Friday, July 11, 2014

Grocery stores and Trade Shows

QuickMobile team prepping for a day at IMEX Frankfurt
What do grocery stores, trade shows and airports have in common? The more shows I go to, the more travel I do, the more it strikes me that there are many common elements to the experiences, which I share my first thoughts below.

  1. They are all places with a LOT of people, some there by choice, some by necessity.
  2. Traffic flow has to be thought out ahead of time and managed on a daily, or even hourly basis.
  3. Music adds more to the experience than announcements.
  4. The biggest companies get the prime real estate.  (do you know the premium for having your product beside a check-out stand?)
  5. They SHOULD all have wi-fi!  (and often don’t)
  6. They are full of possibilities.  
    1. If you are in an airport you are either going somewhere or meeting someone, both are opening up experiences you may not have otherwise.
    2. If you are at a trade show you are likely going to see people you know, meet with organizations you are aware of, and find new partners you could work with or new people you can collaborate with.
    3. If you are in a grocery store, you may be there planning a dinner party or deciding how you will eat this week – will it be white wine and popcorn, a brown rice cleanse or perhaps steak and red wine on Saturday night?  
I really love all of the above experiences. I like the planning , I don’t even mind standing in line and imagining what all the people around me are there for – What are they buying? Did they really think those shoes made sense for this? Why did they come?  Is their anticipation of the experience being met?  

The next time you are heading out to any of the above… tell me what you look forward to, or what really makes you crazy!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Customer Service Rules

Helping at the IRF
Customer service comes in many forms, but one thing I know absolutely is that we recognize and appreciate excellent service, we talk about bad service, and we have become immune to average service.  From my first career as a hairstylist and salon manager, to my second as a meeting planner and event producer, I have innately understood that great service is the only option if you want to become successful in that thing called work most of us will have to do for a long time.  We are lucky when we have work we love doing, and enjoy the rewards of providing good service. In the meeting and event industry, service is often our only differentiator, and while I have dozens of stories from my work in this arena, below I share a few that have inspired me to think about how we can do what we do better.
Trevor sharing knowledge

I have a few stories, the first from my colleague Trevor, a star among us in how he makes people feel, and who appreciates great service.  Trevor comes home from IMEX Frankfurt, exhausted as you would expect, and gets in a taxi to go home. The taxi is a regular taxi on the outside. Inside it is uber-clean with an office organizer on the
dashboard for the driver’s pens, receipts etc. The car smells good. There is nature/spa music playing at a reasonable volume and the temperature is comfortable.  The driver at the end of the trip says thank you very much, here is my card with my mobile number on the back and if you would like to book a ride with me, please call or text.  A week later, Trevor remembers this experience, texts the driver for a 4am pickup. He responds and says he will see him at 4am, and would he like a coffee? How would he like it?  At 3am the driver texts and says, see you at 4. At 345 he texts and says I am in the Tim Horton’s lineup would you like anything to go with your coffee? Guess who Trevor will have pick him up when he comes home?  And – this is a regular taxi driver and not a private car service, or a fancy sedan – nobody told him to do this – he has taken it upon himself to offer this level of service.  Guess who Trevor calls every time he has to go on a trip?

The next is from Andy who as someone who makes orthopedic braces understands well how important service is and who enjoys helping people greatly. Today he got a new drum. I love this story because it is from a guy in Beaverton who hand-makes the drums with an amazing amount of care and attention to detail, and who will only sell to musicians. Why? He wants people who love music to play his drums - not for someone who appreciates the beauty to make them a coffee table or a lamp.  Great service comes with passion for your product.

My cousin Kerry owns a coffee shop, the Hawthorne Cafe in Milton, which means for the most part her and Matt spend seven days a week caring for the basic coffee and food needs of guests, and who have focused on what matters to them - fresh, wholesome food, organic and fair trade products, and being a go-to place for those who appreciate excellent f & b products and great service.  They have created a warm environment that is conducive to families and individuals, indoors in a great space and outdoors on a fabulous patio, plus catering, jam nights, and other ongoing events. They ALWAYS do this with joy, and if you are near the area, I would stop in! 

Many of us are familiar with the famous level of service provided by Ritz Carlton properties. and on the Event Alley Show we were lucky enough to capture Jeff Hargett, a great speaker on the subject of service and a true master of this subject as the Senior Corporate Director, Culture Transformation for this organization as he shares his thoughts. It was one of our more technically challenging episodes as he joined us over a wifi connection, something we can all agree has not reached the level of service we now require (!) but well worth the listen for the content he shares.

How do we inspire this level of service from every individual who works with us?