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How to Deal with Stress and Change in the Workplace

It’s constant.  You switch positions.  Have more to do with less resources.  Need new skills.  Then, the technology changes.  Or the regulations.  Or both.  As comedian Gilda Radner noted as she lay dying from cancer, “It’s always something.” Everyone battles with how to deal with stress and change in the workplace.  Customer service speakers (like me) want to help you chill out so you can serve your clients well.


The next time you’re tempted to scream (or sob), try these steps instead:


  • Acknowledge that Change is Difficult.  Even good change brings stress. (Remember your first year of marriage?)  One way of coping with change is to admit to yourself that you feel angry, worn out, tense or fearful.  Ideally, jot down why you feel the way you do.  Journaling will help you relax.


  • Plan “Next Steps.” Often, we go through a change and feel stuck.  The old way may or may not have been ideal, but at least it was familiar.  The new way is unknown.  Instead of dreading what lies ahead, tackle it.  If needed, learn a new skill.  If you feel unappreciated, sign up for a project which will get you noticed.  Be proactive.  Instead of resisting the change, lean into it.  The worst feeling is feeling stuck.


  • Remember Misery Loves Company. Find someone who has gone through or is going through what you’re going through and discuss it.  Express how you feel and ask for advice or support.  It’s helpful to know you’re not alone.  If that person encourages you and makes you laugh, all the better.


  • Take Care of Yourself. Work out!  Try to sleep eight hours each night.  Curtail alcohol.  Eat healthy foods.  Get massages.  Breathe deeply.  Just because there’s change in the workplace doesn’t mean the accompanying stress has to loiter inside you.


  • Look for New Adventures. Some wag noted, “When God closes one door, He opens another, but it’s heck in the hallway!”  While change can feel difficult, determine to enjoy the fresh skills you develop, the new friends you make, and the novel situations in which you find yourself.  When we change, we grow.


Finally, remember what my old news director, John Whitson, used to say: “Nothing lasts forever.”  No matter how bad a situation is, it’ll pass.  And some day, these will be the good ole days!

Customer Service Speaker Needed! Fast!

Snow falling in front of a building

As a customer service speaker, here’s a big tip:  Your service matters!  And it’s not just your customers who notice.  Here’s what I mean.

The Northeast got clobbered with snow.  In late March, one week away from spring…BAM! everything turned white.

Over 4,000 flights were cancelled before a snowflake even fell.  Panic set in as radios across the United States blared stories about people stranded in airports, with warnings to check flights before heading to the airport, and a story about an eyebrow-raising tale that crushed a major airline’s public relations.

Broadcasters reported that one major airline cancelled dozens of flights and the airline was not planning to give travelers refunds because the cancellations were “weather related”.  Broadcasters also pointed out that other airlines had also cancelled flights, but the other airlines were reimbursing their stranded passengers.

Listeners could just imagine the scene at airports:  Flights not flying.  Lines growing.  Customers uncertain.  Tempers flaring.  Imagine being a passenger and discovering that not only is your trip cancelled, you aren’t getting reimbursed for it!

Why would an airline DO that?

The reason companies hire customer service speakers is to learn to make choices that make current and future customers happy.  That airline that refused to help its grounded, frustrated customers would have done well to follow that thinking.  Customers talk.  Word spreads.  (People not traveling from coast-to-coast across the country who didn’t even know anyone effected heard the story on the morning news as they got dressed!)

I don’t know if the airline gave in to pressure from competitors and refunded ticket prices or if they steadfastly refused to give customers their money back.  Either way, as the storms hit and listeners tuned in, and that airline paid a big price.

A lost battle on the airwaves as well as in all those northeast airports could have been avoided had that airline hired and heeded the words of an effective customer service speaker.  Don’t let anything similar happen to you!  As a speaker, I’ll make sure your decision makers and employees hear how to give service that keep your customers loyal.  That’s what you want in a customer service speaker.  What’s more, that’s the service your customers expect and deserve to get.

By the way, to book Vicki Hitzges (that’s me), visit this website’s Contact page or call 214.536.1888.  A customer service speaker motivates your employees to keep your customers happy.  Book BEFORE your next storm hits!

