Steve Curtin

Incorporate essence into function

An observation: While employees consistently execute the mandatory job functions (duties/tasks) for which they are paid, they inconsistently demonstrate the voluntary job essence (service...

You must water the plants

Several years ago, after presenting multiple half-day training classes over four days, I was disappointed to hear my client say on the way to...

Accept your customers, warts and all

November has been a hard month for me healthwise. Every October, I dutifully schedule a flu shot. Most years, that’s sufficient and I’m generally...

Service so subtle

Too often, exceptional customer service is associated with breathless, over-the-top actions by employees that capture headlines such as Ritz-Carlton’s Joshie the Giraffe, Morton’s Steakhouse...

The best customer service book of all time

In 1989 Stephen R. Covey’s perennial book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was published. It must have resonated, having sold more than...

Walk a mile (or just stand and wait) in your customer’s moccasins

Whoever is responsible for the Chicago O’Hare International Airport TSA clearance should be forced to endure the gauntlet himself. This may be the only...

Set the tone for exceptional customer service!

For years, researchers have studied disconnects between sender and receiver in electronic communications. It’s challenging to convey emotion and tone, for instance, via email...

J.W. Marriott’s approach to serving customers

When asked about his approach to work during an interview, the late J.W. Marriott, Sr. said, “There aren’t these two opposites, work and play,...

When it comes to social customer service, most companies are hacks

Henry David Thoreau observed: “For every thousand hacking at the leaves of evil, there is one striking at the root.” I thought about how this...

Does your company have a slogan or a purpose?

Many companies have slogans that look good on websites, banners, and buttons, but often these slogans have little credibility among customers or employees. They...

Unique knowledge separates the best from the good

Voltaire, the 18th-century French philosopher, said, “The best is the enemy of the good.” I love this quote because, to me, it highlights the...

Make no mistake: Employees choose whether or not to serve

Do you work hard? When questioned publicly, an overwhelming majority of us will respond that, yes, we work hard. I’m not sure what the...

Keep working for the referral

I know a successful Denver web designer whose mantra is: “Keep working for the referral.” In other words, even after he gets the business,...

Never apologize for your enthusiasm

Once, while I was sharing a retail example of exceptional customer service during a seminar in New York City, a participant interrupted to say,...

We have met the enemy and he is us

In 168 BC the Greek ruler Antiochus led an attack on Egypt. Before reaching Alexandria, his path was blocked by a Roman envoy who...

How apologies influence consumer behavior

Earlier this month, I read a Wall Street Journal article titled The Art of the Airline Apology. The article features a 2009 study by...

Frontier Airlines’ service heroics

Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame, but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.” To deliver service...

You don’t really know unless you ask

My wife and I recently hosted friends who were in town from Sonoma County in California’s wine country. One evening, the four of us...

Delivering the sunrise

Last weekend I emailed the following complaint to the customer service department at The Wall Street Journal: Our Wall Street Journal delivery person has a...

Valuing customers is a choice

Do you recall the last time you waited in a long line at the supermarket to buy a handful of items with no express...

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