vision

Make it Crystal Clear - 5/21/19


Sometimes we communicate so well, and sometimes we don’t communicate as well as we think we do. When you’re trying to set or manage another person’s expectations, what you say may be very clear to you, but the reality is it may not be clear to the other person. Read more

Harvey Wrote the Book on Focus...and Golf - 5/14/19


In Harvey Penick's Little Red Book, the famous golf instructor provides many key tips about golf that just as well could apply to life in general. One such tip is the following: Once you address the golf ball, hitting it has got to be the most important thing in Read more

Stop Rolling Your Eyes - 5/7/19


Most of our customer service tips offer advice and guidance. But advice and guidance is useless if the individual receiving it is not willing to listen, learn the theory behind it, and try to apply what they’ve heard or learned. I’ve personally facilitated hundreds of training sessions with clients over Read more

Should you tell the customer? The Employee’s Dilemma - 4/30/19


Last week we looked at the dilemma that many companies face – When there is an issue that is going to happen, should they tell the customer? This week, let’s address that same question from the employee’s perspective. I personally experience employees struggling with this question when I’m in Read more

Should you tell the customer? The Company’s Dilemma - 4/23/19


I have a lot of clients that struggle with this question, both at a company/strategic level as well as an individual representative level. When there is an issue that is going to happen, should you tell the customer? This week we’re going to address the question at the Read more

Customer for Life – The Final Step - 4/16/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Third Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Address what will keep them. Now, we’re sharing the Fourth and Final Step. To have a Customer for Life, you have to grow your relationship with them. While the 3rd step is the Read more

Use the Actions of Empathy - 4/9/19


I firmly believe that the most important personal trait of someone in customer service is empathy. If empathy is understanding the other person, then it’s very difficult to truly serve someone that you don’t understand. Particularly when they’re upset or irate, being empathetic and getting them to Read more

Customer for Life – The Third Step - 4/2/19


Two weeks ago, we addressed the Second Step of keeping a Customer for Life: Never let a relationship go stale – keep the communication going. Now, we’re sharing the Third Step. To have a customer for life, you have to address what will keep them. Read more

Facial Recognition is the Future of Customer Service - 3/26/19


According to a recent New York Times article, facial recognition is the future of retail customer service. A trend in technology for retail businesses is to utilize facial recognition technology in order to better know who is entering your business. The idea is that if somebody within Read more

Customer for Life – The Second Step - 3/19/19


Two weeks ago, we shared a Customer Service Tip on how to get (and keep!) a Customer for Life. We addressed the First Step, Knowing what you need to know about the other person. Now, we’re sharing the Second Step. To develop a relationship with anyone, there has to Read more

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

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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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Be Clear on What You Value – 11/11/14 TOW

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Today is Veteran’s Day in the United States of America. Many veterans, those currently serving in the military, and those who have friends/relatives who have served seem to have a strong attachment to their particular branch of the service. The values espoused by the branches often relate to courage, honor, loyalty, respect, and integrity. Those associated with the military latch onto those words and try to embody them in all they do.

To a business, those words are akin to the Core Values of an organization. They represent what the organization wants its culture, its people, its image to be about; Core Values are the desired characteristics of the employee and the company. Those qualities – when defined – help in so many ways.

Unfortunately, we have some clients that have not yet created Core Values. They have an organizational Mission – so they know what they’re there to do. They often have a Vision – so they know the long-term direction they want to go. But they haven’t defined the fabric of the people they desire to live that Mission daily and move toward that Vision. They can’t look for specific personal qualities of a prospective new hire because those qualities haven’t been defined. They have difficulty rewarding specific attitudes and actions, because the attitudes and actions aren’t fully determined.

Now you may say that – if the company has a Mission and a Vision – they can reward behaviors that align to those; they can hire people to do the job needed to live the Mission.

True, but we’re talking something deeper than a job description. Surely you’ve experienced two people with similar job experience but could tell one would be a better fit organizationally than the other. I’m certain you’ve seen employees with technical skills but without the attitudes or actions that are a symbol of what your company truly values.

On this Veteran’s Day, it’s important to appreciate those that give us the freedoms we have and often take for granted. Let’s learn a lesson from them at the same time. Take time to identify what the organization truly values in its people. Then seek, hire, reward, and retain those that are an example of what makes your company great.

Be Clear on What You Value.

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