Customer Service Keynote Speaker Gets What Kind of Service? (Guess)


A customer service story:  (See if you can guess the ending.)

This past weekend, Dallas had tornados.  Big storms.  Strong winds.  Pounding rains. Great for sleeping.  Horrid for flying.  Also bad, it turns out, if you’re a tree.  My tree.

Turns out, that once mighty oak had been standing for nine months in water and suffered root rot.  The high winds grabbed that enormous tree over and BAM! down it went.

The reason the tree had been standing in water and rotted (according to the city inspector who came by today), was because my lawn sprinkler guy had set the sprinkler system to come on for twice as long as needed.  That extra water not only sent my water bill skyrocketing, but unbeknownst to me, it also left that tree sitting in the lowest point of the yard in standing water that never got a chance to drain.

So, not only did the sprinkler guy’s mistake cost me a gorgeous tree, it could have cost a home repair (had the tree fallen a few feet father) and WILL cost several hundred dollars for the price of having a crew carve it up and haul it away.  Fortunately, no one was injured and the only casualty was my pocketbook.  (In addition to the tree cost, my water bill unnecessarily shot up from $150 to $450 a month.  That could have been “shoe money!”)

I called the sprinkler repair guy to tell him what happened.  Two notes:  He disagrees with the city’s assessment that I overwatered.  Also, he’s also sick today.  Given those two factors, how likely do you think it was that he’d be open to pay for either part of that sky high water bill OR the cost to remove the tree?  (That’s where you guess what happened.)

I’d like to think it’s because I’m a great customer service speaker that things turned out like they did.  The truth is, I just got great service.  Here’s what happened:

  1. I didn’t ask him to pay for the tree removal.  A friend volunteered to cut up the tree if I’d rent a chain saw.  So I asked the sprinkler guy if he owned a chain saw (he did) and if I might please borrow it.  He agreed.  Not only that, but he also volunteered to let me borrow his extension cord and he also said he’d replace the cord (blade?) so the saw would be sharp.
  2. Then he volunteered to give me a free, sprinkler inspection in the Spring. (I didn’t jump at that because I wasn’t certain he knew what he was doing when it came to watering my lawn.)  Still, it’s a pricy inspection and it was nice.
  3. We hung up friends. I’d saved the cost of renting a chain saw ($63-$126), got an extension cord and won’t have to buy the new blade.  I’ll still be stuck with the high water bill and will have to spend the weekend cutting and hauling with my kind, wood-cutting friend.
  4. But here’s the surprise. A few minutes later, the phone rang.  It was the sprinkler guy.  He said, “Vicki, I told you, I’m sick.  I should have offered to help pay for your water bill.  Please forgive me.  I’ll still give you the chain saw.  And give you a free sprinkler inspection in the Spring.  But I’m also putting a check in the mail for $150 to help pay for your high water bill.  It’ll go out today.”

I’m out the tree.  Still have a mess in the backyard.  BUT, I’m happy with my sprinkler guy.  He did his best to make me happy under the circumstances.  And he did.  If, as a customer service speaker, I could inspire that kind of kindness in every service provider, we’d all feel a lot happier.

P.S.  You can’t have my friend.  He’s a keeper.  J

By the way, if you need a customer service speaker, do call.  I look forward to helping you get great results no matter what challenges your organization’s facing!

Close More Sales – QUICKLY. Do I Hear A “YES?”

How To Close More Sales Quickly

So. You want to get a raise. Close more sales. Get your fiancé to agree to a wedding date. You need a “Yes!” Actually, what you need are THREE yesses. Get three “yesses” in a row … and chances are…you’ll get what you want.

Here’s what I mean.

Travis sold silk flowers when he was young. His initial approach was lacking — “You don’t want any of these, do you?” When that didn’t work, he remembered a persuasion technique his father had taught him. When he started using that technique, he turned into a sales champion. You can use it, too.

Travis’s father, an attorney, taught his son to “get three yesses.” His father knew that when people agree with you (on anything), they’re more likely to continue to agree with you. If they agree three times, then, when you ask for what you really want, you’ll get it. As his dad explained, “Yesses lead to more yesses.”

