Tag Archives: trust

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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.

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Customer service marketing

Is Customer Service Marketing?

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There are many ways you can bring your idea, product, or service to market. In fact, there are more media opportunities than ever before. What is the best? Is customer service marketing, or really just an operational tactic?

Many businesses hope that their post will go viral. The singer, songwriter, and band all hope for a YouTube or Hulu sensation. Media opportunities have changed. Brand awareness is critical for success.

World of Mouth

Today more ways than ever before exist to build your brand, what should you do? With so many options for visibility, consumers often don’t know who to trust. Talk about marketing long enough and many people will mention the power of word of mouth.

Is it true that word of mouth has become world of mouth? Endless opportunities exist but how are they effectively tapped?

Media Opportunities

You can buy a Super Bowl spot, local television time, or boost a post on social media. You can also sponsor an event, print t-shirts, and offer coupons.

Most will advise you to have a good website, strong social presence, and get more involved with video.

All of those things are likely important, but when it comes to trust it really boils down to your organizational performance and demonstrated commitment to your brand promise.

Perhaps all of the big success stories, all of the things that cause disruption, create chatter, and grow sales happen because someone will choose to talk about it.

Customer Service Marketing

What is a hot topic? Customer service is a very hot topic. As the nature of relationships change, face-to-face experiences become different, and word of mouth develops a completely new meaning, the result of your customer service is the difference.

Video is hot because when done well, it captures the emotion. Every buying decision has an emotional component. There is often a difference between what people want and what people need. It is true for business-to-business transactions and it is true for business-to-consumer.

When marketing shakes down to the most simplistic level, it is still all about word of mouth. Except, the rules have changed, the opportunities have exploded, and trust has become more critical.

Your best (or worst) marketing tool may still be what people decide to share with other people.

Is customer service marketing? Ask yourself this, “What are people saying?”

– 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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Why a Trusted Customer Service Culture Matters

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I don’t know what it is, I just don’t trust him or her. You’ve probably said it, or you’ve heard someone say it. Trust is a vital element of customer service. Does a trusted customer service culture matter?

We quickly can recognize that a culture develops from values, beliefs, and traditions. In sales or customer service trust may have a direct link to symbols, imagines, and brand. Trust may sometimes be hard to define but we know it when we feel it.

Fine Print

Most people don’t read the fine print. They seldom read every part of a product label. They don’t read the pamphlet that comes with the prescription, or the terms and conditions contained within the drop down box on their recent online bill pay.

Most likely it is not because they don’t care, it is more likely that they have already decided to trust what they are getting themselves into.

Trust isn’t about the fine print. It is more likely about word of mouth, what they have observed from others, or from watching a television commercial or YouTube video. Of course, then you must realize that they have decided to trust those sources too.

Inside the Organization

Your customer service culture starts within the organization. It is often based on a concept that many would suggest is primordial. What we see, feel, and hear establishes our trust.

Trust comes from the observation when they don’t believe anyone is watching. It may come from the power of numbers, the perception of acceptance, or when the risk of chance feels small. Deep inside we connect because of trust.

Even today it may be essential for life, it makes groups more powerful, and we know that by working together we can accomplish more. It’s a tribe mentality, follow the crowd, if many are doing it, it must be okay, safe, and something good.

Trusted Customer Service

Through marketing and advertising your organization can accomplish a lot, but the feeling that your organization delivers starts within the culture. Sure people see the marketing and advertising but they also put a lot of weight in their own observations and draw conclusions based on what they feel.

If the people on the inside don’t believe, it is a much harder sell on the outside.

So what do you think? Does your culture deliver on trust?

– 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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trusted not cheap

Why Your Brand Should Be Trusted Not Cheap

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We live in an era where price is often the first question. Driving down costs is an important consideration, but to the manufacturer, distributor, or web sales kingpin is price what matters? Should your brand be trusted not cheap?

People often take pride in working hard for the lowest price. Drive to the cheapest gas station, shop at the store with the best coupons, and insist on free shipping. Society seems to like cheap and convenient, there are even bragging rights for those who achieve the lowest price.

We can argue about smart, but what about the business who offers cheap?

Owners, Managers, Employees

If you own a business, manage a business, a department, or team, or even if you place high value on your job or career you may want to consider the cost of cheap.

