Category Archives: Inspiration

Exceed Expectations: We Never Let You Down


Once upon a time, a guy needed a new suit, pronto. The business event was the next day and he had less than 24 hours to ensure he looked the part. So, he headed over to his local mall to make a selection. But once he found the right one, the situation stopped going so smooth. The suit would not be ready for pickup until the next day, during which time he would be stuck in his office, swamped with work and unable to pick it up.

And then: a customer service miracle…

The next day, a store employee hand-delivered the now-ready suit into the guy’s apartment building for him while he was at work. The store arranged to do this even though rush home delivery is not one of their services. When the guy returned home from work in a hurry, the suit was already there, neatly laid out for him, just as the store had arranged.

That guy was our CEO, the store was Nordstrom, and that is a true example of what Exceeds Expectations means to us: We Never Let You Down.

Going above and beyond for your customers is something that, for some, comes as second nature, and that is why it holds an important place in our company’s Core Values. It’s about coming up with workable solutions for your client even when no immediate answer is available. It requires collaboration, cultivates teamwork, incorporates diverse talents, and produces a well-deserved feeling of accomplishment and pride once the job is done.

And now more than ever before, with the overflow of advertisements and marketing content fighting for consumers’ attention, it’s important to not only meet your customers’ expectations, but to far surpass them. This is best explained by a consumer study recently posted by ClientHeartbeat, which explains that customer expectations have two levels: desired and sufficient. The desired level is the service the customer hopes to obtain while the sufficient level is the service that the customer finds acceptable.

The takeaway from this is that client “satisfaction” is not always something to brag about. For example, if you offered a product at a too-good-to-be-true price, your client is probably expecting just that, a below-average end product. When you provide them with that, then yes, their expectations were met, but it’s because their expectations were low in the first place.

In order to reach that desired level, you must clearly outline and understand your promises to your clients, because this is what makes up their expectations. Moreover, these promises must hold true to what makes your services unique, or there is no way their expectations can be met. Do you promise the freshest ingredients, quickest turnaround, or perhaps the coolest animations in PowerPoint?

Define what you do best, set realistic expectations for your customers, and keep that promise to them. Then go beyond that and never let them down. Go ahead, exceed their expectations for an unexpectedly amazing experience (which by the way, is next week’s core value!)

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Customer Obsessed: Why Every Detail Matters

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” – John Wooden

Last week, we announced the launch of our core values series, where we will share our company’s core values with you and what they mean to us, and celebrate examples of those who bring them to life. And of course, we want to hear what they mean to you! First up: Customer Obsessed.

When our company discussed examples of Customer Obsessed, we soon noticed a pattern. Whether it was a Disney employee greeting guests’ daughters as “princesses,” or providing our clients with the slide they asked for as well as alternates because they have the potential to improve the presentation, even if they didn’t ask for it, it was the little things, the attention to even the smallest of details that made the overall customer experience so memorable.

Keeping in mind, given your resources, the size of your company, and your position, these “customer obsessed” gestures do not have to be over the top, such as when WestJet, an airline company, literally created a holiday miracle for their guests by surprising them at the arrival terminal with exactly what each traveler had on their wish list (see video below). Upholding an “every detail matters” approach to your work can be big or small; a welcoming smile, a genuine positive attitude, and enthusiasm to help the customer through every step of the process, even though you’re stuck working the night shift, leaves a longer lasting impression than you may think.

Another pattern also appeared: we recognized companies, products, and services that were exceptionally customer-centric. For example, selling back old college textbooks seemed to be a daunting process, which is why I put it off for years. Yet I finally sold them online because Amazon made it so easy (I may have clicked three buttons max). Because Amazon had strategically paid attention to every detail of the process, from creating a completely user-friendly system to the point where the site could conveniently anticipate my next step, the overall experience was completely painless, and, to my surprise, enjoyable.

So whether you’re going the extra mile, or even just an extra inch, that extra effort to pay attention to even the smallest of details keeps your customers coming back.

Got a certain company in mind that’s customer obsessed too? Tell us about it in our comments section and stay tuned for our next topic in this series: Exceed Expectations!

