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What Emily in Paris taught me about CX

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

Here’s what Emily in Paris taught me about CX.

In the show, Emily in Paris, there’s a funny scene between Emily (the American) and her roommate Mindy.

Emily plans to write a letter in French and Mindy, who speaks French well, offers to help. But Emily declines the offer, saying something like, ‘No I can do this, my French is ok.’

To which Mindy replies, ‘Ok good…then maybe you want to stop washing your hair with dog shampoo.’

It turns out that Emily’s level of French wasn’t quite there yet – as evidenced by her misinterpreting the picture on the shampoo bottle of a pretty girl and a dog.

I laughed out loud – because that scene mirrored my own experience.

Three years ago, when I first moved to Germany, I stood in a grocery store aisle trying to figure out which shampoo to buy. And unable to interpret the words (with confidence) on the label.

It’s a humbling experience to reboot your life in a new language.

Put aside cultural assimilation for the moment – just figuring out what buttons to press on the ATM machine or trying to make out the return instructions to send back a shirt that didn’t quite fit.


There are parallels between rebooting life in a new language and  implementing a CX strategy

To successfully reboot my life in German, I went through a number of steps.

And I see some direct parallels to those steps – and how I see Clients implement CX into their organizations.

1.  I saw that the (my) world had changed – and if I was going to succeed in it, I was going to need to change too (and speak German!)

The CX Parallel:

At the heart of the launch of so many successful CX strategies is (drum roll)…dissatisfaction.  A gnawing sense – usually at the leadership level – that the world has changed and that our organization hasn’t changed with it – or changed enough to meet new realities.

2.  I set a vision for the future – if all my dreams came true what would the future look like

The CX Parallel:

The CX Vision is where it all starts – what kind of experience do we intend to deliver?  Because if all our dreams come true – that’s what will happen.  So crafting that great CX Vision is a vital first step.

3.  I evaluated my current state – how far away was I from my desired future state (with German fluency – pretty far)

The CX Parallel:

Before launching into the CX ‘doing’, it’s important to evaluate where you are now – across all the necessary competencies & domains – and how far away you are from where you need to be.

CX isn’t just Customer Service on steroids.  Your approach will need to be multi-pronged to be successful.

4.  I set the strategy & tactics – what I need to specifically do to close the gaps (so that I can speak fluent German)

The CX Parallel:

Equipped with my CX Vision and my ‘readiness’ benchmark results, I can now set out the short & long term activities needed to move forward.  Avoid complexity here – remember that short term wins build to longer term wins.

5.  I considered how undertaking this initiative would improve my life overall (ROI) – otherwise I might not carry through.

The CX Parallel:

It’s not really about CX – it’s about making the business better.  So I have to understand – and articulate – how the proposed CX work is going to make my organization ‘better’.

6.  I allocated resources into my plan – including time and money

The CX Parallel:

Describing and quantifying the specific resources you’ll need is necessary to win budget approval.  It’s overly simplistic to just say ‘CX is everyone’s job’ and hope your CX dreams come true.

7.  I set appropriate metrics to track my progress along the way (such as passing the European certification exams)

The CX Parallel:

Metrics inform me of my progress – and keep me and my organization’s CX efforts headed in the right direction,  Choosing and measuring the right things is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.

8.  I shared with my family & friends to help build a culture of support & accountability

The CX Parallel:

It’s amazing how much easier things ‘go’ when everyone is rooting for success – and pulling in the same direction to get there.

What Emily in Paris taught me about CX – in closing

These days I can visit the dentist, buy new eyeglasses and make a dinner reservation in German. I’m not there yet but I’m closer than I was when I started.


It will be the same for your CX work too.  You should never not have enough to do moving forward.

So thanks Emily in Paris – for that resonant moment with the shampoo bottle – and for helping me consider lessons around Customer Experience.

And thank you for reading!


[email protected]


Why regular and ongoing Employee feedback matters – even if Employees have to go out and get it

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

Regular and ongoing Employee feedback matters – even if Employees have to go out and get it.

There are cool things about being a Trainer. And some pretty intense things about being a Trainer.

Venn Diagram example

And sometimes, in the Venn Diagram version of the job, those two things overlap.

For example, when it comes to regular and ongoing feedback.

Every week, typically 2 – 3 times per week, a group of smart professional folks evaluate my work and give me feedback.

How much feedback has that been?

Using 2 workshop sessions per week x an average of 10 folks per workshop x  40 training weeks a year x 20 years of training and that works out to be 800 individual feedback reports a year or 16,000 feedback reports over the 20 years I’ve been teaching.

Excluding university classes, speeches, Emcee duties and keynotes.  


And what does all this feedback mean? 

It means that I’m up to date, on a regular basis, as to what’s going well, what could be improved, what’s ‘irrelevant’ (some is) and what actions I need to take – both short term & long term.

