Author Archives: Dennis Gilbert

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business reputation appreciative strategies

What Is Important For Your Business Reputation?

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Businesses spend billions of dollars each year on marketing and advertising. Much of this effort is to build their brand. What is important for your business reputation?

Today we have a service economy unlike any other time in modern history. Media and connections often form our first impressions. What matters most?

Shape Reputation

Most businesses believe that they shape and control their reputation. They believe they do it from clever and impactful marketing and advertising campaigns, and ultimately what their product or service delivers. All of this is important, but it isn’t the whole picture.

Clients, customers, and your market will always enter the scene with bias from past experiences or what they saw in their social feed. In a sense, most businesses, like books, are often judged by their cover.

This is true for individuals, as well as businesses. It is true for sales and marketing professionals, the front line, and the C Suite.

What Happens First

First impressions are powerful, and many experts talk about the moments you have, measuring them in the number of seconds.

Ultimately, your reputation may be influenced in not only those first few seconds, but also what you become known for.

The person with the muscle car speeding through the parking lot is a motor head. A person in professional business attire is a corporate executive, not a well-respected (brick layer) mason. The college math professor giving a presentation about social media is not a professor, but a social media expert.

The 5-star restaurant that caters the upscale wedding runs the risk of becoming known as a caterer, not the best dinner spot in town.

True for individuals, true for businesses, we should know by now that perception is reality.

Your Business Reputation

You can try to buy your brand and your reputation through a marketing budget, but conflicting with every dollar spent is what lies under the surface.

The business who says they have exceptional customer service but doesn’t deliver will eventually be found out.

Perhaps the best way to build your business reputation is to become it. It isn’t an image you buy. Authenticity matters more than dollars spent.

What you do first may be what you become known for, all the while remembering that bias, stereotypes, and media influence will help your target market decide.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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Good plans fail

Why Good Plans Fail And Judgment Inspires Outcomes

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What’s your plan? People ask that question often. What’s the plan, what are we doing? Have you thought recently about why good plans fail?

Having a good strategy is important. There are plenty of ways to start developing one. There are also plenty of ways to overanalyze, and become paralyzed with fear.

One of the best questions but the one not often asked is about the quality of the plan. Is it a good plan? This is typically not asked, because instead it is judged.

Good Plans Fail

Most plans are judged. The gamble of working or not working, being fun, exciting, and the risk, or a lack of risk, that will generate the momentum required for success.

It’s all judgment. Typically, judgment based doubt, not on optimism.

When the plan is rolled out, doubt will appear. Doubt is often confirmed in the moments that immediately follow. When in doubt, the naysayer has your back.

Judgment Inspires Outcomes

The trouble with a lot of good plans is that they are judged by naysayers. If judgment is going to occur, perhaps it should be different. Judged for why it will work and not why it won’t.

What if it is a good plan? What if the judgment, the bias, and the stereotyping confirmed success instead of denying it? Would the outcomes change if it were judged by success and not the possibility of lurking failure?

Often good plans fail before they get started.

Lead Each Other

Suggest the opposite, look for what will work. Consider why things are different now, and the possibility of how this plan will make things better. This is a team who leads each other, a team who works with optimism, hope, and a good plan.

The team that believes they have a good plan and the one that does not are probably both going to be right.

The reality that the new plan might work will prevent a good plan from failing.

Somebody has to lead. Plan accordingly.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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ranking customers

Ranking Customers: 5 KPI’s Worth Measuring

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Do you know who your number one customer is? What criterion determines top performing clients? Ranking customers may be important if you want to understand more about your marketing and brand effectiveness.

Many business metrics are measured by examining KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) and sorting top performers by those indexes. Measuring and examining customer performance can consist of many variables and can become quite complex.

