When Carmen Schwab was asked what she would do if she could do anything she wanted, regardless of compensation but because she truly loved it, her response was quick: “I would be a motivational speaker and trainer in the area of the customer experience!” Fast forward twelve years and that is exactly what she does today. With over 30 years in the customer service industry, primarily in hospitality and sales, Carmen is well equipped to educate, challenge, inspire, motivate and encourage others in customer service excellence.
Internal customer service, employee-to-employee, is the springboard to a great and memorable external experience. Carmen believes that in order to provide that WOW know-how, the internal team must be without compromise in its efforts to live out a customer-focused culture. With competition at an all-time high, customer loyalty at an all-time low, and the almighty dollar more difficult to come by, it is without question that now is the best time to focus on the customer service experience and what one can do to differentiate themselves in the marketplace.
Whether one is looking to create an A+ Team or a Red Carpet Experience that drives loyalty and creates advocates of a brand, Carmen customizes her presentations to fit your needs. Her common-sense approach, offset by abundant humor, provides the audience with the tools and inspiration they need to succeed.
Carmen has enjoyed the privilege of facilitating numerous presentations for businesses, organizations and associations. Common words and phrases she has heard from these audiences are: educational, fun, entertaining, applicable examples, passion, enthusiasm, connection, vibrancy, well-balanced, informative, beyond the basics, hands-on participation, relatable team building, customized, high energy, great attitude and one of her favorites — a true testament to her ability to capture and motivate her audiences — “Wow, those three hours went fast!”
The water cooler, a time-honored totem pole of office communication, is a key prop and point of conversation throughout Carmen’s speaking engagements. The water cooler is where one finds out what is really going on in the organization, and whether it is hot, cold or undistilled!
“Mission Statement: More than Words on a Wall”
What do mission statements and core values have to do with the customer experience? Everything! Far too often, though, mission statements and core values are no more than words on a fancy wall hanging displayed for everyone to see. During our time together we learn the importance of a well-defined mission statement and core values and how they are connected to the customer experience, internal and external. The participants will be challenged to find their connection and to live it out in their daily interactions, making it come alive through action and purpose. This topic is typically incorporated with The Red Carpet Experience, Solution Minded Communication or Passing the Baton, Relay Style.
“Passing The Baton, Relay Style”
Have you observed a participant of a relay event pass the baton but then leave the race to go home, back to class, or shopping? I haven’t. However, I have observed that same analogy play out in business far more often than it needs to — passing the baton of responsibility and then walking away. What if your team environment handled the passing of the baton like those in a relay event: cheering, encouraging and following their team to a strong finish? The internal environment would look a lot different and would be more productive and fun! This topic addresses the vital role that everyone plays and how much more effective and successful they are when they work together and focus on a smooth hand-off as opposed to a baton drop. How one handles the drop in business is critical to the overall success or failure of the team environment, too. I address the baton drop and ways to handle it with class and a team-minded approach. As Vince Lombardi once said, “Individuals play the game, but teams win championships.”
“Solution Minded Communication”
According to a recent SIS International Research study, a business with 100 employees spends an average of 17 hours of downtime per week to clarify communication, which translates to $528,443 annually! If that does not grab your attention, what if I told you that poor communication is also the #1 reason for low morale? There is a myriad of ways we communicate today: email, phone, text, verbal, written letter, Facebook, Twitter, etc. It takes a concerted effort, lots of practice, and sometimes a little humble pie to communicate effectively. During this session, we address both verbal and non-verbal communication and ways to make it solution-minded, effective and a WOW in the team and customer experience.
“The Red Carpet Experience”
Think of a time when an employee or company went above and beyond to really provide that WOW experience. How did it make you feel? Like you were wearing a sign on your forehead that read ‘MMFI’ (Make Me Feel Important) or that they saw you as a writer of their paycheck? With competition at an all-time high, customer loyalty at an all-time low, and the almighty dollar more difficult to come by, it is without question that now is the best time to focus on the Red Carpet Experience! Together we look at ways to deliver that memorable experience, creating loyal and long-lasting client relationships. (Mini PayDay candy bars are provided for groups of 100 or less. This helps reinforce and drive home who the true writers of our paychecks are — the customers!)
