“Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers”

If a customer has to expend extra energy to have their issue resolved, they are less likely to be loyal.  However, if the customer doesn’t have to put too much effort into resolving their issue, they are more likely to be loyal.  This according to a 2010 published article in Harvard Business Review titled, “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers.” 

But, if you have been following me for the past ten years, whether through my blogs, newsletters, seminars or webinar, you know I’ve said this already.  And I didn’t need to survey 75,000 customers like HBR did. 

I have long said that exceptional customer service is ‘necessary evil’ we have to do it, if we don’t our competition will.  But there are three problems with exceptional service that makes it an evil. 

First, exceptional service is easily duplicated.  Think about it, if I’m your competitor and I hear or witness a service you are providing, that I’m not, can I copy you?  Sure I can.  And now, copying our competition is easier than ever, all I have to do is go to your website and surf around.  And, an unexpected problem from being duplicated is that we, as service providers, are raising our own bar.  We are setting unrealistic expectations on ourselves.  What are the services your our providing that your competition can be easily duplicated?  MORE BELOW.

 Choose one of these three great training tools.  Along with the gift, you will receive a profile form to help us give you the information best suited for you.

Quality Customer Service vs. Exceptional Customer Service;

In this 15 minute audio and power point presentation you learn the difference between Quality Customer Service and Exceptional service.  Why Quality service is more cost effective, creates a positive work environment and gives you a better competitive edge.  And we will show you how exceptional service may actually hurt your business because it is the necessary evil.

If you would like this free training tool, click and send qualitymodel@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

Privacy Policy; your information will not be sold or rented to any third party company and is exclusively for the exchange of content-rich training between your company and Gorman Business Consultants.

Time Management Matrix;

In this 45 minute audio and power point presentation you will learn where your time goes.  Pin-point what are your greatest time wasters?  Identify what are the things only you can do.  And what are the things other people can do.    

If you would like this free training tool, click and send timematrix@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

Maturity Ladder;

In this 45 minute audio with power point presentation you will learn how to assign tasks to the right person based on their level of maturity.  From there you will be able to give the best feedback to ‘grow them up’ the ladder.  All leading to a positive, mature, work environment.

If you would like this free training tool, click and send maturityladder@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

 Second, exceptional customer service can be expensive.  Too many times companies feel they have to ‘giveaway’ products or services to make apology for the mistakes we made.  In truth, if we handle the issue, and handle it quickly, the customer will return with future business for us.  We must remember to address the intellectual needs of the customer by fixing the problem and then their emotional needs by simply saying we’re sorry.

Third, exceptional service has a perception problem.  I may perceive the service you provide for me as excellent but, someone else may say, “They should provide great service, their prices are outrageous!”  Or, to me, great service is a knowledgeable service provider.  But to you, great service may be a clean environment.  If you focus your energies on one and not the other, someone is going to be disappointed with your level of service.  Try as we may, we can’t ‘reach’ everyone.  We are always going to have critics, so why spend time and money on something that has a high percentage of missing the target?

Quality customer service is the avenue to follow when considering where to put your energy to keep the customers you have.   If you would like to know the difference, send me an email for a gift of my 15 minute webinar recording giving you the details.

Thank you.





Effective Communication for Leaders

 Here’s something I think you’ll be interested in.  I have a recorded webinar called, “Effective Communication for Leaders” available for purchase.  This would cover the Quality Leadership Model, Maturity Ladder, Conscious Competent Model, the Engaged Employee, the MBA, Public Praise and Dealing with Non-performance.  

 This is a 90-minute audio webinar of my voice with the same power point from the ‘Effort’ workshop, you also get PPT handouts.  The session is $197.00 and I don’t care how much you use it, there is no limit on usage.  You can put your entire staff through the session.  You can play it on a projector and have several people sit in for a group experience or have your staff go through it individually at their desks.  With the tightening budgets, this is a terrific value.     

 Is it something you would like to try?  Of course there is a money back guarantee if you’re not happy with it.

 Thank you.




What’s the Best Method to Convince a Skeptic?

The answer to the question in this blog title is simple; value their input.  You must ask the skeptic, “What do you need to reach the desired result?” 

