Friday, December 26, 2008

A 2008 Thank You!

Thank you for another enjoyable year and for supporting Season 2 of Client Service Insights. Listed below are the people who contributed to our conversation in 2008! Your comments, suggestions and insights are deeply appreciated. I hope you share your thoughts with us next year as well.

Have a safe and happy holiday season! See you in 2009!

Leo

Todd Andrlik, Gavin Heaton, Gerry Riskin, Darryl Ohrt, Drew McClellan, Kami Huyse, Michelle Golden, Tom Kane, Becky Carroll, Karen Miller Russell, Doug Simon, Martin Lynch, Leanne Heller, Jonathan Yarmis, Ampatzis Panagiotis, Joseph Wilburn, John Koetsier, Ruth Seeley, Jason Whitmen, Luke, Eric Montague, Michael Bourne, Larry Bodine, Tom Kane, More Partner Income, Rjon Robins, Jenny Love, Kevin O'Keefe, Jim Calloway, Dr. Alan Freitag, Stacia, Eric Eggertson, Marc Rapp, Liza Jones, Dan Hull, Maria Palma, Amanda Chapel, Matt Kucharski, Ben Waugh, Dr. Kent M. Keith, Kiker, John, Katie Paine, David Alston, David Maister, Laurie Wilhelm, Rodger Johnson, Geoff Livingston, David Mullen, Chris Brogan, Jose Teixiera, Jeff Davis, Scott Baradell, Sherrilynne Starkie, Lara Kretler, Lynn Crymble, Susan Iskiwitch, Angie Chaplin, Walter Stevenson, Sharon Bond, Joyce Lofstrom, Heather Yaxley, Tyler Hurst, Kristen Smith, Terry Morawski, Phil Gomes, Richard Rinyai, Robert French, Josh Morgan, Barbara B. Nixon, Todd Defren, Paul Ritchie, Timothy Parcell, Boyd Neil, Claire Celsi, Laurent Pfertzel, Catharine Montgomery, Rodger Johnson, Chris Mitchell, Jason Keeling, Andrew, Inga Rundquist, Michael Kolowich, Patrick J. Lamb, Brian Keith, Kelli Matthews, Shannon Paul and Ed Lee.

Monday, December 22, 2008

World's Best Client Service?

Well, I can't be sure exactly. There are some amazing client service organizations out there, and as I stated in one of my earlier posts, it should be noted that world's best client service organizations are not the ones seeking bailouts. Maybe great client/customer service matters after all.

So during this holiday season, for those of us who'd rather do our shopping from the comforts of home, there may be no better place to do so than amazon.com. For my money, amazon doesn't just deliver the best service among internet retailers, but arguably the best among everyone.

The site has just about anything you want. It's easy to navigate, even easier to place an order (or gift order) , and if you shop them often enough, you don't have to re-enter the same information over and over again. Amazon has a great tracking sytem and, best of all, if you have a question or problem, the Click-to-Call service is hard to beat. It's not only that you receive a call from an amazon.com rep at the click of your mouse, but the representative already knows why you're calling and stands ready to help you.

So if you have any last minute shopping, consider a place where you'll get great prices and world class service!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"An Unbeatable Combination"

When it comes to achieving excellence in client service, it's our duty to challenge our leaders, and it's their responsibility to listen to the professional judgment of subordinates.

As Warren Bennis explains, "The most important characteristic may be a willingness to tell the truth. In a world of growing complexity, leaders are increasingly dependent on their subordinates for good information, whether the leaders want to hear it or not. Followers who tell the truth, and leaders who listen to it, are an unbeatable combination."

At Seton Hall University's Learning Leaders Symposium, I offered ten keys to speaking truth to power:
  1. Trust yourself

  2. Consider it your responsibility to share your professional judgment

  3. Know your audience

  4. Prepare by understanding your point and anticipating any questions you may receive

  5. Make your point succinctly

  6. Do so in the broader interest, not self interest

  7. Persuade – don’t take ceremonial positions

  8. Be patient - let the information sink in

  9. Understand that bad news is better coming from you than from the outside

  10. Trust your leadership
Consider sharing your story of when you had to speak truth to power.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Life or Death?

