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"Why Choose Between Fun and Content When You Can Have Both"

Clearly this guy thinks the customer is never right

When we sat down at our table we noticed no one had food in front of them. You know the feeling….Uh oh, should we leave? Our order was taken within 10 minutes.

30 minutes later my pancakes arrived.

Yep 30 minutes. Seriously, how long does it take to make pancakes and some eggs? And while my rushed Northeast attitude was getting the best of me I tried to remind myself that I was in a slower paced part of the country. And it was Sunday; the day of rest. And there is always something to observe, laugh about, or comment on in a blog entry. Oh, and of course you could always have conversation with your dining companions. And even better how often do I get to eat in an outdoor sidewalk cafe in February? Enjoy the moment.

But 30 minutes for pancakes and a few eggs? Clearly this was not the Waffle House; whose goal is to have you out the door in under 25 minutes.

So when the family of four got up and left, just as their food was arriving to the table….more than 30 minutes later, the manager chased them down the street. He demanded they pay for their food.

They told him no.

He continued to demand payment for food that was ordered. They politely told him they had waited too long and they had no time. He told them to take it to go. Based on his arms flailing and facial expressions I am pretty sure they told him where to go.

So, who is right; the restaurant or the customer? Should the customer be expected to pay? Should they have asked how long it was going to take? Should they have told the employee who seated them they had limited time? Should the waitstaff had let people know that the kitchen was backed up and that breakfast seems to be running into dinner?

I guess according to this guy, the customer is never right!

Now I am not saying the kitchen wasn’t doing their best, but I always find it interesting when service people struggle to understand that customers have things going on too! And in this case all I could think was maybe the manager should be looking where the real problem is…………the restaurant?

  • Like are the number of tables too many for the kitchen to handle?
  • Is the kitchen not adequately staffed?
  • Is the kitchen not adequately equipped?
  • Are the offerings too varied causing efficiency issues?
  • Perhaps the waitstaff are taking too many orders at once.
  • Maybe they need to provide entertainment while you wait, to help pass the time?
  • Do the employees just not care because it is a tourist destination and they just assume you won’t be back anyway?


Nah, let’s just get pissed off at people who decide not to let you decide their schedule for the day. That will surely get people coming back. That will get people leaving positive comments about you on review and social network sites.

So easy to blame others. So hard to really understand the root of your problems.

Not really.

We’ve all heard the customer is always right. But isn’t it really….What messages are your customers sending you?





Why your employees hate you and why we won’t be back

Dear Manager or Supervisor,

The other day we stopped in to your place of business seeking information on how you could help with a new product being developed. We were working with one of your employees.

Nancy was doing a great job answering our questions and providing us with the information we needed to make an informed decision. She was knowledgeable. She listened. She asked questions to get us talking. We were talking and laughing. We were excited about the potential of this new partnership. Her customer service was great. The customer experience was flawless.

Then you came along and the train wreck began.

You interrupted. You tried to sell us rather than listen to us. You were “telling” us what we needed to do and not trying to even learn our objectives. Basically, you were a jerk – not really the word I wanted to use.

We looked at Nancy, smiled and rolled our eyes. She gave us one of those “I’m sorry” looks. We could also sense that she felt as if you lacked trust in her and her ability to earn the business of a new customer. We assume this is also not the first time you have acted in this manner.

We walked out the door. Sorry to say we cannot do business with someone who treats an employee/co-worker/peer in that manner. It would have been very easy for you to come by and ask if Nancy was helping us or some form of that question.  i.e. How’s everything going here? Isn’t she great? That would have let all of us know you had faith in your employees.

Mr. Micro-Manager/Supervisor, we wanted you to know we chose a competitor. You see, in a world where competition is fierce and prices really don’t vary much from vendor to vendor more of us are making choices based on relationships being built with employees.

You hired Nancy to do a job. You should stop micromanaging and let her do it. We hope you learn from this.


The Customer You Lost


Your employees are your business. They are the ones who keep people coming back. You’d be shocked at the statistics of people who don’t return to a business because of one bad experience. Rich DiGirolamo works with employees on creating a memorable customer experience. Contact him to learn what he can do for your team.


My publisher sent me the UPS tracking number on Tuesday. My books were shipped to the client for an event next week. This morning I decided to see where in-transit the books are.

My house. In CT.

I am in Florida. My client is in Florida. The books are supposed to be on the way to Florida. the event is next week.


Okay, be honest, would you be panicking? Would you be thinking about what needs to be done? Would you be thinking about how to fix this or getting aggravated and frustrated? Would you be pointing blame or correcting a mistake? Would you be asking yourself why people can’t follow simple instructions?


Left a voice mail and an email for the publisher to get in touch with me ASAP. Called the house sitter and my neighbor to orchestrate a “Miracle on Rich’s Street”

10 minutes and 4 questions to a happier workplace?

We’re all on information overload. We have the attention spans of cauliflower. We’ve got no time for deep conversation. We can’t sit through dinner or a movie without feeling the need to check-in, tweet or update a status rather than conversing with people or watching a story develop. This was confirmed as I watched Valentine’s Day couples last night at dinner.

