Tricks to Give Your Business a More Personal Touch

21 Aug, 2015 | Tags: , , , , ,

According to a recent Gallup poll, customer engagement is more critical today because consumers prefer to have an emotional connection to a businesses. Fully engaged customers are emotionally bonded and loyal to the company. On the other hand, actively disengaged customers easily switch between products or services. For example, fully engaged bank customers add up to 40 percent more annual revenue, compared with disengaged customers. Below explains three ways to personalize your customer’s experience with your business.

Genuine Engagement


Surprise your customers by actively engaging them through genuine interactions. Set the standard that employees address customers by name and require that all employees wear name tags or state their name at the beginning of an interaction. Most customers appreciate not being treated like just another face or account number. Encourage employees to engage customers in polite conversation while focusing on meeting their needs. Whenever a customer has a problem, instruct employees to actively listen and problem solve at the lowest possible level. Employees should not simply transfer the phone or pass the problem along to someone else. If the problem is more complex, a timely follow up is critical, even if there is no immediate solution available.

Elicit Feedback

Many businesses want to adjust their business practices to meet their customers’ needs, but are unsure how to go about doing this. Improving the customer experience begins with properly documenting and responding to customer comments and complaints. Hard data and numbers work best when it comes to improving the overall customer experience. Consider formally surveying customers through email, phone, or in-person surveys. Monitor social media sites for postings that shed light on improvement opportunities. Cloud-based platforms that customers can access, such as healthcare communication systems like Solutionreach Patient Engagement, offer Patient Reminder Software and allow customers to easily connect to the company more personally.

Improve the Customer Service Experience

According to Forbes, certain industries are better suited to excel at customer service, such as the real estate and healthcare industries. However, retail and social media are at the bottom of the list. According to Forbes, the key to a satisfying customer service experience is through personal relationships and ample self-service resources. Every customer service interaction should begin and end on a positive note. As mentioned above, genuine and helpful customer service interactions will resolve most problems. On the other hand, many savvy customers can take care of their own problems, but often lack the means to do it. Be sure that your website and social media sites offer right resources, such as FAQs and Forums, so customers can answer their own questions as well.

To recap, businesses today can offer a more personal experienced through genuine engagement, eliciting feedback, and improving the customer service experience. Businesses that offer a personalized experience will increase the number of fully engaged, loyal customers and increase their revenue as a result.

“Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.”


Online Tools To Improve Hotel Management

10 Aug, 2015 |

Time is a valuable commodity in today’s fast-paced world. Unfortunately, the tasks that fill up the day of a hotel manager or employee are time-consuming with little room for any additional activities. When feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to remember the virtual tools designed to make these jobs simpler than ever. With these simple, but effective tools, hotels can be more effective at their daily operations. These tips provide effective ways to manage time and tasks efficiently. 


Online Reputation Management Systems


Each hotel’s reputation has a significant effect on their reservations. Additionally, one of the primary ways that hotels develop a reputation is through online reviews. Many managers are tasked with protecting the hotel’s online reputation, a job that may seem overwhelming. However, there are several excellent tools that make it easy to monitor an online presence. Google Alerts, for example, is a free tool that can be used to track where the hotel is mentioned across the internet. Social Mention and Who’s Talkin are also effective tools to manage online reputations and track what people are saying. Take advantage of these tools to streamline part of the day. 


From booking to sales, a hospitality property management software system is the key to avoiding problems on a daily basis. There are hundreds of systems available today so look through each one available to find the best option for the property. Examples of what these systems do include managing reservations, tracking costs, and training employees. Larger hotels may need an all-inclusive suite that covers all areas of hospitality whereas small hotels can get by with smaller systems. However, be sure to find a system that covers all areas needed for effective daily operations. This system takes some time to set up and learn. However, it can save hours of time and help increase staff efficiency and productivity as well, helping managers to keep costs low. 


Hotel Scheduling Software


Trying to schedule employees is a challenge, but today’s managers can streamline the process with hotel scheduling software readily available. This software can be used to track number of employees needed and how to schedule employees for the maximum productivity. It can be used to plan for vacation coverage as well and takes much of the guesswork out of scheduling. These software programs are used by managers in almost every area and with good reason. For hotels that have even small hotel staffing needs, these programs reduce employee mistakes and increase productivity significantly. Even the most organized of managers is going to make some mistakes which can be harmful for the hotel and its reputation. Keep the process simple by investing in this scheduling software. They’re an inexpensive way to run daily operations and employees. 


