Take Their Breath Away

Unleashing the Power of Small Batch Service

The news announces that Sears is closing stores. Last week Macy’s and JC Penney made similar announcements. What’s happening to big box merchandising? Some can be blamed on the change in buyer demographics—“shop ‘til you drop” baby boomers are buying less as they approach their later years; millennials are more frugal than were their parents. Some can be chalked up to the increase in e-tailers—the speed and simplicity of buying online. But, there is another reason—the ....read more

Who’s ‘Killing’ Your Customers?

1484360775_8391c2ce1a_zJerry Lee Lewis (aka, The Kil ....read more

Extending the Service End

Stretching_Your_Sense_of_Service NPISWatching a skilled magician is an exercise in awe. Try as we might to see through the sleight of hand, we come away amazed. We know there is a rational explanation. But in our hearts we aren’t so sure. It leaves us with a feeling of enchantment. Innovative service––service that takes customers breath away- ....read more

Great Service is Summer Camp

KayleeCamp-244x300We are just beyond the season of summer camp! My eight year old granddaughter, Kaylee, went to her first overnight camp in July...for two weeks and in another state! Before she went, if she talked with her two sisters about summer camp, you could hear the apprehension in her voice. But, when she was packing her trunk and looking at the camp website, she was super excited and ready to go...right now! Camp is always all about meeting new friends and trying new ....read more

Animating Self-Service

icecreammachineThe lobby lounge was animated. The Orlando convention hotel’s afternoon “watering hole” was abuzz with people engaged in upbeat conversation and jovial laughter. For a weekday, it seemed the place to be. A grand piano was playing in the corner and the brandy sniffer on top was filled with dollar bills as the piano man took requests and engaged in light banter as he tickled the ivories. The wait staff was busy delivering drinks. The lobby bar was dead. It was ....read more

Champagne Service

JackinManagua-225x300We were working with a client in Nicaragua. One evening we elected to skip the hotel grill and try the hotel’s upscale restaurant—Factory Steak and Lobster. We were in for a special treat. I ordered my usual Jack Daniels on the rocks. Now in every restaurant in America such a request would yield a highball glass brought to the table already filled with ice plus the special adult beverage ready to drink. Because of that practice, I have gotten Jack poo ....read more

Read Your Customer’s Mind

MindreaderIt all started at one of those traveling fairs...the ones that set up in the parking lot of a shopping center with a few rides and attractions. She boasted she could guess your age for a dollar. If she got it wrong, you got to pick out a stuffed toy. Here talent lay in her ability to ask you a few questions and attentively read your reactions. If you were clueless on how the trick was done, it seemed like a miracle! Like patrons at a fair, customers love it when you surprise t ....read more

Putting the ‘C’ in B2B

lucchese-boots-222x300-2Upholstered shaker style rocking chairs with matching ottomans are very tough to find. But, we found a pair at Weir’s Furniture in Dallas, Texas and bought them. Now, fast forward fifteen years later. We wanted another pair of these great chairs. A call to Weir’s landed us the manufacturer’s brand, phone number, style number—the works, and great customer service. We were excited. A quick check on the manufacturer’s website revealed the sam ....read more

Service as Pain Remover

papercupA very gloomy Wall Street Journal on a very long flight left me with a very bad headache. And, I never get headaches! As soon as I exited the jet way at the San Francisco Airport, I headed for the nearest newsstand for some relief—Advil. The vendor was about to close but I talked him into selling me his last package. I opened the plastic package and removed the two tablets in foil for some quick relief. Tucked behind the foil was a collapsible paper cup just big enough for two l ....read more

Sign Your Service!

cassiesig-300x62Warning! This is a proud granddaddy blog! At three, Cassie can write her name as you can plainly see! My granddaughter has always been a champion scribbler! Plus, she has two older sisters who can write their names! Not ever wanting to be last in any activity that even remotely could have competitive overtones, she announced to her mother, “I am going to write my name.” Without parental coaching or a model to copy, she proudly displayed her penmanship! And, her m ....read more

You Make Me Want to be a Better Customer

Gift-300x300Most great movies have one line worthy of frequent repeats—“Show me the money,” “Frankly, my dear…,” “Win one for the Gibber,” “Make my day,” “Greed is good,” the list goes on and on. One of our favorite movie lines came from As Good As It Gets, a 1997 movie directed by James Brooks based on a book by Mark Andrus. Lover boy Melvin (played by Jack Nicholson) awkwardly told his new girlfriend Carol (played by Helen Hunt), “You make me want to be ....read more

Create Memory Bubbles

2789338547_2517d8e8b9The last movie that starred Natalie Wood was the 1983 movie Brainstorm also starring Cliff Robertson and Christopher Walken. The gist of the movie was the creation of “the hat”--a helmet-like device that, when worn, could tape an exact experience the wearer was having (sights, sounds, feelings…the whole works). If another person then wore the hat and played the tape he or she ....read more

Fast, Good or Cheap? Customers Want it All

annabethsoccer-241x300My five-year old granddaughter Annabeth is drop dead cute! And, she is an aggressive soccer player. Anticipating her holiday visit along with her two sisters we bought two backyard soccer goals and a couple of soccer balls. The second morning of their visit she came down for breakfast dressed for soccer action—complete with shin guards! “What does your pink soccer shirt say, Annabeth?” I asked her. “It says: ‘Cute does not win games!’” ....read more

What Can Lexus Teach Us About Service?

lexuslogoOur friend Shaun Smith, of Smith+co in London, shared with us his favorite Lexus story as an example. A BMW owner walked into a Lexus dealership and announced that he was considering changing automobile brands. He had seen an ad about Lexus’ legendary service. But first he had a service question for the Lexus salesperson. “Earlier this week I took my BMW in for routine maintenance. In the process they removed the ashtray to clean it but forgot to put it back. When I disco ....read more

Make it My Way or No Way

3433596268_f4e9682b2eCustomers start young wanting everything their way. A teddy bear is now Build-a-Bear workshop. The perennial Barbie doll has become accessorize-Barbie online. Even American Girl dolls now come with matching outfits for “mommy.” Want to decorate your new cell phone? There is a huge after-market industry enabling customization, from desktop stands to protective covers to ringtone ....read more