With Friends Like Yours…

Most of our friends aren’t good for us, and it’s our own fault.

Here’s the best way to prove me wrong… The next time something great happens to you, watch the reactions you get when you tell your friends.

Check this example out;

“Hey Mike, great news!  I just sold my house only three days after listing it on the market!”

Mike will often reply with something to this effect…

“Wow that’s great news.  I wish my house would have sold so quick, we had it listed for months and had to end up dropping the price.  You’re so lucky that you didn’t have to do that.”

Or
“Wow good for you.  My cousin listed his house and sold it in just twelve hours.  Three days is excellent though.”

Or
“Good for you.  You must have priced it too low for it to sell that quick.  But still the fast turn around is worth losing a little bit of money.”

Or
“That’s incredible.  I wish I could afford to buy a house but my life has really dealt me some bad cards.”

No matter what age you are the average person and their friends isn’t much different from the average third grader.  I remember taking my daughter to school and she couldn’t wait to show off her new toy to her friends.  All of them basically said “so what?” Or “Yeah ive already seen that toy”  etc.

I said most friends aren’t good for us, because we will have people come into our lives who are able to be the best and most supportive of people.  They are the ones who will genuinely be happy for us.  When we share news with them they will be so excited, and not muddy our joy with one up type stories of others, or tell us we are so lucky with the hopes of making our accomplishment seem less in our own eyes.

I have a friend who wrote a book.  When they shared this info with me here was my response;

“Absolutely incredible!  I’m so proud of you for doing such a brave and wondrous thing.  How much is a copy?”

“fifteen dollars,”  They replied sheepishly, hinting that they weren’t confident it was worth it.

“That’s all?” I asked energetically.  “I’ll take 20 copies!”

They looked at me surprised.  “It’s not really the kind of book you’d be interested in, Terry.”

“You wrote it right?” I asked.

“Well…yes…” they said.

“Well then I’m interested!  Give me 20 please.”

As I gave her my money and received the books, I asked her this question, even though I was afraid I already knew the answer.  “How many other friends have bought at least 10 copies of your book?”

With a defeated look on her face she informed me that none of her friends had bought 10 copies.

How sad, The average person knows 250 people.  If each person bought 10 books that would be 2500 books sold.  Ask Google how many copies the average book printed sells…. 2500 would be way higher.

The book is only one example.  What about a candle party you want to host in your house?  Or an artist who wants to promote their products.

They say that friends buy on friends recommendations…but the truth is that it’s easier to sell to strangers.

Out of 250 people do you have at least one good friend?  If you do then count yourself as blessed, because most don’t even have one, when measured against positive criteria.  Most of a person’s friends help keep them sad, depressed, and negative.  Watch the news if you dispute this.  And pay attention to the conversations people have with each other, I do.  It’s full of negativity and pain.

If you’re still reading this then here’s the real hard pill to swallow… You can only get what you put out there.  If you know 250 people ( and you do!) yet lack for excellent friends…. It’s because of your own attitude.

Be a good friend…. Get good friends in return.  As you reap, so shall you sow.

With friends like yours… You really don’t need enemies.

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Your Edge in Customer Service…

Is you, the individual.

There’s an ice cream store where kids work all summer and scoop ice cream for the masses. It’s great ice cream, priced well, in a good location. Every time we go there we’re satisfied enough with the service and product to go back again.

But

One time we got ice cream from there, and instead of scooping our ice cream plainly into the cup and handing it over… The young man surprised us. He formed the ice cream into a neat ball, looked like he was going to put it into the cup, then BOOM ! He threw the ice cream up three feet into the air behind his back and watched it sail lazily over his shoulder… catching it deftly in the empty cup! With a grin that said ‘That got your attention, didn’t it?‘ he calmly handed the treat to my daughter.

A little thing, but it’s the only story we tell about getting ice cream. Being in a boring job doesn’t have to be boring. Wowing your customer, having them tell others about your product or service is important. It can be difficult, or easy and simple to do.

In The Gold Apples, I show you three businesses that do just a few little things differently to attract customers and grow their businesses. So many people tell me they would love to visit those businesses to experience the customer service. Those businesses were picked at random; I could show you how to take any business and with only a few small changes transform it from mediocre to extraordinary.