Online Inventory Systems


Hotels go through a huge amount of inventory each year. From the complementary soaps to the towels that guests keep taking, it’s not always easy to know when to reorder products. While each hotel uses a different system of ordering, hotel inventory systems are a good way to track and re-order products as needed. Use a complete hotel inventory system to simplify the complexities of hotel room stocking. Even regular employees can be involved in the process by inputting how much stock they use each day to make the process as easy as possible. Having a virtual inventory system also takes the guesswork out of the process and some even automatically place orders as needed. While this system provides benefits for almost every hotel, it is an essential part of larger hotels. 


Clocking In/Out Programs


This is a small aspect of productivity, but can make a difference in most hotels, especially larger ones. Many managers are frustrated with having to deal with employee clocking in and out. One of the best ways to monitor which employees clock in and out on time is to have a time clock which collects the data and sends it to an online system where it can be tracked. This allows management to see which employees constantly show up late or leave early. While simple, it can help to catch smaller problems in the hotel system.
These tools offer significant methods to prevent error and increase productivity. Consider adding these tools to the hotel system to improve workflow on a daily basis.


Why Every Restaurant Needs to Use Scheduling Software

06 Aug, 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

It’s pretty easy to see that communication is a necessity to any thriving business.  In today’s economy, it’s paramount to have a step-up in your communication whenever possible. The restaurant business can be brutal at times, with small margins and long hours, not to mention all the variables that can quickly turn a successful start to a day into an understaffed nightmare!  Keeping a large crowd waiting too long at the hostess station and you may have just lost potential customers forever.  Between understaffed waiters/waitresses, tables that need to be cleared, food orders getting cold, and special customer requests, many times managers and their employees alike can quickly feel the stress of the situation, and that’s not good for anyone!  That’s where innovative technology comes into play.

Share the Load

Using staff scheduling software can lighten a manager’s load considerably by

  • allowing managers to have the ability to create their schedules from home, if they choose, instead of in the midst of all the commotion in their backroom
  • managers no longer need to cater to all those interruptions from employees asking when they are scheduled to work next
  • they won’t be inundated with scraps of paper with handwritten notes trying to decipher when their employee is requesting some time off
  • since now the employee is responsible for adding their own requests directly into the system, if you try to schedule this employee during an unavailable time, a pop-up will remind you about their request
  • when it’s time to schedule that team meeting, it takes the guesswork and out of wondering if you’ve contacted everyone because now, it’s only a button click away

Think of all the time you’ll save by not having to rewrite a schedule over and over again! 

Employee Approved

Your employees will love using the online employee schedule system too!  They’ll be able to

  • access their schedule via smartphone, or simply check online; no more time wondering when the schedule is completed, or having to run back up to the restaurant to check the board
  • input their own requests for time off, eliminating potential disagreements or friction; no more keeping your fingers crossed in hopes that your manager remembers your request
  • receive reminders for when you’re scheduled to work; no more awkward feelings, wondering if you should call work to find out, or just show up and hope you were scheduled   

The Bar

Another important area of a restaurant that cannot be overemphasized is the bar. If a bartender doesn’t show up due to a lack of communication this can cause a potential great loss in revenue to everyone involved. Using a streamlined bar scheduling software can open up lines of communication and increase a restaurants profits substantially by

  • having each bartender’s hours specifically laid out in such a way that meets everyone’s needs; bars typically open during later hours, and bartenders are typically balancing many schedules throughout their day
  • bartender’s having the ability to put in requests from their smartphone or computer saving them time, and better organizing their daily schedule which expands communication
  • increasing profit margins by keeping the bar open on time and keeping those drinks filled; generating greater profits for everyone
  • keeping the highest profit margin available means that employee hours don’t get cut; everyone in the restaurant can be affected by this    

Now, everything goes directly into the system, all in one, easy to use place!

The folks at WhatTimeDoIWork.comhave made a huge impact to help you save time, improve even the best communication, all while saving you money.  This new innovative scheduling software didn’t happen overnight.  It was developed by experts with over thirty years of scheduling experience who took the time to sit down and listen to what managers and their employees both needed and wanted to become more successful.  Taking all their data into consideration, this team has developed a polished system where everything transpires in one place and can be accessed any time, day or night, from any place in the world.  They have produced the gift of giving you less stress and making life easier, while at the same time allowing you more time to work on those other important tasks for your business, you know, the ones listed under all those other papers that you can now throw away!


