43 episodes

Create a culture of WOW experiences to build customer advocacy, loyalty and competitive differentiation!

Positively Outrageous Service Andrew Szabo & Michael Hoffman

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Create a culture of WOW experiences to build customer advocacy, loyalty and competitive differentiation!

    Inspiring Interactions Lead to Positively Outrageous Service

    Inspiring Interactions Lead to Positively Outrageous Service

      "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."

    ~ President John Quincy Adams

    The Influence of Inspiring Interactions on Positively Outrageous Service® and Relationships


    Recently I heard these words, "inspiring interactions" - WOW!

    Five thoughts immediately came to mind:

    Inspiring interactions require superior communication to foster engagement.

    Inspiring interactions galvanizes influence.

    Inspiring interactions infects.

    Inspiring interactions cultivates Positively Outrageous Service.

    Inspiring interactions build relationships.

    The information age heightens and escalates expectations for both customers and employees - and if your organization can't meet them, they're going to leave you for your competitors.

    To inspire another means they experience intense feelings of loyalty, a positive reaction that is motivating, or the urge or ability to do something creative.

    When you creatively inspire the interaction with a team member or customer, you elevate engagement and enhance the relationship. And it all starts with superior communication. The words we use in a conversation, meeting, or email either elevates or erodes our engagement with another person. Choose your words carefully.

    We all have influence. When we inspire a customer through an enhanced experience, they won't dream of going anywhere else, and they'll give you more business.

    However, you can't inspire the customer without inspiring your team first. You can't have what we call "two faces" - inspiring interactions internally infect our influence and interactions externally with the experience we create for our customers.

    Inspiring interactions through superior communication elevates engagement and infectiously influences our Positively Outrageous Service to our colleagues, teammates, and ultimately the customer. Positively Outrageous Service directly correlates to building relationships internally, first and secondarily to the customer.

    And by the way practicing inspiring interactions makes you a leader with influence. The essence of leadership is best described in 19 words by President John Quincy Adams "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."

    Initiate inspiring interactions to invigorate your Positively Outrageous Service

    and intensify relationships!


    © 2021 Positively Outrageous Service, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

    Positively Outrageous Service is a registered trademark of Positively Outrageous Service, Inc.


    • 3 min
    How to Positively Outrageously Combat Virtual Meeting Fatigue

    How to Positively Outrageously Combat Virtual Meeting Fatigue

    You Can Have Too Much of a Good Thing!


    Boss: “What do you think?”

    Me: [going to the bathroom]

    Boss: “Can you hear me?”

    Me: [getting another beer]

    Boss: “I think he's on mute.”

    Me: [getting chips]

    Boss: “Hello?”

    Me: “Sorry I was on mute”


    Do you feel exhausted after attending too many back-to-back virtual video meetings?

    Virtual meeting fatigue became big news as significant sectors of the population attended school and worked remotely during the CoVid pandemic.

    Dr. Mitchell, a neurologist at Sunnybrook, says, "We require additional effort and sustained attention during video meetings," "The added strain on our attentional systems and other cognitive processes can leave us feeling exhausted." 

    Imagine going to a three-day all-day conference. The sessions are all back-to-back, with no breaks, no time for personal interaction, no time to check your emails or call your spouse. Probably time to eat or go to the bathroom! That would be exhausting!

    Yes, there are some distinctive benefits to video calls as it's more personal and interactive, it:

    Facilitates conversation details when you see the person's face and body language.

    Improves conversation engagement as it's closer to the feeling of a real face-to-face meeting.

    Improves Team Building 

    But, there are also pitfalls to avoid - you can have too much of a good thing as well!

    Here are our top tips based that are experiential and research-based that provide relief and make video calls less exhausting. Pick a few that YOU resonate with and would be easy to implement. Experiment and try others over time. 

    Avoid multitasking. Research reveals doing multiple things at once cuts into performance. Swapping between tasks can undermine as much as 40 percent of your productivity. Researchers at Stanford found that people who multitask can't remember things as well as their more singularly focused peers. So on your next video conference call, close your other programs and tabs that will distract you. Yes, that includes your inbox and chat. Turn off your mobile phone. And be present, focused – and ultimately less exhausted.

