Back to Top

“I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum capabilities”

Bob Nardelli, CEO Home Depot - Fortune Magazine, 07/01/2002

Quality of Customer Service is Most Important

For those of you who are working in a customer service industry, the quality of that customer service itself is the most important aspect of the job. People respond positively to good customer service. IF you are a business owner then you know how the saying goes, it’s easier to keep a customer, as it is to get a new customer. In order to keep your customers and build up some form of clientele that feels loyal to your company. Therefore you must put in the time and effort to keep your customers and your level of customer service up to where it should be.

In most areas of customer service there will be some time on the phone. If your job requires you to place and receive phone calls, you must ensure that you are always polite and customers. This is a great time to strengthen the relationship between the owner and the customer. Customer’s respond better to a business owner who is approachable and interested in their lives then someone who seems bothered and rushed. However, there are those that can become annoyed when the customer service representative becomes too personal. For those people who are in the customer service area, they should attempt to find a happy medium between being too friendly and not friendly at all.

At times in the customer service industry you will come into contact with less than satisfied customers. These people may become angry and they may yell. Sometimes it is hard to contain yourself and you might want to argue back. However, when you are working as a customer service representative then you must be able to control yourself. You should never interrupt an irate customer. If they are getting angry with you then you should just let them vent. Let them have their say and once they are done you can begin explaining what you can do to help solve the problem. The key to customer service is to always be obliging and polite.

-About the author-
James Hunt has spent 15 years as a professional writer and researcher covering stories that cover a whole spectrum of interest. Read more at

Posted in Customer Service| Tagged |

How to Hire Qualified and Reliable People

If human resources, falls last on your allocation of time, then you are missing the most basic key to success behind the desired implementation in the various fields stated above. The key that acts as an enabler for all the stated crucial tasks is the manpower, without which any firm, irrespective of size or nature, is dysfunctional.

Failures have always been attributed to various factors, but such case studies always seem to overlook the importance of hiring high quality and reliable people for the overall operations.

Common mistakes to avoid when hiring
Skill duplication: Successful directors, who started small, believe that they know it all and this picture motivates them to replicate their own skills while hiring. There is a tendency to ignore the requisite diversity and this tends to create a shortage of skill sets at a later stage. Therefore, to possess a substantial working capacity, complement your present resources rather than replicating them.

Lack of involvement: Various managers are of the belief that the task of the human resources department is easy and attention must be paid to other more important jobs. While they save some time, by not being present during recruitments, this lack of involvement leads to recruiting inappropriate personnel for the job and wasting loads of time and resources at a later stage.

Poor job definition: A scant knowledge of the requirements leads to the selection of the wrong candidate, who is nothing more than a burden to the firm. To hire sensibly, it is crucial to first define the job responsibilities and the desired skill set.

The conflict between departments: Deserving candidates often are not recruited for the appropriate positions due to internal company politics or lack of understanding between various departments, which must be streamlined in order to succeed.

Ignoring the existing pool: Firms at times are so focused in identifying and recruiting new resources that human resource managers have literally no time for the existing pool. This tendency to ignore the needs of the already existing employees creates unnecessary competition. So complement recruitment with the correct retention strategies.

A final thought
To keep up the pace with the competition and the increasing requirements of the industry, look at the internal procedures being followed while hiring and ensure that you select the right candidate for the job. Hiring high quality and reliable people, who know their job, is the key to success.

-About the author-
David Gass is President of Business Credit Services, Inc.

Posted in Human Resources| Tagged , |

Recession or Excuse?

Is the word recession just another word for people who have run out of excuses? Easy, calm down. I’m not making light of the current economic situation. I got it, I feel it too. I just think it’s used way too much as an excuse by businesses that are not growing or, even worse, declining. The recession is out of our control. Why not concentrate on the things we can control?

It always falls back on how you look at things. A great example is a Realtor. Real estate has taken a pretty big hit with falling prices, short sales and foreclosures. Fewer people are buying homes; even fewer people are able to qualify for a mortgage. That sure sounds pretty bleak.

I see it differently — and so do the Realtors I speak with who are on top of their game. Realtors are dropping out of the industry at a record pace. Fewer Realtors equals less competition. Consumers are finally treating Realtors with the respect they deserve. The client is willing to pay proper commissions for a real estate professional. The strong Realtors are getting stronger and the weak Realtors are closing up shop. That sure sounds pretty good.

So I challenge you to ask yourself: Are you being consumed by things you have no control over? What consumes your time but isn’t making you any money? Pull yourself away from that and focus on the things you can control – and you’ll control a very bright future.

Posted in Business| Tagged , |

Don’t Be A Weiner!

