsibilities of the organization, and which are mutual responsibilities?

They’re being defined first – clearly stated and documented. Then there will be ongoing educational and communication plans implemented within the government entity and with the customers to clearly articulate who does what.

There will still be the complaints in the future, but they should be far less because customers and employees came together to intentional define and document roles and responsibilities.

Don’t let your customers complain and employees get frustrated due to incorrect expectations that result from a lack of clearly defining roles and responsibilities.

“Unblur” the lines.

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