Monthly Archives: February 2007

Dealing With Abusive Customers

yoda1 Presented By Yodi

Sometimes you have to weigh  our company policy, customer/student requests,  when dealing  with angy and sometimes abusive customers in ESI and Prosper . When things turn ugly, what should you do with the customer? This post by   had some great insight and the comments  and may offer a great discussion on this topic with your team.  I put the phone on mute take a breath and rember the starfish story

 Please read this and let me know what your thoughts are?



Filed under customer service, stories

Does happiness at work matter?


The following is brought to us from  the Customer Service Reader RSS Service. It has a collection of notes & commentary on essential works of experts in customer service and related fields.

Does happiness at work matter? Most of your life is spent going to work, being at work, going from work, thinking about work, and talking about work after work. If you work in customer service, and are not happy with your job, you have the wrong job. You should find the calling that makes you happy. When you are happy at work, you’ll never have to work another day.

Most people don’t expect to find happiness, working a customer service job. But customer service, by its very nature, presents unique opportunities for the pursuit of happiness, not only for individuals, but for society as a whole.

Researchers in the field of Subjective Well-being (happiness) have found that there are certain characteristics that happy people have in common. Happy people:

  • Have self-control
  • Are grateful
  • Have good social relationships, supportive friends and family
  • Have an adequate income
  • Have respectable jobs, and
  • Have a philosophy that provides meaning to their lives.

Using this framework, can we, as providers, find happiness through customer service?


The consistent practice of outstanding customer service behaviors requires an extraordinary amount of self-control. It starts with the realization that YOU are in control.

  • You choose your attitude
  • You choose your response
  • You choose to set aside your personal problems
  • You choose to give others a better day

When we take control, we refuse to be victims of circumstance, or of our own personal weaknesses. We take charge of our lives and of the situations that we face. This is a principal requirement of a life in service and, as it turns out, a principal requirement for a happy life.


“Thank you” is perhaps that the second most important customer service phrase. We use it (or ought to use it) dozens of times a day (thank you for calling, thank you for bringing that to my attention, thank-you-come-again). When we use these phrases authentically – i.e. when we mean what we say – we develop a habit of thankfulness. In Akumal III, Dr Bob Emmons reported research which showed that “people high in gratitude are more satisfied with life, have more vitality, more happiness, more optimism, hope, positive affect, lower psychological symptoms, more prosocial behaviors, and are higher on empathy”.

Good social relationships

When you consistently practice customer service values and skills, such as kindness, listening, empathy, gratitude, responsibility, and persuasion, you develop habits that will stay with you for the rest of your life, and that can be applied to all other aspects of your life. You’ll be able to make friends more easily, and will be better skilled at strengthening your relationships with your friends and family. They in turn will tend to reciprocate. People who are happy have strong relationships with friends and family. This is both a characteristic of happy people, and a consequence of their behavior.

Adequate income

There is a premium in the labor market for outstanding customer service providers. More important, we have the opportunity to constantly increase both our short-term and long-term income by applying our customer service skills. As Henry Ford once said, one who is “absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.”

Respectable jobs

This has two components. There’s the respect that you get for how you do your job, and there’s the respect you get for having that job. It’s not easy to provide outstanding customer service to every customer, on every transaction, every minute of the day. If you can do that, that’s something you can truly be proud of, and it’s certainly deserving of respect. Chances are you already stand out, and are duly rewarded.

The second component, respect for the job itself, depends less on the individual, and more on the team as a whole. When everyone in your organization or location provides outstanding service, people tend to talk about you, and you’re likely to be known and respected for the service that you provide. It’s a source of pride just to be part of such a team. The hard part is that it does depend on everyone. All it takes is one bad player to ruin the whole game.

A philosophy that provides meaning to their lives

The principles at the root of outstanding customer service are simple enough to say:

  • Our lives have more meaning when we serve others
  • Customer service is, first and foremost, a form of service
  • To serve each other and each customer is to serve humanity

As customer service providers, we touch millions of people each year. Each contact is an opportunity to make each life we touch a little better each day. And when we make people happy, they tend to pay it forward. Through the phenomenon psychologists call the “emotional contagion”, we can be carriers of an epidemic of kindness. We can be weapons of mass construction.

I’ll end with some thoughts from some people who are a lot smarter than me:

Everyone can be great because everyone can serve. Martin Luther King Jr

Joy can be real only if people look on their life as a service. Leo Tolstoy

The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive. Only a life lived for others is a life worth living. Albert Einstein

Every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and will make, not only our own happiness, but that of the world at large. Mohandas  K Gandhi

See also: Q&A with Dr Ed Diener

What are your thoughts and ideas ?

Resources that may be helpful:


Filed under good-to-great, happiness at work, tips

The power of saying “I am sorry”


On Kim Proctor ‘s Blog entry from December of 2006. I read last night the following

” …Recently I found that my online bank account had someone else’s name on it when I logged in. This gave me a scare. Who was this person? And why was their name on my account – and my name wasn’t showing up?

I use online banking a lot and wondered if this was someone trying to get into my account or if this was a computer error. It was a weekend when I discovered the error so I waited for early Monday morning and called the phone service at Bank of America.

They were as helpful as they could be despite the fact that they said the online banking phone service didn’t open for another two hours (that is nuts). After they tried to help me they told me not to be too afraid that someone was in my account that it was likely just a computer error. And they told me to visit my local branch to get more help.

Nonetheless it was nerve wracking to wait for the branch to open. I darted over right away and found someone quickly who could help me. Funny thing was they couldn’t figure out what happened and had to call the Connecticut branch that this other customer was from to find out more. What a crazy system. ” to read the rest of the story click the lick

The woman in the bank who helped me did promise to follow up with me and resolve it within 48 hours for sure. While I ended up calling her before she called me back, she was on the case and said it would be clear in 24 hours. It was.

But I have to say, not until the last 10 seconds of our last conversation did this banker tell me “sorry.” While it was not her fault – or anyone else’s I had talked to – no one said sorry at any step in the process. It was a very matter-of-fact treatment..” Read the full article here.

It reminded me of my training. I received as a young manager from a Syntax Traininer .(Syntax Training is to help employees and managers write and manage better.)

You may “..find it helpful to apologize when a situation has caused problems or hard feelings—even when you are not responsible for the situation. In these cases, “I am
sorry” does not mean “I am responsible.” It means “I care about you and your feelings.” Here are two examples at Prosper and ESI

“I am very sorry that the product has not made it to your home yet.”
“I am sorry that the e-book will require you
to take time and learn how to down load it sir.”

Don’t be sorry about apologizing! It is one of the best
steps you can take to maintain good relationships,
overcome hard feelings, nurture loyalty, and show
respect for other human beings. (The Power of Saying “I’m Sorry” By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston Founder, Syntax Training PDF)

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Prosper is on it’s way to become a great company How?

Prosper decided to ask

Can a good company become a great company? How?

Our company’s E decided to uses the book Jim Collins book

It took Jim Collins and team of researchers 5 years to come up with the answers: 11 companies made the leap from good to great and then sustained those results for at least 15 years. How great was great? The good-to-great companies averaged cumulative stock returns 6.9 times the general market in the 15 years after their transition points. The actual screening-and-selection process was a rigorous one.

The criteria were:

1. The company had to show a pattern of good performance, punctuated by a transition point, after which it shifted to great performance. “Great performance” was defined as a cumulative total stock return of at least three times the general market for the period from the transition point through 15 years.

2. The transition from good to great had to be company specific, not an industrywide event.

3. The company had to be an established and ongoing enterprise — not a startup. It had to have been in business for at least 25 years prior to its transition, and it had to have been publicly traded with stock-return data available for at least 10 years prior to its transition.

4. The transition point had to occur before 1985 to give the team enough data to assess the sustainability of the transition.

5. Whatever the year of transition, the company had to be a significant, ongoing, stand-alone company.

6. At the time of its selection, the company still had to show an upward trend.

The study began with a field of 1,435 companies and emerged with a list of 11 good-to-great companies: Abbott Laboratories, Circuit City, Fannie Mae, Gillette Co., Kimberly-Clark Corp., the Kroger Co., Nucor Corp., Philip Morris Cos. Inc., Pitney Bowes Inc., Walgreens, and Wells Fargo.

The next step in the study was to isolate what it took to make the change. At this point, each of the 11 good-to-great companies was paired with a comparison company — a company with similar attributes that could have made the transition, but didn’t.

Then the research began. Collins and his team reviewed books, articles, case studies, and annual reports covering each company; examined financial analyses for each company, totaling 980 combined years of data; conducted 84 interviews with senior managers and board members of the companies; scrutinized the personal and professional records of 56 CEOs; analyzed compensation plans for the companies; and reviewed layoffs, corporate ownership, “media hype,” and the role of technology for the companies. The findings are contained in Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … And Others Don’t (HarperBusiness, 2001).

We as a company are on our way to becoming one of the great companies. we already have “level 5” leaders in our senior managers and board members and seeing how far we have gone in just this last year.

Please visit his Laboratory. Here people “.. of all levels can explore key ideas found in the writings of Jim Collins..”

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Filed under good-to-great