How to Provide Terrible Customer Service

THIS is the comprehensive guide on how to provide a terrible customer experience.  If your goal is to drive customers away, and inspire customers to only do business with one time, then this is for YOU.  Let’s get right to it…

To provide a terrible customer experience, it starts with attitude!

Remember, customers are extremely annoying.  They ask dumb questions, they constantly hassle you for a lower price, and they only care about themselves.  They deserve to have a bad experience.  Make sure to let them know with your tone of voice that you have WAY MORE IMPORTANT THINGS to be doing right.

Second, make sure they know how hard it’s going to be for you to help them.  I mean, really, this is going to be tough.  You’re going to have to find time in your schedule, send a technician out there to do an inspection, put all their information in the system… YEESH.  And even after all that, there is no guarantee they will proceed with the technician’s recommendations.  What a nightmare.

Make sure they know that. 

Third, assume you know what’s going on, and cut right to the chase.  When the customer tries to explain their situation, just move on and ask for their address.  After all, you’ve heard the same old story hundreds of times before… let’s just get to the part where they give you their address, you book the call, and hang up.

Fourth, empathy is for schmucks.  Seriously,  nobody wants you to show that you might actually care about their well-being.  All these people care about is saving money and getting their equipment fixed.  They’re savages, and we shouldn’t attempt to show any care or compassion.  Again, it’s just business.  Book the call, and move on.

Fifth, you need to be very clear about what you CANNOT DO.  If you can’t come today, let them know as soon as possible.  If what they are asking for is unreasonable, they should know that too.  Also, only do what they ask.  Don’t do anything more, and if you can, DEFINITELy do less.

Sixth, don’t ask what they want, tell them what you can do.  If they can’t be home for the time you have available to help, don’t even bother.  They should call and bother someone else.  You’re busy, and you have lots of other customers to take care of.  No need to bend over backwards for one measly customer.

Seventh, tell them how much you charge without giving any context.  If you charge $150 to come out, make sure they know that so we can be sure not to deal with any customers that have a problem with that.  Why would we want to do business with people who can’t afford that anyway?

Eighth and final, let them know who’s boss.  You make the rules, you set the conditions, not them.  If they have a problem with that or if they ask for more than what they deserve, don’t give it to them.  Let them know how you work, what this whole process is going to look like, and what the consequences are should they choose not to do business with you in the end.

Look, it’s pretty simple.  Customers are a hassle, and they should be treated as such.  They ask so many questions, they cause so many problems, and… they are ANNOYING.  Make sure they know how you feel.

The best part?  This is all super easy to do.  Give it a try and let me know how it goes.


 Zac Garside is the Marketing Manager for Power Selling Pros and the membership manager of Power Certification HQ.  When he is not working, he loves reading about marketing and why people do what they do.  He’s also passionate about the Philadelphia Eagles… but that is a tender subject this season.

Connect with Zac on LinkedIn.

Becoming Comfortable with Uncomfortable Conversations

Each Monday, PSP has a company-wide conference call. These meetings serve many purposes but learning from one another is one of the most important reasons to hold these meetings.

Not long ago, company President, Brigham Dickinson, said something that was particularly intriguing. He said, “Get comfortable with uncomfortable conversations”. My immediate reaction was, “What? Huh?”.

After some thought, I realized that in business, we frequently must have conversations that are uncomfortable because we are dealing with human beings. We are never going to agree all the times on every issue.

Add to that, when we employ others, we must lead the way to communicate clearly, set goals and guide others to work toward those goals. That doesn’t always happen.

A Tale of Two Employees

Years ago, I worked for a company that was having problems with a couple of people who struggled to work together amicably. In fact, there was so much acrimony between them that those of us who were privy to the situation, avoided dealing with either of them. How was the problem solved? Each of them had a different boss.

The two bosses got together, formed a solution and sat down with the individuals involved. Their solution? Quite genius, really. They were both told that they had 30 days to figure out a way to get along with each other. If they did not accomplish that, they would both be fired. Imagine THAT uncomfortable conversation.

On mixonion.com, Laura Comacho addresses how to become comfortable with uncomfortable conversations by following these steps:

  1. Before having the conversation, write down, specifically, what you want to accomplish with the conversation. Write down the goal.
  2. If you cannot relax, pretend that you are relaxed. Fake it ‘til you make it.
  3. Use contrasting in the conversation. This is what I want. This is what I don’t want.

 

Still sounds hard? Comacho also suggests that we accept that “you just need to do it”. Either it’s your job as an employer or as a friend. Perhaps you are the only person who CAN have this conversation. Accept that and do it.

Sometimes we worry so much about having to have an uncomfortable conversation that we procrastinate. Far too often, we assume the worst, that the talk won’t go well, that we will make things worse.

Perspective

Be open to see the situation from the other person’s point of view. Families can be especially challenging when we need to discuss something difficult. Heard a friend say that she and her brother were having a difficult time having an uncomfortable conversation after the death of their parents.

