Archive for the ‘Customer Service’ Category

Drive-By Conversations

November 27, 2009
Today, I ran across an interesting article in Entrepreneur magazine:  “How Twitter is Revolutionizing Business 140 Characters at a time”.  What a concept.  Now, instead of “courting” our clients over lunch or dinner, we aim to never waste more than 14 0 characters (spaces included) to get our message across.  Instead of sit down conversations, we see people having conversations via a series of short tweets.
I do use twitter – follow me at http://twitter.com/rolfecarawan – but not as a substitute for a conversation.  In fact, I aim to the opposite.  In business, as in families, churches, and government agencies, we are lacking human interaction.  We are missing out on the encouragement and support that can only be received when we are willing to spend T-I-M-E with those we hope to encourage.
In a world of quick interactions, rushed meetings on the go, and “drive by conversations”, I have committed to having more converSTAYtions.  Conversations that I am content to linger in, enjoy, and contribute to.  Conversations are the most powerful tool we have at our disposal – for marketing, for people development, for training, and for effective leadership –  and I am re-committed to making the most of each of them. I invite you to join me.
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A Marriage “Happens” After the Wedding

October 28, 2009
I left for Canada yesterday to meet with the Leadership of the Halifax Regional Municipality in Halifax, Nova Scotia.   Even though it required Lea to wake up before 4:30 AM to bring mWeddingBellse to the airport, that’s exactly what she did.  I joke that we’ve been happily married for 15 years, and 15 out of 22 ain’t bad.   But, seriously, I love being married and one thing we love to do together is attend the weddings of our friends and family members.
As a man, I am always amazed at the detail, preparation and enormous focus that goes into planning the wedding.  Everything has to go “just right”…  They want an INCREDIBLE wedding day.  My prayer is always that the couple has AT LEAST thought about preparing for the marriage itself.    =)
In business, I see the same phenomenon occurring… our focus is on what’s NEW… what’s EXCITING…  We prepare for the LAUNCH of our businesses, but often find ourselves surprised by the effort it takes to sustain and grow it.  We spend a great deal of time and effort in “hiring the RIGHT employees,” often without a plan to developing our existing team.  We focus on getting NEW clients or customers, without going back to our existing client base to look for more ways to serve them.  We purchase new curriculum or implement new strategies, without taking a long, hard look at what is currently working.
This week, I am focusing on going back to the basics…. I am prepared to come along side my clients, my roundtable members, and my own team to develop opportunities (and an ideal environment) for GROWTH.  I invite you to join me!

Effective Managers Learn How to Discriminate

October 2, 2009
CommunicationOf course, I am not advocating a hate-based, or ignorant habit of discriminating against those you are trying to lead.  But, if you are communicating in the SAME WAY to EVERYONE under your leadership, you will not be as effective as you could be if you began to use some knowledgeable “discrimination” in how you communicate.
Here is what I am saying:  YOU and everyone you work with comes to work with their own personality and communication style.  Whether this has been developed as a result of “nature” or “nurture” or some combination of the two really doesn’t matter.  What DOES matter is your willingness to acknowledge that personality and communication styles DO IMPACT a leader’s ability to accomplish results through others.
Once you accept this as fact, the first step in using “communication discrimination” to your advantage is to learn more about personalities and communication styles.   (For a complimentary podcast, contact my assistant at rachyl@rolfecarawan.com)
Next, acknowledge your own personality tendencies and communication style, and make it a habit to recognize the same in others under your leadership.  The quickest way to develop rapport with those on your team is to made a concerted effort to minimize the stark differences between their style and your own.
When we speak and treat everyone the SAME – in the way we communicate – we will fall way short in our ability to tap into the potential of those we lead.

Run To The Roar Award

December 31, 2008

A Sinking Ship

Many organizations experience highs and lows and transitions that cause considerable uncertainty among members and test the very fiber of what a true leader is made of.  Such transitions are occurring in the business world on a daily basis and whether internal or external they tend to expose the core of an organization and test the true unity of its members. 

In the late 1980s Freedom Automotive of Norfolk, VA, was facing this very sort of transition with little hope of recovery.  With economic woes, poor market location, very little strategic edge, and a leader who was swiftly growing weary of the business itself, Freedom Ford was headed toward what looked like commercial ruin.

The Arrival of a Leader

In 1991 Scott Rigell became the president and owner of Freedom Automotive.  Rigell knew that the only way to turn this company around and make it succeed was to unite his employees behind a common vision rooted in common values.  He would have to focus on exceptional customer service by investing in those who administered it, his own employees. Coming from a state of seemingly unfixable brokenness and failure the company grew into a modern success story of fortitude, vision, values, and unification.  