Businesses offer sales pricing, issue coupons, and even promote what they often call loss leaders. Does this work? Sure, sometimes it does. Is this how you want to build your brand?

Buyers respond, often in big numbers, the thought is that it is working, but for how long? How long will it be until there is a lower cost replacement? How long will it be until the buying opportunity for the customer is closer or on-line with free shipping?

At your job or in your career how long until the work that you do can be performed with a lower cost solution? Are any of these situations trusted?

Be Trusted Not Cheap

Many people and businesses push for the lowest price when with the lowest price often comes low trust.

Easy come, easy go, may be the best way to describe these actions. When there is no investment in the customer, there will probably be little investment in the employee, and when there is no investment in either of these the lowest price will win—until it doesn’t. Then everything changes.

The next time you’re shopping for lowest price, when you find it, ask yourself, “Do I trust this product, service, and the people?”

Trust your answer.

– 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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repackaging hurts appreciative strategies

3 Reasons Why Repackaging Hurts

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Sometimes it is about a fresh look, other times it is about sustaining or improving profit margins. It might seem like a good idea, but have you considered how repackaging hurts?

I grew up eating breakfast. It was reinforced as the most important meal of the day. Today arguments exist whether breakfast is good or bad but I’m rolling with the concept that breakfast is a good idea.

Same Face But Different

Most days, for as long as I can remember, I indulged on traditional breakfast cereals. Sure, some of them had little marshmallows and were loaded with sugar. Sometimes as a kid, I added sugar. Yes, its true and I’m still alive.

Cereal is still on my diet, but what is up with the boxes? I’m not sure if it is applicable to all brands, but many have changed their packaging. The box looks the same from the front, but its thickness has diminished, and so has the product weight.

In retail markets, we often consider the product face. In this case, the product face remains basically unchanged. Its height and width take up just as much space. So the presentation is the same or very similar. The idea might be more profit, but the true cost might be unbearable.

Does the model work? It might, short term, but when the customer feels cheated will it still be okay?

Repackaging Hurts

Here are three reasons why repackaging hurts:

  1. Hurts Trust. Consumers often make purchases or stick with a brand because they trust it. This is true for nearly everything. It is true with cereal for kids (big kids too), consumer electronics, and automobiles.
  2. Hurts Brand. Not only is this particular product in jeopardy, but anything associated with the brand. When trust has been violated it will often spread to other products or labels produced by the same company.
  3. Loses Customer. With the trust and brand violated, the customer might make a different purchasing decision. This is potentially a lost customer, perhaps lost forever.

Consider cereal to be a metaphorical example. This is true with nearly any product. It might also be true with people.

When you don’t get what you expect or you feel fooled. It might be the beginning of something. Perhaps, the beginning of the end.

Repackaging hurts.

– 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 four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Consistency matters

Consistency Matters for the Customer Experience

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Have you ever wondered if consistency matters? In the eyes of your customer, consistency might be the only thing that keeps them loyal.

Yesterday I had lunch with a coaching client at one of my favorite pizza shops. The client knowing that I frequented the shop asked, “Is the pizza good here?” It hit me when I had to pause before answering. There is one significant problem with this pizza shop. It lacks consistency.

Customer Experience

Go to a McDonald’s, Burger King, or Pizza Hut any place you can find one. At any of these establishments, you’ll have the same or very similar quality of food. You can count on it.

You know how it will taste. The menu might be the same or very similar and the ambiance will be identical.

Knowing what to expect matters and consistency might be why we shop, buy, or consume. Inconsistency brings on trust issues and the inability for the customer to recommend the quality.

During our lunch, I went on to explain that sometimes the pizza is fantastic but other times it is just okay.

Okay isn’t always good enough. It might be, when the alternatives aren’t any better, but given the idea of the existence of any lunch time commodity this pizza shop might lose business.

Consistency Matters

Whatever your business is, trust in the notion that consistency matters.

Consistency might be why people shop and it is certainly a big part of why they trust. Lack of consistency might signal problems. It detracts from the customer experience.

When organizational leaders or front line employees don’t care enough to make it consistent you might not care enough to return.

The perceived value drops from exceptional to average and average is available everywhere.

Authenticity and Loyalty

Loyalty might make a difference but the ease of purchase somewhere else might outshine loyalty even on a good day.

If you work for a business, organization, or institution is the output consistent?

