Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Click It with Pete Winemiller

Definitions of Click: To be a great success; to function well together; to hit it off; to become clear; to interact with another or others; to communicate; to connect; to be on the same wavelength.

Well, I clicked with Pete Winemiller, Senior VP of Guest Relations for the Thunder OKC - franchise of the NBA. His message at the NACCM Conference on How Strong Leaders Facilitate Moments that Matter gave the audience of customer service managers and other consultants a powerful reminder that we are in the people business. I circled in red the statement that people do not remember days, they remember moments. Moments matter.

Pete asked the question - who is your most important customer? Many answers were given - the one in front of you at the moment, the one creating the greatest revenue, and the longest relationship. The answer - YOURSELF. You cannot provide consistent customer service unless you take care of the most important person. Business also need to recognize that employees will never treat their customers better than the employees are treated. The Harvard Business Review has a study called the Service-Profit-Chain that proves that when leadership invests in the frontline employees through recruiting, training and technology and other ways to keep team happy and empowered will influence employee behavior. The results is creation of loyal customers that result in profit.

Click is soon to be a book by Pete Winemiller and I know that I will definitely purchase this book for my customer service library. His values align with the practices and principles that I have held for over 30 years of working with teams and customers.

C Communicate Clearly
L Listen to Learn
I Initiate Immediately
C Create Connections
K Know your stuff

On each table was a CLICK badge to wear around our neck - with a blank space to write the way you could to something small in a better way. Pete says that is is not doing 1 thing 100% better that makes a difference, it is doing 100 things 1% better. During the rest of the day, attendees compared badges and what each would improve. I read many: believe in myself; no complaining; listen more; connect.

During lunch, I sat with Pete and asked him about the NBA lock-out. He stated that he had more time for speaking and training. If you have a need for an excellent presenter with amazing experience in serving his 18,000 guests at each NBA basketball game, give him a call. He will click with your team.

Guest Blogger, Customer Service & Sales Trainer & Speaker
Connie Brubaker

Integrity Training Solutions
512 346 7270

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Disney World Delivers – Literally - All the Way to the Airport!

Discovering that my coin purse was missing on the final morning of the NACCM Conference was not a great way to start the day. A few dollars and credit cards were concerns, but my Texas Driver’s License was needed for identification to board the airplane that afternoon. I started retracing my steps to no avail. You know the scene, patting down your pockets, looking in your purse, checking under the bed, tearing the room apart and then starting all over again. I went to the front desk and Marva was extremely helpful as she offered to check lost-and-found and call me within the hour.

Long story short, nothing showed up but Southwest Airlines consoled me with the information that I could make the flight but to allow extra time to go through security. While waiting for the Magic Express to the airport, I checked the front desk one more time and Joey listened carefully to my plight. He began filling out a form and handed it to me – a complimentary taxi to the airport so I could arrive without any delays. This generous gesture and comfortable ride calmed down my flustered demeanor and first-hand showed me the exemplary customer service for which Disney is known.

Disney Institute facilitator, Jack Santiago, shared how symbols such as the Big Ears and the Magic Castle represent the heritage, culture and values of Disney. The quality excellence of their cast of stars is demonstrated in all the gift stores, restaurants, hotel front desks, grounds, and rides. The selection and training process really works. From the onset, Disney’s applicants are informed about the culture and the non-negotiable standards. Disney's intent on hiring for attitude and not aptitude is common advice that I give my clients. Disney also state that regardless of the level of schooling, Disney can train for 90% of the jobs but cannot train to have a good attitude.

By the time I made a smooth taxi trip to the airport, navigated through Southwest and security with little disruption, I knew that a little Disney Magic had worked. I applaud Disney because a fairy Godmother and Prince Charming are needed in everyone’s life during difficulties. Thank you, Marva Davis and Joey Lel.

Connie Brubaker

Integrity Training Solutions

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NACCM Live: Disney Institute in Photos

Yesterday NACCM joined ProjectWorld® & World Congress for Business Analysts® for a joint session from The Disney Institute on "The “Magic” Behind Great Teamwork: Disney’s Approach to People Management."

In this session we discussed some of the ways that Disney provides great service by starting with dedicated cast members who feel like part of a team. Walt Disney created the structure of "first name basis business" - everyone in the organization is important. With some collaborative activities we got a taste of the Disney hiring experience.

View the slide show below for some pictures from the session:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

But what do I do without my cell phone? Go outside and play?

