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Can we be frank? Customer Service is tough. That one’s easy, but who would also say that it’s extremely rewarding?

Today, I’d like to play matchmaker between Intelicare Direct and Zingerman’s. Though they don’t really need my help, both businesses epitomize what it means to offer excellent customer service:

  1. Make your employees feel valued beyond measure
  2. Own your failures, share your successes
  3. Be firm on your culture: what it is and what it is not

Both Intelicare Direct and Zingerman’s operate differently than many of their competitors. Very differently. But it takes far more than following a call script or making the perfect Reuben Sandwich to get their employees out of bed in the morning. If you want to inspire the members of your organization, you must look beyond the subject of your work and aim much higher.

Soft Skills are constantly under attack, but empathy, kindness, and generosity will never lose their value. Because this is so important, I repeat:

Empathy, Kindness, and Generosity Will Never Lose Their Value

In the end, we are all looking for the right context in which we can become the absolute best versions of ourselves, no matter what. No person or organization can create this context for us, though we’re in the right place if we can help shape the culture and make it even better. And when we do, a funny thing happens: we become better people, and this joy spreads out to everyone we touch.

Which changes others’ expectations of our business for the better.

Which makes our business run even better.

As a manager or a business owner, what are you doing to create the right context for your team?

Epic Macaroni and Cheese

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

For some reason, when I think ‘context’ Macaroni and Cheese comes to mind. So let’s lay the ground rules to make this truly Epic:

  1. No Orange Powder Posing as Cheese
  2. Know the Origin of Every Ingredient
  3. Enjoy With Friends and Family

Inspired by The Barefoot Contessa



  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 1 tablespoon. Add Macaroni and cook until barely al dente, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but do not allow to boil.
  4. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour.
  5. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk.
  6. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth.
  7. Remove white sauce from heat, and add the Asiago, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  8. Add the cooked Macaroni and stir well. Pour into a buttered 3-quart baking dish.
  9. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top.
  10. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the Macaroni is browned on top.
  11. Serve warm with good conversation and laughter.

customer service, empathy, generosity, macaroni and cheese

For All Those in Customer Service – Gather ‘Round and Enjoy


This post was inspired by the recent Inc. article about Intelicare Direct’s President, Gabriel Bristol, and Zingerman’s Guide to Giving Great Service by Ari Weinzweig.

Please note that some of the links in this post may take you to affiliate sites. To read my full Affiliate Disclosure please click here.