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Creating a New Standard of Excellence-Six Things You Can Do

Posted on April 14, 2020 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (11467)

Below are six steps that you can take to continue to raise your own standards of excellence. These steps will make it easier than ever to stand out, be noticed, and have greater levels of success and satisfaction.



Recognizing that the time had come to replace our hot water heater, my wife called our plumber to schedule an appointment. She placed the call at about 11 a.m. When the agent asked, “Would you be available between one and three?” Lori asked, “Which day?” The agent replied “Today of course.”


Hearing a strange noise coming from our furnace, another call was placed. Again, the appointment was made and the problem was solved the same day. (Are you surprised that the furnace and the plumbing company have the same ownership?)


Earlier this week my wife had a problem with her knee and after seeing our family doctor she was referred to a knee specialist - a specialist considered one of the best in Indianapolis. When she called for an appointment, I feared the worst. Instead, she had an appointment within 24 hours.


My guess is that as you read each of these short stories. You are surprised at the service we received. The fact is, this level of service should be the norm, but sadly isn't. Our experience has lowered the expectations of most of us.


The Good News


The good news in these examples is that it is easier than ever to stand out. When you are good, people will notice. When you are excellent, they will rave.


This goes for us personally, professionally, or as an organization.


Below are six steps that you can take to continue to raise your own standards of excellence. These steps will make it easier than ever to stand out, be noticed, and have greater levels of success and satisfaction.


What You Can Do


1. Get a current check on performance. Talk to those you served, whether your family, coworkers or Customers. Find out from them, how well you are doing in meeting their expectations. Listen to their feedback. Don't justify your current performance or blame others. Simply listen.


2. Determine the standard they want. Again, ask your Customers or those you serve for their input. Listen to their needs, wants and hopes.


3. Determine the standard you want. Remember that their expectations may not be very high based on their experience. Take their feedback and ideas into account, but remember that it is your responsibility to set the level of excellence you want to reach. Set the bar is high as you wish.


4. Under promise and over deliver. Taking the first three steps will heighten awareness and likely raise expectations immediately. As you work to grow your standards remember that you can reach your goal is small steps. Make promises based on your current capacity, not your fondest wish. Make the promise, then deliver more, then raise the level of your promise a bit the next time. Steady and slow wins the race – and remember it won’t take long to leave those you are racing with far behind. This approach will help you raise your standards, and the trust others have I you too.


5. Ask “what's not excellent?” This question will help you continue to find ways to improve your standards and delivery. Ask this question of yourself, of your teammates, and of other interested parties.


6. Measure performance. You've set new standards for yourself. The only way to reach them and maintain them is to measure your performance against those standards. Depending on the standards you are setting this may be very simple or quite complex. Don't make the measurement more difficult than necessary, but remember to measure.


It is clear that these steps have obvious application for serving Customers better. While I encourage you to consider their applications to customer service, I also hope you will consider using them in other areas on your life.


It's time to raise the bar. It's time to set new standards. Standards won’t raise themselves; we must raise them consciously and consistently. The steps above will help you take that conscious action.

What are you going to do to raise the bar?

Customer Service Done Right

Posted on April 14, 2020 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (11485)

Do you provide a service to your customers? You do, if you do any type of work. Are you interested in setting yourself apart from the pack? If so, you can make more money as long as you are committed to providing service that goes above and beyond what is expected.



Are you a stickler about receiving top notch customer service? Do you routinely "come through" as a provider of exemplary services to your customers? Chances are you have been greatly disappointed at one time or another regarding the service you received from a salesperson, an internet hosting company, a hair colorist, or any one of thousands of different service providers. Frankly, customer service in many areas -- retail, for one -- isn't what it used to be. However, where there is poor customer service there is also a great opportunity. Read on and I will explain.


Let's say you are in a field that routinely provides so-so service to customers. It could be that customer expectations are low and no one expects top notch service. Maybe most customers are simply "price sensitive" and could care less about how fast or how well you deliver. However, you can bet that there are a percentage of customers out there who appreciate service that goes above and beyond the industry standard. These same customers typically will pay a little extra for service that really serves them. If you can tap into this customer base, you can create a niche, raise your prices, and make more money in the long run.


Depending on your industry, you could command a price premium of 10-25% over the average provider. That may not sound like a lot, but it could spell the difference between eating hamburger or eating steak. I don't know about you, but I would prefer eating steak!


Naturally, providing a high level of customer service means you will have to break a sweat. You may have to happily redo [its all in the attitude, baby!] or improve on an existing project in order to satisfy a good paying customer. This is what sets you apart from the pack.


If you are satisfied with the "status quo" then that's okay too. Just don't expect to have customers beat down your doors for work. At least the better customers will not!

31 days of Healthy Living

Posted on April 14, 2020 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (6671)

In the midst of Covid-19, you’re probably looking ahead to the future. Are you thinking about positive changes you’d like to make in your life or things you’d like to accomplish while you are home? If you haven’t decided , here are 31 things you can do to get yourself on the right track:

Drink green tea – Green tea is high in antioxidants and may help reduce heart disease risk.

