Creating the A+ Life March 2007

Last month I asked you to do good.

Did you do anything special? What were your results? Did you notice a change in the people around you?

March is my month
March is my birthday month. - 55! How is that possible? I hear that 55 is the new 35. Well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Customer Service First
"If you work just for the money, you'll never make it, but if you love what you're doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours." --Ray Kroc

For the last six weeks, I have had the pleasure of teaching Customer Service and Microsoft Office to a group of amazing students. Through a grant to Northwest Vista College, I’ve been able to work with a group of people from all backgrounds. There are some that have college, some have high school diplomas, and some have GEDs. All are parents. They came to this class primarily to learn Word and Excel, but they will come out of it with so much more.

The Ray Kroc quote at the beginning of this column is what this course is all about. We’ve spent an enormous amount of time discussing how to put ourselves in the customer’s shoes, how to see what the customer sees and feel what the customer feels, so that we can deliver the highest level of customer service.

I drove through a fast-food place earlier this week and paid with my debit card. The cashier handed me the receipt and the card and then closed her window. Since I hadn’t signed anything or entered my pin, I wasn’t completely sure I was supposed to leave. I waited. She finally opened the windows to see what I wanted and I said, “Thank you.” She smiled and said, “Oh, thank you.” It’s hard to find anyone who wants to relate to you as a fellow human being these days, much less provide decent customer service.

Feeling Special (or Human)
When was the last time you had excellent customer service? Those situations tend to stick out in our minds because they are so rare. I look for those moments. I am much more likely to do business with those places that make me feel special (or at the very least – human).

I love going to my auto repair shop, Gus Mann , because Mike Koebke and all the guys there treat me like I am their most important customer. I like buying cosmetics from Jan King because she convinces me that I am the goddess I aspire to be. And when my computer breaks down, I go see the folks at Computer Repair Zone because they will tell me when it’s worth fixing or when I might as well buy a new one.

The Secret to Great Service
I’ve also found a secret weapon to get better service. Communication always flows in two directions. As a customer, if I can put myself in the service person’s shoes, I get a much better response. I’ll say, “Has it been this busy all day? You must be exhausted,” to an obviously overworked and stressed cashier at the grocery store. Immediately, I’ll see a look of relief on the cashier’s face, a look that says, “At last, someone understands how difficult my job is.” It helps make a connection – and we both benefit.

We are all in such a hurry and doing so many things at once that we tend to forget that the people we meet during the day are fellow travelers on this journey. Make a commitment to connect with the people you meet. You may be surprised at how much better your service is – both the service you provide and the service you receive.

Share Your Examples
Do you have examples of good customer service? Please share them with me so I can use them with my students. (I have another class starting on March 19th.)

And if you need a great employee with outstanding customer service skills and a good foundation in Word and Excel, just let me know. I’ll send one of my students your direction.

Puzzle Results
Last month, I asked where the term "red tape" originated. Jean Nettelfield knew that it came from British legal documents that were tied with red cloth tape. Jean wins a $25 gift certificate from Entree's.

This month, a riddle: There is a common English word that is nine letters long. Each time you remove a letter from it, it still remains an English word - from nine letters right down to a single letter. What is the original word, and what are the words that it becomes after removing one letter at a time? I'll give gift certificates to the first correct answer.

If you still haven't seen The Secret, visit I highly recommend that you order the DVD or watch it online. This movie and the book by the same name (available at most book stores) explain the law of attraction. I don't make a cent off this endorsement. I just know that you'll love it.

Upcoming Events
City Council Candidates - Dist. 3 & 4 7 AM, Fri., Mar. 16 For more info or to RSVP
City Council Candidates Dist. 1 & 5 11:30 AM, Fri., Mar. 23 For more info or to RSVP
City Council Candidates Dist. 2 7 AM, Wed., Mar. 28 For more info or to RSVP
Small Business Training Spring Sessions For more info
Be human all month!
Thanks for reading. Feedback is always appreciated!
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