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The power of a note.

Last week, as I was settling down after a fun and festive holiday season, I received a postcard in the mail. It was from a store called Uniform that is a few blocks away from my home in Boston. I’d visited the store to get some fun gifts for my nephews (and, it turns out, a "gift" for myself, too).

The card didn’t say a lot, it just said "Happy New Year from Uniform! Thanks for making 2011 great." It was a simple, handwritten note, but it had a big impact - at least for me. I thought, "Wow! These people are great! I want to visit their store again." Just a small note made a big difference.

In the rush of trying to do many things with too little time, we might forget the power of a thank you note. My New Years resolution is to thank people more often - and, if possible, more than once. Here are some thoughts that occurred to me about this note:

It was simple: The postcard had just two short sentences, but the message was clear and I felt appreciated. Thank you’s don’t need to be complicated.

It was hand written: The postcard was handwritten. That made it more personal. I know that someone had taken time to send me a note.

The tone was positive: I felt appreciated for helping to make 2011 a good year for a nice local store in my neighborhood. The positive tone of the note left me feeling good about myself and appreciated.

So, this note was a good reminder for me and I thought you might appreciate it as well. For all our customers, friends, and fans... THANK YOU! I hope 2012 brings all of you health, happiness, and success.

Posted under Customer Service, Miscellaneous Thoughts by Stewart on Jan 12, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Comments Off

Out of Orbit Catalog!

Enterprise Media Training Video Catalog

We have completed our new catalog! As always, our design team has come up with a fun cover. But, the material inside is really exciting too. We have a lot of terrific new programs - and also classic bestsellers. You can view the catalog online by clicking here. Or you can request a copy of the catalog by visiting our catalog order form.

Posted under What’s New, Customer Service, Management, Fish Philosophy by Stewart on Aug 19, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Comments Off

In Customer Service, Small Things Matter

I know I’ve written about customer service in the past. Well, this time, I want to speak about small things. In particular, how welcome a company makes you feel. I have two examples (one positive and one negative) that come to mind.

This past weekend, I went to a gas station near my parent’s home to fill my car up. I decided that this would be a good opportunity to check to see if I had won "Mega Millions" at the lottery and to put down another dollar for a new ticket. (I am pretty sure that I will never win the lottery, but it’s kind of fun to give it a try and I know the money I spend supports cities and town in my state, so I get a ticket now and then).

I waited in line for a little while and presented my ticket. The sales clerk looked at me with a big frown on his face and said, "You know, you can check to see if you’ve won this on the web." Unsaid was, "Why are you bothering me with this, I don’t like you." Now, I know I can check the winning numbers online, but I wanted to get a new ticket (and a bottle of water). The sales clerk make me feel unwelcome. As I left the station, I asked myself, "why should I shop at this gas station? There are lots of places to get gas, water, and a lottery ticket." I was made to feel unwelcome and as a result, I think I’ll avoid this gas station in the future.

Now, on the other side, I went to a different gas station a few days earlier to get my inspection sticker. I pulled up to the garage and waited for the man who does the inspections to come out. When he arrived he gave me a big smile and, anticipating my questions, asked if I needed an inspection. He thanked me for coming to the station and told me it would be a few minutes and pointed me to the waiting area. When the inspection was done, he thanked me for coming and asked if he could help me in any other way - and he mentioned that as a customer I could get free air for my tires at any time. I left this station feeling welcomed and wanting to give this gas station my business in the future.

It is interesting how important your welcome can be for a customer. Think about it: A smile; a few friendly words; a thank you. That’s all it took to make a huge difference. With one encounter, I left unhappy. With the other, I had a smile on my face - and a resolve to come back.

Business is tough enough for all of us. Remind your team about the importance of a genuine welcome for customers. It will make a difference.

Posted under Customer Service, Management by Stewart on Jul 19, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Comments Off

Sam Glenn's Programs Win Two Telly Awards!

Silver Telly Award

We just heard from the Telly Awards and our videos with Sam Glenn won two awards!

"A Kick in the Attitude" won a Silver Telly as Best Motivational Video! In this program, Sam uses humor and anecdotal stories to give you an attitude boost. The training program covers four lessons: Lighten Up, Reject Negativity, Keep Your Perspective, and Practice! You can view a preview of this program by clicking here.

We also received A Silver Telly Award for Best Training Video (for corporate use) for the program "Who Put A Lizard In My Lasagna" This program explores the areas of attitude and customer service. Sam focuses on lessons that will help boost your attitude: Be Creative; Remember What’s Important; Go Above and Beyond; Have Fun!

The core message of "Who Put A Lizard in My Lasagna" is Sam’s Lizard Philosophy, which is all about bringing your best to every interaction you have with customers and coworkers. We promise you will laugh at Sam’s stories as his message helps you improve employee attitude and customer service. Click here to view a preview of "Who Put A Lizard In My Lasagna."

Congratulations to Sam and the team here at Enterprise Media for the awards! If you are interested in learning more about the Telly Awards, you can visit their website at www.tellyawards.com.

Posted under What’s New, Customer Service, Sam Glenn by Stewart on Jun 21, 2010 | Comments: 1 | Post a comment»

Thoughts on Fortune Magazine's "100 Best Companies To Work For"

I love the annual Fortune Magazine issue that celebrates the "100 Best Companies To Work For." I always learn new ideas about excellence, service, leadership, and success when I read the article. Year in and year out, I find that there are a few enduring lessons that emerge from these companies... Here are some:

1) Great customer service starts with motivated and positive employees. You simply can’t have excellent customer service if your employees feel disempowered and discouraged. Moreover, it is very difficult to deliver consistent service when you have a high turnover rate. As Herb Kelleher used to say, "Pay attention to your people and the customers will be happy... and ultimately the shareholders will benefit."

2) These companies all work hard at internal communication. One of the critical components of a "Best Company To Work For" is communication. Senior leadership knows this and works hard at it.

3) Listening is a critical skill for leadership. The corollary to communication is listening. This skill is critical for successful leaders, managers, and supervisors. Listening is a skill that can be developed and improved and all of these organizations work on listening skills.

4) The Leaders at these companies seem to understand that it’s not all about them. These days we seem to be barraged by leaders who receive huge bonuses. Some leaders seem to feel that they are the only people that count. At the best companies, the opposite is true. Leaders know that it is the success of the entire organization that matters. These leaders are for the most part more responsive, engaged, and more humble.

5) Low turnover, loyal employees, and an open organization are good for the bottom line, which is why these companies are so successful. Even in a tough economic environment they are able to outperform their competitors. How? The investment in their people pays off in higher productivity, willingness to work on creative solutions, and commitment.

As many of you know, we have filmed at a number of these companies over the years, profiling different aspects of excellence. You can learn about the success strategies at The Container Store and Deloitte in the program Re-imagine. USAA and Whole Foods Market are featured in The Excellence Files. Tom Peters speaks about Deloitte, Stew Leonard’s, FedEx and others in a number of his programs. And yes, it is still all about the people!

Posted under Corporate, Customer Service, Tom Peters, Corporate Strategy by Stewart on May 27, 2010 | Comments: 1 | Post a comment»

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