I love this saying by Lee Iacocca: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”
Iacocca, former president of Ford Motor Company, took over Chrysler when it was leaning towards bankruptcy. He asked Congress for a loan, arguing that if Chrysler filed for bankruptcy, the government would have to spend more on unemployment compensation than on keeping the company in business. The loan was granted and a year later, Iacocca announced Chrysler’s first profit in many years.
During his turnaround of Chrysler, he brought the convertible back into fashion and introduced the minivan.
By leading in this fashion, Iacocca … Read the rest
Even the most successful companies are in constant competition for business. What sets them apart often boils down to one factor…outstanding customer service.
I have spent 44 years focusing on customer service. I have written hundreds of articles, as well as seven books on the topic. I have also been interviewed on television and radio plus presented to thousands of customers with seminars worldwide. No matter what business you’re in, here’s some advice I highly recommend you consider.
Most firms in the world believe they provide awesome service. They are addicted to advertising and marketing using expensive media. The biggest … Read the rest
I have such a passion for taking any company and introducing them to the power of delivering awesome customer service. It’s the focus of every one of my books. I have been passionate about it and continue to preach on the subject. It is my guide to delivering exemplary service to every person that walks through your doors resulting in overall corporate success in terms of customer retention, new sales (via word of mouth), market share, financial vitality, and positive reputation in your community.
Have you ever heard of Disney World’s reputation for exceptional customer service? Empowerment is a religion … Read the rest
First let me clarify the value of quality service. I believe that great service retains the customers you already have, attracts more customers, and develops a reputation that encourages customers to do business with you in the future.
Are You Guilty of the Following Customer Service Crimes?
Too many firms worship at the altar of IVR: Push two for English, four for Spanish, push six if you want etc. and push eight to go to be ignored. For years I have been saying this is the most expensive piece of technology you will ever buy and you will … Read the rest
Successful people are obsessed with learning. They out-learn everyone around them. They’re voracious readers. Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Mahatma Gandhi, and Disney CEO Bob Iger read and learn. They finish newspapers, books, audio books, journals and magazines like Harvard Business Review, Inc., or Forbes while their not-so-committed peers waste their time on worthless entertainment.
I am a huge promoter of reading and learning. All the books I have written, all the seminars I give, all the coaching I do is based on learning. Learning about your industry, learning about yourself, learning about products, learning about your employees and most … Read the rest
Providing outstanding customer service at the right price is the “Golden Rule” of most companies. It’s worth remembering that we all experience customer service every day. Customer service is a critical piece of your business, and you should fine-tune it as much as you can. Here are some well-known facts on customer service….
Fact: 90 percent of companies say they deliver superior customer service and only eight percent of people think these same companies deliver superior customer service. Which goes to show, you shouldn’t be guessing when it comes to evaluating your customer service.
Think you don’t have to worry? … Read the rest
Creating highly engaged customers is forcing companies to provide their customers with a consistent experience whenever and wherever they need it — digitally.
Did you know that highly engaged customers buy 90 percent more frequently, spend 60 percent more per purchase, and have three times the annual value (compared to the average customer). That’s a huge revenue opportunity you could be taking advantage of by digitally transforming your business!
But, in order to deliver on a better customer experience, you first need to understand who this new kind of digital customer is and what they want. It’s clear that the … Read the rest
The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics found that companies with fewer than 100 employees provided only 12 minutes of manager training every six months. Organizations with 100-500 employees provided just six minutes.
If this holds true for managers, how much training do front-line employees get?
A long-term research project commissioned by Middlesex University for Work Based Learning found that from a 4,300 workers’ sample, 74 percent felt that they weren’t achieving their full potential at work due to lack of development opportunities.
The lesson here: invest in retaining and constant training of your present employees. After all, the cost of … Read the rest
“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” — Henry Ford
Are you afraid to fail? If so, your fear of failure is likely to limit your chances of success. If you look at really successful people, you will often find significant failures in their backgrounds.
The list is lengthy and includes college dropouts, such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg. Why? There are a lot of reasons. Most stem from the fact that they are (1) willing to try … Read the rest
One of the major weaknesses of most organizations is the top management’s lack of a service strategy. They fail to realize the strategic opportunity of how to use superior service as a vehicle to build market share and market dominance.
Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, one of the most powerful retailers in the world, built a service role model. Sam built Walmart on customer service. They are now known for price only. The value of their company as a service leader has dropped dramatically. They have lost their focus on customer service. I always had trouble understanding why the … Read the rest
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
I have trained trainers and employees all over the world and have taught them to believe in themselves and their abilities. I have written several books to spread the word about service strategy and the effect it has on your company, your employees, your customers, and your bottom line. One of my favorite sayings is by the late Zig Ziglar “… You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want.”
The … Read the rest
If you want to differentiate your company in the marketplace, then you need to show how you can dramatically deliver service and products faster than your competitors. Amazon does it. Apple does it. Why don’t you?
Recently, one of my employees was having a problem with an item shipped to her from Amazon. She needed to return the product and was not savvy to the info on the website to make the return and get her money back. So she called and talked directly to a human being. An empathetic and understanding rep sent her a return packing slip via … Read the rest
Customer service is all about listening. According to Bernard Ferrari, author of Power Listening: Mastering the Most Critical Business Skill of All, good listening is the key to developing fresh insights and ideas that fuel success.
Organizations choose front-line employees for their social poise, their outgoing personalities and their ability to communicate well, meaning their ability to talk well. And they train them in what they can and can’t say and what they can do to help the customer. Finally, their performance is evaluated by how proactively they manage and resolve problems or calls.
It isn’t hard to understand … Read the rest
In the customer service industry, we cannot avoid complaints. Complaints happen every day and when a customer complains it is usually for a good reason or genuine concern. They usually have made a purchase that did not meet their expectation — a product, service, or maybe a combination of the two. We must take care of the customer by listening to the complaint, and resolving it, to ensure a happy customer.
Fewer than half of unhappy customers will bring a complaint to your attention. Those who never say anything will tell an average of 11 or more people about their … Read the rest
More and more companies are waking up to the fact that giving employees more power and responsibility can bring huge benefits for both the company and its workers.
Employee empowerment may be the most underutilized tool in all of customer service. Give employees the authority to take action. No one should have to go “higher up” to get permission to help a customer. Empower everyone to break the rules thus allowing employees to have input and control over their work.
President Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that read “The Buck Stops Here.” Actually that should be the … Read the rest
The Importance of Ongoing Training!
I find this statistic unbelievable — The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics found that companies with fewer than 100 employees gave only 12 minutes of manager training every six months. Organizations with 100‑500 employees provided just six minutes.
The following statistic is even more proof that ongoing training is essential for employee development and the growth of a company — a long-term research project commissioned by Middlesex University for Work Based Learning found that from a 4,300 workers sample, 74 percent felt that they weren’t achieving their full potential at work due to lack of … Read the rest
We live in a very dynamic world. What we know now will not be good enough for the future and selecting people to move us forward and who are open to learning is what we need to focus on.
In my book, Moving Up, I tell readers it’s about your life — it’s about succeeding. It’s about taking chances, dreaming big, being proactive and being ready when the opportunity presents itself.
Steve Jobs stated that young people need to: “Think about what it is that you really want. Go ahead and put in the time and energy to learn … Read the rest
I was looking for a word that describes the passion that I have and how to relate to companies what I believe about “customer service.” It’s what I firmly believe is necessary to operate in the world today. The word is “overt” or done or shown publicly and not secretly. I have been dealing with customer service in an overt manner for 46 years. It has been the focus of my entire adult life. Here’s what I have discovered and continue to share with companies.
It’s ALL About Training
Why do I believe in investing in continuous employee training and … Read the rest
I am in the process of updating one of my books and I came across a heading that I had written in for Costco: “Vow to Wow.” Since day one Costco has had an unwavering commitment to doing the right thing for their members, employees, suppliers, and the community. Their strategy is to make sure its customers come back. Its merchandisers are meticulous about their choices of product for their customers and have set detailed standards on everything from the size of cashews to the thread count of bed sheets.
That unbeatable value proposition on quality products and customer service … Read the rest
Companies may not be able to prevent all problems but they can learn to recover from them. A good recovery can turn angry, frustrated customers into loyal ones. It can, in fact, create more goodwill than if things had gone smoothly in the first place.
Opportunities for service recovery are numerous. If you are close to the customer and discover a problem, it’s your chance to go beyond the call of duty and win a customer for life.
The surest way to recover from service mishaps is for workers on the front line to identify and solve the … Read the rest
All of your locations are up and running. You’ve done all you could do to advertise and get a jump on your competition. So now, the only thing you have left to do is the hiring. Plus you must retain good employees.
