There aren't too many places in the world where Barbara Glanz hasn't been.
Glanz has already spoken on seven continents on a range of customer service topics, including how to improve service and how to keep your employee base motivated and happy.
She's spoken to groups ranging from major supermarket chains, insurance companies and banks, to some tough crowds such as the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Corrections. But her message is effective, she says, because her core belief remains the same.
"My bottom-line belief is that everybody has a heart," said Glanz, who is known for being a business speaker who "speaks to your heart as well as to your head."
Her speeches and presentations, she says, also come from the heart.
"I will often just stop and say 'It's not a job to me, it's not a presentation. It's how I live my life.' And I think once they realize I am for real and authentic, I believe this with every fibre of my being - they trust to open themselves up and be vulnerable."
The Sarasota-based speaker consultant and author of 11 books looks forward to coming to the Battlefords next week for an event hosted by the Battlefords Chamber of Commerce, which is billed as the "customer service event of the year."
The event takes place at Don Ross Centre at 981- 100th St. in North Battleford. Organizers at the Chamber say this is a rare opportunity to attend an event right in North Battleford that might otherwise be out of reach for most people. Normally it would cost a lot more money and there would be extensive travel involved to attend a seminar with someone of Glanz's stature as the main attraction.
Glanz has been featured on all the major TV networks and on radio and in print in the United States, and is one of fewer than 500 Certified Speaking Professionals worldwide. The Society for Human Resource Management national conference ranked her as one of the top 10 speakers since 1997.
Glanz described what people coming to North Battleford can expect during the day-long sessions when she spoke by telephone this week with the Regional Optimist.
The morning session will focus on the topic of Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm - Creating Workplaces of Passion, Purpose and Productivity.
Glanz feels well qualified to talk about the subject.
"I have a very, very strong background in customer service," she said, having done training, consulting and measurement of customer service for a Times Mirror training company back in the '80s and '90s."
She discovered that while there was a great emphasis on telling employees to be good to customers, there was little emphasis on the employees.
"It's really become my bottom line belief that if you want to create happy customers, you have to have happy employees," Glanz said.
As a result, Glanz said it is important to focus both on the "internal" as well as the "external."
The morning session is dedicated to creating workplaces where "people want to get up in the morning and go to work, and want to give their best." Not necessarily for the company or the boss, but because "it's the right thing to do."
She uses the acronym "CARE" to describe the elements of a spirited workplace. The letters stand for "Creative Communication," "Atmosphere and Appreciation for All," "Respect and Reason for Being and Purpose" and "Energy and Enthusiasm."
She guarantees everyone will leave the sessions with six to eight applicable action ideas they can take back to their workplaces.
The afternoon session will shift its attention towards the "external" customer by focusing on the Simple Truths of Service, inspired by Johnny the Bagger.
"It's the focus on the external customers," Glanz said, with a focus on the "ten simple truths" of customer service.
The "Johnny the Bagger" story is about a Down's Syndrome grocery store worker who was inspired to do something to improve customer service after listening to Glanz speak on customer service. What he decided to do to put his own personal stamp on the job was insert little notes into grocery bags with messages for customers, called the "thought for the day."
The simple act of Johnny providing his "thought for the day" proved popular with customers who saw it as a personal touch that brightened their day. Soon, long lines of people could be found standing in Johnny's check line, all of them wanting to receive his "thought for the day."
Not only did this simple act result in a big boost in business, but it inspired others in the store to step up their customer service and create lasting memories for customers.
"The story is really touching people, as it's about how one little guy with Down's syndrome with a very front-line job turned an entire organization upside down," said Glanz.
The store ended up winning the award for best customer service in the United States two years later, as Johnny's inspirational example spread both internally throughout the store and then externally to customers.
"The message of this story that brings so much hope to everyone is, if little Johnny can do it, there's no reason why every single one of us can't do it as well."
Over seven million people have seen the video at YouTube, which can be accessed through Glanz's website at barbaraglanz.com. That video was also shown in the Battlefords during the BBEX Awards presentation earlier this year.
Glanz says her approach to customer service, once followed, leads to results. She noted she gave a seminar to Kaiser Permanente in a region where their operation was rated second lowest in their customer service scores. She did three sessions a day for five days and the result was that region went from second lowest for customer service to second highest in the company.
She also talked about what she considers her most difficult assignment in her speeches and travels around the world. No doubt, she said, it was the Singapore Security Police.
These were tough police officers with the power to cut peoples' hands off or shoot individuals if need be, she recounted.
"I had over 50 men, all men, mostly early-to-late 50s. I was a woman from the US and I had them for a half day on customer service," Glanz said.
"After the first half hour I wondered if this was going to be my first big bomb!" Glanz said, but eventually she won them over.
After it was over, "they stayed for four hours on their own time, all to have their picture taken with me, have me sign their books."
They went to the prime minister and asked to bring Glanz back for three days so she could talk with each of them individually.
Her seminar in the Battlefords runs from 8:30 to 5 p.m .and includes lunch, beverages and snacks. Registration begins at 8 a.m.
There are a couple of options available for pricing. The "general admission" package is $169, but those who sign up for the "Johnny's Choice" package will also receive a complimentary gift package valued at $100. That package runs at $199.
Organizers with the Chamber expect many out-of-town people will be coming to the Battlefords for the event, but they also note there are plenty of seats still available. People can learn more and register for the event at www.battlefordschamber.com.