Limited Time Offer! Schedule your FREE business coaching session and scale your business smarter & easier! Reserve My Spot

Success! Your account information has been updated.

close icon

This business coaching episode with Lee Cockerell will help you learn how to provide incredible levels of customer service.

Results-Focused Training, Tools, and Workshops from Expert Business Coaches.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Rules of Customer Service: 15: Treat customers like loved ones.
  • Rules of Customer Service: 16: Be like a bee.
  • Rules of Customer Service: 17: The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
  • Rules of Customer Service: 18: Listen up!
  • Rules of Customer Service: 19: Be a copycat.


-Business coaching for the next one in this customer service training, treat customers like loved ones. Let me tell you what. Treat your people that when a customer comes in, if that was their father, their mother, their brother, their children-- and I tell you what, I learned that in the hospital teaching-- I work with a lot of nurses now. Teaching nurses to think about their mother laying in that bed. Teaching nurses to think about their child laying in that bed, or there for surgery, or arriving in the hospital. And this goes through, because a lot of nurses, a lot of people in every business get hardened over time because they get annoyed with the customer.

Can you imagine being in a hospital where nobody's happy? Nobody's happy. Not even the expectant mothers. Until the baby's born, then they're happy. But not before. Treat customers like loved ones. And teach your people that. We want you to treat them like they're your family and your friends when they walk in the store. If you've not even ever seen them before, you've got to-- and say these things to your people. Say them over and over and over again.

And you know, there's a difference how we treat loved ones and friends and family when they come to our house versus a stranger. We got to get used to treating strangers well. Everybody's got a feeling.

Business coaching for the next rule in this cusomter service training, be like a bee. Be like a bee. What's that mean?

One time a little girl asked Walt Disney, she said, Mr. Disney, do you draw Mickey Mouse still? He said, no, I don't draw anymore. Mr. Disney, do you write the stories for all the cartoons and for the movies? He said, no, I don't write the stories anymore. She said, well, what do you do? He said, I'm like a bee. I go all over my organization, getting to know the people, looking for the best ideas in a department or an organization or from a person. Then I go to the other part of the store and I share that with people. I go and look and find out new ideas from my competitors, and then I bring those back. I'm actually the pollen and the pollinator.

Be a bee. Make sure you're out there looking for the best ideas. Visit the best stores in the chain. Visit your competitors. Be like a bee. Business coaching lesson: Pick up a good idea, bring it back, implement it.

Don't be isolated. It's a big deal. There's not any new ideas. Go find out what people are doing. Bring them back to your business. And you need to be the bee. You need to be the bee.

There's lots of things you're not doing that you could be doing if you knew about them. There's a lot of things you don't know that you should know. And if you did know them, you'd be running a better store.

Truth and nothing but the truth. Let me tell you, this is the biggest problem in life. If you're the boss, you got to learn the truth. Because every employee is trying to handle you. They're manipulating you, probably. They're not telling you everything. Knowing the truth, which means you got to get out and about, be around your store. You got to know what's going on. You got to stand next to employees executing with a customer to see how they're handling that. You got to observe so you know the truth. Because you never know the truth.

How many of you have teenagers? Anybody got a teenager in your family? Do you think you know everything?

Think of all the things your mother doesn't know about what you did when you were a teenager. The truth is out there, by the way. You've got to find out the truth. When you find out the truth, you make more money. When you find out the truth, you find out who's stealing from you. When you find out the truth, you find out what's not going right and you should know the truth. Which means you have to be out and about, comfortable relationships, checking on things, good relationships with your people so they help you run the business. They tell you the truth. The truth.

There's so many things we don't know that that's what gets us into trouble. It's not what we do know, it's what we don't know.

My son told me once there was a party at our house and I would never be old enough to see the video. I said, I'm 69 now, Dan. He said, you're not old enough yet. You might have a heart attack. So learn the truth.

Business coaching for the next rule, listen up. Let me tell you, this is a big one. Teaching your people how to listen to the customer when they come in your store. And also, for you to listen to your employees. They know things you should know. Your employees know things you should know. They know things you don't know. They know things that if you did know, you would do a better job.

