Sit Under the Umbrella (WT557)

Sit Under the Umbrella (WT557)

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WT 557 Sit under the umbrella

It was an overcast day and rain was imminent.

I was meeting a coaching client for coffee at 11:00am at one of the local trendy cafes.

I signed in and waited to speak to one of the three attendants, two of whom were engrossed in their own conversation and a third who had been cleaning tables.

“Do you have a booking?” she asked.

“No, I’m meeting a friend and we’d like coffees please.”

“I’ll just find out where I can seat you.”

The other attendant gestured to a table just near where I was standing.

“You can sit here til 11:45am, then you’ll have to leave because we have a lunch booking.”

That didn’t suit me because I wanted to meet for the full hour.

“I’d like to stay til midday please.”

She motioned me outside.

You can sit at any of these tables outside and sit for as long as you like.

She pointed to a couple of tables and chairs under two umbrellas.

“The best spot to sit is here under the umbrella for when it rains”, she suggested.

If you want coffees, just go and order them at the takeaway bar over there.

“Wow! I couldn’t sit inside. I had to go order from the takeaway booth and she knew it was going to rain.”

And it did rain. And I did get wet. And I did have to move to the bench where my client was sitting.

As I looked inside the café, there were at least 6 empty tables. The wait staff were looking straight at us as we battled with the water dripping from the umbrella and blowing in from the side.

Not one of the waitstaff motioned for us to come inside. Not one of them approached us.

I was amazed. The behaviour of the wait staff was not congruent with my definition of hospitable.

I won’t be going back.

I couldn’t help but think that over the last 12 months with COVID and many of the hospitality establishments being closed or closing, that the employees would be grateful to have the work and really look after their customers.

Apparently not!

Am I being unrealistic? Are my expectations too high? Have I got the wrong definition of hospitality?

Let me know what you think.

Would you have invited us back inside to escape the rain or would you simply have watched us as we sat under the umbrella in the rain?

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What Are You Going To Do About It? (WT555)

What Are You Going To Do About It? (WT555)

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WT 555 What are you going to do about it

This was the question the guy at the counter asked Ross when Ross pointed out the damage to the bumper bar on our motorhome.

“What am I going to do about it? Ross repeated the question.

“I’m not going to do anything. You’re going to get it fixed. It was you (as in their company) who damaged it”, Ross continued.

We had taken the motorhome to get its yearly service on the truck and engine. It was also due for registration, so we needed a roadworthy certificate.

We had only recently had the bumper bar replaced after waiting almost 12 months.

“How about you get it fixed and we’ll waive the invoice for today?” the assistant offered.

“Do you know how much these are worth?” asked Ross, who was totally flabbergasted at the offer.

Ross answered for him, “We got a quote for $7,000 from company X and we ended up getting another repairer to fix it for $4,000.

Blood drained from the assistant’s face.

“I’m not leaving here until I have it in writing that you are going to fix it”, demanded Ross.

After some lengthy negotiations and still no apology, Ross finally left after having waited 5 hours for the service because they had failed to update their booking system when the date had been changed, nor had they confirmed it. From a business and customer service point of view, they score 1/10.

Apart from a rant, here’s the point.

Both Ross and I went into the primal state over this. Ross was so rattled he missed a turn and we ended up 40km out of our way when we didn’t have the luxury of time.

As soon as we arrived at our destination, Ross jumped out of the van and apologised. “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”

I had been following in Harry Hilux and had been fuming at how late I was for an appointment.

My mood only got worse when he told me about the damage.

Fortunately, I remembered my training. There is no suffering in any experience. The only cause of our suffering is our own thoughts, or what we think about the experience.

I started to calm down. The facts were: the motorhome got damaged and I was late for a meeting. That’s it. No suffering in the experience, only my thoughts, so I focussed on it being an experience and let it go. (A ride on my new ebike also helped.)

So, please remember this story and training for the next time things don’t go according to how you want or expect.

There is no suffering in the experience. The only cause of your suffering is your own thinking.

I trust this is helpful. Thanks for listening.

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Let Me Finish (WT541)

Let Me Finish (WT541)

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Let me finish WT 541

This week we’ve been driving back up the coast of New South Wales and celebrating having the borders reopen.

As I was driving, I received a call from a representative of a hotel group who was keen to reinstate my membership.

(Hands free), I complimented him on his opening script. It was very well crafted, even though I knew what was coming.

“Hear me out”, he said. “I want to let you know about all the new properties and brands we have added to our group.”

He then went on to list a heap of hotel chains that I have no interest in or intention of staying at. When I politely told him I was travelling and working my way round Australia in a motorhome, he then changed tack and started to tell me all about the restaurants I could visit.

He asked me where I was right now. I told him.

He then proceeded to tell me how much I could benefit from the offers in Sydney.

I told him I wasn’t interested in going to Sydney and staying in a hotel.

Then he attacked. “You stayed at x hotel on x date. Isn’t that right?”

It was right. However, I also enlightened him on the reason. We stayed there because we had to use up a free night’s accommodation before the membership expired, not because we particularly wanted to go to Sydney.

“Hear me out”, he repeated, with a slightly raised voice.

“No thank you”, I said. “I have no interest in continuing the conversation.”

He continued to talk over the top of me, demanding that I hear him out.

By this stage I was out of patience. This was not the way to get me to renew my membership.

“I’ve been polite. I’ve told you my circumstances and I have no interest in continuing the conversation. I’m hanging up now.”

He was still talking and doing his best to engage and convince me when I hung up.

Wow! There’s a Weekly Thought. Let your customers finish what they are saying. You might have a better chance of engaging them if you listen to what they say and ask questions relating to their circumstances, rather than talking over the top of them and making them wrong.

