The Corey Story

My random wanderings and things I find entertaining

Posts Tagged ‘business etiquette’

Etiquette Awareness — Let Me Make It Convenient For … Me

Posted by Corey Kaster on January 13, 2010

Customer Service, as defined by Wikipedia, is providing service to customers before, during and after their purchase to enhance their level of satisfaction.

But at whose convenience?

  • The grocery store employee, who retrieves the carts from the parking lots but piles them up so they block the doorway rather than distributing them evenly between the two entrances.
  • The account billing staff, where the voicemail greeting is friendly and courteous and promises a return call within 48 hours.
  • The store clerk on the other end of the phone, who asks the customer to hold why she chats with her fellow employee about her after-work plans.

The key word is CUSTOMER, as in customer takes priority. It is the customer that can make or break a business. The customer has a multitude of choices out there and is looking for the outstanding differences, which is not necessarily price point.

Courtesy, Service, Reliability

Do you return calls promptly, as in the same day? In 48 hours I have no idea where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing, but I’m sure I won’t be in a position to talk about my simple billing inquiry — that’s why I called now! I understand that you may have to get back to me with answers to my question, but at least take the time to find out what it is first!

Are you friendly? Do you make it easy and welcoming for me to do business with you? Or do I literally have to shove things aside to get in your door? (Or figure out how to contact you from your website.)

Do you follow through on what you say you will do, and in a timely manner? Will you not get sidetracked by other conversations or details when you are dealing with me? Can I count on you and know I will walk away from our transaction feeling good about our association?

As your customer, I need to know I come first.

Remember…

The large red Easy Button. Probably everyone has seen the commercials put out by Staples. “That was easy.” They are referring to getting what you require, when you need it, without any hassle. They are referring to excellent customer service. It’s a great idea.

Do you have one? More importantly, do your customers think you have one?

Please feel free to send me any of your

etiquette or customer service questions or stories!

Previous editions of Etiquette Awareness

may now be viewed at my website,

www.jodiblackwood.com

Jodi Blackwood

Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist

Speaker & Seminar Leader

“Etiquette is about polishing your approach,

not changing who you are.”

mailto:jodi@jodiblackwood.com

360-798-4912

www.jodiblackwood.com

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Etiquette Awareness — Move It Along

Posted by Corey Kaster on January 8, 2010

Coming from the hospitality industry, I learned very early on the difference between “back of house” and “front of house”. Front of house is where you are literally in front of your customers and everything you say, do and often times think is on display for anyone who is watching — and judging — you. Back of house is the area marked “Employees Only”, those mysterious doors staff members disappear through, sometimes never to be seen again.

All sorts of things take place “back of house” — whether it is an employee lurking to avoid a customer or supervisor, someone busily working on things for front of house needs, a coffee break, or a place to release the mental frustration of dealing with the public.

During the holiday rush, as I was making yet one more trip through the grocery store, I watched as a store employee pushed a large cart through the crowd, remarking to the employee walking with him that it was “like herding cows … moving them along.”

Well, moooo … cows have ears too!

This was a definite back of house moment that took place in the wrong location. While I understood exactly what the employee meant, he was out of line to express his feelings publicly.

Interacting with the public is extremely difficult, especially at holiday times when people are rushed and not thinking straight. But that is part of what you sign up for when you are in the customer service industry. There are ways to cope, words that will diffuse a difficult customer or turn the situation from a negative to a positive so that everyone may come through it in one piece.

And, if necessary, you can always mooove yourself to the “back of house” for a mind break!

Remember…

As individuals, we are stewards of customer service every day, whether we are in front of or behind the sales counter. We ALL relate to the public. Good customer service skills are not natural for most people; they must be taught.

If you are interested in offering your customers an exceptional experience in terms of professionalism, courtesy and friendliness, please contact me; I offer a comprehensive training course that will be customized to suit your specific needs.

Please feel free to send me any of your

etiquette or customer service questions or stories!


