Customer Service Articles by Jeff Mowatt

Here, you’ll find links to literally dozens of articles written by customer service strategist and professional speaker, Jeff Mowatt. The articles below are approximately 750-950 words each. You are welcome to reprint them as an ongoing column or as stand alone articles. Feel free to make minor edits to customize to suit your unique needs. When reprinting, please send us a copy of your publication that includes our articles. To receive automatic updates when Jeff releases a new article, please email us directly at  info@jeffmowatt.com.

Important! When reprinting any of our articles or tips, please be sure to include Jeff’s bio/contact information EXACTLY as it is shown at the bottom of each article, and ensure that the link to www.jeffmowatt.com in that section is a LIVE link. Thank you!

In addition to Jeff’s full length articles below, click here to check out  Jeff’s 30-second training tips.

  • Articles on Sales and Customer Service

    • Managing Customer Waiting Lines

      • Article: Managing Multiple Customers - 5 tips for juggling customers, callers and walk-ins

        You know the scenario... your workday is running smoothly and manageably when suddenly you find yourself dealing with one customer in front of you, another on the phone, while a third arrives with just a quick question. When organizations bring me in to conduct customer service seminars, I find this is one of the most frequent challenges frontline employees ask me to address. While there are no absolute rules for juggling customers (you need to adapt to your workplace's business realities) here are 5 tips that we find work well for our clients in reducing stress and boosting customer loyalty...

      • Article: Yes, I Mind Waiting - 10 ways to reduce lineup stress for staff and customers

        How do you let a cashier know that you're in a hurry when you're waiting in line? a) look at you watch and shake your head, b) sigh, huff, and roll your eyes, c) complain to others in the line, d) say to the person at the till, "We're in a hurry here!", e) all of the above. If you answered positively to any of these options, then you're like most of us who definitely do mind waiting.

    • Greeting Customers and Establishing Trust

      • Article: For Openers - Five greetings that boost sales to walk-in visitors

        Quick, what's the typical greeting used most often by 60% of retail stores? You're right if you guessed, "Can I help you?" The visitor's usual response, "No thanks, just looking." The problem is the walk-in customer is never "just looking." They came into the premises because at some level they perceived a need. This greeting only reminds visitors that they're not here to buy. Lousy selling strategy...

      • Article: Getting Your foot in the Door - 7 steps to successful cold-calling

        "The problem with my salespeople is they're not cold calling enough!" That's the concern I hear most often from sales managers and business owners when I speak at conventions on how to boost sales. Yet when I examine their cold calling strategies, I generally find they're ill conceived...

      • Article: Grand Intentions to Greater Sales -

        I learned a powerful lesson about selling from a 15 year old. My wife and I had just picked up a dog from the humane society. On the way home, we stopped at a pet store to pick up some dog food, a dish, and a leash. I'm figuring this stop will take eight minutes. That was before we met the store's teenaged employee, 'Tina.'...

      • Article: Making Connections - How to creat rapport with anyone in under 30 seconds

        We all know the power of first impressions. How people perceive us during the first few seconds of an encounter has a major influence on whether they will trust us, be attracted to us, or want to do business with us. To create a positive first impression, we need to know how to connect immediately with others regardless of their age, gender, ethnic background, mood, or the situation..

      • Article: The Shocking Truth about Your Image - Four bizarre reasons customers may not like you

        Whether it's fair or not, we are often judged on first impressions. This harsh reality is nowhere better seen than in today's ultra-fast business world where customers size-you-up in a nano-second based on your personal image. Since their impression of you will determine whether or not they want to do business with you, the impact on your career and on your organization's bottom line can be staggering..

      • Article: Test your Telephone Effectiveness - Find out if your phone practices are winning or losing customers

        If your customers aren't impressed by you or your co-workers on the telephone, they can switch businesses by merely hanging-up and dialing the competition. So, your telephone skills can have a significant impact on your business and your career...

      • Article: Top 10 Telephone Turnoffs - How to improve telephone communications

        Like you, there are times in my work when emails and texts aren’t efficient and I actually need to phone someone and have a real conversation. In my case, it’s when I’m preparing for a training session or to speak at a conference that requires interviewing senior managers and key employees. I’ve made literally thousands...

    • Influence and Persuasion Skills

      • Article: 30 Seconds to Significant Sales - How to up-sell without turning off your customer

        If you and your employees aren't trained on effective ways to upsell, chances are you either offend customers by being too pushy, or leave money on the table that customers would have willingly spent with you. Either option is costly...

