Steve Curtin

Communicate On Purpose

Employees will only be aware of job purpose (as a relevant and credible dimension of their job role) if leadership and, in particular, their immediate supervisor, reinforces it daily by talking about it and, more importantly, modeling it. Most employee...

If you can afford to dine out, then you can afford to be generous

Last week, a restaurant guest in Colts Neck, New Jersey left his waitress a 74-cent tip on a $119.26 check. Somehow, a New Jersey state senator obtained a photo of the signed receipt and shared the unedited image on Twitter. The intent of this blog…

Being Capable Is Not Enough

Last fall I traveled to Philadelphia to meet up with several colleagues at a downtown hotel. At check-in, I received a room key emblazoned with the image of a specialty cocktail. After pocketing the key, I grabbed my bag, and headed toward the elevator...

Inspiring initiative

Two weeks ago we received a late spring snowstorm that left several inches of snow on our back deck. Because my teenage son was hosting a prom after-party that evening, I approached him at 2:30pm and asked, “Why are you gaming? You have pictures at…

The unseating of Sears

After buying our first home in 2000, my wife and I spent many weekends shopping at The Great Indoors, a home décor chain founded by Sears in 1997. One of our early purchases was a Kenmore canister vacuum cleaner. For more than a decade until…

The true cost of outsourcing

Last week, in preparation for spring break in the mountains, I called my local Ford dealership to ask a couple of questions about my service plan’s coverage of replacement brake pads and to schedule an oil change and tire rotation. Today’s business cli...

You don’t have to be a B Corp to have a purpose

In recent years, I’ve read a number of articles that attribute the rise in B Corps to organizations’ desire to be seen as interested in both shareholder and stakeholder success. A Benefit Corporation or B Corp is a type of for-profit corporate entity a...

The Commitment Quadrant

Over three decades of working in training and development has taught me, among other things, that many managers are skeptical about the return on investment from most training programs. So-called “soft skills” training on topics like customer service a...

Comcast is making customer experience its best product

While many organizations give their employees assignments to work on, Comcast has given its employees a purpose to work toward.

Why I Fired Allstate

On June 19th of this year there was a significant hailstorm in my neighborhood that damaged dozens of roofs and automobiles. My Allstate agent texted me on the same day – impressive – and asked me whether or not we had been affected by the st...

Volunteers at Work

For many years, I’ve gone on record saying that the reason you and I, as customers, consistently receive predictably poor customer service is because exceptional customer service is voluntary; employees don’t have to deliver it, and most don’t. It’s tr...

When Values Are Valuable

Earlier today I was the guest on a leadership podcast. Among other topics, we discussed organizational values. Too often the term “values” conjures up images of the corporate orientation video or inspirational break room posters and is otherwise widely...

If you ask a question, then listen to the answer

Back in the Dark Ages of gathering customer feedback, companies distributed hard copy customer satisfaction surveys with prepaid postage to increase response rates and then waited weeks to collect, analyze, and distribute the feedback. And when warrant...

The Hospitality Sweet Spot

Ed and Gayle NovakLast week, our family dined for the last time at The Broker, a Denver restaurant founded 46 years ago by my father-in-law, Ed Novak. Dozens of family members joined us from across the country to honor Ed and the legacy of his…

Every week should be customer service week!

Customer Service Week (Oct. 3-7) is approaching and, since I work in the field, I suppose I should contribute to the conversation. Let me begin by saying that celebrating the customer is a good thing—especially when you consider that, without customers, there wouldn’t be...

The Seacret to Sales Success

Earlier this month, I met Adele. Not the Adele you’re thinking of – I’m not sure how well she sings – but this Adele can sell! I had just left the Apple Store at Park Meadows Shopping Center in Lone Tree, Colorado when I approached...

Stop Counting Paperclips!

Last month, I returned to one of my favorite hotels in New York City. It was my first stay since the hotel completed an extensive renovation in 2012. I’ll withhold the name of the hotel because it’s not important. What matters are the observations...

Always prepare the soil before planting seeds

A colleague recently asked for my opinion regarding the skills that customer service representatives (CSRs) need the most help with. I qualified my response by saying that it assumes CSRs already possess a positive attitude and a willingness to expend discretionary effort in the...

Customer service is the new selling

The days of the boorish salesman portrayed in the 1992 film Glengarry Glen Ross – where the mantra “Coffee’s for closers” was used to both recognize success and admonish poor performance – are gone. Certainly, there are still unscrupulous salespeople and gullible buyers, but it’s...

More Proof That Perception Matters

I recently developed a learning activity for a client who wanted his team of 60 commercial property managers to recognize the influence that biases, preconceived notions, and assumptions had on the quality of their tenant interactions. My client was motivated by the recurring conflict...

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