success

Make it Crystal Clear - 5/21/19


Sometimes we communicate so well, and sometimes we don’t communicate as well as we think we do. When you’re trying to set or manage another person’s expectations, what you say may be very clear to you, but the reality is it may not be clear to the other person. Read more

Harvey Wrote the Book on Focus...and Golf - 5/14/19


In Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, the famous golf instructor provides many key tips about golf that just as well could apply to life in general. One such tip is the following: Once you address the golf ball, hitting it has got to be the most important thing in Read more

Stop Rolling Your Eyes - 5/7/19


Most of our customer service tips offer advice and guidance. But advice and guidance is useless if the individual receiving it is not willing to listen, learn the theory behind it, and try to apply what they’ve heard or learned. I’ve personally facilitated hundreds of training sessions with clients over Read more

Should you tell the customer? The Employee’s Dilemma - 4/30/19


Last week we looked at the dilemma that many companies face – When there is an issue that is going to happen, should they tell the customer? This week, let’s address that same question from the employee’s perspective. I personally experience employees struggling with this question when I’m in Read more

Should you tell the customer? The Company’s Dilemma - 4/23/19


I have a lot of clients that struggle with this question, both at a company/strategic level as well as an individual representative level. When there is an issue that is going to happen, should you tell the customer? This week we’re going to address the question at the Read more

Customer for Life – The Final Step - 4/16/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Third Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Address what will keep them. Now, we’re sharing the Fourth and Final Step. To have a Customer for Life, you have to grow your relationship with them. While the 3rd step is the Read more

Use the Actions of Empathy - 4/9/19


I firmly believe that the most important personal trait of someone in customer service is empathy. If empathy is understanding the other person, then it’s very difficult to truly serve someone that you don’t understand. Particularly when they’re upset or irate, being empathetic and getting them to Read more

Customer for Life – The Third Step - 4/2/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Second Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Never let a relationship go stale – keep the communication going. Now, we’re sharing the Third Step. To have a customer for life, you have to address what will keep them. Read more

Facial Recognition is the Future of Customer Service - 3/26/19


According to a recent New York Times article, facial recognition is the future of retail customer service. A trend in technology for retail businesses is to utilize facial recognition technology in order to better know who is entering your business. The idea is that if somebody within Read more

Customer for Life – The Second Step - 3/19/19


Two weeks ago, we shared a Customer Service Tip on how to get (and keep!) a Customer for Life. We addressed the First Step, Knowing what you need to know about the other person. Now, we’re sharing the Second Step. To develop a relationship with anyone, there has to Read more

When It’s Definitely Okay to Fail – 2/23/16 TOW

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


Do you ever encourage failure? Do the leaders in your organization say “please fail?”

While rarely – if ever – should failure be the goal, fear of failure can lead to mediocrity. Avoiding the potential for failure can lead to inaction. And in a competitive world, it’s ironic that mediocrity and inaction eventually lead to that same failure that a company (or individual) is trying to avoid.

I heard a basketball coach recently mention that success in the game is built off many failures in the practices. In a business sense, success in serving a customer is often built off trial and error in a company’s “practice sessions.” A successful journey toward a goal often involves healthy conflict and creative ideas tossed aside for even better ideas.

It’s okay to fail in a company’s practice sessions. It’s okay to have healthy conflict and toss good ideas aside for better ideas.

Those failures are what make greater success possible.

What are your company’s practice sessions? Are they role-plays on customer situations? Is it user-testing of a new web portal? Is it piloting a new process or approach to serving customers?

What are your company’s idea-generation sessions? Are they robust enough that there’s conflict and deep, thought-provoking discussion? Are enough ideas being generated that the good can be set aside for the better, and the better tabled in favor of the best?

Identify in what you need to succeed as an organization. Then create opportunities to practice possible situations. Develop and debate ideas to move toward the best solution.

Create opportunities to fail so that you can move closer to success.

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Build Your Customer Service Energy – 12/29/15 TOW

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I am NOT a high energy person. It started late in college when my mom actually had me tested for anemia because I complained about being tired. First of all, I never knew there was such a test. Second, I learned it doesn’t pay to complain. I was hoping it was just a case of being a Senior in college and having a few too many late nights, but it turned out to be just who I was…and am.

Although I’m fairly laid-back, when I give a speech or facilitate a workshop on customer service, culture change, or client retention – participants invariably compliment me on my energy level.

But how can this be?

Maybe it’s adrenaline, but – even if it is – it’s adrenaline that comes from being with people I sincerely want to help, people whose questions and concepts make my synapses fire! It’s about engaging others in dialogue, in conversation – it’s about getting to know others to the point that you want to help them.

Maybe you’re not the highest energy person, and all the espresso and 5-hour ENERGY shots won’t help you sustain energy with customers. Instead, take a different approach.

View an interaction with a customer or co-worker as an opportunity to sincerely help someone. It’s an opportunity to engage with a unique and often very interesting person. It’s a situation where you’re having an intellectual discussion or personal conversation – it’s dialogue and engagement.

Each “Moment of Truth” is an opportunity for you to help others, learn a little more about the world, and share a little of yourself with the world.

Almost irrespective of the topic, each interaction is one of life’s little moments – and those little moments and the opportunities that they provide to engage others are energy-building opportunities.

Use the opportunity of the engagement to build your customer service energy.

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Teach People How to Teach You – 7/7/15 TOW

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I was privileged to be at a school district’s leadership conference recently, and a portion of the morning activities included a student panel talking about their experiences (good and bad) during their time in the school system.

One of the students – a high schooler who was blind – noted his frustration when he entered middle school because the teachers didn’t know how to teach someone who couldn’t see. So the student decided that at the start of each semester, he would write a letter to the teachers that told them how to teach him.

Imagine that – a student telling a teacher how to teach him – incredible story and brilliant idea by this young man; the idea enhanced his learning and the experience for the teachers as well.

This is a story from which we can all learn a lesson.

Maybe you don’t have the greatest boss in the world – they’re not great at asking what you need to be successful, or they’re not the best at growing your professional skills and getting the most out of you.

Find ways – a letter, a chat over coffee, an informal sit-down meeting in a conference room – to tell them about how to best work with you for their benefit, your benefit, and the benefit of the company and customer.

Let’s look at a different application of this story. What could you learn by asking the customer how you can best help them? Instead of telling them that you’ll send an e-mail follow-up, ask how they’d like you to communicate with them. Instead of mapping out your own relationship development plan, ask what’s the best way for you to learn about them to ensure you best know their needs and goals. Instead of telling them how they can learn more about your products, services, and customer service resources, ask how they’d like to learn about them.

Learn from this inspiring student – teach others how to teach you.

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