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Positively Outrageous Service
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Positively Outrageous Service

Author: Andrew Szabo & Michael Hoffman

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Create a culture of WOW experiences to build customer advocacy, loyalty and competitive differentiation!
33 Episodes
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A Special COVID-19 Message How are you caring for your team? Favor them with Positively Outrageous Service! https://youtu.be/xnN8JQ6vIw0 "I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures." - Lao Tzu Connect deeper with your virtual teams - Check-in questions with your virtual teams: What do you think? How do you feel? Tell me more! Interact more! Set ground rules ahead of time for virtual engagement - Ensure they know their role, Be intentional about connecting visually not just through social media or a phone call. Many are, or are feeling isolated …. Connect virtually, use visually Look ways to have fun and relieve the tension. Virtual Happy Hours.  Dance video! Dress up for cocktail hour! Look at what they're doing in Italy, Portugal and Spain! Fun can be infectious and viral … in a positive way Don't just manage ... Lead! Ask better questions. Leaders ask great questions! Check out Leading With Questions! Have fun while wearing a mask …. can you smile under that mask? Be them-focused first … out of proportion to the circumstances. Not just your team but also the people we work for … don’t assume everyone’s OK! Followup up video - record your visually virtual meeting! Or followup with a video vs. and email! Go virtual - yoga studios are providing online classes. Schools switching over to online teaching. Hours … many grocery stores have special plans to dedicate the first hour of each shopping day to senior shoppers and / or their employees. BONUS: Demonstrate grace and forgiveness - relieves tension and stress — Be the first to say sorry. Be the first to forgive!
FRIENDSGIVING

