So many businesses try and connect with customers and do all the right things to create a good experience. They invest in training, upgrade facilities, listen to customers feedback.

Yet it is the little things which can just turn people off. It's what I call the final 5%. The last little things which stops you from being a great customer service experience, and leaves you in the 'just another average player' category. Attention to detail is one way of looking at it - but really it is a focus on how the customer percieves your efforts. Let me show your team how the final 5% can make a massive difference to how the customers embrace you - or reject you. Email me now!


Often companies have a head office, or at the least a support team of management and admin types.

We must always be aware though that everyone in that busines gets their wage from the paying customer. Keep this in mind and realise that if you are not serving the customer yourself, then make sure you are serving someone who is!


Motivate them, train them, care about them and make winners out of them. We know if we treat our employees right, they'll treat the customers right. And if customers are treated right, they'll come back.
- J.W. Marriot, Jr


If you ask anyone over 60 that question you may get a quizzical look. The old days when staff were called help, and you did'nt need loyalty cards are a distant memory.

My question in return though is why? Did we lose sight of who we are serving in the rush to be more efficient or expand the profit margin? If so where is the benefit to society as a whole? I can't help but wonder if today's style of service where we shop in huge supermarkets filled with choice, and we fill our own cars with gas, is somehow inferior to when you interacted with local stores and their owners. Then we bought on a daily basis not once a week on a shopping trip.


An accountant's role has a place in keeping a business fluid and on track. However, if you allow the culture and daily thinking to be focused solely on saving costs, chasing cash, and trying to maximise what you can squeeze out of your customers pockets......then - Im sorry you are on a losing to ticket to nowhere.

For one thing, this is exactly what every one else is doing, so you end up getting the same results as your competitors. Far better to lead the way in creating an outstanding service culture, one which attracts new customers and leaves your competitors wondering where they went wrong whilst all the customers choose you as their favourite providor.
When that happens your accountants role becomes one of showing how steep the business growth is instead of shaving costs everywhere.

Try it - I know it works. Ive seen it in so many businesses to stake my life on it!


Understanding a customers viewpoint - is all very well for the theory books and classroom meetings.

Just as important though is actually stepping out and looking at your business with a customers eyes. If you own a store then come out from behind the sales desk and see what the customers see, not once in a while but every hour.
I guarantee you will see a dusty shelf which needs wiping, a stray bit of litter in a corner, or a light fitting which needs fixing. Get out and about more often and spot things which let you down before everyone sees it.


Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It's what the client or customer gets out of it.
- Peter Drucker


A recent post here highlighted WHY we care about customer service. I have since been asked about the how, and when.
In short the answer to both how and when is the same. The desire for superior customer service comes from the heart, it is a genuine feeling that you want to help another soul have a great time. You want to make someones day better or easier. A service superstar gives great service from the heart,it comes from a good place- because they know that the love and care they give, comes back to them a hundred fold more powerful in return.
So dont delay about when you will start, or how you can implement good service strategies, start now and lead by example, the rest will grow around your steps you take.


If your intention is to have a motivated and customer focused superstar team, then be careful what is lying around in the staff rest rooms or canteens.
The typical newspaper and popular magazine will be filled with negative gossip type content and encourage feelings of envy, scorn and other judgemental feelings in the reader. These are the opposite of the kind of mindset you would be needing in a team of caring service providers.
Ban the trashy gossip from your workplace, it may be censorship of a kind, I say so what- get over it. If you dont, then your training efforts are going to waste.


In my career in hotels a sizeable portion of staff would be termed back of house team members. The stores men, laundry workers, cleaners, canteen lady and maintenence crew. They may not ever get to be serving the paying customers face to face, but they certainly maintain the operations for those that do.

In other businesses, there may be similar people in the team who look after the warehouse, or transit drivers and others. These people need just as much focus on the paying customer as everyone else in the business, for they form a vital link in the service chain. So ensure they are trained and focused too on the customer.
" If you are not serving a customer, make sure you are are serving someone who is."


When you study customer service and strip it down to its core, you see that it is simply being kind to others.
If you have an attitude of wanting to make someone's day, or uplifting a stranger by giving them a sincere compliment, or jumping to the aid of someone in a minute of need. These are all traits of a service superstar. It is not about switching on the service skills and transforming back when the shift ends.
An ingrained nature of giving and showing kindness to family - or anyone is how you spot a service superstar, and if everyone showed these traits - what kind of world would this be?
Ponder that thought and tell me thats not a world you would long for.


It is tempting sometimes to stray with your thoughts or day dream at work. Especially after a long shift.

If this guy here starts daydreaming at work..... its going to hurt! If you or your team lose focus, its not you that suffers its the customer.

The customer pays the same price for goods or services what ever time of your work shift, so make sure they get superior service regardless of how tired you may be.


Every customer service teacher I know has a book or two to offer, and there are many related resources available for minimal cost - sometimes free.

So if you want to improve in your field, to lead the way and excel at what you do.....get reading.
There are countless videos on websites to watch and learn from too, if you make it a daily habit of watching just a couple a week think how much knowledge you can pick up in no time.
Remember, what you do at your job just pays the bills......its what you do with your spare time that creates your future.