Five KPI’s

Let’s consider five basic indicators:

  • Sales Revenue: This one is likely the easiest on the list and one that nearly everyone quickly considers. Sales revenue matters but it likely should never stand-alone. Depending on your business, sales revenue may be quite different from profit.
  • Profit: Measuring by profit may make more sense as compared with sales revenue. When we think about profit, we also have to think about gross profit or net profit. What expenses are applied to your profit calculation? Cost of sales may be another indicator to consider.
  • Lifetime Value: Often represented as LTV or CLTV (Customer Life Time Value) this metric is often overlooked. Many businesses today become focused on the short term at the expense of missing opportunities that may help you weather the storm. Lifetime value can be calculated in many ways. It can also be historic or come from a predictive model.
  • Demographics Score: Typically, there is a sweet spot for every business. In B2B, it may be the number of employees, annual revenue, geographic location, and more. In B2C, it may be things like gender, age, number of children, or household income. The more you know and understand about your demographics the more targeted (and profitable) your efforts can become.
  • Social Presence: Yes, in our modern society social presence may be a performance indicator. While this typically requires some investigative work it may be important to recognize. Some businesses will investigate social presence and assign an estimated value. Depending on your business some customers may be helping (or hurting) your brand.

Highly customized performance indicators may matter for your business. Things like buying cycle or patterns, frequency, and how much you spend to market or advertise. What is your ROI (return on investment)?

Ranking Customers

Typically, the more you know or understand about your customers the better, but there is also a cost associated with ranking customers. Most experts would likely agree that some metrics and measurements are better than not having any.

One final note, remember that customers may also be ranking their vendors, which means you.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Customer Service Shortcuts

Customer Service Shortcuts and Culture

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It is easy to disregard customer service. Perhaps in many organizations it is quickly brushed over because there is no rocket science and, after all, it takes a lot of energy to do it right. Do you have a culture of customer service shortcuts?

How do you know you have good customer service? How are you measuring the success of your customer service culture?

Said or Done?

Many organizational leaders tell me that they survey their customers. Some suggest that management is carefully watching and monitoring both processes and outcomes. Others claim to be doing it digitally. They monitor social media, review sales data, and analyze lifetime value.

In many ways, all of those produce some form of evidence. Evidence is valuable and meaningful, but it may not be the entire story. Things are likely missing, valuable things that are overlooked, underestimated, or disregarded.

What is the culture of the organization? What are the habits, the traditions, and the values? I’m not just talking about what is said in the boardroom, at the quarterly meeting, or on a digital document otherwise known as the employee handbook.

What is the execution or organizational habits? What are the customer service shortcuts? None of it may be rocket science.

Shortcut Investment or Divestment

Many businesses invest in shortcuts. It is the auto-attendant telephone system, the ring the buzzer for help, or the website contact page. They invest in touch point reduction. It is the listen carefully because our menu options have changed, or it must have went into my spam folder.

Customers don’t hear reasons, they hear excuses. What they feel, is a lack of caring. What your execution is demonstrating, is a shortcut. Every action, or a lack of, has a cost. What can your organization afford?

Customer Service Shortcuts

It isn’t about well-crafted words on a document, it isn’t the glamorous pitch from the C Suite, or it is not necessarily about what is contained in the managers’ report.

It might be a part of all of those, but the biggest part of your culture is execution, the things that become values, traditions, and the brand.

They are easy, fast, and no one seems to notice. When carefully examined they represent what you can get away with, perhaps a different form of what will the market bear.

It is about your culture. There is value to what you say, but what will be remembered the most is what you do and how your customers feel.

Is it time to consider how you’re coming up short?

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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caring costs

Caring Costs but Saves Money in the Long Run

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Possibly the most fundamental principle that is so often violated in the workplace and especially in customer service is caring. Caring costs but it certainly can save money in the long run.

Workplace Caring

At our job, someone leaves the printer without paper, or prints and leaves the tray filled with unwanted output. The office microwave has spills, the paper towel dispenser is empty, and all of your shared documents have moved to a different folder.

It seems doesn’t matter [sarcasm] because time is money and everyone is running late or behind, or perhaps, they just don’t care. We’ll leave it for the next person to clean up or take care of, after all, they have more time.

Customer Service

We see it, feel it, and hear about it all the time. The unclean restroom, food that should be warm, but is cold, or even the displays that clutter the isles of our local food store making it difficult for shopping carts to pass.

Caring may feel like it is expensive. It takes time, resources, and often money to make a difference.

