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Above the Line Archives - Steve Satterwhite

Lather, Rinse, Repeat: The Secret to Great Customer Service

Posted by | Above the Line, Customer Service, Entrepreneur, Higher Quality, Leadership, Management | No Comments

Service is often the art of making good on someone else’s mistake.

Cavett Robert

Years ago, our small but fast-growing IT services company got a bite at a big, fat contract with Dell. Our job was to design, deploy, and manage Enterprise IT storage systems for their customers.

During the kickoff to that contract, our customer, Jeff, told us we had to do three things:

First, we could never ever make a mistake, or we’d be gone. Second, we had to be THE low cost provider. And, third, we had to deliver near-perfect customer service. Think Net Promoter or a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale.

Not one of those things. All three of those things. When OR became AND.

After Jeff outlined the high-level expectations, I started to ask him a lot of detailed questions about how things worked, about the processes and procedures, statements of work (SOW) and the methodology Dell used to design, install and configure backup and recovery solutions. In other words, how were they doing it now?

Jeff just laughed. Read More

When OR Became AND: A Simple Formula For Growing Your Business

Posted by | Above the Line, Customer Service, Entrepreneur, Growing Your Business, Higher Quality, Leadership, Management, Video | No Comments

“No Be-Backs. Ever.”

–Jeff, From Dell

Years ago, I was on a routine sales call with a guy named Jeff from Dell. Jeff was looking for IT service partners to help Dell perform the services their customers needed when they bought Dell server and storage products.

During the sales call, I asked a simple question: “So, Jeff, what keeps you up at night?”

Without a moment of hesitation, he said, “Be-Backs.

What? Read More

How To Fail in Business Without Even Trying

Posted by | Above the Line, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Management, Overcoming Adversity, Video | No Comments

“The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

It my last video & blog, How to Daydream Your Way to Success, I told the story about how I took daily refuge in this Starbucks across the street from my office after we lost 60% of our business in 90 days.

I sat there every morning, with my pen, notebook, and imagination. Sipping my cappuccino. Pretending I was thriving. But, in reality, I was merely surviving!

Not too long after, as I was packing up my office (we were moving to a new location), I found a book under the pile of papers on the top corner of my desk.

It was The Discipline of Market Leaders by Michael Treacy, Fred Wiersema. A friend gave me that book. It had been sitting on my desk untouched for some time.

As I picked it up, the subtitle caught my eye:

Choose Your Customers, Narrow Your Focus, Dominate Your Market

I laughed out loud! Read More

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Leading from Above the Line

Posted by | Above the Line, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Management, Media | No Comments

We have a crisis in business. Right now. But it’s not the crisis we all think it is and what we’re all talking about. What we’re talking about the crisis Employee Engagement. The fact that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged according to Gallup.

That’s what we’re all talking about.

But that’s not the REAL crisis. The real crisis is the fact that we have a Leadership Engagement problem.

Read More

David and Goliath

Posted by | Above the Line | No Comments

Right now, I’m reading the new book by Malcolm Gladwell, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.

Any book with the word “Misfit” in it already has my attention. A lot of you know that I’ve felt like a corporate misfit just about all my professional life. Maybe, in some ways, I still do.

From the overwhelming response I’ve received from my article in Huffington Post (, it sounds like there are quite a few folks who also feel like corporate misfits.

But I’m jacked up about the comments I’ve received. A lot of folks are grooving with the message in the Manifesto.

But it also seems like a lot of folks are lost. They’re fed up with “the corporate system”. And they don’t know what they can do to buck this system.

Read More

I Love Shout Outs

Posted by | Above the Line, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Management | 4 Comments

Let me share two quick stories.

I first learned about Shout Outs from my friend Leslie Baum at EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organization). She and I were working together on a big project in Texas. It was EO’s semi-annual conference. I was the Co-Chair of the event. And it was right here in my backyard in Houston.

During the event, we would start each day with an EO Event Staff team huddle. We’d talk about what we were going to do that day. What we needed to address from the day before. And really take time to get a game plan together for how we were going to knock the socks off our 750+ CEO guests from around the world that day.

But what struck me about these meetings was not so much about the event itself and the logistical things we needed to do each day—like how many chicken dinners we were serving and at what time.

No, what struck me was really about how that amazing group of EO Event Staff came together, that week, and created a solid, cohesive team that supported and lifted each other up. Read More

Why I Wrote Above the Line…

Posted by | Above the Line | 3 Comments

(And why I’m scared $h!tless you’re actually going to read it – or worse, my kids will)

A year or so ago, I sat down to write a book about our company, Entelligence IT. About our passion for our people. About our company culture. And mostly, about our fanatical pursuit of outstanding customer service.

It was originally intended to be a marketing exercise to help our customers and our employees and applicants understand more about our business – about who we are and what we do and why we do it.

But, as fate would have it, the book I started to write didn’t quite turn out exactly as I first envisioned it.  Read More