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

Where Do You Hang Your Customer Service Hat? – 8/30/16

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When I work with Billy (one of our tech team members) on a survey, he is ultra responsive to e-mails, replying quickly, answering my questions, and providing guidance.

Karen is a joy to work with on project. She’s very organized, exceptional at planning, and before I ask for a status or request an update, she sends it to me – as if she’s reading my mind.

Robin juggles many balls as the office manager. She’s got billing, staff supervision, issues with office equipment, and other activities to address on a daily basis. But when she’s talking to a tenant, it’s as if she has only one job – making that individual feel like the most important person in the world.

When I talk with Mary Elizabeth and share a potential partnering opportunity, she’s very excited – for ME! To her, it’s about what she can do to help me, not what she can get out of it.

Chess is always trying to make things better. When he asks a question, comes up with an idea, or makes a suggestion, it’s always done to improve the service to his clients, develop his staff, or support me in some way.

These are my quick perspectives on five individuals I work with all the time. Some are partners, some are customers, and in some cases – I’m the customer. But regardless of what the main relationship is, at some point I’m serving them or they’re serving me. It’s an ongoing customer service mindset they have regardless of whom they’re addressing.

The perspectives I have on them are based on my assessment of our interactions – my evaluation of their approach to communicating with and serving others.

What do your clients and co-workers think of you when assessing your service? What’s your personal customer service brand?

Identify where you “hang your hat” in customer service – make it what makes you different/special.

Hone your own customer service brand.

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Set Time Aside – 4/19/16 TOW

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Many of our clients struggle when changing organizational culture, impacting morale and organizational success, or getting staff to focus on what’s most important. Great ideas are created, but they often don’t become a sustained reality.

The solutions to this issue with real change not occurring or not sustaining often boil down to one key point: You have to set time aside.

Example #1 (Embedding in Education) – A CSS education client is having difficulty embedding some of its Core Values into its culture. They are communicated periodically, activities are developed for leaders to use with staff, but the culture change is slow and inconsistent. One solution that they are now undertaking involves making these Core Values a standing Agenda item for every meeting. At least 5 minutes of every meeting are set aside for some action, story, recognition, reinforcement, or activity that addresses Core Values. Best case, that Core Value agenda item aligns to the meeting goal, but in any case the values are embedded into their existing meeting structures.

Example #2 (Getting Buy-in in Government) – A local government client of ours is trying to accomplish two key goals concurrently: Raise performance and improve morale. One of the big morale issues is that front-line staff felt that decisions were made by a few leaders with no input from the staff charged with implementation. Putting the plans in place was invariably done last minute, resulted in unforeseen issues, created NO staff buy-in, and put stress on staff. The solution? Ongoing Employee Roundtables are being created; leadership is setting time aside on a recurring basis to get staff input and ideas early on when new products, policies, and processes are being considered. This creates buy-in, makes for better ideation, reduces staff stress, and decreases backend fire-fighting post-implementation.

Example #3 (Reviewing Sports Research) – We have worked with a sports client to create a Voice of the Fan research program for its events at multiple venues, but some venues (typically lower performing ones) aren’t using the data as completely as they could and aren’t participating in the post-survey debrief calls. The solution? The client now requires all venues to set aside time for the debrief calls, and the corporate staff participates on the calls. The venue staff are now ending these calls excited by what they learned, knowing how to best use the results, and aware of the retention and revenue growth opportunities available.

So what are your ongoing organizational challenges? Maybe the challenges are not being effectively addressed because time is not being consistently devoted to the topic.

Set Time Aside.

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2015 Holiday Poem – 12/22/15 TOW

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Run to the store
Quickly surf the net
Wrap up that report
And you’re not done yet.

Cancel a few meetings
Get the top jobs done
Simply making it through the day
Is the new definition of “won.”

It’s hectic and busy
As the year closes fast
It’s running at home and at work
Hoping nothing falls through the cracks.

At some point we should stop
And breathe in nature’s air
Slowly look all around us
At things for which we care.

Focus on what has import
In the grand scheme of things
And your mind won’t focus
On the tasks that work brings.

You’ll start to see people
You’ll focus on eyes and ears
You’ll seek to share smiles
As we close out the year.

You’ll look into others’ hearts
And know that there’s good
You’ll appreciate the little things
More than you thought that you could.

And by resetting the focus
On the most important
The other things become noise
We can more easily tune out.

It will give us energy as well
To direct toward good
And maybe, just maybe
Allow yourself to relax more than you thought that you should.

Allow yourself to relax – take care of yourself. It will make it easier to take care of others in 2016.

Happy Holidays!!

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