Suggested Reading: The Art of Promoting Content

30 Jul, 2015 | Tags: ,

The Art of Promoting Content – Tips from @MarkWSchaefer

Promoting your online content can be frustrating. You’ve got content on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, Instagram, and you’re there trying to keep everything together while also sharing the reason you’re there in the first place: your business. You want to be fun, relevant, and humorous, sure. But it’s so easy to slip into a realm of trying to promote your content, and then just turning into a spam account. You know what we’re talking about. Just like “that guy” that keeps trying to sell the world his pyramid scheme vitamins and oils.

Every business owner who is online has to come to understand the line of promotion and spam (so you don’t cross it), because no one wants to be “that guy”. No one wants constant “YOU NEED THIS IN YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW” constantly in their newsfeed. Thankfully, Mike Schaefer has given you a totally free online e-book presentation talking about just this. His e-book is titled “How To Promote Your Content Without Being Spammy”, and he gives the best non-spam advice in quick, easy-to-understand tips.

His e-book has 64 slides and will probably take you no more than 10 minutes to read. You’ll probably find it hard however, to not stop several times during the book and try out some of his ideas. Early on in his e-book he shows an infograph (based on a survey he entirely made up) basically poking fun at what people do with their time on the internet: 48% playing Farmville and 2% interacting with brand messages. The message he quickly gets across is that people of the interweb do not wish to be sold to, marketed to, or advertised to. Then he goes into ten non-spam ideas that you can try while sitting at your computer reading. One of our favorite tips is to join Triberr, a social network for bloggers. Mark Schaefer actually reveals that 8% of his blog traffic comes from Triberr. With that said, we will leave you to read the rest of his awesome content promoting tips in his e-book. After you read his e-book, we totally recommend following him on twitter: @MarkWSchaefer.


3 Ways to Promote Restaurant Staff Communication

06 Jul, 2015 | Tags: , , , , ,

Restaurant staff members are like family, and as such, they act like family. That means they love each other, but they can also have moments of serious conflict. Any restaurant owner or manager knows how easy it is to succumb to the “family life” in the restaurant business. But no owner wants to play the parent when things go sour. Here are some ways you can start promoting a professional atmosphere without losing the family feel that makes working in the restaurant business so much fun. One of the most important things you can always work on in the restaurant world is promoting lines of communication between staff, BOH and FOH, and managers.

1. Pre-Pop Meet-Up

You know the busiest times for you restaurant. Sometimes the most helpful way to promote healthy staff chemistry is by looking ahead for trouble. When servers and cooks are the busiest, that’s when they are most likely to make mistakes. By gathering the back of house and front of house for pre-pop meet-ups, you’re acknowledging as a manager that things are about to get busy, but you should take the time to ask your staff, “what do we need to get through this busy shift as a strong and capable team?” By doing this you’re making everyone feel involved and ready to take on the busiest points of their shift. Also by coordinating these pre-shift meets, you’re creating an atmosphere of professionalism in the workplace.

2. Open Door Policy

One of the reasons the restaurant business can feel so much like family is because more often than not staff, managers, and owners all work in the same space. The “open door policy” that most corporate offices have, doesn’t really work the same way if you’re manager doesn’t have a “door”. Even if you do not have a private office for staff members to come and speak with you at any time of any given work day, you can help by setting aside a set time each week for staff members to feel invited to come and speak with you about any issues. It’s also helpful to give your staff members a more private way to request a meeting with you. Consider posting a phone number, email address, or even anonymous text information poster in the staff room, anything that will help a staff member talk about issues, before acting out on them while on your floor.

3. Strategic Scheduling

You know your restaurant employees. You know who works best with whom, and that means from the kitchen to the front of house staff to the managers. Consider carefully when you put together the work schedules for the week. How can you make the most of the staff you have? Consider if there are some people who enjoy each others time more and work well together. Consider if there are some employees who could use more help during peak rush hours and perhaps that individual should be scheduled with someone who can help that employee during the shift. There is much to consider when scheduling for your restaurant, but by choosing whom you schedule and when carefully, you will make a more productive and enjoyable shift every time. Use What Time Do I Work for your scheduling needs to help you clear your lines of communication!