values

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

Choose Positivity – 1/2/18

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


I had the opportunity to conduct employee focus groups and facilitate staff conversations for two different clients recently, and there was a common theme among all the groups. It’s intuitive, it’s understandable, but I was still surprised to hear the sentiment.

Employees consistently said they wanted to work in a more positive environment. Most of us would think that it’s intuitive that that’s what employees desire. Most would think it’s understandable that staff would share those perspectives. But I was somewhat surprised to hear it. Why?

Because, I sometimes have trouble understanding why people or organizations would consistently be negative, or why they would avoid sharing positives, or why their only form of motivation was criticism.

When people work 40 hours, 60+ hours a week, would they prefer to spend those 8/10/12 hours a day around others who are positive or negative? Would they prefer to be in an environment where they are appreciated? Would they prefer to have a reward for a great job or only punishment for a bad job?

I know that many are motivated to avoid the negative, or to avoid punishment, or not to get marked down or written up. But when you think of a healthy work environment, one where people’s values align to those of the organization, one where people WANT to go above and beyond – you are envisioning more positive organizations.

This is not a Tip just for managers; this is a Tip for you and me – everybody. People want positive reinforcement more than negative. They want optimism more than pessimism. They want “Let’s hope it works” rather than “I doubt it will.”

I’m not saying that we ignore the bad or should all be Pollyannas. What I am saying is that we have a choice in how we respond. We have a choice on what outlook we’ll take about a situation. We have a choice about how we engage others. We have a choice about whether we convey appreciation or just think it. And we have a choice about whether we look for ways to build up a co-worker or team, or we only look for ways to criticize.

When you make a choice, choose positivity.

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Do They Feel That You Care? – 2/28/17

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Let’s first start by stating the obvious – you can’t control how others feel. Many of us have trouble at times controlling (or even understanding) our OWN feelings.

So what’s up with the title of this Tip of the Week?

I was watching a video created by one of my clients, highlighting a staff person known for her great customer service.

One of her points was telling. A goal she has in every interaction with anyone (customer, co-worker, vendor – anyone) is that they feel that she cares.

She is answering their question. She’s researching their bill. She’s addressing their complaint. Maybe she’s briefly chatting with them in the hallway. She could be in a meeting with them. Possibly she’s the presenter at the meeting.

No matter what she’s doing – she consciously thinks “I want this person to feel that I care.” WOW!

She knowingly can’t control their feelings, but she has a desire for people to feel that she cares.

I do something similar that I’ve written about previously; while I’m speaking to someone, I often think to myself “this is the most important person in the world to me at this moment.”

It’s amazing what that conscious thought does naturally to your level of patience, your focus, your eyes and expressions, the words you decide to use, and the tone of voice that comes through your lips. But I’m not consistent like this person. She’s an all-the-time person.

Why does she try to do this 100% of the time? Maybe she figures that if she tries 100% of the time, she may succeed 80% – and that’s pretty awesome! Maybe she does it because it aligns to her personal values. Maybe she wants to feel cared for, and this is her way of providing what she wants to receive. Maybe she wants to make the (working) world a little better place.

Whatever her reason, let’s try it ourselves. No matter what action you’re taking with or for someone else, tell yourself “I want this person to feel that I care.”

See if it changes the dynamic of the conversation. See if it changes THEIR attitude. See if it changes YOUR day.

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What’s Your Part? – 11/29/16

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Better cultures lead to better service. There have been many studies and corporate examples over the years that convey a clear message. If you want to deliver a high level of customer service, you need a culture of great customer service.

You need a culture of respect – one of courtesy and follow-through. You need a culture where responsiveness to others is valued. You need a culture where the tools of hiring and training and rewarding and accountability all have a component of service to them.

To deliver great service, the culture needs to be one of service.

So what’s your part?

Without being melodramatic, your part is your heart. If your heart is not engaged in what the company is all about, you’re going to have a difficult time delivering the kind of service they want delivered. If your values don’t align with the organization’s values, or if what you see as important in how people should treat others is not seen as important in the organization, it will be difficult for you to play your part.

To play your part, think about and clearly understand what you value in life. Make sure it aligns to your organization’s values. Think about how much respect and responsiveness, how much courtesy and follow-through, how much helping the other person – being selfless – are important to you.

If you truly understand what’s important to you, and the company is aligned with those values, then pour your heart into the organization’s culture. Get engaged with the corporate initiatives that enable you to live your personal values in your workplace. Be one of the reasons why your organization’s culture is great.

Do your part with your heart.

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