Harmonizing Technology and Personal Service

Posted by on Jan 16, 2014 in Advice, High Technology, Process, Retail, Service, Uncategorized | 0 comments

High-touch and high-tech.  Customers are coming to expect these two service qualities more and more in their consumer experiences, and that trend is not going to go away.  On the contrary, retailers and service providers who excel in providing both highly-personalized and high-tech experiences to their customers will stand out, winning customer loyalty and getting an edge on their competition. Although some people see the dreaded Self-Checkout Lane as the harbinger of an ever more alienated and isolated society, where people shy away from interaction with strangers — even the cashier in the checkout lane — having a self-checkout lane is unlikely to make a lasting impression on a new customer.  Offering exceptional service using clean, modern, efficient technology will. In the past, some industries were better at providing one or the other of these qualities — for instance, the club environment has always been renowned for providing excellent high-touch service.  The Apple Store has been a pioneer in integrating high-tech buying options.  But it doesn’t have to be one or the other.  And in the days to come, retailers in all sectors of the economy will need to learn to embrace both high-tech and high-touch service. So what can you do to bring high-tech and high-touch into perfect harmony? 1. Realize that high-tech can enhance and encourage high-touch. In the past, the staff at your favorite club or restaurant might remember you from visit to visit without the use of technology, partly because people tended to stay in the same job for years at a time.  Today, the job market is rather more fluid, and while there are people who do stay in their jobs for the long-term, staff members, especially in the lower pay-grades, will likely come and go.  A high-tech CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system will help your staff keep tabs on your customers’ past purchases, preferences, likes and dislikes, so that they can provide more personalized attention and service even when you experience employee turnover. 2. High-tech POS solutions free your employees to provide better service. Two annoying things can happen when low-tech POS systems hamper your employees’ ability to serve your customers.  Either the employee gets chained to a stationary POS terminal, where they are inaccessible to customers who might need help or advice elsewhere in the store, or the employee leaves the stationary POS terminal to help some customers and leaves those ready to purchase waiting at an empty checkout — annoyed, impatient, and possibly rethinking their purchase.  Unleashing the sales process by implementing a mobile POS allows your employees to be available to the customers who need help, when they need it, where they need it — whether it’s help finding the...

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Top 4 Club Innovations for 2014

Posted by on Jan 14, 2014 in Advice, Process, Uncategorized | 0 comments

2014 is in full swing, and it looks to be a big year for club establishments throughout the country.  In the news recently, ClubCorp, Inc. announced that it would be undertaking $20M in renovations for 10 of its clubs, designed to make them more appealing to the young professional demographic.  Here are the top 4 innovations to keep an eye on this year, as country, city and speciality clubs look to improve the famous club experience for their members. 4.  Better Services for Business Professionals Few things are more annoying than an off-site meeting in a conference room that ranks somewhere between the Jurassic and Neolithic Periods in terms of accessibility options. Look for more clubs to offer integrated charging stations and wi-fi accessibility as improvements to the business meeting experience. 3.  Innovations in Food — Fresh, Local, Creative Troy Tolbert, Executive Chef at San Luis Obispo Country Club (SLOCC) in California, has taken a new approach in the kitchen by using local sources to bring in the freshest food for his creations.  Going local is an innovation that not only supports growers in the area and brings high quality ingredients to diners, but it also gives the club a totally unique flair. Given the great success of Tolbert and SLOCC, more clubs will likely look to adopt this approach to food and beverage in the near future.   2.  New Kinds of Clubs In coming blog posts we will be looking more closely at a brand new club — and a brand new kind of club — in the DFW metroplex, The Frisco Gun Club.  This innovative establishment combines the luxury and personal attention of a country club with the amenities, training opportunities, and retail options of a more traditional gun range.  The Frisco Gun Club is a pioneer in the club setting, taking the famous club environment beyond golf and yachts.   1.  New Look for a New Generation Just as clubs are looking to provide more modern amenities for a new generation of business professionals, they are also seeking to improve the club experience for a younger generation of members and their families.  One of ClubCorp’s planned renovations involves providing new lounge and media rooms for families to gather, watch the big game (or, play the big game!), relax and enjoy great food and great accommodations.         Photo Credit:  VIP Lounge courtesy Frisco Gun...

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Iconic Christmas Movies

Posted by on Dec 20, 2013 in Iconicology | 0 comments

We’re fast approaching Christmas, so what better way to get into the festive spirit than thinking about some of the most iconic Christmas movies of all time?  Everyone has their favorites, their family traditions, their secret indulgences.  Here’s my list of most iconic movies…what is yours?  Leave a comment and share your favorites!   5. Miracle on 34th Street (1947) I actually came to this movie rather late in life, but it definitely ranks among my holiday favorites.  We all know the story — a little girl who has long-since given up believing in Santa meets a Macy’s store Santa who claims to be the real deal, who will stop at nothing to help Susan and her practical mother believe in him…and in miracles.   4.  Little Lord Fauntleroy For the life of me I can’t find a DVD of this version, but I used to love watching an old version of this classic story starring Sir Alec Guinness and Rick Schroder.  Sir Alec Guinness shines as the callous, hard-hearted grandfather who calls his grandson Cedric back to England to educate him to become the next Earl of Dorincourt.  Little does he know that he’s the one who needs educating!  The touching Christmas conclusion of this movie made this one of my holiday favorites.  Too bad I haven’t seen it in so many years! 3. A Charlie Brown Christmas Who doesn’t know A Charlie Brown Christmas?  Even if you haven’t seen it in years, I’m sure there are scenes that stick out in your memory.  Charlie Brown gets asked to direct the Christmas pageant at his school, but no one seems to care what Christmas is all about.  Instead of the spirit of giving and friendship and family, Charlie Brown only sees the spirit of buying and getting.  But who can forget when Linus stands up and reminds everyone of the true meaning of Christmas?  Like my next favorite, this is a story that never fails to hit home. 2. A Christmas Carol There are many versions of this classic story by Charles Dickens, but my favorite would have to be the 1999 version featuring Patrick Stewart as Scrooge.  This beautiful story of a cold-hearted miser who learns of charity, redemption and the transforming power of Christmas is always poignant, perhaps now more than ever. And because I don’t want to use another entry for the same story, I’m going to give a shout-out here to one of my favorite childhood Christmas traditions: Mickey’s Christmas Carol.  The version we had, tape-recorded off the TV, had all kinds of Christmas stories with Mickey and gang, concluded with a retelling of the Dickens classic.  I still think it’s one of the best out...

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