    Take a break!

    Schedule frequent short breaks. Do something else; work on that other project; check your Email; take a walk. Make lunch, an espresso, or a smoothie. What you eat also impacts fatigue. 

    Schedule and protect breaks on your calendar. Control your calendar, don't let your calendar control you!

    Limit the meeting duration. There is a tendency to default to 60-minute meetings. Schedule more 30-minute appointments – better yet, make it a 25-minute session; now you have time to go to the bathroom! If it has to be 60 minutes, make it 50 or at most 55 minutes.


    Stand up! In one 7-week study, participants who stood more often at their desks reported less fatigue and stress than those seated the entire day. Additionally, 87% of those standing reported increased vigor and energy throughout the day. If you don't have a stand-up desk, use a cardboard box. That's how the founder of VARIDESK® started! Additionally, if you're making a virtual presentation, you will have way more energy in a standing position than sitting down! 

    Make space for fun. Start personal. It's okay to come in a few minutes early. You would do that in a face-to-face meeting. Connect personally with others and make the conversation fun. As others join, we are talking at a personal level first – just like you would as you enter a real conference room. I change my virtual backdrop every week, which makes for a fun conversation starter – it might be from a vacation trip or an amusing crazy background that invites a fun initial conversation.

    • 5 min
    What Is Customer-Centric?

    What Is Customer-Centric?


    “The key is to set realistic customer expectations, and then not to just meet them,

    but to exceed them—preferably in unexpected and helpful ways”.

    ~ Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group

    What Does Customer-Centric Mean?

    If you ask ten people, you may get ten different answers. If your organization’s vision is customer-centricity, then we’d better agree on a single definition and what that entails.

    According to Investopedia, “customer-centric is an approach to doing business that focuses on creating a positive experience for the customer by maximizing service and/or product offerings and building relationships.”

    Customer-centric organizations ensure the customer is the epicenter of the organization’s vision, processes, operations, and most importantly, service excellence. Customer-centric organizations understand that their customers are the primary reason for their existence. They use every means to deliver an exceptional experience – what we call Positively Outrageous Service® (POS) - an experience that generates an undeniable feeling. Feelings feed into experience. An elevated experience enhances the relationship. An enhanced relationship ensures intense customer loyalty, revenue growth, and recommendations to others, generating additional customer referrals.

    According to KPMG, 88% of CEOs are concerned about customer loyalty, recognizing that their customer needs and agendas are vital to success.

    Business is all about relationships. Your customer’s experience elevates or undermines that alliance. There is no middle ground. Every experience and interaction with your organization’s processes and people impact their experience of you and hence the relationship. The customer experience is not centered on your product offering - it’s the experience surrounding and enhancing your offering.

    We have a saying, “everything you do sends a message - everything you don’t do sends a message.” Every internal decision we make – how we handle every action, email, telephone call, delivery, problem, resolution, and process impacts the experience and, hence, the customer relationship.

    Just imagine you’re a customer and have an issue with a business, and it takes 14 emails back and forth to resolve it. We know the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place – context is lost in the maelstrom. There’s miscommunication and misinterpretation galore. You’d have a whole lot of pent-up frustration and emotion, wouldn’t you? Would you want to deal with that business again?

    The customer-centric agenda starts and ends with the needs of the customer. Customer-centricity is a business methodology that cultivates a positive customer experience at every phase of the customer journey. Every time a customer-centric organization makes a decision, it passionately considers its impact on the customer.

    Furthermore, customer-centric organizations realize that Positively Outrageous Service starts internally.

    Two things to remember:

    Positively Outrageous Service is infectious. There is a direct correlation between a decision to Positively Outrageously Servicing your team and the impact on the customer. Studies show that for every two percent improvement in employee engagement and satisfaction correlates to a one percent increase in customer satisfaction that results in a two percent increase in customer revenue.

    Everyone has a customer. We sometimes hear that our team or an individual isn’t in the front-line serving a customer. Everyone has a customer. Everyone in an organization interacts with others. Everyone who gives another’s support, interface, process, or relationship is serving that internal customer.

    To successfully attain the customer-centric vision through Positively Outrageous Ser...

    • 5 min
    I'm Fine!

