Workplace Wisdom

25 Jan 2011

Three Ways That “No Problem” Is a Big Problem

Last week, my family decided to try dinner at a local place that had just evolved from a pizza joint to a restaurant. We’ll have to wait and see how it survives — in the Darwinian sense — because its “evolution” was not yet complete. The food was tasty, but oh, the kinks in the service! The staff was earnest, eager to please, but completely untrained. And I mean completely. The busboy seemed to have high potential, but he needed […]

11 Jan 2011

Hospital Highlights: Credibility and Care

Despite frequent media attention to dangerous and neglectful medical care, that was not our experience when I accompanied Spouse to an outpatient surgical procedure (which was successful, thank you!) at Winthrop University Hospital on Long Island. Everyone was competent and attentive, and some staff members were downright wonderful. The Doctor: A Surprising Slant on Credibility As part of Spouse’s intake and prep, a young woman doc came to examine him and discuss his surgery. I don’t know what her formal […]

12 Oct 2010

Is This Any Way to Fly the Unfriendly Skies?

Long, long ago, doubters said that if we were meant to fly God would have given us wings. These days you have to wonder: if we were meant to fly would we have to sit in the equivalent of industrial-farming-sized cages being forced to listen to strange corporate/robotic announcements? Over the last few days I flew back and forth from JFK to San Francisco on American Airlines. During the descents, a voiced and on-screen announcement declared that “in an effort […]

31 Aug 2010

When Service Gets Stale

Went to dinner with a client pal in one of those upscale, plush steakhouse chains where the wait staff wears little butchershop aprons. The tables were far enough apart for a sense of privacy and luxury; the menus were so big they could have substituted as game boards. Given both her demeanor and her well-practiced patter, our wait person was — and perceived herself to be — a seasoned professional. We had a wonderful meal — tasty food, an excellent […]

20 Jul 2010

Three Faces Of Customer Service

What is the face that your customer service staff shows the public? Do you know? Service Taking Flight On a crowded morning flight from Long Beach airport back to JFK, two flight attendants, Shelly and CheeChee, did a particularly notable job of engaging with customers, who, in addition to the normally diverse crowd of passengers included two Boy Scout Troops on their way to the National Jamboree along with their attending leaders and all their backpacks. These women dealt equally […]

29 Jun 2010

Opening the Sales and Service Rulebook

When I gave a webinar on “Increasing Average Order Value”, I referred to one of my “rules” for sales and service. Herewith Rule #3: The more you ask from your customers, the greater your obligation to understand them. (For contextual purposes, Rule #1 is: Get satisfactory goods into the customer’s hands as soon after the purchase decision as possible. Rule #2 is: Figure out how much staffing you need and make sure you get it.) Sometimes customers will help out […]

07 May 2010

When the Tables Turn

Sometimes customers think, believe, even expect that we can read their minds. And sometimes we appear to. But I see over and over how often we misjudge what even close friends and loved ones would want, and so marvel that strangers have such strong expectations for satisfaction. In preparation for the aforementioned black tie event (see post, If the Shoe Fits, April 30, 2010) I had some involvement with the dreaded Seating Plan. Among the goals of the various seating […]

16 Apr 2010

Not Fair but Necessary

Isn’t it amazing how sometimes you have to be nice and kind to awful people who don’t deserve it? Take collections, for example, either commercial or non-profit. People make commitments to pay — but some don’t pay. For a long time before you get to the point of threat, you use honey, hoping the flies will stick, the promises will be kept, the cash will trickle in — even if you have to bend over backwards and give extra thanks, […]


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