And learn to listen to your people. Listen to your customers when they come in. Don't try to be defensive. Don't try to give them 12 reasons why what they're saying is not right. Listen. There's great information, great marketing research in your customers. Listen to them like you care. At least act like you care when they come in, especially even the ones yelling and screaming at you. Listen. There's a story in there. What are they trying to say to you? What are they saying and what are they trying to say to you, two important things.

Listen better. You're going to pick up a lot of good information. Listen. Teach your people to listen. Listen to the customer. People say, is the customer always right? I say, no. But they're always the customer. And when you deal with them, you make a decision right then, do you want to keep them or not keep them?

So go ahead and let them beat you up, and then keep them. Maybe they had a bad day. Everybody's got a problem you don't know about. So we don't know why they're being that way today.

Business coaching for the next rule, be a copycat. Copycat. People say, oh, you shouldn't be a copycat. That's not nice. Oh, yeah. You should be.

Howard Schultz is the biggest copycat in the world. He went to Italy once and had a cappuccino. Came back and started Starbucks. Literally, that's what he did. Guy had a coffee. He said, that's a good idea. We ought to do that in America.

I'm not kidding you. I spend more at Starbucks than I did for the mortgage I had when I first got married. It's incredible. The environment he created. Be a copycat. Go to the best places in the world.

When you're at a mall, look at the best stores and see how you take that back to a hardware store. A procedure, a process, how they greet you, a wireless system, anything you can pick up. Go and copy it. Bring it back. And not only bring it back and copy it, bring it back and make it better. Business coaching tip: Take what you learned, make it better. Put it in your store.

And by the way, every day you see things. If you're out and about in the malls, in stores, when you travel, when you're at this event today, when you're Disney World, look for opportunities to take some of those ideas back to your business.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • Rules of Customer Service: 20: Fish where the fishermen aren't.
  • Rules of Customer Service: 22: Make yourself available.
  • Rules of Customer Service: 23: Always be the giving one.
  • Rules of Customer Service: 24: If they say they want horses, give them a motorcar.
  • Rules of Customer Service: 21: Be a wordsmith - Language matters.


-That's true-- fish where the fishermen ain't. Business coaching tip: Don't go and fish where everybody is fishing. Don't be like everybody else. This is what stores are doing. This is what cellphone companies are doing. Everybody is like everybody else. Every hotel is like every other hotel.

They all got express check in, express checkout, express room service, and they put the bill under the door. They got 12 pillows on the bed. Let me tell you-- I get to a room, it takes me about half an hour to get all the pillows off so I aan get in the bed. They got a coffee maker.

Figure out what you can do in your stores that nobody else is doing. I was just thinking today. I was at GW University yesterday, visiting my grandson. They have all these food trucks now. Man, if I had a hardware store, I'd have a couple of those food trucks in my parking lot. Maybe you do that already. I'd make that a big deal on Saturday. Man, the food trucks and the kids and the families.

And let those food trucks just come and park in your parking lot and do-- try to think of every little thing you see in life so you can do what other people are not going. Go where the fish-- upstream, downstream, that's where the fish are. If you're 20 people in that fishing hole, you're not going to catch many fish.

Business coaching for the next rule-- be a wordsmith. Language matters. Be a wordsmith. In my first book, Creating Magic, Francis Hesselein says-- and I think we said it in here, too. She said, nobody ever says I can't wait to be a subordinate. And how we talk about people. Sometimes, we talk about those people-- those people over there in that part of town, or those people when they come in here, how there are. You've got to watch those people, because they're the kind of people that-- you know what I mean? Those people from Oklahoma-- that's where I'm from. Those people from Illinois, they're a problem. Michigan, oh yeah, that's a big problem.

Be careful. Language matters. Be careful what you say, be careful what you do, because everybody in your store is watching you, and they are judging you. And that ties right back into professionalism. Language matters. No profanity. Don't allow it. Don't let any inappropriate language, inappropriate jokes be told in your organization. Keep it a place in which everyone is respected no matter who they are, where they're from, what background they have, what religion they practice, what color they are. Language matters. Be careful.

Business coaching for the next rule-- make yourself available. Be available for the customer. Make sure you've got enough people on the floor. You know that. I've gone a lot of places lately that are understaffed. I go to a place in Orlando to get lunch, they're understaffed. The line is a mile long. What do I do?

