As a child from the time I could write, whenever I received a nice gift, Mom would say, “Write a thank you note.”  That simple request was really more than simply writing a note.  It was my parents’ philosophy about doing what was right.


I’d been practicing magic – card tricks, rope tricks, etc. – since I was ten years old.  At around the age of twelve a brave mother asked me to perform a magic show at her son’s birthday party.  I remember getting paid $16 for a 45 minute show.  I worked hard on my routines and made sure at the very end I “magically” produced enough candy for the kids so if the show was bad, they would still love me.


And, at dinner that night Mom said, “Don’t forget to write a thank you note.”


In a very short time I developed some very good business habits.  Now remember that I was only twelve.  Here is what I learned to do:


  1. A week before the booking (birthday party magic show), call the mom or dad to confirm I’ll be there and get any last minute details.
  2. Show up early.  This is even better than being on time.
  3. Do a great job – the best I can do.
  4. Leave a little late.  Give them more than expected.
  5. Send a thank you note the next day.
  6. Call in a week to make sure everyone loved the show. (This conversation could also lead to booking another party.)


Take a look at those six steps.  My business today operates this same way; show up early, stay late, do your best, always say thank you, etc.  I didn’t go to school to learn how to do this.  I didn’t go to formal “customer service training” to learn how to do this.  My parents taught me.  And, I bet some of the great customer service habits you (and the people you work with) might be rooted in childhood lessons from our parents.



Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations.  As a professional speaker and author, Shep helps companies develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees.  For more information on Shep’s speaking programs and books, please contact (314) 692-2200. Email:  Web: For information on customer service training, go to


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