Archive for the ‘Value equation’ Category

Bell Canada…are you kidding me?

 Over the course of the last year as I have written my blogs (this is number 114) I have had a few situations that have driven me to ask the question that is a sure sign you are not satisfied with the results or value of a customer experience…”are you kidding me?” This past week I had a situation with Bell that I had to tell you about.

 My family has a cottage that I lived at this summer for roughly six weeks and as a result had added a long distance package onto the Bell phone service. This phone has been at the cottage for just over 20 years and the bill for the basic phone service has been paid every month, on time, for that entire time. At no time in the last 20 years have there been any additional services on the line other than the ability to receive and make calls. From the middle of September, when I left the cottage, until last week the phone up there has not been used to make or receive a call, let alone receive or make a long distance call. As well, due to a recent move at the same time, I had not received a Bell phone bill over that period of time and was only updated as to the outstanding bill last week. Once I was advised about the outstanding amount I immediately called Bell Canada and offered to pay the bill. When I was told that the bill was over $300 for 4 months I questioned how it could be so much? When they explained that the long distance package had remained on the phone for the last 4 months and thus the bill was what was stated, I asked for some consideration. I suggested they check the phone line to confirm that the line has not been used at all, let alone for a long distance call over the last 4 months. To this I was told it is not the job of Bell to monitor people’s phone lines and remove services when they are not used. I suggested that I understood that, but was looking for some understanding in this situation after 20 years of seeing only a basic plan on the phone…of course someone was not there. Again, I was told that the Bell policy was to charge people unless a communication was made to remove the service.  By this point I was chatting with Brian who was the supervisor of the person who had answered the original call…so here is what I mentioned to Brian.

 “So Brian, I get that you have a policy at Bell, but I am hoping you are listening to what is happening here and what you are saying. When this phone was put in at the cottage Bell was the only option for a phone and now there are other options that are actually cheaper. In addition, our family has gladly paid the bill (which is now $41.00 a month roughly) every month for 20 years…no exception. Finally, I recently moved my mother’s home phone to Rogers (along with her cable) because of a conversation just like this, after which Bell spent (my estimate) upwards of $200 in manpower and hard costs to get my mother’s phone business back. Here we go again. I am not asking for you to discount the entire cost of our phone service and I happily paid for the long distance service when I was using it. The total cost of the discount/rebate that I am asking for would be roughly $100, which is a lot less than what you are going to spend to get our business back once again. So with that all said you still are telling me that you have a policy that you have to stick to, correct.”

 The answer from Brian was “that’s correct”.

 How sad. A great opportunity for Bell to hold onto a customer for the short and long term versus just thinking about the short term profit on our little piece of business. Consider what the value is of our $41/month for the next 20 years. I don’t blame Brian for what happened as I also believe that his managers have not empowered him to make the “right” decision versus the decision that makes sense for everyone. The best decisions in life and in business are the ones where everyone wins and it is obvious from this interaction that Bell does not agree.

 I hope by sharing this experience that you too challenge business to make the “right” decision on your business. You deserve it.

 Sorry Bell, moving our cottage service as well. You lose.


The Keg – Just can’t get enough…

 The Keg gets it. Not sure why, how, when or who created the approach to the business originally, but it works. It works in good times and it works in bad times. It works when you are celebrating with friends, having dinner with the family or just pulling up a chair at the bar and going it alone.

 So what is the “it” and how do they “get it”? Well there is a lot more to it than what I can put into a single Blog, but it really comes down to people and consistency of experience.

 The staff at the Keg are called “Keggers”. If any of you have worked at the Keg you probably still find opportunity to use the handle in conversation. Keggers are a special breed. They love the hospitality business or at least they do when they are on stage at the keg. I don’t think I can ever remember an unhappy staff member at the Keg…any Keg. I have likely been to a Keg in every province of Canada and in the US as well. No bad staff. How can it be? I think it has to do with hiring the right people and then treating them like they are your most important asset, because they are. The company spends boat loads of money on staff engagement parties, trips and activities to ensure that their staff know that they are important and appreciated. In addition, it keeps the staff connected and creates the stories and the culture that legends and great friendships are made of. My good friend Mac still tells me stories of his day as a Kegger 20 years ago and still has a special rapport with other staff he comes across in life.

