What do you consider “above and beyond” service?

Huis ter Duin

The luxurous Huis ter Duin hotel in Noordwijk, on the Netherlands’ North Sea, is known for it’s location and its comforts. As you would guess, it also has great service.

I have had the good fortune to stay in other fine hotels around the world serving clients. I appreciate good service. But at this conference of 200 attendees, this hotel did a few things that made it stand out above many others.

For example:

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Redbox customer service is golden

Often companies ignore the importance of empowering staff without “customer service” in their title. They think that the employees who aren’t formally charged with customer interaction don’t need to be customer focused. They usually don’t invest much (any?) time or money to train these people. And they nearly never give them any tools to help ease any customer annoyance.

Imagine my surprise, then, at the customer focus of a Redbox video vending employee named Susan.

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The Federal Government and Customer Service — Oxymoron?

“No surprise!” you say. “The government doesn’t have a clue how to treat its customers — us!”

The USPS spent millions a decade ago on customer service training. Generally, the clerks I’ve encountered are pleasant and some go out of their way to be friendly to their customers.

Other agencies not so much.

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Do you finesse — or just frustrate?

I witnessed a painful (to me) conversation between two male colleagues I admire. I’d been asked by Colleague A to attend a meeting between the 3 of us as we all serve on a committee together. I asked him the purpose of the meeting and he told me what he wanted to discuss.

During the exchange, I winced as Colleague A called Colleague B on the carpet for a promise B made to A about our project. He recounted a conversation they’d had 18 months ago, to which B said he had a different memory. It had little to do with the stated purpose of our discussion, so I tried to bring them back to focus.

I’ve observed both these men finesse difficult conversations adroitly. Yet this time they both succumbed to expressing their dissatisfaction with each other. I was as frustrated as they were with the interaction.

Afterwards, I thought of some ways anyone could finesse a contentious conversation:

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