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Keeping Germ Free In The Office

Purell Hand SanitizerFedEx recently conducted a study where they began putting sanitizer stations in their office as a test to see if less employees came down sick. The results were an absenteeism decrease. The study concluded that Purell hand sanitizer decreased the spread of germs in the office as well as reduced the amount of sick days employees took by approximately 20%!

Recent studies have shown that lost productivity due to illness costs US employers more than $260 billion annually. That 20% reduction in sick days could mean a savings of $52 billion every year if offices all used Purell!

Of course the benefits of clean hands and fewer germs extend far beyond the office.

You could say that Purell and I have quite a history. When I first started working if I wasn’t just on the verge of a full-blown cold, I was recovering from one. It was an endless and vicious cycle, and one that my boss and co-workers weren’t too pleased about.

That’s when hand sanitizer came into the picture. When my boss insisted that I begin using Purell Hand Sanitizer you could say it was love at first sight for my weak immune system. What a brilliant invention: the closest thing to washing my hands…in a tiny portable bottle.

And if you think you’re doing a decent job of keeping you and your workspace clean, think again.

FACT: Your phone is dirtier than your toilet!

NBC reports that the average office phone is covered with more than 25,000 germs per square inch whereas toilet bowls on average only have 50 germs per square inch…Yikes!

Common surfaces that we come into contact with each and every day at the office are actually considered to have more germs than toilet bowls!! (Need to clean those toilets? Try these).

I can’t afford time away from work and you probably can’t either. Have no fear though; Purell is proven to kill 99.9% of the germs that it comes into contact with which cause sickness and infections. Use Purell and live a happier, germ fee life!


Global Handwashing Day!


Today is Global Handwashing Day, and people everywhere are washing their hands more than usual. I’m an inveterate hand-washer, but with all this extra washing today, my hands are taking a beating. If yours are anything like mine, they get dry, cracked, and red looking, and no amount of lotion seems to work for them.

That’s why I like Softsoap. First off, it’s made by Colgate-Palmolive, the minds behind…Palmolive! I remember my mother using Palmolive when I was a kid, because it really did help her hands while washing dishes (this was before dishwashers were prevalent in houses) and they didn’t dry out like they would using other liquid dish washing soap.


I keep Softsoap in my kitchen, in my bathroom, and at the sink in the laundry room, and each one is a different scent. I alternate between the foam and liquid, depending on my mood, and I try to keep a manlier scent in my bathroom for the hubby, since he says he doesn’t like his hands to smell like lavender. I can’t think why not…

They also have different formulas that you can choose from, whether you want anti-bacterial, Kitchen Fresh, or their Pampered Hands line. Plus, the bottles are really attractive and you wouldn’t be ashamed to have them sitting on your counter! Plus, you should start stocking up for the holidays, because there will be even more hand washing then!




National Bosses Day October 16th

Are you ready? Whether we like it or not, most of us have one. Some are demanding and difficult while others are inspirational and understanding. But whether yours is fabulous to work for or not so much, today is all about bosses – it’s National Boss Day, also referred to as Bosses Day or Boss’s Day.

Patricia Bays Haroski is credited as “creating” the annual holiday. Years ago, the State Farm Insurance Company secretary wanted to show her appreciation for her boss and improve the relationship between employers and employees. In 1958, Haroski registered National Boss Day with the United States Chamber of Commerce and folks have been celebrating and recognizing their supervisors ever since. She selected Oct. 16 to commemorate her father’s birthday.

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Bosses have a tough time of it – they’ve got to make all the hard decisions, and chances are they’ve got to put up with you, too. Buy your boss something nice on Boss’ Day and let them know that you don’t mean to be such high maintenance, and that you understand that being the boss isn’t always easy.

Take them out to lunch, buy them something nice for their desk (we make it easy for you!) or just get them a nice card, letting them know how you feel. Remember, one day you’ll be a boss too, and you’ll want to be ackowledged that you’re the best boss ever!