Some call it sales, some call it marketing, some call it product.

I call it Customer service, and without exceptional individuals to provide it… Customer service is just two words. The magic from comes from that single special person.

Gold Apples.

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Does Customer Service Matter ?

Does it work ?

I calmly looked towards the person who was asking me the question.  The ‘it’ in question was an ion bracelet that was gently hugging my left wrist.  Black and made from surgical grade rubber, shiny decal proudly attracting the attention of anyone inclined to be curious.

“Do you think it works?” was my question to the person standing challengingly in front of me.  I could tell from their body language and scowl what their answer would be, but listening to people is what I like to do, so I waited patiently to hear their thoughts.

“Of course it doesn’t work!” the man said scoffing. “You are one of those fools who falls for anything.  Those bracelets do absolutely nothing except make the people selling them rich.”

I smiled.  “You’re absolutely right.” I said as I walked away.  The stranger attempted to keep me engaged in conversation, but I didn’t need to hear further details on why I might be stupid, or a fool, or unintelligent, so I moved on.  After a few parting jibes, the stranger left me alone.

Does it work ?

I calmly looked towards the person who was asking me the question.  The lady at the counter of the bookstore was looking hopefully from my bracelet, to my eyes.  I looked at her wrist to see if she had one on as well, but she didn’t.

“Do you think it works?” I asked her pleasantly.

She nodded her head positively.  “Well I’ve heard some very interesting and positive things from people that wear them.  I really do believe that they do work, and I think I’m going to go buy one on my lunch break today !”

I smiled.  “You’re absolutely right.  A lot of people are getting some excellent results when they are wearing the bracelet.  I believe it works, so I wear it.  I hope you get some great results when you buy it.”

The lady smiled and replied that she was certain she would, thanking me for taking the time to talk with her about it.

So…. Who was right?  The skeptic?  Or the positive lady at the book store?

The answer… They both were.

Take anything in life, your job, income, relationship, state of health, economy, hair style, etc etc etc…. And it either matters, or it doesn’t.  Depending on how you look at it.

Does it matter who wins The World Series of Backgammon?  To some it does.
Does it matter how tall your new date is?
Does it matter if you come home and supper is ready?

Does it matter if you give excellent customer service ?

There’s no right answer.

Realize though… That where you are in your life, success or failure… Depends on your answers to the question; Does “insert item here” really matter?

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Gold Apples Get Better Customer Service

I have a friend who is 25 and extremely good-looking. A comment was made about going out to bars being quite expensive and she replied with a puzzled look; “I never understand when I hear that comment. I go to the bars quite often and it isn’t expensive at all.”

As much as we might not like it, life is like that… some people get better treatment than others.

Good looking girls don’t spend money at bars.

Gold Apples get better customer service.

I’ve been hearing from people who are having great customer service experiences. You know who I’m hearing from mainly? Gold Apples.

Here’s why Gold Apples get better customer service more often than non-Gold Apples;

Because the Gold Apple gives better customer service to the people they are dealing with.

Check this example out

A Gold Apple (we shall call her Allison) calls her local cable company to solve a problem. The first CSR (customer service representative)person to help her starts out as no help at all. They offer Allison no ideas or solutions to her problem.

Many people would get frustrated and either hang up or ask to talk to someone else or start getting angry with the lazy and ineffective cable person. But this isn’t what Allison does.

Allison lightens the mood and shares her frustration in a light and polite manner. She builds rapport with the person on the other end of the line. After a brief time, there is an almost palpable difference coming from the CSR. The man shares some of his limitations in his ability to help and Allison, paying close attention, comes up with suggestions on how to deal with these limitations.

Allison hangs up the phones with her problem solved. In her mind the CSR was pleasant and effective, her problem is solved. Even though the start might have been a bit rocky, she will say that she had an overall good customer service experience with this company.

For the rest of the day no more Gold Apples will call this CSR, and he will not be able to help anyone with their problems as effectively as he helped Allison. Most people will be very frustrated with him and end up yelling at him, or hanging up, or just saying thank you and trying again later to call in.

The truth is that Allison got better service because she worked to get better customer service. This is the way it is with most Gold Apples…even though they will likely not admit it and most don’t even realize it.