As they talked, her brother brought up a point that she had not considered before. She did not agree but she had a new understanding of where he stood. With this new understanding, they resolved the difference without harming the relationship.

It can also help to have those uncomfortable conversations away from the office. Starbucks, Einstein’s Bagels, Chik-fil-a, during non-peak hours, are all good places to have those conversations. Being away from the office can help both people in the conversation to relax and be more open and honest.

Knowing When to END the Conversation

In politics, we frequently see conversations that go on and on with no resolution or agreement. Knowing when to end the conversation is an essential step when embarking on uncomfortable conversations.

One of the ways to know it’s time to end it is when one party or the other becomes so emotional that they are no longer thinking straight. Emotions can get in the way and rescheduling for a better time can be a helpful tool.

Of course, there are some people for whom there is never a good time to have an uncomfortable conversation. Allow them to own their discomfort, their emotions, their frustration. You remain calm and rational, moving forward as best as possible.

Getting comfortable with uncomfortable conversations can be done when you know how to approach them.


Mary Burkett was born in Southern New Jersey, raised in Southern California, Mary Burkett is a graduate of the University of Utah.

Like many Americans, she has had more than one career, including being a Marketing Director in the shopping center industry, being a coach with Power Selling Pros and owning a Business and Personal Development coaching company.
She has six grown children, expects her 24th grandchild later this year, is active in her community, reads a lot, writes her own personal blog and works on special projects for Power Selling Pros.
Mary and her semi-retired husband live in Southern Utah.

The Power of Being Grateful

Gratitude is very powerful. Think about it. When you do something for someone else and they thank you, how do you feel? Not that being thanked is why you helped someone. You wanted to help. You expected nothing in return. But an expression of gratitude is important. It’s a bonus. An expression of gratitude is uplifting and inspires us, and others, to do more.

Your business begins and ends with customers. When customers know that they are sincerely appreciated, they are your customer forever.

On the web site, emazzanti.net, an article about gratitude in the work place was particularly enlightening: “Customers who feel appreciated are more likely to recommend your business to others, write positive reviews, buy from you again, and even pay more for your services down the road. Loyalty programs, notes or phone calls, customer appreciation events and customer spotlights are just a few ways you can show gratitude.”

With the Pattern for Excellence, the final step is Be Grateful. Before a customer gets off the phone, they must know that their call, their business, is appreciated, that your business is grateful to have been their first choice.

“Thank you for giving us the opportunity to earn your business”, “Thank you for letting us solve your problem today”, “Thank you for allowing us to serve you today” are all ways to express sincere gratitude to customers. You can come up with your own way of expressing gratitude.

Of course, it is not only words that are important.

Tone of voice is another powerful way we communicate sincere gratitude. Have you ever been on a call with someone who sounds like a robot? Nothing they say seems sincere. Ever heard someone have a flat tone of voice? Like they were not really there? In those circumstances, it’s pretty difficult to feel that you are genuinely appreciated.

Overcome the temptation to sound robotic by smiling when thanking customers. They cannot see your smile but they can hear it and by smiling when thanking them, they hear more than words. They hear sincerity.

A sincere “thank you” is THE most powerful way to close out a call with implications that last longer than one phone exchange.


Mary Burkett was born in Southern New Jersey, raised in Southern California, Mary Burkett is a graduate of the University of Utah.

Like many Americans, she has had more than one career, including being a Marketing Director in the shopping center industry, being a coach with Power Selling Pros and owning a Business and Personal Development coaching company.
She has six grown children, expects her 24th grandchild later this year, is active in her community, reads a lot, writes her own personal blog and works on special projects for Power Selling Pros.
Mary and her semi-retired husband live in Southern Utah.

A Lesson from Cold Stone in Customer Experience

I took my wife and son to Cold Stone ice cream last weekend.  We left with a satisfied stomach and a powerful lesson in customer experience.

I was craving their thick, creamy ice cream that night and all I wanted was a “love it” size ice cream.  What flavors, you ask?  Oreo creme filling mixed with chocolate cake batter… and some kit-kat mixed in there.  Don’t judge me.

My wife got an ice cream too, and we just planned to share a few bites with our 18-month old son.

The girl working behind the counter was bright and full of energy, and offered our son a sample of their special Blue Arctic Marshmallow flavor, something they are offering for a limited time (yes, it is the color blue, and yes, it tastes like pure sugar).  It was a nice gesture.

She scooped my ice cream, mixed in the kit-kat, and tossed the ice cream into the air!  Catching it in the cup! That was impressive!  And then, as I was paying, she brought us a mini cup of ice cream for our son, saying “this is on us.”

WOW.

She did it!  She created a WOW experience!  Let’s look at HOW she did that…

How She Created a WOW Experience

First, she was glowing with positive energy.  It made me feel comfortable talking to her.  Ever dealt with someone behind teh counter who you couldn’t wait to stop talking to?  Me too. But this was NOT one of those experiences.

