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"Why Choose Between Fun and Content When You Can Have Both"

Is this the way you build a relationship?

Would love to know your thoughts on this recent chain of events:

  • Met a guy on a shuttle bus recently. We were going to the same conference. It was a 10 – 15 minute interaction.
  • We both shared a bit about what we did and our businesses. We exchanged business cards.
  • Ran into him a couple of times during the conference. We said hello and asked if we were enjoying ourselves. (you know, that obligatory stuff).
  • When I got home I sent him a handwritten note; nice to meet you; hope it was a good conference for you.
  • Today I received an email from him telling me how wonderful his company is, asking me to refer him; and that he has two books coming out soon; would I like to know when they come out?

What are your thoughts on this scenario as it relates to building relationships? And what do you think my response was?:

  • Sent back a reply saying “and what are you going to do for me?”
  • deleted the email?
  • referred him to this post?
  • Gave him referrals and told him to let me know when his books came out?
  • Turned to you for advice?

Happy Friday!

But seriously I want to know what your thoughts are.

Today’s (sarcastic) Customer Service Lesson: Get the customer frustrated and then ask for their opinions.

I love Verizon Wireless; and for those of you who have been following my blogging you know that. They have gone above and beyond for me so many times over the years that even if a better plan came along from another wireless carrier I would stay (of course they would somehow match it or do something to make me feel wanted).

But I do get a chuckle every time I need to call them. You have to press an awful lot of numbers and get through a maze of options before you can actually speak to a person. Pressing “0” gets you nowhere.  Like a lot of companies they would like you to self-serve yourself at their website where possible. I get it; but sometimes the matters are a bit more complicated or need to be explained.

So what about that chuckle?

When you finally get through the maze, or had to call back because you thought you remembered the sequence from the last time and now you’re in  Help Option Hell; right before they are ready to connect you, they ask if you would be willing to take a survey about your experience?


Not exactly the best place to make me that offer. Don’t you agree?

My chuckle usually continues with the person on the other end. After he or she helps me I always offer my thoughts on the placement of that survey offer. We usually end up laughing because they too think it is not the best moment in the customer touchpoint to ask for help.

I’m just glad they think it’s silly also. They tell me many others have made the same comment.

Verizon, are you out there? Are you listening? Can you hear me now?

Still love you.

But for my Customer Service friends who are reading this………………where in the customer process are you asking for feedback?

And maybe next time I call I should write down the sequence.

For “MY” Convenience….How to disengage a customer

On a recent flight the following statement was made during the “you can pick from peanuts, pretzels or cookies unless you’re in first class” announcement:

For your convenience Delta Airlines only accepts credit cards for on board purchases.

So when the flight attendant came down the aisle to pick up my trash I asked her to humor me and tell me how them only accepting credit cards is for “MY” convenience.

She laughed so hard that everyone nearby looked. But basically she didn’t know how it was for my convenience? She thought it was ridiculous that those words were chosen, but it was in the manual; so she had to read it.

Ah, the ole manual! So then I’m assuming the answers to the following questions can be found in the manual too:

  • What if I’m the minor who was put on the plane going to see grandma?
  • What if I don’t have a credit card because all of the money used to save the airlines, banks and auto companies left me without a job or with an upside down mortgage wiping out my credit?
  • What if I want to leave no trail of where I have been?

You get my point. How is this for “MY” convenience? Seriously if anyone at the airlines can tell me why this is for my convenience please feel free to get in touch. I really am curious. Now I do understand that most people on that plane probably have a credit card; but some do not. And aren’t we trying to create a customer experience that is positive for 100% of customers? Isn’t that the ultimate goal?

Say yes.

Otherwise, you’ll see me on board that flight attendant’s last flight; when she promises she will say what she really thinks about that policy as she reads that statement. She took my card and promised to call me so I can be there. It will be worth the investment.

And here’s my idea for the airlines…………..the same way I can prepay for my checked baggage maybe allow people to prepay for their cocktails, cheese platter and overpriced M&M’s. Just a thought. In the meantime I’ll just buy the next kid traveling alone a snack…………………..And then get arrested as I exit the plane for being a predator.

Delta, I’m so glad your flight crews see the humor in their work and know how to engage a customer. See you soon.

P.S. If you just remove the word “your” from the sentence it really will be less disengaging. But only less.

R = EE = EC = $$

Today I introduce to you the Recess Formula for Business Success. It’s a pretty simple formula and it will be easy to remember.

R = EE = EC = $$


Where R stands for Recess; EE is an engaged employee; EC is an engaged customer; and I’ll assume that you know what the $$ equals.

Here’s how it works:

Give your employees a Recess (R) ;a break from the customary normal routine. Give them a chance to learn, to think, to play, to innovate, to rejuvenate and wind down. Do this regularly. What you’ll get is an engaged employee (EE).

Engaged employees come up with new ideas, are better team members and provide customer experiences beyond your expectations. And you know what that leads to……………………… an engaged customer (EC).

Engaged customers are fans. They come back. They look for more. They think of you first. You are on their mind. Engage your customers and you increase your bottom line ($$)

But it’s got to start with the employee. It’s gotta start with taking care of your employees. Take care of your employees today; take a recess today in the name of engagement – in the name of profitability.

So who really is the company decision maker?


A while back I received a call from an HR Executive who wanted to hold a Recess for her employees. She wanted to have a little fun celebrating success and strengthening the team.

We had some great emails going back and forth. We talked a couple of times. I developed a plan and sent a proposal.

