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Interesting Customer Service Trends – Good or Bad?

Over the weekend I began to think about the trends in Customer Service and I started to feel a little uneasy about some of my realizations. So today I felt the need to write about Customer Service and I would really like to see your thoughts on these trends. So be sure to leave me a comment below after you read this Trend Update.

Okay, first let me say that in my opinion Customer Service is a Critical Business Function. An excellent customer service mindset can create a company – Zappo’s; it differentiate one company from another – Apple vs Microsoft after the first Apple Stores were opened; and finally, you can create Customer Loyalty due to the way situations are handled – Nordstroms who is very proud of their level of customer service and only have One Rule for New Employees…

Welcome to Nordstrom

We’re glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them.

Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.

Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.

Now Nordstrom has a brilliant idea – simple the rules, trust their people, train their people in customer service and make use of Good Judgment – which I assume contains a heavy dose of “common sense.”

While these companies are doing well (with the possible exception of the current APPLE) there are some trends growing in the “me -too” world of corporate business. These trends are…

Government Shutdown and the Real Role of Leadership

As with most people in the United States I have watched the unfolding of a stand off between the President and Congress with keen interest. My focus recently has been upon the role of leadership or this case a lack of true leadership. It is possible this politicians should take a moment to read an article entitled “Shared Leadership.”

As a Business Adviser, I work hard to simplify what is actually happening – using the Law of Cause and Effect to clarity the reality of situation. So here are my observations regarding this apparent deadlock of ideals…

First, blame is not of any interest to me. You can blame all of them if you desire. In fact, I have observed many discussions and diatribes assigning blame to everyone – which in my opinion is not an accurate effort. It is true however there is a lack of real leadership within all groups – White House and Congress.

Voss Graham interview by Jeff Blackman – Part 2


Here’s more of my conversation with friend and fellow pro, Voss Graham. Voss is the CEO and Senior Business Advisor for the InnerActive Consulting Group in Cordova, Tennessee. He helps individuals and companies get to their “next level.”

Jeff Blackman: How does confidence impact short and long-term success?

Voss Graham: Self-confidence is the bedrock or foundational aspect for the successful athlete, businessperson or sales pro. In fact, sales people with high levels of confidence seem to make sales before they even offer a solution. Why? Because customers want to do business with confident people. They feel these people will make things happen and do whatever it takes to get the job done.

People lacking self-confidence are at a major disadvantage. Customers sense a lack of confidence, and therefore lose faith in the abilities of the sales pro or business person. Yes, that’s an emotional response by the customer.  Yet all decisions are based in emotional responses, and logic is used to justify our emotional decisions.

In sports or business, confidence breeds a winners’ attitude. Winners take control of their mental mindset and view all situations with a positive point of view. Losers tend to look for negatives and use both internal negative self-talk and external negative talk, which attracts more negative influences into their lives, and their results become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

JB: So confidence drives our self-perception and the world’s perception of who we are?

Voss Graham interview by Jeff Blackman – Part 1


The first time Voss Graham and I met, we were sitting next to each other, both doing something we love. Watching a ballgame. Nope, not the Chicago Cubs. It was actually a New York Yankees game, in famed Yankee Stadium.

We soon discovered we had a lot in common. A passion for professional sports. A rabid loyalty to our respective college alma maters and their teams’ wins and woes. For me, the University of Illinois. For Voss, Louisiana State University. A passion for our profession. A shared and valued collection of mutual friends. And an ongoing curiosity about human potential.

Voss is the CEO and Senior Business Advisor for the InnerActive Consulting Group in Cordova, Tennessee. As you’ll soon discover, he’s one smart dude. Especially, when it comes to understanding what helps people and companies succeed and get to “the next level.”

Jeff Blackman: What does it mean, “to think like a winner?”

Voss Graham: There’s only minimal skill, competencies, or attributes gaps between winners and losers. Yet, the difference in results between the two classes is very significant. Since skills, competencies, and attributes can be measured, what’s the factor that leads to such big differences in personal performance? It’s simply the attitudes people bring to the game.

Attitude has a multiplier effect on both our inborn attributes like intelligence and behavioral style and our learned attributes of skills, knowledge, and experience. Using a positive multiplier, a person can distance themselves from both peers and competition relative to the results and outcomes.

Who Do You Serve?

As a product of the 1960’s I enjoy listening to the old song masters from this era. One of my favorites is Bob Dylan. So this weekend I listened to some of his original songs and got inspired by one particular song – “Gotta Serve Somebody.”

Now I could go into a long discussion about the importance of customer service or servitude leadership – yet, Dylan took this verse to the ultimate. He continuously asked the questions and posed comparisons to what is available for you to make a choice – good or bad, the devil or the lord, and several additional points of reference.

Since the scope of this collection of short articles and posts are directed to the leaders in our world – whether the leader is involved in running a company (big or small) to running the country, state, or city – it really boils down to the choices you make everyday. And, You Gotta Serve Somebody!

Wishing You a Happy and Properous New Year in 2012

Greetings from your friends here at InnerActive Consulting Group Inc.

We want to wish you the very best in 2012.

Take care and have a safe holiday celebration to start the new year.

Keeping checking in with us here at Insights where will be sharing more insights into all things Business.

We already have provided you over 635 articles to assist you in your personal and professional development.

Check out the Categories or Topics covered…

Memorial Day 2011 is Coming

Another Memorial Day is almost upon us.  Many people view Memorial Day as the annual passage from Spring to Summer.  Memorial Day often means boating, beaches, and sunburns.

The true origination of Memorial Day is often forgotten in the hubbub of summertime fun.   Memorial Day, which was originally called Decoration Day, is a holiday that was established as a day of remembrance for those who have died in service to our nation.

Various cities and towns claim to have been the birthplace of Memorial Day.  President Lyndon B. Johnson officially declared Waterloo, New York the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1966.  Below is an accepted timeline of the history of Memorial Day:

Mother’s Day

Sunday, May 8, 2011

In honor of our mothers…


Before I Was Myself, You Made Me, Me

Before I was myself you made me, me
With love and patience, discipline and tears,
Then bit by bit stepped back to set me free,
Allowing me to sail upon my sea,
 Though well within the
headlands of your fears. 
Before I was myself you made me, me

With dreams enough of what I was to be
And hopes that would be
sculpted by the years,
 Then bit by bit stepped back to set me free,

Relinquishing your powers gradually
To let me shape myself
among my peers.
 Before I was myself you made me, me,

And being good and wise, you gracefully
 As dancers when the last
sweet cadence nears  Bit by bit stepped back to set me free.

For love inspires learning naturally:
The mind assents to what
the heart reveres.
 And so it was through love you made me, me
By slowly stepping back to set me free.

Nicholas Gordon

International Women’s History Month

International Women’s History Month is celebrated each year in March.  Europe first celebrated the occasion with an International Women’s Day on March 8, 1911.  The United States then joined with other countries… celebrating the right of women to vote.

The depression of the early 1930s as well as World War II saw women’s rights quickly fall by the wayside.  The liberation of the 1960s saw a regained interest in women’s rights and women’s issues that culminated to a broader field of academic studies focused on women’s rights as well as women in history during the 1970s.