Palm Beach Post Newsroom to Receive "Customer Care Training"

Palm Beach Post Publisher Alex Taylor explains what customer care is all about in an email sent out today staffwide. My favorite part is reminiscent of Taylor's "elevator speech" memo:

If someone says to you "I hear things down at the Post are tough. How are you doing?" You could say, "Yeah it stinks, no one knows what's happening," (not good) or you could say "It's a fascinating time to be in the business. Things are changing quickly and dramatically and I think it's exciting to be on the leading edge of how media is evolving," (good, positive). Two ways of looking at the same thing, but one is just a lot more uplifting.  

The email, in its entirety, can be read after the jump. Keep in mind that the newspaper is reportedly about to undergo a major management reorganization

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From: Taylor, Alex (CNI-Palm Beach)
To: All PBNI Employees
Sent: Thursday, July 09, 2009 10:26 AM
Subject: Doing it right

Folks,

I recently attended the first in a series of customer care training programs we're kicking off this month for all of our employees. The program is designed to teach us all how best to handle customers in a changing environment. I can't express to you how important this is
right now. Customer Service is a term that is over-used and under-delivered by most businesses. If we are going to turn the corner on this economy and create the kind of strong organization that makes us all proud, we are all going to have to dramatically ramp up our
focus on the outside world. So much of what we're doing is changing internally - our size, structure, focus, thinking, etc. But none of it matters if the customer doesn't notice.

So, while we're going through all these changes, please keep your thoughts on that - it has to result in a better paper, a better ad solution, a better website, and most importantly... a better experience with you, me and everyone in this building. Like most businesses,
people know we have had a tough couple of years - they're just acutely aware of us because we are such a public part of the community. How we act and how we compose ourselves will make a huge difference in our coming success.

If someone says to you "I hear things down at the Post are tough. How are you doing?" You could say, "Yeah it stinks, no one knows what's happening," (not good) or you could say "It's a fascinating time to be in the business. Things are changing quickly and dramatically and I
think it's exciting to be on the leading edge of how media is evolving," (good, positive). Two ways of looking at the same thing, but one is just a lot more uplifting. That person will likely pass your thoughts on to 10 more people; it will affect how we come across in the community. If someone complains that their paper subscription went from .20 cents/copy to .50 cents/copy you should take pride and say that that's still a small price to pay to have your own personal team of more than 600 newspaper people working for you every single
day - not to mention a hand-delivery right to your door.

Each one of you can make a difference. If you write a headline, think about the type of headline that would connect right to your reader's heart. If you take a subscriber's phone call, take it like the person is your friend. Listen closely. If they leave us, ultimately, it's
going to get awfully lonely around here. If you write a story - write it like Leslie did on MJ yesterday. Give it everything you've got.

Every day we have the power to make our customers happy, and each one of you personally represents us in everything you do. When you're at the Starbucks and see our paper shoved in the back of the rack, pull them up front and make them look nice. Tell a friend it would mean a lot if they got a subscription (ditto with your co-workers for heaven's sake). We are all in this business together and we all have to think of every person we meet as a potential customer. Treat them like you love them. Treat them like you want to be treated as a
customer.

The challenges we are facing must be borne by all of us, and I hope we all put our heart and soul into - because that's the only way we're going to succeed. It is a bell that's tolling for each one of us.

Really satisfying what our customers want is something that we can all do together, but not one of us can do it alone. It's an opportunity to work as a team and accomplish something really great. We are making great headway and so many things are coming together for the better already. You are a first-class team. Thank you for working at this each and every day, and for supporting this grand ole company one customer at a time.

Alex

P.S. A perfect example of someone who puts in way more than 100% every day is Peggy Mazza, this month's High 5 Award winner. Peggy is in Finance and has been single-handedly dealing with a vast number of changes in billing, payroll, budgeting - things that directly impact each and every one of us - but many of you may not have met her. She
stays low-key with a big smile on her face and at the end of a long 12-hour day someone will often give her a compliment and she says "Just doing my job." She just does it with passion and with all of us in mind. Thank you, Peggy.


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