If I want great ‘scores’ and feedback I have to do something with it. Otherwise, I’d have been out of business long ago.

There are obvious parallels with what I’m describing here and the role of Voice of Customer.

But my purpose in writing this isn’t to explore those parallels.

It’s to share how important getting regular ongoing feedback at work is – no matter what you do and no matter where you work.

And how important it is to get regular Employee feedback even if you have to go out and get it yourself.



Regular Employee feedback – my old Corporate life

In my old life in the Corporate world, my boss(es) would perhaps 1x  or 2x per year take me out to a nice lunch.

Dessert at Performance Review lunch

And at that lunch they’d either skirt around a few issues in between courses or now and then shoot straight between the eyes as to what I needed to do better (usually after dessert was served).

They were almost always very uncomfortable. It showed – despite the fact they were all CEOs, VPs or Business Owners.

And for me, it felt like there wasn’t enough regular Employee feedback, or userful Employee feedback, to make concerted changes or develop myself.

I often found myself trying to read between the lines to see how I could be better.


Pretend everyone is an external Client

When you serve external (vs. internal) Clients you’re automatically in the feedback headlights. Over the 15 years or so that I employed Client Service Managers I found that most of them grew dramatically.

Invariably they told me it was because of the regular ongoing feedback they received from Clients – and that to succeed in the job required a lot more attention to external feedback.

Especially as compared to ‘old’ jobs – which were mostly in the Corporate world.

The realized that in their old jobs they could work for months with little or no developmental feedback from their bosses.

But Clients – who were paying for our services – never held back on how they felt.



So what’s my point

No matter if you’re working with internal or external Clients. No matter what it is that you do.

Go out there and  ask others how you’re doing and what you can do better. Be proactive and fierce about it.

Don’t wait for the sometimes antiquated performance review process to guide you – that may come too little, too late.

And as painful as it can be, take (most) of that feedback seriously. Because there’s wisdom in it.

For me I knew I was always a good communicator. It’s a personal strength.

But remember those 16,000 individual feedback forms I had to wade through?Gosh they helped.

Thank you for reading!

DanielNo alt text provided for this image

3 Suggestions for Contact Centre Leaders to transform into Customer Experience Leaders in 2019

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

In this short article I share 3 suggestions for Contact Centre Leaders to transform into Customer Experience Leaders in 2019.

First things first

I sometimes hear Contact Centre leaders say that their senior or functional management doesn’t support their Centre.

If you work at a cult status company like Zappos you’re clearly fortunate.  Your high level of Customer Experience (CX) ambition is aligned to and reinforces that of your company.

It’s a virtuous cycle.

But what if you’re the Centre Manager in a company where your purpose isn’t seen as mission-critical.  Where management doesn’t meaningfully embrace Customer centricity.

That’s a different scenario.

Sure – you can’t control the level of CX ambition in your company.  But go ahead and pursue your personal CX ambitions – even if they don’t align to the current CX ambitions of your company.

John Maxwell writes “Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.”  Don’t settle for becoming an outcome of your culture. Consider yourself a driver of your culture.

I think that’s putting first things first.

Suggestion #1 – Get involved with the Customer Experience (CX) Vision

Not every company decides to pursue a CX strategy.  At the end of the day it’s a business decision.

And don’t let the false use of lingo in companies fool you.  Rebranding everything as ‘Customer Experience’ when it used to be called ‘Customer Service’ doesn’t make it so.

They’re different things.

Window dressing doesn’t equate to strategy.

A Customer Experience strategy – a big topic – addresses:

  1. What kind of experience you intend to deliver to Customers
  2. The objectives, goals & metrics you set to measure success
  3. The outside-in perspective of the Customer to ensure your aim is true
  4. The ways you plan to engage everyone within the organization to deliver
  5. The long- and short-term actions you take to achieve your objectives

I’ll cover CX Strategy more in a future article.

10 CCXP Exam Practice Questions for Customer Experience Strategy


But for our purposes today let’s look at Point #1 -what kind of experience you intend to deliver.

Because this is where your CX Vision lives.  It describes the intended experience in vivid and compelling terms so that everyone knows what that experience should look like and feel like.  In Service Design it might be called your Value Promise.

If your company has a defined Customer Experience (CX) Vision in place, life is good.  You’re in a great position to align your quality program & performance standards to that vision.

No more excuses to use weak standards like ‘Use the Customer’s Name 3x’.

From Contact Centre Management to Customer Experience Management – do you have what it takes?

What if your company doesn’t have a CX strategy in place?

If your company doesn’t have a CX strategy in place, then it isn’t likely to have a CX Vision in place either.

But hey – don’t let that stop you.

