story

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

Steve Wynn and Caring About the Customer – 5/20/14 TOW

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


Steve Wynn, the Las Vegas casino mogul, was talking to his staff about the keys to transforming his culture. No, he wasn’t discussing gambling, upcoming ventures, or new revenue ideas.

He talked about getting every employee to feel good about the good they do for customers.

“If you make someone feel good about themselves, they will love you for it,” Wynn said. “Forget the crystal chandeliers, the hand woven carpet, and the marble. It means nothing. All of a sudden you’re engaged with someone who cares about you.”

He uses the example of a couple who had left their medicine (including diabetes meds) at their home five hours away, and Wynn notes the bellman who drove to the couple’s home to pick up the medicine from their housekeeper. He mentions the card dealer going on break who noticed two customers looking confused. The dealer engaged the customers, asked if they needed help, and then walked them to the conference room they were looking for which was located about five minutes away.

But then Wynn talked about how the organization uses existing shift change meetings that happen all throughout his hotels – in housekeeping, the kitchen, the front desk, and the casinos – as a place where supervisors ask for these success stories and use the stories to immediately recognize staff via their intranet and break room postings.

Wynn focused on transforming the organization by going to the heart of the organization – its customers and employees. He prioritized making customers feel special, and then making those employees feel special for what they did to serve customers.

Whether your organization has the glitz of a casino or not, ensure that every customer walks away knowing that you care about them. Encourage employees to make customers feel appreciated, and then appreciate your staff for doing it.

“If you make someone feel good about themselves (customer or employee), they will love you for it.”


The Rising Tide – 5/6/14 TOW

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


The rising tide lifts all boats. I’m not sure who coined the phrase, but it fits into our workplace just as much as the high seas.

When I wrote the tip about motivating yourself by writing down your daily successes, a reader commented that it would be great to have a team meeting with other customer service staff each morning, and then have staff share one of their success stories from the prior day.

At face value, it sounded like a good idea, and as I thought about the concept and responded to the reader, it began to sound better and better.

Think about having a daily meeting that was simply “5 minutes of positives.” What would it do for you, your teammates, your staff? You could quickly see what one person did great, and pat them on the back. You could learn about how one person handled a tough situation effectively. You could feel good for others and enjoy the recognition when they celebrate your success. You could have a picture of success painted for you every day, creating a consistent focus among teammates on great customer service, and reinforcing what a great job others are doing.

This is about starting your day with 5 minutes of positive energy. This is about not just you or your customer; it’s about your team. It’s about the quality of the workplace continuously improving – creating a rising tide of positives and successes that lifts everyone.

Being intentional about having “5 minutes of positives” can be big in a team developing a common focus on customer service and more confidence in what they do.

Help the tide of your team to rise with 5 minutes of positives.


Houston, We Don’t Have a Problem – 6/11/13 TOW

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

It was the first time that I had used this shuttle service, and it was also my first trip to Houston. I decided to take the shuttle from the airport to the hotel since I had extra time and because it was about half the price of a taxi. After paying for the shuttle at the check-in desk, I was told that the driver was en-route, and it would be no more than 20 minutes before he arrived. The driver did arrive about 15 minutes later; a good start, and from then on, it was a perfect experience.

After taking my luggage, Barry, the driver, suggested that I sit on the front row since I’d be the first one dropped off at my destination. He asked if I had been to Houston, and since I hadn’t, he became my tour guide for the next 25 minutes, picking up other customers and then heading into town.

He raved about my hotel and its proximity to sites and restaurants. He mentioned the new bicycle stands that the City had put up around town. He pointed out the baseball field and the convention center as we arrived. At this point, Barry seemed more like a representative of the Houston Chamber of Commerce than he did an employee of the shuttle company.

He described how and when to reserve the shuttle for my return to the airport (which I did), and he noted that I could track my pickup shuttle real-time online to know exactly where the van was at all times (which I did).

As I was preparing to leave Houston two days later, I got an automated call noting that the shuttle would arrive in 10 minutes. And the shuttle arrived 10 minutes later.

This experience (to and from the hotel) was a combination of great attitudes, processes, and systems.

How customer-oriented and integrated are your organization’s attitudes, processes, and systems?

Look for a little shuttle magic in your organization.