story

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

To Assure, Ensure You Do This - 2/9/21


Vince Lombardi – famous professional football coach – became a big hit on the speaker’s circuit during his time coaching.  He applied many of his principles in football and life to business, and one of his great business quotes is:  Confidence is contagious and so is lack of confidence, Read more

Less Ego, Better Customer Service – 8/2/16

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week 1 Comment


Tonya was a relatively new radiology tech at the hospital. She had been out of training and into her routine for months, and she was very confident. She could get a clear scan (“pretty” is what she calls them), a picture easy for the physician to read.

But this situation was different She couldn’t get clear pictures with the ultrasound, and it was starting to take some time. She kept searching for the right angle, and it just wasn’t working. So Tonya turned to the patient, smiled, and said “I’m going to get another tech to help so we can get this wrapped up for you.”

She left the exam room and came back about a minute later with a co-worker – her supervisor. The supervisor introduced herself to the patient, continued with the scan, and offered advice to Tonya on how to more quickly get the desired scan.

Shortly, the patient left, Tonya had learned some new tips, and the staff were on to the next patient.

Tonya could have kept working on her own, as her ego could have kept her from asking for help. Instead, she had a sense for how the process was going and how it was going to continue. She had a sense of the patient’s patience, but she also didn’t want to abuse that patience with an excessive procedure.

She knew that the best customer experience would involve a quicker completion, so she took the steps needed on the patient’s behalf.

Don’t let ego get in the way of good customer service. Ask for help.

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WOW with a UFU – 6/21/16 TOW

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The doctor personally called the little girl’s mom two days after the successful procedure, just to check-in on how her daughter was doing.

The server manning the Take Out station at the restaurant knew the customer made it a point to state she wanted a burger cooked medium well (little-to-no red in the middle). She called the customer about 30 minutes after the customer left the restaurant to confirm the burger was cooked appropriately.

The account representative called the season ticket holder during the summer. The fan was getting older and had been struggling with walking and might need knee surgery. The employee wanted to see how the customer was doing.

Not to be confused with UFOs, these are UFUs – Unexpected Follow-ups. They occur after the procedure, after the transaction, after the season. There’s no transaction to make – it was already made. There’s no sale to make – it was already made. There’s no issue to resolve – there’s no problem to address.

The follow-up was unexpected. The follow-up was a WOW!

To WOW your customer, you don’t always have to go “above and beyond” or give them some item of great value.

Instead, show that you value them. Contact them to ask about…them. Convey you care. Share information that they mentioned once to you, but your memory of it makes them remember you for the next thousand days.

Get away from a pure focus on the transactions. Consider the relationships. Consider the long-term. Consider reaching out to one person today that you saw a few yesterdays ago.

Contact them to ask them about…them.

WOW with a UFU.

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Plant the Seed of Customer Service Success – 6/7/16 TOW

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After many stories over the years of poor customer service in a big box home improvement store, here’s a positive story – it’s a story about how ideas sometimes are better than answers.

If you’ve ever been a novice gardener (which I am) somehow heading up a community garden (which I am) and seeing plants having their tops eaten off about 3 feet above ground (which is happening), you know the pain I’m feeling. The entire community garden is fenced in, so there’s only one way in – OVER the fence.

Yes, deer are jumping over our 7-foot fence like it was a 6” curb, and they’re having some glorious meals! Since I’m not any kind of expert gardener nor an expert in all things deer, I Googled my heart out only to find some less-than-appealing solutions often having to do with other animals or Irish Spring soap.

The most logical suggestion is to raise the fence.

So I went to a local big box home improvement store and wandered around somewhat aimlessly when – shock of shocks – an employee walked up to me and asked if he could help.

“I’m not even sure what I’m looking for,” I replied, “but here’s my issue.” I explained the issue and told him about my thought of how to raise the 22 posts around the garden by 3 feet using a particular type of tapered metal spike.

If he were to answer my question about whether they had such a spike, the answer would have been “No.”

Instead, he offered multiple ideas, multiple options – all were ways to raise the height with different types of materials, different ways to secure this additional 3-feet of fence to the posts. He didn’t answer a question about the spike – he offered a multitude of sound ideas to address the problem.

This is the 20th century, and many people can get an answer from the internet, so when they go to you for service – to help with a need or issue – they often need something more than an answer. They want creative ideas that lead to options and ultimately – a cost-effective quality solution.

When faced with a customer’s question, assess the question to understand the “why” of it. What they may really be seeking is your idea, your creativity, your solution. These are the times when your “No” won’t help them, but your consultative support will.

Know when a customer wants an idea, not just an answer.

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