Word Of the Week #574: Recognition

July 16, 2015 by · Comments Off on Word Of the Week #574: Recognition 

Recognition – the acknowledgment of achievement, service, merit, etc.

How good is your company at given recognition? How much responsibility do you feel you have? Are you allowed to make important business decisions on your own?

This week features the second of the “6 Needs to Thrive at Work” that Michael Lee Stallard featured in his book, “When workers thrive, companies do too.”

Once again, there are so many different ways to show recognition so I picked a few that were work related. And as Stallard says “they also apply to your relationships at home and in the community.”

Stallard writes, “The second need is recognition. It energizes us when we work with people who recognize and voice our task strengths (“you’re a great manager”) and/or character strengths (“you persevere to overcome obstacles”). It’s almost as if we have a recognition battery that needs to be recharged periodically. The problem is that the plug-in is on our back, exactly in a place we can’t reach, so we must rely on those around us to charge our recognition battery. If it’s not charged, we will feel emotionally and physically drained.”

a recognition

Another great article I found is “5 Ways to Build a Recognition Culture” by Jessica Miller-Merrell. She writes, “Any type of organizational change takes 18 to 24 months to fully take effect meaning that an employee recognition culture doesn’t happen overnight.

  • It Starts at the Top. Any type of culture shift within an organization must have senior leadership support. It’s that simple because without them walking the talk, the change won’t happen. No way no how.
  • Empower Your Employees. Map out a formal employee empowerment policy whether it’s the ability to recognition employees on their own or make business decisions.  The responsibility one has can make a difference in their level of engagement and care they take in their work.
  • Promote FUN. Employees that play together stay together. Make your workplace FUN and ask your staff what they want and need to stick around using employee town halls, stay interviews, or employee surveys. You don’t know if you don’t ask.
  • Shower Them with Affection. Employees need to be recognized in both formal and non-formal settings, public as well as private. Sometimes all it takes is a quiet thank you to employees help drive results. Individual employees and cultures prefer different recognition methods too.  
  • Regular Recognition. And by regular, I don’t mean your annual review or dropping off a copy of the five year employee anniversary catalogue. Regular recognition needs to happen for a positive and engaged workplace.

This week’s focus is on recognition. Do you feel that your talents get recognized? Do you have FUN at work? Do you come home feeling emotionally drained after work?

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Word Of the Week #532: Recognition

October 16, 2014 by · Comments Off on Word Of the Week #532: Recognition 

Recognition – acceptance of an individual as being entitled to consideration or attention.

How many times have you entered a business and not been acknowledged? How does it feel to be ignored? How long is “too long” to make a guest, member, customer or client wait to be served?

I was in Florida last week for the Club Managers Association and thought this would be a good time to revisit my 7 Simple Steps of Service. And #1 is recognition. If you want to be memorable and develop long lasting relationships, you need to recognize and pay attention to all of the people you come in contact with.

First, I suggest you determine how many seconds it should take to recognize your customers, guests, members and clients. When I worked for Houlihan’s back in the 70’s, it was stressed in all of our training the we were to recognize our guests within one minute. Today I would say that is too long! So what is a realistic expectation to strive for? 30 seconds?

Cancun 004

Restaurant in Cancun

And secondly, you need to talk about it with your staff so they understand the importance of recognition. The first person your guests, customers, members or clients come in contact with will set the tone of their experience. I believe the quicker we are to recognize people the more positive that experience will be.

I titled my book, “The FUN-Damental Secrets of Service: How to have fun and make your customers feel good about spending their money” because I believe that if you make people feel good about doing business with you they will come back, spend more money, and tell everyone else about you. Positive word of mouth is essential for success in any business. And I am sure you have heard that people will tell more people about a bad experience than a good one!

This week’s focus is on recognition. How much attention are you giving the people that you come in contact with? How many seconds is too long to wait to be served? How does it make you feel when you are recognized immediately?

I LOVE feedback! Join my Facebook community on my FUN-damentals Fan Page.

Sade Receives Recognition Award

January 10, 2013 by · Comments Off on Sade Receives Recognition Award 

Sade Graduation_0001I wanted to let you all know how well Sade is doing since graduating. She had two job offers within the first 2 weeks. One was full time and the other was part time. The part time job was the one she wanted and I told her, “If you work hard and prove yourself you will have a full time position in 6 months.”  Well, she had it in two weeks!

Then she called me to tell me she was recognized at the Holiday Luncheon. The only problem was she was not there. She said, “My colleague called me to tell me to hurry up and get there. But I couldn’t make it because I was too busy taking care of my client. I missed my standing ovation and award because I was doing my job.”

