You Don’t Have to be The Ritz Carlton to Provide Unforgettable Service

When my publishing/consulting company was just starting out, I worked nights & weekends at The Ritz Carlton to make ends meet.

My job was s a valet crasher parker.

AND HERE’S WHAT I LEARNED You don’t have to be The Ritz Carlton to provide unforgettable service.

Consider incorporating these nine practices into your customer interactions:

1. Decide how you want customers to describe their experience with you. Have each employee write down his top three words. Tally them up. Vote on the three most popular. Then print them on posters, wallet cards and inner-office materials. This will keep the service philosophy in front of people’s faces, thus holding them accountable TO and giving them ownership IN to a decision they contributed to. What’s your service philosophy?

2. I’m sure we can find a way. This sentence will put upset customers at ease. It’s solution oriented, positive and flexible. And even if you don’t know off the top of your head what the heck you’re going to do, say it anyway. You’ll think of something. Will you find a way?

3. In a commoditized world, the key differentiator is service. That’s why you’re reading this article. Because you KNOW that it ain’t the products, it ain’t the website, it ain’t the warranty and it ain’t the commercials. It’s YOU. Your service. Your people. Your culture. That’s what customers are buying. And the more unique it is, the more of it they will buy. Otherwise they have about a zillion other choices in the click of a mouse. How are you branding your service?

4. Increase customer pride. Create an exclusive club, special level or elite status. Enable people to become card-carrying members of SOMETHING. Then, your customers will take pride in the fact that they’re your customers. Hopefully by showing that card to their friends. My friends @ Brains On Fire did this in a cool way. They designed a special website for people who weren’t exactly customers, but whom they loved anyway. These people were called “Kindred Spirits.” And BOF even handed out little business cards (selectively) that thanked certain people for being special. Totally awesome. How are you making your customers prouder?

5. Friendliness isn’t enough. You need to be (specifically) friendly. See, the word is defined as “Favorably disposed; inclined to approve, help, or support.” So, your frontline needs to be idea friendly. Question friendly. Emotion friendly. Complaint friendly. User friendly. Employee friendly. Get the picture? How friendly are you?

6. Reveal your authentic self in your service. As you’ve already discovered, customers don’t like robots. They like people who are uniquely imperfect, just like them. They like people who aren’t afraid to exert their distinctiveness, even in mundane moments like answering the phone or replying to a tech support email. How are you integrating your humanity into your profession?

7. What are they going do wrong next? This is the standard issue posture of 80% of the customers who walk into your hotel. Or restaurant. Or club. Or wherever you work. This exists because people are SO used to getting crappy service from dishonest, unreliable businesses, they now expect it from everybody. As such, you’re starting with a negative balance with ALL of your customers. Fortunately, this preoccupation is the PEFECT opportunity for you to prove them wrong by delivering unforgettable service. Are you going to be unexpected or just like everyone else?

8. What else can I help you learn? Try asking this question in place of, “Is there anything else?” or “How else may I be of assistance?” It’s unexpected, thought provoking and revolves around your ability to educate your customers. Try it. I triple dog dare you. Are you teaching?

9. Your company. Your company = YOU! Your company = The words you use. Your company = The words you OWN. Your company = What Google says about it. Your company = The person who answers the phone. Your company = The stories you tell. Your company = The stories customers tell about you. What’s YOUR company?

REMEMBER: Anyone can provide unforgettable service.

Even if you’re not The Ritz.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How unforgettable are you?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “12 Ways to Out SERVICE Your Competitors,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

NametagTV: Entrepreneurial Best Practices, Vol. 2

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Watch the original video on NametagTV!

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How could you position yourself to have ZERO competition?

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

The world’s FIRST two-in-one, flip-flop book!

Buy Scott’s comprehensive marketing guidebook on Amazon.com and learn how to GET noticed, GET remembered and GET business!

NametagTV: Frontline Best Practices, Vol. 2

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Watch the original video on NametagTV!

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
When was the last time you made your customers GASP?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For a list called, “12 Ways to Out Service the Competition,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

The world’s FIRST two-in-one, flip-flop book!