Too often, the focus is on the short term, not realizing the negative repercussions in the long run.

Caring Costs

One of the best benefits of caring is word of mouth, today this is world of mouth. The C Suite fears the negative social media posts, but insists that organizational performance is relative to the front line.

Caring starts internally, it begins within the culture of the organization. It is hard to show external caring when internally the measurement of profit or sales trumps any philosophical position the organization claims to be taking.

Saves Money

Yes, in fact, caring costs, but it may also more than pay for itself. Caring builds relationships, creates loyalty, and increases lifetime customer value. Considering just those three things, it seems to me that in the long run this saves money.

Is caring important? Caring is so important that I devoted a chapter to it in my recent book.

Care more. It puts the human back in the equation—priceless.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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failure expensive

Is Failure Expensive, Compared to What?

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What does failure cost? Most people believe that the cost is significant. Is failure expensive and if so how, or compared to what?

On January 28, 1986, we lost the Space Shuttle Challenger reportedly due to an O-ring failure. The cost of this disaster probably easily exceeded $500 million. Some estimates are at more than $5 billion.

On April 10, 2010, we experienced the Deep Water Horizon oil spill. Estimates on the cost of this manmade disaster reportedly exceed $42 billion.

Hard Costs, Hard Lessons

Oil spills, space shuttles, and nuclear reactor plants have all contributed to enormous costs of failure. Cost of life is of course, immeasurable.

Failure often seems to be measurable to hard costs. Have you considered the costs of doing nothing?

What if there were not any oilrigs, what if there was no nuclear power? NASA programs have also contributed heavily to technology development and innovation. What if those programs never existed?

Many of us won’t make decisions about oilrigs, space programs, or nuclear power, but we will make decisions about what we accomplish or don’t in our lives and in our careers.

What is the cost if you don’t take the new job, what if you didn’t attend college, or what are the pros and cons of starting your own business?

Is Failure Expensive

We can sometimes put a number on what failure costs, but it is pretty difficult to put a number on the cost of doing nothing.

For the individuals, businesses, or organizations that find themselves stuck, perhaps they only see the price tag of failure.

Failure may not be that expensive when you compare it to the cost of doing nothing, or worse, regret.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Vague Customer Service

Vague Customer Service Guidelines

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Milestones and goals are always important. Many people stress how critical metrics and measurements are for the performance management process. How are you managing customer service? Do you have vague customer service guidelines?

When you attend a meeting, get involved in a committee, or volunteer to help steer the direction of a project you may insist on some goals. The funny thing about most of these endeavors is that they are built on one underlying, often-subconscious premise, keeping everything vague.

Customer Service Culture

Your organizational culture is developed from many things, including: brand, symbols, language, methods, and processes. Most of all, it is carried out by people, and is often intended to be role modeled from the behaviors of organizational leaders.

Is customer service part of your culture? Customer service shouldn’t be viewed as a department, in today’s economy customer service is about culture. Most leaders will quickly grab on to this idea, but as role models, they may leave some gaps.

Not Specific Means Vague

Positive language is often spread throughout the organization by role models, but it is often vague.

Here are a few examples:

  • Improve satisfaction.
  • Increase lifetime value.
  • Enhance the customer experience.

Anything that is vague is hard to measure.

What about the committee or project management team, how do they contribute?

Vague Customer Service

The committee will most likely leave some gaps when the leadership is vague about guidelines. Vague customer service guidelines leaves wiggle room. Wiggle room means the measurement will be subjective.

It is hard to do anything wrong in an environment with vague guidelines or goals. They’re vague, so just wiggle, but that also makes it hard to move forward.

Unfortunately, being vague is often the self-deceptive and unrealized output from the meeting, committee, or project team. What is worse, often the language is handed down and passed around. It is role modeled.

In most cases, it is not intentional. Everyone has good intentions, but vague allows everyone the opportunity to wiggle.

Wiggling isn’t winning. Vague customer service guidelines aren’t helping anyone, especially the customer.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Changing organizational culture

Truth About Your Changing Organizational Culture

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Times are changing. It seems every organization recognizes the business environment and climate are changing. Are you closely connected with some of the most fundamental aspects and ready to discover the truth about your changing organizational culture?

