I heard this from your clients.

June 18, 2015

I find people have the same goals at work and at home: to be more organized, productive and strategic, and more importantly to go through each day as easily and enjoyably as possible. Sometimes we’re the provider and sometimes we’re the client. I get to hear it from both perspectives.

I’ll share some of the frustrations and wishes I hear fairly often so you can apply them to your client service practices. Surely you’ve said some of these yourself.

“She was very attentive before I became a client but now I rarely hear from her.” Regular non-sales contact with your clients helps them feel less like just an income source for you, while providing an opportunity to listen for their cares and wishes. Do they need a referral to another professional in a related field? What free service can you provide that enhances what your already sell to them?

“I hate it when I call with a question and he reminds me I can find it on their website!” We know your intent is to empower your clients with easy access to information. Remember, though, that people tire of trying to remember passwords, portals and your programs. They often don’t have easy web access due to travel or busy schedules. They hire us to make it ultra-easy for them, so walk them through the process while on the phone if they want a tutorial, or look up the answer for them.

“Do I need to save this or not?” Help your clients understand if they need to save your invoices, statements and other information. If they do, what’s the reason? Like you, your clients get overwhelmed with information and paperwork and appreciate guidance. Remind them at year end they can toss their quarterly statements, or that you always provide insurance claim information at no charge. Don’t promise it’s available online, though, unless you’re certain it’s permanently available and they know how to access it.

“They told me they’d get back to me but I don’t know when that will be.” Being specific verbally and with follow-up emails about what they can expect from you and when to expect it creates trust, if you do what you promised. Here’s a suggestion: In your email signature or phone greeting add information about who to contact if you’re not available and when they should expect a reply. It’s always better to under promise and over deliver. What’s your system for follow up reminders? If you don’t have one, get one.

“We got a lot done but not what I really wanted.” We all have expectations. Sometimes we know what our clients expect and sometimes we don’t. It’s not that you didn’t ask or they didn’t tell you; this is more about what occurs to them after we asked. They often don’t realize they wanted something until they notice they didn’t get it. Ask often and allow a long pause for them to think about it.

“They went above and beyond….”  Hopefully this is what they say when they refer you. You’ve exceeded their expectations not just once, but repeatedly.

Providing your clients with outstanding customer service means being aware of what bothered you about working with someone else and being sure you do even better.


Longing to hear those 3 magic words

March 13, 2015

The 3 magic words are “I will help.”

Try using them daily in any form and watch the reactions.

  • I can help.
  • I will help.
  • Can I help?
  • You’d like help?
  • Want a hand?

What’s this got to do with being productive, effective and plain old happier?


When people understand you are willing to assist them, to take the time to support them, or even just hear what they have to say, their tension is reduced. Calm people are more effective than frustrated and tense people. Sometimes it stops a complainer from complaining because it highlights that they don’t really want help, they just want to vent.

What’s in it for you? Your focus turns toward them and away from what is often a habitually resistant or dismissive reaction to what they’re talking about or asking for. Resistant attitudes are exhausting and limiting.

Teamwork occurs. Negativity disappears. Stalled projects are restarted. Miscommunications clear. Profits happen. People feel better.

Sometimes you know just the thing to help them figure out a way to do something more easily. Offering a hand, even if it isn’t your job and maybe especially if it isn’t your job, helps people accomplish more and more quickly than if they’re working solo.

It’s productivity personified.

Valentine’s Day has passed and the cards have been put away. Keep the spirit alive by saying those 3 precious words at least once a day and watch what happens.  Challenge your staff and your family to do the same and remember, if you’re the leader, it’s even more important for you to say it.

Would love to hear your observations. Please write:


Spring and taxes

March 13, 2015

It’s gonna be warm in a minute or so.

Finish your taxes now so you can be ready to walk and bike when the better weather starts.


Hey, you might like this book too

February 5, 2015

My son observed he thinks the reason we don’t keep resolutions is, in part, because we’re not the same person as when we made the resolution.

The book I’m reading now seems to support his theory: The Organized Mind, Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload, by Daniel Levitin.

“The mind-wandering mode works in opposition to the central executive mode: When one is activated the other is deactivated; if we’re in one mode we are not in the other.”       pg 41

In other words, when someone says you’re not in your right mind they may be right.

Winter Inertia

January 26, 2015

We know that winter is the best time to get to those projects that we don’t want to ‘waste’ a sunny day on when the weather is warmer and invites us outside.

Yet, when it’s cold outside we’d just as soon cozy up and not do those things we swore we’d do during the cold months.

I’m all for ignoring what we think we ‘should’ do if there are no major financial or health repercussions. Try that on.  What’s it feel like?

If it feels OK then that’s your decision.