 The consistency of experience is really about providing the fundamental aspects that are important to every dining experience and occasionally going above and beyond when required. The fundamentals (in addition to great staff) includes a great environment (who doesn’t love the new look of the Keg), quality food, cleanliness and the occasional product feature to inspire a new experience for a repeat customer.

 Take the above two ingredients and add a dose of empowerment to let staff and management address any situations that do not deliver the “Keg Experience” and you have the perfect recipe for success in good times and  bad. 

 Looking forward to my next trip back for another great experience.



Barber Shops – Lots of Great Experiences

 I have spent much of my life in Toronto and have not ventured far from the neighbourhood that I grew up in to live. As I have moved around the area over the years I have found several different small barber shops that do a great job at cutting hair and delivering an experience that matches or surpasses their cost….always a good thing for long term business success.

 When my Dad used to take me to Mr. Jimmy`s at Yonge and Belsize, many years ago, it was about the manly chatter and the magazines that were not intended for someone of my age. Today I am looking for a good haircut (as judged by those around me), a little conversation (not too much as I always have a need to close my eyes in the chair) and a few smiles all around (a great energy).

 So here is a list of a few places where I have enjoyed the experience of getting a hair cut over the years…

 North Toronto – Yonge and Lawrence

 Corallo`s – Yonge and Lawrence

Having lived near Corallo`s for over 10 years, I got to know a few of the guys pretty well and certainly enjoyed the engaging conversation whenever I walked in.  Everyone gets the same treatment.

 Paul`s – Mt. Pleasant and Soudan

Returned to Paul`s recently to realize that I had missed the effort that he puts into his haircuts and enjoyed the overall experience. Parking is the only challenge around Paul`s at times.

 Don Mills – Top Cuts – Longo’s Plaza

Had a couple cuts at this store when I was living in the neighbourhood and the ladies in the store were amazing. The cut was good as well, but the playfulness of the staff was entertaining and I encourage you to try it out.

 Leaside – Pat’s – Millwood and Bayview

It has been a while since I lived in Leaside, but Pat’s was great and the head massage with the circa 1950 head massager post hair cut was hard to beat. Anyone know if they are still using it?

 The thing I love about barbers is that most of them get it. No MBA’s (I harsh assumption), no text books, no decks and no over thinking. They understand that we all need haircuts and most of us do it monthly. Building a great relationship with a customer creates a long term client and this is one industry where you can do a great job of calculating the long term value of that relationship.

 12 months x How many years (depends on age of customer) x value of cut = A ton of dough.

 Don’t forget the lollypop.


Hand Dryers – Okay, am I crazy?

 Guys, need your help on this one.

 I know that many women judge their restaurant experience based on the cleanliness of the washroom which men often laugh at. Okay, maybe it is not the number one reason that women choose a restaurant, but it may be number #2 and at worst #3. This all said, I think I am starting to show some feminine qualities or maybe I am just maturing a little!

 Hand Dryers.

 Yep, that is how I choose my chicken wing places. Okay, so maybe it’s criteria #2 or #3, but there is nothing I enjoy more than the ability to get the sauce of a chicken wing out from beneath the nails of my fingers and off my hands, then be able to dry my hands properly. There are options out there and we have seen them all…

  1. Nothing available – Using pants, shirt, coat and other dark clothing pieces that will not show the dampness of the water. Mother always told me that was not acceptable so I try to avoid it.
  2. Toilet paper – always enjoyable as you try to piece the wet pieces together in the form of a towel. Extremely enjoyable. Even better when the restaurant uses 1 ply…nice.
  3. Paper towel – a great option, but cost, the environmental impact, the mess that can be created around garbage cans and the refilling are issues.
  4. The weak hand dryer – I can blow stronger than some of these machines! Seriously?

 Several years ago I saw a hand dryer demonstration at the Las Vegas Bar and Night Club Show and commented “this is exactly what is needed for wing places”. Well, I can’t say that everyone has listened, but to those that have installed one of these new high powered hand dryers, thank you. It is an absolute pleasure eating your wings or any other finger food and getting clean after the experience! Here are a couple examples that you may have seen in market today.

For those who get what it means to keep raising the game in your business, you would make the hand dryer part of your overall Customer Experience by branding it the way St. Louis has done in the pictures below. Well done guys!  Should not be long until everyone catches up to this small, but meaningful improvement in your customer experience…or will it?