“7 Slight Edges to Creating a Customer Service Culture”

According to a JD Power study, companies that have a culture committed to great customer service will grow at twice the rate of their competition.

April was a milestone for me, I reached my 27th year of being in the training business. I designed and presented my first workshop in April of 1988. Where were you in April of 1988? images

In that time I have worked with companies throughout the US, up and down the Americas, back and forth to Moscow, and to West Africa. What I’ve learned in dealing with these companies is that they are committed to keeping their customers and growing from the inside out. As I worked with these companies I noticed they all did certain things to help them keep their customers, they are little things that make a big difference in the level of service they provide. I called these things “slight edges” and I saw there are seven of them.  Continue reading

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“Sometimes We Have to Terminate for the Greater Good”

Twenty five years ago I was having lunch with my manager and he told me he was going to fire a coworker that day. I was new to the training business, I was a salesperson but I knew I wanted to be a facilitator. I was trying to soak up everything about management, leadership, owning a company, everything. So, I asked if I could sit in the meeting as a learning experience. My boss said, “Well, HR says I have to have a witness so, sure, you can sit in the meeting.”download (1)

That afternoon the meeting started, it was my boss, my coworker and me sitting off to the side, strictly as an observer. My manager said to my coworker, “All companies go through changes and today you’re one of those changes.” Angered by the cruel remark my coworker jumped out of his chair and attacked my boss. I stepped in between them to separate them. They were shouting and throwing punches grabbing each other clothes. Someone called the police, a fellow employee came in the office to help separate the two. It was quite a scene.

After the police escorted the terminated employee out my boss said to me, “That did not go the way I had it planned.” Really!? Continue reading

“Is Your Level of Customer Service a Hoax?”

Here in the Twin Cities there is a well-established company, that shall remain nameless, that attempts to build buyers’ confidence by offering a money back guarantee. The guarantee Economicsclearly states that, if for any reason, you are not satisfied with your purchase; the company will return your investment. They even have a line that reads, “No ifs, ands, or buts’.” Forget that the statement makes no sense. The company also brags about how they have never had to return any customers’ investment.

Well you knew this had to happen.  An international client felt they didn’t receive the kind of service they had hoped for and asked for a return of their money, and the local company said no.   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

I am So Sick of Hearing About Zappos

I am so sick of hearing about Zappos in the blog-o-sphere. You know Zappos, the online shoe company that’s famous for delivering great customer service–or so we hear.

You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting some kind of story about the great and may I say, unbelievable, level of service they provide. Zappos employees are rewarded for going above and beyond everyday customer service. One story is, after a late night of barhopping and getting back to the hotel after the room service was shutdown, a guy called Zappos, the customer service representative then was able to locate the nearest late-night pizza delivery imagesand placed an order for him. In another story, a woman called Zappos to return a pair of boots for her husband because he died. The next day, she received a flower delivery, which the call center rep had billed to the company without checking with her supervisor. Zappos often gives “surprise” free upgrades to overnight shipping for customers. And, when you call into their call centers there are no limit on the amount of time the rep can spend with you. The longest call reported is 10 hours 29 minutes. Continue reading