She then ignored me.

I sent her an email. She responded immediately apologizing and they were really busy finalizing budget. She would look at the calendar this week.

She then ignored me.

I emailed a couple of weeks later. Something about busy, stressed and working on tight deadlines and new initiatives.

My response: “Exactly why you need these few hours for Recess….and right now. It will get your team engaged, productive and through this stressful period.”

Her response: “I promise I will get to it this week. (What’s there to get to?) Let me talk to CEO and get it on the calendar since I want him there.”

AHA!!! So she is not the decision maker!

Two more weeks passed and that is when I packed up one of those Decision Kits pictured above and mailed it to her with a note “Perhaps this will help you pick a date?”

She responded with a “that was very clever” and how she ran into the CEO’s office when it arrived; and another promise to talk to the CEO about picking a date. I decided to remove her from the situation.

I’m now talking with the CEO. She is clearly not the decision maker.

I find it sad that people are given leadership roles yet still need the approval for every decision they make – or are afraid to just make a decision. It’s killing business. It’s killing the economy. It’s killing your workforce.

Does your organization suffer from not being able to make decisions. Perhaps you need The DECISION KIT! Or maybe it is time for a Recess?

Engage a Customer: I like Your Hat. Thank You.

The title says it all.

Well it used to say it all.

When I am out in public I get stares and comments about my beanie hat. The majority of the comments are positive; and they come from Boomers, Gen X’ers, Gen Y’ers and the very young. I used to just smile or thank people for the compliment.

Then one day I smacked myself in the head and went “DUH!”

This was an opportunity to engage someone in a conversation. This was the opportunity that might possibly lead to a business card exchange. Maybe even a sale or a booking? So I sat around (and still do so) thinking of replies to when someone says “I Like Your Hat”or “Great Hat!”.

  • Thanks. What do you like about it?
  • Where’s yours?
  • I see you smiling. That’s a good thing. There aren’t enough people doing that.
  • What do you like most about it?

And then for a brief moment I have a conversation; usually with the focus of the conversation on the other person. After all, I don’t want to appear like a sleazy salesperson. Lots of times the conversation comes back to me and what I do for work.

I’ve also come up with comebacks for “What’s with the hat?” I love those, because I can usually get right to point of how important it is for people to take a short Recess at work from time to time; whether it be fun and games or Recess with a learning/training purpose – which is also fun and games in my case. 

So what does this have to do with you? Each and every person reading this has an opportunity to engage a conversation every day. Just about everyone has worn a promotional item of sorts displaying their company name. Too many conversations go something like this……..

“Oh, you work for Acme Inc.”



There are so many ways this conversation can go. Why don’t you and your team take a short Recess tomorrow and figure them out? Have fun with it!

So where’s your hat?

Thanks to my friend Helen Leopard for being the inspiration for this posting!

Your Presentation was PowerPointless. But it taught me a lot.



In the last month I have sat through several PowerPoint Presentations where I have wanted to jab nails through my  eyes.

  • Text was so small even the people in the front row could not see what was being presented
  • Charts packed with information that could not be read from most points in the room
  • Slides that appeared to be a shot of a Word document
  • Bullet point after bullet point of every single word the presenter was saying. Why even have the presenter show up? I can read it myself.

You get my point. I know we have all experienced this. Use of the tool was pointless.

Bottom line is the slides did nothing to engage me, nor the rest of the audience, but probably did a heck of a lot to keep the presenter on track, especially if he or she was unprepared or nervous. Now don’t get me wrong, I have seen some good use of PowerPoint as well (and some very cool presentations using Prezi); but most have been marginal.

But now I find myself in a predicament. For an upcoming gig PowerPoint is required. And not only is it required; but there is a template I must use. Ugh!

So first I need to further learn the tool. I have used it – on occasion. But more importantly I’m sitting here thinking about the things that bother me the most about poor use of PowerPoint. Because most people are good at pointing out flaws. Very few are good at offering or showing alternatives.

So I’m sitting here thinking few words, lots of pictures, fun and engaging. Because that’s how I would approach a presentation without PowerPoint (well obviously not the few words part).

But here are my thoughts for you today…………What irritates you? What have you critiqued? What bothers you? But most importantly, what are you going to do to change the status quo when the next opportunity is presented? You’ll not only be part of the change, you’ll be educating yourself and others as well.

Become a part of all you want to fix by showing people how to fix it!

And wish me luck. I’ll need it!

P.S. I just inserted an animated school bus driving across the slide. Woo-Hoo!!!

Video Killed the Radio Star and Technology Killed the Entrepreneur’s Vacation……….sorta

The first video to appear on MTV when it debuted was the song Video Killed the Radio Star. Most people know that; but just in case you didn’t I thought I would lay the groundwork for my post.

Well last week technology killed my vacation……….sorta.

The good news is I got to ride my bike a lot. I got to eat fried clams. I got to watch fireworks (twice) as towns on Cape Cod celebrated the 4th of July holiday on different days. I got to the beach. I swam. I sunned. I read a book. I tanned. I relaxed. I listened to great music.

I also closed one speaking gig and moved a second one closer to a signed contract.

I’ve criticized people for being glued to their phones and I’ve been criticized for being glued to my phone. But the reality is sometimes there’s no escaping it. What it comes down to is how you manage it, but more importantly how you manage it so the people spending time with you still feel like you are with them and not elsewhere. I’m thinking I did a pretty good job of that last week.

How good are you at managing the perceived “you’re ignoring me” phenomena that is our world today?