• Five things you never want to hear from your service provider

    by  • October 15, 2015 • 0 Comments

    Customer service is a funny business. It’s frequently an artistic combination of tangibles and intangibles, mixed with some personal style and emotional intelligence, from which something spontaneous and unique appears. If done well. If done poorly, it’s a messy, impersonal transaction of dissatisfaction. Or worse, unmemorable. Recently, we’ve received some amazing service from our...

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    Exhaling at the end of one journey

    by  • October 4, 2014 • 0 Comments

    Wow. A journey that started back in May 2006 comes to an end in just a few days. Decades ago, I joked about getting a PhD. About a decade ago, I put myself in its path. A few years ago, I understood what being ‘on’ the path itself actually meant. And now, as I...

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    Service isn’t just about hugs

    by  • June 28, 2014 • 0 Comments

    It seems that every time I talk to people about customer service, they think I’m talking about personal interaction. As if personal interaction is THE only aspect of service that is important. This is the myopia of businesses today – they think that they are in the ‘service’ business if they can talk nice to...

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    ‘Pay it Forward’: Customers influencing brands

    by  • November 5, 2013 • 2 Comments

    I am on the road this week talking to students at different college campuses across the province of New Brunswick. It’s an annual road show of sorts in my old stomping grounds. Because I know all of the campuses quite well in the region, I know where to find coffee on every campus. Naturally.

    The college campus in Fredericton is co-located on real estate adjacent with two other universities in town, the University of New Brunswick and Saint Thomas University. Here, the lines where one campus ends and the others begin do actually exist but to the untrained eye, it’s all one big campus with shared resources. However, the Tim Hortons that I frequent when I’m here is ‘technically’ on the STU campus.

    When you stand in line for coffee on a campus and you’re not a student, you can stand out quite loudly. Me, I’m either seen as a) a faculty member or b) a visitor. Either way, I was clearly not a student in line as I shuffled along with the students working my way forward.

    The young lady in front of me, clearly an undergraduate, moved to the cashier for her turn and placed her order. When she was finished, she turned back to me, smiled, and said the most interesting thing I heard all day.

    “And what are you having?”

    “Pardon?”, I said, a tad surprised.

    “What are you having?”, she repeated.

    “Ummm, a large with cream and a medium double-double.”, I answered.

    “Ok. Great.”, she said, turning back to the cashier and adding my order in to hers.

    2013-11-05 11.52.34

    In that second, I experienced my first ‘pay-it-forward’ moment.

    She was making the offer to pay for my order because, in that moment, she had the trifecta at her finger tips: means, motive, and opportunity. She had a $20 in her wallet, the desire to do something nice, and a stranger standing behind her to whom she could make a small gesture of kindness.

    Sure, I could have politely said no. I had plenty of shekels in my wallet, didn’t ‘need’ the help and could have easily taken a stance on the principle of being self-sufficient. Her friend certainly (and loudly) didn’t like the idea that she was paying for other people – too much like charity I guess.

    But I didn’t say no. The gesture was too pure, too in-the-moment. I asked her name. Amy.

    “Thank you Amy. That is very kind of you.”, I said.

    See, I don’t think Amy gave me a free cup of coffee. What she did was silently pass along a small torch of kindness that I now need to carry for a while. Then I have the responsibility to pass on to someone else. That’s the pay-it-forward way – make other people happy.

    Thank you Amy. Challenge accepted.


    PS – For all you business folks, remember that your brand is a perception crafted by customers based on a) their most recent experience and b) their most extreme experiences. Amy just made a massive positive impact on my brand perception of STU; sadly, like every other company, STU has no way to see, influence or control these micro-experiences. Stop thinking you’re in control your brand already, ok?


    Question for you. Have you ever received or participated in the ‘pay-it-forward’ gift? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

    Booster Juice gets their service recovery ‘geek’ on

    by  • August 19, 2013 • 0 Comments

    I had a bad experience at Booster Juice last week. The kind of ‘bad’ experience that someone with lots of experience in the hospitality field would describe as B.A.D. A messy store, mixed up orders, improper ingredients, and a somewhat apathetic staff. Maybe it was just bad timing or poor scheduling. Maybe the staff...

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    Please the Humans

    by  • June 27, 2013 • 1 Comment

    Last week, I had the pleasure to be a part of the Atlantic Interactive Marketing Conference in Halifax, NS to speak about the power of customer service in a talk called “The Future is the Past: Reviving #CustServ“. It was a fantastic experience to connect with some amazing regional industry people and a few great new...

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    3 Simple Ways to Avoid Social Media Shams

    by  • April 13, 2013 • 0 Comments

    I love Joss Whedon’s show ‘Firefly’. It’s a combination of the Wild West and a brave new frontier, where we boldly go where no man has gone before in the ‘verse. (Fan boys everywhere are now flipping out over that mixed metaphor.) If the internet is still the untamed land open for discovery, then social...

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    Make a Change and Give it a Chance

    by  • April 7, 2013 • 2 Comments

    It’s just a simple idea: Make a change & give it a chance. Almost one year ago, I started running again. My early 40’s had arrived with a trifecta of baggage: a bulging schedule, too much time with my butt in a chair, and some eating & drinking habits that were not doing me...

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    When everyone is special, no one is special.

    by  • March 19, 2013 • 0 Comments

    It seems everyone born earlier than the mid-1980s has a complaint about today’s youth, otherwise known as the Millennial Generation. This crazy generation has unreal expectations of success, decreased loyalty to organizations; they are self-absorbed while only willing to put in the minimum amount of work to get by. Or so the media and...

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    Service – Let your customers drive the beat

    by  • March 15, 2013 • 0 Comments

    Southwest Airlines wins the elusive ‘We love people!” award again. Why? Because they took an all-too-common moment of expected boring customer interaction and twisted the impersonal into a wickedly incredible, memorable moment.     A lot of operators in the services industry use scripts. Scripts are frequently designed as a tsunami of information that...

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    A new homepage for the Prof.

    by  • March 12, 2013 • 0 Comments

    After two and a half years on Twitter and just under that long trying my hand at blogging, I decided it was finally time to bring some of my various activities under one roof. My roof! Welcome to the beginnings of my homepage: www.williamcmurray.ca Dabbling in online and social media has been an incredible...

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    Focus on shaping the letters

    by  • March 3, 2013 • 2 Comments

    “I don’t LIKE writing!” he states emphatically. It’s an all-too common scene. Sitting at his little desk, my son struggles against the work in front of him. Being six years old and practising basic writing skills can be daunting. In his mind, it’s a mountain to climb and he doesn’t think that he has the gear. The problem isn’t that...

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