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Customer service tips help hundreds

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Nov. 15, 2002
Dr. Michael Thompson admits he teaches people things they already know yet his customer service seminars Thursday in Meridian shattered his Mississippi attendance record.
About 350 people attended the two-hour afternoon seminar in Kahlmus Auditorium at Mississippi State University-Meridian Campus. Another 250 were expected for the night session.
Thompson, professor of marketing at Delta State University and a certified customer service trainer, has conducted seminars for more than 1,000 people at one time.
Thompson estimated he has spoken to about 25,000 people in the past 10 years. And, he said, his largest crowd in Mississippi before Thursday numbered 167 people.
The Meridian seminars attracted health care providers, restaurant workers, bankers and students. Attendees also included people in government positions.
Besides Meridian, participants also came from Newton, Laurel, Hattiesburg, Quitman, Waynesboro, Philadelphia and other surrounding areas.
Whitney G. Campbell, vice president and lender for BankPlus, attended the first seminar. She said she appreciated Thompson's emphasis on customer service between employees.
An underlying theme of Thompson's presentation was that customer service is a philosophy, not a department.
Johnny Johnson, director of the JumpStart Entrepreneur Development program at Meridian Community College, said he will focus more on key points Thompson made.
The JumpStart program teaches people how to start their own small business.
During the seminars, Thompson engaged participants in role-play that focused on understanding communication. They also focused on what angers customers and why trust is important.
Sandy Bynum, executive director of the Lauderdale County Tourism Bureau and one of the organizers of the seminars, said plans are in the works to bring Thompson back to Meridian in about six months for more sessions that expand on his message.

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