Steve Curtin

The lost art of cosseting

Last month I presented three breakout sessions at a client’s annual leadership meeting near Chicago. The meeting was held at the Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel and the audio-visual production company was PSAV. First, let me say that I’ve worked with top-tier A/V production companies on...

How to win customers in 2016

With the New Year upon us, I was asked by a blogger to comment on trends that will influence customer experience in 2016. My reaction was to reply with insights into the rapid growth of consumers’ mobile connectivity across socioeconomic categories and the impact...

Esprit de corps

The French term “esprit de corps” means a feeling of pride, fellowship, and common loyalty shared by members of a particular group. When I read about the most admired corporations or the best places to work, the common thread among these articles is the...

Celebrate customers more frequently and less formally

It’s Customer Service Week (Oct. 5-9) and, since I work in the field, I suppose I should contribute to the conversation this week. Let me start by saying that celebrating the customer is a good thing – especially when you consider that, without customers,...

You’re not entitled to a 10

Earlier this week, I hired a local handyman service to knock out my “honey-do” list so that I was assured a weekend of uninterrupted football watching. The handyman, Eric, was prompt, even calling to let me know he was running ahead of schedule if...

Approachable customer service

I recently completed a consulting project for a network of county libraries. One of our objectives was to identify ways to incorporate exceptional customer service into the day-to-day processes at the libraries. As a part of my preparation, I read a research paper by...

Excellence doesn’t require permission

Whenever I go on record saying, “Most employees don’t choose to deliver poor customer service; they just don’t choose to deliver exceptional customer service” (or something similar), there are always pundits who emerge from the dark recesses of the Internet to lay the blame...

Don’t break your brand promise

Many companies have brand promises that look good in ads, and emblazoned on websites, banners and buttons, but often these promises have little credibility among customers or employees. They are simply a set of words brainstormed at an ad agency that usually promise more...

Customer experience Q&A

The following post contains a recent interview by Erica Marois of ICMI: 1. In your book you mention that 80% of companies claim to provide superior service, while only 8% of customers agree. Where are companies missing the mark? Too many companies focus exclusively on…

Serving is selling

I recently struck up a conversation with my insurance agent, Kevin, about the link between customer service and sales. We both agreed that the line separating these two distinct disciplines is fuzzy. Where does customer service stop and selling start? Kevin said that while his...

A line in the sand

In 168 BC the Greek ruler, Antiochus led an attack on Egypt. Before reaching Alexandria, his path was blocked by a Roman envoy who delivered a message from the Roman Senate directing Antiochus to withdraw his armies from Egypt and Cyprus or consider themselves...

Being capable is not enough

I was recently asked, “What is the biggest customer service challenge facing companies today?” My response was that it’s the same challenge companies faced last year, the year before that, and even 28 years ago: inconsistency of customer service quality and the customer experience. The...

A rock-solid approach to being memorable

In the book Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, the authors propose Six Principles of Sticky Ideas that contribute to a message being remembered as opposed to overlooked, disregarded, or forgotten. Those principles are: simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions, and stories. I...

What’s in a name?

Last month I worked with a multinational retailer whose internal customer satisfaction survey analysis revealed some interesting findings: when they can recall an employee by name, customers’ overall satisfaction is 20 percent higher (from 69 percent to 89 percent) and their likelihood to return...

Customer feedback: a gift that keeps on giving

A study by Maritz Research and Evolve24 revealed that of 1,298 Twitter complaints, only 29 percent were replied to by the companies in question. Yesterday, during a phone interview, I was asked, “Why do you think company representatives choose to ignore feedback from customers...

Chance encounters by design

I recently worked for a multinational retailer whose internal customer satisfaction survey analysis revealed some interesting findings: When they encounter an employee on the sales floor, customers have an overall better experience as evidenced by their reported 18 percent increases in both Overall Satisfaction...

The problem with perfection

Customer satisfaction surveys are carefully constructed by instructional designers who labor over details such as the exact wording, number, and sequence of questions, and the rating scale used. This is done with the intent to produce a survey that yields reliable feedback that leadership...

Do your best customers feel welcomed?

My family and I will travel to Breckenridge next month over spring break. As we do every year, we’ll be staying at our favorite lodge at the base of the mountain. When making the reservation back in January, I requested a slope-side view with...

Going above and beyond is a choice

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 true. While there are things that...

Casual indifference

There is a phenomenon in the services industry (some might say, an affliction) that I’ll refer to as ‘casual indifference.’ Its occurrence is not rare. Casual indifference by uninspired employees toward the needs and expectations of customers is rampant. Casual indifference is demonstrated by retail...

New Posts