Engaged employees produce nine more than the disengaged employee.  Something engaged employees say is that they feel their opinion matters.  The way to demonstrate to them their opinion is important is to “Ask Affirming Questions” about the project they are working on.  You need to ask, “How would you like to appoarch this task?”  “If you were in control of this project, how would you like to see it conducted?”

You need to ask questions that get them looking for ideas and solutions to achieving the desired results.

Only a week left to sign up for my open to the public seminar, “Effort & the Role of Leadership” coming on January 18th and 19th.  Discuss this and hundreds of other time management techniques. 

Please contact me for more information.

Thank you.




The Greatest Time Management Mistake & it’s All in Your Head.

What do you think is your greatest time management mistake?   Allowing interruptions?  Procrastination?  Undisciplined meetings? Actually it’s none of these. 

The greatest time management mistake you make is all in your head, it is deception.  Too many leaders allow themselves to be deceived into losing valuable time on the job.

I mean two things when I say deception. First, I mean when we deceive ourselves about our own level of importance.  If you have read my past blogs or taken my “Effort & the Role of Leadership” workshop you know I put a high priority on leaders tracking their time, you need to keep a time log.  When you keep on for a week you can then sit down and evaluate each task you did and uncover your highest priority.  I believe you’ll have anywhere from 4 to 7 things that only you can do. But, because of deception, I have seen too many leaders get wrapped up in their own importance and feel they are the only one who can do any task. 

I was working with Texas A&M and I put the participants through this exercise–I asked them to list the tasks that only they can do.  After a few minutes I asked the group, “How many of you have 10 things on your list?”  A few hands went up.  Then I asked, “How many of you have over 15 things on your list?”  All the hands but one went down.  I asked the gentleman how many things he had on his list and he said 22! Twenty two things on his list that only he can do, really?  What’s going on with this guy?  He was deceiving himself about his own level of importance; he was deceived into believing he was the only person who could do the tasks on his list.

Here’s another way leaders deceive themselves.  Let’s say, when you were new in business and someone in a leadership position said to you, “A cluttered desk is a cluttered mind.”  So you learn it’s important to always have a clean desk.  And so you put important tasks off while you take the time to clean your desk.

Or, let’s say your boss comes to you at 2:00 and says, “I need you in that meeting today at 3:00.”  And you think, “Well, if the boss says I have to be there, it must be important.”  And then you go to the meeting and find out it has nothing to do with you.  It’s because you were deceived into thinking that, if the boss says be there, it must be important.  Not enough leaders take the time to ask their boss, “Is it OK if I don’t attend the meeting?’

Deception will steal your time.  Make sure you are working on tasks that you and only you can do.  Don’t get hung up on minor tasks like cleaning your desk.  And take a minute to ask your boss, or anyone, if your presence is required in the meeting.



“7 Slight Edges to Keeping Your Customers”

I thought you may be interested in learning about my latest recording.

This highly effective 60-minute webinar recording will provide your employees with the skills to grow revenues by keeping your customer and developing an army of referral sources. 60-minute Webinar recording of “7 Slight Edges to Keeping Your Customers” is now available for purchase.

FAST – No wasted time here. Get right to the heart of the matter in a 1-hour block designed to easily fit into your busy schedule.

CONVENIENT – No airlines. No travel. No time out of the office. Listen from the comfort and convenience of your desk.

ACTIONABLE – Our conference recordings provide cost effective tactics you can start using right when the session ends.

GREAT FOR MULTIPLE LISTENERS – Use speakers attached to your computer and as many people as you want can listen participate – at no extra cost to you. A projector is suggested for the Power Point presentation. Many professionals use these sessions as a cost-effective, time-efficient means of training supervisors, managers, and staff while reinforcing key issues in a fresh, new manner that they will remember and act on.

AFFORDABLE – Priced at $97.00, it is a fraction of the cost of travel and attendance fees for other high-priced conferences or seminars. Pass the recording to all of your employees, a great value!