We're through the second day of the 2011 NACCM conference and a major sticking point came during lunch through candid conversation. Now at our table, whilst picking over our salads, fellow attendees were discussing our "Generation Z", the people who will be handed the reigns, describing them as possibly apathetic (in so many words). When I say "apathetic" I may be too harsh in translating their words. But when they look at this generation they see young people with their noses, and 90% of their attention, stuck in their hand-held devices. The concern related to customer support is that they won't have that classic smile, hand shake, greeting, etc. that's been so intregal to the customer experience. What we see is customer experience changing forms.

Judy Ferrell from Verizon expressed at yesterday's loyalty summit the importance of making an online support presence highly available and easy to use. A vital aspect of her site is a forum, with a great deal of material and assistance that's provided by users themselves. Of course not all users are contributors to this type of resource. But to search a forum for help on issues, or Google a product for user-submitted reviews, is proof that our younger generation does care. They just show it differently. So should these technological dependencies bring about a need for us to worry about the future of support? Or should we embrace these transformations and harness what it offers? Or both?

Your friendly guest blogger,

Chris Black
Director, Customer Support and Rollout

Happiness Continues into the Afternoon

The sessions for the NACCM continue in the afternoon to inform, inspire and entertain. My notebook was full with insights, strategies, new stories and examples to share with my audiences and clients. Attendees will return to their offices and present a new approach to an old idea or remind all about the intrinsic value of company philosophy on culture, loyalty and the customer experience.

Judith Ferrell of Verizon gave a stellar presentation about the path her company utilizes to create customer advocates. She stated that customers can be Verizon's advocates and Verizon advocates for their customers. One interesting slide showed the 4 behavior approaches to getting online support. They are the Guidance Seeker, the Researcher, the Busy Multi-Tasker and the Problem Solver. I recognized myself quickly as the Multi-tasker - I don't care about the process - just solve my problem and do it quickly! Which are you? The goal of their online customer support is by not just improving but being innovating.

An authentic and experienced leader in the automobile industry, Mike Sachs of Volkswagon of America, shared about creating customer loyalty. A favorite moment of mine was as Mike read from The Last Lecture written by RandyPausch about the $ 100,000 salt and pepper shaker. One of my speeches is about the value of a lifetime customer and I will definitely include this story in future presentations. Mike shared that brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room and culture is what your employees say when you're not in the room. Vision of the leaders creates culture.

Melinda Parks from Sprint gave a presentation on Employee Engagement Through the Customer Experience. She also shared about how to drive loyalty with taking the time to experience what customers are experience and understanding what they value. Customers want to be known and greeted by name. They want to be protected and helped to save money. A personal thumbs up for me was to treat the customer better for staying loyal. Thank You Thursdays was an activity that grew at Sprint where employees take 90 minutes to write personal thank you notes to customers with a huge positive response by employees and the customers.

We wrapped up the day with an engaging and energetic keynote from Jasmine Y. Green, Chief Customer Advocate with Nationwide Insurance Company. A story-teller extraordinaire and a no-holds bar approach with her Board of Directors all the way down to front-line employees, Jasmine is all about the customer. She shared that the culture of her organization moved from be careful to be full of care with heart, mind and soul. One of the success methods contributed by Jasmine was a recognition program that includes peer-to-peer, boss selection and the CEO award. Recognition of employees created amazing and record-breaking Gallop Polls increases in employee engagement.

The first day of the NACCM Conference did not disappoint. I never left the hotel grounds to venture out to the park for adventures with Mickey Mouse and his crew. I had been totally entertained and amused all day.

Connie Brubaker
Integrity Training Solutions
512 346 7270

Monday, November 14, 2011

Got Happiness? NACCM Provides Solutions!

The North American Conference on Customer Management began with great speakers with informative and entertaining messages about Managing Customer Satisfaction. The attendees shared about their objective to return to their workplace with new ideas, renewed commitment, and inspiration to lead their teams. You could see heads nodding in the room as these managers agreed on principles, challenges, programs, dedication to the customer experience and most importantly a determination for new approaches to continue and improve processes to delight our customers.

We began the day with JoAnna Brandi, Customer Care Coach, that shared the science on how happiness can not only create endorphins and serotonin, along with a long list of other benefits, that improve our problem solving abilities, focus, creativity, and resilience to name a few. The formula for happy customers included the AAA Feedback - Acknowledge & Affirm, Amplify it, and Anchor it. Statistics was also a part of equation in understanding the 60% spread in performance when employees are praised, supported, and show strengths versus emphasizing weakness. An enthusiastic and well-documented presentation on the subject of positivity was enjoyed by all.

