Tag Archives: customer service

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business people #custserv

Customer Service Culture, not a Department Seminar – Wmspt, PA

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Customer service is a culture, not a department seminar. Half day seminar. Additional details by clicking on the website link below.


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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.

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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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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listening improves customer service

How Listening Improves Customer Service

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Many organizations who actually take the time to self-reflect suggest that one area they could improve is in their communication. Listening is one of the most fundamental and easily improved skills. Have you considered how listening improves customer service?

As a business consultant and organization development professional, I hear it all the time. I hear it mostly because I am listening, listening carefully and watch the non-verbal cues. Many businesses believe they are too good to change.

Their focus is either on the CEO’s area of expertise, often a technical skill, or on getting more sales. Neither of these are a problem, until; their focus becomes their blind spot.

Blind Spots

I’ve heard CEO’s of small businesses ($15k – $65k annual revenue) repeatedly suggest that they are too big to fail. Some of them flat out say it. Others are saying it when you listen through the words.

If you’re following along closely, you might wonder why I’m even in the room? Think about that for a moment. Honestly, I’m typically there because someone on the team has suggested to bring me in and the top brass tolerates it because they hope it will silence the team.

Now, I’m not bashing my clients, not at all. I’m honestly trying to help. However, too big to fail sometimes equates to too big to listen. This is most likely why the second string in the C Suite has recommended we work together. The first string tolerates it, again hoping to calm the restless.

Besides, they would never want to be accused of not supporting the team. The team needs this, but perhaps they do not, at least that may be the thought.

Customer Service Connection

The customer service connection should be starting to become clear. We’re in a service oriented economy. That isn’t really new, it has been shifting for decades, and many believe that it is accelerating.

In a service economy, the most valuable core principles should be closely aligned with [customer] service. This is important internally and externally. It is important for sales, brand promise, and understanding lifetime value.

Where are most organizations focused? They are focused on the external, closing the sale, increasing profit, and forging new relationships. Certainly, of course they are, as they should be. However, their focus on external push often eliminates listening to the service requirements.

Listening Improves Customer Service

How does this happen? Too big to fail, equates to too big to listen, which makes their actions and behaviors consistent with too big to care.

Caring is one of the most violated principles in a service economy. They may care, but sometimes they care incorrectly. Caring about closing the sale is sometimes not the same as caring enough to listen.

Listening, that is where it all starts. Not hearing, but listening.

In case you’re wondering, there is a difference.

– 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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long-term customer service appreciative strategies

Long-Term Customer Service, No Need to Panic

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There are many businesses doing it for the long haul. There are also many businesses who believe they are in it for the long haul but tend to operate for the short term. Are you providing long-term customer service solutions, or really just service in the moment?

Operating for the short term often seems realistic. It feels like the right thing to do. What I do today, must earn the trust, respect, and close the sale with my customer. That makes sense, but that is a short-term proposition. After today, it’s over, tomorrow is another day.

Short Game Panic

In the suburbs or rural communities, most people require a car or similar vehicle for getting things done. There isn’t a train, a bus, or in some cases, not even an Uber ride. People make life happen in part with their vehicle.

Why do people run out of gasoline? Why do they let their tank go so low that eventually it is empty?

There may be many reasons. Anything from waiting for payday to a faulty gauge, however, one of the most common is short-term thinking. The idea is I think I can make it. It will save some time and money, right now, in this very moment.

The short game doesn’t always work out so well. It causes stress, anxiety, and often panic. Panic often causes us to make additional unfavorable decisions. We can’t see things clearly, we’re always picking up the pieces from the short term fix.

Short Game Risk

Risk is often measured differently in the short game. It is like our fear to speak up. It is common for people to say nothing even though they believe the result will be unfavorable. The short gamer weighs the risk of speaking up as more dangerous than dealing with a bad decision later.

In the short game, they say nothing, and there is little risk taken, it feels safe. Tomorrow the price may be paid as a poor choice unfolds in what now may be labeled as a self-fulfilled prophecy. However, they’ll let it play out, see what happens next. That is playing the short game, not the long one.