FACILITATOR – Mark Isaac is an author, skilled trainer and owner of Gorman Business Consultants, a Minneapolis-based consulting firm specializing in customer service and retention. For the past 24 years, he has served as an independent consultant for a broad spectrum of public and private, national, and international companies, providing insights and applications for growing your business from the inside out. Helping ALL employees understand, they can and must help ‘create a customer’ for their organization. To purchase a recording of “7 Slight Edges to Keeping Your Customers” just give me the OK and I’ll send you the link to the recording.

Thank you. Mark mark@gormanbusinessconsultants.com 612-308-3065

Public Praise; Your Key to Positive Feedback

Now that you have effectively given the MBA to a member of your team, see past blog for steps to the MBA, whether they achieved the desired outcome or not, it’s time to give feedback, see past blog for the importance of giving feedback. 

I could write a newsletter about feedback, why managers are bad at it, why is it so important to give, but in this blog I want to write about ‘how to’ give feedback.  I don’t have the space to cover both positive and negative feedback, so I’m only going to write about positive feedback.  I’ll write about what to say when you don’t get the desired outcome later this week. 

I like to call positive feedback, Public Praise.  Because it should be done with co-workers within ear-shot so they can learn from and possibly duplicate the action.  Also, it’s a great way to build the esteem of the person receiving the praise.  Keep in mind, I’m not saying you have to be a cheerleader and embarrass the team member, but it should be done in the open. 

Steps to the Public Praise

  • First, tell the staff member what they did well and say thank you.
  • Ask, “What did you like about what you did?” Or, “What did you learn about what you did?”  The objective is to get them talking.
  • Ask,

              “What else?”  Get them to dig deeper.

              “What else?”  Asking twice will get them to look at themselves.

  • Ask, “If you were to do it again, how would you do it differently?”  You’re looking for a possible new and creative approach.
  • Finally, remind them again of what he or she did well and say thank you.

 Just like the MBA, all of the steps must be done and done in order.  Also, you must remember to ask “What else?” twice after asking “What did you like about what you did?”  The reason is, by doing this, you are making them aware of what they did, you’re getting them to look at everything they did. 

Notice that the steps are mostly questions?  The average manager thinks, to give feedback, they must do all the talking.  In reality, if you’re doing it right, the team member does all the talking, your job is to ask the questions and listen. 

In a few weeks, I’ll write about the feedback you must give when the desired outcome is not reached.  I call it, “Confronting Non-Performance.”

 Hope you can attend, “Effort & the Role of Leadership” Open Seminar coming January 18th and 19th in Minneapolis.

Now available for purchase, “7 Slight Edges to Keeping Your Customers” webinar recording.  For $197.00 you can train your entire staff.


Mark Isaac



Ask Affirming Questions

If you ever want to read a really good book someday, read, “Psycho-Cybernetics” by Dr. Maxwell Maltz.  In the author teaches that the quality of your life is related to the quality of the questions you ask yourself; if you ask bad questions you get bad answers.  He writes that our bodies are designed to look for answers to the questions we ask ourselves, some may call that DNA, some may call it God but, Maltz calls it the servo-mechanism.  If you ask yourself, “Why am I always in debt?”  Your body is going to answer, “Well, you’re maxed out on your credit cards, you only pay the minimum, and every day on your way to work you stop and get a $4.00 latte.  The bad question leads us to non-affirming answers.  Affirming questions look for the solution, they typically start out like, “How can I..?”  Or, “What can I…?”  Instead of “Why am I always in debt?”  Ask, “How can I manage my money better?”  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?”

Hope you can attend my, "EFFORT & the Role of Leadership" Open workshop.  Learn to apply the '7 Slight Edges' manage your time and engage your staff.  January 18-19 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  $799.00 includes materials, lunches, snacks and beverages.

Write to find out more; mark@gormanbusinessconsultants.com

Why I call Exceptional Service the ‘Necessary Evil’

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

First, let me paint a picture.  If I own a 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 I wash their car, 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. 

Now, duplicating our competition is easier than ever, all I have to do is go to your website and look at the services you provide.  If I see something you’re doing that I’m not, all I have to do is copy you.  All you have to do is come to my auto shop and look around, maybe have a car serviced there and you will know what types of services I’m providing.  Then you can decide if you want to duplicate them.

