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@Parissa - it was straight from the heart. I think the trick is to give ourselves daily reminders. Say the day starts off not so well, what can we do to breathe, and crack a smile at how annoyed we are? I make fun of myself when I go from zero to Italian ;)

@Chris - downstream is where the stuff that makes your company happens. I dislike thinking about the other downstream, which is often the guy to kick for some execs. In your example, I bet that people who worked with people who were positive got that way. Yo cracked me up about the averting gaze and walk away MO. I've seen it alright.

@Patrick - and you have such a nice team for that reason. You view customer service and marketing in similar ways: helpful and proactive. Trusting is very powerful. My mentor and former CEO used to say "see what you can do." And that was it. Wow!

@Alexandra - learn communication skills or bear the consequences. The thing is you know who those people are. You are a patron of that store because of them. I had that with a little shop in downtown Modena. When the lady who worked there moved on, I did not set foot in the store. The whole atmosphere, even the inventory, changed. It was almost as if the joy had been sucked out of the place with her. There are plenty of choices and plenty of things we don't need today. Including sloppy service.

@Mary - you know what I find? That people who want to make a difference learn very quickly how to do that for customers, or move on to a company that will let them help them. Most innovators don't wait for permission, and can do wonders with what is available. So while authority helps, it's not a show stopper.

Thanks for the reminder on the critical hiring criterion. Too often the newly hired, untrained staff are assigned to customer service so that they can "really experience" who the customers are and what they want.

Even if a customer service rep is hired for attitude, the second important step is to give authority. Even people with good attitudes need tools to solve the problems.

When responsibility is coupled with authority in a person with a great attitude--magic happens!

Great post, Valeria. As the socialization of business increases every day, it is imperative that all employees have great communication skills if they are interacting with anyone - customer, colleagues and everyone in between. One bad experience from anyone at a business can make it online and be read by thousands. I read a post the other day about a man’s terrible customer service experience at Salad Creations where his chicken was undercooked and the management told him he was wrong. He explained that someone who has a good experience will tell three people, but someone who has a bad experience will tell 3,000, which is exactly what he did. I know I will never go to that restaurant based on his one terrible review and I imagine that the thousands that read his blog are thinking the same thing. Hiring and rewarding good attitude is the best way to keep everyone happy, employees included. I wish there was a way to measure how good attitude leads to good business, such as the way we are trying to measure how social media is good for business today. Maybe this way businesses will be more inclined to reward these wonderful, unique and talented people.

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