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

Make 5 Minute Presentations to Co-workers – 11/3/15 TOW

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


My customer service consulting firm conducts many visioning workshops for clients. The workshops can address the Mission, Vision, Values, Core Beliefs, Statements of Desired Culture, and Definition of a GREAT Client Experience.

At the client’s request, two of this year’s Visioning workshops have incorporated something different and interesting. The Visioning work is necessary because these particular clients are growing, and with new staff and – at times – new functions, there is a lack of understanding that’s developing.

Who works in other divisions? What do they do as individuals? What do they do as a division? How do they impact me? How do I impact them?

Issues can arise because of a lack of understanding of others serving the same customer, others who are “my internal customer,” or those that “serve my department.” There’s miscommunication. There’s a customer being misdirected. There’s one department operating as normal without realizing they’re causing problems and customer complaints for another department.

As a part of these workshops, early on we have leaders of key departments or divisions make 5-minute presentations to others in the room. The presentation can be in any format and any level of formality desired – flexibility is offered to the presenter. However, the focus of the presentation has no flexibility. Every presentation has to answer this key question:

What does your division do for the customer?

If the presenter would like to present other information, they could provide information on services, functions, and/or benefits to the customer. Q&A follows, understanding of common customers and interrelationships are brought to light, and a movement toward a common vision can now begin.

It’s amazing what benefits can result in simple five minute presentations, Q&A, and seeing what everyone in the organization does framed around the customer.

Frame conversations around the customer. Make 5-minute presentations to co-workers.

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Learn How to Swim at a Young Age – 7/14/15 TOW

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When you’re 8 miles from the Canadian border in North Dakota, there’s not much reason to learn how to swim. As a child, you’re more concerned with shooting marbles, building a mini-igloo, and learning how to avoid frost bite.

That’s where and how I grew up, but as I grew older, and moved South, I wished I had learned to be a better swimmer. I wished that I had learned to breathe while doing freestyle. I wished I had learned to float instead of sink to the bottom like a rock.

The reason I wished I’d learned all these things at an early age is that – as I grew older – the fears of the water began to rise, and now the learning process was more about overcoming my mental outlook and fears than learning to refine swimming strokes. I wasn’t (and still today, am not) too old to learn, but it would have been SO MUCH EASIER to have learned swimming at an early age, and it would be so much more enjoyable to be at the pool today.

Maybe this is part of the reason I’m not a proponent of an approach with new hires in a business that is exclusively using on-the-job training. Most organizations have a mission, a vision, and core values. Many have customer service standards. Others have defined best practices for particular processes. Some organizations know what attributes of employees make some great and others more run-of-the-mill.

To assume that new employees will understand the mission, vision, values and standards naturally, to assume they’ll naturally conduct the work in the best manner possible, to assume that they’ll develop the attributes of the highest performing employees naturally is to set them up – and the company – for failure.

An organization with the intention of succeeding and thriving in a culture where employees drive high performance must be intentional about training their new staff on the “whys” of what they do, the expectations of their attitudes and mindsets, and the behaviors of those who excel.

Why? Because it is worlds easier to teach this to a new hire than to retrain and “rewire” a long-term employee.

Be intentional about training new hires to be stars for your company.

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What You Do Shows What You Value – 6/30/15 TOW

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In the middle of the call with the customer service representative, the rep said “I need to let you know that I’m scheduled for my lunch break in 1 minute, so someone else will be handling your call.” One minute later, the caller heard “Hold, Click” and background music. What did that interaction say about what was important to that rep?

After the discharge nurse finished giving discharge instructions to the patient, the discharge nurse left the room. It was shift change, and the first shift nurse who had cared for the patient for the past 3 days was officially off-shift. But that nurse waited until the discharge nurse was done, walked into the room, wished the patient well, and gave the patient a hand-written thank you card. What did that say about what the first shift nurse values?

The customer went to return some shoes in the guest services department of a major retailer. There were three staff behind the counter – ten feet behind the counter to be exact. They were sitting down with their backs to the customer, looking at computers. The customer had to loudly say “Hello!” to get their attention. What did that interaction say about what was most important to the company and the staff?

These three true stories illustrate a very important point. What you do in customer service situations is a reflection of who you are with others, what’s important to you, and what you value.

Make your actions reflect the best of you.

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