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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Business Lessons of Weinergate

The Business Lessons of Weinergate
1.If you are not humble, you will tumble. Often our ego is the biggest enemy in our personal and professional decisions.
2.There is a big FAT OH-OH in the middle of Google. Everything you do in and on the Web and Social Media is non- erasable and can and will come back to haunt both you and your business.
3.Be kind and nice to everyone in every situation; you will need friends, fans, and family if you screw up big time.
4.Be competitive in everything you do; but being “in your face” never sheds a good light on you or your brand.
5.This is a visual world first, a written one second. Go to TMZ if you do not believe me. Put only G and PG videos on your site, Facebook page, Twitter account, and blog. Pictures do tell stories.
6.Take care of your best friend. We all have one. No surprises.
7.You are what you say, both good and bad.
8.You are what you do, both good and bad.
9.Reaping and sowing go hand-in-hand.
10.In an apology, never forget honesty. If you fib, it can get very complicated.
11.If you must lie to get out of a situation, walk away first. Keep your mouth shut second.
12.Henry Ford II once said, “never explain; never complain.” Believe his advice.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Living Large in Small Business

Double dip recession, consumer dissatisfaction, high gas prices, jittery Wall Street, job creation, lack of growth, real estate concerns, the federal debt ceiling; what is a small business to do with the challenges of 2011 all over the news and the web?

The answer that separates the wheat from the chaff is what is has always been, take care of your employees and have the best customer service in your industry. The best restaurants have the best service. The best retail stores have the most friendly and helpful staff. You can get a great burger in a number of restaurants in town, but how they serve it is incredibly important. A friendly smile is often better than fries.

It is that simple. Great service separates businesses in only two categories. Those businesses that get it and those businesses that do not.

Do an employee/ customer audit this week by simply watching people. Are your employees listening? Are they empowered? How is their attitude? How do they convert problems of any and every size into major opportunities? Now, how do your customers react? Are they enjoying the experience? How do your customers respond when your manager, or you the owner, visit with them for a minute and thank them for being there? How many of your customers know you by your first name?

Small business achieves large rewards when they put both the customer and the front-line first!

VTR Consulting LLC is on a mission. We want to make every business the largest it can be by focusing on the little things. In this thrifty economy, you want to say, “Be my guest!” and mean it.

Our customer service sessions start as low as $129.00; the classes, ranging from Listening to your Customer to our full menu of service ingredients with short sessions on Positive Attitude, Empowerment and Problem Solving, are upbeat and interactive. If you do not like the training, we will not take your money. That is the VTR Guarantee! Remember, we are after all, at your service!

Call us today at 919 533 9069. Mention you are small business and we will do your first one hour session for just $99!

Happy Service is Happy Selling!
Jim Vogel

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Customer Service Jekyll and Hyde

All of us are familiar with The Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde, the riveting, classic novella about split personality. It was wonderfully and vividly written by Robert Louis Stevenson in the 1880’s. It was THE read back then and by many estimations, his most famous work.

But this is a “blog-ella” about the Jekyll and Hyde of customer service. Last Thursday night, we went to a local restaurant where the employees must have been trained and nurtured by Hyde University. Crabby and ignoring, every employee shared the same common temperament, indifference with a touch of rudeness. They did not seem to want to be there, especially on a day filled with terribly heavy rains. There were not many patrons in the establishment because of the storms but we probably felt like most of their customers that day, we were more than willing to go outside without an umbrella for relief. It was our first visit and our last visit.

On Sunday, we went to another local restaurant; this one was also for the first time. This time the staff had to have been personally trained by Dr. Jekyll himself. Upbeat and engaging, not only did every employee exceed expectations, they all actually enjoyed their work. When they ran out of a beverage a customer had requested, they substituted another that was more expensive. We even received a free appetizer just to try it, and we truly enjoyed the experience from beginning to end. We certainly will be back. We are now raving verbal billboards of what the culture of this establishment is all about. It is a fairly new restaurant and is quickly building the reputation for excellence. It just took one visit to hook us forever.

How can one restaurant be so different from another? The answer is very simple. It is all about people. If you find upbeat, friendly people who love to put in a day’s work, you will attract the best customers as well. These customers are the ones who, in a thrifty economy, will be back time and again. People pay for a good time and they pay for outstanding service and entertainment. Major League Baseball tickets are not cheap, but raving fans go and spend money regardless of the economic times. Las Vegas is still an experience that is worth every dime; even if you lose a couple of heavies at the table.

Recruiting, interviewing, on-boarding, and training new employees are expensive payables. A bad employee, there for the money only, is a high cost to pay over and above the monies spent to hire.

Businesses who do not vet their perspective employees, or just hire numbers and take the losses as just part of business expense, are making a mistake that affects the future of the companies they run.

We have so many people out of work. We have much more than the public unemployment percentages. We do not include the under-employed and the people who just give up and stop looking for employment. These are good people. What a pool of talent to have in these times. Find the good ones and hire them.

The successful Jekyll business has no trouble finding good people. Word gets around. People stay and grow. When there is a single opening, it is filled quickly. When Jekyll employees need to attend to a personal issue, they can. And these employees never feel guilty, when they are working, the customers have fun; customers enjoy. Everyone shares in the avenue of success.

Jekyll Service is special. Here are some ingredients: active listening, reactivity, great attitude, problem-solving skills, positive focus, expertise and excellent solution finders.

The Hyde businesses operate with unhappy indentured workers who feel trapped, yet the fear of escape to the unknown is greater than the misery of the day-to-day grind. In a strong economy, the workers leave for better opportunity, but the times are still tough. Often too tough to leave.

Will Hyde companies eventually ”jekyll” themselves into the environment of empowerment and contribution? Some might, maybe, but not all transition to, or move to customer service excellence.

Customer Service is doing the right thing at the right time. Not everyone wants to do it.