If You Make These 3 Stupid Mistakes Your Business Will Hate You Tomorrow

…how the bagel store forgot their bread and butter

When you take unacceptable risk, you have to be prepared to face the consequence. – Carly Fiorina, past CEO of Hewlett Packard, presidential candidate 2016.

Your Business Will Hate You Tomorrow

Being ready isn’t enough; you have to be prepared for a promotion or any other significant change – Pat Riley, Hall of Fame basketball coach, named one of the 10 Greatest Coaches in the NBA history.

Hope is an expensive commodity. It makes better sense to be prepared. – Thucydides, 5th century Greek historian.

Why do I start this article off with these quotes? To show the importance of preparation and how it doesn’t matter what industry or place in time you are in;

Preparation is a required constant. Click To Tweet

I stopped by my local bagel store last weekend and wasn’t expecting to see there was already a line of patrons inside. They looked as hungry as I was. But something wasn’t right. The line didn’t move, there was a constant murmur from the people and the workers seemed stressed.

What’s going on?

(more…)

Your Customers Don’t Deserve To Be Treated This Way

…is THIS the best you can do?

It was the attitude I disliked the most.  Why do they feel this way?  Where did they get their lack of thoughtfulness?  Why don’t they care about the customer?  These kids have no work ethic anymore, I just don’t understand…

Customers Don't Deserve To Be Treated This Way

Those in a position to hire face it every day.  Potential employees who in years past wouldn’t receive the time of day from a hiring manager now line up and “expect” a coveted customer-facing position at your company. Do they deserve it?  What have they done to make you believe your customer would be better off with him or her assisting in the sale?  Should you give him a chance?

We will see later how important this decision will become. (more…)

11 Industry Experts Discuss “What’s More Important: Customer First or Profit First?”

Businesses across the land champion their great service and the positive experience given to their throngs of loyal customers. They tout the benefits of their product and how they tend to the specific needs, wants and desires of their customers.

Customer First or Profit First

But as time passes many forget their original stated intent and lean more toward reducing payroll, lowering operational/product costs and finally to increasing profit as their primary goal.

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing many leaders in the business world and customer service industry.  Whether a best-selling author, keynote speaker, top sales trainer or customer service guru they were gracious enough to share their view on this one (1) question:

As an organization gets larger there is a tendency for the mindset to change from “the customer comes first” to “higher profits and lower payroll first”.  What are the causes of this change and how do you keep this from happening?

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Surprises Await When You Pretend To Be Your Own Customer

...how else will you REALLY know what's going on?

Stop complaining about your customers. “They’re too demanding; always have something negative to say and they look for discounts”.  Well, have you ever tried to be your own customer?

pretend to be your own customer

According to an American Express 2011 Survey, 3 in 5 Americans (59%) would try a new brand or company for a better service experience.  In other words:

Customer loyalty goes out the window when the service and experience is poor. Click To Tweet

What does your business do to measure the customer experience and satisfaction?

Sure, there are many companies that can assist you with their “time tested” product and strategies that measure customer engagement.  They will recommend countless ways to overcome any negative impact.  But there is a quicker, cheaper and in my opinion much better way to measure the customer experience.

Pretend to be your own customer every once and awhile.

Stop looking at your flow charts or profit & loss statements.  They don’t tell you what or where the issues are, only the revenue lost because of your mistakes.

Get out of your office and (more…)

Outsmart Your Competition With These 3 Essential Skills

Big Frankie comes into your restaurant.  You know the type, big guy, hands like a baseball mitt, a loud voice and brags about almost everything.  Big Frankie is always the star of the show wherever he goes and wants you to know it.

outsmart-your-competition-with-these-3-essential-skills

Tonight he comes in with a few of his buddies.  It’s show time…

You greet Frankie and his friends at the door and, since he’s a regular, he calls you by your name.  So far so good, hey Big Frankie’s a cool guy.  Frankie is trying to impress the boys so he wants to order for them all.  When one of his buddies didn’t like what Frankie ordered he asks you “hey Steve, what do you recommend?”

First sign of trouble, but you’ve got this. You know just what to recommend to one of your new buddies.  You make what seems to be a great suggestion,

I’m not that crazy with that dish either.  I highly recommend the 28oz porterhouse steak. 

It melts in your mouth and is my favorite thing that we make; you can’t go wrong with a Porterhouse”.  You even recommend your favorite bottle of red wine to go with it.

You just made Big Frankie’s friend very happy.  He says, “That sounds great Steve; I’ll take the steak and bring us a couple bottles of that wine you mentioned, thanks man”.   Score, you walk away thinking you did a great job and all is well.  You can count your big tip already…but Big Frankie is not happy. (more…)

Should You Really Wait For The Perfect Employee?

…or does it even matter?

After your star performer quit and left you high and dry you insisted on keeping that manager position open for three weeks.  Face it; your pride got the best of you. “How dare he walk out like that? Besides, we didn’t need him anyway”. Boy, how wrong you were.

the perfect employee

No emails went out about why he left and there was no mention to the middle managers of what happened.  The employees are all asking questions.  But you didn’t care; you just wanted to erase him from the scene…

Now, after your self-imposed and ego-inspired funk subsided, it’s back to reality. You need to fill that spot.

“He got paid too much anyway, now’s the time to save a few thousand bucks. Let’s call that headhunter we used to use, and tell him to get me some people to interview by week’s end.  I don’t need the “perfect employee”; just get me some bodies here quick!”

Wait a minute.  Your star performed just quit and you don’t think you should look for a “perfect employee” to fill his spot?  That’s your ego talking again.