Previous editions of Etiquette Awareness

may now be viewed at my website,

www.jodiblackwood.com


Jodi Blackwood

Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist

Speaker & Seminar Leader

“Etiquette is about polishing your approach,

not changing who you are.”

mailto:jodi@jodiblackwood.com

360-798-4912

www.jodiblackwood.com

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Etiquette Awareness — Ins & Outs of Holiday Chit Chat

Posted by Corey Kaster on December 22, 2009

The holidays are a time for people to get together and gatherings are a wonderful place to meet new people, reconnect with acquaintances and catch up with old friends. Sometimes the conversation flows easily but there are many times you may find yourselves at a loss for words as you stand face to face with those whom you don’t know (the spouse of a colleague), don’t see but once a year and have little or nothing in common (the pre-teen daughter of your second cousin) or are bound by the rules of good manners to be courteous to even though it is not necessarily reciprocated (the unfriendly neighbor).

Just as you are prepared when attending a business networking event, so too should you be prepared when attending a holiday social event. When someone approaches you and asks “What’s new?” nothing will kill a conversation faster than the response “Oh, nothing much…”

Have an answer prepared! It doesn’t have to be particularly bright, expansive or witty, but surely there is something about your existence you could share, even if it is only to say “We seem to be going warp speed with all the activities; it has been amazing to see how fast the time has flown these past few months / year! It’s nice to take a break and catch up with friends over the holidays.” Notice how there are no complaints about how busy or overextended we are in this example; it’s light and non-committal, yet it provides an answer to that age-old question.

The next step to interacting with others you don’t know or know well? Ask questions! Paying a genuine compliment is a good start, perhaps on a piece of jewelry, a tie or sweater … and then follow-up and ask if there is a story behind the item. Invite nostalgia — does the person have a favorite holiday memory or tradition? Are they planning a vacation … was a vacation recently enjoyed? What might be a favorite vacation spot?

Above all, act as if the person you are talking with is interesting; it helps to make him or her feel more comfortable and the conversation becomes easier. People enjoy talking about themselves and no matter how proficient you are at speaking, you will come off as a sparkling conversationalist because you asked a few questions and then listened.

Remember…

The purpose of small talk is to break the ice and put others at ease.

  • It establishes a connection between two people.
  • It doesn’t require original or profound conversation.
  • It’s what people say to each other to be polite.

The key to your success? Focus more on the other person and less on yourself.

Above all, relax and enjoy!

Please feel free to send me any of your

etiquette or customer service questions or stories!

Previous editions of Etiquette Awareness

may now be viewed at my website,

www.jodiblackwood.com

Jodi Blackwood

Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist

Speaker & Seminar Leader

“Etiquette is about polishing your approach,

not changing who you are.”

mailto:jodi@jodiblackwood.com

360-798-4912

www.jodiblackwood.com

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Etiquette Awareness — Sincerity Counts

Posted by Corey Kaster on December 15, 2009

Sending holiday greeting cards is a way for us to connect with friends and family or extend a thank you to our business clients and contacts for their support.

Last week I received a card from someone I met at a networking event. Normally I would consider this a very thoughtful gesture, but this person and I really didn’t “meet” and we definitely didn’t share a conversation of any sort. Rather, this individual walked up to me as I was speaking with a colleague, said hello, asked for one of my business cards and then stepped away. That was the sum total of our interaction.

What made this card stand out to me — and not in a good way — was that there was a small, crookedly trimmed piece of paper — a generic, photocopied message — included inside the card, thanking me for my loyalty to the company, along with a few lines telling me about their holiday referral program. Loyalty to their company? I had never had any type of interaction with it, so there was no loyalty … and therefore, it was a bit soon to be talking about referrals!

Businesses, and business people, may send cards because they want to stay in front of their clients; it’s another way to touch base and say “Please don’t forget I’m still around, ready to help you!” But it is also an opportunity to say “Thank You! I appreciate the opportunity to be of service to you and wish you well.” The second reason should always outshine the first. If you are going to send cards, be genuine in your good wishes; anything less is obvious.