The Growth Guy

Revenging Of The Customer:

by Verne Harnish “Growth Guy”
September 21, 2010 12:36 PM ET

“The answer’s yes…now what’s the question?” Customer service doesn’t get any more basic than this, unless answering the phone (and responding) is a challenge!

 It’s been a long time since I’ve ranted and raved about customer service. And just when I thought I should refrain, echo’s of management guru Tom Peters’ admonishments that it’s our patriotic duty to rant and rave kept ringing through my head. Name names, he would say. Demand that companies treat us better. Don’t accept shoddy service. Our companies can’t compete globally if we don’t beat on them locally!

 Demand that companies treat us better. Don’t accept shoddy service. Our companies can’t compete globally if we don’t beat on them locally!

 I’ll get to my personal customer service story along with some concrete recommendations and resources in a minute. But first…

 I had the pleasure of attending John DiJulius’s customer service workshop a few weeks ago, where I picked up the opening line of this column. DiJulius, author of Secret Service: Hidden Systems That Deliver Unforgettable Customer Service, also hates the word “no” and strongly suggests it be eliminated from the customer service vocabulary. I couldn’t agree more. And he’s seeing resurgence in interest in improving service now that companies have optimized about as much as they can. I’m seeing a similar trend among the 10,000 executives we communicate with on a regular basis.

Witness what’s going on with Dell. The good news is they saw it coming and were already responding by the time the mainstream business press picked up on the story. We were at Dell in May with a group of growth company executives where they outlined their plan to spend $150 million to fix their customer service issues – issues as basic as letting a customer return a product or get a problem resolved in one phone call vs. several.

These basic initiatives have eliminated over two million calls per quarter and their ACSI scores jumped 5 points from 72 to 78 vs. Apples’ industry leading score of 83, second quarter of 2006. As we’ve witnessed Michael Dell admit himself, Dell had simply gone too far in pushing productivity vs. serving customers. And the solutions have been as simple as slowing down and helping customers resolve their problems.

 Which brings me to my story. We moved to new offices this summer and figured we would bring along our phone service. It seems a certain major telco (hint – first three letters match my name) couldn’t master even the basics of answering their phone in a timely manner or scheduling an appointment they could keep. After six missed appointments and hours each time on the phone trying to find out why they didn’t show up, my team gave up and we called their wireless counterpart that goes by the same name.

 Yes, we’ve gone completely wireless in the office. And the customer service experience couldn’t have been more different. It still took quite a while to get lines transferred over, again, because the land line firm kept making the most basic mistakes. However, Steve Thompson, a front line supervisor for the wireless firm, gave us his personal cell phone number and actually followed-up with us proactively to let us know how our situation was getting resolved. Wow!! Just the basics of being polite and helpful with an attitude dedicated to finding the “yes.”

 To understand how powerful the basics can be in driving your company’s success, track down the Harvard Business School case study on Commerce Bank, authored by Francis Frei, the new guru on service excellence ( At the risk of oversimplifying the case, Commerce Bank is making a killing providing outstanding service using a simple interview technique to identify the right employees and a simpler paper an pencil exercise to get new employees to make eye contact with customers (they are to note the color of a customer’s eyes – try it – you really have to look into someone’s eyes more closely to catch the color!).

 I love simplicity like this. And it comes back to paying attention to the customer. Another basic is having someone welcome people on your website. Otherwise, it’s like having a store front with no people to welcome the customers. Go to Rackspace’s website ( and see how they handle this internally. Th rough their “Fanatical Support” promise (click on the link and study what they say and do), they’ve become the dominate player in the hosted server market in five short years. One key? No automated attendants and a policy to answer phones within three rings.

 Another basic is having someone welcome people on your website. Otherwise, it’s like having a store front with no people to welcome the customers. Smaller firms, like my company Gazelles, can offer a similar webgreeter service via firms like Our customers seem to love the personal attention and guidance provided by these web greeters.