All of this is the same for the culture of customer service that you are building.

You can run the risk in the short game. You can take the chance that you won’t run out of gas or you can hang up the telephone, watch the customer walk out the door, or worse you can hide behind email. Close the sale today, worry about tomorrow, tomorrow, that is the short game.

Long-Term Customer Service

Long-term customer service is much different from the short game. In the long game decisions usually are not made in a panic. They are made with the future at heart, the correct choices for the right now and for the long term.

Long-term strategy doesn’t come with panic. You fill the tank before you start the journey.

Unless you don’t plan to be around much longer.

– 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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building customer service appreciative strategies

Correctly Building Customer Service Culture

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Everyone knows that in the business world there isn’t really any standing still. You are either moving forward or falling behind. In the midst of our service economy, smart organizations are building customer service cultures like they never have before. Are they doing it correctly? Will it last?

Many are familiar with the fictional Iowa corn farmer who repeatedly hears, “If you build it, he will come.” Is your team hearing a voice from beyond? Is this type of thinking true for building customer service culture?

Foundational Stories

Surprising to some, much of the impact and learning moments of our lives are founded in stories. The stories may be factual or fictional but they often solidify learning. The greatest thing about a good story is that it is repeated. It is shared, valued, and trusted. Most important it is told over and over again.

The foundation of your customer service culture needs to be a story worth telling. It should be able to form connections, and move and inspire others. If the story isn’t worth telling the likelihood of repetition will drastically decrease, no matter how hard you push.

Once you have a story, or at least believe that you have a story, you’ll have to assess its value. You can ask yourself or your team, “Is this story something that anyone will care about? Will it move people by causing positive actions and behaviors?”

If no one sees or feels a benefit from the suggested outcomes, no one will care. If no one really cares, there is little chance for a viral experience. Even throwing money at it won’t change things much. End of story.

Symbols Shape Culture

Your story, metaphorically or literally, will condition what happens next. The story may be deeply rooted in values and traditions. It may be illustrated through words, phrases, and symbols.

Surprisingly, it may even be a song. It is hard to imagine the true (and lasting) impact when people sing your song. Coca-Cola did this so well.

Building Customer Service Culture

You’ll have to ask yourself and your team, “What will we do to create lasting impact and keep the story alive?”

Organizations often have a good plan. They may even have a good story, one that has some value in telling. The mistakes they make are not in the design. They are in the build.

Correctly building a customer service culture that matters will require you to show up, support it, live it, and tell it. Not once or twice, not just at the quarterly meeting or annual retreat, but every day.

Design will be important, but you’ll also have to lead.

– 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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popular customer service

Popular Customer Service and Long-term Value

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Fanny packs were once trendy, so was Zima, rollerblades, and Hacky Sack. Some things we don’t see very much of anymore, at least for now. Is there such a thing as popular customer service? What are the trends?

Give-away items have been popular for building sales and relationships. Fidget spinners even made their mark in 2017. The water bottle has been popular, and almost everyone has a pen with a slogan, name, and web address. The give-away seems to change but the concept may stay close to the same.

Bell Curve

Entrepreneurs are always interested to find the next great thing. The dream is to be on the left side (start) of the bell curve, ride it on its climb, and get out before the decline begins to show itself on the right hand side. Things are great, nearly magical if you are on the correct side of the curve.

What works well for customer service? What is the trend? Should you join in?

Long-term Value

In some regards, the customer experience is situational. What works at the restaurant is likely different from the bank or at the hotel. There are differences for organizations depending on sector, trade, or even geographic location.

Make no mistake about it, service and its connection to sales and relationships make it a very popular pursuit. Yet many claim that customer service has been weakened in the past decade or two through price and profit wars. Contrasting that weakness may be a renewed need.

Customer service is often viewed as the short-term fix, but when you put financial numbers to it, the ROI is in long-term value.