And, this message isn’t just for customer service. It applies EVERY TIME you are engaged in a conversation with another. Let them finish.

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Don’t Let Them Leave Without Paying (WT537)

Don’t Let Them Leave Without Paying (WT537)

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Don't Let Them Leave Without Paying
 

You might think that the title of today’s weekly thought is about people stealing. It’s not.

Last weekend we went for a ride on our motorbike and came across a great little community market.

Across the road from the market was an historic railway and to our delight the trains were running that weekend.

The next train ride was scheduled to leave in an hour.

We hadn’t had lunch and we were only about 10-15 minutes ride away from where we were staying, so we asked the cashier if we could buy a ticket and come back.

“No. It’s first on, first served and when the train is full, that’s it.”

“What if we buy a ticket now. Will that ensure we have a seat?”

“No. Just make sure you’re back at least 15 minutes before the train leaves and you can buy your ticket then.”

We left without paying. We left without buying a ticket.

You know what happened. Of course, it started to rain a little on the way back and when we got to the bottom of the hill we saw the train stopped at its final destination before heading back up the hill.

It was only a 3.5 km track. It was an old steam train, so our interest was mainly in seeing a little bit of the geography and learning about the history.

We got back and had lunch.

We didn’t go back.

I thought to myself, he shouldn’t have let us leave without paying. If we had paid we would have gone back.

How about you?

Are you guilty of letting customers out the door who actually want to buy?

If so, you’re actually doing them and the business a disservice.

Next time a customer wants to pay you, say thank you and take their money.

They’ll thank you for it because they’ll get to experience the product or service that they wanted and the business will thank you for it because you’re generating revenue.

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Please Respect Our Staff (WT526)

Please Respect Our Staff (WT526)

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WT526 Please Respect Our Staff

In these unique circumstances, I’m sure you would have seen signs in shops reminding us to be respectful to the staff. I totally agree with this and wouldn’t stop there. I think we should be respectful to everyone, including customers.

Before I share this little story, I want to put my hand up and say the situation is my fault. I created it and I take responsibility for that. What I don’t take responsibility for is the disrespectful manner in which I was treated by an Australia Post worker.

Many months ago, I purchased a book to support my friend who had written it, published it and launched it.  The book was coming from the US. It was going to take a few weeks to a few months to arrive. At the time I was in lockdown in Tasmania so I entered the address for the local post office. My mistake was that I forgot that I did that.

A few months passed. The book didn’t arrive. My friend followed it up. I still didn’t remember I had used the Post Office address. We left the area where we had been staying.

A few days later, I received an abrupt call from the postal worker. “You have a parcel here and it’s been here for weeks and you need to come and collect it.” By this time I was on the other side of the state. I was expecting to be back in the area within a few weeks and basically pleaded with the worker to hold the parcel until then.

“It was sent to you here. You must have given them the address,” admonished the worker.

Of course I had forgotten that I had used the post office address.

“Yes, I must have. I apologise that’s my fault.”

“You must have given out this address. You got it sent here and now you need to pick it up,” she repeated sternly.

In the end she agreed to hold the parcel.

About two weeks later, I missed a call from an “Unknown Caller”. They left a message.

“You haven’t picked up your parcel and it’s going to be sent back to sender. If you’ve got any problems with that, call 131 318.”

“Wow!” 

As usual, there was no contact number for the post office so I called the 1300 number. Luckily for me, I chanced upon a really helpful and understanding assistant. I explained my situation and asked if they could send the parcel (if it hadn’t been sent already) to the local caravan park where I could pick it up.

“No!” they wouldn’t do that.

It had to be sent to another post office.

Oh boy! Here we are back to the same situation.  I now have to travel to get the parcel before the next timeframe runs out.

Like I said, I take full responsibility for the situation. I don’t agree with the attitude and the lack of respect. In these unusual times, I would have thought we could be a little kinder and more flexible to each other.

Am I being unreasonable?

What would happen in your business?

What’s Your Pillow Talk? (WT516)

What’s Your Pillow Talk? (WT516)

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WT516 What’s Your Pillow Talk?

The past few weeks, I’ve been focussing on my business and digging deeper into who it is I serve and how I can help, and of course, that means digging into the language I use to help my ideal customers identify themselves. 

I was first introduced to the concept of Pillow Talk by Lisa Sasevich.

Pillow talk is different to marketing speak from marketers and copywriters. 

Pillow Talk is the language your customers speak.

It’s what they say to each other when they are laying in bed talking to each other.

For example, “Honey, I don’t know how we’re going to pay the mortgage this month. I don’t know where the money’s coming from for the school fees. I’m really worried.” 

Compare this to marketing speak, “Would you like to save x% on your mortgage?” “Are you paying too much for your mortgage?” 

Pillow talk speaks to your customer using their language.

It shows them that you know them; that you get them; that you know the conversations they are having with others and in their head. 

It also speaks to their limiting beliefs. 

When you study copy, you can easily pick the ones that resonate with the customers.

Ryan Levesque, creator of The Ask Method, is a huge AFOL – Adult Fan of Lego. Ryan’s genius is in asking your customers what they think, feel and want. Why? Because that’s where we learn our customer’s language. As an AFOL, Ryan gives the example of people who are Lego fans know that it’s spelt and pronounced LEGO, not LEGOS. According to Ryan, anyone who uses the term LEGOS is not really a dedicated LEGO customer because they would never use that term. It’s fascinating to see the difference. In fact, I recently read an article entitled, “Give Away Your Legos”. The article was about business growth, delegation and leadership. I instantly knew the author was not an AFOL. 

Back to you, do you know what your customers are saying when they’re laying awake in bed at night, stressed out and worried about things?

If not, that’s your homework. Go find out.

It’s on my To Do list for the next few weeks, so thank you in advance if I contact you and ask you.

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