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For many years, I’ve shared the concept I call the One Thing Question. The idea is to ask a customer, “What’s one thing you can think of that would make doing business with us better?”

I love this question because it’s all about how a company can improve in virtually any area. Some customers might suggest product improvements. Some might suggest a way to improve the system. Some might share an idea of how to deliver better customer service. Every time a customer gives a thoughtful answer to this question, they are giving you a gift. Continue reading

It’s holiday time! What a joyous time of year!

And, then there is the holiday shopping experience… This is how I see it. I get in my car. About a mile from the mall I begin to experience heavier-than-usual traffic. Not just a little heavier, but sometimes it seems like worse than rush hour. Is there an accident? No, there’s a traffic jam at the mall. Once I’m at the mall, I experience the search for the parking spot. Then there’s the crowded stores, the lines to check out, and then the reverse commute to get home. Continue reading

“It’s Showtime!” Those are typically the words you hear right before hitting the stage or when the cameras start to roll in the studio. However, for John Lewis, a high-end retail department store in the UK, the retail floor is the stage and the employees are the actors. Continue reading

One of my colleagues in the speaking business, Bob Wendover, sent in this amazing story – and it’s not amazing in a good way.

For years, the cable industry has unfortunately been one of those industries that finds itself in the bottom echelon of customer service rankings. While I believe the industry is making an effort to do better, and some companies are definitely becoming more customer-focused, it’s this kind of story that makes me wonder if they are going about it the right way. Continue reading

It’s almost a given that every company has some form of a customer service department. Even the smallest companies – with just one solo entrepreneur – will act as if they have a customer service department. Why do people reach out to the customer service department? Because they need help, have a question, or want to make a complaint. Continue reading

It happens all the time. As a customer, you interact with good people who don’t seem to deliver great customer service. They are nice, even knowledgeable, but they don’t seem to be what I call customer focused.

So, I took a few minutes to talk to several people about how they were trained. I talked to a retail salesperson, a flight attendant, and a server at a restaurant. I asked them what kind of customer service training they received from the companies they worked for. Continue reading

I was out to lunch with a colleague at one of our local St. Louis restaurants. Rico was our waiter and was taking great care of us. First came the bread and butter. He then took our drink order. He came back with our drinks and asked if we were ready to order lunch. We were. My friend ordered a Caesar salad with chicken.

Rico asked my friend if he wanted the croutons left off the salad. My friend was surprised by the question and responded, “Yes. How did you know?”

And, I wondered the same thing. How did Rico know?  It turns out the answer was simple. He was very observant. He noticed that my friend hadn’t touched the bread and butter. He assumed, and correctly so, that my friend was staying away from bread. And just to make sure, he asked. Continue reading

Many people think of customer service as a department. If you’ve been following me, you’ll know my belief is that customer service is a philosophy, not a department. It should be embraced by every employee, regardless of their job and how long they’ve been there. With that said, the focus on this topic is on what many consider to be the customer service and support department – the people who have contact and interaction with the customer. Continue reading

So, the other day I’m flying to a speaking engagement. While waiting for my flight to board I bought a yogurt parfait. After paying for it, I looked for a spoon. There were knives and forks, but no spoons. The little compartment next to the knives and forks was empty. I asked the cashier if they had any spoons. He pointed to where they weren’t. I told him they were out, and in an effort to get rid of me, he suggested that I could go to the restaurant next door and ask them for a spoon. Continue reading

National Customer Service Week is coming up the first week in October. This is a time to appreciate employees for doing a great job taking care of customers. There are many ways companies are celebrating. Everything from an employee appreciation event, like a lunch or dinner, to fun games that are about team building and comradery. And, of course, there is showing some love and appreciation to your customers. Continue reading

A friend of mine went to the airport rental car agency and had a chance to upgrade to a Tesla. He had never driven a Tesla so he was happy to pay the upcharge to have the experience. If you’ve ever rented a car at the airport, you typically are stopped at a gated exit where the car rental employee looks over the paperwork, checks your driver’s license and sends you on your way. One of the questions they will typically ask is, “Would you like the fuel option?” That allows you the convenience of paying for a tank of gas so you don’t have to worry about filling before returning the car. Continue reading

I’ll never forget having dinner with my close friends, Kim Tucci and the late John Ferrara, more than 30 years ago, at a fancy restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona. John’s twelve-year-old son, Ben, was also with us. The server came over to tell us about the specials and take our order. One of the specials was a seafood dish. Kim asked, “Is the fish fresh?” Continue reading

Your people attend customer service training. They learn techniques and tactics on how to deal with complaining customers, angry customers or customers who just need a little support. They are taught the right answers to some difficult questions. This is what customer service training is all about. But… Continue reading

There is an old joke in the dental world that a patient asked his dentist, “Which teeth should I floss?” The dentist answered, “Only the ones you want to keep.” Customer Service is the same.

All customers are good customers. Okay, maybe not all. Every business has customers – or should I call them former customers – that companies choose not to do business with. But, for the purpose of this article, let’s assume you’re willing to do business with everyone who wants to do business with you. Continue reading

There’s an old joke that goes something like this: A guy goes to the doctor. He raises his arm and complains, “It hurts when I do this.” The doc says, “Then don’t do that.”

In other words, “Stop it!” Continue reading

My brother, Rusty Hyken, was on a trip to Utah with his wife and two dogs. It’s a leisurely three-day drive for them. He made their hotel reservations, and for each hotel they planned to stop at on the way to Utah he asked, “Is your hotel dog-friendly?” All of them said, “Yes.” But to his surprise, while checking into one of the hotels he was told there would be a $120 charge for the dogs to stay in his room. This was a surprise as he called and specifically asked about dogs, and the hotel never mentioned the fee for the dogs. Continue reading

I will always remember my first marketing class in college when we learned about the 4 P’s – Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Well, now there is a fifth P.

Before I go any further, as a customer service and experience expert, I believe that service and experience are all about marketing. Continue reading