Jeff Toister

How quickly should you respond to an email?

Nearly 75 percent of us expect co-workers to respond to emails within four hours or less, according to a recent email response time survey. This is a slight increase from 2012's results, where 68 percent of respondents expected a response within the same time...

Using the Employee Engagement Cycle

This post originally appeared on the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) website as part of their Expert's Angle series. Call centers with customer-focused cultures achieve their success by getting a high level of agent buy-in. One way to do this is to ensure that your...

Never reward employees for outstanding survey scores

The Westin Portland is one of my favorite hotels. Their warm and attentive associates always make me feel welcome and you can't beat their location in the heart of downtown Portland, Oregon. I've stayed their many times over the years and have come to...

Contact Center Conference Spring 2013 Re-cap

Last week was a real treat. It was the first week this year that I didn't travel, but I still got to attend an amazing conference in my hometown of San Diego. Here's my re-cap of Contact Center Conference Spring 2013. Conference OverviewIf you didn't…

Good people giving poor service at American Airlines

John Goodman noted in his book, Strategic Customer Service, that 60% of service failures are caused by poor products, processes, and marketing messages. My travel experience on American Airlines last week illustrated this concept perfectly. I flew from San Diego to Washington D.C.'s Reagan International...

Why your customers often see what you don’t

The classic nine dot puzzle is one of my favorite customer service training exercises. Give the puzzle a try if you haven't seen it before: Connect all nine dots using four straight lines You cannot lift your finger off the screen (or, if you prefer,…

Two different approaches to the same problem

Customer service problems can and will happen. I wish they didn't, but they do. And when they do occur, how the company resolves the problem can make a big difference. I recently experienced two very different problem solving approaches from the same company. The first...

Learn from the pros by visualizing outstanding service

Last week, I wrote a post comparing customer service to professional baseball. I'd like to continue the sports metaphor by sharing an activity that customer service professionals can borrow from professional athletes. You can prepare for big moments by visualizing yourself succeeding. It all starts…

How customer service is like professional baseball

Baseball's spring training is now underway so I thought I'd offer a simple analogy to describe how customer service is like professional baseball: Many of us think we're experts, but only a few of us truly are. Both baseball and customer service are easy to…

Applebee’s customer proves the customer is always right

Applebee's is the latest company to be caught up in controversy over a receipt. This time it was a server who took a picture of a customer's receipt and posted it online. By my count, this is the fourth receipt-related service failure to go viral...

Book Review: Uncommon Service

Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of your Business.by Frances Frei and Anne Morriss I've read a lot of books about customer service and I must admit that many of them tend to blur together. As I read Uncommon Service,...

Spreadsheet Jockeys are clueless about retail service

All super heroes have at least one nemesis. Batman has the Joker. Superman has Lex Luther. Outstanding Service has the Spreadsheet Jockey. What's a Spreadsheet Jockey? It's an executive who designs systems and strategies to serve their customers based on data points and intuition without...

Hire better by redefining your purple squirrel

A client of mine recently struggled to find the perfect candidate for an open managerial position. They wanted someone who had outstanding technical and managerial skills, but this combination was proving impossible to find. They were also a small nonprofit organization, so the perfect...

The trouble with magic metrics

Executives like the idea of using a single magic metric to evaluate customer service because it's so simple. "Do well at this," the thinking goes, "and you're doing well." Unfortunately, the real magic happens when you start peeling back the layers of your data to...

Debunking the myth that attitude is a choice

You may have heard the story about a Subway employee who lost his job after getting into a confrontation with a customer over ketchup. The short version of the story is a customer ordered a Philly cheesesteak sandwich with ketchup and an argument ensued...

A service failure reveals surprising customer service trends

On the Friday before Christmas my wife, Sally, headed to Newark Liberty airport for what she thought would be an uneventful flight home to San Diego. What followed instead was a string of bizarre delays lasting nearly nine hours that could only be caused...

Your company’s viral service failure is your fault

You may have heard about a recent viral service failure where a waiter identified a trio of diners as "Fat Girls" and allowed this label to be printed on their bill. The waiter's identity is unknown, although his first name is Jeff. (Thanks for...

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