Archive for Dr. Ron’s Real-Life Service Blog
Recently, I commented in my newsletter about a less-than-ideal dining experience at the Fleming’s Restaurant in Chandler, Arizona…particularly after having had such a magnificent experience on a prior visit.
One of my clients emailed the Operating Partner, Mr. John Jeffrey, a copy of my newsletter describing my upset. Unlike many businesses that pass off a disgruntled customer as a PITA or don’t ever give it another thought, Mr. Jeffrey immediately called me personally. He wanted to discuss my displeasure and offered me a solution…a complimentary dinner on him as a way for my wife (Sweetness) and me to experience the excellence his restaurant has to offer.
As you can imagine, I was stunned to receive a personal call from the owner wanting to learn from a customer how he and his team could enhance the delivery of their service and to deliver it on a more persistent and consistent basis.
We recently took Mr. Jeffrey up on his offer. To our delight, the evening was just as we had remembered from our very first Fleming’s experience…superb! Jesse and Ben delighted us with very personal service, an in-depth explanation of their incredible menu. They offered suggestions on the unique specials and delivered one of the most magnificent Prime Bone-In Ribeye’s I have ever eaten!!!
Research tells us that customers who are highly satisfied with problem resolution are more likely to return.
While Mr. Jeffrey doesn’t look for things to go wrong at his restaurant, he did indeed demonstrate, in a very personal way, how he saw this as an opportunity to really deliver extraordinary customer service. He wisely recognized that inconsistent performance could kill a brand. When he discovered an inconsistency in his service delivery he took action and delivered a masterful service recovery. I applaud John Jeffrey and his team. You can bet I will be a repeat customer and will gladly refer my friends and family to Fleming’s in Chandler, AZ.
As a trained Secret Agent by the DiJulius Group in the delivery of Secret Service training to dental practices and other service businesses, I am constantly on the look out for service interactions where I can find individuals who truly live the idea of service delivery. I found one by the name of Najwa Alam. This remarkable lady is the host at the desk of the Abilene Hampton Inn Suites.
After an arduous 10-hour drive across the Texas desert, she was a true sight for sore eyes. When I entered the hotel, she stood to greet me with a smile that stretched from ear-to-ear, extended her hand to shake mine, enthusiastically welcomed me, graciously gathered my information, and asked me: “Dr. Arndt where are you traveling from?” (She actually used my name and pronounced it correctly). After noting from my conversation that I might be looking for a movie theatre to relax and chill from the long drive presented me, unprompted, with a two-page list of the Fandango report for the two movie theatres within a 12-minute drive from the hotel. She then proceeded to pull out a detailed map and color-coded the driving directions.
Najwa delivered unbelievable, NO-COST, world-class service and she did it all with an attitude of gratitude…thanking me for choosing her hotel.
Just when you think real service is dead and buried, you are treated to an unusually caring connection by a lovely person like Najwa that causes you to say “WOW…This person, this business, is different and I want to do more business with them in the future and I want to tell the world of this extraordinary experience.”
Thank you, Ms. Alam, for demonstrating that true service is from the heart.
Creating a Delightful Experience is a gross understatement when I describe the way Mr. Jim Lomis delivers his service. Jim is a tour guide for Lolly the Trolley, a nationally known City Sightseeing Tour company showing visiting and local guests a Cleveland they never knew existed.
To add a touch of uniqueness and fun to my recent Dr. Ron’s Client Appreciation Turkey Weekend, I hired Lolly the Trolley to entertain and delight my clients. When Lolly appeared at the edge of my driveway, we were greeted by this remarkable smile, an extended hand of welcome, and a level of enthusiasm and excitement that set the stage for THE BEST documented tour experience I had ever experienced. Jim knew Cleveland like the back of his hand and took us to places that demonstrated the vibrancy of Cleveland (yes, vibrancy) with explanations and questions that had the crowd energized, involved and wanting more.
One example is the home of the iconic movie, A Christmas Story, and he brought it to life as though we were part of the cast.
He invited questions, asked us what we wanted, showed us the unexpected, and had a refreshing positive sense of humor all while demonstrating a professionalism and service-mentality that seems to have been lost to time.
I discovered that Jim, prior to picking up 34 of us at my home, had spent considerable time on my website learning about my business, what I do, who I serve, my background, and blended all this information into his information delivery. He made frequent references to positive thinking, coaching, and, of course, the dental profession.
At our stops (Burke Lakefront airport museum and Little Italy), he interacted masterfully with all his guests, offering up additional insights about ethnic neighborhoods, great restaurants, history about the spreading of the ashes of world-famous crime fighter, Elliot Ness, over the pond at the Lakeview Cemetery, the resting place of President James A. Garfield, John D. Rockefeller and members of President Lincoln’s cabinet, to mention a few.
When he delivered us all safely home after our four-hour plus excursion, he stood at the door and personally shook passenger’s hands and thanked them for allowing him to serve. His passion for what Cleveland has to offer was addictive and had several of my clients wanting to come back for B&B weekends to experience firsthand some of the sites.