      • Article: Creating a Customer Feeding Frenzy - Four tools that make you simply irresistible

        I swore to myself that I would not buy anything as I walked into the carpet factory in Deli, India. The only reason I was entering at all was because I was part of a tour group and this was the last stop. By the time I left the factory however, our busload of worn-out tourists had been transformed. We were energized, laughing and most importantly, laden with purchases. I, having sworn to myself that I wouldn't buy anything, walked out with carpet in hand and had spent over six hundred dollars. The salesman in the factory had successfully created a customer feeding frenzy...

      • Article: Crucial Questions to Superior Sales -

        When your customers aren't sure which of your products or services they should buy, consider this handy tool that not only helps create clarity, but also positions you as a trusted advisor. I'm referring to a time-test sales tool known as SWOT. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. When I do customer service and sales seminars and speeches for groups, I often hear this is one of the most useful tools people learn. Here's how to ask SWOT questions.

      • Article: Phrases that Pay - Simple Statements that Increase your Perceived Value

        Quick - name two words which, when frequently used by waiters and waitresses, increases tips by 12%. (Hint: it's not please or thank you)...

      • Article: Selling Yourself Short? - How to stand-out without lowering your price

        Is what you do for a living perceived by potential customers as being a mere commodity; more or less the same as others in your profession? When that happens, customers revert to the easiest differentiator - price. The outlook gets worse as you realize that somewhere in the global economy there is likely someone offering similar products or services for a cheaper price. And with the internet it's easier for your customers to find them. What's most frustrating is when you know your products and services are indeed different, but customers don't seem to get that and put you in the same category as everyone else. The good news is you can change customer perceptions by changing the way you describe what you do...

      • Article: The Humility Advantage - How Less Ego Creates More Sales

        See if this applies to you or your team members in your organization: You've been working in your industry for several years. Your responses to requests from customers, prospects and co-workers are fast and accurate. You know your stuff and your product knowledge is one of your greatest strengths. If this is the case, then the bad news is that your extensive knowledge may also be one of your greatest weaknesses. The reason - you may be inadvertently coming across as being arrogant and insensitive...

      • Article: When Talking to Strangers - 3 reasons potential customers may distrust you

        Interesting to hear the response from managers when asked about what factors impact sales. Many will reference the economy, customer demographics, competition, and recent innovations. While those factors certainly play a role, I often find, when brought in to train sales and service teams, that employees inadvertently chase away new potential customers. It usually happens within the first 10 seconds of customer communication, and most employees have no idea that they are committing these offenses. See if this is true in your organization. Consider these three reasons potential customers may distrust you or your team members...

      • Article: Your Irresistible Offer - Proposals that convert prospects into buyers

        As a customer, you've no doubt received scads of sales pitches from companies trying to sell you something; the vast majority of which you ignore, tune-out, or reject outright. When the tables are turned, and you are the one making the proposal, there are three key elements that will make your offer more compelling. These three components make-up what's known as your Unique Selling Proposition or "USP". When I speak at conferences and for sales and service teams, this is one of the simple tips I share for converting prospects into buyers. Whether you're making your proposal in person, through a brochure, or on your website, you'll have more impact by including these three elements...

      • Article: Million Dollar Conversations - How to grow your business with your best customers

        A question I sometimes ask managers and salespeople when I speak at conferences is, "How much business do you think you may be leaving on the table with your existing customers?" Most lament that there's lots of room for growth in gaining more of their customers' wallet share. I believe that most companies - even small businesses - have at least a million dollars worth of extra potential revenues sitting in their filing cabinets. The problem is employees aren't effective enough at cross-selling and cross-referencing their other products and services. Let's talk about how to get more of this business out of your filing cabinet and into your bank account...

      • Article: Avoiding Office Politics - How to advance your career without bullying or boot-licking

        Ever lose sleep because of problems at work? Turns out, the problem is likely not the job itself - it's personalities and office politics. If you're not into playing politics, if you don't want to suck-up to supervisors, if you don't want to step on others to climb the ladder, here are a few questions and answers they won't tell you in the company manual...

      • Article: When Customers Ignore You - 5 business building tips that cost nothing

        Remember the days when people noticed good customer service, talked about it, and most importantly - rewarded you for it? Happy customers would return and spread the word. In today's fast paced world however, people are so rushed moving to the next thing, or so distracted their mobile devices, that good customer service is overlooked. Fortunately, as I share in my seminars, there are several easy things you can do that will enhance your service and boost your business which your customers will actually notice. Best of all, they cost you nothing. Here are five for starters...

