The Lead Yourself First Blog

The Lost Art Of Service: Is “Good Enough” Good Enough?

A smile. A thank you. An apology. One may argue that any of these gestures are better than a mediocre interaction with a service provider. Or, one may suggest that acknowledging a customer by being pleasant, showing appreciation or making up for a mistake is an adequate demonstration of treating the customer appropriately.

What should we expect from a front-line employee, a maître d’, a call centre representative, or a table host at a fine dining restaurant? Does the level of service need to differ if we are doing business with a corner store or a high-end establishment? In other words, should the level of service matter regardless of the value of the transaction? Continue reading “The Lost Art Of Service: Is “Good Enough” Good Enough?”

Your Perception Is Your Truth

Your Perception Is Your Truth: Why Judging Others Is Bad For Business

Imagine a workplace where managers and coworkers viewed one another through a purely objective lens. Or a business where customer concerns were resolved without blame, judgment or misunderstanding, 100% of the time. Based on one’s work history or customer service experiences, most people would view either scenario as pure fantasy or highly unrealistic. The reason these scenarios seem inconceivable stems from the fact that many organizations’ perceptions of their workforce, customer service standards and brand reputation are out of alignment with those of their employees, customers and their respective industry as a whole. Continue reading “Your Perception Is Your Truth: Why Judging Others Is Bad For Business”

Sink Or Swim? How To Anticipate Change

Why do organizations repeatedly react to rather than plan for change? Why are leaders often stupefied by the glaring realization that their workforces are aging, or that their customers have “suddenly” switched allegiances?

Consider the example of Mike, a manager working in the wholesale grocery business. Mike sought my advice to lead his department through change. He had just received a list of his company’s soon-to-be retired employees. Continue reading “Sink Or Swim? How To Anticipate Change”

Business people asleep at a meeting

Three ways to elevate your influence and energize your client relationships

After enduring almost an hour of suffering, the convener finally called the meeting to a close. Attention spans had been stretched to the limit, the opportunity to reach consensus had failed and the client’s frustration levels soared to new heights. If this scenario sounds familiar, you are not alone. 

Continue reading “Three ways to elevate your influence and energize your client relationships”

US Flag

The “Wow” Factor…Brought to you by the U.S. Post Office

Cynics may say that you would never expect a public servant to give outrageously good customer service. So let me prove you wrong. Ross, who works at the USPS located in Point Roberts, WA provided incredible service…so good that he puts many corporate retailers to shame.

Despite the fact that Canada Post has an outlet across the street from my house, I deliberately drove 45 minutes to the nearest U.S. border to mail my packages bound for multiple destinations across the United States. You may be asking “why”? Well, from past experiences I can tell you that not only are the savings enormous, the service that I have received at my Post Office across the border is second to none.

Last Friday, Ross delivered a customer service experience that I will never forget. As I placed my packages on the counter and waited for Ross to carefully weigh each envelope, he asked the game-changing question: “Can I offer you the “WOW” factor?” Continue reading “The “Wow” Factor…Brought to you by the U.S. Post Office”

Are you taking the lead with your customers?

A friend of mine went to pick up his dry cleaning last Friday. While this isn’t exactly headline news, be assured that the dry cleaner in question has no idea that he is the main story of my blog. He doesn’t know that potentially 1,000’s of people are reading about his example of appalling customer service right now.

Most of us expect that if our dry cleaning is tagged for pick up on a particular day, it will be ready. When my friend went to the store, he found a sign on the door that read: “Closed Fridays”. He had several suits waiting for pick-up…the only suits he owned. He needed them urgently and was left high and dry. When he was finally able to pick up his clothes and asked the dry cleaner why he tagged his clothes for Friday, the owner of the store tersely replied: “What do you want me to do about it”? Wrong answer.

The cleaner offered my friend a 20% discount. Although he had not asked for one, the offer made no difference. He had already made up his mind that he would not be coming back. False promises and the owner’s attitude were enough for him to make the decision in a split second. The dry cleaner failed to realize the implications.

Unfortunately, these situations play out every day, worldwide. Businesses of every description often fail to realize the consequences of poor communication as the fundamental reason for people deciding to invest their dollars elsewhere. One “faux pas” can destroy the relationship permanently. This truth applies to transactions at the highest level…from the board room to the mail room. Millions of dollars are being lost due to the absence of a Lead Yourself First mindset.

The tone of your communication is your responsibility. When you say or do the wrong thing, when your advertising is misleading, when your clients question any inconsistencies, listen and apologize immediately. Otherwise, you and your business may may find yourself front and centre on a very popular website known as “I’m-not-happy.com”.