motivation

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

Choose Positivity – 1/2/18

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


I had the opportunity to conduct employee focus groups and facilitate staff conversations for two different clients recently, and there was a common theme among all the groups. It’s intuitive, it’s understandable, but I was still surprised to hear the sentiment.

Employees consistently said they wanted to work in a more positive environment. Most of us would think that it’s intuitive that that’s what employees desire. Most would think it’s understandable that staff would share those perspectives. But I was somewhat surprised to hear it. Why?

Because, I sometimes have trouble understanding why people or organizations would consistently be negative, or why they would avoid sharing positives, or why their only form of motivation was criticism.

When people work 40 hours, 60+ hours a week, would they prefer to spend those 8/10/12 hours a day around others who are positive or negative? Would they prefer to be in an environment where they are appreciated? Would they prefer to have a reward for a great job or only punishment for a bad job?

I know that many are motivated to avoid the negative, or to avoid punishment, or not to get marked down or written up. But when you think of a healthy work environment, one where people’s values align to those of the organization, one where people WANT to go above and beyond – you are envisioning more positive organizations.

This is not a Tip just for managers; this is a Tip for you and me – everybody. People want positive reinforcement more than negative. They want optimism more than pessimism. They want “Let’s hope it works” rather than “I doubt it will.”

I’m not saying that we ignore the bad or should all be Pollyannas. What I am saying is that we have a choice in how we respond. We have a choice on what outlook we’ll take about a situation. We have a choice about how we engage others. We have a choice about whether we convey appreciation or just think it. And we have a choice about whether we look for ways to build up a co-worker or team, or we only look for ways to criticize.

When you make a choice, choose positivity.

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23 Thanks – 11/21/17

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


People want to be thanked – they want you to show them that they’re appreciated and valued. In employee climate surveys, one of the key drivers of overall satisfaction and retention is whether the employee feels valued, appreciated. For customers, they want value out of the product and experience your company provides. But they also want to feel valued and appreciated themselves.

So, in appreciation of employees and customers everywhere and in honor of the American holiday of Thanksgiving that is celebrated this week on the 23rd of November, here are 23 ways to say Thanks!

  1. Send a handwritten note of thanks to a co-worker or customer.
  2. Send an e-mail full of specific appreciation to a co-worker, and possibly copy their supervisor.
  3. Call up the customer just to thank them for their business.
  4. Ask if you can meet with a co-worker for a minute or two, and then just go to them and thank them for something specifically they did for you recently.
  5. At the start of a meeting, thank everyone for attending and for their commitment to the project, the team, the organization, the customers, etc.
  6. At the end of a meeting, thank everyone for their focus, attention, ideas, and insights.
  7. Have a “culture moment” at the start of the Agenda for each meeting where you spend a minute or two noting how one of the group did something to support the team, improve the work environment, or build up a co-worker.
  8. Post something positive on social media to your followers about a co-worker, using their handle so they see the recognition.
  9. Post a positive note on your intranet about a co-worker and how they helped you recently.
  10. When some shares an idea or concern, before you respond, thank them for what they shared.
  11. When people have been holding on the phone, before you ask them a question (or answer theirs) first thank them for their patience.
  12. When a co-worker shares something (e.g., food in the breakroom, helpful information about a change in policy, etc.), seek them and thank them immediately.
  13. When a customer points something out that was confusing about their experience or that could have been improved, thank them for the feedback.
  14. When the customer thanks you for something, thank them for the thanks – really!
  15. When you know someone is out of the office, leave a message on their voice mail just thanking them for how they make your company or department a more enjoyable place to work.
  16. Text a co-worker some positive words of appreciation or emojis for something they specifically did for you or others.
  17. For long-term customers, send them a coupon or other unsolicited small gift as a thank you for their long-term commitment.
  18. For new customers, provide them with a personal note (on letterhead or a company branded card) that thanks them for the trust they’ve put in you or your company.
  19. When you have some 1-on-1 time with your boss, thank them for their positive style of leadership or whatever other positive attributes they share.
  20. Print a certificate of “Thanks” and have all department or team members sign it – then give it to your co-worker or customer.
  21. No matter what method you use to say thanks, tell them how their action or their attitude impacts you.
  22. Tell them why their action or attitude is important.
  23. Tell them how their action or attitude isn’t common – how it’s unique/special.

Give others thanks – 23 thanks.

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Don’t Multiply Your Troubles – 1/31/17

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


What could go wrong? I need to figure that out so I can be prepared to respond in the right way. I need to anticipate the issues that could arise so that I’m prepared for them. After all, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. What are all the roadblocks that I could encounter? I must know them so that I can plan to overcome or avoid them.

While these are good planning-oriented statements, true in life and business, there’s a slippery slope that we must avoid – for our mental health if for no other reason.

Thinking ahead, understanding the worst that can happen, anticipating the issues that could arise – these may all be good things. But keep in mind that – even with the best planning and best intentions – bad things will happen. People will still be upset. Co-workers will still drop the ball. Issues will arise.

We can’t try to be such good planners and anticipators that we not only have to deal with the inevitable issues that will come up today, but we also continuously think of the issues that could happen tomorrow. Imagine our minds being occupied by today’s complaint, and once that’s done we worry about tomorrow’s complaint. We’re dealing with a co-worker’s lack of quality today that ticked off a client; then later we’re worried about the potential for that to happen tomorrow.

With this approach, we’re essentially multiplying our troubles. Adding to the real, tangible issues of today with the “what if” potential issues of tomorrow.

Yes, plan for the future and anticipate how to respond when bad things happen so you’re more prepared for those times when they do arise.

But don’t let the possibility of issues consume your mind. Better service, better days come from a healthier mindset – one where we’re optimistic about tomorrow; we’re hopeful about the future; we envision success.

Yes, plan for what could happen in the future; but avoid occupying your mind with negative “what ifs.”

Don’t multiply your troubles.

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