FRIENDSGIVING

2019-11-2215:00

Giving Thanks to Your Customers, Clients, Suppliers and Employees “Gratitude, not understanding, is the secret to joy and equanimity.” – Anne Lamott. Gratitude – Give thanks for who you are, what you have, and those around you. What you are feeling is more important than what you are thinking. What are you thankful for? Giving thanks builds community and connection.  Giving thanks communicates how you are important to me. Who in your business is helping you be successful? Do something fun for them! An attitude of gratitude is beneficial for the giver and not just the receiver! Gratitude boosts your hormones, from oxytocin to cortisol, as well as neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin. Recent studies point to gratitude delivering behavioral and psychological bonds. Oxytocin connects adults in meaningful relationships. Gratitude accelerates blood flow and activity in the hypothalamus, the master gland that controls hormones. Give thanks and release joy through a natural cocktail of drugs! A key 2003 study on gratitude concluded that, “a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and personal benefits.”* Improved sleep, decreased depression, greater happiness are all driven from a habit of gratitude. Not only will you benefit others by showing your gratitude, YOU will personally benefit. The more you give gratitude .... the more you will derive from its benefits! Start today. Practice it for 30 days until it becomes your habit! Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash "You cannot bring anything new into your life until you are grateful for what you have now.” - Dr. Michael Beckworth Want to dive deeper? We recommend this excellent article by Dr. Sara Gottfried: Thanksgiving: What Gratitude Does to Your Brain     Emmons, R., et al. “Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life.” American Psychological Association – Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84, no 2 (2003): 377-389.
Be The Revolution of Excellence in Customer Experience with Positively Outrageous Service! You can only be the revolution. It is in your spirit, or it is nowhere.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed A few years ago, I met some extraordinary Virgins! I was due to fly to a Healthcare Technology conference in Las Vegas from Dallas Love Field by the erstwhile Virgin America airline. There were two clients at this conference and had a program for one of them which included a video. The video was late in getting to me. But I had everything lined up. My Uber was waiting, I didn’t have bags to check and I was TSA pre-checked. I had this! As we turn off the main road into the airport approach road my mobile phone rings. It’s not a number I recognize. Like most of us I depress the red button to hang up. The Uber pulls up to the curbside, the same number rings. Hit the red button again. Running through the terminal into TSA pre-check, put my bag on the conveyor belt, phone rings again, same number, somebody is really trying to get a hold of me specifically! I answer the phone. “This is Brian with Virgin, we are about to close the gate!” “I’m here!” I emphatically respond. TSA man sternly motions me to hang up and get through the metal detector! I’m compliant. Yes, that day, I was THAT passenger. You know the one! “Mr. Szabo please come to Gate 11. This is the final call for boarding!” I run through the terminal. I glance at the departure board. It’s 11:05 am and … the 10:20 am Virgin flight to Las Vegas is not listed. “What!” There’s a Southwest 10:15 am flight listed to New Orleans. How could this be? Out of breath, heart racing, I get to Gate 11. It’s empty. No passengers. No Virgin employees. No one behind the counter! The door to the jetway is closed. Foolishly, I look down at the plane, how can this be? It’s only 10:07 am. I am startled by the gate door opening. A tall man in a Virgin uniform comes through. I plead with him to let me on the plane. “I have a client on the plane, I really need to get on … is there any way? Please!” “Is your name Andrew?” “Yes.” “Oh, I’m Brian … I was the one you hang up on earlier!” Ouch! I cringe. Any possibility of me boarding vanishes in my mind. It’s the end of the road! Brian turns around and returns down the jetway closing the door. Defeated, I slump into a chair at the empty gate and turn on my mobile to figure out when is the next flight to Las Vegas and how to make the change. A few minutes later the jetway gate door opens. I glance up to see it’s Brian. Not expecting anything I am startled as he opens the door wide and motions me to come and go down the jetway. “Please board the plane Mr. Szabo!” I am flabbergasted. My jaw must have dropped to the carpet! “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!” I almost wanted to hug him. But thought better not push my luck! This is Positively Outrageous! I’m sure he and / or the flight captain broke a rule to let me on. Have you ever heard of anyone letting you on a plane after the gate has been closed? Never! This is Positively Outrageous Service! Positively Outrageous Service is that WOW experience you can't wait to tell another about!   My heart racing, briskly I make my way down the empty jetway to the plane fully expecting a shaming, perhaps some scowls or grimaces from the flight crew. I enter the plane and there are three Virgin flight attendants finalizing details. They turn to me with huge smiles, and greet me with total enthusiasm. “Mr. Szabo we are so glad you made the flight today!” “We are delighted to have you on board!” A feather would have knocked me over! More Positively Outrageous Service! And by the way the flight still left on time! Strong choices by great Virgins. Brian went over the top. He made a choice to see if it was possible to get me on the plane. The flight attendants made an intentional choice to welcome me and make me feel good.
How caring in a time of crisis elevates customer loyalty. 10 Ideas to Spark Your Creativity https://youtu.be/pPCZ0eG6W0M “Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference.” ― Kathy Calvin Give, give, give - During the NBA hiatus, Mark Cuban, the owner of Dallas Mavericks, immediately announced that hourly workers at the American Airlines Arena will be continue to be paid. Turn your business upside down- Louis Vuitton Conglomerate (LVMH), the French luxury conglomerate that operates more than 75 brands, including high-end labels like Louis Vuitton, Fendi, and Celine is now making hand sanitizer in its perfume factories. It will produce up to 12 tons of hand sanitizer a week alone as the coronavirus crisis escalates in France. And they are giving it away for free. WOW!!! Meet your customers virtually or through video. Deliver content virtually – Sunstone FIT yoga studio is providing on line classes. Schools switching over to online teaching. Hours … Dollar General Corporation and others announced their plans to dedicate the first hour of each shopping day to senior shoppers. Look ways to have fun … and relieve the tension … Italians started singing from their balconies. In Spain people began applauding healthcare workers at 10m throughout the country. How about a dance video? Michael and his daughter did just that and got over 10 million views in 10 days! Fun is infectious! Empower your team to deliver beyond the circumstances. Leading versus managing - Leaders ask better questions. Grace and forgiveness are critical in this time of stress — both externally and internally. Go first! Care for your team - Love is infectious too and your customers will feel more cared for.
A Special Coronavirus Message to Our Friends from Positively Outrageous Service!!! “A bend in the road is not the end of the road… Unless you fail to make the turn.” ― Helen Keller Like many of you, Michael and I are rethinking our business strategies in this time of turmoil, turbulence and trouble. We are revamping some of programs and delivery mechanisms to preserve, protect and pivot our clients' profitability, market share and competitive edge. The Coronavirus pandemic has changed our business in that we are currently not meeting face-to-face or delivering our content live. We are making the "turn" to appropriately navigate the bend in the road. But this is also a time to not just hunker down and be defensive but to reach out to help others in need. Not all will successfully navigate the sharp bend in the road. This is an unprecedented time in our history ... however, it can spur us to a higher calling ... are you going to retreat in the face of fear or advance with a fearless strategy? "So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt,  32nd President, Inaugration Speech, March 1933. In this spirit, Michael and I recorded a special edition video and podcast for you that addresses these very times. It's a special talk where we highlight ten Positively Outrageous Service actions to potentially partake in and uplift and advance those around us in this time of turmoil! We trust it brings hope, a smile, and a ray of sunshine into the world we now must defend, rebuild or redirect. All joy, Andrew, Michael and Scott https://youtu.be/mbnDPkT_G48 Here's a summary of the ten actions to advance, (more details in the podcast or video). Support Older People and Others At-Risk Volunteer for Meals on Wheels Donate Money to a Reputable Non-Profit Support Your Local Food Bank Support Small Businesses Donate Blood Check in on Your Neighbor Support the Homeless Write a Letter! Don’t Hoard or Stockpile — Give It Away! BONUS: Stop Judging and Start Loving!  Let us know what you think! Share your Positively Outrageous Service stories with us!
Drop Some Love Bombs