Buy Scott’s comprehensive marketing guidebook on Amazon.com and learn how to GET noticed, GET remembered and GET business!

9 Essentials to Exponentially Explode Customer Engagement

1. Foster customer activity. Especially during long wait times. Giving the customer something to do that enfolds him in the effort and tempers impatience. For example, at Six Flags, they play non-stop cartoons while you wait in 45-minute roller coaster lines. At the Vegas airport, they loop entertaining PSA’s about airport safety starring famous performers like Rita Rudner, Blue Man Group and CarrotTop. What activity could you involve your customers in?

2. A year from now, what will your buyers say about you? Hopefully, that they had an unforgettable experience with you. Ideally, that they’d love to do repeat business with you. And possibly, that they they’d like to recommend you to their cousin Marty. What will you do between now and then to make that reality YOUR reality?

3. I’m all ears and I’m all YOURS. Try answering phone this way. Try greeting customers at the door this way. Try welcoming guests into your hotel this way. Of course, you don’t have to actually say this exact sentence (although it IS a great line.) Your goal is to lay an immediate foundation of attentive, personal service. What’s your opening line?

4. Make your customers proud to be your customers. So much so that they gloat to their friends that they “get” to work with you. As if it were something to brag about. As if it were truly an honor to be served by you. Sound a bit over the top? Well, think about the last time YOU bragged about how honored you were to know someone. Then think about the pattern of behavior that warranted such a glowing referral. How well does your service process mirror those attributes?

5. Build enthusiasm into small moments. From phone answering to email subject lines to saying goodbye as your customers walk out the door. Try this: Make a list of every minor touchpoint in your service process. Then brainstorm THREE unexpected, unforgettable ways to add a exclamation point to each one. How much money are you losing by not being enthusiastic?

6. Be a better customer yourself. The best way to GET anything in life is to just GIVE that thing first. So, when the tables are turned, morph yourself into the greatest customer in the world. The ONE customer that actually made the barista crack a smile all day. Karma will see to it that your customers reciprocate. How good of a customer are you?

7. Don’t allow “fine.” If your customers answer ANY questions with the word “fine,” it means a few things. First of all, “fine” isn’t a real word. It’s an acronym for Feelings I’m Not Expressing. So, your goal is to dig beneath the surface and discover how they REALLY feel about your service.

Which leads to the second thing: You asked the wrong question. Never ask, “How was your stay?” Always ask, “What was the highlight of your stay?” This prevents the possibility of fine and gives people permission to say, “The bed was sooooo comfy!” or “I can’t believe I ate a five pound lobster for breakfast!” What if no customer was allowed to say “fine”?

8. Don’t reach for ready-made replies. Scripts are inauthentic and annoying. Whenever possible, customize and personalize every conversation. Don’t forsake honesty for protocol. Customers can smell it, and it makes loyalty vanish.. Are you a robot?

9. Fans, fans, fans. That’s all that matters in the world of service. Customers, schmustomers. You need more fans. And I define fans as “fully engaged, emotionally involved customers who tell their friends about you.” How many do YOU have?

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How will you exponentially explode customer engagement?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For a list called, “12 Ways to Out Service the Competition,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

The world’s FIRST two-in-one, flip-flop book!

Buy Scott’s comprehensive marketing guidebook on Amazon.com and learn how to GET noticed, GET remembered and GET business!

NametagTV: Be Your Own Customer

Video not working? Click here for Adobe Flash 9.

Watch the original video on NametagTV!

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
When was the last time you were your own customer?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For a list called, “12 Ways to Out Service the Competition,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

The world’s FIRST two-in-one, flip-flop book!

Buy Scott’s comprehensive marketing guidebook on Amazon.com and learn how to GET noticed, GET remembered and GET business!

How to Keep Your Employees from Wanting to Kill You

1. Let people finish what they have to say. Most interruptions are derailments, and as such, most interrupters are avoided.