Kate Feather, People Metrics, gave a presentation on Brand Ambassadors and improving customer engagement. One of the most powerful measures for investment in customer service programs was that a 5 point increase in customer engagement could improve average stock price by as much as 26% while a 5 point decrease caused stock performance to be below the industry average. Julie Broderick of Signature Flight Support gave a case study of their Voice of the Customer Feedback Program. The program includes action alerts and accountability that maintains momentum.

The final morning speaker was Randall Brandt of Maritz. He shared about setting the bar for customer satisfaction by determining and evaluating the goal whether judgement, benchmarking, or linkage-based targets are used. The objective is to drive continuous improvement to realize desired results.

As a speaker, trainer, and writer, I feel validated, encouraged, and inspired by a room full of advocates that share my passion and unwavering commitment to outstanding customer service. I enjoyed my conversations with other attendees like David Fischer of John Deere, C.J. Muniz of Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Faith Williams, Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Yes, happiness rules here in Orlando and I haven't even enjoyed a lunch yet.

Connie Brubaker
Integrity Training Solutions
512 346 7270

Stretching Customer Feedback

We've made it through the first half of the Pre-Conference Loyalty Summit. All our speakers at least touched on the importance of customer feedback, and it got me wondering if I'm not utilizing what I have as well as I could be. Because my user base is more niche, we depend a lot more on having individual powerful advocates and their praise. To collect this information on a regular basis I previously developed a program for users to share their successes with our tools. When chatting with a happy customer this is usually easy to collect. What we've been doing with these stories is #1 capturing advocates for our brand and #2 using the kind words to justify ROI for new customers, or at renewal time.

JoAnna Brandi, Customer Care Coach, did a great presentation showing, with actual research and numbers, how happiness can effect others positively, not just with customers but in the workplace. Happy employees can add to the bottom line. At SalesQuest we have a team of analysts hard at work each day developing intelligence reports to be published and used by sales and marketing teams. Now when those users come back and tell me how helpful the report was, how much time it saved them, or how much progress they made with their job by using our reports, imagine how much satisfaction our analysts could get out of it. A designer sees their outfit on the red carpet and that is the drive that gets them to say, "I love my job." So for a (apologies team!) not-so-glamorous job, why can't our analysts get that same swell of pride that allows them the same benefit? That pride makes it easier to get up in the morning, and can bring you into to work wanting to accomplish more. This is just one way that I can take customer loyalty into a new realm, get others involved.

The possibilities seem expansive and bring to light that this resource can be stretched further than previously perceived. How else can we stretch customer feedback?

Your friendly guest blogger,

Chris Black
Director, Customer Support and Rollout

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hello, my name is...

Chris Black here, your friendly guest blogger giving you the inside scoop from NACCM 2011. As a newbie to NACCM, I’m hoping to not only give insight to the great content I’ll be viewing, but to also give future attendees a good idea of what they can expect in coming years.

A little about me – As a director of customer support and rollout at my company, I love my customers! Who reading this blog wouldn’t, right? In fact I’m so attached that my three days attending the conference will be one of the longest times I’ve spent away from work since being with my company, SalesQuest.

A little about what I do – I’m in what I consider to be a very lucky situation. Our company offers a subscription service that makes people’s lives easier. So, my job is to make people happy. Since our customer base is concentrated, and our tools are used in certain individuals’ jobs on a daily basis, it gives me room to develop relationships with my users.

Now let’s keep this short and save the good stuff for next week. Stay tuned!

Chris Black

Director, Customer Support and Rollout


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Red Carpet? Not exactly . . .

My appointment is made for the hair stylist, clothing is selected for a great first impression, flight and hotel reservations are made, and the celebrity list is out-of-sight. Just in case you are thinking that I am headed to Nashville to attend the Country Music Awards on Wednesday night, that is not the reason for my state of mind. Next week, I am attending the 2011 NACCM Conference in Orlando on November 13 - 16. I love to speak, write, train and think about customer service and the opportunity to learn from experts in a wide array of industries fills me with delight. I look forward to hearing the stories of creating magical moments for customers from this high-profile celebrity list and many more:
Peter Guber, Author of Tell to Win
Jamie Noughton, Zappos
Jasmine Green, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
Pete Winemiller, NBA Oklahoma City Thunder
Fred Taylor, Jr. Southwest Airlines
Mike Sachs, Volkswagen of America, Inc.
Gina Debogovich, Best Buy
Kelly N. Cook, DSW Designer Show Warehouse
Okay, so I'm not talking about singing stars like Taylor Swift & Toby Keith that entertain audiences with musical notes. I am talking about experts that can teach companies how to keep from hitting a sour note with a client that can impact customer satisfaction, loyalty and the bottom line.
Even with 32 years of customer service experience, I always look forward to hearing fresh ideas and renewing commitment to give my clients the latest and greatest information.
Who do you think will be the entertainer of the year, I mean conference? Please share with me your favorite performances. I hope to see you in Orlando.
Connie Brubaker
Integrity Training Solutions
512 346 7270
Building People, Productivity and Profits with Integrity

