municipal

Challenges Create Opportunity, People Create Change - 4/20/21


There are so many great things that have been said over the years about overcoming challenges, pushing aside the roadblocks of life, dealing with difficulties.  And these are important points of discussion because challenges are all around us.  There are challenges with our personal health or in our personal Read more

The Passive Predicament - 4/13/21


The employee is speaking to you.  Do they have that look in the eyes like they’re hanging on your every word, like they’re processing, interpreting, and getting ready to quickly respond to your key points and questions?  Or do they have the look of somebody in the 2nd hour Read more

Regain Lost Motivation - 4/6/21


For many of us over the last 12 months, our home has also become our workplace.  Our work interaction has been 2-dimensional through the computer screen as opposed to the 3-dimensional experiences we’re used to with co-workers and customers. We are all motivated in our own unique ways.  Some are Read more

The Answer is Right, but the Service is Wrong - 3/30/21


Maggie was irate.  The gift she ordered needed to be received by the 20th of the month so she could give it to her cousin for his birthday.  It was the 19th, and Maggie couldn’t find any shipping update online, so she called the company.  The employee said “Oh!  Read more

Question Everything, but What’s the Question? - 3/23/21


The new leader joins the organization, and she decides she wants to question everything.  She wants employees to question everything.  Why have we always done it this way? Why do we continue to do it that way? Is this the best way to work? Sometimes it’s a great management Read more

The Resourceful Rep - 3/16/21


One of our clients is seeking to develop Customer Service Standards.  We’re working with them to identify those key expectations of staff that will enable the organization to deliver a consistent high-level customer experience.  One of the key attributes that this organization is seeking from its team members is Read more

Be Proactive like a Pro - 3/9/21


We constantly work with clients, encouraging them to become more proactive with customers.  Don’t just be reactive, waiting for the customer to ask questions or to complain.  Instead, go to the customer, anticipate their needs, suggest something to them. But many of us, frankly, don’t know how to be proactive.  Read more

Find One Unique Thing - 3/2/21


Many of us are not in a position to develop long-term relationships with our customers.  Our encounters are often one-time only with a customer - very brief and likely to be our only time chatting with this individual. And even though there may not be a long-term professional relationship developed, Read more

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

A Customer Service Life – from Utilities to Consulting and Politics

Posted on in Business Advice, Government 1 Comment

Is it easier to deliver great customer service in a private industry than in a public or governmental organization? Yes, because customers of a federal, state, or local municipality don’t have a choice; there’s no competition, and therefore customer service at governmental organizations suffer. Or…No, because all private businesses care about is new sales and marketing, and they don’t truly care about customer service – they view it as purely a cost center.

So who’s right – the Yes crowd or the No crowd?

The real answer is that it’s easier to deliver great customer service if you have leaders who care about customer service – regardless of whether the organization is private or public.

Mayor Terry Sinnott is recognized in the article Meet your Del Mar mayor: Sinnott uses customer service strategies to better Del Mar for his success at San Diego Gas & Electric, as a customer service consultant, and as Mayor. When asked about his philosophies, Sinnott stated “Real effective customer service is based on learning, and you have to interact with customers to learn what they are experiencing and what’s positive and negative, and from that information you can develop new skills and strategies to make it better,”

He continued “The challenge is to figure out the strategy, set goals and help the organization understand the idea and know how to implement it,” he said. “Similarly, issues or ideas presented on the City Council must be represented to the community as best as possible.”

So the crux of these key points is that leaders need to listen to improve, and a big part of listening is asking the questions of all key stakeholder groups and using it to strategize. We’re not asking and reacting, constantly changing based on what fire or hot button issue is present. Instead, we’re asking, learning, strategizing, and implementing improvements for the long-term.

There are many nuggets in this article. Check it out, and make continuous improvement a planning-oriented part of your long strategy for success – whether you operate in the private or public world.

Want more nuggets? Check out:


Compete for Businesses by Making Them Competitive

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

In the article Lakeshore and Crossroads chambers collaborate on economic development, it’s stated that “The LCEA’s short-term objectives of the business retention and expansion surveys are: 1) to demonstrate community support for local businesses by conducting personal interviews, and 2) to assist with any immediate business concerns. Long-term objectives include: 1) build capacity to sustain business growth, 2) increase competitiveness of local businesses, and 3) establish and implement a strategic plan for economic development.”

To interpret these objectives, in the short-term get to know your businesses well, get them to know you, and help them resolve problems. Be the group that breaks down barriers to local success. In the long-term, there has to be a little of a “build it and they will come” mentality, where there has to be community capacity of people and facilities for expansion. At the same time, local communities need to help local companies be competitive. And that’s where we dig deeper…

What can you control? What can you impact that makes your businesses more competitive?

Keep in mind that Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) executives can’t personally make their local businesses’ equipment, man their call center, or work on their assembly lines. When companies try to be more competitive, they want to manage costs, improve productivity, reduce throughput time, improve the work environment for their employees (since they compete for personnel), become more nimble when expansion opportunities arise, and be able to more easily work with suppliers. So how can your BRE program impact your businesses?

  • Manage costs? Think about taxes and fees, roads and infrastructure, technology needs.
  • Improve productivity? Consider workforce training resources, job postings, etc.
  • Reduce throughput time? Streamline permitting functions or – again – look at the infrastructure.
  • Improve the work environment? Improve the quality of life in the community, schools, parks, etc. Share best practices from other employers.
  • Become more nimble? Identify facilities that are currently vacant or are soon-to-be, and create strategies to match them to employer needs quickly.
  • More easily work with suppliers? Identify needs for suppliers, and develop a local business environment (and local businesses) that can provide those needed materials, products, and services.

To keep local businesses, you have to compete for those businesses. Compete for businesses by making them competitive.

Interested in gaining intelligence on your local businesses? Check out http://brebuzz.com/


What Great Customer Service Looks Like in Government

Posted on in Business Advice, Government Please leave a comment

Have you ever tried to find a store or a restaurant in the downtown of a city for the first time? Maybe it’s a Mom and Pop shop like “Bobbie Sue’s Creamery,” but you don’t know the look of the building you’re seeking. Now what would make finding the business easier? Imagine if you knew that the Creamery had a giant sugar cone on the outside with a spoon of Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream in it – yum! That would be MUCH easier to find…

In customer service, the same issue arises. We’re told to be great! But the only examples we’re given are Disney, Nordstrom, and the Ritz-Carlton. So if we don’t work for an amusement park, a high-end retailer, or a luxury hotel, it’s difficult to make the connection, to have that vision of how great customer service looks.

So let’s take an example of great customer service from a municipality for government employees to consider. In the article City employee honored for going extra mile, Karen Heyduck is recognized for great customer service. And what does that great customer service look like from an individual in local government? Consider these key points from the article. Ms. Heyduck:

  • Responds to questions/requests quickly.
  • Is thorough in her response.
  • Has a positive attitude.
  • Smiles.
  • If she doesn’t yet have an answer, she tells you she’s working toward an answer.
  • Is consistent in the level of service provided.
  • Understands how to navigate processes, and helps the customer to do so.
  • Conveys confidence and knowledge without being condescending.

To be great as an individual, sometimes you have to make sure you first have a vision of greatness. Find your vision to begin moving toward it.

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?” http://www.amigreatat.com/

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at http://themesh.tv/stepping-up-service/