success

6 Actions for Attitude Adjustments - 2/18/20


The battle over one’s attitude can feel like a never-ending fight… I need to stop letting little things bother me. I need to not let that customer’s anger infect my mindset.  Just because my co-worker isn’t doing what they said they’d do shouldn’t mean that I should have an attitude Read more

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

An Interesting Tip about Amazing Service – 5/13/14 TOW

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


I listen to a sports talk show periodically, and the host has an interesting habit. He is always making statements such as “It’s really interesting that…” or “What’s amazing is that…” He will then follow-up that statement with an observation or conclusion that he wants you to find interesting, too – so you’ll keep listening.

Sometimes the conclusions aren’t the most interesting such as ‘What’s really amazing is that. . .when I watch the paint dry. . .it actually. . .dries!” Wow?

But there are three extremely useful tips that we can learn from this radio personality. First, the words you use matter – often tremendously. Our goal in customer service includes imparting a feeling to the customer or co-worker that we care for them, that they are valued, and that they are important. And our words impact their perception of whether we care.

Think about a situation where you’re a banker listening to a customer describe their need: “I am looking for a way to open my own jewelry making business using repurposed items like old necklaces, broken bracelets, etc. But I need some capital to acquire tools and develop a website.”

You could respond “We offer loans,” or you could respond “Wow! That’s a really interesting concept; what a great idea to use old jewelry to make attractive, new items to sell! And we definitely have funded many creative companies like yours.”

In both cases you might provide the loan, but which response will more quickly establish a rapport and increase the likelihood of the customer wanting to go with your bank?

What about the patient in the physician’s practice that notices a spill that nobody cleaned up? You could respond “We’ll take care of that,” or you could respond “Thanks so much for bringing that to my attention. That helps a lot – we don’t want anyone stepping in it or slipping. I REALLY appreciate it.”

Which response better conveys how much you value them and what they’ve done?

Second, avoid a tone that wreaks of sarcasm or indifference – offer a sense of sincerity with your tone. And third, avoid the hyperbolic statement such as: “Thank goodness you told me about the spill! Someone could have died! You just saved a life!”

Remember that the sincere interjection of some key words (interesting, amazing, appreciate, thank, sharing, etc.) helps the other person to feel valued, important, and appreciated.

Convey interest with a few amazing words.


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.


Motivate Yourself? – 3/18/14 TOW

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week 2 Comments


How often have you heard the expression “self-motivated?” It’s usually used to describe others such as “That job applicant is obviously NOT self-motivated” or “Joe needs to be more self-motivated.”

So what exactly are these (typically) managers saying when they lament a lack of self-motivation in others? It’s usually that they don’t know how to motivate someone, and it’s frustrating to them. It could also be that they don’t want to have to motivate someone. They’d rather that employees motivate themselves.

“They get to keep their job – isn’t that motivation enough?!”

Well this Tip has a simple idea that will make those managers (the good ones and bad ones) happy. This advice will also help those of us who don’t get the outside motivation we need.

It’s simple – 3 Steps. Step #1: Make a Success List every day. This is what I do (and it works).

At the start of the day, get out a blank sheet of paper, and write “Successes” at the top. Then throughout the day, note a word or two to remind yourself of one of your accomplishments. Today, for example, I have 5 successes so far (I just write on my sheet what you see to the left of the hyphen below):

  • Bob Smith – The name of a client who said he’d be a reference for CSS for some pro sports mystery shopping work
  • Client X Mtg – A sales meeting I had this morning that went great
  • Article Published! – Notes an article that was published today
  • Great Interview – A helpful telephone interview with a client to share information in preparation for some upcoming training
  • Survey Launched – We launched a new survey today.

By the way, completing this Tip of the Week will be #6!

You don’t use the Success List as a rehash of your To Do’s. There may be some of that on there, but it’s basically your accomplishments – a customer conversation that went well, some kudos you received in an e-mail, some interest on a new project, some thank you that a customer provided, or a word of encouragement from a co-worker or supervisor. Maybe it’s the fact that your week is planned or you reduced the backlog of work. Maybe you went through an old file and purged some old documents.

Whatever it is, write it down.

Here’s Step #2 – Read it as the last thing you do before you go home.

And Step #3 – Read it again as the first thing you do to start the day.

Being self-motivated is a wonderful attribute, but not many of us – day in and day out – can do that without intent. Be intentional. Recognize your own successes. Pat yourself on the back – you deserve it!

Create your own daily “Success List.”