Who cares why he quit, that’s a conversation for another day. You must (more…)

How to Manage Like a Great Movie Director

...and not like a kindergarten teacher

Read this script and memorize each line.  You must get into the character and feel his pain, study his emotions. What makes him tick?  Let’s do it again.  Those were the words of the movie director.  It was a far cry from the kindergarten teacher…

How to Manage Like a Great Movie Director

“Now children, we are going to have free time.  Each of you will be able to do whatever you want until class is over” said the teacher.

Business is like that too.

Some rule with a heavy hand where expectations and quality are high.  Adaptability is rampant to suit the client’s wishes/needs.  You do “take after take” and don’t stop until it’s perfect.

Profits soar at these companies.

Others, like the kindergarten class, are much less formal.  Business flows as needed and management is less structured.  And the bosses want to be a “friend” to their subordinates.

I doubt their profits soar…

Any great business must run like a movie set where each employee is an actor with a specific role to play.  They must follow a script – not “scripted” words but scripted actions designed to produce the best product or service.

You must (more…)

Your Hotel SHOULD Sweat the Little Things

...have you forgotten the attention to detail?

A recent overnight hotel stay proved to me that just because one aspect of a business runs well doesn’t mean that all the others do too.

sweat the little things

Hotel franchisees must follow strict adherence to marketing, branding, RevPar, etc. all with the intent of satisfying the “flag standards” and providing the guests with a focused message of quality and service.

Front desk agents wear company approved uniforms, the lobby is adorned in the designer’s choices of colors and the amenities are designed to attract the intended market segment.

All must be part of a cohesive message. 

But why isn’t this followed in the food and beverage part of the operation?

Today’s limited service or “express-style” properties intend to provide clean, reasonably-priced rooms.  They also provide a free hot breakfast buffet, free WiFi with complimentary daily newspapers and an expanded gym; all with the short-term traveler in mind looking for the next level up in quality.…and they do a great job.

But I have noticed a disturbing trend in one department: the lack of attention to detail with the “free breakfast”.

As mentioned, my recent stay showed that the oversight of the breakfast, in this case it wasn’t free and there was also a buffet dinner offered, lacked the same attention to detail as followed in all other departments.

This failing is not property specific.  I have noticed the same lack of attention to detail at other similar level properties, even those that excel in other areas.

The breakfast offered a reasonable selection of items, especially at the price point given.  This was well done.  But they also failed on many fronts: (more…)

Encouragement = the “Miracle Grow” of Employee Morale

Complaint after complaint is heard about today’s workforce; they are lazy, spend too much time on social media while on-the-job and they have no work ethic.  Employee morale is at an all-time low.

employee morale

True or not, it is a fact of business.  Today’s employees; regardless of their social status, geographic makeup or millennial segmentation, face a vastly different work environment that those of 30-40 years ago.

Industry has mostly done away with pensions, profit sharing, matching 401K’s and many of the business perks we have long been accustomed to like employee outings (team building sessions) and Christmas Parties (I’m sorry, they must now be classified as “Holiday Parties”).

But we still expect our employees to be engaged and to work hard, and they should.  Today’s workers are getting paid more than ever…

As reported by statista.com, “Wages and salaries in the United States have increased over the last three decades. Between 1979 and 2010, the median weekly income of full time wage and salary workers grew from 241 to 747 U.S. dollars.”

So why all the long-faces at work, why are our employees so disengaged and less productive?

As statista.com continues, “These numbers are not adjusted for inflation however, as doing so yields a different result. The median weekly income in 2010 constant dollars only increased from 675 to 747 U.S. dollars in the same period.”

Ok, so with the adjusted numbers there is only a slightly higher increase in wages than mentioned before.  Is that the reason for poor employee morale?

“According to the “State of the American Workplace”, a 2013 Gallup study, seven out of 10 workers in the US say they aren’t fully engaged at work, meaning they aren’t working to their fullest potential. The resulting loss of productivity can cost companies between $450-$500 billion a year.  Plus, according to research by the Dale Carnegie Institute, 80 percent of employees who aren’t happy with their supervisors claim that they’re disengaged and ultimately, less productive”, states http://good.co.

How are we expected to compete in today’s business climate and against the (more…)

Here’s How to Stop Getting Calls At Home On Your Day Off

I work way too hard, for way too many hours a day, and have given up enough holidays and special events all for the sake of my job.  I’ll be dammed if I have to take a phone call from work on my day off!  Phew, I got that off my chest.

Stop Getting Calls At Home

Now, let’s look at this in another light…

Why am I getting a call from work on my day off in the first place?

  • Is there something I forgot to do? An important deadline missed or follow-up response to my boss that I forgot?
  • Is there some emergency that they are calling me about? Is the building on fire?
  • Is there an issue with one of our top customers that only I have the solution for?

This list can go on and on forever. But the thing that usually causes the most occurrences of “work-to-home” calls is lack of preparedness.

Have you put in place the appropriate policies and procedures so that others can “make-the-call” in your absence? Have you trained your staff and direct reports well enough so that they can properly adapt to any situation? Have you put them in a position to be successful?

If not, you better get used to these kinds of calls…

Too many supervisors want to be noticed or to be singled-out as the person that has all the answers and can fix all the issues.  But what happens on your day off? Does your operation come to a screeching halt? Of course not, the business must still go on.

But does it operate in the same manner, with the same level of consistency and professionalism when you are not there? I hope so.

Here's 3 things you need to stop getting work calls at home: Click To Tweet (more…)