Customer Service

Do You Know What Your “Real” Business Is?

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A couple of nights ago I made sauteed chicken breasts for dinner, with a white wine pan sauce to make it a little more interesting. Briefly, here’s how you make a pan sauce (and yes, I promise this is going somewhere): you add a quarter cup of wine and a quarter cup of chicken broth to the pan, perhaps with a bit of mustard, and then boil it until the half-cup of liquid is reduced down to a total of ...

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Are You In the “No” Business?

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There’s a little Italian restaurant near my home where I go when—well, when I want to eat Italian food. Duh. So I was there the other evening (because I wanted to eat Italian food), and the hostess was seating an elderly couple. I wasn’t really paying attention, but apparently they asked if they could be seated closer to the window. The hostess very nicely explained that that wasn’t possible, for some reason that I didn’t catch. But the owner, who ...

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Why This Business Made the Sale

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I guess I’m getting a new roof. I don’t want to get a new roof, but I guess I’m getting one. I mean, I know I’ve needed a new roof. My neighborhood, and therefore my house, is 20 years old, and most of my neighbors have already replaced their roofs. I’ve been holding out because I’d rather spend my money on candy and ice cream. Still, in the past two or three years I’ve received dozens, possibly hundreds, of flyers ...

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How to Create Fiercely Loyal Customers

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A colleague and I were comparing cell phones yesterday. Mine is an iPhone and hers is, well, not an iPhone. I asked her how she liked her phone, and she said, “It’s fine, I guess. No complaints. It gets the job done.” Then she asked me how I liked my iPhone, and I practically yelled out, “I love my iPhone!” If you’re an iPhone user, you know what I mean. iPhone users love their phones, and they’re fiercely loyal. It’s ...

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3 Things, in the Right Order

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I was just reading the June issue of Mensa Bulletin, the magazine of American Mensa (whose standards are clearly much lower than you’d think), and in it is a feature about the best advice its members have ever received. One in particular, submitted by Bernard Kitt, Ph.D., caught my eye. He writes:

There are only three things to remember:

  1. I will be happy
  2. I will make some money
  3. I will make other people happy

One hundred percent of the people ...

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Have You Set the Bar High Enough?

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How good is good? Consider the Beatles’ Let It Be album. It contains three #1 hits: the title track (Let It Be), Get Back, and The Long and Winding Road, along with several other wonderful songs (e.g., Two Of Us, Across the Universe, and I’ve Got a Feeling); the album itself went to #1; it won a Grammy for Best Original Score (since the album was basically the soundtrack to the movie of the same name),; and, if all that ...

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How Much Are Your Blinders Costing You?

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Don’t look now, but you may be going through life with blinders on. Actually, we all are to some extent—some of us more so than others. What do I mean by this? Well, I grew up in Amish country, where horses and buggies are a common sight. Because horses have amazing peripheral vision and are easily distracted, the Amish put blinders on the horses so that they can only see straight ahead. This is a very good thing for a ...

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How the Little Guy Can Win

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Say you run a small business. (Go ahead, say it: “I run a small business.”) And say you’re competing against one or more big players in your industry. (Ditto.) Is there any way you can come out ahead in such an uneven battle? Is there any way the little guy can win? Yes, there is—but not if you try to beat the big guy at his own game. You have to play a different game. It’s how underdog basketball teams ...

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Office Politics Made Simple

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“Office politics” has gotten a bad name, but it’s really nothing more or less than the informal communications network of an organization. At the first TV station I worked at, there was a guy named Rick who had really figured out this network to the nth degree. He had determined who the key players were in the organization, and who had influence over these key players (for example, the General Manager’s adminstrative assistant had influence over the General Manager). He ...

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What Are Your Customers Really Telling You?

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At a conference I was speaking at, one of the other presenters was talking about customer service. He showed a photo of a storefront he had once seen; it was a small, mom and pop candy store. Taped to the front window was a hand-made sign on which was printed, in large, angry letters:

NO, WE DO NOT SELL ICE CREAM!!!

This conference happened several years ago, and although I don’t recall the name of the other presenter ...

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