Kit-Kat® Clocks Rock!

Excellent customer ServicI recently had an experience with Kit Kat® clocks that I just have to rave about!  You know the famous Kit-Kat® clock.  They are those cute little cat clocks with the moving tail and eyes.  My husband (boyfriend at the time) blessed me with a gift of this clock for my Birthday back in March 2008. I have love this clock!  It’s been running great  until a few months ago. The tail kept stopping even after replacing the batteries with new ones.  I called their corporate office – left a message –  and here is where the real magic happened:

  • I got an answer that day!
  • Dave, the customer service professional was friendly, professional, and highly competent
  • He was so knowledgeable about the clock that he troubleshooted why the clock may have stopped working and walked me through the step by step process on getting it fixed
  • When we called back the next day with some remaining questions, we got the same person!
  • In a few moments, Dave walked my husband through some additional steps and our clock now works wonderfully!
  • And now we are raving fans about this company! (Note:  The pink kit-cat® clock (with eye lashes) may be joining our family soon!)

For more information about this incredible organization (celebrating 80 years in business) – go to

You don’t want to miss the three-story tall fully-functional Kit-CatCat®’s Clock that will be seen by over 300 million TV viewers at the Rose Parade!

One of your Most Important Assets

Have you ever thought about the power of your name in relation to referral marketing?  Indeed, anytime we refer an organization to one of our customers or business colleagues, a part of our reputation is going with it.  When we provide good referrals, we can be seen as an invaluable partner and resource to people. When our referrals are not so good, our name and reputation is negatively impacted.

In this marketplace, where customers are more cautious about spending money, think about how you can add value – and extend your own brand name and reputation – by providing a good referral to your customers and business community. 

And what an ideal time to promote some more vendors that I have had the pleasure of doing business with! These vendors are located in Washington and I highly recommend them!

NeverMind Marketing, Shaun Nestor, Owner

Shaun Nestor teaches business owners, entrepreneurs, consultants, and marketing professionals about how to increase their profits and brand awareness through the power of social media and internet marketing.  He is competent, knowledgeable, easy to work with and creative. Shaun brings a solid customer service orientation to each interaction and is also proficient in setting up websites and creating videos.

istarmedia, LLC, Ryan Graves, Owner

Ryan Graves with istarmedia, LLC  provides a number of services, including video transfer, graphic design, CD & DVD duplication, book to CD recording, website design, and more!  He is knowledgeable, creative, efficient and professional. Ryan works with a high attention to detail and he serves his customers with excellence.

Create (and Manage) Expectations

How does creating and managing expectations help create a culture of contribution?   We will answer this question by taking a principle from customer service.   In the book, “50 Powerful Ideas You Can Use to Keep Your Customers” the author, Paul R. Timm, Ph.D, says that our expectations are “perceptual.”  They exist in our minds – and sometimes they are accurate and rational, but sometimes they aren’t.  When we are customers, we evaluate our service based on the entire experience – that goes beyond the core product or service purchased.  And guess what, our evaluation is based on our own expectations – did the service provider meet or exceed our expectations? (Paul R. Timm says that the key for gaining loyalty with our customers is not in meeting what the customer expects – but in exceeding it). 

Here’s the take-away. Your employees and staff members have expectations when they decide to work for your organization.  Part of your role as a leader, is to help your “customers” (your staff members) become engaged and committed and even “loyal” partners by constantly exceeding their expectations.  You want to go beyond what your staff anticipate or expect so that they feel positive and energized to go beyond what their job entails.  Here are some ways you can do this:

  • Make job expectations explicit. Clearly communicate the job requirements and how employees will be evaluated.
  • Provide frequent feedback for your team members so they know how they are doing in relation to the job expectations.
  • Recognize each employee’s efforts, especially those employees who excel and do work beyond what is expected
  • Get to know each staff member so that you can tailor your communication style to the individual
  • As you get to know each staff member, discover or learn what each one anticipates and expects from you as a manager – and if possible, over deliver
  • Review every “touch point” that your employee has with your department and find ways to deliver value (Some areas that you can look at include: how you orient a new employee, whether you are providing mentoring for new employees, what opportunities employees have to continue to learn and grow, the frequency of your one-on-one meetings with each employee, your consistency in providing performance feedback, recognition, etc.)

