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1. What's Your Business? Prolific authors at The Learning Service Article about us in the Canton Repository

2. The Right Choice

3. On the night stand

4. Check Out Your Work Environment

5. Inspiring Exceptional Service Posted on SellingPower.Com

6. Eventful Decade As Their Own Boss Our article in the Akron Beacon Journal


 The Right Choice

Excerpt from “Life’s Journey—Find Your Place to Stand and Build the Right Future”

  Darryl S. Doane   Rose D. Sloat

A critical component of my focus may be the right choice. We once heard a story of a farmer who had an old mule. One day, the farmer is out working and hears a distressful wailing that sounds as if something terrible has happened.

Upon investigation, he discovers his mule has fallen into a large abandoned old well on his property. The mule had plummeted to the bottom and somehow landed on its feet right side up, and for the most part was unhurt but very frightened. The farmer ponders the predicament the mule is in and cannot come up with a solution to getting the mule back out. He calls in a few friends and seeks their advice. They all agree the situation is hopeless, and with much sadness, the farmer arrives at the decision to fill the well with dirt, burying the mule and filling in the well at the same time. With the assistance of his friends, the farmer begins the unhappy chore.

On the night stand - book review

Jan, 2003  Darryl S. Doane   Rose D. Sloat
Decisions, decisions! Between us, we have two nightstands, making the process of highlighting our favorite books all the more difficult. However, after much debate, we eventually picked our three all-time preferred tomes.

Our first choice is a shoo-in--The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It, by Michael E. Gerber. Having survived the five-year milestone as a company ourselves, we are delighted to discover that the small-business guru may think we've done many things right! Using easy-to-understand terms, Gerber inspires readers to focus on the long-term business development process. Next choice: Our interest in history places Donald T. Phillips's Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times as our favorite among the 35-odd leadership reads resting on our nightstands. CEOs, supervisors, and all who aspire to leadership positions would be hard-pressed to find a more ethical, moral, and caring role model than Abraham Lincoln.

Completing the list: In a forward-looking investigation, Richard Florida's The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life examines the creative process and its role in economic survival. We're in complete agreement with Florida on the driving force of creativity in distinguishing a company from its competitors and in shaping society.

Darryl S. Doane and Rose D. Sloat are co-owners of Canton, Ohio-based The Learning Service and co-authors of Excuses, Excuses, Excuses: For Not Delivering Excellent Customer Service: info@thelearningservice.com

 Check Out Your Work Environment

Trainer’s Warehouse Article


Delivering the very best service to our customers requires that we have a heightened awareness of our surroundings and our work environment.

Here are some tips for greater customer satisfaction and more business as a result of being better prepared to deal with and fulfill customer needs. 


  1. Determine the “tools” you need in order to successfully “get the job done.”  No matter how small or how grandiose the item is, if it helps you in the accomplishment of your task, it is important.
  2. Identify the tools currently in your work environment that assist in providing excellent customer service.
  3. Utilize P6—“Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance”  by Patrick P. Pepper.
  4. Anticipate (think like your customer) all that they may need, care for, or want.  Provide “Seamless Service.”
  5. All items within your work environment should assist in keeping you “customer focused.”


The following is an excerpt from our book 50 Activities For Achieving Excellent Customer Service.


Check Out Your Work Environment

Activity Description

Time Guideline:  15 Minutes


This activity will help participants develop an awareness of their surroundings and assist them to be prepared at the start of the day for serving their customers.


Learning Objectives




The purpose is to examine the work environment and the tools available to assist in serving the customer.


Participants Will Be Able To:


  1. Determine the tools needed in order to successfully “get the job done.”
  2. Identify the tools in their work environments that will assist in providing excellent customer service.
  3. Recognize that they must be prepared before the first call of the day.
  4. Operate by keeping focused on the customer.
  5. Show that they are professionals.




The benefit will be greater customer satisfaction and more business as a result of being better prepared to deal with and fulfill the customer’s needs.


Method of Instruction:


Materials Needed


Handout 28.1:  Check Out Your Work Environment  (see below)


Preparation and Room Set-Up


No additional preparation is required.  The activity is applicable to whatever room set-up the presenter has selected.


Step-by-Step Walk-Through of the Activity


Step 1:  Say to the class,


“Did you ever make a call to someone and find they weren’t in, and you asked the person who answered, ‘May I leave a message?’  The person says, ‘Sure, but can you wait until I get a pen?’”


Step 2:  Explain,


“Your environment has such a great impact on how professional you are with your customers.  In order to be as effective and efficient as you possibly can be, it is important to have the right tools in your immediate work environment.”


Step 3:  Place your participants in teams.  Choose a leader for each and say,


“Leaders, please take your teams through a discussion and come up with a list of items in your environment, not only on your desk, but in the office, or your training room that would make you as efficient and effective as possible while working with your customers.”


Step 4:  As the teams respond, ask everyone to write down the responses in their notebooks.  Say,


“Team 1, please give us three to four items you have come up with.”  Ask the other teams to do the same.


Step 5:  Share responses by saying,


“Here are some items we have accumulated from other sessions.”  Read the list from Handout 28.1.


Step 6:  Give out a copy of Handout 28.1.  Say,


“When you go back to your office, please take a look at your desk and the office environment and see if there is anything that you can do to improve your tools and how you work with your customers.”


Even though some of these items seem simple, they can be very important when it comes to being an efficient and effective professional.


Other Insights


What does it take for those with the responsibility to provide excellent customer service to have the means to get the job done and create seamless service?  What combination of knowledge, skills and attitude must exist to obtain the best results?  What items must each customer service person have available to them in their work arena to fulfill the needs of their customers and provide solutions?  What tools must exist in your professional bag of skills to succeed and experience success time and time again?


Anticipate all that your customers may need or care for or want.  It is like orchestrating just about anything, a party for some of your friends for example.  This includes behind the scenes as well as what is observable behavior.  In order to insure a successful event,  all that needs to be prepared and taken care of in advance must be anticipated.


View your treatment of the customer from the customer’s perspective by being one yourself.






Check Out Your Work Environment


* Computer                                                      * Good lighting and temperature

* Phone                                                            * Cover-up fluid

* Phone headset                                               * Facial tissues

* Calculator                                                      * Waste basket

* Notebook, forms                                           * Fax machine

* Pen, pencil                                                     * Schedule

* Eraser                                                           * Chair/desk

* Stapler                                                          * Responsive departments with answers

* Humor in the workplace                                 * Files

* List of phone numbers                                    * Catalogs, resource books

    (internal and external)

* Internet access                                               * A customer

* Proper computer software                             * Paper clips

* Clean, efficient work area                              * Clock

* Calendar                                                       * Self-adhesive notes

* Great attitude                                               * Copier

* Phone books

See Our Books

Inspiring Exceptional Service    
Is it possible to teach someone to provide great service, or are top-notch customer service providers born, not made? Darryl S. Doane and Rose D. Sloat, Canton, Ohio-based trainers and authors of “The Customer Service Activity Book: 50 Activities for Inspiring Exceptional Service” (AMACOM, 2005), believe that you can help your team increase their customer service quotient.

As customers have become more demanding and exacting in their desires and expectations, companies have failed to make the grade, say the authors. Fortunately, this collection of activities – divided into categories such as “Customer Treatment,” “Communication” and “Service Attitude,” can help jumpstart your team to a greater awareness of and ability to respond to the realities of a customer-centric workplace. While many of the activities will seem a bit simplistic for your seasoned sales reps, the book is perfect for a new customer service team or inside sales team that may not have a lot of experience dealing with customers.

There are some gems that will benefit any salesperson, regardless of tenure. For instance, “Transformations and Their Impact: A Reality Check” will help your team think in broader terms about the way their company and their customers’ companies have changed, and how those transformations have impacted the way they do business – in only 40 minutes. In this activity, participants are asked to think about changes in their own and their customers’ businesses, discuss how that has changed the way they work and then discuss how these changes are affecting their customers’ needs and expectations of the product or service provider.

In another activity, “Customers’ Perceptions: How Their Expectations Are Created,” participants learn how customers develop a sense of a company and form perceptions and expectations. Participants examine a collection of customer communications – the company Web site, advertising, data sheets, etc. – and then analyze these documents to see what messages are given to the reader and what expectations are created. Next, participants examine potential “moments of truth” within their organizations to see if the verbal or non-verbal promises made in their customer communications are upheld.

The volume is full of handouts, worksheets and ready-to-copy overhead diagrams, and each activity includes a materials list, preparation and room setup instructions, and a step-by-step walk-through of the activity, as well as a time estimate. Busy meeting leaders can grab the workbook, pick a topic and find a suitable activity in a matter of minutes.
Darryl S. Doane and Rose D. Sloat, Managing Partners • The Learning Service, 2800 Market Avenue North, Suite 21, Canton, Ohio 44714

Ph: 330-456-2422 = Fax: 330-456-8944 = Email: info@thelearningservice.com