The Corey Story

My random wanderings and things I find entertaining

Posts Tagged ‘Customer Service’

Etiquette Awareness — Three Little Words, BIG Meaning

Posted by Corey Kaster on June 17, 2010

There are two words I use a lot: courtesy and respect.

I believe the interactions we have with others, whether they are a brief, one-time exchange or continuous, long-term relationships, are greatly impacted by the manner in which we treat others. There is no financial cost to using these forms of conduct but they have a powerful affect, not only in how you make others feel but in how you are perceived.

There is another word I believe very strongly in, and that is dignity.

Dignity is the quality of being worthy of esteem or respect. To me, it also reflects composure and poise. I think of dignity in terms of oneself more than other people, as in, always maintain your dignity. Dignity goes hand in hand with presenting a polished presence. We can find ourselves in all sorts of awkward or uncomfortable situations; how we react to them is what is going to be noticed — and judged — by those around us.

Remember…

The only person you have control over is yourself. Sometimes not saying anything, smiling politely, or simply excusing yourself from the situation is the best remedy. No matter how much you may wish to indulge yourself by firing off that comment, stepping in where you shouldn’t or simply not letting go when it is past time to do so, remembering my three words will do you much better.

Courtesy                       Respect                         Dignity

For yourself and those around you.

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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Posted in Coaching, Etiquette Awareness | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Etiquette Awareness — Good Vs. Great

Posted by Corey Kaster on June 9, 2010

Good customer service is about sending people away happy and drawing them back again. It’s about making them feel important and appreciated. To me, great customer service is about making the customer feel really well taken care of and sending them out the door with a “wow” on their lips, wanting to share their experience with others.

I experienced great customer service last Friday. My car chose that morning to begin doing some peculiar things and while I am very willing to get in and deal with many things, I don’t do car issues. As I was on my way to a coffee meeting, I placed a call to my husband and, in a nutshell, suggested he “deal with it…” He very quickly called me back and told me he had made arrangements for me to stop by the auto repair shop after my meeting.

I sat in the waiting room at the shop for just a few minutes before Dirk, the manager, came in to talk to me about my car. Unfortunately, it was behaving perfectly for him! Together, we went on a short drive (I was hoping that with me in the driver’s seat it would choose to show its true colors) but again, there were no signs of the trouble that had started this whole experience. Dirk then checked the electrical signals and fluid levels and pronounced me well. He also told me that if (when) my vehicle started acting up again, I should come right back in for them to take a look at it.

I left, somewhat frustrated that my car had chosen to selectively misbehave, yet feeling like I had just been enveloped in great customer service. I did not have an appointment and although it was a Friday afternoon and the shop appeared to be busy, they still said to come on in. Quick attention was paid to my situation and I feel a thorough check on potential causes was made. And even though I took up Dirk’s time, there was no charge for my visit.

My husband has been taking his car into this shop for a number of years as they specialized in the type of vehicles he drove. Now, however, they are a full-service shop and this is the second time I have been in as well.

It is very clear to me that Northwest Import Specialists, Inc., located in Vancouver, WA, are not only knowledgeable and reliable in terms of their repair service but they also offer great customer service at the same time … the kind of customer service that makes you feel well taken care of, puts a “wow” on your lips, and makes you want to tell other people about.

Remember…

It’s not just what you do, it’s how you do it that matters!

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

Posted in Coaching, Etiquette Awareness | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Etiquette Awareness — Hey, Move It!

Posted by Corey Kaster on May 27, 2010

I see this everywhere, so I know something like this has happened to you. But I finally experienced a version of it that was pretty much the last straw, so I’m publicly saying enough is enough: Get out of the way!

While attending a public open house type of event, my friend and I moved towards the stairs to view the large second floor loft area of this public venue. We were not the only ones that had that idea as there were five or six people trailing behind us as we began our ascent. However, mid-way up the staircase, we came to something of an abrupt stop.

There was a man in the way. He was well over six feet and had the build to accompany the height. He was neither walking up nor down but instead, was parked, center stage, talking on his cell phone. He clearly couldn’t miss us attempting to get by but instead, chose to stand smack in the center of the stair and ignore us. He made no effort to even turn his body sideways so that we might reasonably pass by; instead we were forced to squeeze past, an effort made even more perilous due to his glass of red wine balancing precariously on the ledge of the staircase.

May I ask everyone, here and now, to please be aware that you are not the only critter on this planet? When you are at a public event, note that other people probably have the same idea as you, often at the same time. (Good minds DO think alike!)