I won't wait there, because I'm too hyper like everybody these days, so I walked down to Chipotle. And they're organized. You know why? Because they hire better people. They're quicker. They're on top of it. They're available for you. When you want to see the manager, they come out. They don't say he's in a meeting. They're available.

And why is my business so good? You know one of the reasons my business is so good? When you call me, I answer the phone. It's a new secret weapon. Answer the phone. Everybody's got a phone, nobody answers them. Business coaching advice: Be available.

People say, when can we see if you could give a speech to us? I said, oh, I could tell you right now. Well, when could you send a contract? About five minutes. I want you to sign it before you call somebody else. Be available. I don't have a secretary, just me and my phone. This is it right here. Be available for your people. It's a big deal. A lot of places today are not available. Nobody's around. They're in a meeting. They'll be back later.

Went to US Air the other day to check in. It said a sign, outdoor check in at the curb is closed. I went inside. So what happened? They're on break. What? It's 10 o'clock in the morning. What are they doing on break?

Business coaching for the next one-- always be the giving one. This is one of my favorites. My grandson, Tristan, he's 10. When I ask Margo what the first rule was, she said be nice. And I said to Tristan, you want to be in my book? He said, yes, Pappy. I said, you better give me a good quote. I said to him, what does service mean to you, Tristan? What does service mean? You know what this little boy said to me? He looked up at me, and he said, Pappy, when you serve, you're always the giving one. Kids.

Who are the giving ones in our society? We know clearly our military, nurses, teachers, first responders. And we've got to teach everybody in our organization we're there to serve our customers. We're there to give. If it's five o'clock and we're about to lock the door and somebody shows up, we let them in. We don't slam the door and put that thing there, that sign. Be the giving one. Teach your people we are here to give. That's what we do. We serve.

And if we serve as well as our military, and nurses, and first responders, and firemen-- be the giving one. It's a great chapter, and it's my favorite. Of course, it came from my grandson. It has to be.

Business coaching for the next one-- if they say they want horses, give them a motor car. You've heard that. Ford said it himself. He said, if I'd ask them what they wanted, they would've said faster horses. The customer doesn't know what they want always. Sometimes they do, but not always.

At Disney, we went through a whole process to change our pricing structure. We added free transportation from the airport. I'm sure some of you have used it. Check your bags here in Indianapolis, the next time you seem them is in your room at Disney. A free bus ride in. Don't have to rent a car anymore, so you can't go to that other place, wherever that is. We want you on property. You don't need to be going anywhere else when you come to Disney. You can do that some other time.

Think about all the things you should be giving your customers and sit back and think. Rethink your business like you were opening new. What could I do differently? What should I be doing? What does the customer-- what kind of things do they want that they don't know they want? Think about it. It's changing rapidly with technology. You've got to really be on top of this, what people want. And different age groups want different things.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 3
  • Rules of Customer Service: 25: Don't make promises make guarantees.
  • Rules of Customer Service: 26: Treat every customer like a regular.
  • Rules of Customer Service: 27: Serve to win.
  • Rules of Customer Service: 28: Make "ASAP" your standard deadline.


-Business coaching for the next one, don't make promises, make guarantees. Let me tell you, I got a good chapter in here about that. Guarantees-- guarantees are a big deal, and sometimes they're not very expensive. In fact, they probably make you more money.

Even the local Publix grocery store we go to, they got a big five foot sign with the guarantee, if there's any problem, any product you buy here, and you don't like it, you can bring it back, no questions asked. No questions asked.

I don't say the peaches were too soft and they say, oh no, they're just right. Guaranted-- no questions asked. Guarantees.

We've been shopping there for 20 years-- guarantees. There's not a time you check out of that store they don't say, did you find everything you were looking for? I know that's a standard question, but did you find out?

One time my wife said, no, I didn't find the cracker crumbs that I wanted for my key lime pie-- they're gram crackers. In an hour, the manager brought them to our house. I was shocked. One little thing like that-- guarantees. Do you have guarantees so the customer knows you're dealing with somebody who will take care of you, and it's not in the fine print? Forget the fine print.

Business coaching for the next one, treat every customer like a regular. This is something you can teach your people. Treat every customer that walks in the door like you've known them forever. Don't try to have to get to know people to treat them better. Treat everybody that walks in the store like you've always known them.