Last month, I spoke at Seton Hall University's Learning Leaders Symposium in Phoenix on a topic I covered on this blog several months ago regarding our responsibility to speak truth to power in our organizations - to question our leaders and offer our professional judgment even if it conflicts with prevailing opinion. In my next post, I'll share the ten keys to speaking truth to power successfully, but before I do that, I want to share a story I heard about from Todd Defren.

It comes from a post titled Entrepreneurs and Leadership, where Richard Branson shares a brief anecdote about the importance of questioning our leaders. If you don't think it's a life or death issue. Guess again.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Seven Things You Don't Know About Me

Whenever I've asked for help or participation, my social media friends have always been there, so since I got tagged by Terry Morawski to participate in the Seven Things You Don't Know About Me series of blog posts, what was I to do? I'll keep it short:

1. In elementary school, I had a pen pal for five years. His name was Toshio Tsuchiya, and he lived in Yamanashi Japan. He would send me some amazing pictures, including dozens of shots of Mount Fuji. I've always wanted to climb it, and one of these summers soon, I plan to do so.
2. As a child I was a fanatic about astronomy and space travel. I never wanted to be an astronaut per se, but I did think about becoming an astronomer. My lack of talent in the sciences steered me in another direction.
3. The only thing I was more obssesed with as a kid than space exploration and Red Sox baseball was politics - and it remains a passion today. As a kid, I stayed up way past my bedtime to watch both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in 1968. I memorized delegate data the same way most kids remembered batting averages, and I had a Humphrey for President sign on my bike. (Apparently, as a 9 year old, I was wise beyond my years). My role models were the politcal leaders of the day.
4. In my sophomore year, I played the lead role (Paul Berthalet) in our high school musical Carnival! The role was played on Broadway by Jerry Orbach. Not comparing the performance mind you, just the role.
5. I had the distinct honor of knowing and working for Senator Paul Tsongas. His intellect, humility, sense of humor, and quiet strength were simply extraordinary. I wish the country got to know him better.
6. In 1984, I drove Claude Pepper to the airport - just he and I in the car. We drove from New Bedford to Boston, which with traffic that day took about two hours. At the time, he was the oldest member of the U.S. House of Representatives and Chair of the powerful House Rules Committee. Mr. Pepper was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1936, lost his senate seat during the McCarthy era, and was later elected to Congress. You can only imagine the amazing stories. What a thrill!
7. I never left the U.S. until the age of 40. I've since been to about a dozen countries and look forward to visiting dozens more. There's no greater education than to travel both here and abroad to meet the people, walk the streets, and experience the wonder of our world's cultural fabric.
There you have it!
Now for a recap of the rules and a list of the seven people I plan to recruit for this task:
The rules (courtesy of TM):
Link your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post. Share seven facts about yourself in the post. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs. Let them know they’ve been tagged.
Here are my seven names:








Enjoy!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Birthday Parties?

In the MarketWatch interview I posted yesterday from Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner, he offers a number of insights that separate truly customer oriented companies from the rest. Here are three of them:


  1. Goldner and his team are always trying to learn from their customers. It's more than just pouring through research or getting feedback from retailers, it's about keeping your eyes open at the childrens' birthday parties of family and friends both here and around the world. To see, and pay attention to, how and why children are responding the way they do upon opening and playing with their gifts adds important insights to raw data.
  2. Goldner is clearly a man who listens more than he talks. His natural curiosity and desire to understand what's happening with every aspect of the company in every corner of the world is palpable. When it comes to his customers, Goldner not only wants to know what media they're watching, but how they're watching.
  3. Goldner fundamentally understands that he's not just in the toy business. He's not leading a company that manufactures products; he builds experiences that shape the lives of young people, their families, and their communities. Because this is the lens through which he views Hasbro, the Hasbro brand naturally belongs in the broad spectrum of consumer entertainment experiences.

It's no secret why Hasbro has transformed and why it will prevail even in these tough economic times. It also shouldn't be lost on anyone that the companies with a reputation for delivering for their customers are not the ones needing bailouts right now.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

MarketWatch CEO of the Year 2008

Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner talks about how focusing on the customer transformed his business!

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