Here’s another problem with exceptional service.  If I’m filling the gas tanks for my customers or if I’m washing the cars before I return them to my customers, can that be expensive?  Of course it can be.  Companies that focus their energy on providing exceptional service to their customers run the risk of violating the ‘slight edge’ of economics. Especially small businesses in these tough economic times, you have to be careful about where your money is going.  Providing exceptional service can be expensive.

Another evil to exceptional service is this.  Let’s say, after getting my car fixed, I come to you and say, “Hey, I just got my car fixed at that dealership and when they were done, they washed my car for me.  Pretty cool, right?”  You may say to me, “Well, they should at the prices they charge.” 

You see, exceptional service suffers from a problem of perception.  What I perceive as exceptional, you may not have the same view.  Just because we proclaim to be practicing exceptional service doesn’t mean our customers will perceive it as exceptional.

We have to practice exceptional service, if we don’t, our competition will.  But this necessary evil can be easily duplicated, can be expensive and a large percentage of our customers may not perceive what we practice as exceptional.

We need to practice exceptional service but, our commitment should be on QUALITY customer service.  And I will share with you what that is in my next writing.


Mark Isaac


Customer Service Defined

It’s amazing to me how many different definitions there are for customer service.  Because everyone has their own perception of what service is, there are many different definitions of it.

For you to effectively lead your team and coach the service message, you need a working definition of what customer service is.

Here’s one I use in all my workshops; customer service is the sum total experience of us meeting the customers’ intellectual and emotional needs.

Now there are three key parts of this definition.  First, sum total experience; if I call your company and your receptionist seems disengaged and unfriendly, am I formulating an opinion of your level of service?  Sure I am.  If I drive into your parking lot and it’s littered or poorly lit at night.  Am I formulating an opinion of your level of service?  Of course I am.  Customers are continually formulating opinions of us; there is no end line, no touchdown, no goal line, they are always being moved.

Remember there are always places we can improve the service we provide.

How about intellectual needs, what does that mean?  Well, if you buy television set and you get it home only to find out it doesn’t work, what does the store you bought it from have to do for you?  If you said replace it, fix it, or give back your money, you’d be right.  These are the ‘things’ we do for the customer, the things they can touch and see.  These are the intellectual needs. 

But just meeting our intellectual needs isn’t enough is it?  What else does the store have to do for us right now?  If you said say they’re sorry, you’re right again.

Vendors need to meet our emotional needs by saying they’re sorry.  Not only that but, make eye contact, smile, demonstrate empathy.  All of these contribute to our emotional needs.

Which of these do we forget to do most often?  Are you thinking emotional needs?  You’re correct again.  Why do you think we fall down on addressing the customers’ emotional needs?  Could it be we’re not trained to say sorry?  Could it also be a sign that most people think replacing the TV is enough?  Also, especially in the US, we think by saying sorry, we’re accepting blame.  As if the thought process is, “I didn’t break it, why should I say sorry?”

Remember the three components of customer service; it’s a sum total experience, we must meet the customer intellectual needs by doing the things to make the customer happy and we must meet their emotional needs by saying sorry and making eye contact.

In a few days I’ll write about how exceptional customer service is the necessary evil.

The ‘7 Slight Edges’ at Work

I am struck by the commitment by companies to provide the best possible service for their customers and also, to provide a working environment to engage employees.

A local airline is putting FAITH in their Training Specialists to learn and then conduct my coaching program for managers.  A telecom company puts EFFORT into giving their managers and supervisors the soft skills as well as the technical skills.  A fast food chain practices ECONOMICS by testing my training process with few leaders, now are ready to commit dozens more.  A health care provider sees the BIG PICTURE and develops relationships with other local businesses.  A small hospital has the COURAGE to bring me in to facilitate workshops for their entire staff.  The director of the IT department for a large bank saw how his departments can BE OF SERVICE to their internal customer.  And all the participants were asking, “How can I separate my company from our competition with quality customer service?” and other AFFIRMING QUESTIONS. 

Don’t forget about my upcoming “Effective Communication for Leaders” webinar Tuesday, September 13th @ 2:30 central time.  It’s only $97 for your entire leadership team.  Can’t make the scheduled time?  For the same fee, purchase the recording. For any questions, mark@gormanbusinessconsultants.com