Customer service Management service Small Business

Why does the phone ring?

Dave Winer and to a lesser extent today, Seth Godin, have a lesson in listening for you today. 

Dave is right on target with the programmers – but I think it can extend well past the IT department into every part of a business. 

Check out Dave’s “It’s the users, dummy“. 

Listening is easy to do. Its inexpensive (mostly) and the ROI is astounding.

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I rescued a human today

Creative Commons License photo credit: Sugar Pond

Several times – including in the recent direct mail posts – we’ve talked about having the right conversation with your client or prospect.

About Robert Collier’s comment “Enter the conversation already taking place in the prospect’s mind”.

About looking at your business from the other side of the counter, thinking of the issues that your prospects and customers are concerned with.

I found a great example of doing that very thing today. Amazingly, it was in one of those forwarded sometimes funny, sometimes sappy, sometimes heartwarming emails that all of us get from our friends and colleagues.

I’m not sure if the author realizes the power of her writing, but I urge you to take this in and think about the role reversal and the thought process that was necessary to write something this well done.

Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the kennels. I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her.

I wagged my tail, not too exuberantly, so she wouldnâ??t be afraid. As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage. I didnâ??t want her to know that I hadnâ??t been walked today. Sometimes the overworked shelter keepers get too busy and I didnâ??t want her to think poorly of them.

As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldnâ??t feel sad about my past. I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someoneâ??s life.

She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me. I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her. Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship. A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.

Soon my kennel door opened and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms.

I would promise to keep her safe.
I would promise to always be by her side.
I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.

I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor. So many more are out there who havenâ??t walked the corridors. So many more to be saved. At least I could save one.

I rescued a human today.

Can you create the same level of empathy with your clients and prospects?

I have another example of this for tomorrow;s post: Thanksgiving in the U.S. Enjoy the turkey, but watch out for those crooked pies.


“I rescued a human today” Used with permission.

Written by Janine Allen CPDT, Rescue Me Dog’s professional dog trainer. Janine’s passion is working with people and their dogs. She provides demonstrations for those who have adopted shelter dogs, lends email support to adopted dog owners that need information beyond our Training Support Pages, and aids shelter staff and volunteers in understanding dog behavior to increase their adoptability.
Copyright 2008 Rescue Me Dog;

Competition customer retention Marketing quality Small Business The Slight Edge

Teach your clients to be smarter, better educated buyers

We’ve talked about this topic a few times in the past, but today I have an example that you can learn from.

First, take a look at the “Consumer Checklist” at Don’t be distracted by the aging look of their site. That page is worth major dollars to you if you get the right message from it and use it.

Since they let you customize the message inside the cookie, they have to make them fresh just for you. I know  because I’ve ordered fortune cookies from these guys to use as business cards from time to time.

So not only do my fortune cookie business cards stand out from the yawners that everyone else hands out, but they are tasty as well.

How tasty are those imported fortune cookies from your favorite Asian restaurant? They probably buy them after they are mass-produced, sit on a dock in a container for a week or two, then on a cargo ship for a week or two, then on a dock for another week, then on a train or truck for another few days before they were warehoused and then eventually shipped to the restaurant.

Notice that I just taught you an important difference between good fortune cookies and bad or at least unnoticeable ones? And I didn’t do it while screaming BUY! BUY! BUY!

How can you teach your clients to be better educated, choosier buyers? Even Jif does it with their “Choosy moms choose Jif” line.


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The High Art of Paying Attention

Most of you probably saw a brief mention here in the blog that I became a grandpa for the first time a mere three weeks ago today.

This is one response that shows me someone is mastering the fine art of paying attention. It arrived in my mail on Saturday with a letter, and was wrapped in a pastel tissue paper.

In part, the letter said “This latest blend only gets produced with love on a rare and special occasion….Sit back; enjoy a great cup of coffee while watching your new grandchild discover all that life has to offer. Congratulations!!!”

That is the high art of paying attention.

Were you paying attention? Let’s see.

How many of you put that date in your Outlook, phone or customer database? Yes, I’m assuming I’m there for what should be obvious reasons.

Why would you do such a thing?

  • Not because you’re going to send her a card next year.
  • Not because you’re driving to Missoula next summer to attend the 1st birthday party.

Nope, if you did it, it’s because it’s smart business.

Next summer in mid or late July, your reminder system should tell you to mention her 1 year birthday to me.

Not because she’d recognize you at the party, but because you know its important to me.

If you’ve been reading for a year, you should know my birthday (or at least the week), and anniversary months. You should know quite a lot IF you’re paying attention.

And your clients… What do you know about them?

If you are paying attention, you should know their spouse’s name if they are married. You might know their anniversary, birthday month (or the date itself). You might know what college they went to, or what town they grew up in, and what their favorite sports teams are.

You might know that their spouse is a scratch golfer and volunteers at the food bank on Tuesdays. And each one of those things is something your lazy competitor wont pay attention to, much less remember or do anything about.

Likewise, each one of them gives you a chance to do something inexpensive, but special, whenever it makes sense. It gives you something to talk about with them that they’re interested in and will start them talking in earnest about something important to them.

Paying attention isn’t being nosy. It helps you make the relationship you have with your client MORE personal, without going through their medicine cabinet.

Suggested reading on this topic: Harvey Mackay’s Swim with the Sharks (without being eaten alive)