Perhaps you didn’t realize that your role as a leader has such a parallel to customer service. But your most important customer base isn’t those who purchase your products, it is those people who choose to work for you!  And being aware of the power of expectations can go a long way in ensuring your staff feels good about working for you and your team!

As we conclude this series, let’s review, the 7 ways you can create a culture of contribution in your work team, community association, church setting, or volunteer organization: 

  1. Hire the right people
  2. Engage your staff and your customers
  3. Enthusiastically promote others
  4. Offer benefits to be involved
  5. Recognize good work
  6. Reward contribution
  7. Create (and manage) expectations

Imagine the positive energy and productivity that you and your team could experience as you start to implement these steps to creating a culture of contribution!  So here’s my question, which one will you tackle first?

Reward Contribution

As we continue our “Creating a culture of contribution” series, we focus our attention on the subject of recognition.   Here are some creative ways you can recognize your staff, team, or board members:

  •  Publicly recognize contribution. (Make sure you make recognition meaningful   – some people would prefer more personal recognition – so the best thing you can do is ask your people how they want to be recognized)
  • Tell staff what their greatest contributions were in the last week, month, and year.
  • Let people know how their contributions are valued and how they contribute to your organization’s mission.
  • When people fail, reframe the failure as an opportunity for learning. 

Numerous studies show that recognition is the key to people feeling appreciated and engaged in an endeavor.  By taking the time to intentionally share a few words of recognition, your employees and volunteers feel appreciated and engaged.  

What can you say today that will help your staff or volunteers feel recognized?

“I wouldn’t go anywhere Else!”

How many times have you said this about a vendor you have worked with?  Think about the times you have said this about an organization of which you are a “loyal fan”.  Got an example?  Now, think about that organization. Aren’t you actually thinking of one person – one incredible person who delivers top notch, value-added service to you?  This is the value of your front line staff that has moment-to-moment encounters with your customers every day. They have the privilege, and responsibility, of being “the face” that customer’s think of when they are saying “I wouldn’t go anywhere else!”

Jerry Akers, a salesperson with Women’s Shoes at Nordstrom is that person for me. I have been a customer of Jerry’s for years. He knows the kinds of shoes that work with my feet. He is efficient, professional, friendly, and he provides value-added service in every interaction. Just a few weeks ago, I needed to find shoes for a wedding. They needed to be flat, comfortable, and classy.  Jerry found them quickly, I tried them on, and 5 minutes later, I was out the door and onto my next errand.

What can you do to create loyal fans who “would never go anywhere else?”   I have two ideas: 1) make sure you train your sales force so they will be knowledgeable about your products and 2) hire those who are both passionate about and skilled in delivering exceptional service.

To move ahead today on idea #1, sign up and register for the 3-hour workshop Creating a Culture of Service: More Tools to turn your Fans into your Enthusiastic Salesforce that will be held on Tuesday, August 17th from 8-11:00 am at Celebration Church in Puyallup.

This is an advanced workshop on creating a service culture to equip you with what you need to transform your client-fans into a highly dedicated sales force!   After attending this three-hour workshop, you will walk away with:

  • Creative ways to provide value for your current customers
  • Easy-to-implement strategies to turn your satisfied clients into fans who become part of your sales force
  • A proven system to transform your organization into a culture of service

You will also receive an information-rich guide that is packed with easy-to-implement service skills that you and your staff can refer to long after the session.

Register TODAY at www.BusinessandLeadershipConnection.comBusiness and Leadership Connection



Recognize Good Work

Have you ever been in an organization where exceptional, hard working, high performance contributors were rewarded … by giving more and more work?  One of the better ways to ensure that people will continue to contribute is to simply recognize good work.  Let your people know that good work is valued and give continuous feedback regarding their performance and contributions so that they can continue to grow and be successful in their jobs.  If more of a challenge is what motivates someone, consider providing other career or leadership opportunities for these high-performers so their enthusiasm and commitment is continually renewed.   Or these may be just the people you can count on to serve as mentors or trainers to others on their team or committee.

 A few more thoughts on this point:

  •  Recognize effectively– Not every person likes being recognized the same way –so know your team members and ask them how they want to be recognized.
  •  Define what “good” means – Create clear expectations for your team so that each person knows what the definition of “good” is – set clear job goals and performance expectations and include deadlines.
  •  Expand your view of work – Work can be defined as the actual task as well as the manner that task is carried out.   Broaden “work” to include people’s interactions with others, their ability to work as a team.   