I know of a company that is sending out electronic cards this year. They decided to forgo mailing their regular holiday greetings and instead, are donating the money they would normally spend to a local program that helps to feed the homeless and hungry. Due to a challenge grant, this program will be able to have their donated funds matched one and a half times. This small company is going to be feeding 2,600 people!

That is a holiday card I look forward to receiving, as it comes from a company that truly wishes others well this holiday season.

Remember…

Holiday cards do not have to be sent out RIGHT NOW!

While Thanksgiving has already passed us by, keep it in mind for next year … are you thankful for your clients? Your family? Your friends? Start 2010 off right by sending New Year’s wishes … what would you like to see in the coming months? Even Groundhog’s Day … we might be in for a few more weeks of winter, but we know spring is around the corner!

Cards are to tell the recipient “I am thinking of you — I appreciate you — and I wish you the best.” Who says there has to be a specific date on them?

Please feel free to send me any of your

etiquette or customer service questions or stories!

Previous editions of Etiquette Awareness

may now be viewed at my website,

www.jodiblackwood.com

Jodi Blackwood

Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist

Speaker & Seminar Leader

“Etiquette is about polishing your approach,

not changing who you are.”

mailto:jodi@jodiblackwood.com

360-798-4912

www.jodiblackwood.com

Share This!

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Etiquette Awareness — That’s The Spirit!

Posted by Corey Kaster on December 8, 2009

There is a man in our neighborhood that walks every day. I don’t know if it is for his health, because he likes being outdoors, or if he is simply looking to escape from home. I do know that he carries a plastic bag with him and uses it to pick up trash along his way.

A couple of days ago a friend posted a note on facebook about how she let a guy with only three items go ahead of her in line at Costco. Her comment? “I think he thought I was crazy!” Another person’s response? “That was nice of you. He’s probably not used to meeting nice people at Costco this time of year … you know how the public can get during the holidays!”

I have heard many people talking about — complaining about — how commercial the holiday season has become. Stores are not only opening early in the morning to kick off the holiday shopping season on Black Friday (3:00 am is a tad bit early for me, personally) but there are some that are now staying open on Thanksgiving Day itself. We decorate, bake, shop, visit, entertain, party and “enjoy” the holidays, whether we want to or not! All while we go about accomplishing our regular tasks and responsibilities as individuals, sons, daughters, parents, employees, employers and general members of society.

But what about taking a step back and using this opportunity to get into the spirit of the holidays without the stress? Whether it is the idea of “Pay It Forward” or “Do Unto Others”, there are little things you can do every day that may have a tremendous impact on someone else … and make you feel good at the same time.

* Next time you walk into a building, hold the door for the person coming in behind you; or better yet, open it and allow them to go first!

* Return a shopping cart for someone at the grocery store.

* If someone is standing in line behind you with a heavy purchase, can you help out in some way?

* Offer a greeting to the person sharing the elevator with you, rather than carefully staring at the numbers above the door.

* Can you pause in your driving to allow the person who wants to merge into your lane the opportunity to do so in front, instead of behind you?

It is the simple things, such as taking a bag to collect trash when you go for a walk, which can make a big difference. You might even find yourself continuing to do them when the holidays have passed!

Remember…

Gandhi said it best:

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Please feel free to send me any of your

etiquette or customer service questions or stories!

Previous editions of Etiquette Awareness

may now be viewed at my website,

www.jodiblackwood.com

Join Jodi’s Mailing List

Jodi Blackwood

Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist

Speaker & Seminar Leader

“Etiquette is about polishing your approach,

not changing who you are.”

jodi@jodiblackwood.com

360-798-4912

www.jodiblackwood.com

Share This!

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Etiquette Awareness — Listen Up!

Posted by Corey Kaster on December 2, 2009

Etiquette Awareness

Tips, suggestions and stories…

Things to keep in mind as you interact with others

With the advent of caller identification, we know who is on the other end of the line … or, perhaps more importantly, whose call we may have missed. It makes it very simple to ring that person back to see what was needed, why he/she was calling, etc. Yes, a message may have been left, but why bother to listen to it first?