PRACTICE: On a daily basis, challenge yourself to play the game called, “Let’s See How Long I Can Go Without Interrupting People.” Actually keep score. See if you can beat your personal best each day.

Then, every time you DO interrupt (unnecessarily, that is), drop twenty bucks in a jar. Get the whole office involved in the game. Then, at the end of month, use the money to have a BBQ. Or donate it to charity. That should put an end to the interrupting. Does your conversational narcissism irritate people?

2. Listen with the ear of your heart, not the pointed finger of your ego. Judgmental attitudes stop commutation before it starts.

PRACTICE: Post a sticky note on your desk that reads, “Are you listening with your heart or with your ego?” This serves two purposes: (1) A visual reminder of what to listen WITH during your conversations, (2) An accountability measure to assess your listening practices after your conversations are through.

Then, should you catch yourself listening more with your ego and less with your heart, here’s what you do. Take ten extra minutes before clocking out to replay key conversations in your head. Then honestly ask yourself, “How would my heart have listened in that conversation if my ego wasn’t engaged? Are you monopolizing the talking or the listening?

3. Recognize employee contributions and ideas. According to Dilbert, most bosses will listen thoroughly to your input, thank you for your suggestions, and then do exactly what they planned all along.

PRACTICE: Just sit quiet. Your hand doesn’t have to shoot up first. Next time you attend a meeting or sit on a panel, play another game called “Let See How Long I Can Go Without Contributing.”

This will force you to listen FIRST and hear everyone else out before stating your position. Yes, it takes self-control; but you never know – you may hear something that adds to, modifies or betters your idea. Is your listening all show and no go?

4. Remain calm when confronted with different points of view. The word “emotion” comes from the Latin emotere, which means, “to disturb.”

PRACTICE: Take a few breaths. Recognize that someone has an opinion, even though it may not be your own. You don’t have to agree. You don’t have to disagree. Just honor it. Practice a little Namaste Leadership. Honor = Respect = Trust = Increased Willingness to Ask More Questions.

Otherwise you’ll start to resemble Dogbert, whose management strategy is, “I’m not going to comment – I’ll just look at you until you agree with me.” When you are emotionally involved in conversation, how well do you communicate?

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How will you keep your employees from wanting to kill you?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “33 Daily Practices for Boosting Managerial Magnetism,” send an email to me, and you get the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How many relationships are you missing out on because you don’t know people’s names?

Names are everything.

Your name is your truth.
Your name is your identity.
Your name is the very first (and, ideally) the ONLY label that you, as a human being, should be known for.

For that reason, after 3,135 days of wearing a nametag, here’s what I’ve discovered:

When people know each other’s names, the rules change.

Wow, Scott, is ALL your material this deep?

I know. Super obvious, right?

Exactly. And if it’s obvious to YOU, that also means it’s obvious to your customers.

Look. You know names are important.

MY QUESTION IS: Are you practicing that?

Think about it. I guarantee you have somebody in your life right now – a coworker, a customer, some guy that you see at the gym every morning – whom you’ve “known,” maybe even for a few years, but you don’t really KNOW – because you have no clue what his name is.

And the problem is, every time you engage with that person, that fact is always in the back of your mind. Bugging you. Driving you crazy. And it prevents you from TRULY connecting.

PERFECT EXAMPLE: Remember the episode of Seinfeld where Jerry was dating a woman whose name he couldn’t remember? All he knew was that it rhymed with a female body part. He was going crazy!

First, he began brainstorming with George, trying to come up with it.

Mulva? Celeste? Gipple? Aretha? Moviola?

Next, when Jerry was with this nameless woman, his internal monologue never shut up. He began sneaking through her purse, even asking leading questions, trying to get to the bottom of this interpersonal mystery.

Finally, at the end of the episode, it hits him. He opens his window and screams out into the streets of Manhattan, “DELORES!!”

SO, MY QUESTION IS: What’s causing conversational tension in your relationships? What’s preventing your relationships from getting started? And how many relationships are you missing out on because you don’t know people’s names?

