Jeff Toister

New Report Reveals Big Challenges From IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing our lives. IoT refers to everyday devices connected to the internet. Our appliances, door locks, thermostats, vehicles, and many other items are suddenly "smart." For example, my wife and I enjoy watching out of town games streaming through...

Avoid Angry Customers with The No Fault Technique

A subscriber recently sent me the transcript from a chat session she had with a customer. Her customer had gotten angry and ended the session abruptly. He then complained in a survey about the service he had received.  The subscriber asked me, "What did I…

How Palo Alto Software Used Metrics to Improve Service

A question posted on the Inside Customer Service LinkedIn group recently caught my attention. Celeste Peterson, a Customer Advocacy Supervisor at Palo Alto Software, asked: What do you think are the most important metrics to track for a small customer service team? There were a…

Lessons From The Overlook: Go and See the Problem

Note: Lessons from The Overlook is a monthly update on lessons learned from owning a vacation rental property in the Southern California mountain town of Idyllwild. It's a hands-on opportunity to apply some of the techniques I advise my clients to use. You can...

Why the Huddle Is Your Most Important Meeting

Ugh, not another meeting. It seems like our calendars are full of them. A 2014 study from Fuze found that more than half of us spend at least 13 hours per week in meetings.  Most of these meetings seem pretty pointless. That same Fuze study…

How to Harness the Power of Peer Recognition 

Employee recognition can be a minefield. One key distinction is to decide between rewarding or recognizing good performance. Rewards are a pre-determined "if-then" proposition. If you achieve X result, you get Y as a prize.  There's a volume of data that proves rewards often unexpectedly…

Does Your Company Have Too Many Missions and Visions?

The vice president shared a draft of her company's new values project. She had been working with two other executives to create them. They had come up with nine after several brainstorming sessions. On paper, they looked good. These were solid, reasonable values that were…

How to Make Time For Training

I'm a bit behind on listening to podcasts. For instance, I've just finished episode 91 of Crack the Customer Code, a wonderful podcast hosted by Adam Toporek and Jeannie Walters. The current episode is #255. Ironically, the title of episode 91 is "How to Find…

Simple Training Plan: Preventing Customer Anger

Over the past two months, I posted a couple of training plans that customer service leaders can use to train their teams. The idea was to provide a low-cost alternative to hiring an expensive customer service trainer. These plans are designed to be cost-effective and...

Three Easy Ways to Engage Your Customers

The Westin Portland was my favorite hotel. It's slated to leave the Marriott (nee Starwood) family at the end of this month and I'm sad to see it go. I've stayed there many times and have always felt welcome. I even wrote about it in...

Lessons From the Overlook: Some People Suck

Note: Lessons from The Overlook is a monthly update on lessons learned from owning a vacation rental property in the Southern California mountain town of Idyllwild. It's a hands-on opportunity to apply some of the techniques I advise my clients to use. You can...

Let’s Stop Calling Customer Service a Soft Skill

The term "soft skills" is typically used to refer to a wide range of interpersonal skills. This includes leadership, emotional intelligence, and customer service. There's no doubt these skills are important, but calling them soft skills creates a problem. My friend Jeremy Watkin recently wrote…

How to Manage an Employee with a Bad Attitude

Note: This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.  A Customer Service Tip of the Week subscriber recently emailed to ask for my advice on managing an employee with a bad attitude. She explained that the customer service team she managed had an employee with a bad attitude…

Customer Service Lessons From My Baseball Stadium Tour

View from the home dugout at Cincinnati's Great American Ballpark My wife, Sally, and I just returned from a three city baseball stadium tour. We visited Cleveland's Progressive Field, Detroit's Comerica Park, and Cincinnati's Great American Ballpark, catching two games in each stadium. It was…

Insider Perspectives: Evan Watson on Using Improv

Evan Watson, Improv Actor & Customer Service Professional Improvisational theater, or improv, is unscripted. Actors are typically given a suggestion for a scene and they must make up their lines on the spot. The best improv actors seem to effortlessly generate interesting dialogue with instantaneous…

Simple Training Plan: Eliminating Repeat Service Failures

A few weeks ago I posted a simple training plan that customer service leaders can use to train their teams. It was called Serving Upset Customers 101. The focus was training customer service reps to respond effectively when serving an angry or upset customer. This…

Why Incentives Are a Tool of the Lazy Manager

"Let's create an incentive plan!"  That's the rallying cry for lazy managers. Whether its lagging customer service survey scores, poor productivity, or dismal attendance, lazy managers think the solution is an an incentive. Or perhaps a disincentive will do the trick!  A three strikes and…

The Powerful Survey Feature That Drives Customer Loyalty

Improving loyalty is a big reason companies survey customers. The challenge is finding ways to actually accomplish that goal. Customer service leaders tell me confidentially that analyzing survey data is a struggle. Getting leaders to take meaningful action is another tough task. There's one survey…

5 Reasons To Love REI’s Service Culture

Photo credit: Jeff Toister Being outside is incredible. You can get great exercise. Clear your head. And you never know what sort of discoveries you might find, such as a random helipad on a hiking trail.  If you love the outdoors, you probably love REI.…

How to Choose the Right Customer Service Metrics

"What are the best metrics for my customer service team?" It's a question I'm frequently asked. In some environments, like contact centers, leaders have access to so much data it can be overwhelming. In other situations, customer service leaders don't feel they have enough data.…

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