I feel our Lolly the Trolley has become the landmark tour and transportation service for northeast Ohio. More importantly, I feel Mr. Jim Lomis is an example of over and above service excellence as he created an EXPERIENCE un-experienced by most! He demonstrated to 34 people that courtesy, care and concern, blended with a warm smile, the touch of a hand and a sense of humor, costs so little and delivers so much enjoyment. Every departing guest shared with Jim how his entire service experience was above and beyond what they had ever experienced.
This is service elegance at its best!
I was a much better patient than he was a practitioner.
Last week, I shared a story about an interesting 86 year-old gentleman, Mr. Larry Gould, and how he demonstrated kindness and caring in the way he “connected” with people, even total strangers. Within 24 hours of my publication, I received the following comment from a friend of mine in Texas, Mr. Jim Horgan, an Executive Financial Advisor:
Dear Dr. Ron,
Thanks for this latest installment. Part of the message I took away from Mr. Gould’s story relates to the notion that some practitioners just really don’t “care”. Let me share a brief story.
I recently changed dentists. I had stayed with my old dentist for nearly ten years. I guess I’m just the loyal type. I followed him around to three locations during that time. When I finally decided to leave, it wasn’t because the office spaces never really improved over the years. It wasn’t due to his lack of dental skills. It wasn’t because the same old tired, used equipment had been dragged around to three offices all in the same suburb, or that there were never any upgrades to new technologies. It wasn’t because he played guitar in a band on the weekends or that his “front desk” was staffed by his pony-tailed drummer (with a HUGE spider web tattooed on his neck). It wasn’t due to any lack of friendliness of the staff or the fact that baked cookie aroma never permeated the office.
I left because I finally realized that he just didn’t “care”. He treated his practice like a “job”. For example, I like to make my appointments for the “first thing” in the morning and I actually got tired of waiting in the hallways for the staff (and the doctor) to arrive and open the office for my 9:00 am appointments.
In the end, I realized that I had left because I was a much better patient than he was a practitioner. I’ll miss seeing them a bit I suppose, but my new dentist and his staff seem like the type that have undergone something more like your kind of coaching.
If this message does not resonate with you, I ask you to think again and re-read my original Mr. Gould story and then re-read Mr. Horgan’s clear message. Then, if you want to leave, Merry Christmas and enjoy this gift.
What is the lesson from my last blog post about Roselle and Sean that we can apply to our businesses?
Every member of our team must be trained to be a DETECTIVE. That is, to be looking for opportunities to discover ways to deliver above-and-beyond service to your guests. Unfortunately, many of our employees (and the CEO’s as well) have little or no clue about the opportunities to WOW a guest. Because of this, almost all opportunities will go right over the head of employees who haven’t been properly trained to see them. When this happens, a business/practice misses the chance to build emotional capital with that guest.
We don’t want above-and-beyond acts to happen by chance; if possible, we want a high percentage of the opportunities to be executed.
Steps to consider in training your team to be DETECTIVES and find opportunities to truly WOW your guests:
- Create a Guest Experience Manual.
- Invest at least 50% of your training time and money to “soft-skills”.
- Reinforce service philosophies.
- Create awareness of recent above-and-beyond stories to encourage more employees to recognize similar opportunities.
- Make these positive stories part of your morning huddle.
- Recognize and reward great DETECTIVE work by your team members.
- Create an annual above-and-beyond reward.
What are you willing to do and by when to set your business apart from all the others?
Everyone can be successful, but not everyone is willing to pay the price!
Because of the recent Super Storm, “Sandy,” I have two compelling stories. Both examples are about the observation and kindness of two of my clients.
The first is about Dr. Fred and Roselle Hecht who both maintain vibrant businesses on Staten Island and live in New Jersey. Both cities took a devastating hit from the storm. They were forced, due to lack of power to their home and businesses, to take up temporary residence in a hotel until utilities could be restored. While they were having lunch in their hotel, an elderly lady wandered into the hotel. She was alone and feeling lost and anxious as she needed a flashlight, batteries, and other sundries as she was waiting for her power to come back on. Roselle, sensing the desperation of this poor soul, immediately left her lunch and gently guided the lady by the arm. She took her new friend shopping to get all the supplies she needed, never asking for money and only wanting to help. A wonderful Random Act of Kindness.
The second story is about Mr. Sean O’Reilly who, the day after Sandy wreaked havoc on northern Ohio and the Cleveland area with massive flooding and dangerously heavy winds, saw an opportunity to spread kindness. While navigating downed power lines and huge trees littering many of the neighborhood streets, he saw a large crew of city employees diligently working to clean up the wreckage. The temperatures were in the high thirties; the rain was heavy and the tenacious winds made the work almost impossible. Recognizing the miserable, cold and wet conditions, these crews were working under, Sean made the decision to drive to a local coffee shop and purchased large jugs of hot coffee and hot chocolate. He personally delivered this gift of appreciation and thanked the crews for all they were doing to restore power to his community. Another wonderful Random Act of Kindness.