    I'm Fine!

    "One chord is fine. Two chords is pushing it. Three chords and you're into jazz."

    ~ Lou Reed

    “FINE” Is an Open Door for Positively Outrageous Service®


    "How are you doing?"

    "I'm Fine!"

    How often have you heard that!

    Business is all about relationships.

    Relationships are elevated or eroded by the experience one encounters.

    Most conversations on the phone, in a meeting, on a video conference call, start with the question: "How are you doing."

    Sometimes we will hear: "great," "fantastic," "busy," "overwhelmed," "fabulous," or "really good."

    Often, we will hear,

    "I'm fine."

    Fine is, more often than not, a default, knee-jerk reaction when things aren't great.

    We've all done it, I've done it.

    Some years ago, someone asked me an additional question:

    "How are you really doing?"


    That was random and unexpected!

    I felt they cared. And I shared. And our relationship deepened.

    Out of proportion to the circumstances.

    In the British comedy-adventure film The Italian Job, a Cockney gangster Charlie Croker, says "I'm fine,"

    Mr. Bridger, the crime syndicate boss, replies,

    "You know what 'fine' stands for, don't you? Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional."

    Let me repeat that: 'fine ‘ is an acronym for: Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional.

    The response "I'm fine" when we are not is simply a means to suppress our feelings because we don't think the other person would care to hear our real emotions.

    The band Maroon Five's lyrics sing "I'm not fine, I'm in pain," is way more honest.

    Speaking the truth sets one free, permitting one to be free from other constricting and fallacious aspects of life.

    In my experience, when I hear "I'm fine!”

    The other person is either Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic, or Emotional unstable for some reason.

    And I ask the additional question.

    To them, it's random and unexpected:

    "So, how are you really doing?"

    Nineteen out of twenty times, the person is indeed not fine.

    They share, they experience care.

    Sometimes, if the circumstances warrant it: I've even prayed for them.

    It's incredible how even the agnostic will accept prayer when their cart is in the ditch.

    In any case, the relationship is elevated.

    Positively Outrageous Service doesn't have to be complicated – showing you care distinguishes you from the competition.

    Five words: "How are you really doing?" allows customers or team-mates to be impacted by your care, elevating the experience, enhancing the relationship.

    How the customer feels about the relationship isn't necessarily about you per se, it's how they feel when they're around you! Why would they want to interact with anyone else but you!

    We look forward to you being Positively Outrageous as you respond to their "I'm fine!"

    © 2021 Positively Outrageous Service, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

    Positively Outrageous Service is a registered trademark of Positively Outrageous Service, Inc.

    • 3 min
    Positively Outrageous Service – Be a Person of Influence

    Positively Outrageous Service – Be a Person of Influence


    "Think twice before you speak because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another."

    ~ Napoleon Hill

    Influence and Impact Intensifies Positively Outrageous Service®

    Don't you love being the Sheriff! Where you walk into that situation where what you say and what you do is just right!

    You're on! Your timing is perfect. You walk away from that situation, "did anybody hear me? I was amazing!" You're a person of influence.

    I think it happens all the time. You come in with guns a-blazing with superb solutions, or is the real impact and influence made in the conversations and the connection?

    We all want to be influential, where we have the opportunities, where we are instrumental in moving things forward.

    Having that level of impact and influence on the person in front of you leads to world-class customer experiences -- Positively Outrageous Service. Service excellence boosts sales. Serving one another creates a united world-class team that creatively works together despite the craziness of our days.

    What is it that makes us influential?

    Aren't there times when we miss opportunities that really could have taken us to the next level or taking that experience to the person in front of us through the roof? For instance, when you're in that situation that you heard 50 times already that day, but you have to go through it one more time.

    "Caller Number 108! Can I help you?"

    Maybe you're working with somebody who is having a bad day – and they say through gritted teeth, “yeeeees, I am on board, and I'm a team player.”

    Or maybe you're in that situation where you're moving the solution a little too fast.

    "You know what we should do is …",


    "Let's do this."

    "I don't think you're hearing what I'm saying"

    "Actually, the way I would handle that is this …"

     "I don't think you know my situation …" 

    Why don't we …"

    Sometimes we think being a person of influence is just having the solution. But you know, when we ride into that situation, and we're shooting out ideas all the time doesn't necessarily mean that we're effective or that we're influential.