The Run to the Roar

In the face of the recent economic downturn Scott Rigell is once again demonstrating his courageous leadership by running toward the challenge. I was present last week at an all-company meeting where he re-affirmed his original vision for being a “Different Kind of Dealership.”  

He assured his employees that he would not waver in his commitment to investing in his company by providing innovative marketing.  Their customers would continue to experience the exceptional customer service they have come to expect. Employees would continue to receive world class training.  

He went further to say that he was increasing the company’s amount of contribution in the employees’ 401K plans.  But he didn’t stop there, he informed them that he would be reducing his salary by 66% and if necessary he would take no salary at all to ensure they continued to receive their benefits. Leadership like that takes courage and integrity, and that inspires all of us.

Way to go, Scott. Way to Run to the Roar!!

If you are in the market for a new car or truck be sure to check out Freedom Ford’s inventory.  You won’t be disappointed by their unyielding commitment to their customers.  

Tell us your stories by leaving a comment about how your organization and family are running to the roar during these tough times.

Author: Rolfe Carawan

Going above and beyond. It’s the Marriott Way.. and it truly is!

October 16, 2008

This day and age it seems to be that exceptional service gets overlooked.  We have become accustomed to connivence over quality and recordings over people.  As a whole people are more likely to acknowledge and voice a complaint but overlook an opportunity to share a sincere praise.  Well, I have stepped on a “diamond star” when it comes to customer service.. so much so that I can not allow it to go overlooked.  

Marriott Logo

For the past few weeks I have been organizing a speaking event at two Marriott hotels, one in Philadelphiaand one inTysons Corner.  This was my first time to ever act as an “event coordinator” from negotiating contracts, selecting menus, ordering AV equipment, establishing room set-up and booking sleeping rooms… it was details galore.. and lets not forget keeping ourselves within budget. My Event Managers at both hotels, Lisa Cirello and Trevell Williams were top notch!  They saved my tail in many instances, not allowing anything to go over-looked.. they made me look like a pro.  

So what did they do that was so exceptional?:

  1. Treated our event as if it was their own.
  2. Took care of every small detail.
  3. Went above and beyond from cradle to grave.
  4. Responded quickly with solutions and action.
  5. Provided a great nights rest in unbelievably comfortable beds.
  6. They valued us as their guest!

Lisa was working miracles the day before our event while Trevell was overcoming all obstacles to ensure our guests had a pleasant experience.  The entire event staff delivered exceptional service.  

Here are a few specific examples of exceptional service the Marriott way:

Tyson’s Corner:

  1. Gladis Martinez – Banquet Captain. She and her assistant Doris Diaz (Banquet Lead) were so helpful and accommodating. Example: “Tim HATES nuts!!!! I asked Doris if she could offer something chocolate without the nuts. She came back with a plate of chocolate truffles. She was so nice and helpful.” Dayna Taylor, Today’s Dentist Event Manager  
  2. Osama Marrero – AV Tech. He was great!! He went out of his way to make sure the speakers were good to go throughout the event. Very professional!!” – Dayna Taylor, Today’s Dentist Event 
  3. Lisa Cirello – Senior Events Manager “While our event was going on in Philadelphia, Lisa was on the phone with me making last minute changes to the menu, confirming our new AV needs  and ensuring me our event would be exceptional!”  Laurie Baggett, Event Coordinator
Renaissance Philadelphia:
  1.  Shaun Williams – AV Tech – “Even though, he had to overcome some obstacles, he never complained or blamed someone else for the mistake. He just worked with a smile and was very helpful in making sure that the AV person in Tyson corner  would have what they needed when we arrived. He made me a list of equipment that he used and explained it to me so I could understand. Great addition to their team!” Dayna Taylor – Today’s Dentist Event Manager
  2. Trevell Williams – Catering Manager – “During our event Trevell ran interference and did everything needed in order to ensure the seminar would run smoothly.  She overcame obstacles and was quick to respond to requests.” – Dayna Taylor – Today’s Dentist Events Manager

So… if you are ever looking to book an event and you just happen to be in search of  great hotel don’t overlook the Marriott.  I give them my highest level of recommendation and praise!  Thank you again Trevell Williams & Lisa Cirello, I hope to work with you in the near future!  As for our future engagements… well lets just say we are Marriott all the way!