Both Roselle and Sean demonstrated how paying attention to opportunities to be of selfless service to others is nothing more than being a detective…that is to be aware of what is going on around you and then take a positive action.
Do you have a story about a Random Act of Kindness to share? I would love to hear about it in the comments below, or on my Facebook page.
She noticed my purple shirt!!!
Recently I went shopping at one of my favorite stores, Costco! As I waited my turn in the checkout isle, a friendly cashier named Trish welcomed me and asked for my Costco card and helped me unload the parcels from my cart. After some fun, conversational talk, she was about to complete the scanning of all my items when she paused what she was doing, looked me in the eye, put on this warm smile and as her dimples popped, she said: “Ron, purple is a great color for you and I love your shirt.”
WOW!!! How did she know that? Not only did she know my name (I’d never seen her before), she made me feel like a celebrity in one of my favorite recently purchased shirts. The fix is in…she took the time to look at my name on my Costco card and addressed me personally; she had a service DNA that enabled her to connect with her customers in a way that made them feel special.
What an example of service excellence and thank you Costco and, specifically, Costco in Avon, Ohio for hiring Trish.
Do you have a customer service experience you would like to share? I would love to hear it in the comments below, or on my Facebook page.
Recently I facilitated an annual team retreat with a client in Cincinnati and the venue was at an Embassy Suites.
When Dr. Eric and I checked in at the front desk at 6:45 am to be directed to our meeting room, we were told to walk across the bridge and it would be one of the rooms on the left. When we arrived, the room was unprepared. There were no electrical connections for our AV needs, no coffee, and no Internet connection.
When we revisited the front desk, we were told we’d have to wait 45 minutes when the IT team arrived for their shift. The entire team was to arrive at 7:30 am.
The food and coffee, when it arrived at nearly 8:00 am, was terrible and cold. Lunch that day was equally disappointing. When asked how our lunch was, we explained it was barely ok. The response from the wait staff was one of disinterest.
Later, when Dr. Eric asked if we would be able to partake in the Managers Happy Hour to be served the next day at the end of our retreat, he was told that was not possible as this guest service was only for paying guests. When he reminded this individual that he was paying considerably more for the room than the typical guest lodging PLUS all the food, coffee and now a $50 per day Internet usage fee, her reply was “NO”. He asked to speak to the meeting room manager: She replied, “I am the manager”.
Quiz: What would be an appropriate response?
- Order up a vacant room and you and your team go in and set it up exactly the way you want it?
- Hire an independent concierge service to set up the room and food exactly the way you want it?
- Walk out of the facility in disgust and wreak havoc on your training session?
- Discuss with the manager of the property your upset and disappointment and demand a refund?
- Vote with your feet and never come back in the future?
- None of the above.
I thought of Sean O’Reilly a second time! Who is Sean? He’s an investment Manager and CFP, who is my second-longest-standing non-dental client and one who regularly implements our coaching ideas. I referred a couple to him for a financial analysis and game plan for their economic future. Shortly after they chose him for their financial planning, I received a big box of Omaha Steaks and a kind note of appreciation for my referral.
That was quite some time ago. I was so delighted that someone went out of their way to thank me for something. This rarely happens. I kept his note in the box in the freezer as a reminder. Then recently Sweetness and I pulled the last two filet mignon steaks out of the freezer for a quiet evening together. We once again thought of Sean’s unusual kindness and could picture his smile and both spoke of how successful he has become over the years.
Thank you, Sean, for this reminder of how much we value being acknowledged. Thank you for doing what most others fail to do. You truly care about your referral sources. You made us think of Sean O’Reilly a second time!
One of my very talented and Kool coach buddies, Lisa Ryan, Chief Appreciation Specialist, shared the story below in one of her client communications. She has generously given me permission to share it with you.
“My brother, Scott, has a successful podiatry practice. Because of his passion and desire to help others, he not only donates his time at the local free clinic, he provides free medical care to his patients without insurance. While his service comes at no charge, there is a catch: he requires his patient to “pay it forward” and do something nice for someone else.
A patient with a serious foot infection did not have the money or the insurance to pay for treatment. After letting him know about the “pay it forward” stipulation, Scott agreed to remedy the infection. A few weeks after the successful treatment, the patient came into the office to let Scott know that he had stopped to assist a woman on the freeway with a flat tire the previous day – something he had never done before. The patient was radiant as he felt the sheer joy of helping someone with no expectation of return. Scott felt great because he knew that he had made a difference, not only in this man’s health, but in his life as well.
In what ways can you “pay it forward” today? Make it a goal to do one random act of kindness this week, with no expectation of return. Better yet, don’t tell anyone what you did. Enjoy the pleasure of anonymity in a media-focused world.”
You can learn more about Lisa’s “Grategy” strategies by visiting her website.
“Blessed are those that can give without remembering and receive without forgetting.” ~ Author Unknown