“DISC, A Behavioral Assessment Program”
Have you ever met someone you didn’t connect with? Have you ever experienced misunderstandings? When talking with others, does it sometimes feel like you’re talking two different languages? These situations are all too common in relationships. It is not our differences that create conflict, but rather our lack of understanding. During this session, participants learn to understand themselves and others better, improve communication and conflict resolution, increase morale and leadership effectiveness, gain appreciation and understanding of each style (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Compliance) and thereby create a stronger bottom line.
“Emotional Intelligence, What All Strong Relationships are Built On!”
Do you ever wonder how some people can remain calm, cool, and collected in the midst of difficult or challenging situations? These same people also identify and connect well with their own and other people’s emotions. What makes them different? It’s called an Emotional Quotient (EQ), which is better known as Emotional Intelligence. High EQ helps individuals communicate better, reduce their anxiety and stress, defuse conflicts, improve relationships, empathize with others, and effectively overcome life’s challenges. Conference attendees will learn about this transforming concept; one that can revolutionize relationships, personally and professionally.
• Gain knowledge and understanding of EQ
• Understand the signs of Emotional Hijacking
• Learn the benefits of High EQ
• Know how EQ is measured and tips to increase it
Water Cooler Talk: Hydration for a WOW Customer Experience
Water Cooler Talk provides easy to use concepts and tools to create WOW and memorable customer experiences, internal and external, and turn water cooler conversations into a source of never ending testimonials! As it relates to the customer experience, people are far more inclined to communicate a bad experience, even the most loyal of customers as found in the COLLOQUY survey; “Even among consumers who are most loyal to, engaged with and willing to recommend brands they like…31% said they are far more likely to share information about a bad experience with a product or service than a good one.” Tweeting, texting, chatting, Facebook, or emailing a bad experience has allowed customers to be far more open and instant about the encounter – not to mention quick with their word choices. With that said, the bad experiences are far more amplified than ever before! These astounding statistics should cause us to wake up and take seriously the Water Cooler Talk and what it is saying about our organization, business, church and family. This book is packed with tools, ideas and concepts that you can use to enhance your water cooler conversations and create loyal and long-lasting client relationships. The book is not written in chronological order, but rather independently by chapter. The purpose of the format is to provide you with eleven different customer service topics and tools that you can reflect and review at any given time. Customer Service is NOT a department, but rather an attitude and culture that all employees are responsible to uphold. Thank you for your readership. Enjoy! Buy here
“Carmen Schwab truly loves what she does. She is a dynamic and passionate speaker who captures the audience’s attention and challenges their beliefs about communication in the workplace. As with past keynote speakers we have invited from MidAmerica Speakers Bureau, Carmen was ready and excited to present to a variety of employees at our All-Staff Meeting! MSB continues to meet our expectations and we anticipate working with Barry and Tyler in the future. Thank you for helping us host yet another successful event!”
Ashley Frevert and NENCAP All-Staff Committee
“Carmen was the keynote speaker at our 35th annual training conference. She tailored her presentation to our audience and even incorporated our conference theme. Carmen engaged the audience through exercises that drove home her message about communication and customer service. She was funny, personable, and knowledgeable. Carmen did an awesome job and I’d highly recommend her for any group looking to engage, motivate, and empower their staff. She’s a dynamic speaker who practices what she preaches – WOW Customer Experiences!”
Lisa McNeece, 2016 Executive Board, Nebraska Child Support Enforcement Association
“Carmen Schwab delivered a very motivating talk to our association members who had a wide range of interests and backgrounds. Her speech was a great mix of humor and insight that was relevant to all attendees. She was extremely personable and relaxed. Within minutes we felt she was just like “one of us!” The feedback was overwhelmingly positive! As a matter of fact, I didn’t find a single negative or even neutral comment. I would highly recommend Ms. Schwab as an event speaker!”
