My Pleasure

Hello, my name is Brent Reser and I have not uttered the words, “No problem!” for three years.

This past weekend, I ripped past my Friday the 13th Life’s Little Instruction page to see the latest one pictured below. It immediately made me smile and think about the customer service training I have received since arriving at CCU almost four years ago.

This was my Instagram post from my Life’s Little Instructions calendar this past Saturday.

Some people might be shocked to hear this (I know I was at first), but cheerfully telling someone “no problem” is frowned upon in the customer service world. Luckily, thanks to the Feel the Teal program at Coastal Carolina University, I have refrained from saying this troublesome phrase for the past few trips around the sun. “No problem” didn’t evaporate from my lexicon immediately, but the more I tried my best not to use it and the more I realized how bad the phrase actually is, it eventually stopped slipping off my tongue.

When someone says “no problem,” it insinuates that there is/was a problem. When someone expresses their gratitude to you, it doesn’t make sense to respond by saying something that doesn’t convey any sort of warmth or sentiment.

At best, “no problem” means nothing. How is it acknowledging what someone said to you?

This of course brings us to the preferred response when someone offers thanks. At CCU and thousands of other places where customer service is valued, the response “my pleasure” is encouraged. Although some people might immediately think of chicken sandwiches when you say it, the phrase is starting to lose its Chick-fil-A association and be recognized simply as the polite and proper way to acknowledge someone’s gratitude.

When you say “my pleasure,” it conveys a feeling inside of you. It lets the person know that the act or service performed was at your humble discretion. It is much more personal than a meaningless “no problem.”

My Life’s Little Instruction post generated a lot of interaction. Some people endorsed the advice right away while some wondered about alternatives (remember, always use my pleasure!). Please note, I never judge anyone who utters “no problem”. I understand that it is a common phrase in our culture and that not everyone associates a negative connotation with it. To some, “my pleasure” sounds too over the top. I get it.

But for those of us working in the customer service world, I think it is important to respond in a thoughtful way. Perhaps as a society we aren’t at the point where we automatically respond with “my pleasure” when we buy a friend a drink or lend someone a couple quarters for the vending machine. However, in a customer service setting, I think we can always respond in a way that is modern and appropriate. Don’t Blink.

Five “Super” Things

Having Monday off for Martin Luther King Day really made Thursday come soon. Not that I am complaining, who isn’t excited that Friday is just several hours away? Long week or short week, Thursdays are reserved for my weekly rundown so here we go! Super Bowl XLIX – Well, I wanted a Seahawks-Colts Super Bowl but I will settle for a Seahawks-Patriots championship just as well. When your team makes the Super Bowl, you really can’t get too upset about who they are paired against. This past Sunday’s game was incredible. No one except for my girlfriend knows the outright ridiculous celebration I engaged in when Seattle stormed back in spectacular fashion to smash the hopes of the Green Bay Packers. So many dynamite plays happened in those last four minutes but for whatever reason the onside kick recovery stands out most of all for me. Teams I root for never recover onside kicks so that play was special. I love the Seahawks and I hate the Patriots as much as I do the Cowboys so bring on Super Bowl XLIX!

I was beyond ecstatic after the game on Sunday.

I was beyond ecstatic after the game on Sunday.

Start of Something Beautiful – Isn’t it quite the sight to see a football field getting torn up? I took this photo from the Kline Hospitality Suite in Brooks Stadium this morning. Once the natural grass has been removed, field turf will grace the surface of our football stadium at Coastal Carolina University. But it just won’t be any turf. We are making a statement with TEAL TURF. You can bet it will look beyond sweet when I re-take the below photo once the teal surface is placed. I saw first hand the incredible boost the red turf gave Eastern Washington University and I know Coastal’s new turf will provide a similar lift.

The removal of the grass playing surface is underway at Brooks Stadium.

The removal of the grass playing surface is underway at Brooks Stadium.

Accelerate Aging by Becoming President of the United States – My junior year of high school I was in an honors humanities class. The major culminating project of the class called on us to prove a thesis that we were to present to the community. Teamed up with two of my classmates, we presented and proved our thesis that the Office of the Presidency greatly accelerates aging. Besides all the research, science, and writing that went into our project, we built a walk-through replica of the White House that included before and after portraits of the Presidents from the time started their term in office to when they ended it. If only I had the below images of Barack Obama to back then to add to the walls. The first photo shows President Obama during his first State of the Union Address in 2009 and the second photo is from his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night. Say what you want, the pictures don’t reflect a normal six years of natural aging. It makes you appreciate and respect the stress and the hard work that our Presidents subject themselves to.

President Obama has aged dramatically while in office.

President Obama has aged dramatically while in office.

Learning to Assist in Difficult Situations – Today, my department went through another session of our customer service Feel the Teal Training (I wrote about the program several months back) . We spent the morning learning how to be most effective in challenging situations when a person is upset. Our group talked about past situations we have been in where the people we were trying to serve were not in very good moods. Our Feel the Teal Director, Eileen, then went over with us the different personalities of difficult people and how to adequately deal with them. Not only did it give us some great techniques, but it was also an eye-opener for me and others who have actually been that difficult person in the past. Charlotte Here I Come – To celebrate Sidney’s birthday, her and I will be spending the weekend in Charlotte. A three-hour trip from Myrtle Beach, we will be staying in the city’s Epicentre, an electric area full of shops, restaurants, bars, clubs, and other entertainment options. Besides airport layovers, I have never really done Charlotte before so I am really excited to visit another great American city. —————– After me complaining about Jeopardy, critics, and cupcakes it was about time I had something positive to say! Thank you for reading my blog and I wish you all a great weekend. Don’t Blink.

Feel the Teal: Surprised and Recognized at CCU

I am blessed to say that all of my days at Coastal Carolina University are good days. But I would be remiss if I didn’t say that some days are even better than the good days. Today was one of those.

After I left work yesterday I received a call from our awesome and valuable administrative assistant, Kim. She told me that a 9 a.m. meeting had been scheduled for today. I thought something semi-urgent must have come up that our communication team needed to talk about. This morning at about 8:30 a.m. Kim came to my desk and told me that the meeting would just be with me and our Vice President for University Communication (Bill Plate – My Boss). She also added that the meeting would start in his office at 8:55 a.m. My head started to turn. What was up? Did I do something wrong?

I went into Bill’s office and he just asked me to help him establish some goals for an accreditation program. Right away at ease, I brainstormed some ideas with him. After discussing a couple more topics our meeting concluded. I walked out of his office and strolled down the hall to my desk. Once I passed through the hallway and made it to our office’s lobby area I was greeted with a special surprise.

Across from me stood all of my University Communication co-workers and superiors. Our university photographer was present and he had his camera fixated right at me. Right in front of the whole group holding a bunch of teal balloons was Eileen Soisson, the Director of Service Excellence at Coastal. Everyone was starring at me and everyone was smiling.

Eileen Soisson addresses me this morning. I swear that there were more people watching than just our crazy Director of Creative Services Rob Wyeth (Thank you to our University photographer, Bill Edmonds for the photo. Thank you to Mona Prufer for passing the photo  C.D. onto me).

Eileen Soisson addresses me this morning. I swear that there were more people watching than just our crazy Director of Creative Services Rob Wyeth (Thank you to our University photographer, Bill Edmonds for the photo. Thank you to Mona Prufer for passing the photo C.D. onto me).

Eileen, the woman who is in charge of the innovative and popular “Feel the Teal” program, addressed me. She said that she was in our office today to honor me for the simple act I did last weekend. If you didn’t read my post from Monday night, I had the opportunity through a social media promotion to give my football tickets away to a student and her overseas dad who just happened to be in town for Family Weekend. It was a no-brainer on my part but the university still wanted to give me some recognition.

Eileen hands me the balloons. The Feel the Teal program is outstanding and innovative.

Eileen hands me the balloons. The Feel the Teal program is outstanding and innovative. (Thanks to Bill Edmonds for the photos).

After saying some really nice words about me, Eileen handed me the balloons while my office clapped. It was the nicest, most genuine thing that has ever been done for me in a professional setting before. I was able to hold it together but it did touch me. This is why I am at Coastal, I thought to myself.

Me with Eileen Soisson. It is easy to love a university and want to do your best when they treat you like this.

Me with Eileen Soisson. It is easy to love a university and want to do your best when they treat you like this.

Needless to say, it turned a good day into a great day. Bill, the same great boss who recognized me at the Board of Trustees meeting, orchestrated the whole thing. This morning was one of those times where a snap shot was instantly cemented into my brain. I will always have that image of all the people I work with on a daily basis looking right at me while Eileen stood in the center with balloons. I can’t thank Coastal enough for letting me implement my vision for its social media program and then honoring me simply for following through with it. I am at the right place. Don’t Blink.

Feel the Teal: Serving Others

Since arriving at Coastal Carolina University I have had the opportunity to go through training unlike anything else I have ever gone through with any other employer. What type of training you might ask? I am talking hard core customer service/employee betterment boot camp type training.

Well boot camp is definitely too strong of a word. The trainings aren’t that intense and our instructor isn’t anything like a crazy drill sergeant. I guess a better way to describe the program offered at Coastal Carolina to get employees at the top of their games might be outstanding service awareness. Or I can just call it what they call it here at CCU, Feel the Teal.

Coastal Carolina University has designed a program called Feel the Teal that teaches employees how to be as effective as possible in all aspects of interactions with others on campus. The program emphasizes showing the utmost respect for all groups whether it be students, parents, co-workers, etc. Made up of eight separate modules, you dive into a lot of issues while learning how you can approach certain situations better.

As of last Friday I have now completed the first three modules titled Service Basics, Attitude of Service, and Civility on Campus. All two hour sessions taught by Director of Service Excellence Eileen Soisson, I have felt like I have learned a lot. In no particular order, topics discussed over my total of six hours in training include how to point, whether it is ever okay to e-mail during a meeting, the distance that it becomes necessary to acknowledge someone, the true definition of civility, sneaky ways of being uncivil in the workplace, ways that detract from work productivity, acceptable time to respond to phone calls/e-mails, proper components to have in an e-mail signature, appropriate ways of addressing others, the power of a good attitude, the importance of going above and beyond, and so much more.

Some of these things you might say are common sense but you really learn a lot more in Feel the Teal because you get to workshop with other Coastal employees and Eileen does a fantastic job of leading the discussion. The points brought up tend to stay with you. The fact that a workplace is devoting so much energy, time, and money to an initiative such as Feel the Teal tells me that I am employed by a pretty special university. Coastal Carolina wants all employees to be outstanding ambassadors for the university and how can you blame them? Well you can’t, cause I think every university probably wants that out of the people they hire. But what separates CCU is that it goes miles and miles beyond what other institutions are doing to make a campus where everyone puts others before themselves.

I never had any idea that programs resembling Feel the Teal existed until I arrived here in South Carolina. I think it is a more than worthy initiative that helps everyone associated with this campus. I invite any of my friends back west to come visit me in Myrtle Beach and we will head over to CCU and you will see the difference. It is pretty cool. Don’t Blink.