“Are You Efficient or Effective? Is There a Difference?”

Leaders today must be both efficient and effective to reach company and department goals, to engage employees, to retain more customers and to reduce employee turnover.

Finding someone, anyone who can be both is a rare find, it’s like finding Bigfoot.effective-communication

Most managers, usually excel at one. It may be they are efficient and great at meeting deadlines. But the problem maybe the leader uses a risk or reward style of motivation. If all is going poorly, the threat of working late. If all is going well, pizza Friday. Continue reading


“3 Reasons Why I call Exceptional Service the Necessary Evil”

I call exceptional service the necessary evil for a few different reasons.  First, it’s necessary, ServiceSign.29203237we have to do it, if we don’t, our competition will.  But there are three problems with exceptional service that makes it evil.

It can be duplicated.

Let me paint a picture for you.  If I own an auto repair station, and you own an auto repair shop, and you’re my competition, and you hear part of what I give my customers after doing business with me is a free car wash. Can you start washing the cars of your customers?  Sure you can.  If I hear you’re filling the gas tanks of your customers before you give the car back, can I start filling gas tanks?  Of course I can.  That’s a big problem with exceptional service; it can be duplicated.   Continue reading

Be of Service


Here’s a question for you, don’t over think it, it’s not a trick question. What does Harley-Davidson Manufacture? Motorcycles, right? Sure they are in to other things like apparel but, they make motorcycles. OK, here’s another question for you, this one is the trick question. What does Harley-Davidson sell? Now your answers may be more like, the open road, bad-boy image, or an American style. What does a good realtor sell? To some it may be the American Dream, for others it may be an investment.  What does a good travel agent sell?  For you it may be rest and recreation. For me, when I’m talking with my travel agent, I know I’m going someplace to earn money.

The next slight edge is ‘be of service.’ Companies that deliver great customer service, don’t talk about what their products and services are, they talk about what their products and services do for the customer—how they serve. More specifically, they talk about how their product or service will help customers reach their goals or fix their problems or make them feel; how it will serve. Continue reading

7 Slight Edges to Keeping Your Customers

The “7 Slight Edges” the seemingly little things that make a big difference in the level of service you provide.  These are from my 25 years of experience working with companies that are great at keeping their customers.

Big Picture Thinking; Companies that deliver great service know ‘why’ they deliver great service.  They know and understand what’s in it for them, for the customer, and for their employees.  Companies that see the Big Picture demonstrate a long term thinking process.

Courage; Companies that deliver great service have courage.  They take action on their ideas to deliver great service.  They aren’t afraid to try new and different things to show customers they are important to them.  Sometimes there are barriers that keep us from going forward and many times these barriers are self-imposed.

Faith; Delivering great service means having faith.  Faith is belief in something we have no proof of.  We may think that standing up and shaking our customers’ hand will bring them back but, we really don’t have proof they come back because of that greeting.  But, companies that deliver great service know that it does, they have faith.

Effort; To deliver great service, companies must make delivering great service the center of daily operations.  It’s the first thing on their mind, not the second thing.  Companies that excel in delivering great service make it their top priority.

Economics; Economics is the skill of earning more money than you spend.  It’s difficult to deliver great service if your focus is on, not the customer but, the upcoming lease payment you’re going to have trouble making.

Ask Affirming Questions; Affirming questions look for the solution, they typically start out, “How can I..?”  Or, “What can I…?”  Companies that deliver poor service and they are faced with an upset customer, ask questions like, “What’s the problem?”  Or, “What’s wrong?”  These non-affirming questions don’t look for solutions.  We need to ask affirming questions, questions that demonstrate that we’re here to help, to look for solutions.  People who deliver great service to the customer don’t ask the upset customer, “What’s the problem?” they ask “How can I help?”

Be of Service; What does Harley Davidson make?  Motorcycles, right?  What does Harley Davidson sell?  If you said things like, the open road, a ‘made in America’ image, or a bad boy style, you would be right again.  Companies that excel in delivering great service don’t talk about what their products and services are, they talk about what they do, how they serve.