Perry Mader, President, Nebraska Recreation & Parks Association
“We have been so impressed with Carmen’s speaking engagements at Bauer and Howard Dental Care. Every presentation she has delivered to our team has not only been educational but also fun and entertaining. She has taken the time to learn about our staff and personalize her message to meet our needs. She focuses on team building as well on team-to-patient relationships and how to enhance both experiences. She examines the challenges our team members face both internally and externally and shows how they can learn from those challenges. We would highly recommend Carmen for your next team building speaking engagement.”
Dr. Chuck Bauer and Dr. Jeff Howard, Bauer and Howard Dental Care
“I attended a presentation by Carmen on a whim at the Nebraska Tourism Conference. I was so impressed by Carmen’s presentation that I had to come back and attend her second session later that afternoon. Carmen walked us through a variety of fun exercises and examples that I couldn’t wait to take back to my staff. I believe customer service is the most important part of any successful business. It was very refreshing to meet someone who is so passionate about this critical skill.”
Dylan McCaugherty, Interactive Digital Media Manager, NE Game and Parks Commission
“Carmen facilitated our team training meeting. As expected, she did a great job of involving our entire staff in discussion points and helping us understand the value of effectively communicating with each other and with our customers. I received a very positive response from everyone who attended, and they are hopeful she will join us again next year. Thanks for making our day a WOW experience!”
Dan Poppe, President/CEO Archer Cooperative Credit Union
“From the moment I walked into the room and Carmen came over to our table to introduce herself, I knew I was going to love the seminar. She and I had a connection and it was like we’d been colleagues for 20 years. The enthusiasm and vibrancy she brings to the room are amazing! It is obvious she has a passion for what she does and she enjoys sharing it with others so that they may glean from her experience and knowledge. I look forward to sharing ideas about a red carpet experience with my staff and other managers within our healthcare organization. Thank you, Carmen, for an absolutely awesome experience! Your Water Cooler Talk ROCKS!!”
Dee Hill, Clinic Manager, Regional West Physicians Clinic Women’s Center
“Carmen’s seminar on customer service is not only informative but fun! It is a well-balanced program that goes beyond the basics of great customer service. She includes in her presentation the right combination of information including PowerPoint slides, video clips, and hands-on participation. She uses team building activities all employees could relate to and understand. She customized her program to specific areas of customer service that we could relate to as employees of Hastings College which was GREAT! Her high-energy and attitude are contagious – our employees loved it!”
Margo Busboom, Director of Human Resources, Hastings College
“Carmen definitely practiced her philosophy of providing a WOW customer service experience by providing the office professionals of Lincoln Public Schools a WOW presentation at our annual professional development workshop in March. It is clear to see that she has a passion for passing on what’s important when seeking to provide excellent customer service. She was able to share her message in a fun and engaging way while creating excitement in her audience as she motivated us to invest in the WOW. She not only focused on providing information to our patrons on excellent customer service but also presented the importance of investing in our team in the workplace. She was able to provide practical ideas to bring to the workplace to create an atmosphere of productivity and respect. Her presentation went way beyond the norm for good customer service and left her audience with a desire to invest in the WOW. I would highly recommend Carmen as a motivational speaker on excellent customer service.”
Cheryl Wood, Executive Secretary/Office Manager, Lincoln Public Schools
“Carmen Schwab’s Water Cooler Talk is one of the best hospitality/customer service workshops out there. The Water Cooler Talk is informative, fun, direct, well researched and most importantly relatable to our industry. I’m surprised at how many tools I was able to take away from Carmen and actually apply to my organization. This workshop has truly helped me become not only a better communicator and listener, but it’s helped me become more invested in my company than before.”
Kelsey Brozek, Events and Entertainment Assistant, Nebraska State Fair
“Carmen presented ‘Creating Strong Connections; One the Customer Feels!’ to our staff for our annual Customer Service Meeting. She had a well-blended format for our staff, using a combination of a fun interactive game, table trivia, and lecture. She kept our entire team engaged and learning with her fun and energetic personality. I have had the fortune of seeing many speakers in my profession and Carmen is one of the tops. If you are looking for a fantastic speaker for your organization, I highly recommend Carmen Schwab!”
Amanda Schropfer, Firm Relations, Kopsa Otte