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In the topic 'Customer Service'


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Poor Customer Service: The Writing is on the Wall

Imagine sitting in an overcrowded medical clinic waiting room and spotting this sign on the wall, “When your number comes up, please have your symptoms ready.” You won’t likely ever see that sign. It’s too honest. But there’s a high chance you’ll encounter that attitude. Too many organizations are inside out rather than outside in. […]

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Do You Agree on What Customer Service or Quality Is?

We complain that “it” is disappearing. We all want more of “it.” When asked to define “it,” we say, “I’ll know `it’ when I see ‘it’.” Organizations want to be known for delivering high levels of “it.” Many understand that “it” will increasingly determine their success. Team members would like to be known for delivering […]

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Boost Customer Service with a Culture That Serves the Servers

With years of travel I’ve experienced the full range of frontline servers. Some are warm, friendly, and genuinely want to help. They seem to have bounced out of bed that morning thinking “how can I brighten our customers’ day?” Others are sour and surly. For them, customer service is an oxymoron and a huge pain […]

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What Are Today’s Most Vital Leadership and Culture Development Topics?

Early in his career, Thomas Edison invented a vote recording machine for use in legislative chambers. Politicians could vote yea or nay from their desks. This would replace the time consuming process of counting votes. Edison patented the machine and went to Washington to demonstrate and sell it. He was turned  down immediately. Edison was […]

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Most Brand Management is Misguided and Makes Things Worse

Many organizations are making major investments in external branding. But often less attention or investment is made in improving the organization’s internal effectiveness. If frontline staff isn’t living the brand, customers’ raised expectations are dashed and their anger and cynicism grows. One of the biggest reasons frontline staff can’t live the brand is because operational, […]

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Attributes of Cynical and High Service/Quality Cultures

“I owe, I owe, so off to work I go.” “Work sucks, but I need the bucks.” “I’d rather be fishing/sailing/golfing/…” Surveys show that these phrases express the feelings of a growing number of frontline performers today. Too often these contagious feelings spread throughout a team or organization. How many of these attributes of cynical […]

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Are You Seeing Through the Eyes of Your Customer?

It’s all about perception. Eons ago the ancient Greek Philosopher, Epictetus, mused, “What concerns me is not the way things are, but rather the way people think things are.” We so easily mouth the words “perception is reality.” But do we seek out and work from our customers’ reality? Or do we tend to dismiss […]

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Whose Definition of Customer Service Are You Using?

Customer service and quality is highly talked about and rarely delivered. Consequently, many companies pay a high “marketing tax” to counteract damaged brand perceptions and bad buzz from poor customer service. Part of the problem is because service/quality is a very slippery concept. It’s exasperatingly difficult to define and a source of great confusion to […]

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Turning Your Organization Upside Down

After listening to an angry customer vent his dissatisfaction with the organization’s service, a supervisor replied, “If it’s any consolation to you, we treat our employees worse than we treat our customers.” You’ve heard it said that no one can serve two masters. In too many organizations with their traditional top down hierarchy, that means […]

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Put Employees First to Delight Customers

How can apathetic or disengaged frontline servers produce happy customers? Some exceptional employee will delight customers despite how they’re treated by their boss or the organization. Most don’t. The vast majority of employees directly reflect the care and service they experience every day in their team or workplace. “The Secret to Delighting Customers? Put Employees […]

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Focus on Overall Customer Experience

Many attempts to improve customer service are variations of “the operation was a success but the patient died.” Customer service improvements and measurements often focus on a narrow set of customer interactions or a few steps in the service process. What’s missing is understanding and improving the customer’s entire experience. “The Truth About Customer Experience” […]

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Delivering Purposeful Customer Service in a Toxic Environment

June’s issue of The Leader Letter was published last week with a series of my May blogs on customer service (the opening story on Where’s Your Culture on the Customer-Cattle Continuum?, “Want to Improve Customer Service? Treat Your Employees Better“, “American Express Boosts Customer Service with Transformed Leadership and Culture“, and “Delightful Dell Service Shows […]

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Delightful Dell Service Shows a Real Turnaround

Sometimes it feels like our technology picks the toughest time to test us! I was on the Calgary leg of a road trip to Regina, Calgary, Seattle, and Anchorage a few weeks ago when my computer failed to boot up as I arrived at my hotel room that night. I live on this thing. I […]

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American Express Boosts Customer Service with Transformed Leadership and Culture

Just after writing my last blog on improving customer service by treating your employees better I came across an interview on Jim Bush, EVP of World Service, at American Express. The new leadership approach Jim describes Amex has used since he took charge of this role in 2005 provides powerful data and examples of how […]

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Want to Improve Customer Service – Treat Your Employees Better

This is the title of a recent report in the University of Pennsylvania newsletter Knowledge @ Wharton. Part of the article reports on “a recent study conducted by Marshall Fisher, a professor of operations and information management at Wharton, and other colleagues.” He goes on to show how one of the keys to improving customer […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on…Understanding Customer Perceptions of Value

We often hear the axiom that "perception is reality." When it comes to assessing the service/quality levels delivered by our teams/organizations just who’s perception of reality are we using? Reinforcing this month’s four-part series of blog posts on The Three Rings of Perceived Value, here are key perspectives on using our customer perceptions of their […]

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The Third Ring: Enhanced Service That Delights Customers

Fourth in a four part series on The Three Rings of Perceived Value. Years ago author and speaker on organizational excellence, Tom Peters, declared, “we can no longer afford to merely satisfy the customer. To win today, you have to delight and astound your customers — with products and services that far exceed their expectations.” […]

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Defining The Second Ring of Service/Quality: Support That Satisfies

Third in a four part series on The Three Rings of Perceived Value. Today’s external customers or internal partners are looking beyond the core product or service (First Ring) to broader levels of support. The Second or Support Ring encircles a huge array of services and factors. Basically it includes anything an organization does to […]

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The First Ring: Meeting Basic Product/Service Requirements

Second in a four part series on The Three Rings of Perceived Value. The 18th century English potter, Josiah Wedgwood, once declared “a composition for cheapness and not excellence of workmanship is the most frequent and certain cause of the rapid decay and destruction of arts and manufacturers.” That’s as true today as when he […]

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Outside In: Customer Perceptions Define Service/Quality Levels

First in a four part series on The Three Rings of Perceived Value. Customer service and continuous quality improvement have always been important. As organizations struggle to grow revenues and reduce costs in our challenging economic times, service/quality is becoming even more critical. It’s where organizations thrive, survive, or nosedive. The June 30 blog post, […]

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