strategy

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

Let Your Goal Determine Your Question - 2/2/21


In the early 2000s, when the economy hit the skids, companies realized that they couldn’t take their customers for granted.  They needed to ramp up customer service.  They needed to listen to the Voice of the Customer. During the Great Recession in the 2008-10 timeframe, much of the “new marketing Read more

Excellence is Not Perfection, and that’s OK - 1/26/21


Surveys have questions with ratings that range from Excellent to Poor.  We custom-design and deliver Service Excellence Training.  Tom Peters wrote the book “In Search of Excellence.” But how do you define Excellence, particularly in customer service?  Let’s start with what Excellence is not.  Excellence is not something reflected in Read more

Bring Magic to Your Account Management - 1/19/21


One of our first sports-industry clients was the Orlando Magic.  They were a true leading-edge organization in the early 2000s when it came to dedicating resources to season ticket holder retention.  They didn’t make customer service, relationship-development, and renewals simply a function of the Sales department.  They broke it Read more

Customers Want Easy, but Easy is Difficult - 1/12/21


New employees go through days of training to learn products and services.  They have formal workshops to learn how to use their office applications, web functions, and whatever programs are specific to their department.  They test new technology, and they get quizzed on knowledge of policies.  This is hours Read more

Make 2021 the Year of Building Relationships - 1/5/21


I’ve been very fortunate over this company’s 20+ years in business to have great and long-lasting relationships with many clients, colleagues, business partners, and co-workers.  It’s a gift to be able to call on these individuals for advice or referrals or to be a sounding board.  And it’s just Read more

Bring Warmth During Winter - 12/29/20


Winter is upon us.  Now, winter can mean different things to different people in different regions, but just the word conjures up cold.  It conjures up visions of snow.  It conjures up feelings of wind and lack of warmth. Although some of us may like the cold at times of Read more

2020 Holiday Poem - 12/22/20


When in the role of customer service,We are wired to give and give.It’s built into our DNA.It’s simply the way we live. In order to give to others,We need to find ways to give them their fill.We need to pour empathy and openness into them.To serve, we need to have Read more

Let Dialogue Drive Service Delivery – 10/6/15 TOW

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


In talking with a client recently, they shared their approach to developing future services. Thinking 10 years down the road, they noted how technology, the community, and customer needs all would change.

This is a company with strong relationships with customers, and although they value innovation and creativity, what they value most is the relationship with their customers.

The core of their development of new services was described, and if you pulled out all the fancy terminology and new age infographics, their approach to new service development is simply based on having ongoing dialogue with customers.

The company described an iterative process where they initiate dialogue with current customers and non-customers. They ask about changing needs, preferences, and desires. They ask anticipatory questions about future trends, and they ask about what the company could best do with services and the experience used to deliver the services.

In short, they let customer dialogue drive the approach to service delivery.

Your customers use your services, they pay for your products, they judge your experience, and they stay or leave – they talk you up or down with friends – based on their opinion of your organization.

Uncover what they want and need and how they’d like to receive it, then deliver on those desires.

Let Dialogue Drive Service Delivery.

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I’m Big on the “Same Page” – 7/1/14 TOW

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


Let’s get on the Same Page. How do you get everyone on the Same Page, going in the same direction? Before we move forward, let’s make sure we’re on the Same Page. You need to ensure you’re on the Same Page with your customer before you end the call.

I seem to find myself using the phrase “Same Page” over and over again. I’ll use it in training, when providing strategic guidance on culture change, in meetings with my clients, and in one-on-one discussions with staff.

The phrase comes out of my mouth so often because it applies to so much in service interactions and service cultures. In healthcare, you often have to communicate with patients about next steps. What must the patient do to care for themselves at home post-discharge? Who must they contact to talk about billing and insurance? Where should they go, and how should they prepare for an upcoming procedure? Getting on the “Same Page” means that you and that patient have a common understanding of what needs to happen next and when.

Many local governments are trying to change their cultures to be more flexible, more customer service-oriented, more high-tech while maintaining high-touch. So their employees may have to change behaviors and mindsets; they have to understand their greater purpose beyond the policies and procedures, and beyond the codes and ordinances. The leaders must get everybody on the “Same Page” about the reason government exists and the important role that customer service plays in serving the community.

In one-on-one personal conversations, the phrase “Same Page” suggests that all parties understand the situation, the goals, the next steps, and timeframes. This leads to well-understood expectations, work more likely done right the first time, and clearer communications.

In more strategic discussions, the phrase “Same Page” suggests that everyone in the organization understands what they’re here to do, and everyone understands their role in moving toward objectives, goals, and vision.

Communicate more clearly with others. Ensure that conversations don’t end before you’re on the Same Page.


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.

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