sports

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

Encourage the Customer - 12/17/19


Everybody sing with me:  Feelings, whoa whoa whoa, feelings… Excellent old song, and be thankful that I’m just writing the words and not singing to you.  While not all of us are comfortable with discussing feelings, feelings are an important part of the customer experience. No, you can’t make someone feel Read more

Hearing is Believing - 12/10/19


“I just want to be heard.” When I work with clients whose customers are the community, this is a phrase I’ve heard far too often from residents.  For retail businesses and other industries where there are many choices, often customers will take their business elsewhere instead of complaining.  But with Read more

Flash like in Football – 8/12/14 TOW

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


There are certain phrases that come up time-to-time in the world of customer service that become ubiquitous like “Customer Delight” or “WOW Experience” or “Moment of Truth.”

One phrase that’s being used a lot in the world of professional football (the American kind not the World Cup “futbol” kind) is “Flash.” Coaches noted that a player Flashed in practice. In pre-season games, they want to see some rookies “Flash.”

Flash means – essentially – catch your eye. They do something so special, so spectacular, so unexpectedly good that you can’t help but notice.

To Flash means that you have gone above and beyond what’s normally expected. You might make a catch, but it’s done with one hand at the sideline. You make a tackle, but the runner doesn’t just go down; you tackle the runner, and he gets knocked backward. You don’t just sack the quarterback, but you quickly get by two defenders and make the quarterback fumble.

This kind of Flash is exceptional. So how can you Flash in customer service? How can you go above and beyond what’s normally expected? Even when the football players Flash, they are still just making a tackle or a catch, just like you are just talking to a customer or responding to a request or addressing a complaint or providing information.

So how can you talk, respond, address, or provide in a way “so special, so spectacular, so unexpectedly good that others can’t help but notice?” Here are some tips:

  • Think “Speed” – Don’t put items on the “To Do” list; just do them.
  • Think “Proactive” – When you learn something, don’t stop there; ask yourself “Who would also benefit from knowing this information?” Then share it with them.
  • Think “Energy” – Don’t just answer a question, but convey through your voice and body language that you’re enthused about helping others.

To show you’re great at customer service, Flash.

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Jason Millard did the Right Thing – 6/24/14 TOW

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


It’s living your dream – or at least having the opportunity to compete in the pinnacle of your profession. There’s no guarantee you’ll succeed, but it’s important to at least have the opportunity.

Jason Millard had that opportunity. As a pro golfer, there would have been nothing more exciting than to have had the opportunity to compete in the U.S. Open golf tournament.

Jason had that opportunity. And he gave it away.

Jason was playing in a 36-hole qualifying tournament in Tennessee, and he played well enough to make the U.S. Open field that was to take place just a couple weeks later at Pinehurst in North Carolina. Despite qualifying for this major tournament, Jason didn’t feel right. He wasn’t certain, but he thought that his golf club may have touched the ground in a sand trap – a 2-stroke penalty in the world of golf. He was not sure he did it, and nobody was around to confirm that he did or didn’t ground the club.

After the round, he asked a rules official what to do, and the rules official said it was up to Jason.

For days, Jason continued to practice for this glorious opportunity at the U.S. Open, but his stomach, his nerves, his inner feelings kept eating at him. He wasn’t sure if he had grounded the club, but what if he had done so? If he had, he should have been penalized two strokes and not qualified.

As he began the long drive to the Open on tournament week, about an hour into the drive, he knew he couldn’t continue. It was that one potential thing he might have done wrong that stopped him; whether he grounded the club or not would never have been proven on Twitter or television, never confirmed or denied by a playing partner.

It was all on him.

He decided to call a penalty on himself, and he was disqualified.

Sometimes doing the right thing should occur because it’s the right thing to do – even if there’s short-term pain involved. To be great at customer service, you need to do the right thing – even when nobody is looking over your shoulder, nobody is listening in on your call, nobody is evaluating you at that moment.

Ethics and great customer service go hand-in-hand. They both involve integrity and trust.

Do the right thing, even if nobody is looking.


Jamey Needed to Slow Down – 6/10/14 TOW

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


Jamey is young, but he’s pretty good at sales – his new sales numbers generally prove the point. He seems to care about fixing issues, speaks articulately, and responds quickly and specifically “on his feet” when asked the tough questions or challenged. He’s confident, so Jamey was shocked when one of his accounts told him “That’s not how things are done in the South; you’ve got to develop a relationship first.”

Jamey had responded to every request or question, quickly. He was speedy in resolution to issues. He didn’t take up too much of the customer’s time on the phone – the conversations were short and quick.

The problem was that Jamey’s quick responses, fast talking, and general speed (in everything he did) didn’t appeal to this client. The quick responses were good, but they were often a few words in an e-mail with no greeting such as “Nope. Can’t work that out this time.”

Jamey thought he was being considerate of the client’s time with his quick calls, but they were quick because Jamey was peppering his customer with questions instead of creating a more two-way conversational tone. When Jamey received a call from the account, he typically talked fast and hung up quickly. When Jamey fixed a problem quickly, he often didn’t call the client to ensure that the fix worked.

Even though Jamey did so many things technically correct, he didn’t have a good enough read on this account to tailor how he communicated about those “things” to the preference of his client. So the client interpreted that Jamey was impatient, rushed, or just didn’t care about the client.

In customer service, sometimes it’s not just about what you do or how quickly you do it; rather, to many customers, it’s how you communicate with them during the process.

Don’t rush through conversations like they’re just another box on the “To Do” list. Be patient. View relationship-building as a process.