story

Should you tell the customer? The Company’s Dilemma - 4/23/19


I have a lot of clients that struggle with this question, both at a company/strategic level as well as an individual representative level. When there is an issue that is going to happen, should you tell the customer? This week we’re going to address the question at the Read more

Customer for Life – The Final Step - 4/16/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Third Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Address what will keep them. Now, we’re sharing the Fourth and Final Step. To have a Customer for Life, you have to grow your relationship with them. While the 3rd step is the Read more

Use the Actions of Empathy - 4/9/19


I firmly believe that the most important personal trait of someone in customer service is empathy. If empathy is understanding the other person, then it’s very difficult to truly serve someone that you don’t understand. Particularly when they’re upset or irate, being empathetic and getting them to Read more

Customer for Life – The Third Step - 4/2/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Second Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Never let a relationship go stale – keep the communication going. Now, we’re sharing the Third Step. To have a customer for life, you have to address what will keep them. Read more

Facial Recognition is the Future of Customer Service - 3/26/19


According to a recent New York Times article, facial recognition is the future of retail customer service. A trend in technology for retail businesses is to utilize facial recognition technology in order to better know who is entering your business. The idea is that if somebody within Read more

Customer for Life – The Second Step - 3/19/19


Two weeks ago, we shared a Customer Service Tip on how to get (and keep!) a Customer for Life. We addressed the First Step, Knowing what you need to know about the other person. Now, we’re sharing the Second Step. To develop a relationship with anyone, there has to Read more

Employee Runs for a Dog Run - 3/12/19


I was never a Boy Scout. I mean in the literal sense, but also somewhat in the figurative sense, but I digress. After years of telling myself that I needed something to help my dog get exercise outside without worrying about him trying to dig under a fence and Read more

Customer for Life – The First Step - 3/5/19


This should be the goal, right? That our clients today will be our clients tomorrow and well into the future. That their loyalty grows, their business with us grows, their referrals grow, and it is all part of a relationship that grows and develops over time. But what’s the Read more

Retrain Your Brain - 2/26/19


Admit it. You thought about it. You thought: Why in the world did the customer try to assemble that before reading the instructions? Why would they drive all the way down here instead of just checking the website? Why would they go through the drive-thru when they can deposit using Read more

Look Up, or Look Out! - 2/19/19


The clerk called out “next in line!”, and Frannie went to the counter. “Can I have your name?,” the employee asked, but she stared at her computer screen while asking. Frannie stated her name, the time of her appointment, and noted the reason for the appointment. Staring at the screen, Read more

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.


From a School Office to Your Business – 6/17/14 TOW

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


Theresa has worked in the elementary school office for years, and she loves it. It’s not just that she loves her job; the people she works with, the parents, and the children love her, too. Why? It’s because of the little things – not that a little thing like leaving her chair and walking to the counter to greet a parent is a reason to love somebody. Not that a little thing like kneeling down to get on a child’s level to talk is a reason to love somebody. Not even a little thing like packets she puts together in anticipation of conversations that relate to common needs (such as information for a prospective parent, student placement paperwork, student/parent handbooks for new families) is a reason to love somebody.

It’s not any one “little thing.” It’s the sum total of the little things that she ALWAYS does. It’s the consistency of the approach, the attitude, the welcome, the smile. It’s the all-the-time sense of caring she projects and the pure focus on “you” that she imparts.

Theresa is a real person. These are real stories. And although these are all little things, in society today, it doesn’t always require a home run moment to create a WOW! When you are interacting with recurring customers, it’s often your consistent excellence that creates a WOW! It’s your consistent sense of caring, your continuous willingness to learn, your ongoing responsiveness, and your striving to fix issues quickly that makes that incredible impression.

If you’re looking to WOW your customers, particularly those that are recurring business for your organization, here’s a thought. Stop trying to hit the home run. Find out what you’re good at, what you care about that can benefit the customer, and just become more and more and more consistent about the excellence in service you provide.

Create consistent excellence to create the WOW!


Link and the $5 Mistake – 5/27/14 TOW

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


It was Link’s first job – working in the retail shop – and he enjoyed it immensely. He was learning how a business runs, the importance of the customer to a company’s success, and his role in creating that success. He had these big picture lessons he was learning, even though his pay was minimum wage, and he basically did grunt work and occasionally ran the register.

He was one of those people in a small role, but you could see big things ahead for him.

One day, he was given the responsibility for closing the store and closing out the register. This was many years ago, so there was no credit card machine, and no computer system – it was all manual.

And as Link started shutting things down, he did a quick reconciliation between the cash in the drawer and the register tape. It was off by $5. And then it hit him; he had calculated the change wrong on the last customer of the day, and he gave Ms. Isaacs $5 change when it should have been $10. She was buying some supplies for an out of town trip, so Link knew she’d be gone for a while.

With no car to drive and no phone to call from (this is not that recent a story), he started walking. Block after block, mile after mile toward her house. When he arrived, he apologized to Ms. Isaacs, gave her the additional change, turned, and began the long walk home.

In case it’s not obvious, this is a slight twist on the Abe Lincoln story. But it goes to show that he wasn’t just a great President; he was also great at customer service. He enjoyed the job, looked at it as a learning experience, performed well regardless of the role, and enjoyed engaging his customers. He wasn’t perfect, but he resolved issues quickly, he didn’t make excuses, and he – literally – went the extra mile for his customers.

Abe wasn’t just “Honest.” He was also a really good customer service rep.