Sometimes Contact Centre Leaders need to shape their own destiny.  You can and should put together a strong Service Vision.

By the way, I tend to be very particular with terminology here.  I don’t call this a Customer Experience Vision.

The reason is simple.

A CX Vision by definition and application incorporates the entire organization and its ecosystem.  If your scope of authority extends only across the Contact Centre or Customer Service function, it’s better to be precise and call it a Service Vision instead.

Because it’s not organizational in scope.

But, over time and with your influence, a great Service Vision can readily evolve into an organizational CX Vision.

So think big when you craft it!

And the Service Vision often does double-duty for how we treat each other.  It doesn’t just have to be for Customers.  It can be for Employees too.

Sometimes I use the analogy of ice cream.  What ‘flavour’ of service do we deliver around here.

Coming up with your Service Vision

To come up with your Service Vision it helps to look  at what your company says about itself.

This is where I begin when I’m designing a Mystery Shopper research or Quality Assurance program.

Read your company website.  The company vision, mission and values can often be found there.  What’s your purpose?  Who are your intended Customers?  What role do you play in their lives?

Articulate how your company describes itself.

Next, look at your company’s brand attributes & values.

What kinds of promises does your company make to current and prospective Customers when they use your products & services?  What do your ads say?  What kind of images are used?  What kind of lingo appears in marketing communications?

Articulate the brand promises your company makes.

Now you can put these findings in front of the people who work in your Centre.  What do they think?  Does it ring true?

Your goal is to develop and codify a Service Vision (a statement), which is often supported by a focused set of 3 – 6 Service principles.

And by going through this process you’ll be better equipped – when the time comes – to help other departments and functions work through their CX Vision.

That’s influence!

Just imagine

When anyone asks your Contact Centre Agent what kind of service they deliver around here – they can tell you.  And specifically how they apply the vision & principles to their daily interactions.

Easy to talk about – but it’s the doing that sets you apart from others.

In closing, the CX Vision, the Service Vision and CX Strategy are big topics.  They’re worth taking the time and effort to read, study and discuss at a much deeper level than is presented in this short article.

But I’ve found over the years, the best CX & Service strategies begin with a solid vision.


Suggestion #2 – Please don’t call a horse an apple

It’s wearying to see how many Contact Centres have rebranded themselves as Customer Experience Centres and how many Contact Centre job titles have been changed to incorporate ‘Customer Experience’ into the title.

But you can point at a horse and call it an apple all day and that won’t make it so.

This type of rebranding exercise pollutes everyone’s understanding of what CX really is.  Because CX – by definition & application – must incorporate the organization as a whole.

Sure – your Contact Centre has some impact on the overall Customer Experience for those Customers who choose to use your resources. 

But their overall perception of your company is influenced by so many (other) factors and is fluid over time.

McKinsey writes that Customers think in terms of their journeys, not in touchpoints. That can be hard for Contact Centre leadership – in charge of large and labour-intensive touchpoint – to take onboard.

Especially when for years we’ve all been taught that the Contact Centre is the most important touchpoint in the company.

It’s helpful for Contact Centre people to understand that they’re a subset of a subset in the world of CX.

First comes CX which covers the entire organizational ecosystem.

Then within that ecosystem you have the Customer Service function – most easily viewed as the human to human interactions Customers have with you.

And within the Customer Service function you have the Contact Centre.

If I were training my Agents today I’d spend time sharing key Customer journeys.

Why did the Customer contact us?  Where did they come from? Where are they likely to go next?  What’s our role and opportunity in this experience?

When Contact Centre people stick their flagpole into the ground and claim they are Customer Experience, they do a big disservice to every other employee and stakeholder in the organization.

Ultimately, the smart use of Customer research allows you to evaluate the importance of the Contact Centre touchpoint to the Customer across key personas and journeys.

We talk about research next.


Suggestion #3 – Build your Customer Research Know-How

You’d hope that the Contact Centre leaders would be experts in Customer Research know-how.

That they’d jump at every opportunity to understand the needs, expectations and wants of their Customers.

That they’d bang on the doors of their Service Quality department and ask to be a part of the research programs undertaken.

That they’d be open to learning the (sometimes) harsh truth about what Customers have to say.

But one potential barrier I’ve seen often is this one.

When senior management has unrealistic expectations around quantitative outcomes, Contact Centre leaders may not be so keen to let poor results & findings see the light of day.

I met one Contact Centre leader who was so terrified of an upcoming management meeting on their Contact Centre survey results they called in sick for the presentation.

Fear is a terrible way to motivate change and when Customer research is seen as ‘scary’ that inhibits the desire to learn more about research.

Another potential barrier I see is this one.

Research is a fascinating but complex topic.  It involves a lot of what I call ‘First Principles’.

First Principles are the essential knowledge you need to understand the topic with some level of mastery.