For example, when you step up to the bar to obtain a beverage, move out of the way once you have received it. Don’t stand there talking; there are others waiting for something to drink too! The same goes for the food. Help yourself to a selection, then step away from the table before you begin eating so that others may do the same. It is extremely irritating to those waiting when two or three people are standing there, sans plates, gobbling and talking without any regard to the crowd around them.

In other words, remember to get out of the way!

Remember…

A colleague recently told me she could tell when I had a “bee in my bonnet”; it was reflected in my writing. I admit it — this one has bothered me for a while, partly because it seems to be plain common sense!

Just as we should say “excuse me” when stepping past someone, so too should we be aware of when we may be causing an inconvenience to others.

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

Posted in Coaching, Etiquette Awareness | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Etiquette Awareness — Don’t Add To The Problem

Posted by Corey Kaster on May 19, 2010

Rude behavior. Unfortunately, we don’t have to look far to find it. It can be the person who insists on holding those around him hostage to his cell phone conversation, the individual who texts through-out a class or meeting, or that lovely specimen that takes out her unrelated-to-the-situation frustration on a clerk behind the counter.

Responding in kind is exactly how you don’t want to handle the situation.

When someone does something that stands out for its inappropriateness, let it stand alone. Let the culprit muddle through in all his glory. Often times, when you attempt to retaliate or “teach the person a lesson”, your behavior ends up drawing more attention and negative reaction than the original rudeness.

Usually one form of rude behavior is enough for any situation.

Remember…

Taking the high road is not always our immediate reaction to rudeness but in the long run, it is the best response. As mom always said, “two wrongs don’t make a right” … especially when it comes to presenting yourself in a professional manner.

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 — Paddling Like A Duck

Posted by Corey Kaster on May 10, 2010

Have you heard the expression “Be like a duck, floating calmly on the surface, but paddling furiously under the water?”

I actually saw this in action recently when I took some shoes in for repair. It’s a small shop and I’ve always received excellent service there but I’ve also always been the only customer in the store at the time. On this particular day, there were two people in line ahead of me and while I waited, an additional three came in as well. The man behind the counter was obviously working as fast as he could to take care of each customer but at the same time, service was not being compromised. He greeted each of us with a smile, thanked us for waiting and went on to address our individual needs. Periodically, he would look up and thank the growing line for our patience, explaining that his boss, the owner was not in as he was very ill but he would be with us as soon as he could.

No one was complaining or impatient; we all understood.

When it was my turn to step to the counter, he had momentarily moved to the back area, out of sight of his customers, to put something away. However, I happened to catch sight of him looking at his co-worker (who was diligently working away on a pair of shoes.) This very calm, professional man had his hands in the air, his mouth wide open to mimic a scream and was shaking his head from side to side as he very silently let off some well-deserved stress. Within just a minute he stepped back to the counter with a happy smile and thanked me for waiting, “What may I do for you today?”

It was absolutely fantastic; I felt like I had been let in on a secret. He was obviously aware — and concerned — about his customers but cared enough not to add to the situation in a negative way by becoming flustered and attempting to rush through the process.

He was a perfect duck.

Remember…

People are not going to necessarily remember what happened but they will remember how you handled the situation. Be like a duck!

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

Posted in Coaching, Etiquette Awareness, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Etiquette Awareness — So Pushy It Was Funny!

Posted by Corey Kaster on March 31, 2010

So, I did something I don’t usually do. I allowed myself to be talked into a “frequent purchaser” type of program at a store. I had 30 days to try it out; if I didn’t want to continue with it, all I needed to do was call the toll free number before this date and cancel, otherwise my credit card would be charged the low, low price of $xx each month … My only excuse was I was very tired, the salesman talked really fast, and oh, that glass of wine with dinner didn’t help. (My husband couldn’t believe it either, and he was there.)

When I called to cancel the agreement two weeks later, having not once taken advantage of any of the special offers at any of the area stores (which told me how much I would have actually used the darn thing) I was very pleasantly greeted by a young woman who said she would be happy to help me. After calmly obtaining my name and the necessary information, I found it interesting that she suddenly switched over to warp speed and began verbally reiterating all of the benefits I would receive as a subscriber to this program. Smiling to myself, I patiently let her finish, at which point I thought I heard her say something along the lines of if I was not interested in continuing I would need to call back before this date to cancel.

Excuse me? That was the point of my call! So I asked this very pleasant young woman if my credit card was going to be charged the $xx monthly fee for this program. “Not for another two weeks” was her very chipper reply, “so enjoy the services. If you decide to cancel after that, then you will need to call back.”