Using that technique, Travis could almost always elicit a “yes” even from his own father! Travis would ask his dad three “set up” questions that would generate a ‘yes” before asking for whatever he really wanted his father to agree to. For example, instead of asking, “Can I go to the movies?” which might get a “no”, Travis might say

  1. “It’s sure hot out, isn’t it?”   Yes.
  2. “Dad, you remember Joe–my friend you think looks like ‘Charlie Brown’?” Yes.
  3. “It’s good to have someone you like to do things with.” Yes.
  4. “Joe and I want to see a movie tonight. Would that be okay?”   

Just to make certain his father would agree, Travis also learned to answer objections before they came up. For example, instead of just asking “We’d like to go to a movie tonight. Would that be okay?” he might say, “We’d like to go see a movie tonight. We’ll be home by ten. We’ll walk up there and Joe’s mom said she’d pick us up. Would that be okay?” Yes. Yesses AND no objections! GOLD!

Scientific studies show that the “three yesses” approach works on everyone! Nothing is fail proof, but when you go for three yesses and THEN ask for what you want, chances are good you’ll get it.

tips to close a sale fast.

Here’s how closing more sales will work for you

Let’s say you’re selling a line of products to small gift stores. You want three yesses. When you meet the proprietor, don’t ask, “Are you having a good day?” because the answer may be “no.” Instead, note something in the store. “I couldn’t help but notice how nicely your window displays are done. They take a lot of imagination to do well, don’t they?” (That question shows you’ve paid attention to the store, you’re paying the owner a compliment, and the question itself is such that you’re going to get a “yes.”)

Then, if you know a particular line retails well you can ask, “Do you sell a lot of Yankee Candles?” Yes.   You follow up with, “I’m not surprised, everyone does. That’s a strong line.” Yes, it is. (You’ve gotten three yesses already AND you’ve shown that you know something about retail sales.) Then say, “If you like THAT line, you’ll want to see this NEW line.” Chance are you’ll hear, “What ya got?” rather than, “We’re not adding any new lines now.”

If you add to that and answer objections, you can almost count on a yes. That would go something like this: “If you like THAT line, you’ll want to see THIS new line! Your wholesale price will be less expensive, the shipping time is quicker, and customers are buying theses like addicts!” Now you’ll almost certainly hear, “What ya got?”

Get three yesses. Not only will YOU probably get a yes, the person you want to persuade will feel positive, you’ll enjoy training your mind to put the person you’re trying to persuade a favorable frame of mind, AND you’ll enjoy making that sale. Yes?

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Motivational Speeches Changed My Life — Forever!

Motivational speeches changed my life. I was in my 20’s when I remember hearing not just one talk – but a day filled with motivational speeches. I was a TV news reporter working for the NBC affiliate.

“You’ll like this,” the assignments editor said, waving a news release at me. “Big rally at the convention center. Crowd. Celebrities. Motivational speeches. Find a photographer and cover it.” So, I did. But, he was wrong! I didn’t like it. I loved it!

As I mentioned, there were a LOT of motivational speeches that day, but Zig Ziglar keynoted. He was a dynamo! Zig got down on one knee. At times he hopped across the stage on one leg. He smiled like a marquee. His energy, stories and jokes captivated that audience. He doled out simple, but practical advice laced with one-liners. The audience sat mesmerized.

I’ve often thought how amazed I’d have been if I’d known that day that just a couple years later, Zig would hire me to be his publicist, then encourage me to speak. What would I think if I’d known as I listened, that the whirlwind on stage would one day teach me to deliver motivational speeches?! As it turned out, Zig Ziglar didn’t just entertain that crowd, he eventually changed my life.

Since then, I’ve delivered motivational speeches all over the world.

The next time your group books presenters to deliver motivational speeches, I’d love to work with you! I hope to make as big an impact on your people as Zig did that day on me.

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Teamwork In the Workplace (Good Luck With That)

Teamwork in the Workplace Requires a Team Ready to Work 

Teamwork in the workplace is as desired by managers as Christmas to a youngster.  It’s a fine goal.  We accomplish far more working together than by ourselves.  In Africa, they say, “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”  By yourself,  your own talents won’t take you where you want to go.