Popular Customer Service

Perhaps one thing is certain, what is popular or trendy today, won’t be tomorrow. Popular is a good idea, but it is also not permanent. Popular means you are riding the bell curve and it keeps you searching for what is next.

Customer service isn’t really a trend, and perhaps it shouldn’t be viewed as popular, it is a cultural value that builds brands.

Or else, it doesn’t.

– 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 reputation appreciative strategies

How to Improve Your Customer Service Reputation

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Your reputation precedes you. At least that is what we’ve heard. What is your customer service reputation? Do you know, and if so, how would you improve it?

Reputation may come in many forms. Some quickly draw thoughts of the negative, bad, or vulgar. Reputation can of course be something great.

Knowing Your Reputation

There are many ways to learn more about your customer service reputation. You might compare and contrast with the competition, launch a survey, or when you’re really doing the right kind of work you may consider just asking.

Reputation is much like trust, it takes a while to build it and it can be tarnished in an instant. Reputation in customer service circles may also be directly connected to loyalty. If your business builds true relationships, that is part of your reputation. No relationship, no loyalty.

The reputation of your business is delivered by anyone (and everyone) who interacts with a customer, internal and external. Every touch point (or a lack of) will condition your reputation. It is what people expect you to do now, and a brand promise on what you’ll do next.

Your reputation is truth in the quality of workmanship, integrity, and ethics. It is what you deliver even when the going gets tough, and when no one else is looking. Like trust, and even respect, the deepest form of it is earned, not given.

Customer Service Reputation

Here are three considerations for improving and building a solid customer service reputation:

  • Think give. This doesn’t always have to be costly or require materials. When you give and give and give until you think you can’t give anymore, give something extra. In (all, but especially in business) relationships, often this is not material things, but expressions and gestures. Material niceties are great too.
  • Action guidelines. Any person, place, or thing that touches the customer is of course a touch point. Businesses sometimes take for granted the actions or behaviors involved with every touch point. Have guidelines that every employee knows, understands, and performs accordingly. A communication guideline is always a good place to start.
  • Longevity. Doing something great once is a good idea. Doing something great again and again across time is what will earn your reputation. Consistency is a factor for trust. It will also be a factor for your reputation. Remember it is built over time and can be lost in an instant.

Many people set out in their careers to earn a living. A business should be focused on earning their reputation.

World of mouth can be your best friend. It can also be your worst nightmare.

Make [earn] a lot of friends.

– 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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improve customer service appreciative strategies

Looking For Ways To Improve Customer Service

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Many people will tell you that they are looking for ways to improve. Personally and professionally, people seeking to improve spend billions of dollars annually. Are you looking for ways to improve customer service or set you or your organization apart from the rest?

Funny things sometime happen when we believe we are looking. Notice that I use the word “believe.” There is a big difference between looking for something specific and just looking.

Daniel Simons has provided a lot of interesting research in the area of selective attention. I’ve been fortunate to work with leaders at many different levels on the dangers associated with self-perception and deception and to have published training material with Elaine Biech (Editor) and Pfeiffer (Wiley) in this book.

Discovering Obvious

There is a difference in looking for and seeing what we are looking for, and looking for and discovering something new, or in other cases, discovering nothing.

Can you name every picture or item hanging on your walls? Have you ever said the idiom, “If it was a snake it would have bit me.” Sometimes what we are looking for is in plain sight, but we fail to see it.

Why do people shout, “Touch Down,” or “Home Run,” when everyone watching the game is seeing the same thing? Sure, excitement is a factor, but we’re also calling attention to the obvious.

I can’t tell you exactly what is hanging on my walls in every room of my house. I also occasionally struggle to find something that I know I put in a special place.

Improve Customer Service

When you are looking for ways to improve your personal levels of customer service, or improve it for your team or business, it may be best to actually look, but look differently.

Do you want to make the moment memorable? Sometimes you don’t need to look beyond the obvious, you need to see the obvious.

– 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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