Only when your output is consistent is your work good enough to be labeled authentic.

What is not authentic might be considered to be available anywhere.

The question then might become, “Are you loyal?”

No one needs to ask why.

– 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 four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! 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 is Winning

Why Customer Service is Winning

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Some organizations view customer service as an expense to minimize. Customer service is not about a department, it is about a culture. Delivering exceptional customer service is winning.

Winning to Lose

Businesses might sometimes be brutal with sales efforts. The pressure from management or the business owner creates pushy behaviors from account executives or others whose job performance and paycheck depend on closing the sale.

An intense focus on the close of the sale without a similar focus on the customer likely has a cost associated with it. When the push is too hard, it becomes a shove. People seldom forget a shove.

You might win the sale today but this win might become a loss since it is at the expense of no sale tomorrow.

Big city or small town you’ll rarely only interact once. The reputation you’re building is important. Future decisions to buy goods or services will be at stake. Your individual presence and the culture of customer service you’ve demonstrated will always matter.

Customer Service is Winning

Here are a few things to remember about why customer service is winning:

  • Reputation. You’re not just managing today’s transactions your building tomorrows reputation. This reputation will be a factor that is discussed anytime someone mentions a need for what you provide.
  • Trust. People engage with trusted resources. Consider that trust is earned, not just given. Price always matters but trust is part of your value. Even in transactional sales trust will play a role.
  • Connection. Beyond trust is the connection. It will only be a one and done if the perceived value is low. The service you provide might represent part of the sales team you never realized that you had.

Culture Matters

Customer service is never about a department, it is about a culture.

Most organizations will tell you about their exceptional levels of customer service.

It’s not what they tell you that really matters. It’s what they show 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 four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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Communicating with the C-Suite

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It can be elusive, scary, and a place where people sometimes go and are never seen again. Some people will work for most of the career striving to get to the C-Suite, others prefer to avoid it.

business people group on meeting

Is it harder to communicate with those occupying the tower of the elite? If you’re not in the tower, the feeling just might be an overwhelming, yes.

What makes it so difficult? Aren’t these just people?

Yes, of course, but their charge is somewhat different. Sure everyone is working toward some contribution for the greater good of the organization, but those in the C-Suite are operating under a different kind of pressure. Their pressure is intense, their time very limited, and often they face decisions for setting direction that could result in an enormous victory or become the harshest defeat.

Do you have success communicating with the C-Suite? Are you looking for ways to improve?

Here are a few tips that might help:

  1. Be straight forward. Time is critical for everyone, and those in the C-Suite are definitely concerned about time. Details, drama, or indecisiveness tend to slow things down and time often feels like it is already working against them. Dance less, and give it to them straight.
  2. Bring evidence. Opinions are not facts. If you’re seeking permission or direction for a decision it might help to have a little proof in your proposal. Statistics, white papers, or stock reports might help your cause, but so will street smart news reports or details about a marketing campaign recently launched by a competitor.
  3. Be compelling. If you deliver like a church mouse, you’re probably not commanding enough respect. Chances are good that arrogance is too much, but having appropriate confidence, showing passion for your thoughts or ideas, and having a concise delivery will help bring clarity to your message.
  4. Deliver trusted information. There is a good chance that your C-Suite executive needs more information but their challenge is getting the right information. Their data needs to be reliable and valid. Often they are provided with so much information from so many different resources they simply don’t know who or what to trust. Become that trusted resource.
  5. Be patient. While the C-Suite often operates at a lightening pace, it might seem like a turtle race to others in the organization. If you’re going to build a strong relationship with those in the tower you’re going to have to learn to be patient. What feels urgent to you might have a very low priority for them. When in doubt, stay calm and be patient.

Communication drives all that we do. The very best organizations are great communicators from the top to the bottom and from the bottom to the top.

Avoidance, hesitation, or procrastination likely won’t improve the outcomes of any communication, especially communication with the C-Suite.

Make sense?

Sweet, you’ve got this!

– 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 four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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Poor Communication: Too Much or Too Little?

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Communication is such a complex topic. Often I talk with clients about communication, about factors that influence communication, and about trust issues or even about information overload. Is it possible to have too much communication?

