I had the pleasure to be interviewed by Tal Shnall, host of Customer Service Champions, where we discuss methods to improve leadership in the customer service industry.

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If You Make These 3 Stupid Mistakes Your Business Will Hate You Tomorrow

…how the bagel store forgot their bread and butter

When you take unacceptable risk, you have to be prepared to face the consequence. – Carly Fiorina, past CEO of Hewlett Packard, presidential candidate 2016.

Your Business Will Hate You Tomorrow

Being ready isn’t enough; you have to be prepared for a promotion or any other significant change – Pat Riley, Hall of Fame basketball coach, named one of the 10 Greatest Coaches in the NBA history.

Hope is an expensive commodity. It makes better sense to be prepared. – Thucydides, 5th century Greek historian.

Why do I start this article off with these quotes? To show the importance of preparation and how it doesn’t matter what industry or place in time you are in;

Preparation is a required constant. Click To Tweet

I stopped by my local bagel store last weekend and wasn’t expecting to see there was already a line of patrons inside. They looked as hungry as I was. But something wasn’t right. The line didn’t move, there was a constant murmur from the people and the workers seemed stressed.

What’s going on?

(more…)

Here Are 3 Steps You Need to Increase Employee Engagement

Today’s guest post is from Annabelle Rigby. She discusses 3 simple and easy-to-implement steps to increase the engagement of your workforce.

Employee engagement is essential to any successful business, allowing for a better exchange between employees and supervisors. Studies show that employees who feel engaged are more productive and satisfied with their jobs.

Increase Employee Engagement

Here are 3 steps you can take in your company to help keep employees motivated, and improve the efficiency and success of your business.

1. Let Them Know They Have a Voice

Regardless of whether it’s in the workplace, at home, or even in the grocery store, everyone wants to feel like they have a voice and that their opinions are valued by others. You can foster employee engagement by creating an environment within your business that encourages your employees to speak up and let you know what they think.

Listening to their concerns about everything from the work environment, to certain procedures and policies, and even customer feedback will allow you to paint a better picture of your business, and determine what works and what doesn’t. It will also affirm to your employees that they are valued members of the team and that they are capable of positively impacting their workplace.

Your employees are the face of your business - listen to them. Click To Tweet

It’s likely you’ll gain inspiration and receive some helpful advice if you encourage them to share their opinions and voice their concerns. (more…)

Great Leadership Comes From Within, Here’s My Proof

Since 2013 I’ve had the pleasure of being part of a wonderful organization, Bizcatalyst 360 led by Dennis Pitocco, where I am also a Featured Contributor and member of their “Thought Leadership” Panel. I get to interact and share ideas with a vast array of top leaders in their chosen field. There is no price that can be put on opportunities like these.

Leadership Comes From Within

Recently, Dennis asked the group to contribute our thoughts by answering 10 questions on leadership and how our leadership skills and mindset were formed. Below are my answers that I am happy to share with you.

How Do You Become a Better Leader?

1. Did anyone have a tremendous impact on your leadership journey and if so, how?

An old respected boss always told me “make it the best you can at all times”. Seems simple enough but too few follow this advice. Customers will notice and appreciate your efforts to provide the best products and services.

2. What are the most important decisions you make as a leader of an organization?

We must understand that:  A good leader brings out the best in others so they may one day be a leader too. Click To TweetEach of us possesses skills that, if allowed to be used, will benefit all. The difficult part is recognizing the specific methods that work best when motivating others.

3. How do you encourage people to take control and responsibility?

I train my employees to “put yourself in the customer’s shoes”. If we wouldn’t be happy with the product or service we provide, how can we expect others to be happy with it? We are aware of our shortcomings and still “sell our product”. But, if the customer knew about it, would they be happy? (more…)

How a Good Ticket Agent is the Key to a Successful Day

Life is stressful. The societal pressures of work, providing for your family, body image, social media, etc. are bad enough; the last thing you need early in the morning is a grumpy ticket agent to start your day off on a miserable note. Here’s my story…

the Key to a Successful Day

I haven’t taken the train into New York City, from my home in New Jersey, in roughly 10 years. I sure don’t miss the crowds or the unfriendly ticket agents. Guess dealing with fellow commuters gets to them too. Today was to be different…

On the New Jersey Transit trains there are blue-suited attendants, ticket agents, who monitor the passengers to ensure they have a valid ticket to ride the train. One by one they stop by each seat and collect the ticket, punch a hole in it and move on to the next passenger.

This is what you usually hear…

“Tickets, get your tickets out”. “Have your tickets ready” or some similar phrase.

Never a please, or hello and definitely not a good morning.

Sliding into my seat I waited patiently for the “floor show” to begin. That’s what I used to call the banter between the agent and hapless passenger.

“Hey, good morning, thanks. Have a great day”. “Morning, how are you doing today?” “Hello, may I have your ticket please?” “Great, thanks and have a wonderful day”.

I couldn’t believe my ears. (more…)

Social Media Won’t Make You Smarter, So Why Do It?