    We all work with people who, when they walk into a room, the lights get brighter. 

    "Love you, love you, love you!"

    And then there are some people that when they walk out the lights get brighter. 

    Think about the time when you were in front of somebody that did their job well;  a face-to-face moment, a telephone moment when you were glad you were talking to that specific person. Why did you like that person? Was it because they had the big guns and all the answers? Was it because of their approach? Was it because of their heart? Was it because of the way they made you feel about you?

    Consider this, the person that you're dealing with works behind their eyeballs. They don't get a chance to see themselves. All they know about themselves and the impact they’re having is from the input they're getting from the outside world.

    The first place we start as a person of influence is to understand that I significantly impact how you see me. The quicker I can let you know that I am for you, that I am actually on your side, the faster we're going to get past defensiveness and move to a solution. Making a conscious choice to have a heart for somebody is not just an attitude it's also an approach. It shows up in your tone of voice. It shows up in your face. It shows up in your body language. It shows up in that word that you choose to say.

    Ask yourself, where is my heart in this issue?

    What is my heart towards the person in front of me?

    • 6 min
    Everyone Has a Customer – Positively Outrageous Service Them Too!

    Everyone Has a Customer – Positively Outrageous Service Them Too!


    “The internal customer experience drives the external customer experience”

    ~ Andrew Szabo

    Don’t Overlook a Very Important Customer -- Your Employees and Teammates!

    Who is your customer?

    Who are you serving?

    Whoever you provide a service to is your customer.

    Positively Outrageous Service® (POS) isn't only about creating an excellent experience for your external customers, clients, patients, or guests. Not everyone in an organization is in the front-line dealing with the external customer. Positively Outrageous Service is just as essential to implement internally.

    Everyone in an organization has to interact with others.

    Your internal customer is every bit as important as the external customer. Perhaps even more critical. When we serve another teammate, or as a leader, your team, Positively Outrageous Service comes into play.

    Anyone who experiences your support, interface, process, or relationship is an internal customer.

    For example, IT, payroll, HR, legal, and administration are typical examples of internal functions serving other employees. However, anyone that supports another person providing data or resources is serving that stakeholder.

    In actuality, to have a cohesive, consistent, consolidated culture means that everyone has a role in supporting others in an organization. Poor internal service results in a splintered organization, turf wars, and ultimately poor inconsistent service to the external customer.

    Here are three indispensable considerations when serving an internal customer:

    Employees who are the beneficiaries of Positively Outrageous Service feel appreciated and empowered. POS motivates and drives higher performance levels in themselves - to serve others, whether internally or externally. Besides, when employees have the resources, tools, information, and processes to excel, you enable them to perform to extraordinary levels.

    Motivated, appreciated, empowered employees are more engaged and less likely to leave. Employee retention increases, costs decrease, and often they are advocates attracting others who are like them - service naturals!

    Employee satisfaction is as critical as customer satisfaction. Engaged, happy, motivated employees provide higher levels of service to customers. If they are disgruntled, distressed, or unmotivated, their performance deteriorates.

    Want a new business growth strategy? – inspirationally interact and infect your employees with Positively Outrageous Service. There is a direct correlation between employee and customer satisfaction, as well as increased revenue growth. Every two percent improvement in employee satisfaction and engagement results in a one percent elevation in customer satisfaction rippling out to a two percent increase in revenue!

    Positively Outrageous Service is infectious - love on each other internally, and the front-line will love on the customer.

    The three principles of Positively Outrageous Service apply with internal customers too:

    Have them encounter the random and unexpected - which takes forethought on your part!

    Have them experience things that are out of proportion to the circumstances.

    And don't forget to be playful and fun!

    Finally, for it to become inculcated into your culture, it necessitates internal customer excellence through POS to be a habit and not just a one-off, occasional occurrence.

    We look forward to you being Positively Outrageous with your internal and external customers!



    © 2021 Positively Outrageous Service, Inc., Positively Outrageous Service® is a registered trademark of Positively Outrageous Service, Inc.

    • 4 min

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