Offer Benefits to be involved – Part 2

We’ve been talking about creating a culture of contribution through involvement. Here’s another way to get people involved:

  •  Offer opportunities for people to share testimonials of their own benefits of involvement.

 Many times it is those personal stories that spur people on to get involved. Think about creative ways you can have people share their own stories.  How did they get involved? Why did they get involved?  What benefits did they receive from their involvement? 

 In a work setting, many times these stories can be heard at staff meetings or read in company newsletters or ezines.   Sometimes the benefits can be seen by the ways in which people get promoted or are provide career opportunities.

Offer Benefits to be involved – Part 1

A crucial step in creating a culture of contribution is to ensure people are seeing the benefits of their involvement.  Whether you run a work team in an organization or are a leader of a community or professional organization, we all have a “radio frequency”  dialed in at “WIIFM” (What’s in it for me) – and one of your roles is to communicate the benefits of their involvement, through words and actions. Here’s an idea: 

 Communicate (in creative ways) how involvement is an expectation (in the work setting), and the means by which people can get the best value of their membership (in a volunteer organization).

 How do you accomplish this? 

  • Orient new employees that their participation in weekly staff meetings is part of their job expectation (and make sure they know some ways that you expect them to participate)
  • Orient new volunteers and members and train them on the benefits of involvement
  • Make it easy for new volunteers and members to get involved
  • Allow opportunities for each person to facilitate one of your staff meetings
  • Tie your evaluation system to people’s involvement
  • “Educate” your team members on the productive ways to get involved. (For example, I’ve heard several managers say  “If you are going to complain about something, make sure you come up with 1-2 ideas on how to fix the problem.”). 

Enthusiastically Promote Others

Have you ever been with a self-promoter?  I’m not talking about someone who shares good news.  We can all be excited with the successes of others!   I’m talking about someone who intentionally engages in self promotion, endlessly.  It gets old pretty fast, doesn’t it?  As we look at another way to help create a culture of contribution, we turn our attention to the positive things that can happen when we focus on others.   


Enthusiastically promoting others means that we seek to recognize the contributions of others.  Here are a few ideas on how we can do this in our work teams, organizations, volunteer groups, and networking associations:


  • Allocate the first 5 minutes of a meeting to good news – where someone in the meeting praises the work and contribution of someone else in the room.  See how this creates positive energy!
  • Create a recognition system that everyone can participate in.  Many of my clients have developed a service recognition system that provides the opportunity for employees to recognize the exceptional service of their peers. 
  • When you know of a good business or vendor that you have dealt with, share this with others.  A good referral can save your customers, friends, or business colleague’s hours of time in searching. 
  • Recognize new employees, new members, or new vendors. Your organization benefits by being introduced to new people and you are able to promote that person’s background, gifts, and talents in a way that honors them.
  • Appreciate contributions. Whether in a volunteer organization, business, or community association, never forget the exponential benefits of recognizing small and large contributions by those in your team.


And what an ideal time to promote some vendors that I have had the pleasure of doing business with! These vendors are in the local South Puget Sound region in the state of  Washington and I highly recommend them!


Hard@Work Computers, LLC

Curtis Thiel


Affordable, competent, professional, incredible service  - knowledgeable about computer software, hardware, back-up procedures


The Gift Basket Diva

Debi Ameline


Creative, customer-focused, works with your timeline, beautiful basket creations


Engage your Customers

As you think about creating a culture of contribution, don’t forget the importance of engaging your customers.  Take note of my last BLOG entry where I shared a number of creative ways to engage your internal customers, your staff.  Here are a few ideas to engage your external customers, those that purchase your goods and services: 

  • Thank your customers for their service.
  • Thank your customers for their feedback (whether it was positive or negative – remember, a complaint is a gift!)
  • Ask your customers how service can be improved. 
  • Make it easy for your customers to communicate with you. (How accessible is a live human being to your customers when they call your organization?)
  • Appreciate their partnership with your organization (Provide gifts or “rewards” for your major donors or long time customers)
  • Understand service delivery by “walking in the shoes of your customers” and examining every touch point for service