Success includes retaining good employees. Turnover creates inefficiencies that cost companies major dollars every year, so it’s important to pay employees for the efficiencies they create and for staying with the company. Success is hiring and retaining good employees and — training them.
Treasure Your Best Employees
In 1994, Cary Albert and his wife Jacquelyn began Schlotzsky’s. At … Read the rest
Empowerment means every employee has to make fast decisions in favor of the customer. It’s important that we are honest and sincere in our efforts to service our customers. The only way we can do that is by empowering employees to satisfy the customer quickly and to their satisfaction.
Most employees are rule and process driven. They worship rules. Almost all employees assume they will be immediately fired if they make a decision in favor of the customer, when in fact, most decisions require no money and about 80 percent will cost under $50. They have to bend the rules.… Read the rest
Giving positive feedback is always easy, but what about those times when an employee is not performing and you need to offer constructive criticism or negative feedback?
That can be a different story, especially for those who do not like confrontation. Managers need to be careful when dishing out negative feedback, and need to make sure that it is done constructively. It is important to tread carefully in order not to demoralize the employee. Most importantly when having to dish out negative feedback, it is important to always try to also acknowledge any positives the employee may have achieved first.… Read the rest
You have just entered Customer Service Hell. It’s the phone call looped through a frustrating automated system known as IVR (Interactive Voice Response) — you know, the one where you “Press 1 to continue in English” and “Listen closely to our list of options, as they may have changed.” Or, “Please call back during our normal working hours.”
Calling for Help
While automated phone attendants sound great for the business that’s set one up, it’s not ideal for a customer that just wants to speak to someone about a question, concern, scheduling of an appointment, or simply to learn about … Read the rest
Team-building is a delicate and time-consuming process. Anyone can put together a group of talented people, but it takes a dedicated team leader to bring everyone together effectively. One of the most important considerations you must make is whether or not an applicant fits into your company’s culture. The right person will build upon what you’ve created, but the wrong person can bring it all down very quickly — and culture can take an awfully long time to rebuild.
Learn to Conduct the Orchestra
In the following series of lines from Aaron Sorkin’s already famous screenplay, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak … Read the rest
With all the new technologies bombarding us every day, it’s become more difficult to decipher a steady path for not only companies but individuals to see what’s ahead. How do we guide employees through this new technology and look for the competitive advantage? How do we create a platform for excelling at different levels in companies to ensure success and endure the growing pains we all have to go through to get to the next step? How do we compete?
As our understanding of the makeup of humans increases, so does our ability to create opportunities to improve our performance … Read the rest
Do you really think customers want to fill out a customer satisfaction survey? How many times have you riffled through a survey just to get the freebie that comes with it? Well, guess what? Most people are probably doing the same thing and all the information they thought was so important is now — invalid. A complete waste of time and money.
In the United States every organization is following-the-leader with customer satisfaction surveys. The latest fad is to initiate surveys with your customers with every transaction 100 percent of the time. Very few customers fill out the survey and … Read the rest
Despite the obnoxious behavior, loud shouting, screeching voices, clenching fists, pointing fingers, red faces and all, most irate customers have a sad message. Most likely they are trying to tell you that they are feeling hurt, ignored, disrespected, unappreciated and unloved.
It’s easy to get flustered or upset when you’re confronted with an angry customer; and, if you don’t know how to respond, you can easily make the situation worse. However, when you respond calmly and with empathy, you can stay in control, and you can defuse the situation in a professional, courteous way. It’s important to know how to … Read the rest
What’s the sweetest sound that you can hear? According to recent research studying brain activation, the answer is… “Your Name.” A person’s name is a precious possession. Remembering a name represents a simple, but powerful customer care skill that people notice and appreciate.
Everyone loves hearing their own name! Remembering and recognizing your customers’ names and using their names goes a long way to convincing them that you and your organization care. Your customers give you multiple chances every day to remember a name, recognize a face, and recall a previous transaction, all to show them that their satisfaction is … Read the rest
“Customers want high quality at low prices and they want it now.” — Bill Gates
When it comes to customer service, we all want to “get out” quickly and get back to our lives. Generally speaking, just about the only time customers are going to contact you is when they need help, so speed counts in getting them where they’d like to be.
Customers Value Speed … Amazon! “…if you wanna do more of something, make the friction less. If you wanna do less of something, make the friction more.” — Jeff Bezos
Amazon has such an immense number of … Read the rest