Recently in Customer Relations Category
This Saturday, we visited a Chili's in CT and had a great time stuffing our faces with various healthy and unhealthy food choices. As usual, any time I visit a restaurant, I get back into hospitality management mode and start thinking about things that the restaurant business could do better.
When I looked into the bar, I noticed that not one of the televisions was showing an actual live sports game. There were three bartenders doing very little other than walking around and any one of them could have addressed this important detail. We asked our server to get the TV changed to the Yankee game and you would have thought that we asked the bar to give us an IV of beer by the way they looked at her.
10 minutes later, we had Yankees on our TV; however, none of the other TVs had any kind of live sports.
Not to pick on Chili's specifically, but literally every time I visit a sports bar or a bar with TV's I am amazed that 9 times out of 10 the TV's aren't on anything that could engage an audience at the bar; as well, often the bartenders or other workers don't even know how to change the TV station.
If you want to ensure your customers keep coming back at a sports bar, be sure to always have something on BEFORE people come in.
I've found great pleasure and abundance from sharing my connections with others just starting out in business, seeking career change, or looking to expand their social and business network.
I encourage you to give your friends and trusted associates a "LinkedIn High Five" - give people the ability to ask you for introductions to 5 of your contacts and for reasons they'd like to be introduced.
This will do a few things:
1. It will demonstrate to others the strengths of your connections and network.
2. It will establish credibility with others who see value in who you know.
3. It will create opportunities for you to re-engage with your connections that may have gone dormant.
Give a LinkedIn High Five today! If you'd like a LinkedIn High Five from me, connect with me at http://www.linkedin.com/in/robertbraathe
Often the area in the Capital Region is called SmAlbany because of how everyone know's each other; in some cases, its called SmAlbany because of how some businesses act like it is smaller than it truly is.
When you live in a small community, it is important to get to know as many people as possible in the community and find ways to collaborate. The best way to do this is to "bebig".
bebig - V. to speak highly of your coworkers, competitors and colleagues and share ideas with them
Bebigging is a practice that can also be called practicing "co-opeitition". Even though you may be in the same business as a competitor, sharing best practices with one another leads to more abundance, and there is often plenty to go around for everyone. Very often, even though maybe 80-90 % of what you do is similar, the 10 % that each of you do differently can be combined into a stellar package for potential clients.
In my own business, I collaborate with 50 other independent consultants and several public speakers as part of The Consulting Alliance. As an entrepreneurship professor, I meet with other entrepreneur teachers, trainers and professors through LinkedIn groups, entrepreneur breakfasts at RPI and through face to face coffee chats. With fellow marketers and HR professionals, I invite guest blog entries, talk best practices, and share resources.
When you practice bebigging, you find far greater opportunities than you would on your own. In the world of HR and Careers, bebigging a past employer, colleague or competitor will show the world that you are confident in your own skin and able to recognize talent.
Who will you bebig today?
You may face setbacks in your career where you feel you have been wronged; maybe it was an employer who mistreated you, a client who said things about you, or an opportunity gone wrong. The last thing you want to do when feeling hurt is to seek out public revenge in a blog, Facebook post, or tweet. As Dr. Wayne Dyer said in one of his presentations, "If you seek revenge, be sure to dig two graves." Even if you are hurt, striking out in a public way can only hurt yourself, maybe more so than the people who allegedly wronged you.
Have I been wronged in my life? You bet! It would be the easiest thing to strike out and name who I believe wronged me, treated me poorly, or who is to blame for whatever may have taken place. In the end, who does it help? Certainly, not those who have treated me right. Very often, when revenge is exacted on others, the innocent victims are often those who know and love us and are questioned on the situations we bring up that are better left unsaid or dealt with in a non-public way.
The next time you are tempted to lash out at a co-worker, boss, or former employer in a public setting, think about my words; they may save you from committing career suicide.
In the spirit of community and giving back, companies will participate in charity events and fundraising to show that they care and to feel good about the efforts they undertake. However, a common theme I hear back from many people I encounter that the charity efforts seem to take on more of a chore-like feeling when the following occur:
1. Little input from members of the group on which charity to support
2. Incorporating charity into every meeting and event regardless of relevance
3. Too many people asking for too many different funds and causes at meetings
4. Year-round charity efforts instead of "pledge-drives"
5. Donating to charities who use the money on heavy administrative costs
The next time you or your company decide to participate in a charity event, be sure to get buy in from your staff and supporters and ensure that you are doing charity for the right reasons, not for publicity or for the hell of it.