Add avocadoAvocados are a great source of healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and fiber. They are also linked to weight management, cancer prevention, and lower cholesterol levels.

Don’t skip breakfast – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Studies show breakfast can help maintain a healthy body weight.

Know your serving sizes –Knowing the appropriate portion sizes is key in maintaining a healthy body weight. On a typical plate, the protein (meat, fish, poultry) should be the same size as the palm of your hand, a serving of carbohydrates is about the size of your fist, and a serving of vegetables is an open handful.

Enjoy blueberriesBlueberries are low calorie (80 calories per serving), rich in Vitamin C, and high in antioxidants. They also contain anthocyanins, which promote heart health!

Cut down on sugar – Sugar fills your body with empty calories and can lead to serious health conditions like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Quit smoking – Smoking may contribute to heart disease and cancer. Ditch the cigarettes and keep more than 4,000 harmful ingredients out of your body.

Eat tomatoes – Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C (both antioxidants), rich in potassium and low in cholesterol and fat. They also contain lycopene, a phytonutrient which gives tomatoes its red , vibrant color and has shown some cancer-fighting properties, especially when processed.

Get a breast exam – Breast exams help find cancer early, when it is more likely to be small and confined to the breast. These factors lead to a more successful treatment.

Wear sunscreen – Sunscreen protects against sunburn, skin damage, and skin cancer. SPF 30 – 50 is recommended. Make sure the active ingredient(s) in your sunblock is Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide.

Shower with warm water – Don’t shower with water that’s too hot so you don’t dry out your skin! Remember to apply lotion to your entire body immediately following shower to lock in moisture!

Take your vitamins– Vitamins help your body function properly. If your vitamin intake is low, you may lack energy or be more vulnerable to infections.

Protect your eyes – Wear sunglasses that protect against 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. UV radiation from the sun contributes to different types of eye problems, like cataracts and macular degeneration.

Give your eyes a break – Prevent eye strain in the digital age by taking regular breaks from your computer screen.

Lift with your legs, not your back – Use the strength of your legs and glutes to decrease the stress on your back muscles.

Practice good posture – Practicing good posture is essential to avoiding effects like muscle pain, tingling, or even nerve injuries.

Get a good pair of sneakers – When exercising, it’s important to wear shoes that support your feet. Consider investing in sports-specific shoes if you practice three or more times a week!

Stretch when you wake up – Stretching in the morning can help prevent injuries and gets your blood flowing, which helps you wake up faster.

Exercise – Break a sweat for 30 minutes, 5 to 7 times a week to help maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, control blood pressure, and control cholesterol levels.

Use ginger – Ginger relieves gastrointestinal stress, reduces nausea, and is shown to have cancer-fighting properties.

Enjoy probiotics – Studies suggest probiotics (found naturally in yogurt and some cheeses) may help treat diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, acne, and even eczema in children.

Eat fish – Oily fish contain essential fatty acids known as omega-3s and omega-6s, which can improve cholesterol levels!

Laugh – Laughter stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles because of the increase in air intake. All that oxygen also releases endorphins in your brain!

Drink water – Every part of your body (cells, tissue, organs), needs water to function. Drink 6-8 glasses of water per day to keep your body hydrated.

Exercise your mind – Use it, or lose it! Exercising your brain, also known as neurobics, is just as important as working up a sweat at the gym. Challenging your brain on a regular basis can help reduce the risk of diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Manage stress – Keeping your stress level in check is essential for overall health. Stress raises your heart rate and blood pressure, so try breathing exercises or yoga.

Read – Keep your brain in shape by reading a book. Studies show that reading increases your memory and ability to focus.

Have sanitizer ready – Especially during cold and flu season, hand sanitizer is a great way to keep your hands clean when soap and water aren’t available. Studies have shown hand sanitizer effectively prevents the spread of colds, so make sure to keep it close.

Wear your seatbelt – Buckle up! Wearing your seatbelt is a simple habit that protects you and your loved ones.

Get plenty of sleep – Experts recommend 8 hours of sleep per night. Getting less than six hours of shut eye in a single evening can affect your mood, while longer periods of poor sleep can yield permanent damage to the way your brain processes information.

Eat broccoli – Often described as a “super food,” broccoli provides fiber, vitamins K and C, and other nutrients, such as the ones that eliminate toxins from the body.

These are just 31 ideas to help you make it through these times.

Have you made a change?

Can You Hear Me Now?

Posted on April 14, 2020 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (5925)

We all think we know how to listen, yes? The fact is that very few people know how to truly listen. In our earnestness to serve, we get pulled out of a conversation by preparing for the answer while the other person is still talking. We wait for a pause and when the person takes a breath, we jump in to improve or remedy the situation.


When you listen to a customer (or co-worker, spouse, significant other), your brain is constantly making hundreds of assumptions. Each word, inflection, and tone of voice is interpreted, but not always as the speaker intended. Research shows that 2/3rd of all employees feel management isn’t listening.*


We all think we know how to listen, yes? The fact is that very few people know how to truly listen. In our earnestness to serve, we get pulled out of a conversation by preparing for the answer while the other person is still talking. We wait for a pause and when the person takes a breath, we jump in to improve or remedy the situation.


