Friday Fun: Little Acts Of Kindness


Friday Fun is Diva Marketing's virtual happy hour from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A waiting for the weekend 'playground' time to be sophisticated-silly. Or sometimes just plain silly.

When you're on the road for business, eating alone seems more the norm than not. Most times I'm okay with that. I use the time to catch up on "thoughts" or people watch and write blog posts in my mind that will probably never find their way to Diva Marketing. But Girlfriend, sometimes it can be lonely and awkward.

Last week my plane was late getting into Phoenix, where I was speaking about using blogs to build better service relationships, at the ASU's Compete Through Services Symposium. I was tired, hungry and a little frazzled when I walked into the Bistro at The Ritz Carlton Phoenix (sometimes these speaking gigs do have their perks!) to have dinner.  As the  waiter showed me to a table for one, two women, who were having dinner, waved to me and invited me to join them. Barbara Glanz turned out to be the end key note speaker and Krista Leintz was an attendee.  Little Acts of Kindness.

And little did I know that Barbara Glanz'sCarebig kindness would be a living example of her presentation - The Simple Truths of Service. Barbara is passionate about building customer loyalty through customer service. As Barbara told us, you can't mandate customer service. Excellent customer service comes from both the heart as well as the head. That usually doesn't just happen. The culture of your organization has to support and encourage Little Acts of Kindness.

I listened to her tell story after story of creative, but simple ways, people within companies engaged with their customers. Barbara tells people to, "Put you personal signature on the job."

Then there is Johnny The Bagger a young man who happens to have Downs Syndrome. Johnny puts a though of the day in every order he bags. Customers come into the store, patiently wait in Johnny's line, just to get Johnny's quote of the day. "Johnny brought his heart to his job. He focused on what he could do in his daily work to make his customers feel special and their lives a little better." Little Acts of Kindness.

Light bulb moment. This is so bloggy thought I. Why not incorporate blogs into your customer service strategies? Why not have a Johnny The Bagger Blog?

Ten Simple Truths of Service

1. Great Service Inspires Stories/Memories.
Tip: Collect and record customer service stories

2. Great Service Uses Outside-The-Box Thinking
Tip: Encourage and reward creativity and innovation

3. Great Service Is A Choice
Tip: Understand the choices you have to engage with your customers. Teach employees to look for these touch points.

4. Great Service Starts With A Clear Vision

Tip: Management must first have a focused vision and be enthusiastic about the importance of excellent customer service.

5. Great Service Requires That Everyone Catch The Vision
Tip: Ensure that all employees understand and buy-into the vision

6. Great Service Surprises People
Tip: Have fun. If you're having fun at your job it will spill over to other employees and your customers

7. Great Service Begins With Anyone
Tip: Everyone in your organization is responsible for creating Little Acts of Kindness.

8. Great Service Goes The Extra Mile
Tip: Give employees the authority to Serve customers without going through channels

9. Great Service Brings Customers Back
Tip: Benchmark and monitor customer retention statistics

10. Great Customer Service Comes From The Heart
Tip: Manage on both business and human levels

Bottom-line .. your customers have click-of-the-mouse choices. From the heart customer service builds stronger relationships and can differentiate you from your competition. Little Acts of Kindness .. works!

Lessons Learned: Let's take our cue from Johnny The Bagger. What little Acts of Kindness can you implement in your business that will make your customers feel appreciated and special? In doing so you will not only create a much needed point of difference for your business, but a memorable "signature."  I'd love to hear what you're doing. Please drop a comment and share your experience.


Astrology_15 business astrology for fun -

from The Astro Divas Paula Dare & Donna Page

Happy Friday Diva fans; this could be a very interesting weekend for many of us. The planets are lining up asking us to have a good time, Moon in Leo shouts let loose, play enjoy life from one corner with the other team of players in Scorpio wanting intensity passion and focus.

You may have plenty of homework to do on your business agenda but feel like throwing it to the wind until you are back in the mood. Set aside allotted time to focus and regroup your long term vision, then allow your inner child to come out and play.

Notes From Services Leadership Symposium


It's about the stories.

That's how Steve Brown, Executive Director and Professor of Marketing at W. P. Carey School of Business opened day two ofServices_symposium The 17th Annual Compete Through Service Symposium

Last week I had the honor to speak at one of the best bloggy conferences around. The 17th Annual Compete Through Service Symposium presented by the Center for Services Leadership W. P. Carey School of Business at the University of Arizona.  The focus of the symposium was service as a competitive advantage.

Girlfriend, I can hear the bloggers now. "That doesn't sound like a Web 2.0 or Business Blog Conference or even a BlogHer event." And they would be right. It was not. But the Service Symposium was just as bloggy. Maybe more so because the speakers that Steve Brown and Mary Jo Bitner brought together walked the talk of combining transparency, culture, customer and employee respect into their organizations. Sure sounded bloggy to me.

Sidebar: The icing on the cake was an article written about my session, Is your company ready to blog?, that is included in the prestigious Knowledge@W. P Carey, an online resource of the W.P. Carey School of Business that offers business information and trends. My favorite line from Carrie Barrett's article -

" ..  (a) well-executed business blog is part marketing, part magic -- a 24-hour opportunity to interact with customers, impress Wall Street, spark business-to-business opportunities, track industry trends, spot brand deterioration and spook competitors, all maintained at a low-rent cyber address.

I intended to post a recap of my favorite take aways, however, there were so many interesting and important points I wanted to share, to make an easier read, I've split them into a series of posts. Next year live blogging. Right Steve?

Globalization of Services

Gary Bridge
, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Global Lead, Internet Business Solutions Group
Cisco Systems

  • My notes to self about Gary read, "Elegant, passionate speaker."
  • Watch the growth of China. Did you know that Wal-Mart is the 8th largest trading partner of China?
  • Dell is building a multi million dollar call center in Ireland to support customer service of its mid and large size customers. Seems there was a culture challenge with their outsourced labor (surprise!). Which reinforces the importance of understanding the culture of both/all countries involved in off shore out sourced initiatives.
  • The healthcare industry is off shore out sourcing claims management and even radiology analysis
  • Question: Can service innovation be out sourced?

Atul Vashistha, CEO, Author of The Offshore Nation: Strategies for Success in Global Outsourcing and Offshoring neoIT

"Boarderless services" is how Atul positioned the increase in off shore outsourcing. As companies look for competitive advantage off shore out sourcing of core activities will play a more prominent role in the new business model.

7 Secrets of Successful Globalizers

1. Embrace globalization - Understand the advantages of operating in different countries beyond cost saving to growth and quality improvement opportunities.

2. Welcome globalization as a transformation lever - Determine how can globalization be used to build competitive advantage.

3. Adopt a life cycle approach - Build a plan to manage the entire process on an on-going basis.

4. Align business and globalization objectives - Determine if your company is right to adopt a globalization strategy. Is business strategy driving services globalization? What part of the business strategy does globalization help us execute?

5. Assign the best people - Strong, well-placed internal leaders help ensure support of the initiative and maintain the quality.

6. Implement a strong governance model - Prevents the breakdown of the initiative after the roll out.

7. Embrace a continuous improvement mindset - Develop measures to establish benchmarks, goals and expectations. 

Seems everyone I meet has at least one horror customer service story about off shore customer/tech support service. Let's hope companies put resources against this strategy to do it right.