It's kind of like treat every customer like a VIP. And we say VIP doesn't stand for very important person, it stands for very individual person. You don't have to know them. Act like you do.

How you doing? How have you been? Thanks for coming in today. How can I help you?

You know how you treat somebody-- a regular: it's just great to see them; well, sit down; do you want a coffee? And then other people, we kind of give them just a little bit of service. Treat every customer like a regular.

And this is just the point you need to talk to your people about. I want you all to put on the show. I don't care if you know them or not. Act like you've seen them before. Act like they've been in here a million times.

Business coaching tip: Let's treat everybody so welcoming that they're just blown away. They're blown away when they walk into our store. They go gosh, do you believe how nice those people were? And they're going to compare that to the big box stores.

Or Walmart-- let me tell you, Walmart, they got greeter's on the door that never greets you. I'm serious. They like look like they're being punished. They did something wrong, so go up and greet the customers.

It's unbelievable. I wrote them a note, I said you're wasting a lot of money, man. You ought to get rid of those people. Put them in the back, let them do something back there.

Business coaching for the next one, serve to win. W-I-N is the word. Serve to win. What does that mean?

In this chapter, we talk about the word win means what's important now? Serve your guests to win. Take care of what's important now.

When the person walks in the front door, what's important now is number one thing is to greet them, be on top of it, walked toward them, don't wait for them to come to the back of the store. Always deal about what's important now. When a customer has a problem, stop doing whatever you're doing, and take care of that. That's what's important now.

Win-- that's how you win. By everything in your life, be sure you're focused on winning. Doing what is important at the moment-- right now. And a lot of us don't: we get preoccupied; we're not paying attention; we don't do the right thing; and we don't win because it's easy for people to get the wrong impression when we're preoccupied and we're not paying attention to them.

Business coaching for the next rule, make ASAP your standard deadline. ASAP, your standard deadline. How quick do customers want things today?

How quick? Now. At Disney, we used to get letters, complaints, or people telling us they had a problem.

So we'd get a letter, we'd take care, we'd research, and get right back to them in a week, 10 days. How do you think we hear from them today? Email. Text.

And when do they expect a reply now? Not two weeks. Like, an hour. And they're writing back saying, we haven't heard from you yet, we wrote to you at 11 o'clock. It's unbelievable.

So now we don't write letters anymore. We hire 50 people that talk to the guest on the phone. We call them or we text them back. I mean, it's unbelievable. We had to change.

Business coaching lesson: Make as soon as possible your deadline. That's when people want it. Make sure you look at every procedure in your store-- are you being quick enough?

Quick enough at the register? Quick enough at getting a back-order filled? Quick enough at opening the store in the morning? Quick enough in getting to the customer when they walk in the front door?

Are you being quick enough? Quick is the big deal these days. Whether you like it or not, it's the way the whole world is wired.

Let's Get Started. Try Us for $1
Login Try Us for $1
search icon
Stuck? Need Specific Advice? Ask our Mentors any Business Question.

Ready to Thrive? Log In to your Account.

Login with your email
Please enter your email.
Please enter your password.
Login with social accounts
Signup | Forgot password?

Forgot Password?

Send us your email address, and our team of elite minds will get right on it.

Sign up to Thrive15

and get unlimited access to 1,700+ courses
  • Full Access

    $ 49 /mo
    Try it free
    • World-class mentorship
    • 24/7 access to all videos
    • Practical business tools
  • save $98 on an annual membership


    $ 41 /mo
    Save $98!
    Try it free
    *Billed as one payment of $490.
    • World-class mentorship
    • 24/7 access to all videos
    • Practical business tools
  • Thrive15 group memberships

    Team Membership

    Need to train five or more people?
    Learn More
Graduation Cap Icon College student? Sign up for $19/month. Learn More

Contact Us

Give us a call or send us an email and we will be in touch as soon as possible, or sooner than as soon as possible.

Email: info@thrive15.com
Phone: 918-340-6978
Prefer communication by smoke signals?

Ask us a question!

We want to answer you, no strings attached. How can we reach you?

Please enter your name.
Please enter your phone number.
Please enter your message.


Let us know what's going on.

Please enter your subject.
Please enter your message.
Even more feedback