Court Your Customers

Roses are red. Violets are blue. If you don’t court customers . . . they’ll find someone new.  Attracting, Delighting, and Retaining Customers Is Like Courtship   Make a Good First Impression Like speed dating, there’s plenty of competition for the customers’ attention. You only have a short time to make a good first impression …

Bridging the Service Gap

How to bridge the “service gap” when customers and employees live on opposite sides. Service Circa 1968’s In my childhood memories, my mother pulls up to the gas station. A man dressed in a crisp uniform jogs to the driver’s window. “Fill ‘er up?” he asks politely. “Regular or Ethel?” That same uniformed service professional …

Bowling Alone

Democracy in America 1830 When the author of Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville, visited the United States in the 1830s, he was most impressed by America’s many, active civic organizations. The fact that Americans were joiners, Tocqueville said, was the key to the new nation’s unprecedented ability to make democracy work: “Americans of all

Better Way to Buffet

Truly a Balancing Act Lingering in a single line, you serpentine the room; you precariously balance your plate while holding your utensils. Miraculously, you manage to use both hands to transfer your food. Add your hot beverage to the balancing act, warily winding back to your table. Oops, you missed the butter! Buffets are a

Purple Cows

Purple Cows of Business When I was in college, there were only four “P’s” in marketing: Product, Place, Price and Promotion. As our economy moved from a manufacturing and extraction to a service-based economy, a fifth “P” was added to the list: People. Contemporary marketing’s ever-expanding checklist of “P’s” also include; positioning, publicity, pass along, …

Listening with Heart

We hear with our ears. We listen with our hearts. In Chinese, four characters create the active verb “to listen,” ears, eyes, undivided attention, and heart. If one essential element is missing—you aren’t really listening. Some people are hard of hearing. Hearing involves perceiving physical vibration of sound waves on an eardrum. Hearing happens unconsciously,


  “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” – William James People need to feel appreciation. Especially now, when all of us are “doing more [and even more] with less;” the yearning to feel appreciated is intense in every workplace. Pre-recession research from the U.S. Department of Labor revealed that …

Employee Performance Evaluation

Want to know who is really working for you? Try this fundamental formula to evaluate employee performance: Systems + Ability + Effort = Performance Results. Systems The process, procedures, technology and resources essential to achieve results are systems. If systems are lacking, it is often out of the employee’s authority to fix. So, assess systems …

We’re So Lucky

Do you feel lucky today? With our economy in a deep downturn, we experience a constant barrage of negative news and forecasts. We need stories like my grandfather’s to remind us that small businesses can survive truly hard times.