I get great customer service more than most. Of course I get a lot of bad variety as well! Wayyyy more bad than good…. but that’s not the point. We can’t get out of our experiences more than we are willing to put into them.

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Great Lesson with a Link at the beginning

Somehow I started getting a monday morning email.  It’s called the MMM or Monday Morning Motivator.

Here’s a great example of the types of stuff they talk about.

Great story ! Not mine … Wish it was.

I want to help you rekindle those dreams and show you they’re not only possible, but attainable.

Reminds me of the story about a large, majestic mountainside where a fragile eagle’s nest rested. The eagle’s nest contained four large eagle eggs. One day an earthquake rocked the mountain causing one of the eggs to tumble down the mountain to a chicken farm, located in the valley below. By instinct the chickens knew they must protect and care for the egg, so an old hen volunteered to nurture the large egg.

One day, the egg hatched and a beautiful eagle was born. But the eagle was raised to be a chicken. Soon, the eagle believed he was nothing more than a chicken. The eagle loved his home and family, but his spirit cried out for more. While playing a game on the farm with some of his chicken friends one day, the eagle looked to the skies above and noticed a group of mighty eagles soaring in the skies. “Oh,” the eagle cried, “I wish I could soar like those birds.” The chickens roared with laughter, “You cannot soar with those birds. You are a chicken and chickens do not soar.”

The eagle continued staring, at his real family up above, dreaming that he could be with them. Each time the eagle would let his dreams be known, he was told it couldn’t be done. The eagle, after time, stopped dreaming and continued to live his life like a chicken. Finally, after a long life as a chicken, the eagle died—a chicken.

What’s the moral of the story? If you listen to the chickens around you, you’ll live and die like them—a chicken. Inside you is that eagle. How do I know? You wouldn’t be reading the MMM if something inside you didn’t connect to it. This is your call to soar. You are an eagle. It is time to follow YOUR dreams and not the words of chickens.

NOW is your time. Now is YOUR time to soar.
I’m a believer that things happen for a reason and there aren’t any “accidents.” This is your opportunity; this is your time; this is your chance… but it is up to YOU to get the hint and answer the call.

Are you living the life you envisioned for yourself? Are you where you thought you would be by now? Did you think you would be richer and healthier, have a better intimate relationship and more friends, experience more joy and have more peace of mind than you do now?

It’s time for a turning point.

You’ve probably heard the definition of insanity—doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. If you want this year to be different than last year, then now is the time to do something different.

A Very Inspiring Realization - No matter what your past has been, you have a spotless future.

Humans are unique. We are the only species who can completely change the course of our lives. Ants can’t do it; alligators can’t and lions can’t either. If a goose wanted to fly west instead of south for the winter, it couldn’t. Animals are directed entirely by impulse written into their genetic code. But we are different. As a human, if you don’t like the story of your life thus far, you can rip up the script and write a completely new one.

Ask anyone who has achieved great success in life; they all had a defining turning point, a time when they made a clear and resolute decision that from that moment forward, their life would never be the same. They drew a figurative line in the sand and separated the patterns of their past from their new vision of themselves and the life they were committed to leading. Some make that turning point at age 15, some not until they’re 50; some do it several times throughout their lives and some never at all.

Our challenge to you is this: Make NOW your turning point. The world needs teachers, coach’s, parents, volunteers and business leaders who are willing to SOAR!

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Capitalize On Your Customer Service Triumphs !

Follow up is crucial for providing excellent customer service.

Last week a customer called in with a terrible problem. At the beginning of your experience with them they swore never to use your services or company again. By the time you were finished with them, they were extremely pleased that you helped them. You did such an excellent job of fixing their problems that they committed to use your company exclusively in the future, as well as tell all their friends about the great customer service you had given them!

So what happened next?

We get so busy that often the answer is, “I have no idea. They never called back so everything must have been great.”

Did they actually tell any friends about you? Again the answer is likely, “I have no idea.”

Here’s why my articles blend back and forth between a two or three categories.

Great customer service naturally leads to the best kind of sales. Friends buy from you more willingly than total strangers.

