Tag Archives: budget

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cost of customer service

The Low Cost of Customer Service

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Sometimes the price of progress sounds expensive and doing nothing feels like the most attractive option. However, doing nothing might have the highest cost of all. Have you considered the low cost of customer service?

You might feel too tired to brush your teeth. You might be in too much of a hurry to change the oil in your car. Moreover, who really needs the security software upgrade?

The truth is that the best time for any of those things are before you encounter a problem.

After the cavity, after the check engine light, and after your PC is locked up it is much harder. It will be much more difficult to turn the situation around and certainly much more expensive.

Maintain or Replace

Most people will quickly identify with the concept that establishing new customers is much more expensive than maintaining them. Most businesses will tell you they recognize this and that it is an underlying principle they live by. If true, what is the budget?

Is there a budget for your dental care, a budget for your oil change, and a budget for software upgrades? Frankly, it will cost less to maintain than to replace, yet sometimes these items slip through the cracks.

Cost of Customer Service

What should be in your customer service budget?

Probably many things but here are three that are often taken for granted:

  • Training. Sometimes the more we know the less we do. Conceptually we often have a good idea on how to care for the customer, but do we really do it? Training sometimes is about building, maintaining and reinforcing habits. It’s not always about discovery.
  • Appreciation. Appreciation is not a day, sale, or a clever slogan. Appreciation is a feeling. Invest some of your budget on showing your customers how much you care. It might be as simple as a thank you or it might be something they value and didn’t expect.
  • Adding Value. Yes, value is connected to price but it might not always be hidden in the bar code. Value often has a direct connection to quality and the cost of ownership. In any customer relationship, it starts with the customer experience.

Low Cost

What is your budget for maintaining customers? Your cost of customer service might be lower than you think. It will cost you less to maintain than it does to repair or replace.

Some might say, “I already know this.” If you know it, are you doing something about 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 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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leadership budget

20 Items to Squeeze into Your Leadership Budget

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Everything on the budget might not have a direct connection with money. Budgets are important and so are trust, talent, and teamwork. What is in your leadership budget?

Leadership is important for the C-Suite and it is important at all levels throughout the organization. It doesn’t really matter if you have formal direct reports, if you are a team leader, or a committee chair.

Sure organizations budget for salary and wages, marketing, and office supplies, but what about the things which are harder to measure? What about the intangibles connected with culture?

Leadership Budget

Some of the most important things often don’t have a direct cost associated with them. They still require effort, heart, and a commitment.

Here is a list of some of my favorites:

  1. Ask more questions
  2. Listen to understand
  3. Recognize facts versus opinions
  4. Be accountable
  5. Acknowledge extra efforts
  6. Be trustworthy
  7. Do what you say
  8. Stop judging
  9. Give more credit, take less
  10. Be consistent
  11. Make decisions
  12. Show passion
  13. Take responsibility
  14. Care about people
  15. Live up to standards
  16. Show appreciation
  17. Be ethical
  18. Have courage
  19. Keep your promises
  20. Be respectful

Money may not buy love or happiness, and when it comes to leadership it doesn’t guarantee success. Organizations need leadership and it’s hard to put a price tag on culture.

Budget for What?

If you want to budget for employee of the month, the pizza party, and a night of bowling that is great. Those things sometimes help and they matter.

Budgeting for the video about your culture matters too, but it’s much less important than what you illustrate off camera.

The next time you’re struggling to balance the budget give extra consideration to the things that cost less but give more.

You might find that doing the right thing doesn’t really cost that much.

It pays.

– DEG

Originally posted on March 23, 2017, last updated on December 17, 2019.

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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Do You Need A Raise?

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Job raises are serious business. It isn’t something that most people or organizations take lightly. What about you, do you need a raise?

business people group on meeting

It’s certainly not a secret that most people desire compensation for the work that they perform. Sometimes in motivation seminars I urge participants to think about what else is important for them about their job. Not just the money, not the paycheck or the bonus, but what is really important to them about coming to work every day and putting in an honest effort.

Responses vary and typically around 10% will insist that the only reason for working is for money. I’m hopeful that 10% is not you, but whether it is, or isn’t, how do you know if you deserve a raise?

