Archive for the ‘case studies’ category

Is being too nice hurting your business?

May 12, 2006

Yesterday I was having our monthly group consultation/coaching call with a client’s managers. One brought up an issue you may relate to. He had a 5-month new staff member who has been absent and tardy too often, and has been verbally warned. The staff member had viable excuses — family deaths, personal illness, even an auto accident. But she also stretched the limits — she had to be with a friend who was in the hospital, her car wouldn’t start, and she was late getting back from lunch because she got caught in traffic. Thus the verbal warning.

The supervisor was asking if he should be nice and give her some more slack, as her current absence was an unexplained illness. He had counseled her to get a diagnosis then report back so they could explore her options. Of course, she had to take the day off to see the doctor!

He was at his wits end. Her absences meant his department didn’t run as smoothly as needed, but he also wanted to be compassionate to her illness.

I suggested he wait til she returned (today), get the report, then decide whether she should be put on leave of absence (with a doctor’s letter), or if the doctor couldn’t find anything, tell her one more absence or tardy in the next 30 days would result in her termination. (Since I’m not up on HR laws on this matter, I told him to check with his HR department first.) While it is important to be compassionate, he had come to the end of his patience and she was abusing his compassion. He had a unit to run and her frequent absences made it difficult to get the work done.

If you were in this situation, what would you do? I’m sure he’d love more insights!

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I love when results exceed expectations

May 7, 2006

I love it when the outcome exceeds what we anticipated. Recently, an airport client wanted to increase the customer service skills of all the concessionaire (retail, food and beverage) employees. He said he wanted a customer service training program designed that their internal trainers could deliver.

After interviewing the key stakeholders, I learned that the real objective was to increase the revenue per customer and ultimately, make this the airport of choice among the airports in the region.

I saw that just a training program would not accomplish what they wanted. I added and designed a pre-training secret shopping program and analyzed the data to design a customized training program, developed a customer comment program to track the ongoing results of the concessionaires’ customer service and upselling, designed a monthly employee recognition program, created the training program, including pre- and post-testing, delivered a leaders guide and train the trainer. I developed a new hire training guide for managers to train their new staff on the basics expected from them. I monitor the progress of the program quarterly to make any needed modifications.

The client is thrilled with the results. Nearly 210 frontline staff and managers have been trained by the airport’s internal trainers. The client says the program is far more comprehensive and effective than he originally imagined, and the project stayed within his budget. While there are always several factors affecting revenue, following are some of the results related to the implementation of the program.

  • On time, on budget, and with a more comprehensive solution.
    Within one month concessionaire revenue increased beyond all my fees for this project.
  • 26-31% increase in retail gross sales
    Comparing the previous year’s data corresponding to the same month after the launch, the airport-wide retail gross sales showed a 26-31% increase per month for the months reported so far.
  • 12-17% increase in food & beverage gross sales
    Comparing the previous year’s data corresponding to the same month after the launch, the airport-wide F&B gross sales showed a 12-17% increase per month for the months reported so far.
  • 13-17% increase in food & beverage sales per passenger
    Comparing the previous year’s data corresponding to the same month after the launch, the airport-wide F&B sales per passenger showed a 13-17% increase for the months reported so far.
  • 18% increase in customer service knowledge among concessionaire staff
    Participants showed a 18% increase their knowledge of the preferred ways to treat customers. This contributed to their acting differently toward the customers, thus the customers buying more.