In Customer Research that includes essential knowledge around topics like –

  • The role of qualitative research
  • The use of structured vs. unstructured data
  • Descriptive, predictive and outcome metrics
  • Forms of ethnographic research
  • Relationship vs. transaction survey practices
  • The role of statistical viability
  • Basic research terminology – mode, median, average,
  • More research terminology – correlation, regression, causality
  • Service & experience design research

To learn and understand these concepts take time and effort. But the payoff is tremendous.

In an era where more information and data is produced than at any other time in human history, dusting off those old statistics books and re-mastering quantitative & qualitative research matters.

Experience design is based on qualitative research methodologies in particular.

Get your Customer Research know-how up to speed.  It helps you make sound sense of  how you can understand Customers better.

In closing

Of course I could have had 13 suggestions – or 5 suggestions or 11 and so on.

But after some thought to my own personal experience, what I’ve learned working with Clients and the amount of time and effort required, I hope that these suggestions resonate with you and are helpful.

Here’s to all your CX ambitions for 2019 and thank you for reading!

How to learn more about Customer Experience and prepare for certification


Email Writing Tips for better Customer Experience – the Ritz Carlton, Santa Barbara

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

In this article we share specific email writing tips for better Customer Experience and Service Recovery using a real case study at the Ritz Carlton, Santa Barbara.

The Ritz Carlton Hotels.

From their webpage:

100 years of history. Countless rewards. With an unshakeable credo and corporate philosophy of un-wavering commitment to service, both in our hotels and in our communities, The Ritz-Carlton has been recognized with numerous awards for being the gold standard of hospitality.

Santa Barbara, California.

The city lies between the steeply rising Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Santa Barbara’s climate is often described as Mediterranean, and the city is referred to as the “American Riviera”.

So, the expectations for service at the Ritz Carlton Bacara in Santa Barbara, California are understandably high.

The situation

On a recent holiday in the U.S. I spent time with my sister Diana who lives and has her business in Santa Barbara.

The Ritz Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

One evening she turned to us and said – let’s have a leisurely dinner at The Ritz Carlton Bacara tonight – to which we all emphatically nodded yes.

The following day, my sister sent a detailed email to the Ritz Carlton to share on our experience.

The purpose of this article is not to complain about service.

I’m not a fan of articles where Customer Service experts write to vent frustration or unhappiness under the guise of promoting Customer experience.

My intention in this article is to share email writing tips for better Customer experience and Service recovery efforts.

The email exchange with the Ritz Carlton provided a perfect and personal case study.

Here is the email my sister (the Customer) sent

Good Morning,

I am writing because I felt compelled after a bumpy visit to the resort yesterday in Santa Barbara and I thought it would be helpful for your managerial staff to be made aware of so many missed opportunities for our visit to have been special.

I have family in town from Singapore and Germany and felt a visit to the Bacara would cap off their trip spectacularly.

I made reservations for the Bistro at 5:30 to enjoy a leisurely time outside during a typically slow time for restaurants.

An hour after the reservation was made, Stephanie called from the Bistro and left a message to inquire whether we would want inside or outside, which I appreciated.

I called back a few minutes after her message and couldn’t reach anyone in the Bistro for a few tries (the PBX call bounced back to the operator).

When I reached her, I verified that we would be outside and see her in an hour and a half.

The Ritz Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

We parked in valet and entered the lobby where an absolutely spectacular floral arrangement greeted us. This was going to be great.

We reached the Bistro and the hostess stand was empty.

We waited a few minutes and Stephanie came up and greeted us and led us to our reserved table for four which was only set for three.

We sat and several minutes later the fourth setting arrived.

Approximately 10 minutes later bread arrived but no bread plates, so we waited another 10 minutes to give our order and at that point asked for bread plates.

Our Server was sweet but only came to the table a couple of times in the two hours we were there.

When we ordered our food, she didn’t ask about drinks, and on our side, we forgot to order them.


The food came 45 minutes later, and the chicken/risotto dish was amazing (my visitors had this and they loved it).

I was beginning to get frustrated because of the wait times between visits to our table so we asked for the bill and a person we hadn’t seen yet brought it.

We decided that rather than leave straight away, we would have a drink/coffee in the bar and get a change of scenery.

At the bar the bartender told us that there is no coffee available at their bar but that they would get one from the restaurant.

The Ritz Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

We settled in front of the fireplace in the lobby and 30 minutes or more passed without any word or visit from the staff, so we left.

I was so disappointed because I felt like there were so many missed opportunities to be treated like welcome guests.

I truly hope this beautiful setting can be matched by top notch service soon.