Obviously, I saw no need to call back in the future and took care of the matter then and there. But I did get a good laugh out of the whole thing!

Remember…

Active listening means intentionally focusing on the other person in order to understand what is being said. As the listener, you should be able to repeat back, in your own words, what was said. This does not mean that you agree with what is being said; it is meant to show your understanding of the other person’s perspective.

Are you listening to your customers or simply pushing your services?

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

Posted in Etiquette Awareness | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Etiquette Awareness — May I Ask A Favor?

Posted by Corey Kaster on March 2, 2010

This week I am sharing a portion of an article written by Jacqueline Whitmore, an international etiquette and image expert, author, spokesperson and the founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach. I found this information to be extremely useful and a good reminder because while most people are happy to offer advice and assistance to others, the approach can make all the difference.

How To Ask For Favors, Properly

by Jacqueline Whitmore

When I am not writing or teaching, I spend a majority of my workday managing email. … Occasionally, I get an email from someone who wants some free advice. … When I have the time, I will try my best to respond to each and every email. … When composing an email, particularly to someone you don’t know well, please heed the following advice.

Greet me. An email that doesn’t contain my name gives me a clue that you might have sent this question to a multitude of experts. Dale Carnegie tells us that the sweetest sound to a person’s ear is the sound of their own name. Well, I like to see my name in print too. It shows that you have taken the time to personalize your message.

Enlighten me. In general, I will assume that I don’t know you unless you tell me how we met or know one other. Did we meet at a luncheon or a seminar? Did someone refer you to me? I meet and speak with a lot of people, as I’m sure you do too, so please refresh my memory.

Flatter me. Sometimes I will get an email that requires me to stop what I’m doing and make an effort to do a little research in order to answer the question. I am more apt to help you if you have done something to help me. Do you subscribe to my blog or e-newsletter? Have you attended one of my classes? Have read you read my book, Business Class, purchased one of my products or referred me to someone you know? If you do something nice for me, I am eager to reciprocate the favor.

Be specific. Not all emails are clear, concise and contain all the facts. Therefore, if your email does not contain pertinent information, I can’t give you my best answer. Make sure you give as many facts as possible without making the email too long.

Give me a deadline. If you need an answer right away, let me know. Otherwise, I will assume that your email is not time sensitive.

Thank me. Your email may require research and time on my part. If I take the time to respond, please send me an email in return that expresses your thanks for my efforts. Better yet, let me know how the situation turned out if you did take my advice. This way I will know that my efforts were worthwhile and that gives me great satisfaction.

Jacqueline offers a variety of valuable tips at her blog,

http://jacquelinewhitmore.com and her website, www.etiquetteexpert.com.

Remember…

Professionalism and a courteous approach will take you a long way when it comes to interacting with others, especially if you are asking for someone’s assistance. How you frame your request — and your follow-up — says a lot about you.

Is it the impression you want to convey?

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 — Cubicle Manners

Posted by Corey Kaster on February 22, 2010

It can be said that working in a cubicle is like working in a goldfish bowl; your words and actions are on view to everyone around. As you settle comfortably into your space, keep in mind that the cubicle next to you is someone else’s office.

  • Use your “library voice”. Loud sounds travel and your voice will project, making it difficult for your co-workers to concentrate. Remember this before making use of a speakerphone, even for voice mail retrieval.
  • The discussion of confidential matters should not take place in a cubicle; there is no privacy! Make use of a colleague’s office, a conference room or some other location where there are four walls, a ceiling and a door.Do not interrupt someone who is on the telephone, either by sign language or by lurking outside their cubicle “door”. Wait until the call is finished before you approach the person.
  • Respect the space of your co-workers. Announce your presence at the entrance to their cubicle without barging in or sneaking up on the person. If he looks busy or deep in thought, come back later. At the same time, don’t make eye contact with people if you don’t wish to be interrupted.
  • Avoid the “prairie dog” syndrome. Don’t pop up over the top of the cubicle to ask a question of someone a few spaces away. Get some exercise by walking around, send an email or use the telephone to make your inquiry.
  • Keep strong smelling food in the lunchroom! Smells and sounds of snacking can be extremely irritating to others.
  • How does your cubicle look? Excessive personal clutter and disorganized work materials can reflect poorly on your level of professionalism and attention to detail.

Remember…

The respect you show to others through your knowledge and use of cubicle etiquette provides your colleagues and the people around you with an impression as to the type of person you are.

Recognize this and make sure your are presenting a positive impression.

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 — 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

Share This!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine


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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!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine


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