If you’re calling a customer back to make sure their buying experience was top notch, (and you are going to make certain that it is before you make this specific call) then it’s so easy to ask them about their next order. Or ask them if they did recommend any friends who might be interested in buying the products you offer? Are you harassing them? Not at all. You’re following up with them and making sure they are getting what they asked for earlier.

Follow up leads to a happy customer, which leads to more sales.

Many fail to do proper follow up, which means thousands of dollars per year in lost sales.

Here are some tips for you to use to keep track of your follow up.

1. Develop a follow up system

From elaborate computer programs, to 3×5 cards, to a lined notebook, any system will work. It doesn’t matter how fancy or simple it is, because if it works for you… then it will get results.

2. Look at your system daily.

The key to anything working is to spend time, focus, and energy. If you commit to following up and making a system to do so, then you must also make certain to view your information at least once per day. There are many benefits to doing this, and they will become apparent as you follow this program.

3. Track your results.

In order to understand how well your system is working, it’s crucial to track it. There are all sorts of useful statistics that can be obtained from keeping track of your efforts. Whether it’s helping the customer know what happened in the past, or providing your boss with examples of evidence for why you deserve a raise at review time… tracking your efforts is well worth the effort and should be part of your day.

4. Adjust and modify your system when necessary.

You have chosen a system to use, committed to using it daily, and are tracking what works and what doesn’t. Set a review date at regular intervals to look at your system and drop what’s not working, while modifying what is working to make it even better. 

Adopting a system will dramatically improve your effectiveness and help you build long lasting rewarding relationships with your customer base. Success is in consistent daily action sometimes. It’s not always glamourous, but it’s good to be successful!

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Customer Service Requires a Strong Leadership Team

I met a very dynamic and educated business owner recently.

We talked for some time and I could not help but guess that his business was a tremendous success based on his attitudes and philosophies. When I mentioned this to him, he confided that although he felt the same way, his business was faltering. He had tried numerous strategies and actions, yet still his business was slowly spiralling towards failure.

I asked if I could take a quick look at his affairs and see if maybe an outside perspective might help shed light on his crisis. He eagerly agreed and I made an appointment to visit him at his business the next day.

I arrived at his office the next day and was greeted by his general manager, his right hand man. It took me only seconds to realize why this business owner was doomed for failure. His general manager was the problem. He had no clue what he was doing and as a result, he was a scared, petty, bully of a man who was not only doing a horrible job for himself, but he was dragging down everyone around him as well.

How could I make this conclusion so quickly? Many of you are answering for me. Experience.

The leader determines how the pack will run. In this case my new acquaintance had put all his faith and trust in the wrong leader. A follow up conversation with the business owner revealed that he was not willing to remove this man from the position. As a result, his business will either; not take off and become the success he is hoping for, or it will fail entirely.

This is something that happens all too often. A business is made up of, and run by, people. People get too close to their specific situations, and often they fail to see what is so obvious to those not quite as connected.

So I’ve identified a problem, now what do I recommend for its solution?

1.Always be willing to learn

It’s only when you are in a learning mindset that you can continue to improve. The person who thinks they have been in sales for 10 years and they know it all, is the person who misses opportunities constantly. The person who thinks they can play golf because they took one lesson a year ago, is the person doomed to shoot the same scores for years. The person who admits they have much to learn… is the one who will learn.

2. Constantly work on personally developing yourself.

Leaders are readers. People who continually work to develop themselves by reading, listening to cd’s or mp3′s, and attend seminars, are the ones who are most often in the winner’s circle of business, and life. It’s important to know that even a little daily attention to this aspect of life will deliver amazing results over time.

Begin by simply reading a business or self improvement book 15 minutes a day. Don’t miss a day. Start today!

3. Admit that you might not have the best solution.

No one knows everything, quite the opposite in fact! The most successful people find intelligent advisors… and they listen to them! Pick a successful icon at random, and you will find that this advice is right. It’s only by admitting that you might not have the best solution can you be open to actively searching for it.

If the business owner in my above example had implemented these three points, he would have sought assistance, and most importantly he would have listened to the help offered.

Success leaves clues… in all aspects of life.

If you want to succeed in business, then you must look at the successful and do what they do.

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Tracking Your Customer Service Success

Follow up is crucial for providing excellent customer service.