You should listen to that message BEFORE making that call back for several reasons:

* The caller may be requesting specific information from you. You can have the answers ready and available when you respond.

* The caller may leave a specific time as to when he is available to talk, and it isn’t right then!

* The caller may be referring you to someone else to better help with a matter you had contacted her about. Why start playing telephone tag with someone who is no longer in the game?

* The message may contain all the information necessary and there is no need to return the call at all. People get frustrated when they have to repeat things because you can’t be bothered to hear things the first time!

If the caller took the time to leave you information via a telephone message, show that person courtesy and respect for their effort by taking a few minutes to listen. You may learn something and save yourself — and the other person — some time along the way.

Remember…

When leaving a telephone message, leave a “good” one! State your name, your telephone number, including area code (making sure you speak slowly and clearly here!) Briefly explain the reason you are calling, then again, repeat your name (first and last) and your 10 digit phone number.

It is not a race to see how fast you can rattle off those numbers or mumble out your first name; I know five Karens, so help me out with a last name! The point of a “good” phone message is that I can listen to it ONCE, get all of the information I need because you spoke clearly and slowly enough for me to make note, and then erase — done!

Please feel free to send me any of your

etiquette or customer service questions or stories!

Previous editions of Etiquette Awareness

may now be viewed at my website,

www.jodiblackwood.com

Jodi Blackwood

Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist

Speaker & Seminar Leader

“Etiquette is about polishing your approach,

not changing who you are.”

mailto:jodi@jodiblackwood.com

360-798-4912

www.jodiblackwood.com

Share This!

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Etiquette Awareness — They’re Heeere!

Posted by Corey Kaster on November 24, 2009

Etiquette Awareness

Tips, suggestions and stories…

Things to keep in mind as you interact with others

There is no denying it — the holidays are upon us. For some, it is a difficult, stressful time of year. For others, it is the season they love best, full of cheer and happiness. For many of us, it is a combination of the two.

Perhaps you have a mother — or mother-in-law — that is difficult to please and your table setting never seems to meet with her approval. Or you feel obligated to participate in the office “Secret Santa” gift exchange but you really don’t want to — or can’t afford to — this year. Holiday cards … you want to send them, you have made a list, you might have even purchased them, but will they actually go out? Then there is that wonderfully perfect friend that always has all gifts purchased and wrapped in advance, the house beautifully decorated and the cookies are homemade and ready for delivery while you still have your Halloween pumpkin rotting on the front door step!

Be kind to yourself this season. Show yourself the same courtesy you extend to others through-out the year. Much as you might ask a colleague for help or advice about a business or work related project, ask a friend or family member for the same when it comes to your holiday preparations. If there is no one to take care of the task, ask yourself, in all seriousness, if it really needs to get done?

Positive interactions with others help reduce stress, whether it is a one minute conversation as you order your coffee or a long lunch with a friend. It’s an opportunity to connect with someone else, share a smile, perhaps a laugh, while it makes the time move along and the day seem brighter.

Reminding you of the importance of smiling may seem trivial and superficial but take a look at the expressions of those around you; how many could be improved by smiling? It is a simple thing that can change someone’s attitude instantly.

Remember…

While my focus is primarily on business etiquette, I am also well versed in matters of social etiquette. If I may answer any questions for you or be of any assistance during this hectic but enjoyable time of year, please feel free to contact me.

Have a lovely Thanksgiving!

Please feel free to send me any of your

etiquette or customer service questions or stories!

Previous editions of Etiquette Awareness

may now be viewed at my website,

www.jodiblackwood.com

Jodi Blackwood

Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist

Speaker & Seminar Leader

I help individuals and businesses polish their ability to stand out among their competition.

Visit my website to see what I can do for you!

 

 

“Etiquette is about polishing your approach,

not changing who you are.”

mailto:jodi@jodiblackwood.com

360-798-4912

www.jodiblackwood.com

Share This!

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