Second, she gave more than we expected.  When she took the liberty of giving my son a sample, I was impressed.

Third, she gave EVEN MORE.  When she tossed my ice cream into the air and caught it, I was EVEN MORE impressed.

Finally, she gave EVEN MORE!!! She offered my son a free cup of ice cream all together, which showed she was paying attention when he devoured the sample he was given.  She knew he liked it, so, without asking, she gave more.  Freely. 

Do you think I gave her a tip?  Oh yeah.  A generous one too.

We can all learn something from the girl at Cold Stone that night.  When you make your customers feel comfortable with you, and you give more than they expect, amazing things can happen.  It’s moments like this that create customer loyalty.  It all goes to show how powerful it is when you focus in on customer experience over price or brand.

Hard to measure customer experience with dollars and cents?  In the short-term, yes.  In the long-term though, companies who make it about the customer experience always win.  


Zac Garside is the marketing and membership manager at Power Coaching.  Zac resides in Logan, UT with his wife and son and loves to talk about marketing, helping people find purpose, and the Philadelphia Eagles.  #FlyEaglesFly

 

Learn to Listen

If there is a topic that peaks your interested again and again, it’s probably because you know one of two things:

  1. You need to improve at that thing, or
  2. You need to spend more time helping other people with that thing

Listening is a good example.  The talks and videos and blogs about listening never stop coming out.  People never stop reading them either.  That’s probably because people need to be better at listening and help others listen better…

So, here is your challenge today: LISTEN.  And LISTEN ACTIVELY.

Next time someone tells you something, react and ask questions.  Engage in a conversation.  People will like you more for it, and interacting with you will be a better experience.

Millennials, Gen Z, and how they are changing customer service NOW

Over 35%.

That’s the percentage of homeowners that are millennials now.

People in business talk about millennials ALL. THE. TIME.  We often refer to them as the ones who confound us.  We consider them to be “unruly.”  We accuse them of being entitled.

If you used the internet last year, you probably saw the video of Simon Sinek talking about millennials in the workforce.  For the most part, we think he was spot on.

But, while most people are talking about millennials as the people working in our companies, less people are talking about millennials as the people our companies are serving.

Salesforce.com identified 6 ways that millennials are changing customer service.  They:

  1. Love self-service
  2. Want service fast
  3. Prefer text messaging over phone calls
  4. Are hyperconnected with all kinds of devices
  5. Value brand engagement on social media
  6. Demand personalization

You know what’s even crazier about all this?  While everyone is talking about and trying to adapt to serve millennials, there’s another generation that’s quietly sneaking up on us: Generation ZAnd I’m one of them!

Gen Z is “technically” anyone born from 1995 to 2005.  We’re the ones who were little kids during the aftermath of 9/11.

While people talk about how millennials and gen. Z are changing the future of business, I would argue that we have already changed the present!  It’s not just about what the future will look like, it’s about recognizing that the present has already changed and it’s right in front of us!

Let me give you an example of how we are shaping the way people do business…

1 Review, 100 Consequences

This was a post I put up on LinkedIn about 3 weeks ago:

“How important exactly is your customer experience?  

I just got this email from Google letting me know that a bad review I left a company that treated my wife and I, well… terribly… has been seen over 100 times by people.  Imagine if those 100 people actually decided to use another company because of my review? 

What if this is happening in your business!?? 

You need to create an experience that makes people say “WOW.”  Otherwise, you may have way more people than you like saying “whoa…” instead.”

 

SERIOUSLY… imagine if those 100 people chose NOT to do business with that company because of my little 15 word review.

Imagine if 100 people chose not to do business with you because of 1 review.  Ouch.

So, what’s the point of all this?

Well, for 1 thing, online reviews are powerful – but you already knew that.

For another, a 23 year old, generation Z-er, just potentially deterred 100 people away from a small business by simply sharing his experience.

It’s not just about preparing for the future, it’s about serving your customers NOW.  Yesterday on the phone I had the privilege of speaking with Brenda Barker at Barker and Sons Plumbing & Rooter, and she shared with me that over 50% of her customers are now millennials.

She is having to adapt her company’s service in every way from how they hire and train their employees to how they speak to customers.

Barker and Sons is investing in text, chat, and better email conversations to communicate with their customers in the ways they want to be communicated with.

Ask yourself… how do my customers want me to serve them NOW?  How do we need to adjust our service NOW?

You answer those questions NOW, and I’m confident you will be in a stronger position in the future.

Want some training on the perfect way to start your customer conversations?  We just launched a brand new online membership platform called Power Certification HQ.  When you sign up, you get instant access to all our mastery courses, webinars, and implementation tools to help you create a WOW experience for your customers.  Start your free 10-day trial of Power Certification HQ today!  


