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Keep Employees Happy; Offer A Perfect Workday

It’s 8:30 AM and you arrive to the office.

  • You are greeted at the door by the boss with a huge smile
  • He/She actually has coffee for you
  • No technology problems
  • The information you were waiting for arrives on time
  • Your 9:00 meeting starts at 9:00 and ends at 9:30 as scheduled
  • Your email inbox has no PRIORITY URGENT messages 
  • You call a client and they tell you how wonderful and marvelous you are
  • You call a prospect and they pick up the phone. You have a great conversation. They want to meet with you.
  • You take lunch
  • Your budget has not been sliced in half; but rather you’ve been given additional budget dollars
  • There are no interruptions today
  • Company is making money
  • Your new idea is being heavily considered
  • Company is hiring
  • Your inbox is empty
  • There really is a sense of team; no backstabbing or office politics exist
  • Gossip is nonexistent
  • Your desk is clean
  • Your To-Do list is all crossed off
  • You leave at 5:00 to be with family, friends or just go have some fun

Now wake up from your dream. It’s time to get to work; and I mean get to work making this happen. Perhaps I can help?

Keep Employees Happy; Offer them some sales training

Dear GM CEO of the Month,

I just returned from turning in my Saab to a local GM Dealership. My lease ended yesterday. The lease deal was very attractive. The buyout…..Well that is another story.

I was somewhat not looking forward to going to turn in the car. I was expecting a high pressure sales pitch to sell or lease me a new car. I hate high pressure sales people.

John was a really nice guy. Took my keys; took my odometer reading; had me fill out a form; gave me a copy and out the door I went.

Wow! No high pressure sales!

WOW! No sales pressure at all?????

Not even an attempt to sell me a car. Not a question about why I chose to lease? Not a question about if I have another vehicle at home? Not a question about what my plans are/were regarding a new vehicle?

He just let me walk out the door.

He did tell me that he headed up the truck sales at this dealership; after I asked him how long he had been there. He did tell me that no one else at the dealership wanted to be the person to fill out the paperwork when someone returned a car. So even after I started a conversation with him which many would have seen as an opening of a door he didn’t take the bait.

Nope. Instead he let me leave.

GM…….if this is representative of the dealerships in your network…………you deserve to fail……….and this time I’ll fight tooth and nail before my tax dollars bail you out!

Snow days can show you how to keep employees happy, employed, and productive

Ever notice how workplaces have a very different energy level when a snowstorm, hurricane, or some other weather event is on its way.

People seem to smile more. There seems to be more water cooler chat; even if it is only about the weather. People who normally might pass each other in the halls are commenting on the arriving storm; wondering if they will be released from prison early that day. It’s a very different feel to the organization on those days.

Clearly it’s because there is a common interest – how the weather is going to impact each and every employee; good or bad. Who has the longest commute? Who needs to leave now? Who will have to stay behind to keep the business going? Who is already calculating the overtime in their paycheck when 2nd and 3rd shifters don’t arrive? There is sympathy, empathy, understanding, concern, happiness, laughter and hope throughout.

Which leads me to the question……………

If the people within an organization can be that cohesive because of a weather event, why can’t they be that cohesive year round in terms of company business?

Isn’t there always a common interest – like the long term desire to keep the business a going concern? To keep the business profitable? To continue to offer new products and/or services that will set the business apart from the competition? To keep your job?

These days there seem to be snowstorms and hurricanes going on within the four walls of many organizations. Maybe it’s time to start talking about them? Maybe it’s time to get the sympathy, empathy, understanding, concern, happiness, laughter and hope that we exhibit during external weather events and use the great minds behind those thoughts and feelings when internal weather events occur. What do you think? And are you up for a challenge?

Because my challenge to you is that you tap into the talent that is available at EVERY layer of an organization and find out what they can offer to keep growth, profitability and productivity at the forefront. You’ll also make great strides in the quest to keep employees happy and feeling part of the team.

And if you haven’t noticed the difference in attitude and energy on those days you’re either not in the office or working way too hard. Get involved with the snow people; they might make your job easier.

Keep Employees Happy; Bring Back Common Sense!

The theater holds about 300 people. I’m thinking maybe there were 75 people in attendance yesterday; as only a few people went out to see a one woman show a couple of hours before the Super Bowl. When I walked into the lobby you would have thought that a last minute rush on ticket sales had occurred; the box office line was long and not moving.

The computer was down.

Tickets could not be printed; or according to the two very nice, but frantic women working at the box office, they couldn’t be sold. Watching these women you would have thought the world had ended. They just didn’t know what to do. And considering that same afternoon we had witnessed a power plant explode here in CT this was hardly a problem.

So at 2:45 PM (show is at 3:00) what do you do?

