Words of Widsom

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World-Class Service, in a car dealership?

When we think of world-class service, images of luxury hotels and country clubs usually fill our minds. What about car dealerships? I know what you must be thinking…”surely he means a Bentley dealership or some other top-line car”. Not so…I am referring to a basic car dealership that sells and

Making It Stick

I recently returned from the annual Examiner training for the Baldrige National Quality Program. Every year, I’m more convinced that the Baldrige framework is the closest thing to a silver bullet when it comes to systematically improving an organization. Even when a small fraction of the framework is applied, improvements

To Engage The Customer, You Must Engage Those Directly Serving the Customer

Over the last few years, one of the main questions I’m constantly asked is, “What is the best way for my company to engage our customers?” My short answer is usually, “engage those who serve the customers”. Sounds simple enough…but before you go running to the jewelry store to buy

Engagement – Part 2

Some people believe that poor is the opposite of excellent, while others believe that excellence is the only standard that matters. For those who commit to excellence, providing engaging service is the only standard worth striving for. As a business, providing what you are supposed to provide does not win

Engaging Service Part 1: Not Just for the Chic

For those who believe that engaging service only happens in fancy places like chic hotels and restaurants, allow me to share a recent story with you. A few weeks ago, my wife and I were running some errands, and we decided to stop in at a restaurant for lunch. As

Engaging Service Part 2: It’s all about the culture

It’s been said that one bad apple can spoil the bunch. Well what if the entire apple tree was bad to begin with? Let’s pretend that the “apple tree” is a company’s culture, and the “apples” are the workforce. Most times, it is the company’s culture that will dictate how

7 Principles to Fully Engage Your Customers

When I wrote EngageMe, it was a declaration of how customers would like to be served. This was regardless if they happened to be in a hospital, hotel, spa, bank, law office, travel agency, or a taxi. The declaration was clear. If you take care of your customers, value their patronage,

7 Principles to Fully Engage Your Customers – Part 2

There I was…excited to dine in a popular steakhouse with my wife. After all, this night was to celebrate her final day of coursework in her professional degree program. Although we eat out regularly, we especially were looking forward to dining on this night. The food was good, waiter was

Delivering World-Class Service: Personal Service Standards

Escort guests rather than pointing out directions…Never say “it’s not my job”…Answer the phone with a smile…These are all examples of service standards. Companies use them to train their staff. Even while having service standards, for service to become truly a way of life, such standards must be embraced by

Delivering World-Class Service: Company Service Standards

When building a strong service culture, it is important to have an inspiring vision and mission statement; but they only provide the context. Company service standards, on the other hand, are the “nuts and bolts” of how you serve. They are the specific behaviors that you expect from yourself and

5-Star Employees – Part 1

One of my previous articles was about “5-star leaders”, and those types of leaders are committed to only one standard: Excellence. They expect nothing less from themselves or from their team. While it is important to describe excellent leadership, it is also important to describe another key piece of the

5-Star Employees – Part 2

Recently, I called a well-known hotel and asked for the concierge desk. Although I was not a guest at the time, I previously stayed at this particular hotel chain several times prior and considered myself to be a loyal customer. The reason I called was to merely get some quick