Zac Garside is the marketing and membership manager at Power Coaching.  Zac resides in Logan, UT with his wife and son and loves to talk about marketing, helping people find purpose, and the Philadelphia Eagles.  #FlyEaglesFly

Leaders v. Managers

Being a manager or a supervisor is pretty easy to do. Simply treat employees as chess pieces to be manipulated to get tasks done. Leadership, on the other hand, is very difficult. Mindtools.com defines leadership, “Leaders help themselves and others to do the right things. They set direction, build an inspiring vision, and create something new. Leadership is about mapping out where you need to go to “win” as a team or an organization; and it is dynamic, exciting, and inspiring.”

How to “set direction, build an inspiring vision and create something new”? To begin, look at what has been written and said about leadership. By no means a comprehensive plan, here are some things to help you begin to change from a manager or supervisor and become a leader.

Hugh Nibley (1910-2005), who was a professor at Brigham Young University, described one important leadership quality, “The leader, for example, has a passion for equality. We think of great generals from David and Alexander on down, sharing their beans or maza with their men, calling them by their first names, marching along with them in the heat, sleeping on the ground, and first over the wall. A famous ode by a long-suffering Greek soldier, Archilochus, reminds us that the men in the ranks are not fooled for an instant by the executive type who thinks he is a leader.”

Managers, on the other hand, according to Nibley, do not care about equality. They do not see themselves as equal to everyone else. They spend their time managing people, treating people like chess pieces to be moved around, manipulated, at will. By contrast, leaders spend their time managing and meeting challenges, using their team to help them. That sometimes means stepping back and allowing their employees, their team members, to lead out. Leaders are “hard on the problem, soft on the people”, according to speaker Mark Matteson. Managers are so busy trying to manage people that they do not address problems. Leaders recognize that problems are more likely to be in processes than in people.

Last year, in the middle of summer 110-degree weather, our air conditioner stopped working. We had ceiling fans that were helpful but we needed the AC to work. The first two companies we called could not get to us for several days. The third company said that there would be someone there the next morning but they would try to get someone there sooner. Two hours later, the doorbell rang. The OWNER of the company was there to diagnose the problem. Our AC is on the roof. He climbed up there in the heat, came back down to tell us what was wrong and promised that he would have a technician there at 9:00 in the morning. Sharp. Why didn’t he fix it himself? All the technicians were out with the equipment vans. He had come to our house in his personal vehicle. AND he did not charge us for the service call. The technician was there the next morning at 9:00 on the dot and the AC was fixed in about 20 minutes! Service was excellent and the cost was half what we were expecting because the company was headed by a real leader.

Another attribute of the leader in business is one who hires the right people and ensures that they are in the right place. One owner realized that the person answering the phones was struggling with answering the phone, delivering messages and covering the customer service phones during lunch hours along with all the other things they were required to do. The owner, a real leader, didn’t want to fire this person. In the process of reviewing the employee’s resume, the owner realized that the employee not only had experience in bookkeeping, they were attending college at night and on-line to earn a degree in accounting. Rather than hire someone new, the owner moved the receptionist into the accounting department where they immediately made an impressive contribution and found someone else in the company better suited to answer the phones. The owner, much like a bus driver, had put the right person in the wrong seat on the bus. When they moved that person to the right seat, they, and the business, thrived. By concentrating on what was right for the individual, the owner found what was right for the company.

The leader goes the extra mile. They give their employees a WOW experience, just as they expect their customer service representatives and technicians to give customers a WOW experience. They are positive, confident, their enthusiasm is contagious, they listen, they care, they give of themselves, their time and their kindness, they add value to the employees’ experience and they express gratitude to their team members.

Business owners who lead are far more successful. Think Steve Jobs or Richard Branson, Thomas Edison or Abraham Lincoln. The world is in need of great leaders. YOU can be one of those great leaders the world so desperately needs.


Mary Burkett was born in Southern New Jersey, raised in Southern California, Mary Burkett is a graduate of the University of Utah.

Like many Americans, she has had more than one career, including being a Marketing Director in the shopping center industry, being a coach with Power Selling Pros and owning a Business and Personal Development coaching company.
She has six grown children, expects her 24th grandchild later this year, is active in her community, reads a lot, writes her own personal blog and works on special projects for Power Selling Pros.
Mary and her semi-retired husband live in Southern Utah.

What Do Employees Want?

It’s a common complaint. Employees don’t care. They are not engaged. How do I, as the owner of my business, motivate employees and get them to care?

Most owners believe that they have, by paying a competitive wage, given employees all the motivation they need. But money isn’t everything, particularly in today’s world. Frequently, money is the least effective motivator. That YOU are motivated by money does not mean everyone is motivated by money.

As an owner or manager, you have customers that call into the business, customers where your technicians visit and provide the service. But YOUR most important customers are employees. Read that again. YOUR most important customers are employees.

“Clients (customers) do not come first.

Employees come first.