Pre-Event Preview: NACCM 2010 in Photos

Headed to NACCM next week? Take a look at these photos from our 2010 event to preview your experience:

Be it inspirational keynotes, networking or stunning stories from 1to1 Media Customer Champion award winners NACCM is sure to be an exciting experience!

Not to be missed: Our top rated session of last year's event with Bill Greenwald, Director, Performance Coaching and Advisory Practice (PCAP) at Humana, Inc is coming back this year as a full day workshop, check out my exclusive interview with Bill here.

Interested? It's not too late to register. Not able to make it this year? Follow along here or on twitter at hashtag #NACCM for live coverage and make sure to Opt In to get updates on future events!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hear what your peers are saying about NACCM

Time is running out! 

The North American Conference on Customer Management is in 2 weeks! We think it's our best NACCM yet- with keynotes from Peter Guber, Author of Tell to Win and Jamie Noughton, Chief Culture Ambassador at Zappos.

But don't just take our word for it! Hear from your peers why NACCM is the event to attend:

"I've attended and spoken to many conferences over the years and NACCM is by far one of the best. The selection of keynotes is amazing - they really capture your attention. You bring in folks speaking on such relevant and cutting-edge topics that cut across the industry. Extremely well done!"
- Glenn Ross, Director, Constituent Relationship Management, American Cancer Society, High Plains Division, Inc.

"Typically, I hate conferences because I feel that not a lot gets accomplished. But, I loved NACCM. You have real-world companies talking about what they are doing. It was a refreshing change from the norm. I talked to partners and told them they have to go." 
- Jason Clement, Director, NIKE Consumer Services, NIKE, Inc.

"Its still the best conference out there."
- Andre Harris, National Customer Service Executive, Westfield LLC

"My Favorite conference. The speakers with real work experience sharing their knowledge and experience is invaluable! I leave feeling inspired, renewed, refreshed and ready to conquer!!"
- Shannon Ray, Customer Experience Project Manager, San Diego Gas & Electric.

"I felt like a got my money's worth after the first day. I am leading the new social media pilot for Southern California Edison, so the Social Media Summit was particularly valuable. I connected with wonderful people, and look forward to continuing the interaction."
- Kendall Reichley

Don't miss out on this extraordinarily experience! Make this your best investment this year and register now. Save 15% off the standard registration rate at NACCM with code NACCMBlog.

We look forward to welcoming you to Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Orlando.

The NACCM Event Team

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Storyteller Spotlight Series: Pete Winemiller of NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder

In this, the final episode of our 2011 Storyteller Spotlight podcast series before we arrive at the 2011 NACCM event, I spoke with Pete Winemiller, Senior Vice President, Guest Relations of the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder.

Pete will be presenting "How Strong Leaders Facilitate Moments that Matter" on Tuesday, November 15th at NACCM.

People do not remember days, they remember moments – Moments Matter! Your verbal and nonverbal communication with customers can make or break consumer loyalty in a split second. Customers think more about their experiences with people than they do about products and services. David Stern, Commissioner of the NBA, recognized Pete “for setting the gold standard for the NBA fan experience.” Learn why at this session, where the key takeaway will be "Feel the power of thinking big & ACTING
SMALL to really CLICK!TM with your Guests."

In this podcast we discussed how Pete helps to make 18,000 sports fans feel at home on a regular basis, and the ways we can stay connected to our customers in this increasingly high-tech world. Listen to the podcast here.

To hear more from Pete, join us this month at NACCM! Remember, readers of the Customer's 1st blog and save 15% off the standard registration rate at NACCM with code NACCMBlog.

For more event news, follow us on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.

Michelle LeBlanc is a Social Media Strategist at IIR USA with a specialization in marketing. She may be reached at