Casual businessman trying not to laugh during meeting

Many people incorrectly make the assumption that communication break downs are the result of someone not providing a different person with information that they need to know. Here are a few common statements that might be misdiagnosed as a signal for more communication:

  • No one told me!
  • I guess I missed the memo! {sarcasm}
  • I wasn’t in that meeting.

While it might be true that there are times when important information is not shared, there are often many reasons which are not directly related to having an awareness of the need to share information. Things like trust, the fear of causing a conflict, and poor listening skills also substantially contribute to a break down in workplace communication. When a team member, the entire team, or the entire organization come to the conclusion that their communication problems are the result of not sharing enough information the problems sometimes don’t get better, they often get worse.

Too much communication is just as bad as too little. What happens when people decide to email everyone in the company, use to much courtesy copy, or get a little sneaky with the blind copy function? What if those people don’t necessarily need to be in that loop? You guessed it, people grow tired of seeing email from a sender which doesn’t apply to them and so they just stop reading, and they don’t just stop reading that email, they stop reading all of them! After some time an email received from Jack or from Jane simply does not matter. The technology savvy employee might even set up a rule in their email management software to file them in a folder that they seldom view.

Email is not the only pathway to providing too much communication. Similar to the email problem management teams sometime decide that they need more meetings or to involve more people in the meetings. This might work out okay if that is really a problem but if more people attend the meetings and the information being shared gets more restrictive because of low-trust issues then you have additional problems. Now you have more people removed from otherwise productive work and the meeting content is narrower and important information is not being shared. So more time is being wasted and the communication has weakened.

Should we go a step further?

Okay, so if the team has decided to invite more people and yet the additional people are not productive (because they are stuck in the meeting) and less information is shared with the people who definitely need to know then what happens? You guessed it, another meeting happens because now people need to meet separately with the people who really need to know and of course they can’t disrupt the concept of more people in the original meeting because that is counter intuitive to the decision that they made to share more information. 

Can it get worse? You bet and often it does.

Yes, there can be too much communication and yes the wrong choices to improve communication in organizations can make things worse, much worse.

– 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 four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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5 Tips to Restore Team Trust

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Restoring trust in teams might be as individualized as the personalities that exist within it. Would more trust improve the performance of your team?

038773478-business-people-group-meeting

Building, restoring, or managing trust can be tricky. Trust is very delicate, it has a way of improving and then going away only to suddenly reappear seemingly without reason. In addition, trust issues are not all the same and as such there is not a one-size-fits-all method for improvement. Here are some helpful tips that can position you on the right path for more trust:

  1. Face Trust Issues. Probably the most important step for improving trust is to acknowledge that there is room to improve. So often organizations would rather deny that trust is problematic than face the reality that there is room for improvement. If you don’t understand or refuse to accept that trust issues exist, game over.
  2. Set Reasonable Expectations. Everyone across all organizational levels will need to have some specific expectations. These might also be considered guidelines or rules of engagement but without consciously bringing forward the expectations of each employee improving trust doesn’t stand a chance. Be cautious of the mind-set of, it’s not me, it’s them, because everyone has some ownership when it comes to trust.
  3. Open Communication. Closed doors, whispering conversations, and inconsistency in decisions or actions will severely limit your ability to build trust. Everyone also needs to remember not to, “Shoot the messenger,” and to use constructive feedback techniques. Keep in mind that conflict will always exist in teams but how it is managed will determine whether it is harmful or not. Think conversations, not confrontations.
  4. Intentionally Reduce Supervision. If you are going to trust more, you often have to give more. Carefully and honestly assess your delegation efforts. Real or imagined one of the most common discussion items in low-trust environments is micromanagement. As difficult as it might sometimes feel you are going to have to become more giving and more effective with delegation and supervision techniques.
  5. Engage in Continuous Learning. Teams that don’t understand the expectations or have not connected the dots for how to inspire more trust will likely fail at their attempts to improve it. Sadly, creating a lot of awareness about trust and then not following through with the most appropriate corrective actions might result in even less trust. Effectively training employees on how to improve trust is critical.

Can you make a difference with trust?

Chances are good that with the right effort and patience trust can improve in your team. Keep in mind though, trust issues are delicate and because trust is intrinsic you might want to consider consulting with an outside resource. Self-identification of trust issues without the proper course of action might result in more conviction for the issue instead of more conviction for the cure.

– 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 four-time author and some of his work includes, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce and Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours! Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


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