We all want to make a difference, to create magic moments in the lives of our customers and employees. I will show you how you can make a difference. My goal is to get you so excited, you can’t wait to try this out because you know you are going to be awesome.

The first thing I ask my clients who want to improve their service is, "What's it like to work for you? Do your employees feel respected and appreciated?" Before you can ask your employees to deliver service with a smile, you first have to ask yourself, "Am I giving them anything to smile about?"

One of the basics of excellent service is to treat your internal customers as you would your external customers. You can’t move forward and win customers without the passionate devotion and commitment of your employees. People are the heart and the soul of the company and also the public face. Every dollar earned passes through their hands and we must take great care of them.

I believe the real challenge we face today is not finding new employees, it is keeping the best ones we already have and making sure they’ re feeling happy, challenged and excited about their work.

However good your employees are, they could be a lot better. Most organizations do not manage their people in ways that bring out the best in them. People have a strong desire to perform well and don't feel good about themselves or their jobs when they don't. Nobody comes to work with the goal of doing a bad job, well, hardly anybody. And I might add, people don't go to work to do a mediocre job either. Doing a bad job makes people feel bad; it's de-motivating. It leaves you feeling that your work was a meaningless exercise in pushing paper or punching a time clock.

So how do we bring out the best in our staff? The top 5 motivating techniques as reported by employees in order of priority are:

Personal thanks from supervisor - Look your employee in the eye and thank them for specific performance

Promotion for performance - Believe it or not this is a non-pay related promotion. Find out what your employees aspirations are and commit to developing each employee to meet their goals. I guarantee you will see a lot more smiles and a big reduction in turnover. - Offer developmental seminars for all levels of employees

Written thanks - Lee Iacocca said, "When I must criticize somebody, I do it orally; when I praise somebody, I put it in writing." A thank you card or a simple note will have a big impact.

Public praise - Reprimand in private, praise in public. You will not only motivate the individual but also the entire team. Pre-shift meetings offer a great opportunity for this.

Morale building - What are you currently doing to improve the morale in your workplace? - Do you have a recognition and reward program in place?

When someone gives you a compliment, recognition or praise how do you feel? Imagine if you felt like that every day. How does recognition impact your self-esteem and performance? It's all about taking the time to recognize and reward behavior.

It doesn't have to be a trip to Hawaii. I am convinced that the most important things managers can do to motivate and energize employees have little or no direct costs. Instead they result from the daily interactions managers have with each individual employee.

Remember the top 5 motivating techniques we just reviewed? Rewards are most motivating when they are:

Immediate in the moment A pat on the back. Lotto tickets are a great cost-effective way to recognize in the moment.

Frequent I use a fun and catchy game with many of my clients called “Ten Pennies.”  Every morning put ten pennies in your left pocket. Every time you praise an employee, move a penny to your right pocket. If you have any pennies in your left pocket at the end of the day, you need to refocus. Ideally you move your pennies from the right pocket back to the left half way through the shift and start over!!!

Based on clearly communicated criteria Set goals and communicate expectations during the interview process, throughout new-hire training, and pre-shift meetings. Then hold them accountable to achieving those goals.

Directly reinforce desired behavior or performance "Not just great job today but great job greeting all your guests within one minute of their arrival. I especially noticed you use of eye contact and that smile - WOW!"

Valued by the recipient When I was a General Manager, I asked my employees to make a list of what they would like to receive for reaching their goals - Provided by someone of significance to the recipient - Peer-to-peer recognition is a powerful motivator - Have your Regional Manager or District Manager present

Small unexpected rewards: Gift certificates, a magazine subscription, lotto tickets, ice-cream cone, a sticker, recognition at a meeting, a smile, a day off, a card, a candy bar.

In practice, rewards tend to be: - late and overlooked altogether - "Good job taking good care of that lady with the complaint last Friday" - infrequent - arbitrary or inconsistent - provided to everyone who happens to be present - routine and ordinary - "Where's the enthusiasm. Are you a candle or a blowtorch?" - valued primarily by the provider and not valued by the recipient - I collect coffee mugs so I am sure my crew will like them too - provided impersonally or without a presentation at all. - "Here you go" as your star employee is running out the door

The best minute we spend is the one we invest in our staff. We need to be star catchers. Regularly catch people doing things right and recognize them for it. We must celebrate what we want to see more of.

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak but of their echoes are truly endless." -Mother Teresa

Attitudes are contagious. We have to ask ourselves one question before we walk into work every day, "Is mine worth catching?" Enthusiasm is contagious. I say let's start an epidemic.

You can make a difference in the lives of many people including your employees and customers and help your company be known for Service Excellence. We must work to create raving fans of every employee and customer we come into contact with.

As importantly as the techniques outlined, you must first believe in yourself and believe in your dreams and to quote my favorite, Dr. Seuss, -You will succeed, yes indeed, yes indeed, ninety eight and three quarters percent guaranteed.