 And to make sure the basics of responding and finding ways to say “yes” are executed at Rackspace, they’ve instituted a Jim Collins-defi ned catalytic mechanism – a service guarantee that has real teeth and fi nancial pain associated with failure. Travelocity has instituted a similar guarantee ( and has seen booked travel revenues jump 59 %, including nonair transactions jumping 90 % over 2005. Spend $6 and download a copy of Collins’ HBR article entitled “Turning Goals into Results: The Power of Catalytic Mechanisms” from and fi gure out how to institute this in your firm.

 While you’re out searching the web, stop in and take a look at several of DiJulius’s concisely written articles, including the one that explains which 27 store restaurant chain adopted the “the answer’s yes…” brand promise. And I’ve included a sidebar of his 10 Commandments to World Class Secret Service.

 Answer your phones and website; get back to people with straight answers as quick as possible; find a way to say “yes” without giving the store away; and institute a catalytic mechanism to make it happen consistently – its time to review the basics inside your organization.

 The following are the 10 Commandments that all World-Class Organizations excel at

Ten Commandments to World Class Secret Service

    • 1. Service Brand Promise
      An inspiration service vision that instills the service passion in all your employees
    • 2. Servant’s Culture
      Attract,hire and retain only the people who have the Service DNA
    • 3. Non-Negotiable Secret Service System
      Minimum service standards every one must follow
    • 4. Anticipate Service Defects & Above & Beyond Opportynities
      Company wide awereness of what to avoid and when & how to be a hero
    • 5. Be Zero Risk
      No hassle problem solving
    • 6. Train-Train-Train, On-going & Next Generation
      Standardized, consistent training for new & existing employees
  • 7 .Master the Norm Factor
    Profiling customers so all employees recognize and make each one feel like a VIP & the ability to constantly distinguish between New, Returning , & VIP guests
  • 8. World Class in Team/Gueast/Community/Home
    Walk the talk in all area of ones life
  • 9. Daily Pre-Shift Huddles
    Mandatory 5-minute daily communication huddles to ensure common and clear vision & goals
  • 10. Above & Beyond Legacy
    Constant awareness by recognizing & celebrating your succes stories

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and all across the country, the color pink is cropping up, like spring in fall. Warriors in Pink are rolling out their campaigns, along with Susan G Komen and many other breast cancer charities. Proceeds from breast cancer awareness products are going toward the fight to eliminate this heinous disease and bring hope to millions of women who have been diagnosed.

From medical gloves to wall clips, pens to calendars, endorsed products are everywhere, and to buy them gives you at least a little bit of warm fuzzy feelings, knowing that you’re contributing to the fight, and getting a really cool product as well. Who doesn’t want a really awesome tape dispenser that not only looks great on your desk, but also goes to a good cause?

The pink ribbon symbol has become the most recognized ribbon in the country; when you see it, you’ve no doubt what it stands for. Ironically, it’s more recognizable than the original red ribbon that inspired it-which was for AIDS. I know that if I see a woman wearing a pink ribbon, she’s either survived breast cancer or knows someone who has, which unfortunately is way too often.

Breast cancer is a very serious matter to me, not that it isn’t to a lot of women. My family has a long history of it, from my great-grandmother, grandmother, three aunts, and my sister. I can only assume that I am predisposed to it. I am secure in the knowledge, however, that since my grandmother and aunts time, breast cancer research and treatment developments have come a very long way, and survival rates have increased exponentially, as evidenced by my sister successfully surviving the disease.

Breast cancer affects all of us, at one point or another in our lives. My hope is that future generations won’t have to go through the pain and uncertainty of a diagnosis, worrying about survival rates and chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. I support all of the charities that work tirelessly to raise money for the fight, knowing that one day, I might need that support network and the work they do. How do you contribute to the fight? Do you donate or purchased endorsed products?


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