I had an interesting question the other day, someone asked in a sort of sarcastic tone, “How do you determine if someone should get a raise?”

It caught me off guard and I started to think about the concepts of merit increases, cost of living increases, and market adjustment increases but before I could answer another stream of sarcasm came my way by this person stating, “You look in the parking lot to see what the employees are driving.”

Believe it or not

While it seems surprising to me, I guess that I should not be so surprised. This discussion led to additional discussion about a conversation that occurred between several top executives and some select members of the Human Resources department.

In at least one case, an executive who carried significant weight in determining pay increases was suggesting increases for some of the team, but not for others. The justification for the increases (or not) had to do with his perception of need.

His contributions to the conversation presented nothing about performance, nothing about market rate, and nothing about the cost of living. He reminded everyone that they as an organization were operating on a very tight budget and that he personally knew several team members who really needed a raise, and others who did not.

From my understanding, as the conversation continued it included discussion points about the type of car that the employees drive, where they live, how many children they have, and other personal factors that were not relevant or connected to their job performance.

I believe it, because I’ve witnessed similar behaviors, first hand. I know as I write this that some may openly agree that we should help the less fortunate, and I’m not disagreeing with that concept, but unless your organization is a charity designed to do such things you might want to think twice.

Performance matters

Many organizations have different ways of determining pay increases and that is certainly their prerogative, some systems work well for certain people or organizational cultures and others may find something different as an attractive method for hiring and retaining the best workforce.

Labor union negotiations and other factors are sometimes a big part of compensation package decisions and there are so many different ideologies you could fill the pages of an entire book with what works, what doesn’t, and why.

The purpose of this article is not to aggravate an already tricky situation, it isn’t to anger any persons or cause organizational turmoil in any way.

The purpose is to suggest that if you are determining pay raises for employees based on your perception of the employees needs based on the type of car that they drive, the home that they choose, or the vacation that they take, then you better be prepared to deal with the type of organizational culture that will expect rewards not for achievement, but for merely existing.

What about you, do you need a raise?

– 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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Is Your Problem Expensive?

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The Keurig coffee maker has a small basin under the spout to catch spills.

Many desktop personal computers have a battery backup power supply in case of the loss of electrical power.

Most cars have a warning light to indicate low or insufficient fuel.

Man Counting Money

Without a catch basin, a battery, or indicator lights, we may have a problem, but many problems really aren’t problems when we are prepared. One problem of being prepared is that sometimes our dependence on the solution makes us take the problem for granted.

“No need to stop for gas now, a warning light comes on when it is low.”  Doesn’t account for the mileage to travel to the next filling station, the traffic jam around the corner, or even if the warning light is working.

Many of our problems are not so big or not so expensive when we have budgeted for them. They become part of our plan of action and typically are not viewed as much of a problem at all. “Our fuel gauge is indicating low fuel, I see a station, let’s get fuel now,” is much less expensive than running out of fuel and calling for a tow.

For the unprepared, under budgeted, or overly confident, a problem may grow to become a crisis.

A crisis is always more expensive.

– DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and coach that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is the author of the newly released book, Forgotten Respect, Navigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at DennisEGilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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Cheap or Valued?

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Many people believe that building your email list, creating a social media following, or blogging your thoughts will get someone’s attention, and do it with little or no cost. In a world where everything is free, nothing has value, and people regard you, your message, or products and services as worth very little.

RolexByMarkRain

A twenty dollar watch keeps reasonable time, but it is not a Rolex. A five-thousand dollar used car may get you where you need to be but it is not a Rolls Royce. Of course, you may suggest that there is a market for both extremes and a lot of space to be occupied in between. True.

If you are wondering how to position yourself (your job), your products and services, or your entire business, it is important to remember that just because we have the means, the price of entry, expansion, and growth are not free. That is, unless you want to attract the market (or job) that doesn’t pay you much, the person who wants your services only if they are the lowest price, and a business that survives solely on goodwill without any income or budget.

You don’t have to change anyone’s mind. You don’t have to fight for market share. Not when you realize that your success lies at the intersection of price and value, not cheap and unwanted.

– DEG

Photo Credit: Mark Rain


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