Thank you for the opportunity to share our experience,


Here is the reply from ae Food & Beverage Director

From: “Lawrence Teatree”  (names are changed)
Date: April 16, 2018 at 1:50:17 PM CDT
To:” <[email protected]>
Subject: Your stay at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

Dear Mrs. XX,

Thank you for choosing to stay at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara and providing your honest feedback.

Providing the highest level of hospitality is our number one priority and we sincerely apologize for falling short of meeting your expectations.

We have shared your feedback with the Bistro and Bar team to ensure the necessary guidelines are in place to improve the restaurant experience. I have also passed your comments to our Chef regarding the risotto! Thanks!

I do appreciate you giving us the opportunity to restore your confidence in Food and Beverage by speaking to me directly. Please let me know the best contact number and time to reach you, or you can call me at any time at 805 XXX XXXX.

Once again, thank you for your valued feedback and we hope to serve you again whenever your travels bring you back to Santa Barbara.

Lawrence Teatree
Food and Beverage
The Ritz Carlton, Bacara Santa Barbara

Here are email writing tips for better Customer Experience –  documented within the body of the reply 

The Subject Line

From: Lawrence Teatree
Date: April 16, 2018 at 1:50:17 PM CDT
To:” <[email protected]>
Subject: Your stay at The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

With regard to the Subject Line, we were not hotel guests at the Bacara. We were clearly dinner guests.

The Subject Line made it clear that Alex had not read our email or that he was simply following standard (and robotic) protocols.

The Subject Line matters.  It should be well crafted.

The Opening

Dear Mrs. XX,

Thank you for choosing to stay at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara and providing your honest feedback.

We did not stay at the Bacara, we were dinner guests. So, the Opening line is irrelevant at best, tone deaf at worst.

The Apology

Providing the highest level of hospitality is our number one priority and we sincerely apologize for falling short of meeting your expectations.

Lawrence is a Director of Food & Beverage.

Based on his title, the restaurant where we had dinner and the bar where we later tried to get coffee would both fall under his purview.

The email would have sounded a lot more personal if he referred to himself – “I” and not “we”.

For example:

I apologize that I and our Team fell short of meeting your expectations and that of your dinner Guests…

And by talking about himself and/or his Team, he would have demonstrated that he took ownership of the experience.

This Empathy statement would have sounded more human and sincere than “we sincerely apologize”.

If you need to use the word ‘sincere’ in a Customer communication, that’s already a red flag.

If you have to sincerely apologize, does that mean you have insincere apologies too?

The Corporate Speak

Now let’s get to the Corporate speak.

How does the following phrase help matters?

Providing the highest level of hospitality is our number one priority…

Is that so? Providing the highest level of hospitality is our number one priority?

The entire reason the Customer took the time and effort to write a long and detailed email is because that didn’t happen for her.

He might as well have written –

The Ritz Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

Providing the highest level of hospitality is our number one priority, except obviously what happened in your case…

When you make a mistake – you apologize first.

You don’t couch the apology in ‘corporate-speak’.

This statement, coming at the opening of the Empathy Statement, reduced the impact and sincerity of the apology.

It sounded robotic and scripted.

The Content

We have shared your feedback with the Bistro and Bar team to ensure the necessary guidelines are in place to improve the restaurant experience.

The Customer was very detailed.

She shared no less than 10 observations about the experience across both the restaurant and bar.

The Ritz Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

She took effort and time to help the Ritz Carlton improve and even references at the end of her email that “I truly hope this beautiful setting can be matched by top notch service soon.”

Lawrence’s reply did not address a single specific point out of the 10 raised – nor did he share any details of “ensuring the necessary guidelines are in place.”

Lawrence could have done so much to restore the confidence of the Customer.

While it may not be necessary to address each of the 10 points raised by the Customer, Lawrence could have better matched her effort.

He could have specifically shared what he was going to do with that information that had been given.

As an example – and with better service recovery in mind – he could have said –

With regard to the number of settings at the table when you were seated (3 vs. 4), we have asked the Team that takes our reservations to indicate clearly to our Servers, the number of diners expected and the preferred seating location.

The Ritz Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara

I’m really glad you brought this to my attention.”

When you learn how to write an efficient & effective email, you learn that you need to address both the Tone of the Customer and the Content of the Customer.

This Customer deserved a better ‘Content Match’ than she received.  She put a lot of effort and detail into her email.

That was not reciprocated in the reply.

I have also passed your comments to our Chef regarding the risotto! Thanks!

This was a nice statement and showed that Lawrence read the email.

The Recovery

I do appreciate you giving us the opportunity to restore your confidence in Food and Beverage by speaking to me directly. Please let me know the best contact number and time to reach you, or you can call me at any time at 805 XXX XXXX.

This invitation to reach out to him is excellent and shows a personal touch.

The recovery would have been so much more effective if the overall email had been better.

