Fred Returns With New Ideas to Deliver Extraordinary Results

Photo courtesy of istockphoto/MichaelShivers

He’s an international bestselling author of eight books who regularly tops the bestseller lists, a global leadership guru and one of the most in-demand speakers on the subjects of leadership, customer service and team building.  His many awards include the Cavett Award, the highest award the National Speakers Association bestows on its members.  He’s a member of the Speaker’s Roundtable.Mark Sanborn Picture

As you’d expect from a world authority, his clients include the biggest corporations, names like Cisco, Costco, FedEx, Harley Davidson.  Add the important alphabet companies like IBM, GM, KPMG, RE/MAX and ESPN.

Outside of all of that, Mark is one of the most decent people I’ve ever met.  He’s smart, caring, and he passionately wants to serve others.

WHAT IS A FRED?

Nine years ago, Mark Sanborn invited us to meet his own postman, Fred Shea.  Fred embodied true success by taking what seems to be an ordinary job and making it extraordinary.  To this day, when I see someone who serves in an extraordinary way, I think, “There’s a Fred!”  The Fred Factor became an international phenomenon, selling millions and millions of copies.

FRED RETURNS

This week, Fred returns in Fred 2.0: New Ideas on How to Keep Delivering Extraordinary Results.  Last summer, I had the opportunity to get to know Mark.  When he told me that Fred 2.0 was on the way, I couldn’t wait to learn more.Fred 2.0

Mark, let’s start out with two questions many people ask you.  Is Fred real?  And, if he is, are you in touch with him?  Maybe one more: Does he know he’s the star of this book?

Skip, Fred is very real and still delivering mail in Denver, CO. Over the years we’ve maintained a friendship and connect periodically for lunch or dinner. Fred is a big supporter of The Fred Factor and Fred 2.0, and in the new book I share—with his permission—much more about him, his background and his beliefs.

Why You Should Empower Employees

Several weeks ago, my wife and I headed out for a quick lunch.  I had been traveling and speaking in a few cities and was glad to be home.  Before lunch, we needed a few supplies and stopped at Target.

Target does a lot right.  Wide, brightly lit aisles.  Easy-to-find merchandise.  And friendly staff who seem happy.

When I was grabbing the items I needed off the shelf, I noticed a sign.  “Buy three of these items and get a $5 gift card,” one sign said.  The other said, “Buy two and get another $5 gift card.”  I only needed one of each item, but I thought why not take the money so I loaded up.

At the checkout counter, we paid for items and then I asked about our gift cards.  We liked the kind woman who was helping us.  She was efficient and the type who could build a relationship fast.  “I thought about that,” she responded.  “Let me check….no, this item doesn’t qualify for some reason.  I know you only bought this many so you would get the card.”

She pulled open the Target brochure, looked at the item, and still couldn’t figure why it didn’t give us the cards.  I explained that I checked the labels when I took the items off the shelf and that they were immediately behind the sign.  She shook her head and offered to have someone go check the sign.

Immediately in my mind I pictured what would happen:  A light would go off.  She would get on an intercom and bellow, “Man in Aisle 9 needs a price check!”  We would hold up the line, miss our lunch reservation, and a manager would come out to talk to us.

“Forget it,” I said, not wanting to cause a scene and not having any time to wait.  For me, the pain wasn’t worth it.  (But I’m thrifty enough that it did bother me.)

“I’m sorry,” she responded with an “I wish I could do something” attitude.

Management Lesson

This is not a story about Target.  It’s a good store.  This is not a story about the checkout clerk.  She was so nice we would seek out her line next time.

It’s a lesson for management.  And it’s all about empowerment.

Commitment: What will you do no matter what?

Photo by hectorir on flickr.

When you make a commitment, especially one to yourself, you begin to energize your mind in a way that opens new doors of possibility.

A commitment starts the engine of the subconscious mind.  It takes a dream or an idea, and begins the process of turning it into reality.  Mixed with discipline, commitment shapes the future.

Steve Jobs is known for a lot of his attributes, but one of them was his commitment.  He was committed to excellence.  There’s one story about him opening up an Apple computer, looking inside and making the team start over.  You can hear the conversation:

Steve:  That’s ugly.

Engineer:  Who cares what the PC board looks like?  The only thing that’s important is how well that it works.  Nobody is going to see the PC board.

Steve:  I’m gonna see it!  I want it to be as beautiful as possible, even if it’s inside the box.  A great carpenter isn’t going to use lousy wood for the back of the cabinet, even though nobody’s going to see it.

That’s commitment.

21 Customer Service Quotes

Photo by kristyhall on flickr.

This is Customer Service Week, a week to celebrate extraordinary customer service.  Last night I was especially grateful to a customer service representative who solved a problem for me in minutes over the phone.  Giving customers an extraordinary experience is the lifeblood of any successful organization.

(For other quotes, see the tab at the top of this page or try my favorite Zig Ziglar quotes, Self-Control quotes, General Norman Schwarzkopf Leadership quotes.)

In recognition of the week, I wanted to share 21 customer service quotes:

 

“There is only one boss:  the customer.  And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”  Sam Walton

 

“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” Walt Disney

 

“Unless you have 100% customer satisfaction, you must improve.”  Horst Schulz

 

“Choose to deliver amazing service to your customers. You’ll stand out because they don’t get it anywhere else.”  Kevin Stirtz

 

“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.”  Roger Staubach

 

“Good customer service costs less than bad customer service.” Sally Gronow

 

“Always do more than is required of you.”  George Patton

 

“Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement.”  J. C. Penney

 

“When the customer comes first, the customer will last.” Robert Half

 

“There is a big difference between a satisfied customer and a loyal customer.” Shep Hyken

 

“Only a life lived in the service to others is worth living.” Albert Einstein

 

“Well done is better than well said.” Benjamin Franklin

 

“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.” Ray Kroc

 

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”  Jeff Bezos

 

“The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.” Roy H. Williams

 

“Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find your customers buying from them, not you.” Mark Cuban

 

“Revolve your world around the customer and more customers will revolve around you.” Heather Williams

 

“It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.” Eleanor Roosevelt

 

“Every company’s greatest assets are its customers, because without customers there is no company.” Michael LeBoeuf

 

“Customer satisfaction is worthless. Customer loyalty is priceless.” Jeffrey Gitomer

 

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Mahatma Ghandi

 

 

7 Customer Service Strategies for an Amazing Customer Experience

It’s Customer Service Week making it an ideal time to review your customer service strategy.

Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to talk with one of the world’s authorities on the customer experience.  Shep Hyken is an author, speaker, and consultant to some of the world’s largest companies.  He is a member of the National Speakers Association’s Speaker Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement and is a member of the distinguished Speaker’s Roundtable.  His books include The Loyal Customer, Moments of Magic, and the bestselling books The Cult of the Customer and his latest The Amazement Revolution.

In The Amazement Revolution, Shep outlines seven powerful strategies to increase customer and employee loyalty.  As Shep says, the Amazement Revolution is, “The strategic decision to remake your organization or your team based on the principle of amazement.”

It seems simple, but it’s profound.  What if you and your organization really remade everything in your company around creating an AMAZING customer experience?  What would happen?