Archive for July, 2013

More than ever, good customer service stands out

I’ve received some great customer service this year (and some mediocre, but let’s not dwell on those).

They’re a good reminder that taking care of your customers pays dividends in the long run. That’s particularly critical in this challenging economy, as this great service 1) brings me back; and 2) has me telling my friends.

What makes me — a customer — happy with service? Here’s a quick list:

Honesty
Some time ago, I was looking for a watch to wear when swimming laps. I picked one that seemed perfect. The salesperson offered an alternative that was considerably cheaper. I’ve always remembered and appreciated his honesty. And I still have the watch.

Appreciation
A simple “thank you” goes a long way. Enough said. By the way, thanks for reading.

Responsiveness
The customer service team at my bank is incredible. If I call with a rare question they can’t immediately answer, I know that they’ll check and call me back promptly. And they always apologize for the delay. It makes me feel like I’m the only customer they have.

Listening
I’ve done a fair amount of business  this year with a local nursery. Prices are great (value), plants are healthy (quality), and the owner listens and remember our conversations from week-to-week. She asks questions to understand what I want, and can really hone in on the right plants for my yard.

Customer-first philosphy
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, good people and organizations put the customer at the center of their work. They have a very “can-do” attitude and make the experience almost fun.

Your turn. What do you think makes good customer service?

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7 ways that sports make a difference

What’s happening to professional athletes? Long gone are the days when stars like the late Yankee Joe DiMaggio protected his reputation like security guards at the U.S. Mint.

The sports world has always had its share of problem players, although the numbers seem to be increasing, particularly in the NFL, which has seen dozens of players arrested during the off-season.

Nevertheless, sports play an important role in our society, and we should focus on the benefits, not the bad apples.

All together now
It sounds cliché, but playing a sport really does teach kids what it means to be a team player, something that will serve them well in their work careers.

Where are you going?
Competitive sports are all about setting team and individual goals — making the team, hitting .300, placing at regionals, winning the league championship, etc. — and working toward those targets.

See you tomorrow
It takes discipline to run, swim laps, or practice putting every day. And the more you practice, the better you become — teaching athletes that hard work pays off.

Good sports
More than ever, amateur sports are teaching kids to win gracefully and lose with dignity. They’ll all face a life full of successes and failures, and the lessons they learn on the sports field will teach them how to deal with each.

Character building
While the news is full of examples of athletes behaving badly, you’ll also see positive stories:

  • Players who visit hospitalized children
  • Athletes volunteering in the community
  • Coaches giving a kid with a disability a chance to play in a real game

Good coaches teach more than sports skills; they teach life lessons.

Howdy, neighbor
Following a local teams builds a sense of community. Whether it’s a Friday night football game or a Tuesday afternoon field hockey match, a sporting event is a great opportunity to meet new people and connect with friends.

Lifelong friends
Joining a team gives kids, particularly shy ones, a chance to make friends. Wearing the same uniform immediately offers something in common, and sharing  a goal (see above) builds bonds.

Your turn. What did you learn by playing a sport?

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