The Closing

Once again, thank you for your valued feedback and we hope to serve you again whenever your travels bring you back to Santa Barbara.

The Customer is a long-term resident of Santa Barbara – making assumptions that all your Guests are tourists or visitors is not very welcome for locals.

Lawrence Teatree
Food and Beverage
The Ritz Carlton, Bacara Santa Barbara

In closing

If you attend to Customers by email, it’s important to –

Know what your brand ‘voice’ is – and confirm that it sounds human.  The days of Corporate speak and roboticism in email writing are over.

In this new world where chatbots and AI Assistants sound friendlier than a real human being does, humans should sound more human!

Understand  that email is a complex form of one to one communication.  Training and coaching really matter.

Ensure all your Customer channels are operating to the same, high standard.  

I hope this article has been helpful!


Daniel Ord / [email protected]

Why Manners will always matter

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

In this article I share why manners will always matter.

Why manners will always matter.

The wonderful etiquette author and columnist, Emily Post, wrote the following –

Emily Post Manners

In this day and age of personal branding, social media profiles and content marketing, it’s nice to reflect on the reality that the essential foundation of a gracious person, or by extension, a gracious society, lies not in knowing which fork to use, but in consciously choosing to become aware of the feelings of others.

Emily’s definition is so great because it nails empathy and care – ‘a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others’.

Wow – this is pretty heady stuff.

At a very basic level – having manners involves inconveniencing yourself

At some basic level, having manners or being gracious means that you are willing to inconvenience yourself for the sake of someone else.

What do I mean?

  • Holding the lift door open for a few extra seconds so that a latecomer can rush in and get to work on time
  • Letting someone else in the buffet line have that last bit of sushi or nice dessert
  • Letting someone with just a few items proceed before you in the queue
  • Saying thank you and job well done a bit more often
  • Paying attention to someone when you really just want to go home

Manners are not something that you trot out to ‘wow’ the Guests

Military dress uniform

I remember as a child, growing up in a military family, my parents reminded us to bring out our best manners when an Admiral came to dinner or my father had an important delegation over to visit.

My parents never said ‘Bring out your manners tonight’.

That reminder would have implied that manners were something to be put on or put away like a sweater.

We kids were taught and required to demonstrate our manners in our daily life, even if no one else was around.

I am convinced that this grounding has been an essential aspect of my own personal ‘success’ which is defined for me by the richness of my relationships.

You’re always there to serve someone

At work you’re always serving someone else, whether that is an external Customer or Client, or an internal stakeholder like a Colleague or a Boss.

In training, whenever people ask me if ‘manners’ or ‘graciousness’ can be learned I always answer ‘yes’.

Because it’s not about the forks.

It’s about the willingness to look out for the feelings and situation of another person.

It feels good

Another great saying I love is this one –

If you hold the door open for someone and they just rush through – well that’s ok – you added some positive energy to the world.

In closing – Emily Post also wrote

Emily Post good manners

Thank you Emily and thank YOU for reading!

Daniel Ord

Daniel Ord


What Tom Cruise taught me about productivity

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

I learned a very powerful lesson about productivity when I used to manage Distribution Centers.

In the 1990s I worked as a VP Operations of Call Center & Distribution operations.

Customers would phone in or mail in their orders to us and we’d package them up and ship them out.

All in the days before e-commerce was even a term.

We’d fulfill everything from compact discs through to gardening tools and children’s toys.

One company I worked for in Los Angeles had a big Client base across the movie studios.

Before any big new movie was released, the studios would send promotional materials to movie theaters around the country.

That was our job.

We’d package and ship off things like posters, standees (those life sized cut-outs and backdrops) and even one of a kind promotional items for VIP receptions and giveaways.

I remember for one particular movie about kids who became spies, we had a complete ‘spy briefcase’ with binoculars, a fingerprint dusting kit and a play along game that matched the plot of the movie.

As you’d imagine, we had a very interesting warehouse!

But I remember Tom Cruise the best

In the 1990s Tom Cruise was everywhere.

And we handled his Fan Club mailings.

So when fans would write or call in and ask for Tom Cruise memorabilia, our warehouse crew would ‘pick and pack’ all the necessary items for the Fan Club kit and mail them out.

They all had to wear white gloves.

No fan ever wanted to receive an autographed Tom Cruise photo with a big oily smudge on it.

If that happened, believe me our Customer Care Centre would hear about it.

Distribution operations teach you a lot about productivity

I didn’t have a formal background in running Distribution Centers.

I credit some key mentors who guided me and taught me lessons about productivity.

And thanks to Tom Cruise I got better and better at it.

Let me explain.

One of the first Fan Club projects I ever worked on was Tom Cruise.

So my mentor – another VP – showed me how to set up an efficient ‘pick and pack’ operation.

