values

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

Assuming the Solution – The Great Time Waster - 12/3/19


Here are 3 customer service scenarios for a college IT department: A staff member calls in and says that they’re having trouble logging in.  The employee responds:  “I can reset your password for you.” A faculty member calls IT and says: “I need help showing a video during class Read more

Become a Best Practice - 11/26/19


When evaluating the service that our clients provide to their customers, we look at all sorts of things – from employee attitudes to knowledge, from service skills to procedures, systems, and technology.  We look at navigation to and within the facilities, and we look at layout and signage and Read more

Serve with Integrity - 11/19/19


I’ve been reading a book recently about a Charlotte-based service company, and the author of the book conveys the CEO’s perspective on management, culture, and serving customers. At the back of the book, the author noted the organization’s Core Values. They are honesty, integrity, fairness, and respect. I literally Read more

Serve with Integrity – 11/19/19

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

I’ve been reading a book recently about a Charlotte-based service company, and the author of the book conveys the CEO’s perspective on management, culture, and serving customers. At the back of the book, the author noted the organization’s Core Values. They are honesty, integrity, fairness, and respect. I literally did a double-take on the pages, because my company’s Core Values are respect, honesty, fairness, and integrity. Yes, the order is different, but the values are the exact same!

Maybe it’s a crazy coincidence, or maybe it’s that these are just really good values for any organization to have that truly wants to care about its team members and its customers.

Among those values, the one I want to discuss is integrity. Integrity is an important word, but it’s not always the most easily understood word. There was even a commercial a few years back where elementary school children were talking about the importance of integrity and defining it in their own words.

The way the CEO whose book I’m reading defined it was: Doing the right thing in all circumstances. It includes doing what we say we will do.

The way my company defines it is: Uncompromising adherence to moral and ethical principles.

Those definitions are not the exact same, but they don’t necessarily conflict either. The point is that we will be ethical. We will do what we say we will do. And we’re consistent about it.

My company uses the word “uncompromising.” The CEO of the service company uses the phrase “in all circumstances.”

The reason why this is important is not just because it is the right thing to do and the right way to treat other people, but it implies consistency. And where there is consistency in taking action that you stated you would take, where there is consistency in doing what is fundamentally right – the ethical thing – then you build trust.

In the long-term, you don’t want to work with somebody you cannot trust. Employees will not follow a leader they cannot trust. Customers will not stay with companies which they cannot trust.

To build lasting relationships, ensure that integrity is one of your Core Values.

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I want to be an Astronaut – 9/10/19

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When I was young, if a child was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, the answers were often a fireman, a Pro Football player, a teacher, somebody who got to drive a truck, or an astronaut. Maybe the question is still asked today, and, if so, I’m not sure how similar or different the answers may be from my childhood experiences. But when the question is asked, the child is basically stating what he or she wants to become. It is sharing their vision of their future.

And once a child – or anyone of us for that matter – identifies a vision, then we can start charting the course to get there. It makes no sense to chart a course to nowhere.

It’s the same thing in the world of business and in the world of customer service. We need to start with the vision.

What do we want to become or achieve as an organization or as an individual? What is our vision for the great customer experience that we’re going to deliver to our clients, and is that their vision as well?

If the vision for the great customer experience is going to help us to achieve our overall vision, then the next step is to ask: What’s our vision for the desired culture? In theory, the culture of an organization is set up to help the organization succeed, so that culture should help to deliver a great experience, it should help to deliver on the organization’s vision!

And what is culture? It is how we do things around here. It’s how we talk to each other, how we work together, how we make decisions together, how we serve each other and serve others together.

Take a few minutes individually or as an organization and just pause. Make sure that you have a clearly articulated vision. Then work back to make sure that you know what your role is and what you need to be in order to move yourself and your organization toward that vision.

Envision the future to become the future.

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It’s Decision Time. What are you going to do? – 6/11/19

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

Serving others is tough. Whether it’s dealing with an irate customer, having to field the same question from the 100th different customer this month, or keeping 10 plates spinning while still smiling in front of the client, it’s hard.

You want to do a great job, and you’re constantly put into a position to make decisions. Those decisions lead us down Path A or Path B. Those decisions make our life easier or harder. Those decisions help the bottom line or hurt the bottom line. And those decisions make the customer happy or upset.

What makes those decisions so hard is that one decision might help the bottom line but make the customer upset. Another decision might make your life harder but make the customer happy.

I’m not in your shoes, so I cannot tell you what decision to make. Each one of you makes hundreds of decisions each week at work and in your personal life. Neither you nor I can anticipate every situation that you’ll be presented with or every question you’ll have to consider.

But what will make your work-related decisions easier is to at least have a starting point. Even before you’re presented with a situation, know and document the principles that will guide your decision-making.

Here are some key principles to consider in your decision-making processes if your job is customer service related: Be ethical. Do what’s best for the customer now. Do what helps the organization long-term.

These might seem short and simple, but it’s amazing how the appropriate decision becomes much clearer if each alternative is tested against these principles.

What principles guide your decision-making at work? Know them, write them down, and remember them.

The next time you make a decision, let your principles be your guide.

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