      • Article: Six Secrets of Powerful Proposals -

        One of the biggest frustrations I hear from my clients is the amount of time and effort it takes for them to put together proposals; particularly those that don't end up winning the business. Unfortunately, the standard approach to making client proposals usually involves describing your products or services, including some corporate background, adding a few references, and finishing with pricing information. This is the last approach you want to take. It practically guarantees you'll miss the mark. And worse, preparing and delivering these kinds of proposals soaks up significant time and resources that could be better applied elsewhere. Here then, are a few tips I share in my seminars on how to deliver proposals that actually boost your business...

      • Article: Stories that Sell for You -

        Customers have so many options of where they can do business that your company can be perceived as a mere commodity. They assume that everyone's selling more or less the same thing, so why not just go with the cheapest supplier? That's why it's so impactful when you use this simple tool to help customers remember you. In fact it may be the only thing that makes you stand out from the competition. And it happens to be free...

      • Article: The Dreaded F-Word at Work - Five reasons to avoid the<em> FRIEND zone</em> with customers

        Conventional workplace wisdom espouses the virtue of employees being friendly with customers. While friendliness is a good thing, too often employees interpret it as encouragement to become their customer’s friend. That’s not such a good thing. The key question is what is the most appropriate and profitable employee/customer relationship? Having conducted customer service training seminars for hundreds of organizations over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are 5 things every employee should consider as they develop relationships with internal and external customers...

      • Article: I Don't seem to Fit-in at Work - How to build better relationships with co-workers

        Occasionally when I’m interviewing a client’s employees in preparation for a seminar, someone will confide that while they enjoy dealing with external customers, the real stress is dealing with their internal customers; their co-workers. With the various friendships and cliques that naturally spring-up in the workplace, some employees may have a hard time fitting-in. Ironically,...

      • Article: In Praise of Quieter Communications - Four touch points when it pays to dial-down your approach

        In a world of TV ads that blare, emails that SHOUT IN ALL CAPS, and employees who talk when they should listen, consider the advantages of making your customer communications quieter. Here are four touch points I share in my seminars when a strong/silent approach will differentiate you positively in your customers’ hearts and wallets.

      • Article: Dealing with Wealthy Customers - Five strategies for boosting your business with high net worth clients

        Ever notice that sometimes folks act differently around wealthy people? I think it’s because (whether we admit it or not) most of us want rich people to like and accept us. After all, it’s not a bad thing when high net worth individuals want to do business with you. The problem I’ve noticed as a customer service strategist, is that sometimes when employees interact with customers who they perceive to be of higher status, they try too hard to impress. Or at the other extreme, some employees become too submissive ie. a doormat. Here are five strategies for building stronger relationships with high net worth customers. (Oh, and they happen to also work with the rest of your customers as well)...

      • Article: Surviving Friendly Fire - 5 tips for dodging bullets when dealing with internal employees

        Within virtually every organization, employees from different departments will have to interact with one another without having direct authority over them. That can easily create conflicts and bruised egos. That’s why, when I coach teams on how to enhance internal customer satisfaction, I remind them that it’s not just what they communicate to other departments, but how they do so…

      • Article: Top Six Selling Bloopers (and how to avoid them) -

        Sports bloopers often about preventable errors that favor the other team. The classic is when players score against their own side. In the world of business, there are similar blunders – particularly during buying conversations with potential customers – that end up favoring the competition. As I explain in my seminars for sales teams, it’s not always a shortfall in your company’s product, price, or service that ruins a potential sale. Often it’s inadvertent comments that put customers off just enough for them to choose your competitor. Unfortunately, sales reps are usually unaware they commit these offences so they keep repeating them. See if you or your team members ever make these top six selling gaffs...

    • Dealing with Upset Customers

      • Article: 10 Ways to Break It to Them Gently - Diplomacy tips that keep customers

        When corporations ask me to train their employees on enhancing customer retention, I find one skill-set that is frequently weak - how to diplomatically give customers bad news. Unfortunately, the task of giving bad news goes with almost every job. You may have to inform your customers of a price increase, of a product being out-of stock, or that their children aren't allowed to use your coat rack for rappelling practice...