Or, we worry about the question that we may be asked that we might not be able to answer intelligently. Will we know the answer? Will we be able to respond appropriately? What if I am asked a question I don't know the answer to? What if I don't understand the question? What if they find out that I'm new on the job/on the equipment/at this company? What if they get angry at me? What if I frustrate them? What if, what if, you fill in the blank. We are anywhere but listening to the other person.


Our intentions are good. We want to give the best response we can, hopefully the right answer. However, if we are not present to the conversation, the other person feels not heard, unimportant, ripped off, and the like. If there was no upset on their side to begin with, it now exists big time. Fact: if you are not listening to the customer, there is no way you can answer the question. The truth is you probably haven't even heard it.


Listening is our least used and weakest communication skill. None the less, great customer service professionals are first and foremost great listeners. Active listening forces us to tune in to what the customer is saying, instead of trying to think of what our responses will be.


Hearing and listening are not the same, though many people use the words interchangeably.

Hearing is a physiological process whereby auditory impressions are received by your ears and transmitted to your brain.

Listening involves interpreting and understanding the significance of the sensory experience.


The derivative of listen is 'list,' which means to lean toward one side. Have you ever noticed how you lean in when someone is talking to you, or vice versa? Even on the phone?


When you listen, you win and the other person wins. But it is not enough to just listen, you have to communicate to people that you're listening. Sometimes people don't think you're listening when you are because you're not communicating that you're listening.

Are you communicating that you are listening?

Customer Service - A Lost Art?

Posted on April 14, 2020 at 9:50 AM Comments comments (6180)

Customer service is a very important part of any business. It can be the determining factor when some one is considering a return visit to your business.




Is customer service a lost art? Before you answer that question, take a moment and think about the last few times you have gone shopping or out to dinner. Okay, now that you have really thought about it, is your answer any different?


Why is it that when we actually DO receive excellent customer service that it makes such an impression on us that we usually choose to go back? Why - because the occurrences are so few and far between!!!


As a home business owner, it is imperative to my business that customer service is ALWAYS a top priority. Remember the saying: “If you don’t take care of your customer, somebody else will”. I’m sure you have read or heard it somewhere before.....and how true it is.


Here are a few ways to improve customer service at your business:


1) SMILE - Sounds too simple, right? As a customer, would you prefer to be serviced by a smiling face, or a scowl that would befit a guard dog?


2) LISTEN - Always be slow to speak and quick to listen. Let customers express themselves without you trying to do it for them. Nobody likes being interrupted.


3) DON’T BE TOO PUSHY - Yeah, I know - the bottom line is sales, right?


There is a fine line between suggesting products/services and pushing them down a customer’s throat. If you are too pushy, your customer will probably walk away and take their business elsewhere.


4) PHONE ETTIQUETTE - Whether you are answering or initiating a call, always remember who the customer is. Be polite. Try “Yes sir/ma’am” instead of “yeah” and “nope”. If you don’t have an answer for your customer - offer to do some research to find what they are inquiring about.


5) THANK YOU - ALWAYS thank your customers. Even if you could not help them or they decided not to purchase from you. Leave them with a positive impression of your business before they leave.


6) TRAINING - Train your employees. Don’t let an untrained employee ruin your track record of excellent customer service. Train your employees on-the-job for as long as necessary to teach them good customer service.


“And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” Luke 6:31


In conclusion: Customer service may be THE most important aspect of your business plan. I know of many people who are willing to pay a little more for a product or service in order receive excellent customer care. Price, advertising, and location are all vital to a business---- but whatever you do, don’t overlook the all-important “Good Customer Service”.

Washing your hands

Posted on April 13, 2020 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (15823)

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Posted on April 13, 2020 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (14826)


There is more than likely a niche that you have not yet gotten into or have been wanting to get into for a while, but are procrastinating out of fear of failure, or any reason for that matter.


Well, I guarantee that you are not involved in every single profitable niche. So, the question arises, "Why not add another profit stream to your business if you can?"

I personally can't think of a reason why not to, can you?


Let's say you are in the Debt Relief niche and Insurance niche. You may be leaving money on the table by not getting into another hot niche right now, such as holiday gifts, or a completely new niche that will be a permanent income stream, like Business loans or Insurance for contractors.


Breaking into a new niche can be easy, or it can be difficult depending on how YOU make it. Getting into the Debt Relief niche (just as an example), can be as easy as putting up a site or blog about business loans. Write several articles or product reviews about loans and lenders. If you cannot do the research and write articles yourself, you can again, outsource them for as low as $4 an article for good quality articles.


Once you have a site/blog set up with articles/reviews you are good to go! You can promote your new niche site and write articles (or have them outsourced again) and submit them to any directory.


This tip will also surely enhance your business and increase your profits in the coming year(s), provided you take action and implement it fully.


So what if you fail? That is what business and being successful is all about, trial and error. Successes and failures, there is no such thing as a perfect world. And most of the time if you pick a good niche follow your goals and stay focused you will succeed.

What could be your new niche?