How to layout the items so that the right amount of time was invested in staging, packing and shipping each Fan Club kit.

We used stopwatches to track times and calculate staffing requirements.

A Distribution Center version of Average Handling Time if you will.

We would always package the first kits ourselves so that we could try out what worked (or didn’t).

There was no point bringing in our Team to do it – and charge them to be productive – if we hadn’t tried it ourselves.

That’s when my mentor said to me –

“Dan – it might seem obvious.  But one of the keys to success here is to avoid touching the same thing twice. That’s a waste of time.  So let’s arrange it this way…or that way…and make sure we remain as efficient as possible.”

Sometimes the most powerful lessons are the simplest.

And this one has stuck with me ever since.

Multi-tasking is kind of dumb

Today when I visit a Corporate office and I see someone’s mobile phone sitting out and open on the desk I shake my head.

There’s absolutely no way that person is going to be as productive as they could be.

The moment that phone buzzes they will move their hands away from what it was they were doing (reading email lets’ say) and touch the phone.

Then they’ll take their hands back to the keyboard.

Buzz buzz.

Then back to the phone.

Buzz buzz.

Back to the email.

The opposite of productivity.

If you can do it at one go – do it at one go

What I learned in Distribution Centres applies to my work today.

If I can do it in one go – I do it in one go.


Then on to the next thing.

Of course some things have to be touched twice.

I have to talk to a Client or ask a Colleague.  No problem – set these things over here.

But I don’t touch the same thing twice if I don’t have to.

And that’s allowed me to be wonderfully productive.

Thank you for reading!


[email protected]










Stop outsourcing your happiness

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

Its tempting to play the if/then game with your happiness.  If my boss gives me this, then I’ll give my boss that.

But when you outsource your happiness you’re bound to lose.

Cultural transformation

I have fun running cultural transformation workshops for people who work at big companies.

One of the things we discuss are barriers at work.

What’s ‘holding me back‘ from delivering on my company’s values or vision.

What I appreciate most about this exercise is the honesty that you get.

You’ll learn that most people at work aren’t asked ‘what’s holding you back‘.

It’s usually phrased as ‘why haven’t you hit your KPI’ which is obviously a different question.

Outsourcing happiness

During the debrief of barriers, it’s common to hear something like this –

‘Well Dan’ they start.  

‘As you know happy Employees equate to happy Customers…  

…so if our bosses only would (increase our incentive, change our shifts, fill in the blank) we would be happier and then everything would be better…”

At this point they usually laugh a bit and look at me expectantly.

But I’ve heard this one before.

And my response is consistent.

‘Are you sure you want to outsource your happiness? 

Because it sounds an awful lot like you’re looking to strike a deal and its your happiness that you’re putting up as table stakes.

If you give me this, then I’ll give you that.  

But will you really?  

Are you going to live up to your side of the bargain?

If your bosses increase your incentive or (fill in the blank) they have every right to expect you to sign on the dotted line, head back to work and forever serve as a poster child for happiness.

I didn’t know that happiness could be sold so cheaply.

Your happiness is your responsibility – thank goodness!

Once you begin outsourcing at work, it spills over into your personal life as well (and vice versa).

‘If only my child gets into a good school…’

‘If only I could live in a better postal code closer to the sea…’

‘If only my partner would lose a few pounds…’ (oops!)

No one knows how to make you happy better than you.

And certainly no one is going to take better care of your happiness then you.

Avoid outsourcing your happiness.

Thank you for reading!








No – your Team Member does not have an attitude problem

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

It’s tempting to blame performance issues on attitude – but there is no such thing as an attitude problem.

When you’re responsible for leading and managing a group of Frontline staff, there are three things that you want:

  • Their Productivity
  • Their Quality
  • Their Attitude

We call this “P,Q & A” and when your Frontline is delivering on all three of these dimensions life is good.

Let’s focus on the “A” or Attitude dimension for this article.

Does your Staff have an attitude problem?

It’s quite normal to hear a Team Leader or Manager say “My Staff has an attitude problem.”

But is this true?

There’s no such thing as an ‘attitude problem’ because there are so many different attitudes at play in any job role.

If in the old days, a  Manager came into my office and said they had a staff with an attitude problem, I’d ask them to tell me specifically which attitude was the problem.

If they didn’t know which attitude, I’d suggest that they consider that – and come back later for another chat.

Was I being overly harsh?  I don’t think so.

Every job requires a certain set of attitudes to succeed.

As the boss, it’s our job to know the attitude requirements for any job role we manage.

What are some common Frontline attitudes?

Here are some common attitudes for the Frontline.  Of course be sure to formalize a definition for each one and add or subtract the ones that are relevant for you –

  • Adaptability and Flexibility
  • Attentiveness
  • Positive Attitude
  • Consistency
  • Confidence
  • Control
  • Goal-orientation
  • Teamwork

Nobody is a superstar at every attitude.