If everything in the business environment is shifting, the riskiest place to be is stuck in the status quo. When the environment is different, you can’t just do things differently. You will likely have to discover and learn, adapt, and do different things.

Discover Truth

Here are three important aspects to consider:

  • Facts. What is factual and true about your direction? What is the proof, or what can you prove through research or evidence?
  • Needed. What are the skills or expertise you will need for where you are headed? What will make the shifting direction successful? Consider what your team can learn or what should you outsource or hire?
  • Fears. Give honest self-reflection. What do you fear? What are you avoiding to face the truth? Consider what may be important but also out of your control.

Our U.S. economy has been shifting for decades. It has accelerated in this shift since 2009.

Do Different Things

Ask another question, what are you doing that is different, which is not the same as exploring what things you are doing differently.

This represents the truth in your path. Consider the culture, the habits, and the traditions.

Write it all down, put it on a flip chart or write on a white board.

When you step back and look at your situation more as an outside observer as compared to an inside navigator you may discover the real truth.

Changing Organizational Culture

Many believe their culture protects them and makes them strong. That is a truth, but a culture stuck in the status quo is actually falling behind.

That may be the hardest truth of all.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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your work count appreciative strategies

Making Your Work Count and Outlasting Critics

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People start their work every day. Every day they may question why am I doing this, why does it matter, and why do people only care enough to find fault. Do you make your work count? Does it speak for itself?

There are days when it feels like everyone is a critic. The project your team worked tirelessly on, the new idea you mentioned at the meeting or the marketing campaign that you know will be a huge success.

Some critics may be trying to be helpful, some are jealous, and some see you growing and they don’t like it because they now have to move up or move on. Your worst critic, sooner or later, they will find someone else to give their attention to, because you’ve moved on.

Different is Better than Average

When you work with the intent to make your work count, to make a difference, to advance the team, it becomes momentum. It is hard to stop momentum. In fact, that may be exactly what critics are calling for. They want to slow the train.

Your work will count the most when it is unique. It is hard to pick the best donut from a rack of two dozen. It is hard to find the nicest rose in the bunch. The work you do, the accomplishments of your team, or the success of your organization will benefit the most when it’s not the same, but different.

Unfortunately, trying something new is exactly what the critic wants to stop. It is different, odd, ugly, or simply won’t work. Especially when the critic suggests that, others have tried it in the past.

The critic invites the challenge to prove them wrong.

Does Your Work Count

You’ll make your work count when you dare to be different. When you dare to improve the quality, the delivery, and the customer experience.

Critics will tell you a different story, but you’ll outlast them.

Critics have little patience for progress.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Another great start

Another Great Start, The Day Doesn’t Matter

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People have suggested for decades that attitude is everything. Attitude, or as I sometimes choose to label it, mind-set, can have a significant difference on our accomplishments. Is today a good day to have another great start?

You bet, not because we are specifically trying to be cheery while holding a grudge. Not because we have to get along, and certainly not because we want released from our (PIP) Personal Improvement Plan.

Your Best, Their Best

The best chance we’re going to have all day to make a positive difference is by engaging with other people when they are at their best. Monday’s are a good day, and so are Friday’s, every day in between and the weekend.

Wrongs and rights sometimes matter less when the focus is on forward. Reliving past negative experiences aren’t the best way to start the day. Any preoccupation with past negativity serves no forward purpose.

Fresh Starts for Everyone?

Does everyone get a fresh start, not necessarily? Is every customer a good customer, or are there sometimes bad customers? Has a colleague sold you out, ratted you out, or took credit for your work, possibly someone has.

There are always colleagues, customers, bosses, and people on the highway, at the store, or grabbing your parking space. You have some choices on who you’ll work with and how you’ll choose to engage. You’ll also decide when or if you want to move over or move on.

Outside of those limited people that you’ll choose to disengage with, there is opportunity for everyone else.

Another Great Start

The network is huge if you participate. Your participation remains about choice. The choices you make each day about mind-set will determine what you get back.

For everyone, another great start happens when you make it.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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