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Kick Off 2014 With These 14 Communication Quotes…

175563453Are you ready to do amazing things in 2014? With every New Year comes the potential for so many great things. Start this year off right with some words of wisdom from those who knew about success and the importance of communication. Happy New Year!

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. – George Bernard Shaw

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said. – Peter Drucker

I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in. – Bill Gates

To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others. – Tony Robbins

Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life. – Brian Tracy

Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know. – Jim Rohn

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. – Hans Hofmann

Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing. – Rollo May

There is only one rule for being a good talker – learn to listen. – Christopher Morley

The two words “information” and “communication” are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through. – Sydney J. Harris

Start with good people, lay out the rules, communicate with your employees, motivate them and reward them. If you do all those things effectively, you can’t miss. – Lee Iacocca

If you have a great idea, you should be able to communicate it as well. It’s like the sound of one hand clapping. You have a great idea but aren’t able to express it – well, how great was the idea? – Douglas Coupland

You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. – Dale Carnegie

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. – Mark Twain

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words…

As studies show, we are all exposed to over 3,000 ads per day. How many do you remember? Not many, I am sure… but below are some really great, unique ads that will make you stop and think as they communicate their message clearly and even emotionally. These are a few of the ads you will remember as they break through the clutter and connect. Let me know what you think of these or if there are others that stand out in your mind.

Stop Abuse…

Tetris Returns…

Rowenta Vacuum…

Save the Whales…

Softlan Fabric Care Smells So Good…

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Elevate Your Elevator Speech…

The scenario is all too familiar – you are at a networking event, tradeshow, or cocktail party and someone asks, “What do you do?” Many people dread this question because they think their answer must be creative or profound. In reality, your answer should try to serve as a conversation starter.

All too often, someone responds and you can see the questioner’s eyes begin to glaze over. So how do you alter this scenario so that your “elevator speech” makes an impact on those asking?

Begin by taking a second to think about who is asking and why. You want to make the conversation about that person… people love to talk about and hear about themselves. And if the person has an issue you can help with, even better! Emphasize his or her needs rather than what you do. Focus on what the client values.

Answer the “so what” before you are asked. Don’t just say, “I sell IT systems” – the response is likely an unspoken “so what?” Explain what your technology can do for the potential client. Don’t just mention features… again, focus on the prospect and what those features can do for the client and how you can help the person achieve goals.

Speak to the person asking, not above him. Use language he will understand – that doesn’t mean to talk to him like a child, but simplify so that what you say makes sense.

Another fantastic way to better your short introduction is by using specific examples tailored to the person with whom you are speaking. Ask questions and then tailor your comments to reflect her response. Tell stories about ways you have worked with clients in the past.

Remembering some of these tips should help you next time you are approached at a gathering.

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Will Murally Change the Way We Collaborate?

My inspiration comes from everywhere, but my memory suffers from an annoying inability to contain it all. I leave Post-It notes with random words and phrases all over the place. Then I discovered the Sticky Notes program on my PC (who doesn’t love a to-do list?) and fell in love with the fact that there’s no real sticky involved, so small squares of paper with valuable information no longer go missing as easily as they used to. Then came Pinterest, which quickly went from cool to obsession. My pinboards are littered with recipes, crafts, clothing, and accessories, to the point where I had to create new pinboards just to keep track of the really good stuff.

But what about work stuff? I like to keep work and non-work separate, so what can I do with all the inspiration I find on the Internet and in real life?

Lucky for me – and maybe you – there’s a new tool called Murally, which one writer calls a “cross between Prezi and Pinterest.” The site lets you collaborate with others using virtual boards on which you can put items like pictures, notes, and videos.

With a layout similar to that of Prezi, users can drag and drop things like stickers, pictures, backgrounds, and more. Items are easily moved and edited, and boards can be shared with others. You can even turn your canvas into a presentation.

The “Google Docs for visual people” is currently available on the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Chrome, Safari, and Firefox, and it’s sure to change how creative people share ideas and inspiration.

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