Drop Some Love Bombs

2020-02-1415:00

Love On Your Customers - Drop a Love Bomb or Two! Creating WOW Behind the Lines! Go to war against the negativity in the world. Be a disruptor by dropping love bombs. Ignite and equip behind the lines not with “drive by feedback” but with “love bombs”. The people you work with can lose perspective because “we live behind our eyeballs.” This mission is very specific: Be precise in your observation – the “what” … not just an “attaboy” Connect it to the “why”. Love bombs are not just for your employees, but your team members too. How about the people your report to and other stakeholders!
NOVELTY

NOVELTY

2019-11-1415:00

NOVELTY A Key Driver to the Positively Outrageous Service Pillar: “Random and Unexpected” The power of novelty is in “contextual” novelty. Doing something we expect in an unexpected way. We are all endowed with creativity. It takes many different forms. One may be creative in creating magic moments through listening; creativity through how we respond to a complaint; creativity in solving an employee problem. Be novel and creative! Where can I stand out today? Challenge yourself. What can I do differently today with that person in front of me in this moment? Spontaneously creative, interesting and unexpected!
Tacit Approval

Tacit Approval

2019-11-1315:00

TACIT APPROVAL Nip it in Bud! Championing Positively Outrageous Service is both explicit and implicit. Tacit approval is the message that is being communicated when one doesn’t speak out. The unspoken implicit sets a precedent every bit as much as explicit championing. Actions of management speak as loud as the words communicated. Tacit approval of toxic behavior creates a negative environment that undermines the ability to foster a Positively Outrageous Service culture. Listen to your employees and customers, uncover it, discover it, and address it! Photo by Drahomír Posteby-Mach on Unsplash
We Are The Champions

We Are The Champions

2019-11-0715:00

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS Create on Purpose … Stay on Course A culture is created and characterized by what you consent to, champion and celebrate. Who you are, is reflected by what you do. What you do reflects who you are. What is a champion? What we stand up for … the flag bearer who defends, corrects and adjusts to stay on course. How do you champion Positively Outrageous Service? Who are your POS champions? How do you verbalize the championing? The power to influence others through championing starts with leadership and then equipping and coaching the next level. In your upper echelon what are you doing to know, and what are you doing to live out what you want everybody else in your team to be doing? It requires vision, leadership sets the example, and stay on course through constant correction. Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU from Pexels
Show and Tell

Show and Tell

2019-11-0115:00

SHOW & TELL The Internet is Loud … Communicate Louder  Repetition reinforces Reputation. Cut through the clutter of marketing messages with testimonials that build “social proof”. Don’t just create Positively Outrageous Service – capture the POS testimonial! The power in video testimonials? The viewer sees, hears and connects emotionally. Video has also become the preferred medium over reading. Easiest method: use your smart phone, ask questions, keep it short, and thank them! Photo by Jeff Denlea from Pexels
Review Me!

Review Me!

2019-10-29--:--

REVIEW ME! What are your Positively Outrageous Service Stories?  Before the advent of Social Media, one would on average share a positive experience with nine people and a negative experience with sixteen people. Now we share customer experiences with hundreds, if not thousands of people with a potential rippling effect many times more. Encourage your clients, customers and guests to share their Positively Outrageous Service story. Story Structure: What happened specifically? What was the impact? How you felt about it?
My Boss Needs Skills

My Boss Needs Skills

2019-10-22--:--

MY BOSS NEEDS SKILLS Toxicity is Viral Too  Toxic bosses or behavior seeps into your customer service. The #1 reason people leave their jobs is not the work but the boss! Are you crafting positions that employees enjoy and leverage their strengths? Joy is contagious and will infect your customer experience positively. Good bosses influence behavior and draw the best out of one allowing one to give. Toxic work environments inhibit happiness hindering the release of Positively Outrageous Service!
Super Hearing

Super Hearing

2019-10-0815:18

SUPER HEARING “I am for you” What Are You Hearing? Hearing Past the Situation.  When we get emotional we push out the logic in a service situation. Diffuse negative emotional situations through “super hearing” creating the bridge from where a customer is emotionally to redeem the solution faster. Start with open-ended powerful questions. “Tell me more” “What else?” … dives deeper into the root of the problem or situation. “What would you like to see happen?” Super Hearing is about “I am for you” Listen to what’s going on situationally and emotionally.
Bullet Proof