If you take care of your employees,

they will take care of the clients (customers)”.

Richard Branson

Most likely, you started your business by yourself. You may have had some help but you worked long hours, taking on the most difficult or involved tasks yourself. As you saw that you could not continue to do it all yourself, you hired others. You delegated to them essential tasks. What happened then? Are the same people who worked for you at the beginning, working for you today?

We heard recently about a business owner who, when he sold his business, had the same three key staffers he had when he started 18 years earlier. Why did those employees stay? He made his employees HIS key responsibility.

“Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.”

Stephen R. Covey

Numerous studies have been conducted over the years by a variety of organizations that have found several things that employees want, items that get them engaged in their work. Although money is powerful for some people, there are other items as effective, if not more so: even so:

  • Proud of the work they are doing
  • To be treated fairly
  • Respect the boss
  • To be heard
  • To have a personal life
  • To be coached, NOT managed
  • See bad employees fired
  • Less stress
  • A little security
  • Beat the competition

In one study, 88% of the employees said that flexible time was a greater reward than more money. They also mentioned being cared about was important to them.

“I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among men the greatest asset I possess.

The way to develop the best that is in a man is by appreciation and encouragement.”

Charles Schwab

In today’s litigious society, employers have to be mindful of things that employers in the past did not have to address but even with these restrictions, EVERY owner or manager CAN and MUST make employees their first priority.

This is where by learning and applying the Pattern for Excellence, the very program you insist your Customer Service Representatives learn and apply, will assist you in making your employees YOUR number one priority.

Begin TODAY by asking yourself these questions:

  1. Positive

    1. Am I positive when I walk in the door every morning?
    2. Do I say “hello” or “good morning” to everyone I see in the office?
    3. Do I notice when someone appears to be overwhelmed or extra busy and TELL them that I have noticed and encourage them?
    4. When was the last time I saw that the CSRs were very busy and I took a few calls, booked a few appointments, to help, without saying a word?
    5. Do I stay positive throughout the day?
  2. Confident

    1. Am I confident throughout the day?
    2. Do employees know that I am confident in myself, in the business and in THEM?
  3. Listen

    1. Do I listen, really listen, when an employee has an idea, a concern or is having a bad day?
    2. Do I meet one-on-one with EVERY employee EVERY year and just LISTEN?
  4. Care

    1. Do I CARE and do I communicate that I CARE in word and deed?
    2. Do employees know that I respect THEIR individual worth?
    3. Do I compliment them using specific qualities I’ve noticed in them?
    4. Do my words and actions complement each other and communicate that I genuinely care about employees as people?
  5. Give

    1. Do I say “YES”? Do I give beyond expectation?
    2. Do I implement employee suggestions as much as possible?
    3. Do I explain clearly and with kindness, when a suggestion doesn’t work out?
  6. Ask

    1. When was the last time I asked employees how to solve a problem?
    2. Do I ask employees how they feel?
    3. Do I ask employees how we can do better?
    4. Do I understand that by serving employees, allowing them to solve problems, I am allowing THEM to progress and teaching them to serve better?
  7. Valuable

    1. Do I express how valuable employees are to me every day?
  8. Gratitude

    1. Do I express gratitude to employees every day?

“When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”

Simon Sinek

Here is a challenge for you. Focus on at least one principle every day for one week. See what happens when you apply the pattern to YOUR first responsibility—your employees.

Want to get employees emotionally invested and engaged in their jobs? Follow the Pattern for Excellence. YOUR engagement is the only way to get employees fully connected. By applying the Pattern for Excellence every day, you will find employees becoming better because YOU have become better in accepting them as YOUR first responsibility.

Want to be among the first to reserve your spot on Power Certification HQ, The Premier Membership for Service Businesses Wanting to Empower Their People, WOW Their Customers, and GROW Their Business.

Join Power Certification HQ – The Premier Membership for Service Businesses Wanting to Empower Their People, WOW Their Customers, and GROW Their Business

Mary Burkett was born in Southern New Jersey, raised in Southern California, Mary Burkett is a graduate of the University of Utah.

Like many Americans, she has had more than one career, including being a Marketing Director in the shopping center industry, being a coach with Power Selling Pros and owning a Business and Personal Development coaching company.
She has six grown children, expects her 24th grandchild later this year, is active in her community, reads a lot, writes her own personal blog and works on special projects for Power Selling Pros.
Mary and her semi-retired husband live in Southern Utah.

One word to avoid saying to your customers at ALL costs…

The story of Nordstrom accepting the return of a snow tire, something that they do not sell, turns out to be true. It’s a long story about why they accepted it and gave the man his money back but the bottom line is that the Nordstrom policy of never saying “no” has served it well.

Today, the policy is clarified to say that if a customer returns something that Nordstrom COULD sell, accept it, give them their money back, even when you think it was not sold at the store.