Some attitudes were inculcated in us through how we were raised.

Some we learned from trusted teachers and mentors.

Others were learned from role models, siblings and friends we admire.

Attitudes evolve and develop over time and with the right guidance.

Haven’t you ever looked back at your own career and sighed at how you lacked a particular attitude at some point – and how that impacted your work?

When helping someone develop an attitude the goal is that they end up making a conscious choice to ‘adopt’ the attitude.

To begin to believe in it for their own personal success.

Know what levels of attitude you need

When I conduct interviews, I find that some Candidates aren’t aware of some common workplace attitudes.

This is not meant to be judgemental.  It has so much to do with their own personal exposure.

I have to decide, in advance, which attitudes I’m willing to cultivate over time versus which attitudes I require from the get-go.

So before the interview, I list out the attitudes required for success in the job role and give a ‘minimum rating level’ for that attitude at hiring.

As an example, on a scale of 1 to 6 (with 6 being highest), my attitude criteria for hiring might be:

  • Adaptability and Flexibility – I look for a (5) at hiring
  • Attentiveness – I look for a (4) at hiring
  • Positive Attitude – I look for a (4) at hiring
  • Consistency – I look for a (3) at hiring
  • Confidence – I look for a (2) at hiring

Of course as time goes by, I expect to see higher levels of performance in the selected attitudes.

And that means I’ll need to provide regular discussion, coaching and feedback.

It’s not fair to leave people to figure it out on their own.

It’s important that Team Leaders and Manages have conversations about attitude with their staff

Managers don’t have enough conversations about ‘attitude’ with their staff.

It could be that they –

  • Don’t know the attitudes expected for the job role they manage
  • Aren’t sure it’s ok to talk about attitude(s)
  • May not know that the best way to build attitude in someone is to positively influence the individual

One litmus test comes up at the annual or bi-annual Performance Review exercise.

In most organizations, a few different Attitudes are included in the Performance Review with scoring such as ‘Exceeded Expectations” and “Met Expectations”.

If the staff undergoing the Performance Review has strong disagreements or concerns about the attitudinal ratings by their  Manager or the Manager is grasping at straws to justify their attitudinal ratings – there’s a problem.

Attitude ‘scores’ at performance reviews should never be a surprise to anyone.

In closing

The next time you hear someone say, my staff has an attitude problem – feel free to politely correct them and ask “which attitude are you referring to?”.

Thank you for reading!


daniel[email protected] / www.omnitouchinternational.com

Daniel & M&C Class

You have to make yourself uncomfortable to become comfortable

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

When you own a business, you have no choice but to put yourself into situations that you find uncomfortable – personal growth is part of the territory.


Owning a business means you have to face a lot of things that might make you uncomfortable.

Depending on your personality and background that can include things like:

  • Networking events (not my personal favorite)
  • Presenting (my personal favorite)
  • Writing (blogs, proposals, reports)
  • Selling

If you work in a big company, you can avoid networking or selling or any number of uncomfortable things for years if you choose to – especially if your day to day job doesn’t rely on that particular ability.


Of course I can hear some folks say – “But Dan, I have to network with my peers at work…” or “Dan, I do have to convince (or sell) my boss that I have a good idea if I want it to get funded…”

These comments may be true.

But it’s unlikely that your company held back your paycheck at month end because you didn’t network with your peers – or that time you failed to develop a convincing presentation for your boss.

It can be too easy to stay comfortable.

Owning a business is different

No business owner starts out having it all together – you’re always a work in progress.

When you own a business – and particularly when you have a vision or purpose for what you do – you make frequent and conscious decisions to get uncomfortable.

Selling, networking, writing, public speaking…whatever it happens to be.

But the cool part is this.

Through repeated exposure, persistence – and yes, some failure – you get more comfortable.  And the personal growth is amazing.

People that know me well, know I’m shy in social situations.

But workshop participants – especially in large scale auditoriums or halls – tell me I’m fun to watch on stage.

Speaking for large audiences was a very specific ‘discomfort’ zone that I decided to work through.

And now, large scale presentations are one of my favorite things to do.

Come on in – make yourself uncomfortable

If you work at a big bank (or big telecom or big insurance company or in the civil service), you should ask yourself a simple question –

How often do I actively put myself into the zone of being uncomfortable?

If the answer is rarely or never, that’s most definitely not an indicator of a life well-lived or a meaningful career pinnacle reached.

It’s a sign that your personal growth has stagnated – and that you’ve allowed it to stagnate (it’s not your Employer’s fault – don’t even go there).

I found the video below interesting and I hope you do too.


Thanks for reading!


daniel[email protected] / www.omnitouchinternational.com