Teamwork in the workplace sounds easy.  After all, people gather together for a common goal – to create products, sell products  or to give customers service after a sale so they’ll continue to buy more.

Managers and employees meet.  Brainstorm ideas.  Then, together, make those ideas happen.  But, as we all know, the process isn’t seamless.  Teamwork in the workplace doesn’t just…happen.  It takes thought, a pervasive positive morale, a common desire to succeed, and a reward when the team excels.  If that’s all done, it’s often accompanied by fun and laughter.

I have some material that I think is popular because it helps managers and employees focus on how to get the right attitude to thrive.  The presentation, Here I Am—There You Are, is fairly short (about 30 minutes) although, it can be combined with an activity that emphasizes on-the-spot how to be a positive team player.

Here I Am—There You Are is a good, short luncheon talk or awards presentation and can be customized to celebrate the both the winners as well as those who tried to win.

To help your group practice teamwork in the workplace, here are some tips your mangers will find helpful.

Teamwork in the Workplace Tip #1

Get the right people in the right jobs.  Let people volunteer for positions to find where they feel comfortable contributing.  If that does not work well, team members may need to be trained or assigned new roles so your people do work they can and will do well.

Teamwork in the Workplace Tip #2

Some companies have had great success assigning their people to work on multiple teams at the same time.  They give prizes to the teams with the best performance at the end of a set time period.  Then, they change the teams.  That way, employees get used to working with and helping a variety of coworkers and their mindset becomes “Let’s work together” rather than just “Let’s try to win.”  You want the entire company’s teamwork and morale to be high.

Teamwork in the Workplace Tip #3

Set aside “down time.”  Let your group members get to know each other in casual, non-work related settings like company-sponsored pizza lunches, potlucks and dessert socials.  The more employees get to know each other, the easier they’ll naturally form friendships.

Teamwork in the Workplace Tip #4

Give awards to high achievers.  Also give awards to those who make high achiever’s jobs possible.  For example, if you have an ace sales professional, reward the service team and the sales pro’s assistant who works with customers while the sales pro is out selling.

Teamwork in the Workplace Tip #5

Team members shouldn’t go behind each other’s backs or over their manager’s head.  When there’s a conflict, work out a time the problem can be safely discussed between the two who disagree or between the worker and the manager in a way that the complaint gets heard and handled.  Agree on this process in advance.  The complainer may or may not like the end result, but he or she should feel their complaint was considered fairly.

Teamwork in the Workplace Tip #6

Encourage each team member to learn new skills that will help the team as a whole.  The better the parts, the better the whole.

Teamwork in the Workplace Tip #7

Don’t ignore “problem” employees.  If one team member isn’t pulling their weight or is sabotaging the team or project, address the issue fairly and firmly.  One bad actor can pull down an entire team.

Teamwork in the Workplace Tip #8

Make your workplace fun.  Some companies have executives or teams specifically assigned to plan activities to keep the company’s spirit lighthearted.  They may plan a “hat” day, an ice cream day  or even a formal dress UP day.  The fun should include everyone and everyone should join in the fun.

Teamwork takes work and it’s worth the work it takes.  As Helen Keller noted, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

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A Customer Service Speaker Gives You 11 Proven Ways To Increase Profits

As a customer service speaker, I study how to motivate… empower… boost morale… and keep employees working for your bottom line. Let me ask:

Have you struggled with unhappy or irate customers?

Most companies promise to deliver excellent customer service. Everywhere you see ads, you see photos of welcoming employees. You’ve undoubtedly read the slogan “service with a smile” along with the promise of friendly customer service.

But get this — only a few companies actually deliver excellent customer service. And even if you think your company is one of the “good” ones, chances are it’s probably not.

Want proof?

The management consulting firm, Bain and Company, says 80% of CEOs believe their companies provide excellent service, but only 8% of customers actually agree. Eight!

Think about that. Only 8% of customers are happy with the service they received. 92 percent leave angry or annoyed. That’s a HUGE difference!

And what about the 20% of CEOs who know their companies are not providing excellent service? If they even suspect their business’s service is second-rate, they’re right. It is!

Want to be certain your company really does give great service? Want to be sure your customers enjoy doing business with you? Here’s an idea….

