Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bring Back Customer Service

Two of the first things to be cut in a struggling economy are training and customer service. Interestingly, both are viewed as costs but are, in reality, profit centers.

I have written about training in depth, so in this blog I will concentrate on service.

With businesses struggling, they are becoming more and more dependent on offering products and services at reduced prices to generate sales to keep themselves afloat. However, businesses must have a strategic plan centered on low prices for this tactic to work. If not, they could be causing long term damage that will be difficult for their business to recover from.

Remember the following "Jay Goldberg" truths:

People brag about getting low prices.
People recommend when they receive excellent service.

So low prices bring businesses bargain hunters through word of mouth;
while excellent service bring businesses customers through word of mouth.

Conclusion: If your business is a discount provider of goods and services, then the low price result fits into your business model. However; if your business is not a discount provider of goods and services, then low prices could be causing long term problems for your business.

Providing superior service, therefore, could be a good alternative to reducing prices; especially for a business looking to be around for the long haul.

However, be aware that customer service is a science, not an art. There is a right way and a wrong way to provide customer service.

Most businesses employ a "seat of the pants", or a "this is what I would want, so this is what I'll give my customers" approach to service delivery. That usually doesn't work. Remember, the goal of providing superior customer service is to add to the business' bottom line; not to feel good about what you are doing. There is a trade-off between service levels, expected revenues, and costs. And proper customer service needs to be taught to employees, not left to their discretion.

As a first step, my book, How to Get, Keep and Be Well Paid in a Job (click here for more details), has a chapter on customer service. That chapter includes some basic skills you can learn and teach your staff. To learn more about my background in customer service (former Service Director for Citibank where I was employed from the late 70's to early 90's) and some services offered by my consulting firm, click here.

See you in my next post.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Job Talk with Jill and Jay, Part Radio Talk Show, Part On-line Training

Hello. For those of you have been following my blog entries, which started in June of 2008, you can hear the voice behind the writer by clicking on the Blog Talk Radio Player in the right hand column of this page.

My entries here have ranged from:
  • Advice for the job seeker, the employee looking to grow in his or her job, and current or future managers;
  • to my views regarding the proper way to teach work readiness skills, the future of training, and the effectiveness of different training methods;
  • to some (hopefully not too much) self-promotion for my book How to Get, Keep and Be Well Paid in a Job and my consulting business, DTR Inc.;
  • to much more.
The online radio show, in which I team up with fellow Outskirts Press author Jill DeSena-Shook (Just Tell Me How to Get Hired!) follows a similar format. We give advice. We provide exercises listeners can perform at home to improve their skills. We talk about our views, philosophies and experiences. We do a little promotion for ourselves and our books. We answer questions from our audience. And hopefully we entertain while we do all this.

For example, in our pilot episode I discuss the difference between normal conversation and active listening. I also provide exercises that people can do at home to develop or improve their active listening skills, a skill that will make them a more valuable employee, and a skill that will help them immensely during an interview. On the same show Jill talks about the accountability ladder, and how interviewers view perspective employees based on where they place them on the ladder, which is valuable information for anyone looking for a job.

In Episode 1, I talk about ethics, while Jill discusses the pluses and minuses of using a recruiter in your job search.

Episode 2 is scheduled for Super Bowl Sunday, February 7th at 9:00 AM EST. This is the first show where we will answer questions from our listeners so go to the show’s web site to submit a question ( or join the show live at ( and call in. Our topics for this show are deep thinking versus surface thinking, and what you’re appearance reveals about you. Please note that all shows are around 30 minutes. We now set the timer for the show at 45 minutes in case we are in a good discussion and want to run over a bit.