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How Do I Help My Employees Improve Their Customer Service?

Plus, project management tips and more counsel for signshop bosses.

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When you have an employee who wants to leave for a different company for more money, do you match the competitor’s offer? Do nothing?

“Now” this is a tough question. It has happened to us numerous times over the years. Sometimes it’s been a substantial amount of money that we could not justify, and sometimes it’s been for a measly $1.00/hour. And my answer is that it always depends on how you feel about that employee: If he (or she) is a superstar, do what you have to do to keep him. If he is not, and will not cripple your business by leaving, let him go. Several scenarios await:

  1. He leaves and you find someone even better to replace him.
  2. He comes back, tail between his legs once he realizes the grass isn’t as green as they promised. or
  3. You give him more money, and he morphs into a superstar employee because he knows you appreciate him being there. (It’s happened here.)
  4. You offer him more money, along with expanded responsibilities to justify the raise.
  5. Of course, you run the risk of retaining him, and all your other employees find out, (which they most certainly will), creating a new nightmare…” — Dale Salamacha, Co-Owner, Media 1/Wrap This, Sanford, Fl. (Also see St, May 2021, page 42.)

Can you direct me to anything project management-related: best practices, things that work, things tried that didn’t work, tricks and tips, team structure, new project manager training, etc.?

That’s quite a list, but many of those topics have been covered recently by our Business of Signs columnist, — Maggie Harlow, CEO of Signarama Louisville Downtown (Louisville, KY). In addition to her own experiences, Maggie has been great at presenting the expertise of other sign professionals and even sign customers. Check out her column in this issue on page 40, and see all of her contributions at signsofthetimes.com/harlow… Plus, this question may have also given her an idea or two for a future column!

Every once in a while, I catch my staff saying things to clients that make me cringe. What are some of the key no-no’s?

Here’s a nice succinct list of “let’s not go there” service statements, along with suggested replacements, from Karen Leland and Keith Bailey, the authors of Customer Service for Dummies Ask Signs of the Times, Customer Service, Business Management. “Don’t say, ‘I don’t know.’ Do say, ‘I will find out.’ Don’t say, ‘No.’ Do say, ‘What I can do is …’ Don’t say, ‘That’s not my job.’ Do say, ‘This is who can help you …’ Don’t say, ‘You’re right — this stinks.’ Do say, ‘I understand your frustration.’ Don’t say, ‘That’s not my fault.’ Do say, ‘Let’s see what we can do about this.’ Don’t say, ‘You need to talk to my manager.’ Do say, ‘I can help you.’ Don’t say, ‘You want it by when?’ Do say, ‘I’ll try my best.’ Don’t say, ‘Calm down.’ Do say, ‘I’m sorry.’ Don’t say, ‘I’m busy right now.’ Do say, ‘I’ll be with you in just a moment.’ Don’t say, ‘Call me back.’ Do say, ‘I will call you back.’”

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