Make Certain Your Customers Love You – Book Customer Service Speaker Vicki Hitzges

If you want a high energy, interactive, FUN customer service presentation give me a call. I’ll make sure your people enjoy the session and leave with specific takeaways that improve your service and thus increase your bottom line.

I’m not just faking that part about good customer service. I deliver. Your clients will appreciate your company’s fresh attitude and actions. You’ll enjoy the increase in morale and monetary results.


Below you’ll find 11 techniques your people can take now to please your clients. They’ll help you deliver the service you want to give and your customers want to receive.

Customer Service Speaker Top Tip #1 SMILE!

People respond to happy people. Even if you feel miserable, smile! To quote Zig Ziglar, “Better an insincere smile than a sincere jerk.”

Customer Service Speaker Top Tip #2 SHAKE CLIENTS’ HANDS FIRMLY

It’s amazing how many people STILL give a limp handshake. ICK! No one likes that! Not even other limp hand shakers! Grasp an outstretched hand fully and firmly.

Customer Service Speaker Top Tip #3 STOP AND LISTEN

Always let the person you’re dealing with FEEL that they are vitally important. Ignore your phone, your work and your computer. Look in client’s eyes and listen as they speak.

Customer Service Speaker Top Tip #4 USE THE PERSON’S NAME

As Dale Carnegie observed, there is no sweeter sound in all the world than a person’s own name. Be sure and use it!

Customer Service Speaker Top Tip #5 LET IRATE CUSTOMERS VENT

When a customer is angry, give your name, offer to help, and listen. For example, “I understand you’re upset. My name is _____. I want to help you. Please tell me what happened.” THEN….just be silent. After two minutes, IF you’re completely quiet, they’ll take a breath, feel MUCH calmer and you can deal with them.

Customer Service Speaker Top Tip #6 ASK, “WHY NOT DO THAT?!”

If a customer wants you to paint, lay carpet or do construction at night, why not do that? They’ll pay for it. If they want you to use their forms instead of yours, why not? You’ll make more money, get a happy, loyal customer and probably earn a long-term relationship that lasts for years and years and years.

Customer Service Speaker Top Tip #7 MAKE IT EASY TO BUY FROM YOU

Many companies sell on line. Customers can only see photos of the products. If a shopper calls wanting to know if a rug, for example, is red, orange or peach, the store’s rep should know OR be able to find out quickly and call back with the answer.

Customer Service Speaker Top Tip #8 ERR ON THE SIDE OF RESPECT

Call an older person “Mister” or “Ms” and their last name UNLESS that person says, “Just call me Joe.” I’ve seen 20-something employees refer to distinguished physicians as “Pete” when everyone else says, “Hello, Doctor Jones.” Doctor Jones earned his title. Be sure to use it.

Customer Service Speaker Top Tip #9 BE A PLACE THAT’S FRIENDLY & FUN

Years ago, when frozen yogurt was a big craze, my parents lived near five yogurt shops, but one store got almost all the traffic. That’s because the man who owned the shop lit up whenever any customer entered his shop. He had a way of making customers feel welcome, wanted and special. He was friendly, fun and…successful.

Excellent Customer Service Tip #10 DON’T MAKE CUSTOMERS WAIT

If you have two stores and one makes you wait while the other doesn’t, chances are you’ll go to the faster store.  A friend said, “My bank takes forever to answer calls.  The phone just rings and rings.  Then, I get transferred and it rings again.  I got so irritated, I switched banks today.”  Don’t lose your customers!  Help your clients right away.

Customer Service Speaker Top Tip #11 DON’T SAY “NO”— BE CREATIVE

People don’t like the word “no.” So, instead of saying, “No, we don’t have any” say, “We’ll get more in next week.” Instead of saying, “No, we don’t sell those” say “Let me show you something similar I think you’ll like.” Make being positive a game. Say “No” to saying no.

As a customer service speaker, I’ve found employees enjoy giving good service once they learn and commit to delivering it. External customers react positively and morale among internal customers skyrockets. Feel free to contact me to discuss challenges specific to your industry.

In the meantime, the 11 tips above will help your business zoom ahead. WATCH! Your group will deliver outstanding customer service.

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