...the Kardashians of the world never put food on YOUR table

We read statements like these all the time – connect with me on LinkedIn, follow me on Twitter, like my Facebook page…blah, blah, blah. Seems like people use social media more to boost their ego than to get to know those they connect with. So why bother?

Social Media Won't Make You Smarter

“How many Instagram followers do you have”? “Did you see my latest Snapchat?” “I just posted another of my videos to YouTube, you gotta check it out”. Does it really matter?

When we “connect” or “follow” someone are we more interested in learning something new or to have easy access to the latest gossip? Our desire to attract “likes” perpetuates a false reality when thinking a bigger “circle of influence” makes you more important.

It reminds me of what Bette Midler said in the movie Beaches: “Enough about me, what do YOU think about me?”

Now, I must admit that, since I am relatively new to social media I did spend more time initially “building my network” than paying attention to who I connected with. I thought I “needed” to have a large following or connect with everyone who asked? But what did that get me? I’m still trying to figure that out.

Over the past few months I’ve taken a different approach: (more…)

Never Underestimate the Potential From These 3 Surprising Sources

Every business has one or more employees that seem to take a back seat to the day-to-day machinations of business. Dutifully they perform as intended and do their best but are not looked at in times of need or expected to do much more. They are “the workers”.

Never Underestimate the Potential

For several years after he graduated from high school, George has been trying to find a full-time job.  He attended college shortly but that didn’t seem the correct fit for him; he was more into “hands on” things.  Of course his mom has known that ever since he was small; he has always been rather independent and stubborn.

In his younger years he joined the local Boy Scout troop. The troop’s elders saw glimmers of leadership emerging – but that’s what the Scouts do – teach leadership and values.  He rose to the rank of Life Scout, but didn’t feel the urge to go for Eagle. Another opportunity lost? Maybe…

George now works full time as a valet at a local branch of a major auto dealership.  What he likes most about this job is the opportunity for advancement.  Needless to say, his family is proud of his efforts.  His first three months of work has taught him diligence and responsibility, especially when called on to pick up the slack for a few of his coworkers.

One Saturday, he was the (more…)

The Secret Ingredients of Sales Training That Deliver Results

Today’s guest post is from Monika Götzmann, the EMEA Marketing Director of Miller Heiman Group, a global sales training and customer experience company.

Improving the performance of a sales team is a common goal for senior managers, because it can have a very clear and direct influence on the overall performance of a business. However, while many companies invest heavily in their sales rep training, they do not always get the return on investment they were hoping for.

Sales Training That Deliver Results

Should you find that your training is falling short of expectations, it may be worth reviewing it to make sure it includes a number of key ingredients. These ingredients are explained in more details below and combining all of them together in a cohesive package will help to ensure your training program delivers real results.

Theory

The theory section of your sales training course encompasses various intellectual elements. In general, it will involve introducing new ideas to your staff, sharing knowledge, or giving them new perspectives and this could be done through lectures, presentations, case studies or group exercises.

It is quite common for businesses to focus heavily on the theory aspect of sales training and they will often rely on external trainers or speakers to share their ideas and expertise with trainees.

However, while it is important to introduce new information, research from the NTL Institute shows that long-term retention rates for knowledge shared through lectures and reading stand at five percent and ten percent, respectively. The trick is to (more…)

The Greatest Show on Earth is Still a Memory Maker

...how to create the memorable experience that your customer will hold dear and carry for years to come.

After 146 years, the show that has created memories for countless children of all ages will finally come to a close. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, citing a “variety of factors” will end its spectacular traveling road show in May of this year.

Greatest Show on Earth is Still a Memory Maker

The company started by Phineas Taylor (PT) Barnum brought joy, amazement and wonder to millions of people through the years by providing sights, sounds and circumstances not normally available to the public.

Thinking back on the fond childhood memories, as I sat with my mother in the seats of New York’s Madison Square Garden watching the elephants parade around or looked up in wonder at the daredevil trapeze artists, I still can place myself in the arena.  Images forever etched in our mind allow us to relive the experience as we see fit. PT created an experience.

How does your business create an experience for your customer? Click To Tweet

And, if you do, what kind of experience is it?

Is it one of joy, satisfaction, or frustration? Is it full of unexpected “extras” given with an abundance of smiles or a less than adequate attempt of service due to poor preplanning? Do you provide a service that is memorable or spend too much time explaining your shortcomings?

The PT Barnums and Walt Disneys of this world created experiences that were/are unrivaled in the world of business. They took hold of your emotions and wouldn’t let go until all your senses were touched. (more…)

Here’s Proof of the Great Zappo’s Service

A week or so ago I was again taking part in my favorite tweet chat, #custserv, hosted by Marsha Collier, Roy Atkinson, Al Hopper and Greg Ortbach that takes place every Tuesday evenings 9pm ET.

Here's Proof of the Great Zappo's Service

During the chat I answered a question as you can see below:

It was answered by fellow chat member Nate Brown who innocently tagged Zappo’s in the tweet…

In the freewheeling spirit of the chat I answered Nate…

Lo and behold, within 1 minute we received this tweet from Zappo’s… (more…)