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Customer Service Lessons From Lady Gaga

I read a really interesting blog today about customer service lessons from Lady Gaga (from a blog called Church of the Customer Blog). In a nutshell, here are the five lessons:

  • Give fans a name
  • Make it about something bigger than you
  • Develop shared symbols
  • Make your customers feel like rock stars
  • Leverage social media

I know Lady Gaga was talented musically, I didn’t know about her abilities to develop and cultivate loyal customers. I think we can all learn from Lady Gaga! It’s an interesting (and fun) article. Click Here to Read the Article.

Posted under Customer Service, Miscellaneous Thoughts by Stewart on Apr 22, 2010 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

Tom Peters New Book: The Little BIG Things!

The LIttle BIG Things by Tom Peters

More great book news! Tom Peters book "The Little BIG Things: 163 Ways To Pursue Excellence" is now available. As many of you know, Tom Peters has been consolidating a lot of his best ideas into "Success Tips" for his blog. These tips distill so many of the ideas that Tom has developed through his practice.

After accumulating hundreds of these ideas (over several years), Tom decided to aggregate the best of these into a book. In it, you will find ideas for improved customer service and leadership. Tom also shares ideas on innovation, excellence, and organizational strategy. I particularly like Tom’s advice on improving your communication abilities, and honing your leadership skills.

These are 163 great ideas... and they are motivational, insightful, fun to read, and eminently useable (and, for that matter, sensible). If you’re interested in Tom’s new book, click here to see the link on Amazon.com.

As many of you already know, Tom has also put a lot of these great ideas into a training video series. We shot over 90 of Tom’s "Little BIG Things" over three fun and fascinating days. I confess that we spent as much time chatting and laughing as we did shooting Tom’s segments. Free previews are available here: The Little BIG Things DVD series.

Posted under Best Sellers, What’s New, Customer Service, Tom Peters, Leadership, Management by Stewart on Mar 10, 2010 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

Lessons from my favorite Christmas movies!

I love Christmas movies. Every year I watch them with my family... and every year I still love them. But did you know that you could actually use these movies to help with your leadership, management, and customer service? Well you can... Here’s a sampling:

Miracle on 34th Street

Everyone seems so focused on the "commercial" from Mr. Macy and Mr. Gimbel all the way throughout New York City... But Macy’s Santa, aptly named Kris Kringle (and wonderfully played by Edmund Gwenn) really gets it. He helps customers get what they want - even when it’s something that Macy’s doesn’t carry. Customers are so delighted that they become loyal customers of Macy’s. Now that’s customer service! Couldn’t we all learn from Macy’s Kris Kringle? Give it a try!

Love Actually

I love this newer Christmas movie. In it, we hear a lot of stories about love, the holidays, and people. But it is the opening of the movie that gets me. In it, we hear the voice of the Prime Minister of England (played by Hugh Grant) saying, "Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow airport. General opinion makes out that we live in a world of hatred and greed. I don’t see that. Seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy but it’s always there. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, none of the phone calls from people on board were messages of hate or revenge, they were all messages of love. lf you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around."

It’s a great quote, but it also got me thinking of the interview I had with Herb Kelleher (for the film "The Excellence Files.") Herb said, "We’d rather be a company motivated by love than fear." You don’t often hear CEOs speak of love, but it is hard to argue with success. Herb Kelleher built the most successful airline in the world. And he did it by empowering, respecting and valuing (or even loving) his employees. Maybe it is all about love! (By the way, if you watch this movie, make sure to watch the deleted scenes, they’re funny and heartwarming).

It’s a Wonderful Life

OK, there are so many wonderful lessons in this movie it’s hard to focus in on one. The one I like the best is that you can’t do it alone. As many of you already know so well, George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart) is in a pickle. He thinks he has to solve the problems on his own and even considers suicide... But the town comes to the rescue and helps George out. I love the scene at the end when everyone from Bedford Falls gathers in George Bailey’s living room to show support. I also love it because it reminds all of us that we can’t do everything alone. It is the collaboration of groups that make a difference. Teamwork really does matter - at work, at home, and in the community. It’s a nice lesson to remember at work - all year long.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph doesn’t seem to "fit into the crowd" because he has a red nose. In fact, there is an entire island of toys that seem to be ignored because they don’t fit in. But, as we know, Rudolph’s nose turns out to be a huge asset to Santa during the "Storm of the Century." Well, we know through research that diverse teams perform better than the teams that are all made up of the same kind of people. Maybe we should be looking for the "misfits" and the Rudolph’s for our next team at work. You never know, it might make the difference in your next project.

So, next time you watch your favorite Christmas movie, remember: There may be more to the movie that you love than you think!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and I hope that the New Year brings you much joy and success.

Posted under Customer Service, Miscellaneous Thoughts, Training Ideas, Leadership, Management by Stewart on Dec 17, 2009 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

Great Customer Service Often Comes From Small Things

The gloomy weather this weekend prompted me to pull out a Bloomingdales gift card that I had received last Christmas. I thought why not look for something that I can wear in the cold (it has been extremely cold for October here in New England)? So off I went to our local Bloomingdales in Chestnut Hill, MA.

Now, in the past, my experiences at Bloomingdales have been mixed. Sometimes, I wander around the store and can’t find anyone to help; and even if I do find someone, they often don’t seem very interested in helping me. But not this time!

I saw a really nice sweater at the Ralph Lauren section. I went to the sales woman and... WOW...I had a terrific customer experience.

Let me explain. Seven months ago, I went shopping for a pair of jeans with my mom. We went to the same Ralph Lauren boutique. And to my amazement, seven months later, not only did the sales associate remember me; she remembered almost every detail of my visit in April. She asked about my mom. She also asked me how I liked my jeans. She even noticed that I had lost more weight!

OK. I was blown away. I thought to myself, "This sales associate is amazing! She is so knowledgeable and helpful and genuinely cared! What else can I buy today - or how can she help me?" So I asked her about winter shirts. Once again, she jumped into help me. She seemed to understand what I liked and didn’t like, so the suggestions were very helpful.

Really great customer service often occurs when people truly care. This sales associate genuinely cared - and it showed.

I have certainly watched a lot of videos that teach about the importance of creating a great customer experience (and I’ve even worked on a few), so I know this is important. But every now and then the message hits home with such force that it literally blows you away. And that happened to me this past weekend. Even though Bloomingdales is a little out of the way for me, I know I’ll go back. And when I do, I’ll visit my friend at Ralph Lauren.

Think about your own customer service. Do you also try and personalize your relationship with the customer? Do people care? Do you make customers feel welcome? I can tell you; it makes a difference (or at least it made a difference to me). And that is something that can make a difference to your bottom line - now and for years to come.

Posted under Customer Service, Miscellaneous Thoughts by Stewart on Oct 21, 2009 | Comments: 1 | Post a comment»

Missed Opportunities

Several friends of mine recommended that I watch the program "Drop Dead Diva" (A new Lifetime series featuring Deb Dobson, an aspiring model who begs to return to earth after being killed in a car crash. Deb gets her wish, but is horrified to be brought back to life in the body of an intelligent, overweight lawyer named Jane Bingum.) They told me the show was smart and funny, so I programmed it into my DVR. I watched my first episode the other day entitled "The Dress." The protagonist, Jane was unable to get a dress because the store had decided that they didn’t want to sell to "Plus Sized Women" (even though this segment of the market represented the majority of the buying populace). It was a great episode.

That probably would be the end of my story, but....

I recently had my own "Drop Dead Diva" moment. I was shopping for a new suit for a special event at an organization where I serve as a volunteer. Since I have lost a lot of weight recently, I thought it would be a nice idea to treat myself to something new, so I headed to Banana Republic. As I was searching through the racks of clothing, I noticed that the largest size was a 44 regular. Now, I am almost a 44 regular, but it’s still a little tight. I asked the sales associate if they had anything larger. The answer was, "No. If you want something larger, you’ll have to shop online." Wow, that was discouraging. The sale associate was informative, but I also felt that he wasn’t really interested in helping me. Maybe I was also too large for the store? Just like the episode of "The Dress."

Well...the event was in a few days and I don’t like to buy expensive clothes on line since I think it’s important to see how things look when you put them on. Plus, I had procrastinated and needed to get this suit quickly, so Banana Republic was out. I left the store and went to Neiman Marcus, which is of course a more expensive store in the mall. "Out of the frying pan and into the fire," I thought. Will this place be too expensive?

Neiman Marcus (as you can imagine) had a great selection. Many of the clothes were too expensive but the sales associate was fantastic! I told him my budget and how quickly I needed the outfit. He was creative, proactive, and very helpful in suggesting items that could work within my budget... and I did get that new outfit. When I wore it two days later at the event, I have to confess I looked great and what a fun way to celebrate the weight I’ve lost!

But what about Banana Republic? Well, Banana Republic lost a big sale. And I am not sure how willing I’ll be to spend more time in the store. Now, I wonder: How many other people have had the same experience? How many retailers are dropping the "Drop Dead Divas" and losing out on customers, goodwill, and sales? Probably more than they’d like.

What does this have to do with business, service, and you? In the new series with Tom Peters that I have been editing, Tom goes into great lengths to point out the obvious. He tells advertisers to pay attention to people over 50 (as they represent a huge market). He reminds businesses not to ignore women as customers - after all they do represent 51% of the buying population. Maybe Tom should also remind retailers that they should consider being more thoughtful to customers who are taller, larger, or shorter. Maybe stores should be more welcoming of anyone who walks in the door because we all come in different sizes and most of us have money to spend!

Just a thought...

Posted under Customer Service, Miscellaneous Thoughts, Tom Peters by Stewart on Sep 24, 2009 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

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