      • Article: Customers from Hell - Five Do's and Don'ts for calming cranky customers

        In our fast-paced frenetic world customers are now more tired, rushed, stressed, and downright fed-up. Case in point was the highly publicized incident where a patron in a fast food restaurant became so enraged that he attacked the restaurant manager. That's why in my customer service seminars both managers and frontline employees frequently ask me how to handle the proverbial customer from hell. Here are five Do's and Don'ts for calming cranky customers...

      • Article: Keeping Customers when Things Go Wrong - Five keys to turning upset customers into fans

        When it comes to dealing with dissatisfied customers, most business owners and managers believe that money back guarantees and/or exchange policies will fix the problem. Lousy strategy. Money back guarantees and exchanges may fix the problem, but they do nothing to fix the relationship. Policies don't fix relationships - people do...

      • Article: Stop Being so Nice! - Customer service tips when people are stressed

        What happens when your customers are tired, rushed, or angry? When that's the case, employee perkiness is likely to be perceived as annoying. That's why I encourage employees to go beyond friendliness to create trust. Here's how...

      • Article: Top 10 Worst things to Say to Angry Customers -

        You may have great products but you can still have customer service problems caused by bad weather, equipment failures, or human error. While you can't control external events, you can control what you say to upset customers. Certain phrases will serve to either diffuse or enflame. After over 20 years of speaking at conferences and training teams on customer service, here are my top ten worst things to say to unhappy customers, along with tips for regaining trust...

      • Article: Customer Service Motivation - Five tips for staying up when customers wear you down

        Someone once said that life would be easy if it wasn’t for other people. Making a living however, usually involves interacting with humans. Your job may be fine when customers are pleasant and everything goes well. Sooner or later though, unavoidable delays, foul-ups and interruptions can make even good jobs turn into, well… work. To help you have more up days than down – even when things go wrong – here are several strategies I share in my seminars for making your job easier and your mood better. The bonus is your boss and your customers will love you for them…

      • Article: Six Everyday Excuses that Bruise your Brand -

        Working with organizations for over 25 years to transform customer service culture, I’ve discovered that some employees – who would describe themselves as solid performers – actually have a habit of delivering more excuses than results. Unfortunately, your customers don’t buy excuses – literally. The more your team members rationalize poor service, the more they’ll cost your organization in trust equity. See if your employees use any of these six common customer service excuses. We’ll start with the worst offenders:

      • Article: Tips for Taming Tolls and Calming Upset Customers - FAQs on how to deal with angry customers

        Dealing with upset customers is like feeding bears. Most will be happy you’re there, but a few will get really ugly if you don’t give them what they want. When things go wrong, how well is your team equipped? Having trained customer service teams for over 25 years – particularly those dealing with customers who are frustrated or stressed – I’ve put together this list of frequently asked questions about how to deal with internet trolls and regain lost trust with upset customers...

  • Articles on Leading a Customer-Focused Team

    • Customer Service Trends/Strategic Planning

      • Article: 7 Keys to Creating a Customer Focused Culture - Walking-the-Talk of your Mission Statement

        "I'm just doing this until something better comes along - like retirement!" If that sums up the attitude held by some of your employees, then imagine the negative impact on teamwork, productivity, and especially on customer loyalty. Chances are that you, as a business manager or owner, are committed to satisfying customers. But what are you doing about employees who see their jobs merely as 'fillers'? Business leaders need to create an environment that motivates employees to want to take care of customers. Unfortunately, the conventional methods to create a customer-focused culture through mission statements have often fallen short...

      • Article: Boosting your Business in a Slow Economy -

        What are two words that will become increasingly important to customers over the next decade? The answer, according to marketing guru Frank Luntz, is "hassle free". Customers are fed up with being forced to jump through hoops. Yet bizarrely, even in a slow economy, companies are actually becoming more difficult for customers to do business with - before, during and after purchases. To see if your organization is creating these unnecessary hassles for your customers, take this mini-quiz. Then consider using the accompanying tips...

      • Article: Buying Trends - the Shift to Hassle-Free -

        You may have noticed in recent years a shift in what it takes to satisfy customers. Customers are now making buying decisions less on the quality of an organization's products and services, and more on the quality of the buying experience itself. If you're a business owner or manager, this trend offers both risk and opportunity. To ensure that your organization profits from this shift in customer loyalty, consider a recent history of buying behaviors...