Customers can go away with a poor impression if just one member of the service team lets the side down. It is vital for everyone to be at a similar level and standard of service otherwise the combined efforts are for nothing.
If you do have a staff member that is noted for letting the side down, the options are simple... Improve them , or move them.
"One hundred minus one can't be ninety-nine in the hotel business. It may be zero. If one employee out of hundreds gives a bad impression to a certain customer, it will be one hundred percent damage for our hotel image for that customer."
- Ichiro Inumaru ( Japanese renowned hotelier)


Yesterday I went to my local shopping mall for a cell phone accessory and saw three telco staff not serving anyone. I browsed their shelves for a few minutes before I turned to interrupt the staff playing on their Ipads. Apparently the item wanted was sold out but they had other colours, no I said I wanted black. "Black is the most popular colour we sell"

"We may have some more in a month" I was told, with no apology attached. I thought, OK so you know it's the most popular but you dont have enough, so should'nt you maybe foresee this situation? I drove home, went online and purchased two of what I wanted for half the price in the space of a few minutes. My lesson learned there is that next time I wont bother with the traditional retail, and go straight online to spend my money. If that kind of customer experience persists how many retailers are going to be out of work in the future, and can you blame the spread of the internet - or is some blame to be attached to the shortcomings of the retail staff themselves?


A lady asked me during a recent workshop WHY do we have to be nice. Why do we have to be great at customer service. I asked her where she likes to go shopping, then I asked her how many hours she works in a week.
I then asked her that when she goes shopping with her hard earned money, and she steps into her favourite clothes shop wanting to buy something, that if she was met by apathetic staff who were none to phased about serving her - would she still spend her money there.

The answer was no, she would'nt. So I explained that when customers enter her workplace, they too have their hard earned money in their pockets and will take their money elsewhere quite readily if she does not give excellent service. If and when that happens, she will be out of a job pretty soon and will not be able to go shopping.
The point was understood.


These 3 hour seminars will transform the culture and mindset in your business into one of customer service excellence.
There are no boring graphs and charts and no scripts to read through.
The picture slide show leads the participants through humorous anecdotes and concentrates their focus into how they can apply simple methods to change their workplace. They look at how to improve themselves and what they can do as individuals to be ready to serve not only customers but anyone in their lives.
Retaining customers
Recovering from mistakes
Looking from a customers viewpoint
First impressions count

At $40 per person, how can you not afford to invest in your teams success?


Danny Meyer is the legendary hospitality guru in New York who relates this fantastic example of a service superstar.

A lady about to begin her lunch while at one of Meyer's restaurants suddenly became agitated upon discovering she had left her cell phone in the cab she had arrived in a short while back.
About to rush out the door - the head waiter stopped her and convinced the anxious diner to enjoy her meal instead as he promised to look after the matter for her. The head waiter called the lost cell phone, spoke to the cab driver who had it, and then promptly dispatched one of the restaurant staff in another cab to drive over to retrieve the phone.

The lady in question was obviously delighted.

Cost to the restaurant, about $30. Benefits to the restaurant, priceless word of mouth praise like this for a long time to come.

Thats Superstar service! Start using it in your business, or become just another average business doing the motions.


Planning ahead for those rare occasions when something goes wrong will pay off. Turning a bad situation into a good one takes a little training to empower your front line staff.

Allow your frontline crew to fix the problem immediately and apologise instead of making the upset customer wait further whilst somebody finds a manager. Most angry customers are not looking to rip the company off, they simply want their problem fixed and to be heard.

Once you have allowed for that, it is a good investment to over deliver on expectations. If you can really please that previously upset customer by doing the unexpected (over deliver) then that customer will be a fan for life and tell many others about how you worked wonders for them.
Have a service recovery plan in place and make sure frontline staff are empowered to put things right.


Instead of ideas coming from head office or management, it is proven time and again that the best service improving ideas come from those on the front line of customer service.

If you set up a thinking group which can meet once in a short while, the ideas they can come up with will perhaps astonish you. I tried this many years ago and have used it with great effect since. Those who serve know how to do it better - especially if you allow their ideas to be heard and scrutinised by their peers.

Set up and encourage a customer service think tank and watch how your business improves. The added benefit is that the staff feel empowered and valuable too.


I use this quote here as it strikes a personal chord with me - having spent most of my adult life serving others in restaurants around the world.

Cooking is one of the oldest arts and one that has rendered us the most important service in civic life.”

Jean Anthelme Brillat Savarin. A Parisian lawyer and Gourmand,(18th century) who educated the world on so much.


It is so important to furbish the reception or front desk with a serious investment in talent, training, decor and salary. So often I have seen that the lowest paid and most inexperienced staff are placed on the front desk or answering the telephones.

Big mistake, as this area is the first and last place a customer or visitor passes through. If their impression is not a great one as they encounter the reception area, all the other efforts through the business are struggling then to win over that customer.
Again, recruit and reward the best talent on the front desk area.


Struggling with accountants budgetary restrictions is a common if not daily obstacle for many managers.
Sometimes new ideas or department needs are obviously in need of funds but the purse strings are shut tight.
The answer is to explain your case from a customer service angle. Pitch the needs of the funding around if customers - and therefore the whole business needs what you are after, that way you can usually win the argument and avoid the usual tug of war scenario between service providers and the accounts office.