In short, never say “no”.  Marketforce.com, in 2017, found that, “Nordstrom’s fan base is as fervent as ever. For the fifth time in a row, Nordstrom ranked as the nation’s favorite fashion retailer in an annual retail industry study”.

In your market, who would be ranked #1 HVAC service and install company? Would it be your company? Admittedly, the retail industry is very different from yours. But the power of never saying “No” has application across industries. What if your CSRs stopped saying “No” when someone called in for a service your company doesn’t offer?

It can be difficult to do but difficult and impossible are not the same thing. In fact, we have found that when CSRs are trained to never say “No”, they book more calls. Why? Because they know how to focus on what your company CAN do.

One CSR, we will call her Beverly, literally freaked out when her coach first introduced this idea.

“We have people calling, wanting us to clean their rain gutters. They think that since we replaced the unit that’s on the roof, we should clean the rain gutters because they’re afraid if the gutters get full, it will affect the way the unit works. They don’t understand that’s not going to happen.”

The coach then suggested that they role play how better to handle that situation, with the coach acting as the CSR.

Coach: “Thank you for calling ABC service. My name is Carol. How may I make your day better?’

Customer: “That wind and rain last night filled our rain gutters. With more rain coming, those leaves are going to make it impossible to run the unit on the roof.”

Coach: “Wow! That storm last night caused a lot of problems all over town. May I have your name?”

Customer: “Mrs. Collins.”

Coach: “Mrs. Collins, I am very glad you called us today. We have the perfect company to help you. Do you have a paper and pencil and I can give you the number?”

Customer: “What? You won’t do this for us? You sold us the unit that’s up on the roof and it’s only two years old. You should be able to take care of this!”

Coach: “Mrs. Collins, we want to be sure you get the very best service and we know that Cleary Roofing is the best company to do that. Ask for Bob. He has taken very good care of many of our customers.”

Customer: “Well, okay, if you won’t do it. I think it’s ridiculous you won’t help us but okay, I have a pencil and paper.”

Coach: “Mrs. Collins, I hear your frustration. That’s why I’m giving you contact information for Cleary Roofing. That number is 555-7018. Be sure to ask for Bob. He knows us well and has done a great job for our customers over the years.”

Customer: “Okay. I’ll do that.”

Coach: “Thank you for calling today. We look forward to hearing from you again.”

Customer: “Thank you”.

Beverly still thought it was easier said than done but, she tried it the next time someone called for a service her company did not provide and it worked beautifully. Beverly told her coach, “I was doubtful and a little reluctant at first but when a man called wanting us to trim bushes that were encroaching on his outside air conditioning unit, I passed along the contact information for a company we‘ve used before. It was easy.”

Change is difficult but not impossible. Want to become the Nordstrom of HVAC companies in your market? Never say “No”.

Train your team to say “YES” and be among the first to reserve your spot on Power Certification HQ, The Premier Membership for Service Businesses Wanting to Empower Their People, WOW Their Customers, and GROW Their Business

Join Power Certification HQ – The Premier Membership for Service Businesses Wanting to Empower Their People, WOW Their Customers, and GROW Their Business

Mary Burkett was born in Southern New Jersey, raised in Southern California, Mary Burkett is a graduate of the University of Utah.

Like many Americans, she has had more than one career, including being a Marketing Director in the shopping center industry, being a coach with Power Selling Pros and owning a Business and Personal Development coaching company.
She has six grown children, expects her 24th grandchild later this year, is active in her community, reads a lot, writes her own personal blog and works on special projects for Power Selling Pros.
Mary and her semi-retired husband live in Southern Utah.

When It’s Time to Let Someone Go

When do you know it’s time to let someone go?  How do you go about doing it properly?

As a follow-up to a previous article, Hire the Right People, here are ideas for fixing a hiring error.

No one wants to lose an employee. No one wants to have to dismiss an employee. But there are times when hiring mistakes are made and must be corrected. Think of this letting go in steps:

  1. Admit to yourself that you made a mistake.
  2. Be sure you understand the laws in your state and do the necessary paperwork and documentation about performance that are mandated by law.
  3. Be clear that a firing is NOT personal.  Emotions are inappropriate in these situations and muddy the waters. Postpone any action until you have worked through the emotions.
  4. Ask the employee their thoughts on their performance  There are times when employees can see that they are not a good match and by listening to them, they will feel comfortable telling you this
  5. Is there somewhere else in the company where they would be a good fit?
  6. Who do you know in other companies or industries where the employee would be a good fit?
  7. Be willing to make a call to help find the employee another job.
  8. Be clear and concise about the reasons for the letting go.

Admitting Mistakes

Skip Prichard, the author of The Book of Mistakes, published a blog post by his friend, Bruce Rhoades, a retired business executive who writes about the advantages of a leader admitting a mistake, “Admitting and correcting mistakes does not make you look weak; it actually makes you look stronger.”

Further, Rhoades writes that admitting a mistake, “Builds trust—others see that you are human, honest and truthful … allows quick correction, which saves time and resources”.