You collect $20 from everyone and tell them to go sit wherever – first come, first serve; like they do at Southwest Airlines. That’s what you do. You pull out the old manual charge card machine or you write down the numbers on a piece of paper and you run the charges through later – manually. That’s what you do. This is not hard. This is common sense – something technology seems to have removed from our brains. I guess whoever designed the box office ticket sales training program forget to teach people what to do when (not if) the system fails.

Folks, stop making problems out of things that really aren’t problems. Let’s bring back common sense – perhaps even start teaching it again.

Keep Employees Happy; Celebrate their customer service attitude

Do these two people work for the same company?

When I walk into this establishment:

  • She is always smiling and friendly.
  • He (most of the time) seems disturbed, frazzled and angry.

When I go to the window to perform a transaction:

  • He is trying to figure out how to charge me more for their goods and services.
  • She tries to find ways for me to save money; perhaps in hopes of me using their service more often.

How they handle rules and regulations

  • He is policy driven.
  • She knows when rules and policies need to be overlooked.

How they treat regular customers:

  • When I deal with him he tries to up-sell me to more products/services. He does this every time.
  • She knows that I know what is available to me. She offers to up-sell me occasionally; and usually only when he is around.

When I question the charges for a product/service:

  • She researches it and shows me the documentation. Sometimes she is right. Sometimes I am right. I better understand what I am paying for. She better understands why she had to charge me rather than just telling me “that’s what it costs.” She always offers solutions to help me save in the future.
  • He gets defensive and just gives me a refund; which might be why he seems disturbed, frazzled and angry when I walk through the doors. I don’t want a refund when you are right; I just want to understand. I do want one when you are wrong however.

The way they do business:

  • She is customer service driven. When she shows me ways to save money by using their service I spend more money at their business. And without a doubt over the years they are my preferred delivery service.
  • He is revenue driven. When he “screws” me I start looking at my options; and in some cases use them even if it costs me more. (I know; Stupid Rich!)

The sad news is that she is being transferred to another branch of this company; which means I may have to start looking at my options. He will still be there. Now don’t get me wrong I like the guy; I just sometimes question if he “gets it.”

This could be any company anywhere. It is definitely two I am scheduled to go play/work with over the next few weeks. There are those who believe that customer service brings people back over and over and there are those who believe that getting people to spend a bit more all of the time will build customer loyalty. I guess it’s a good thing we have both types of people – or in this case a boss and an employee. Over the years I have done more business with them because of her; because of her attitude when I walk through the doors; because she seems to actually care about me. She knows she is there to serve me. I believe she even puts me ahead of the company.

So here is the most important thing………………………….

The Customer Experience:

  • When she is at the window I laugh, smile and take any opportunity to chit-chat for a few moments.
  • When he is at the window I can’t wait to get the hell out of there.

Keep Employees Happy; Laugh at Mistakes Instead of Trying To Cover Them Up

It’s tax time here in the US. April 15th will be here before you know it. By now you should have received all of your tax forms. Here’s some tax advice (you can’t totally take the former accountant out of the boy).

  • File early if you’re getting a refund
  • File last minute if you owe
  • Just because you didn’t receive a form does not mean the transaction did not occur

And speaking of transactions…….

In my mailbox last week was a 1099 Tax form from customer who had bought beanie hats and shirts for their Recess At Work Day Celebration. They considered this “Non-employee Compensation.” I considered this an error.

I called the phone number on the 1099 form and spoke to a very nice employee. Here are the highlights of our conversation:

Rich: “Hi, I received a 1099 from you folks that I think was in error”

Company Rep: “Can I have the customer number on the form please?”

I gave her the number and she confirms that they did send me the form.

Rich : “Well I’m glad we agree on that. But why did you issue me a 1099 for products your company purchased from me? It was products not compensation.”

Company Rep: “We give that to everyone.”

Rich: “You issue 1099’s to everyone who sells your company a product? This was goods; not services. This is not compensation.”

Company Rep: “Oh, it was goods. (I thought we had cleared that one up already) I will take care of it.”

Now at this point most people would have said okay and thank you. Not Rich.

Rich: “Okay, can you tell me what you mean by I will take care of it?

Very long pause.

And then she just started laughing. And so did I.  

Company Rep: “I am so sorry. It’s been a long day. (it was 9:30 in the morning; I’d love to see her responses by 12:00) I am deleting the 1099 from the system.”

Rich: “And how about the IRS; will they be notified?”

Rep: “We haven’t transmitted the forms yet. You’ll be good.”

I thanked her for the laugh. She just chuckled. I also realized after I hung up the phone that it is not often that people recognize and laugh at their mistakes or misinformation and miscommunication. They usually spend more time trying to cover up the mistake. I think a great way to keep employees happy is to laugh when things don’t go the right way; I’ll bet in the long term mistakes, miscommunication and misinformation are lessened.

Now let’s just hope she really deleted it and it really wasn’t already transmitted. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life keeping fellow prisoners happy. They really were goods; and here is the living proof of them using the goods: