JJ's (Feb '07) Tips in this issue:

1. Unbelievable Customer Service?
2. Favorite Quotes
3. Tele-Coaching & Tele-Mentoring

Use the following tips as training tools.

Present this situation to your group and brainstorm solutions together, or submit your own situation question to be answered in an upcoming newsletter.


A consultant colleague wrote in her email:

"I agree with your comments. People keep saying they want to be more proactive, deliver better service, blah, blah, blah....but I don't see anything any different than they did 20 years ago. There has to be skills taught that will induce the desired changes.

Have you seen any unbelievable success stories that really have made a


My email reply to her:

"The one that comes to mind is a recent experience I had with the local Acura Service department when I took my new Acura TL in for service. I noticed something had changed because they seemed to be bending over backwards to please me in every way possible. Before I left, two people told me they hoped I would give them a very high evaluation on the phone call and survey that I would be receiving the following week, AND if there was anything else they could have done to make my experience any better, they would like to know about it.

When the first call came, my husband (Scott) answered and gave a verbal 9 rating (thinking that everyone has room for improvement). Then I received another call from the service rep who had handled the job. He asked about what he could do to bring the score up to 10 as their overall rating was running a little lower (around 9) and they were eager to bring it up to 10. I assured him I would give him a 10 on the on-line survey because there really wasn't anything more he could have done as I had been impressed.

Afterwards, I thought, WOW! They have really built a fire under those service people. It seemed like management was working on the front lines for  once. I could tell that it sort of ran through the whole service group, and it had to be coming from the top. Otherwise, they would not have changed to be so extraordinary and unlike other service organizations in general. They were doing the right things the right way at the right time!

My expectations are now going to be much higher next time I have my car serviced....but more importantly, they are keeping my business because I like that kind of service. Also, we are thinking of buying a new SUV from them now too.

You have sparked my thinking and I should call the management team and interview them for the complete story."

The next week I called Bill Kendrick, the Los Gatos Acura Service Manager, and asked if I could interview him about this extraordinary service. He enthusiastically agreed to share the keys to their ongoing success.

He said, "We focus on it every day and our personnel is urged and motivated to give great customer service daily." Of course, I asked how they motivated and what kind of daily reminders did they use.

He said their organization is owned by a Fortune 500 Company, and their customer service focus comes from the top. Roger Penske is Chairman and CEO of United Auto Group, and being publicly owned, the owners feel strongly about customer satisfaction. This is not a mom and pop operation. They are pressured to have good scores, and if their customer satisfaction scores are good enough, they are awarded the opportunity to purchase more dealerships.

As the Service Manager, Kendrick explained how he motivates with an up-to-the minute score board on his office window. It shows the Western United States, and they are one of 56 dealers in their zone. The scoreboard shows their current score by the minute, month and year, and how they compare with other dealers in their zone.

The service representatives are motivated with good pay, and most are not college educated, but they are paid more than many who are college educated. They also have the opportunity to increase their individual and team pay with exceptional performances.

Kendrick said this company believes in training, and everyone is required to take a 1-day class on Customer Service to learn the core values and service standards of the organization. Then periodic training is given as refreshers throughout the year.

Also daily adjustments are made immediately if their scores fall lower than their expected standard of 9 to 10 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. Their current zone score is 9.1, and every person in the department works to maintain it and make it higher.

I asked Kendrick what happens when a lower score and review comes in. He said the manager reads the comments and immediately calls the customer to hear the full story. He said that 99 times out of a hundred it is just a matter of educating the customer on what the numbers mean. Some think a 5 is average, and if they didn't notice anything special happening around their service, they may have given only a 5 as their rating. In this case the service needs to increase to be memorable, and the customer may need to be educated on what the numbers mean. They also need to be asked what they could have done to make the service memorable or better. This ultimately shows customers that the department and company focus is on customer service and customer satisfaction, which will increase ongoing and future business.

If the service really missed the mark with a customer (giving a lower score), the manager calls the customer and makes amends. He urges them to give the department another chance to right the wrong and receive a higher mark. Then everyone in the department becomes aware that their performance and customer interaction must be raised another notch.

Bill Kendrick is a proud manager who has been with the company seven months. He said the scores were good when he arrived, and he is making sure they stay that way AND are getting even better. Thank you Bill Kendrick for sharing your successful process and reinforcing what I teach in my speaking, consulting and training!

KEY POINTS: In the best businesses, unbelievable customer service starts at the top with upper management and remains strong down through the front line staff. It can also be sustained if they have hired and trained well, offered additional incentives, and created a positive working environment for their employees (associates).

If you are a manager or supervisor and your top management team is NOT as customer focused as Kendrick's management, you can adopt or adapt what you've read and start bringing your customer satisfaction scores up so high that upper management will notice the benefits to the company and take it upward. It has happened with many of my manager and supervisor clients around the country, but it is a slower process when it starts in the middle or lower levels.

Unbelievable customer satisfaction is a matter of good leadership! If you're not getting unbelievable customer service reviews, start making changes right now, right where you are...regardless of your position.

YOU can be a positive influencer to make it happen, and if you want additional help to get started, give me a call or send me an email.


"What's important in leadership is refining your skills. All great leaders keep working on themselves until they become effective."
-- Jim Rohn

"Practice is the price of mastery. Whatever you practice over and over again becomes a new habit of thought and performance."
-- Brian Tracy


DO YOU WANT TO IMPROVE in an area? Sales or Service?
* Dealing with irate internal or external customers?
* Motivation and growth of your people?
* Leading and Coaching your staff?

TRY our one-on-one Tele-Mentoring (phone coaching service) that is available to business owners, executives, managers, supervisors and staff members.

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Have you had an Evaluation of Your Environment lately so you could receive suggestions on improving it? (It's like the doctor's check up, you often don't know you need it, until after you've had it.)



JJ Lauderbaugh, CMC
1716 Husted Ave.
San Jose, CA 95124
408 445-1590 or 800 500-9656

JJ works with companies that want to give exceptional customer service to increase sales, and with Directors and Call Center/Help Desk Managers want to improve human performance.

She's an international speaker, trainer, facilitator and certified management consultant (CMC) on customer service management, specializing in performance improvement, call centers, up/cross selling and outbound calling.

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