Sometimes, not knowing a name prevents you from even approaching a person in the first place. This is due to a simple sociological equation:

NO CONFLICT = NO AVOIDANCE.

Yep. More Rocket Surgery.

But this interpersonal truism, simple as it sounds, becomes even more powerful when you reverse it:

MO’ CONFLICT = MO’ AVOIDANCE.

Who are YOU avoiding? Who’s avoiding you? And how many relationships with potentially cool people are you missing out on because of that?

THEREFORE: Names hold the key. Names are the baseline. Names are everything. Names reduce psychological distance between people.

Without a name, you can only get to know someone SO well.
Without a name, there’s a relational threshold level you’ll never surpass.
Without a name, your relationships will continue to feel awkward and inauthentic.

But.

When people know each other’s names, the rules change. And once you get it, make the choice to commit it to memory, and of course, USE that name in conversation, a few cool things start to happen:

You diffuse defensiveness.
You expedite and deepen the connection.
You honor the Truth of each other in that experience.

Interested in making connections and building relationships like that?

Cool. Here’s what to do:

1. ADJUST your attitude. Stop convincing yourself that you’re “horrible with names.” This negative attitude will only become a self-fulfilling prophecy that holds you back.

2. ASK for names earlier. The long your wait, the more awkward it gets. Make sure you look the person in the eye for at least three seconds when they say their name. This helps your visual memory store the information accurately.

3. ARTICULATE names often, but not TOO often. Over usage makes people question your intentions. Depending on the length of the conversation, a few times is enough. Don’t overdo it like a rookie insurance salesman who just got out of training and spends his days slinging bunk policies at Chamber meetings.

4. ADMIT your name-related brain farts when they happen. Tell the truth, tell it all and tell it now. Take the blame. It happens to everybody. And make sure to use language like “Will you remind me your name please?” instead of, “What’s your name again?” This keeps the blame on YOU and doesn’t make the other person feel as if they were instantly forgettable.

5. ADVANCE your memory skills. How many books have you read about remembering people’s names? One a year should do the trick. I suggest Ben Levy’s book.

REMEMBER: A person’s name is her identity and her truth.

Take it from a guy whose name NOBODY seems to forget.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How many relationships are you missing out on because you don’t know people’s names?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “10 Effective Ways to Remember People’s Names,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

A Guide to Treating People Beautifully

1. Be trusted to represent people’s interests, even when they’re not around. This will encourage people to confide in you, even when YOU’RE not around.

PRACTICE: Don’t act embarrassed. If someone asks you a question about a potentially uncomfortable topic, don’t try to diffuse the discomfort by making a joke out of it. That tactic only works in reverse and makes the conversation more uncomfortable.

Instead, work on your poker face. Honor their question despite the fact that you might be totally confused or giggling like a little schoolgirl on the inside. This form of openness will show them that it’s both acceptable and comfortable to discuss difficult issues.Who trusts you?

2. Preserve people’s self-esteem. The need to feel accepted is the driving force of their actions.

PRACTICE: Let them know you need them. Let them know they’ve helped or inspired you. Offer your attention TO and acknowledgment OF their contributions to your worldview. Each of these practices can be accomplished in two words:

“Take notes.”

Taking notes is proof. Taking notes keeps you mindful in the conversation. Taking notes honors someone’s thoughts. Taking notes is respectful. Taking notes increases someone’s self-esteem. Especially when you email them a copy of your notes five minutes after the conversation. Wow. How are you helping people fall in love with themselves?

3. Tolerate honest mistakes as learning experiences. People don’t need to be reminded how badly they screwed up.

PRACTICE: Instead, people need to be reassured that you’re going to love them when they DO screw up, help them prevent the same mistake from being made again, and partner with them to brainstorm lessons learned from those mistakes.

Try this. At your next meeting, go around the room and require each person to (1) share a mistake they recently made, (2) offer three lessons they learned FROM that mistake, and (3) suggest the practical application of those lessons to the other people in the room.