      • Article: Chili and Your Intuition - 8 ingredients for making better strategic decisions

        As a business owner or manager, what you ultimately rely on most when deciding your company's future, is your intuition. The challenge with so many stakeholders relying on you to make the 'right' decision, is ensuring that your instincts are reliable. Effective leaders hone their intuition the way a chef cooks a pot of chili. Like chili, intuition needs to include the right ingredients and then be allowed to simmer a while. Here are eight ingredients for you to stew on....

      • Article: How to Compete with Discounters -

        If you manage a small to medium-sized business, chances are you encounter pricing pressures from some version of a large discounter. Large competitors may have more money to spend to attract new customers, more buying-power to undercut your prices, and more resources to outlast you in a price war. If they're from overseas, they may also have cheaper labour. That's why when chambers of commerce and associations bring me in to speak to business owners on competing with price discounters, my advice: "Don't be better - be different." In other words, don't even try to beat their prices. Instead, be different in these three areas...

      • Article: How not to Plan your Company's Future - 5 common mistakes when identifying customer needs

        When managers plan their business strategies, common sense dictates that these game-plans should be in line with customer needs. The first step in planning is therefore to identify customer preferences. Unfortunately, most conventional approaches to determining customer needs are flawed. Here are five of the most common methods used to gather customer opinions along with their drawbacks. Keep these often-made mistakes in mind when planning your business strategy...

      • Article: Management Lessons from a Car Wash Guy -

        If you're serious about strengthening customer loyalty, consider this management lesson I learned from an odd source - a car wash attendant. It's an easy customer service concept that may change the course of your business...

      • Article: Risky Business - How repeat customers may jeopardize your future

        When I speak at conferences and corporate meetings about customer service I often hear managers reminding their team members about the importance of repeat business. The assumption is that if customers keep spending their money with you, they must like you. But is that really true? Many business owners and managers are unaware of the harsh reality that some folks who spend their money with your organization may not enjoy doing business with you at all. The consequences of this can be staggering. Consider the example of my local video store...

      • Article: Speed Kills - The service standard that does more harm than good

        As a business owner or manager, you have probably heard management experts refer to the importance of service standards for frontline employees. The idea is that managers should give customer-contact people a performance goal or service standard by which they can be measured and rewarded. Sounds good in theory. Unfortunately, over my years as a consultant and business advisor, and as a customer myself, I find that some service standards are not only ineffective, they are actually counterproductive. I wonder if this may be the case in your organization...

      • Article: Telus' Leadership Lesson in Brand Mismanagement -

        Telus, Canada's second largest phone company, decided to be the first wireless provider to offer to sell downloads of pornographic images and videos. I'll leave it to others to debate the morality of pornography on the Internet. The issue I want to tackle is how 'leadership' in such a large company decided this was a good business decision...

      • Article: The Myth of Treating People Fairly and Equally -

        I'll just come right-out and say it. I believe that treating customers fairly and equally is a mistake. It's unprofitable. It belittles customers and employees. And it's unethical. There, I've said it...

      • Article: The Future of Customer Service - 3 trends that will change the way you serve customers

        You have no doubt noticed that technology is changing the 'face' of customer service. Traditional ways we used to interact with customers, win their trust, and keep them coming back are becoming irrelevant. Here are three of the most significant trends in customer service, and how you can position your business to capitalize rather than capsize in response.

      • Article: When 60 Minutes Calls - How to handle the media during a customer service crisis

        There are times when being a manager can make you a media target. The larger your organization, the greater the odds of something embarrassing happening that ends up for the world to see on YouTube. Over and over. It could be a spill that causes environmental damage, a defective product that needs recalling, or an employee videotaped sleeping-on-the-job. If you are that manager being asked by a reporter to comment, here are a few tips to ensure that your company's brand and your personal reputation withstand the barrage...

      • Article: What Boomer Women Want - New rules for retailing to these harried customers

        When it comes to retailing, it's easy to get distracted by the hype about selling to the upcoming Millennials (twenty somethings) or Gen Xers (thirty somethings). Fine if your products are meant for these groups, but if your target-market is Baby-Boomer women, you'll need to operate quite differently from the current practices of most retailers...

      • Article: When You're the Top Dog - Leading like a professional or barking up the wrong tree

        Judging by the way we elect some of our political leaders, you'd think that the three most important qualities to leadership are: popularity, an outgoing personality, and loyalty to your supporters. Coincidentally, these just happen to be the three most outstanding traits of our overweight 6 year old Corgi, affectionately named "Sadie." Sadie is popular with everyone she meets. She's outgoing to the point of being embarrassingly familiar with strangers. And she's loyal - to us and anyone else at the park with a milkbone. Perhaps the only reason Sadie hasn't been elected to public office is that she has breath issues...