Last week a customer called in with a terrible problem. At the beginning of your experience with them they swore never to use your services or company again. By the time you were finished with them, they were extremely pleased that you helped them. You did such an excellent job of fixing their problems that they committed to use your company exclusively in the future, as well as tell all their friends about the great customer service you had given them!

So what happened next?

We get so busy that often the answer is, “I have no idea. They never called back so everything must have been great.”

Did they actually tell any friends about you? Again the answer is likely, “I have no idea.”

Here’s why my articles blend back and forth between a two or three categories.

Great customer service naturally leads to the best kind of sales. Friends buy from you more willingly than total strangers.

If you’re calling a customer back to make sure their buying experience was top notch, (and you are going to make certain that it is before you make this specific call) then it’s so easy to ask them about their next order. Or ask them if they did recommend any friends who might be interested in buying the products you offer? Are you harassing them? Not at all. You’re following up with them and making sure they are getting what they asked for earlier.

Follow up leads to a happy customer, which leads to more sales.

Many fail to do proper follow up, which means thousands of dollars per year in lost sales.

Here are some tips for you to use to keep track of your follow up.

1. Develop a follow up system

From elaborate computer programs, to 3×5 cards, to a lined notebook, any system will work. It doesn’t matter how fancy or simple it is, because if it works for you… then it will get results.

2. Look at your system daily.

The key to anything working is to spend time, focus, and energy. If you commit to following up and making a system to do so, then you must also make certain to view your information at least once per day. There are many benefits to doing this, and they will become apparent as you follow this program.

3. Track your results.

In order to understand how well your system is working, it’s crucial to track it. There are all sorts of useful statistics that can be obtained from keeping track of your efforts. Whether it’s helping the customer know what happened in the past, or providing your boss with examples of evidence for why you deserve a raise at review time… tracking your efforts is well worth the effort and should be part of your day.

4. Adjust and modify your system when necessary.

You have chosen a system to use, committed to using it daily, and are tracking what works and what doesn’t. Set a review date at regular intervals to look at your system and drop what’s not working, while modifying what is working to make it even better.

Adopting a system will dramatically improve your effectiveness and help you build long lasting rewarding relationships with your customer base. Success is in consistent daily action sometimes. It’s not always glamourous, but it’s good to be successful!

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The World’s Worst Boss

I wish I had written this …

The World’s Worst Boss – Seth Godin

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Customer Complaints Required

Let’s face it.  No matter how good you get at providing customer service, complaints will still happen.

When they do happen, you should be very thankful.

They say that when there is an oil spill in the ocean most of the wildlife doesn’t wash up on the shore.  For each dead animal that washes up on the shore, many many more are also lying at the bottom of the ocean dead also.

It’s the same with customer complaints.  For every customer that cares enough to actually contact you and let you know there is a problem, there are  many more that just did not bother to say a thing .

The customer who complains;

1.  Let’s you know there is a problem.  It’s only once you know that there is a problem that you can actually begin to fix it.

2.Complaints Show you that there are customers who care enough to let you know.  This might not always be the case, but it is for most part.  Take people who just love to complain out of the equation, and you will see that most complaints come from people who are stepping out of their comfort zone to voice their problem.  These people are helping you to improve your business in a very vital area.  They should be applauded!

3. Gives you a chance to grow and increase your ability to deliver excellent customer service even further !  Nothing is more satisfying than helping an upset person feel better.  Imagine how boring the world would be if everyone was happy and they all loved your products and services unconditionally? 

4. Build customer loyalty.  That’s right.  A customer who complains and is dealt with in a positive respectful manner becomes an even better customer! In fact, these fine folks who sometimes start out as your loudest opponents often become your most faithful champions!

Handle customer complaints correctly and your business will improve dramatically, customers will become more loyal, service will get better still, and you will set yourself above the competition in yet another area, since most complaints are ignored and changes are not made as a result of feedback.

No customer complaints also indicates something.

1. Maybe you are perfect ? (NO)

2. Perhaps you have almost no business so there are not many customers to complain ?

3. Maybe none of your customers care enough to complain… so they just don’t bother to come back, and they tell their friends not to visit you either.

Welcome Customer Complaints. They are positive events, even though they sometimes don’t seem that way at first glance.

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