Then, later that week, create a hard copy of all the mistakes and lessons shared during the meeting. Staple a $20 bill to it and send it to everyone who attended. And what you do is, attach a sticky note that says, “Thanks for being human!” How are encouraging and rewarding mistakes?

4. Treat people with respect and fairness, regardless of their position or influence. Titles are worthless labels whose sole function is to give people a reason to pigeonhole, avoid or judge you.

PRACTICE: Acknowledge everybody. This one shouldn’t even be on my list. But, because not everybody practices this simple act of approachability, I’ve included it. So: Slow down. Stay present. Hold your eye contact with everyone you encounter for one additional second. ONE second. That’s what Bill Clinton does.

Also, see if you can acknowledge every single person you encounter for one whole day. It’s harder than you think. Then again, it all depends on what you see when you see people. Remember: Unspoken hierarchies hamper the freedom of expression and, as a result, create a distance between people. What unnecessary title is preventing people from getting to know the REAL you?

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s your #1 secret for treating people beautifully?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “12 Ways to Out Service the Competition,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

How to Make Loyalty Vanish

1. Act overworked, annoyed and irrational. That way people will stop asking you so many damn questions.

2. Be pervasively unpredictable.

3. Cling to any available shred of power.

4. Completely ignore the self-interest of everyone but yourself.

5. Create an environment where people are afraid to ask questions.

6. Demonstrate complete and utter unwillingness to understand how other people experience you.

7. Exude a constant sense of scarcity by creating a monopoly on information.

8. Focus all of your efforts on keeping people “satisfied.”

9. Form your vocabulary around the following phrases:

Because I said so. Call back later. Do it anyway. I don’t know what to tell you. I’m off the clock; you’ll have to ask someone else. I’m on break. It’s not my fault. Just look on the website. My boss said I couldn’t. My shift is over. No. Not my problem.

That’s against the rules. That’s not my department. That’s not my job. That’s not our policy. That’s the way we’ve always done it. We don’t do that. Don’t bother me right now. Don’t bring me problems; bring me solutions. Here, you handle this problem. I’m busy. I don’t have time for you right now. I don’t want to hear it. I know it’s a holiday, but… I know it’s Saturday, but… I know it’s your day off, but…

In case a bus hits you, I want to make sure you and Karen are inter-changeable. My mind is made up. That is THEE stupidest idea I’ve ever heard. We’re replacing you with this robot… You don’t really feel that way. Your office chair didn’t show up so you’ll be sitting on orange crates for the next two weeks.

10. Give people the illusion that they participated in the decision.

11. Give your customers no reason to be proud to be your customers.

12. Give your employees no reason to be proud to be your employees.

13. Instant and incessant compartmentalization of everyone you meet.

14. Instead of digesting people’s information, think about how you are going to impress them with your next comment.

15. Instead of taking the time to understand things, try this: (1) get angry, and (2) create uninformed opinions based on those emotions.

16. Keep the constant river of bullshit flowing; yet refuse to acknowledge its existence.

17. Lead from a script and manage from a handbook.

18. Make it hard to complain.

19. Monopolize everything but the listening.

20. Prohibit any shred of playfulness.

21. Refuse to acknowledge, listen to or implement the ideas of ANYONE born after 1980.

22. Refuse to demonstrate any loyalty yourself.

23. Refuse to give people insight into how you operate.

24. Return calls slowly.

25. Return emails slowlier.

26. Say as much as possible without actually saying anything.

27. Sell price WAY before value.

28. Share your wisdom and advice at every possibly opportunity, especially when it’s not asked for.

29. Silently demand that people read your mind instead of actually telling them what you’re thinking.

30. When asked questions, immediately reach for ready-made replies and pre-packaged answers.

31. When customers are lined up outside your door, ready to buy, refuse to open your doors even a MINUTE early.

32. When customers are still browsing, ready to buy, refuse to close your doors even a MINUTE late.

33. When people become upset, immediately tell them to “calm down.”

34. When people tell you their problems, reflexively respond with the following five-word lie: “I understand how you feel.”

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How are you making loyalty vanish?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “12 Ways to Out Service the Competition,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!

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