Underwear sales may be skyrocketing soon due to people realizing that they've had a wedgie that needs to be removed. More and more, I've noticed how much people have a giant wedgie when it comes to communications. Examples of giant wedgies:
1. I won't text people, that's not for business
2. I won't put my resume online
3. I won't leave a message when I call someone because they should just answer the phone immediately
4. I won't sit down and have coffee with someone unless there is definite business involved
If you have said any one of these things before, you probably should check how far your underwear are up your rear; you may need to go shopping.
Don't build absolutes in your communications with your staff. Find ways to communicate with them that meet the needs of both parties, not just your own personal preference.
Come to our presentation at 8am this Tuesday at the SmAlbany event. Here is the full lineup of workshops and presentations in our room (there are two other rooms also with presentations)
Boardroom (2nd Floor South Rotunda)
8am Customer Retention-Best Practices, by Betsy Kluska & Robert Braathe, A Plus Text Marketing
9am Cross-channel Online Display Marketing for SMBs by David Weinstein & Michael J. Massey, AdNeedle.com
10am You are Your Brand! Life Coaches: Lisa Jordon, Tom Denham
11am Innovative Hiring Tips: Attracting, Interviewing and Selecting Quality Employees (Panel Q & A at end of session) KCO Resource Management
12pm YouTube, Go Viral - Go Local! Video marketing for smAlbany Businesses, Tom Kearns, Hot Advertising
1pm Search Marketing For Business: SEO Basics and Strategy. Presented by Darcy Knapp, SEO Web Mechanics
2pm Facebook Firing: Setting up a Social Media Policy For Business. Presented by HR Attorney Melissa Fleischer
3pm Taking Control of Your Tech (the true cost of IT), Larry Zimbler, Liberteks.com
4pm 401(k) & Business Regulations presented by Timothy Smith, MetLife Pension Resource Center
I had the unfortunate experience of seeing a Groupon go wrong at a local business. I went to purchase something with a Groupon that was good through tomorrow, and the person at the counter told me that they were no longer accepting Groupons, and that I should contact them for a refund.
Luckily for the person behind the counter, I am pretty mild-mannered in these type of situations and I made a purchase anyway. However, I could tell by the look on her face that she was expecting nothing short of a temper tantrum.
When you do a promotion for your business, be sure to make sure your business can handle the additional traffic, as well as the stress it may place it may put on your employees. From the Groupon website, there was nothing to indicate this promotion was no longer valid, nor was there any type of indication that it was going to be easy to get a refund. I've contacted customer service to see what happens from here.
I haven't had an experience like this with Groupon before, but I have heard stories like this where businesses haven't really realized the impact a promotion can have on their business, whether it is a Groupon or other special offer. Too often, the businesses look at promotions as a quick way to bring in new traffic without thinking of the effects on the people that work there. Be sure if you consider any type of promotional offer that you look at the human factor as the well.
I always get overwhelmed with excitement when the Yankees play on the road and have a huge following of fans where they go. This past week, it was very apparent at both Nationals Park and Turner Field that fans from New York had traveled in bunches to see the Yankees play on the road in interleague play.
How do you embrace others' fans at your business? Much like you would embrace a convention group at your hotel, like your competitors' customers as your business, or a stranger who comes off the street. Wow them with your service, create an environment where they feel welcome, and offer amenities that they would find elsewhere.
Personally, as a Yankee fan who has traveled to many rival ballparks, I always feel welcome, whether it is on the street, at a restaurant, or at the park itself. In fact, I think in Boston some fans probably thought I was insane when I walked down Yawkey Way alone with a Yankee jacket on at 8 o'clock at night, because no one bothered me. Now that is what I call respect!
No matter who decides to frequent your business, wow everyone!
As I reflect back on the past 7 years of having my own business, I discovered that with all the highs and lows I have experienced, there are some tremendous perks to working for yourself that no full-time position has been able to replicate.
1. Flexibility in work schedule - while I probably think about work 24/7, I have the ability to work how I want and when I want. I find that I can get more done in an hour working for myself than I could do in a day working in a traditional office
2. The thrill of the moment - every day it is all about sales and relationships. There isn't a day that goes by where these two aren't thought of and usually in the same breath. It is a thrill to wake up every morning to plan out where the next project may be or the next relationship that needs to be nurtured.
3. Working with other like-minded professionals - Many people think working for yourself means working alone; not true! More so than working for an organization, I have found that I have worked more closely with other entrepreneurs and organizations than any time within an organization as a full-time employee.
4. Being "on" all the time - There is no longer a separation between business and personal lives, and that isn't a bad thing. Sure, it means answering an email on the weekend or making phone calls at odd hours, but it also means the ability to catch a movie in the middle of the day or being able to work a Yankee game into a business trip.
There are more perks that I will talk about some other time, but it is clear to me that working for myself has been a tremendous choice and something I will continue to love for many years to come.