Admit the mistake, first to yourself and then set things in motion to correct it.

Obey the Law

The Small Business Administration (SBA) web site is a great resource for understanding the law when firing someone. Check here (https://www.sba.gov/blogs/how-fire-employee-and-stay-within-law) before proceeding but remember it’s a starting point. If you have a business or labor attorney available, consult with them to be sure you’re following the correct procedure.

Check Your Emotions

Your business matters. It’s how you spend your days, your time, your talents. You have built it from nothing. Of course you are emotionally tied to the company.

At AmericanExpress.com, Bruna Martinuzzi writes, “Emotional self-control is our ability to keep disruptive emotions and impulses in check and maintain control over our actions. While this is important for everyone, it may be particularly crucial for a business owner or anyone in a leadership position.”

Martinuzzi gives several suggestions for getting emotions under control and one of her best, easiest solutions is to take a break. Get outside. Go to lunch. Leave the issue on the desk overnight. Think it through. Acknowledge your emotions but do not act on them.

Ask Them Questions

Frequently, since hiring the person who became disruptive or underperformed, the owner has never met one-on-one with the employee. Never. Not once. This is a good place to admit the mistake and ask the employee how they see they are doing.

Use questions to find out how they really think and feel about their job. Keep the conversation focused on the job and their performance.

Frequently people know they are not doing well and they will say so out right. But they must feel comfortable saying it out loud. It is your job to help them be comfortable enough to speak the truth.

Maybe There is a Better Fit

You know you need to let go of a Customer Service Rep (CSR) who doesn’t like people , constantly struggles with the technology needed to do their job or consistently gives the technicians a hard time? Is there somewhere else in your company where they could be successful?

Even though we use technology, most companies also have back up paper work. That employee who struggles with technology, may be a good fit for organizing and maintaining the back-up paperwork. Think about it. Allow the employee an opportunity to show what they CAN do.

We know of a doctor who, for several years, was able to run his business, a family practice, with three employees. The time came to hire a fourth employee. He found someone with experience in a medical office and he thought she would be a good fit.

The culture created in this particular doctor’s office was very serious. The first three employees, all women, when the doctor was in the office, were all business. They did not talk about anything that went on outside of the office except during breaks or lunch and even then they spoke sparingly about their personal lives. Their focus was on the patients and keeping things moving before the doctor had to walk across the street to the hospital to do rounds, something he did twice a day.

The new employee did not do this. She was constantly frustrated by what she saw as a difficult work situation and could not understand why things weren’t more relaxed.

The doctor could see that she would not work out. Instead of just letting her go, he knew of a surgeon that needed another employee. A surgeon’s practice was different from a family practice. The surgeon only saw patients for follow up care. This he usually did two days a week.

By placing a call, the employee that didn’t fit into a family practice, got a job with the surgeon, where she did fit.

Be Clear

When letting someone go, be clear and concise about the reasons and keep the focus on performance. It’s the best way to help the person you’re letting go to improve.

No one wants to have to fire someone but it has to be done sometimes. With these ideas, you will find that it’s much less difficult than you thought.

Looking for an effective way to provide your new hires with training?  Be among the first to reserve your spot on Power Certification HQ, The Premier Membership for Service Businesses Wanting to Empower Their People, WOW Their Customers, and GROW Their Business

Join Power Certification HQ – The Premier Membership for Service Businesses Wanting to Empower Their People, WOW Their Customers, and GROW Their Business

Mary Burkett was born in Southern New Jersey, raised in Southern California, Mary Burkett is a graduate of the University of Utah.

Like many Americans, she has had more than one career, including being a Marketing Director in the shopping center industry, being a coach with Power Selling Pros and owning a Business and Personal Development coaching company.
She has six grown children, expects her 24th grandchild later this year, is active in her community, reads a lot, writes her own personal blog and works on special projects for Power Selling Pros.
Mary and her semi-retired husband live in Southern Utah.

Tips For Hiring the Right People

“But I really don’t care about the customers”.  Yes, that is what a Customer Service Representative (CSR) told me during our discussion about the Care principle. Although it was an opportunity to explore what she meant, to help her think more about caring, wouldn’t that owner have been better off hiring someone who already had a caring attitude?

It is common sense and every owner knows the importance of hiring the right people but they don’t know how to do that. Why? Because they stay stuck in doing things the way they’ve always done them. I would bet that you ask the same questions about experience and education in every job interview, no matter the position you want to fill.

Simon Sinek, is his book, Start with Why, wrote, “The role of a leader is to not come up with all of the great ideas. The role of a leader is to create an environment in which great ideas can happen.”

Are you hiring people who care? People who have great ideas?

To find these people, either toss the standard questions or ask those standard questions at the beginning of the interview and then say, “Tell me something you’ve done for a neighbor that made their life better?” and/or, “Tell me a time when you went out of your way to make a co-worker’s life or job better”.