Bullet Proof

2019-09-2915:01

BULLET PROOF Inoculate Yourself Against the Tornado  Develop your super-hero powers in toxic environments and situations. “I’m so glad you got me!” “You’re not yelling at me … you’re angry about the situation.”  Diffuse the initial confrontations by not taking it personally and being “unoffendable”.
ALIGNMENT IS A BEAUTIFUL THING Begin by Defining POS for YOUR Organization  “The fish stinks from the head” First, leadership must define and align an organization’s service expectations. Second, align your departments, (in a larger organization). Third, create alignment in your hiring practices to the organization’s service expectations. Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash
PET PEEVES

PET PEEVES

2019-09-1415:00

Our Periodic Riff on Behaviors That Really Bothers Us! Clearly not Positively Outrageous Service! “There is a certain degree of patience and impatience in everybody. How to balance patience and impatience, and when to show which of them is the very thing everybody must endeavor to master.” ― Ernest Agyemang Yeboah Hiding behind the uniform, kiosk, or desk? Your first duty is to serve! Use your position to engage, deliver what's needed, and love your customers and employees!  Don’t project your tornado on another. Everyone has challenges - they're just different from yours! Making false assumptions about the person in front of you. Don't forget what A.S.S.U.M.E. stands for!  Dismissing someone because of your authority. Use your power to love, not to look down on another!   Not acknowledging the presence of your customer. Heads up please - that's displaying Positively Outrageous Service!
REALLY? Tell me this didn't happen... It Did!!! "Although your customers won't love you if you give bad service, your competitors will." - Kate Zabriskie, Founder Business Training Works Boasting about your great customer service is NOT a good idea! “Pride comes before the fall.” You also take away a key principle of Positively Outrageous Service: “RANDOM and UNEXPECTED. Andrew’s real-life scenario gives us three valuable lessons that we can all learn from.
Positively Outrageous Service – Principle #3 Photo by Johann Walter Bantz on Unsplash “Unless you love everybody, you can’t sell anybody.” – Dicky Fox (Jerry Maguire) The third fundamental principle of Positively Outrageous Service: Create engagement by either getting the customer to play or get them involved in other ways. A service experience that is fun makes it highly memorable and lends itself to positive word-of-mouth. Your customer can't help themselves but to tell others! For more on this listen to our 15 minute radio segment: OUTRAGEOUS!!! Creating Extraordinary Experiences with Positively Outrageous Service® – available also through Spotify, Google Podcasts, AnchorFM and iTunes.
Positively Outrageous Service - Principle #2 Photo: Bob Smith - "I'm in the service business. I mean, our sandwiches are pretty good; I don't know if they're extraordinary. But our service is." "Jimmy John" Liautaud The second key principle of Positively Outrageous Service is creating a service experience that is "out of proportion to the circumstances." It heightens the intensity, engagement and memorability of customer service, or in reality, any relational engagement! For more listen to our 15 minute radio segment Outrageous!!! - available also on Spotify, Google Podcasts, AnchorFM and ITunes.
Having Fun Yet?

Having Fun Yet?

2019-04-0103:04

https://youtu.be/JSw4_eEdvzU Rarely do we wake up in the morning thinking today I'm going to fail miserably and I'm going to bring everyone down with me. I say rarely because they do happen and there are a lot people out there that like that. However most of us want to be part of something fun and we want to play in a place where you're having a good time. We want you to have a good time because if you're having a good time, I'm having a good time. You know I spend more of my working hours with you than I do sometimes with my own family. So if I'm going to have to be here then let's have some fun. In this two minute touch point let's bring up this idea. Are you having fun? And it's not necessarily because we want you to have a good time and everything should be all about let's have a good time. But it's about the impact of your fun on others. When you're having a good time, it almost gives permission of the people next to you or around you whether they're working with you or maybe even just experiencing your customer experience. But we get permission to have a good time because you're having a good time. I guess the bottom line is you go. When it comes to having a good time, when it comes to having fun, you go first. Set the precedents, have a smile on your face, see things in a lighter way and allow yourself to see the humour in what's going on around you. Because people next to you will say if you're doing that then I'm doing that too because fun is infectious. Your customers will do the same thing; if you're having a good time then I'm going to have a good time. And you watch what happens to the experience all because you made the choice of having more fun. We're already infecting people right here. It’s being spread, we're virus and so be a virus for good customer service, be positively outrageously infectious. Spread the germs of customer outrageousness.
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