Roy's Blog: May 2010

May 30, 2010

Roy’s Rant! We will tip ourselves because we don’t think you will

I was recently in Kaanapali, Maui for the annual holiday with my family and on two occasions took ‘the team’ out to dinner - 4 adults; 2 children in our party. The restaurants were: the Tropica at the Westin Maui and the Cane Taro Restaurant in Wailers Village.

The Tropica added an automatic 20% gratuity to my bill ; the Cane Taro added 18% in the same manner. INSANITY prevails and GOUGING continues!

The ultimate “I’m-Going-To-Do-The-Utmost-To-Shoot-Myself-In-The-Foot” rule. It’s not a money issue to me; it’s about the illogic of using arbitrary rules and policies that can seriously damage a business.

Let me see if I get the logic:
> a challenging economy,
> hungry competitors,
> elusive (or non-existent) customer loyalty,
> narrowing profit margins.

Businesses should be looking for ways to delight their customers, to give them a warm feeling about their establishment so they would tell others and return. But no! These two places respond by holding on to a policy of FORCING customers to pay a TAX disguised under some bizarre notion that it is more trouble to serve a party of 6 (than 5? than 4?).

Their logic? To recognize the ‘extra work’ the server has to to deal with 6 (rather than 5?) people.

First of all I reject out-of-hand the conclusion that ALL parties of 6 generate more work than, say, a party of 4 (I have seen parties of 4 cause a lot of pain and agony for a server, and parties of 8 be extremely easy to do business with).

That said I presume the logic of this policy is to ensure the server gets adequately compensated for the added effort that multiple-person party presents.

I totally get what they are trying to do, but IT’S NOT MY PROBLEM!. If the servers need more money the restaurant should be sorting it out, not imposing the onus to solve the problem on the customer. Sure, a part of 6 creates teamwork challenges between the front and back of the house. So deal with it!

Add a nickel to every item on the menu if you have to but don’t resort to arbitrary (why punish a party of 6 and not 5? Why count a child the same as an adult?) policy that can infuriate people to never return?

Why dis-empower a customer of the ONLY real tool they have to recognize a delightful service experience?

FACT: The service experience with any business is THE most loyalty-building event there is.

FACT:Customers are becoming more empowered every day. They have more choices and are prepared to flex their muscles.

FACT: Customers have the power. Businesses don’t.

FACT: Its the little BIG things that piss people off (thanks, Tom Peters).

FACT: I will NEVER return to either of these GOUGERS. Do the math: average bill = $300; 6 meals a year for the next 10 years. VALUE of Roy = $18,000. Put at risk for $90 worth of tips. Do you get it?

FACT: The food was actually good, but was overwhemed by the rip-off and will not be remembered,

Whew! I feel better.

Cheers, Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 5.30.10 at 01:00 pm by Roy Osing
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May 24, 2010

Your people programs will either make or break your #customerservice strategy


Many leaders in organizations don’t get the critical relationship between HR Programs and the ability to deliver a Service Strategy in a BE DiFFERENT way.

Why is HR so important? Because programs built for people have an automatic influence on how they behave on a day-to-day basis which, in turn, has a profound impact on delivering a dazzling service experience to customers.

Here are six critical programs I pay attention to when I am helping a client develop a service Implementation plan:

- Recruitment: people that love other humans are critical to building stand-out service experience. Re-shape the career (NOT job!) postings to look for these people; morph the interview guides to explore this attribute in potential candidates
- Recognition and reward: imprint these programs on the behaviors and outcomes demanded by your service strategy. Employees need to see when the right stuff is happening; seeing others get the plaudits will drive this home.
- Leadership development: build servant leaders; establish a strong thrust to get people asking “How can I help?” rather than “Do this!”
- Mentorship: encourage connectivity with others in the organization that personify the skills and competencies valued to deliver Mind-Blowing Service.
- Union working agreement: this is HUGE… the terms and conditions of the Agreement must facilitate not impede the execution of your service strategy. Seniority and other parochial expectations have nothing to do with dazzling customers.
- Internal communications: finally, make sure all employee communications is heavily focused on talking about service - successes, failures, service “Heros” and customer feedback. Keep service alive with the people that make it so, 24X7.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series



  • Posted 5.24.10 at 12:00 pm by Roy Osing
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May 20, 2010

Stand-out leaders “eat their own dog food”

How often have you heard a leader in your organization preach a set of values and yet don’t consistently demonstrate them? For these people it is easier to give other people advice than to listen to their own words and practice them unconditionally.

They talk about creating a risk-taking culture but punish those that make mistakes.

They talk about being customer focused but they have no calendar time dedicated to meeting with customers.

They talk about people as the most important asset of the organization but they have a closed-door policy and it is impossible for employees to get face time with them.

This type of behavior does not go unnoticed by the tribes in the organization. Employees see the inconsistency between words and action and they are left with the conclusion that it is all a facade and the leader doesn’t really mean what they say. As a result the organization falters. Little progress is made towards a healthier future. Employee satisfaction plummets. Competitors plunder.

The business eventually fails.


Amazing leaders “eat their own dog food”.


- passionately communicate the Strategic Game Plan of the organization in minute detail to define the precise behaviors necessary to successfully execute it.
- focus on the few critical things that must be done to make the strategy come alive and they model the appropriate behavior.
- spend copious amounts of time with employees clarifying the required behavior.
- don’t ask others to do anything they are not prepared to do themselves.
- treat their personal life as an extension of work, and personally model the strategic behaviors required in the organization.
- align every aspect of their position responsibilities to the strategic goal and behave accordingly.
- openly communicate their pain. Employees need to see that leaders suffer disappointment like everyone else.
- make a point of showing employees how they have matched words with action. They make the behavior they want explicit for people.

The “do as I say and not what I do” thing doesn’t work. It’s an insult to people’s intelligence.

Step up. Eat your own dogfood….

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 5.20.10 at 12:59 pm by Roy Osing
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May 17, 2010

How to build “customer learning” as a core competency

Customer Learning is an essential component of “customerization: the practice of creating packages of value for a select targeted group of customers as opposed to the more traditional marketing approach of promoting products to mass markets.

Customer Learning is beyond market research. It is a continuous process of learning about customers and uses employees as the primary instruments to do the learning work.

Customer Learning won’t get established in your organization by a wish and a prayer.


It requires a clear strategy supported by continuous investment.

Here are some support activities designed to create the appropriate learning behavior in your organization:
- constant communication to employees on the strategic importance of continually learning about what customers desire.
- reinforcement that Customer Learning is a core competency of the organization that will determine it’s success or failure.
- incorporating the learning responsibility into the performance management program. Clarify the expectation that learning is an integral part of every employee’s job.
- recruiting individuals with the intrinsic ability to relate to people and develop credible relationships with them.
- developing specific learning objectives to be a critical component of the annual performance plan for every employee.
- constantly recognizing those who perform their learning responsibility in an exemplary manner. Customer Learning heroes need to be honored in front of the entire organization.
- regular employee learning events to share what people have learned about customers with others and to discuss how the learnings have been turned into marketing opportunities for the organization.

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 5.17.10 at 01:00 pm by Roy Osing
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