      • Article: When the Cat's Away - Getting better frontline decisions - without you

        As a manager, you may assume that the guidance you give to your employees while you're on-site, will translate into them making better decisions when you're away. Unfortunately, the reverse may be true...

      • Article: 4 Customer Service Trends to Boost your Business -

        When organizations invite me to speak at their conferences or train their team members, we start with trends that are impacting their customer relationships. Check out these four customer service trends along with some tips for capitalizing on them to boost your business...

    • Juggling Projects, Customers and Administration

      • Article: Are You Too Busy to Be Productive? - Why customers shouldn't be your first priority

        Let's be frank - if you work for a company, then your primary goal is to make money. Period. You may have secondary goals to serve the interests of your customers, employees, and be a good corporate citizen, but your number one priority is strictly return on investment. Profit...

      • Article: How to Work Less and get More Done -

        In the days before email, the most pervasive interruption for the average manager was a ringing phone. Now that email is everywhere, including our PDAs, managers receive literally dozens if not hundreds of messages/interruptions/distractions every day. The problem gets worse as employees who are sending email messages within a company can easily send copies, no matter how trivial, to everyone else - including to other managers. The end result is that with the advent of email it's easy for a manager to spend an entire day reacting to other people's priorities. That's why I when it comes to a manager's productivity, email is the silent killer. The good news is some managers have learned to get past the clutter...

      • Article: Managing Multiple Priorities - How to juggle projects, customers and admin - and still have a life

        It may be a popular advertising slogan - our customers are our number one priority. As a manager however, buying into that strategy will actually reduce your effectiveness and damage your business. I learned this the hard way...

    • Retaining and Motivating Frontline Staff

      • Article: Are your People Problems really the issue? - Take this Mini Quiz

        I've discovered an interesting phenomenon when organizations bring me in to help 'motivate their people.' They may be suffering from customer complaints, staff turnover, or a lack of teamwork. At first glance, these appear to be front line people problems. What we frequently find however is that most problems involving attitudes and teamwork are actually just symptoms of flawed infrastructures. Let's see if this could be true in your organization...

      • Article: Becoming the Employer of Choice - How to boost staff loyalty - without buying it

        With regional labour shortages intensifying, some managers are struggling to keep even mediocre employees. Unfortunately, far too many managers figure the only way to gain staff loyalty is to buy it. That's a myth - and it's an excuse that you shouldn't accept of yourself or other managers. Of course money is important - but there is another way to gain employee loyalty that doesn't cost a thing....

      • Article: How to Hire Customer Service Stars -

        "What are some tips to ensure I'll hire the best customer service people?" That was the question the golf course owner asked me when she was about to begin hiring for another season. I don't profess to be an expert in running a golf course, but when I speak at conferences about customer service, I'll occasionally also facilitate an exchange of best practices among industry leaders. Here's a compilation of their top tips, which apply to any industry on how to hire customer service stars...

      • Article: Making Attitude Adjustments - Improving customer service behaviors - other than replacing people

        Not long ago, if a customer service employee fouled-up, he or she was warned, then if improvements didn't happen, was shown the door. In today's workplace however, where it's so difficult just maintaining staffing levels, dismissal doesn't really fix the problem - it just changes the problem. That means it's more important than ever for managers to be able to confront unacceptable employee behaviors without causing the person to simply walk out and get a job elsewhere. Next time one of your frontline employees needs an attitude adjustment, consider these tips...

      • Article: Motivating your Sales Team - Making More Sales with Fewer Calls

        As a manager or sales professional interested in boosting revenues, you've no doubt heard the expression, 'selling is a numbers game'. The idea is that the more potential customers you contact, the more likely you are to make sales. Makes sense in theory but in the real world this belief often reduces revenues. Here's why...

      • Article: Staffing Shortages? - Maybe You're the Problem

        Demographers are predicting that staffing shortages are only going to worsen in the coming years. Too many managers mistakenly assume the only way to keep people is to bite the bullet and pay more in salaries, benefits and perks. Unfortunately, those managers are often 'fixing' the wrong problem. Marcus Buckingham of the Gallop organization reported that the number one reason employees quit was their personal feelings about their immediate supervisor. Ask yourself if it's time your company took measures to fix the real problem when it comes to staff turnover - managers and supervisors are not equipped with the necessary skills to make their team members feel valued...