It’s mind-blowing how a man with a 20-year political career with ambitions to run for NYC mayor can be such a Weiner. Anthony Weiner has crippled his career with a little help from Twitter.

The business lessons here are amazing. Business lessons? I thought he was just a sexting-psycho? Yeah, that’s the personal side. The business side shows how social media can be a danger to your business. Weiner’s business was politics, and he destroyed a lot more than just his business. I often see business owners posting stuff that can only hurt their business. Broadcasting your personal viewpoints on politics, religion and other touchy subjects is sometimes just as offensive to potential clients as lewd photos. Isn’t that just the opposite reason so much time is spent on social media – to connect, network and maybe make a few friends?

The other lesson he taught us is that when you do something wrong, just fess up. The penalty will be painful, but not as painful as when you act arrogant, take people for fools and lie. That’s the kind of behavior, friends, colleagues and clients will never forget.

Don’t be a social media Weiner!

A Bit About Quitting

This is pretty inspirational. I don’t subscribe to never quitting but I do feel most people quit prematurely.

1816 – His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.
1818 – His mother died.
1831 – Failed in business.
1832 – Ran for state legislature – lost.
1832 – Also lost his job – wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.
1833 – Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.
1834 – Ran for state legislature again – won.
1835 – Was engaged to be married, sweetheart died and his heart was broken.
1836 – Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.
1838 – Sought to become speaker of the state legislature – defeated.
1840 – Sought to become elector – defeated.
1843 – Ran for Congress – lost.
1846 – Ran for Congress again – this time he won.
1848 – Ran for re-election to Congress – lost.
1849 – Sought the job of land officer in his home state – rejected.
1854 – Ran for Senate of the United States – lost.
1856 – Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention – get less than 100 votes.
1858 – Ran for U.S. Senate again – again he lost.
1860 – Elected President of the United States.
Abraham Lincoln never quit.

Note: The Abraham Lincoln didn’t quit list has been printed countless times.

Posted in Leadership| Tagged , |

Go Small Business!

National Small Business Week 2011

May 16-20 Washington, DC

Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has proclaimed National Small Business Week to recognize the contributions of small businesses to the economic well-being of America. As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes this special impact made by outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners. In 2011, National Small Business Week will honor the estimated 27.2 million small businesses in America. Small businesses are major contributors to the strength of the American economy. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business. They also create 60-80 percent of new jobs in the country. Small businesses drive innovation, create 21st century jobs and increase U.S. competitiveness.

I Love Lucy

I love Lucy
Tuesday, May 17 2011
Did you ever just click with someone? I did with Lucy. It was love at first recipe. An outsider would think our friendship odd; we were born decades apart, and she was beautiful and smart, and I am, well… I can cook. Lucy is my friend’s mom and recently, she passed away.

By Larry Vivola

Lucy and I spent hours sharing food-related memories, swapping cooking tips and reminiscing about meals shared with family and friends. Our strongest bond was our common belief that shared meals sustain cherished relationships.

I love writing for In&Out, and Lucy fed that love. As soon as Lucy read my article, she followed up with an email to me. She had me trained like a Pavlovian dog; I would wait for her email, which always included praise for my article. I loved Lucy’s seal-of-approval. She was president of my fan club, a fancy title for a club with two members: the other is my mom, (and sometimes my wife). If she felt my article didn’t run frequently enough— Oh boy, my publisher would receive an email, too. No stamp-of-approval, just a list of 22 reasons why I should get more ink.

Lucy’s most flattering gesture was the ‘Larry File’ she maintained of my columns. It doesn’t get any better than that, folks.
One Christmas, Lucy told me I reminded her of the roly-poly, gregarious Dom DeLuise. A Clooney comparison may have boosted my ego a bit more but, baby, where I come from, a compliment is a compliment. She gave me Dom’s cookbook, “Eat This…It’ll Make You Feel Better.” His book, like my articles, is chock-full of loving anecdotes inspired by food. Shared meals feed more than the body; they feed our souls. This is the philosophy that Lucy and I will always share.

I hope you enjoy this recipe from Dom’s cookbook. We miss you, Lucy.

Ciao, Lucy!

Chicken Dominick
(or Chicken Lucy)

4 boneless chicken breasts, split
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp. butter
1 green pepper, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
3 oz. white wine
Place chicken breasts between 2 pieces of wax paper; pound them so they look like cutlets. Dredge in flour. Sauté garlic in butter, remove when brown. Add chicken breasts and sauté 1 minute on each side. Add green and red peppers, mushrooms, and wine. Shake the pan. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.

Posted in Coaching| Tagged , |