success

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

Visualize Your Way to Success – 3/21/17

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


Brandon was having a bad day. Well – technically it was not THAT bad. After all, the worst day spent golfing is better than the best day spent working, or so goes the old saying.

But Brandon could not hit anything well. His shots from the tee were okay, but whenever he put a short iron in his hand, he’d hit it fat. For those of you who aren’t golfers, that means that he would take a swing, and the ball would go only a few yards because he would dig a large chunk of earth out in the process – a half-foot long, 2 inch deep divot would go flying through the air.

It was late in the round, and on #15 Brandon hit his best drive of the day. He was only 100 yards from the hole – a chance for a birdie! Well, that’s what a normal person would visualize. But Brandon saw the small pond just in front of the green. So he took his wedge out of the bag for the short shot, got an extra ball out of his bag, and walked over to his ball to hit.

He got out the extra ball because all he could think about was hitting another fat shot, and he visualized the shot landing in the water. So – of course – he visualized having to hit another shot with the second ball.

What happened? Brandon hit a fat shot; the ball plunked right into the water; Brandon dropped the second ball, and he put the next shot right on the green.

With his first shot, Brandon had visualized failure, and failure ensued.

Many times in the world of customer service, we’re reacting and responding – we don’t know what we’re about to deal with, and it’s hard to have time to visualize. But often, we DO have time to visualize. We do have time to see how we want the conversation to flow, how we want the tone to be, how we want it to end positively.

In life, and golf, and customer service – we can visualize success or visualize failure – and whatever we visualize has a greater chance of happening.

Choose to visualize success.

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Don’t Multiply Your Troubles – 1/31/17

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


What could go wrong? I need to figure that out so I can be prepared to respond in the right way. I need to anticipate the issues that could arise so that I’m prepared for them. After all, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. What are all the roadblocks that I could encounter? I must know them so that I can plan to overcome or avoid them.

While these are good planning-oriented statements, true in life and business, there’s a slippery slope that we must avoid – for our mental health if for no other reason.

Thinking ahead, understanding the worst that can happen, anticipating the issues that could arise – these may all be good things. But keep in mind that – even with the best planning and best intentions – bad things will happen. People will still be upset. Co-workers will still drop the ball. Issues will arise.

We can’t try to be such good planners and anticipators that we not only have to deal with the inevitable issues that will come up today, but we also continuously think of the issues that could happen tomorrow. Imagine our minds being occupied by today’s complaint, and once that’s done we worry about tomorrow’s complaint. We’re dealing with a co-worker’s lack of quality today that ticked off a client; then later we’re worried about the potential for that to happen tomorrow.

With this approach, we’re essentially multiplying our troubles. Adding to the real, tangible issues of today with the “what if” potential issues of tomorrow.

Yes, plan for the future and anticipate how to respond when bad things happen so you’re more prepared for those times when they do arise.

But don’t let the possibility of issues consume your mind. Better service, better days come from a healthier mindset – one where we’re optimistic about tomorrow; we’re hopeful about the future; we envision success.

Yes, plan for what could happen in the future; but avoid occupying your mind with negative “what ifs.”

Don’t multiply your troubles.

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Don’t Carry the Baggage – 11/15/16

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


It’s so easy to react in a certain way, and it’s so natural.

There’s a customer coming toward you – oh no, not THAT customer! Complain, complain, complain.

Fred – your co-worker from Sales – wants to meet with you – ugh. That will take 3 hours, you’ll get in 2 words, and you’ll have 17 To Do’s afterward – without a Thank You!

These are our feelings when we see certain people or know we’re going to encounter them. This is how we react when we see that name come up on caller ID. These are our thoughts when we think we know what is about to happen.

This is our baggage. These are our preconceived negative notions that we take into conversations because we’ve had bad experiences in the past or have heard negative things about an individual.

The problem with carrying this baggage with us into these interactions is that it can cause us to carry a negative attitude – seeking that which bugs us and focusing on what might go wrong. It can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You have a good chance of having the interaction you expect. So expect the conversation will go well. Expect success.

Sure, you only have control over half the conversation – what you say and how well you listen. You have no control over what they say or how well they listen – but control your half with good intention. Control your half with openness. Control your half with a positive attitude. Control your half with professionalism. Control your half with a vision of success.

I know that certain people you have to deal with at work elicit negative reactions. But don’t let that initial reaction taint your approach in your response.

Don’t Carry the Baggage.

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