If it feels worse, then that just might be enough motivation to start or finish the project you put off until now.

If you’re committed to a project that you’re having a hard time getting to, realize that most of the time the hardest part is just getting started. And most of the time the biggest thing in the way of getting started is the TV or the computer.

So turn off the computer and the TV and get started. You just might finish before the warm weather comes.


Signed away privacy!!

October 29, 2014

I received another privacy statement from Citibank credit services about my Sears credit card.  It described how they’ll share my information and the very few options I have for limiting that sharing.

Citibank credit cardWhat confused me initially was I thought I’d closed the account years ago, so why were they sending me this notice?

Then I read, and remembered, the fine print: “….When you are no longer our customer, we continue to share your information as described in this notice.” 

That’s it. No end in sight.

Sure wasn’t worth the 10% I saved off a holiday gift that year when I signed away my rights to end my ‘relationship’ with Citibank.

Most of us have at least 2 credit cards; many people have 5 or more. The more cards you have, the more bookkeeping havoc you have, the more time and energy you spend trying to figure out how to redeem ‘rewards’ and how the bills got so high, and the more information about you and your habits you give away.

Is it worth it? Really?



The Urge to Fill a Space….

September 25, 2014

I’ve owned my Camry for a number of years and recently found a new storage area! It’s a hidden compartment under the storage area in the dashboard.

camry hidden storage

Hmmm, what can go in there? Change? iPod? Tissues?  Then I caught myself. Why should anything go in there? There is lots of available room in the glove box, the door pockets, the double-compartmented console, and the seat backs.

I reminded myself that ’empty space’ is not ‘wasted space’. It is just space that is not filled with something tangible.  Sometimes it highlights a space that is filled with something, like when advertisers leave ‘white space’ in an advertisement to draw your attention to another place on the page.  Kitchen cabinets and file drawers need ‘wasted space’, room to put your hand when you maneuver things around.

I know this; clients have heard me say it for years.

So what did I do?  I put the cassette adapter for my iPod and phone in it.

Then promptly forgot where the adapter was and bought another. : )






When you are sure….

August 22, 2014

Remember this when you are absolutely certain of something,

Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, nor the lack of contradiction the sign of truth.

Blaise Pascal (died 1662, a French philosopher, mathematician and physicist)

Beer in your phone?

August 15, 2014

Victory BeersBuy milk, pick up the framed picture, drop off the used ink cartridges. What was that book I wanted to read? Where should I go this weekend? Oh, and I want to buy more of that tasty Victory beer!  And Russian River Pliny the Elder.

What’s your method for tracking bits of information?

Most people jot it on post its or paper at home and then when they’re out, they forget what was on the list.  Or the lists have lists and the post its have post its. Or the info is buried in the texts and emails ‘sent to self’.

Use the notes function in your phone instead. Or get an app. iPhone’s Siri will  add to your notes on the go for those random thoughts that pop up when you can’t type them in.

Categorize your notes by context: Groceries, General Shopping, Reading List, Movies, Errands, Window Measurements, I Have a Day Off!, Buy Beers, or whatever will jog your memory. Usually the best title is the one you say under your breath when trying to find it.

Speaking of jogging your memory, even if you initially forget to look at your phone for your list, you will train your brain pretty quickly and learn to associate store with phone.  Think of the money you’ll save in post its, not to mention the tasty beers and movies you’ll enjoy.




Rats in the house?

August 1, 2014

Hoping you take a few minutes to read each day.  For me, it’s at least 15 minutes in the morning with my first cup of tea, or just before falling asleep, and always on the bed because it’s more comfortable than a chair. How about you?

Current reading is Bill Bryson’s thoroughly enjoyable, funny and fascinating At Home, A Short History of Private Life. 

    • At Home: A short history of private life – Illustrated

From inside the cover, “…he began to consider how very little he knew about the ordinary things of life as found in that comfortable home. To remedy this, he formed the idea of journeying about this house from room to room to ‘write a history of the world without leaving home.’ The bathroom provides the occasion for the history of hygiene, the bedroom for an account of sex, death and sleep, the kitchen for a discussion of nutrition and the spice trade….showing how each has figured in the evolution of private life.”

An interesting tidbit with all sorts of implications, from the chapter on Study (Store Room).

Rats are smart and work cooperatively.  At the former Gansevoort poultry market in Greenwich Village, New York, pest control authorities could not understand how rats were stealing eggs without breaking them, so one night an exterminator sat in hiding to watch. What he saw was that a rat would embrace an egg with all four legs, then roll over on his back. A second rat would then drag the first rat by its tail to their burrow, where they could share their prize in peace.

Find out more at Bill Bryson’s site:  http://billbrysonbooks.com/