All of the above is why I wrote Diary of the Happiest Employee On Earth in the format which it was written. 52 short entries, or as I like to call them….Provoking Thoughts, to get you talking and thinking. The process to read an entry and have a quick discussion on how to apply the idea to your workplace shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. 10 minutes. That’s 10 minutes as a meeting opener. 10 minutes as a quick Recess in the afternoon. 10 minutes at any point in the day when you think the team needs a quick recharge.

Will it disrupt their workday? Remember the status update thingy? They’re already disrupted.

Have you got 10 minutes to develop happy employees, to promote great interactions with customers or to build team and camaraderie? Have you got time to answer 4 simple questions? Sure you do. Try it with a few sample entries you can find on my homepage. And if the answer is no I better get working on Tweets of the Happiest Employee on Earth.


Let your customers pave the way to a happier employee experience

When making an appointment with a doctor I try to get the 1st appointment in the morning or after lunch. You know why.

Today, before a long few weeks of travel, the only option I had was a 12:00 slot. I was promptly taken to the exam room. About an hour later the doctor came in.

The magazines and pamphlets in the office were boring and there were no “toys” –  plastic skeletons, hearts, brains or bladders to take apart and put back together. While I waited I broke their rule of no cell phone use instead. I answered emails, tweeted, talked to some friends on Facebook, played a few games of bowling, and took the profit on a stock. Believe it or not the hour wait, which was interrupted 2X by nurses coming in to do their part (and possibly to make me feel that I was not waiting??), went by before I knew it.

As I was leaving I thanked the receptionist, Marta, for finding me a right after lunch follow-up visit and for being attentive and smiling. I let her know that the office staff is great. (Yep, it’s not the fault of the receptionist, nurse, or any other staff in the office that the doctor was running one hour late; it was the health care system’s fault.)

Marta responded, “Thanks, it’s not often I hear that” in such a sincere “I-really-needed-to-hear-that-today” voice.

I asked her if there was a customer satisfaction survey/form. I always ask for one when an employee or team of employees give me great service. I also let it rip when they don’t; like years ago letting a restaurant chain know there were 99 other restaurants I would choose first.

They didn’t have one. She replied “You could tell the doctor.”

Of course my two thoughts were “when and how?”

Maybe you don’t have money to offer raises. Maybe your organization is small or not growing fast enough to offer increased responsibility and promotion. Maybe you can’t afford to send your team to professional development. Maybe you can’t even afford to treat them to a pizza lunch every so often. But how hard is it to make some sort of satisfaction survey/form available that might be the difference between a happy employee and an unhappy one?

Why not ask one of your staff to create one?


Want to get more out of your employees? Are you ready to develop Happy Employees and create an amazing customer experience. Hold a book reading with Rich DiGirolamo.

Rich can show you how to implement the ideas presented in his book Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth: 52 Provoking Thoughts for Creating a Great Workplace into your business and start reaping the rewards of higher productivity and more engaged employees. Get in touch today.




How do you recognize the employee of the month?


Out and about yesterday I caught this sign at a local Walgreen’s pharmacy. I had to turn around, pull into the parking lot and take a picture. What did we do before smart phones? I don’t know about you but I would have gone into Walgreen’s and bought a disposable pocket camera.

I wonder what the criteria was?  I wonder if it was based on customer service? Teamwork? Attendance? Going the extra mile? I wonder how Kimberly felt when she arrived to work and saw her name right there in downtown Waterbury, CT. I wonder what her co-workers thought? Was there a big party with cupcakes and milk to honor her? (Or leftover Christmas candy in the clearance aisle?)

In the spirit of Super Bowl Sunday and all the illegal gambling that occurred yesterday maybe they should start making some fun wagers (someone buys coffee or lunch) and guess who next month’s EOTM will be? Or who will see their name in light the most times this year? Or challenge a co-worker to the title?

To anyone who has ever been named Employee of the Month you know the glory of seeing your name in a newsletter or email; to get to use that special parking spot. But how cool would it be to see your name in lights downtown in your home town?

Congratulations Kimberly M. Whoever you are. And nice job Walgreen’s!


Don’t forget Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth is your blueprint to not only creating a great workplace but to creating a whole team of Employee of the Month contenders! Get your copy today.


An open letter to prospects about your actions

Dear Prospect,

Might I remind you, it was you who called me. You inquired about my services. I met with you and/or talked with you at length regarding your needs. I followed up wtih a formal proposal like you requested – and a creative one I might add. You then blew me off. Did not return phone calls, emails or handwritten notes.

On most days my self-esteem is high. If you chose someone else who suited your needs better, had a lower price or whatever I am fine with that. If you cancelled your event or changed your mind I am cool with that too. And if you weren’t really the decision maker all you had to do was tell me that.

Why aren’t you fine with doing the right thing and responding to me?

Now Mr. Prospect, ironically I am currently in the market to use the products and services of a company just like yours. And while you personally are not my local realtor I am leaning towards competitors. My concern is your lack of professionalism and courtesy represents your nationwide network and will not MAXimize my real estate goals. My concern is that the customer service provided will be lacking as well.

And a simple response could have changed my entire outlook about your organization – especially in an industry that is flooded with good people. When I work with customer service people and teams of employees we always talk about coming up with ways to separate themselves from the pack. You my prospect, have definitely done that. But not in a good way.



Someone who still believes in courtesy and respect