Set the Tone! Yeah you! Mr. or Mrs. Manager, Owner, CEO!

Set the Tone! Yeah you!  Mr. or Mrs. Manager, Owner, CEO!



It’s the 4th quarter of this year.  That means, the 1st quarter of next year is right around the corner.  It’s up to you to SET THE TONE for finishing 2023 as strong as possible…and beginning 2024 in as powerful a way as possible.

Full Disclosure…this month’s article is a rewrite from 2018.  A rehash.  But the topic is more important than ever.  Especially since we had a global pandemic in between 2018 and today…and social skills are, shall we say…lagging!

Back in 2018, in a matter of days, my wife and I each had 2 separate, polar opposite customer service experiences.


Customer Experience #1

My wife needed to buy a few things for one of our 3 kids, and was in a hurry, so she popped into a well-known drug/variety store.  She walked in, found what she needed, and headed to pay for her items.

As she got to the register, the clerk never said a word.  Never established any eye contact.  The clerk scanned the items, put them in a bag, blurted out the amount my wife needed to pay, and the only other words uttered during that interaction:  “Cash or Card?”  A grand total of 4 words.

My wife swiped her card, and as the receipt printed, the clerk tore it off the printer, handed it over (without a word) as she walked away.  No eye contact, no smile, no thank you.


Customer Experience #2

For me, I had a different experience at a gas station, coincidentally just up the road (and one day later) from where my wife went.  On this day, I had not even put my car in park, before the attendant was at my window with a smile and a:  “Good afternoon sir, what’ll it be today?”

This cheery gent must have called me sir at least 5 times in a 5–6-minute interaction.  As I pulled away, he sent me packing with:  “Have a great day sir!”

My wife and I each chose 2 separate businesses to give our money to.  To GIFT our hard-earned money to.  And two different employees SET THE TONE for us in different ways.

Betsy (my wife) left her experience feeling angry, dissatisfied, and aggravated.

As I arrived, the tone was set for a satisfying experience, and I left with a smile, feeling great and in a good mood!

Customer service and positive engagement sounds like a simple thing to train on, right?  Maybe you and your company are great at it, but many simply are not.  Many just don’t talk about it, train on it, and retrain on it!

Ever attended a Portland Trail Blazer Game?  If you arrive early, these multi-millionaires are warming up, practicing the basics.  Free throws.  Lay ups.  Simple things they have done thousands of times.  It’s muscle memory.  The basics are a paramount foundation of success.

Guess what?  So is customer service.  It is basic.  Should be easy.  It is one of the important foundations of success for any business.  It should be trained on.  Practiced.  Practiced again.  And… again.

Here comes the 1st quarter!  We still have a lot of 4th quarter left.  YOU get to set the tone with your employees regarding customer engagement and service!

You and your people get to choose, and control what kind of experience your customers will have.

How are you going to meet, greet and treat your customers for the rest of this year and into the next?



  • Make it easy for people to do and keep doing business with you!
  • Look up…and surprise someone!


Spencer Rubin is a sales/marketing expert and a passionate advocate for the success of small, local business owners. To sign up for Spencer’s weekly Catalyst Newsletter, contact 971-732-4745.