      • Article: Tea and the Secrets of Staff Retention -

        Staff retention a concern? That's particularly a challenge for frontline jobs that are considered to be boring. Today's employees do indeed want something more - and it isn't just money. According to the landmark studies in employee motivation spearheaded by Dr. Kenneth Kovach at George Mason University, the number one motivator for employees is interesting work. The real trick is how an employer makes a boring job more interesting. The secret lies in the tea ceremony...

      • Article: Watch your Language - The truth about language, diversity, and customer service

        If you employ workers whose first language isn't English, you may have come to regard these individuals as your organizations greatest resource. They are hard working, appreciative, and utterly reliable. Unfortunately, these same workers may also be your organization's greatest vulnerability. Employees whose English isn't proficient may be unintentionally straining relationships with your customers. Simply put, if customers can't easily understand your employees, they will take their business elsewhere; to a place where they won't have to work so hard to spend their money. That's why when organizations bring me in to do customer service training seminars for their team members, we occasionally need to address some of the language issues. Feel free to pass these tips to your team members...

      • Article: Top 7 Reasons Customer Service Slides -

        When I’m asked speak at conferences on how managers can boost business, they often assume we’re going to focus on gaining new customers. Ironically, that’s the last thing we should focus on. Neglecting existing customers to chase new business is akin to gathering water in the proverbial leaky bucket. We can exhaust ourselves trying to collect more water when we’d be further ahead by simply fixing the holes. The more sustainable approach to growing business is ensuring existing customers are so thrilled that they’ll not only return; but they’ll also recommend you to new potential customers. The challenge is without attention, customer satisfaction often atrophies. To ensure that doesn’t happen in your organization consider these top seven reasons why customer service slides....

      • Article: How to Motivate Younger Employees -

        You’re a manager who has paid your dues. Over a lifetime you’ve learned how to honour your commitments, interact with others, and make a positive contribution on the job. To you it seems like common sense. That’s the problem. Those high performing habits that are second nature to you can be completely foreign to today’s...

      • Article: Quiz - How would Others Describe your Energy? -

        Having worked with literally hundreds of managers and business owners who’ve brought me in to provide customer service training for their teams, I’ve discovered that when it comes to a leader’s vibe, there is a magic mix. To inspire others, a leader needs to be positive and optimistic while also being realistic. And your energy needs to be higher than average without being frenzied. In other words, the most effective leaders are those who exude quiet, confident energy. That’s easier said than done. Here are four tips for setting the kind of tone that positively engages teams.

      • Article: Getting your Staff to Get Along - 3 common teambuilding approaches - and why they don't work

        Over the many years that I’ve helped teams to strengthen trust with their customers and co-workers, I’ve discovered that typical approaches to enhancing teamwork not only don’t work - they’re actually counterproductive. Here are three common approaches to strengthening teamwork, and why you should take a different approach to building stronger bonds within your team.

      • Article: Considering Customer Service Training? - Ask these 7 critical questions

        Most managers and business owners know that in today's competitive marketplace, a key strategy to differentiate your company – without slashing prices and profits – is through your team’s service. Unfortunately, when it comes to customer service training, there are plenty of pitfalls that can undermine the best intentions. To differentiate your team’s service, ask these seven critical questions....

      • Article: Is Employee Ownership Right for Your Company? - 4 top excuses for NOT offering skin in the game - and why you should ignore them

        I confess - before I became a father, I sometimes found other people’s kids to be annoying. Especially when they sat behind me on a plane kicking the back of my chair. Or throwing a tantrum in a grocery store lineup. Thankfully, my patience and empathy miraculously increased when my wife and I had kids of our own. That’s why, when my clients express frustration about how difficult is to get team members to really care about their customers, I ask whether those employees actually own part of the company. Just like with children, when a company is your own, you are genuinely committed to helping it succeed. Here are the 4 most common excuses I’ve heard from business owners as to why they don’t offer employee ownership, and why it shouldn’t prevent you from offering key employees some skin in the game...

      • Article: Getting your Team to Care about Customers - 5 strategies for creating a customer service culture

        One of the most common challenges I hear from managers and business owners is how to get staff to want to provide better service. After having trained literally hundreds of customer service teams for over 25 years, I’ve observed that the organizations who nurture the best service behaviors use these five strategies…