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

Let the Customer Define Your Values – 4/7/15 TOW

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


Why would I let someone else define my Values? I wouldn’t, and neither should you. So don’t let the title throw you for a loop. Instead, view the statement from a different perspective.

Most organizations which try to be intentional about their Mission and Vision also try to be intentional about their Core Values – those qualities that note what’s important to the organization, how their people work together, and how personnel relate to each other and those they serve.

A company could have Core Values such as entrepreneurship, teamwork, respect, responsiveness, openness, and customer-focus. To really live those Values, they need to ensure that the customer experience incorporates many of their Values.

What I’m suggesting is that the organization doesn’t ONLY get employees together to design the experience around those Values. In addition to that part of the process, let your customers define your Values – what do those Values mean to them?

This is best done in Focus Groups, but feel free to tap into any of your Voice of the Customer vehicles to solicit input. Ask them “What does a ‘respectful’ interaction look like to you when you’re talking with our staff?” Inquire about how they define ‘responsiveness,” asking what your organization could do to be responsive to their needs and issues. Ask them what ‘customer-focus’ looks like when they’re the client.

Words can mean different things to different people, and if you want your Values (the words you use) to lead you to a great customer experience, design that experience around your customers’ definition of the words.

Let the Customer Define Your Values.

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Define Your Personal Service Standards – 3/31/15 TOW

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


Many clients are interested in our helping them develop Customer Service Standards and instilling them in their staff. Customer Service Standards are essentially documented expectations of how employees at all levels should treat both internal and external customers. The Standards note desired behaviors and attitudes of staff, and they align to the organization’s Mission, Vision, and Core Values.

But instead of waiting for your company to tell you what they expect, let’s take a step and define our own Personal Service Standards.

Essentially what I want you to ask yourself are 3 key questions:

  • What should my attitude be like, regardless of who I’m interacting with at the time?
  • What should be characteristics of my behaviors when interacting with others?
  • What should be the qualities of how I do my job and serve others, even when nobody’s looking?

To what standard do you hold yourself? What high level of attitude and actions should be just part of who you are, how you do business, and how you serve others?

Maybe the words that pop to mind are “proactive, courteous, engaged, and creative.” Maybe you’re “thoughtful, other-focused, respectful, and patient.” You could be the person who’s “organized, efficient, responsive, and solution-oriented.”

Think about what you expect of yourself. Then live to those expectations. Make the expectations you have of yourself drive you toward great experiences for those you serve.

Define Your Personal Service Standards.

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Get Engaged – 12/30/14 TOW

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


Don’t worry; there will be no pre-wedding discussions here.

When we talk about Engagement in the customer service world, we’re either talking about Employee Engagement or Customer Engagement. And since “Engagement” is a buzzword nowadays, we need to have an understanding of what it really means.

Engagement in business essentially means the level of commitment that an employee or customer has with a business – it often has an emotional component or a tendency toward positive action/participation on the part of the engaged individual.

It goes beyond caring, but it’s based in caring. To take action, to have positive emotion, to be involved and attentive, the starting point is caring about that with which you’re engaged.

But it’s more than caring. One easy way to picture an Engaged community of customers or of employees is to picture the opposite – apathy. If you had apathetic customers, you’d have to bombard them with communications, marketing, offers, and enticements to patronize your business because otherwise they just wouldn’t care.

If you have apathetic employees, when they show for work, the quality and timeliness of what they do, and the attitude they convey to others would essentially be irrelevant to them. It would be all about them, and nothing about the organization.

Organizations should want engaged customers – those customers who are inwardly compelled to be a part of the company. Organizations need engaged employees – those proactively offering ideas and making decisions in the best interest of the company and customer alike.

For Employees
As an employee of an organization, you should want to be engaged. You should want to care enough to initiate positive change, to take ownership over customer needs, to make your organization look good, and to come up with the next great idea.

Ensure your values are in sync with those of your company. Make sure your company’s vision is worth achieving. Look at your customers and co-workers, and decide whether these are individuals you want to help. Get engaged with your company, or look for an opportunity where you can get more fully engaged.

For Businesses
Create values and a vision worthy of engagement. Then, look to hire and promote those individuals who can personally align with the organization’s purpose, how it operates, and where it wants to go.

Be a part of an Engaged Community.

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