What will this tell you? That they actually think about others. And the people who are sincere in their caring, will be reluctant to tell you this because they didn’t do it to tell anyone else about it.

Ask them if they have ever volunteered for a cause they care about. Ask for details about what they did. The answer to this question tells you that they are not just passionate about something but they are also thinking, looking for ways to make the world a better place and they will bring that attitude to your business.

Numerous web sites that advise job seekers emphasize the importance of eye contact. Do your part and look the person you’re interviewing in the eye. Smile. Be sure to let the potential employee know you care by looking them in the eye, smiling and really listening.

Some people feel they need to take notes in an interview. Resist the temptation and make notes when the interview is over.

Make it easy for them to be themselves. This will tell you if they are a good fit for the company.

What happens when you have scheduled an interview and you get busy? Reschedule. Carve out the time needed. Control distractions. All of this is in your power.

Those people who genuinely care and have great ideas are out there. To find them, you need to set aside the questions you usually ask and solicit more information using probing questions that will discover them.

Looking for an effective way to provide your new hires with training?  Be among the first to reserve your spot on Power Certification HQ, The Premier Membership for Service Businesses Wanting to Empower Their People, WOW Their Customers, and GROW Their Business

Join Power Certification HQ – The Premier Membership for Service Businesses Wanting to Empower Their People, WOW Their Customers, and GROW Their Business

Mary Burkett was born in Southern New Jersey, raised in Southern California, Mary Burkett is a graduate of the University of Utah.

Like many Americans, she has had more than one career, including being a Marketing Director in the shopping center industry, being a coach with Power Selling Pros and owning a Business and Personal Development coaching company.
She has six grown children, expects her 24th grandchild later this year, is active in her community, reads a lot, writes her own personal blog and works on special projects for Power Selling Pros.
Mary and her semi-retired husband live in Southern Utah.

Three Pillars to Build Your Business On

As a customer service coaching company that has had the chance to work with clients all over the world in the home services industry and other industries, we find that those we serve are typically after at least one of three things:

  • A Stronger Culture
  • A Better Customer Experience
  • Growth

One business owner put it this way in terms of company culture: “When we do surveys of all our departments, customer service is always the most dissatisfied with their jobs.  We want to change that.”

Another put it this way regarding customer experience: “I just want my people to sound more pleasant to talk to on the phone.”  Another said

“I listened to our phone calls recently, and something has to change.”

Others have said concerning growth that “we just need to book more calls” and “it makes no sense to keep paying for advertising like this when we are not booking the calls already coming in to our office.”  Most recently, I asked a potential client why they wanted to invest in customer service coaching.  His response was “I need to train my office to sell more maintenance plans.”

These consistent experiences of meeting people who want to elevate their culture, customer experience, and growth has led us to focus our approach more on helping companies achieve these outcomes.

Providing Outcomes – Not Products or Services

While it’s tempting to jump right in to building a strong culture, customer experience, and plan for growth, there is a mentality you first need to adopt.  This mentality should be at the foundation of all three of these elements.

You see, your business, and our business, exists to help people achieve outcomes – not purchase products.

As an HVAC contractor, you are not in business to sell and fix HVAC systems.  Customers do not care about the system itself or all the parts and features!  What they care about is being comfortable and stress-free in their homes.

Your services simply act as the vehicle to get your customers from where they are now to where they want to be.

Consequently, it is the outcome mentality that we need to adopt before jumping in to making plans for our culture, customer experience, and growth.

Likewise, for us, we recognize that people do not sign up for our coaching services because they want to spend time every other week with a coach (though they do enjoy that time).  They sign up for our services so they can get from where they are NOW (poor culture, average customer experience, and frustrated growth) to where they WANT TO BE (empowering culture, WOW customer experience, and consistent, predictable growth).

This outcomes mentality is the foundation of these three pillars on which to build your business.

A New Perspective

There is a plethora of information and coaching out there on the many “pillars” or “foundations” on which you can build a strong company.  Truthfully, we know we are not the first to offer such a solution.  Our hope is to offer a new perspective and vehicle you can use to build your business, and we are eager to see what it does for you.

Over the next four weeks, we will be sharing with you stories and tips you can utilize to achieve these three outcomes (culture of empowerment, WOW customer experience, and growth) and build your business.

In this article, we will be talking about culture.  Next week, we will talk about customer experience.  Then, we will dive into business growth.  Finally, we will conclude with a summary and plan for putting it all together in your business.

Keep your eye out for videos to come on the subjects as well.

So, to kick things off, let’s dive in to creating a culture of empowerment in your company.


Zac Garside believes in giving a voice to the ones that can change people’s lives.  He works as the marketing manager at Power Selling Pros and lives in Logan UT with his beautiful wife and son.  You can get Zac talking for hours if you talk about the Philadelphia Eagles or anything by Simon Sinek.