The following is the statement that her Program Director sent to the other office members.

Holiday Party Recognition Statement – December 13, 2012

“I would like to recognize one of our new Kinship Case Managers, Sade Burell, for her great work ethic and positive attitude.

Before coming to work for YFS in June of this year, Sade had personal experience with foster and kinship care and was also a participant in the YFS Turning Point Program. At the age of 18, Sade came to Turning Point with few independent living skills and no money in the bank, but worked with a staff member there for 18 months and learned how to budget her money and take care of herself. She says that she still implements many of the rules and lessons from Turning Point in her own home now. After graduating from the program, Sade went on to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is now applying for MSW programs.

In her current role at YFS, Sade serves grandparents and other relatives raising children, helping to prevent other youth from entering on re-entering formal foster care. I’m recognizing her today because in the last 6 months Sade has learned her hob duties quickly, joined a task force for professionals who were formerly involved with Child Welfare System as youth, always volunteers to help out with support groups, holiday events, and anything else I need help with, and always comes to work with a great attitude. Working with her daily inspires me to stay positive and always look for the good in difficult situations and I want to thank her for that and for all her hard work with the Kinship Program!”

I am so proud of Sade and all that she has accomplished. She will always be a part of my life!

Word Of the Week #11: Recognition

April 20, 2009 by · Comments Off on Word Of the Week #11: Recognition 

Recognition: acceptance of an individual as being entitled to consideration or attention.

How many times have you entered a business and are not acknowledged? It happens too many times. Do you want to know what I think? I don’t need to pay for abuse!

Ultimate Recognition

Ultimate Recognition

If you want to be memorable and develop a long lasting relationships, you need to recognize and pay attention to the people you come in contact with. I suggest you determine how many seconds it should take to recognize your customers, guests, members and clients. Secondly, you need to talk about it with your staff so they understand the importance of recognition.

My book is titled, “The Fun-Damental Secrets of Service: How to have fun and make your customers feel good about spending their money.” I believe that if you make people feel good about doing business with you they will come back, spend more money and spread the word.

This week focus your attention on the people that you come in contact with and recognize them immediately! Watch the response that you get from them and how it makes them feel.

Reader Responses

“You are right on. I can remember when I was a Junior Manager, this would happen to me. I would think, “Hey, here I am, I am not invisible.” I would be exploding on the inside with thoughts, ideas, information and just because I was not in the business for several years, didn’t mean I didn’t have great ideas. Now that I am the “Senior” Manager and have been in the business now for 35 years, I have made sure I do not do this to younger managers. My problem now is that I build the Junior Managers up so much, they think they are better than they are, Ha. LOL. Oh well, the price we pay sometimes.” — Don Vance

“WOW back to you………..Raise the Bar — How exciting are your dreams? Most people don’t aim too high and miss—-they aim too low and hit! Horse sense is what keeps horses from betting on what people will do.” — John Beck

“When I worked at Central Institute for the Deaf (CID), we would always invite anyone who gave at least $1,000 a year, to the Institute for the Graduation ceremonies. On graduation day, the kids who were graduating -(Which meant being mainstreamed because their speech and their lipreading skills were so good that they could handle being with normal hearing children in their home school districts. Graduation was based on this skill, not on age or completion of certain grades. Sometimes the graduates were as young as 5 or as old as 15.) – the kids who were graduating would each give a personal speech. It was always a very moving experience. Also graduating would be the newest audiologists and the newest teachers who were getting their Masters degrees from Washington University. CID is the Speech and Hearing Department of Washington University. Anyway, on this one particular graduation day, a family who was considering giving a sizeable donation to the Institute ($500,000) was present for the festivities and had the attention of all the big wigs. Another contributor, a 92-year-old lady that no one really knew much about, was also planning on attending. I (not being a big wig) was assigned to help her because of her age etc., although she had driven herself there and really didn’t need anyone’s help. In the process of talking to this woman, I learned that she was one of the very first teachers at CID over 75 years prior. What a thrill that was for me! I introduced her to the President of the Board, the Director of the Institute, and all the very newest teachers. She had a great time that day. A few weeks later, her lawyer called us and told us she had been considering making a significant contribution to CID and after her recent visit, decided to firm up the details. That gift was one million dollars! I couldn’t believe it. I called to personally thank her and reminded her of who I was. She said she remembered me and went on to tell me that “it is not often that you go to a place as a complete stranger and leave that place feeling like a very important person and when you are old, you don’t have too many days where you feel important at all. It was one of life’s greatest lessons to me and if I ever get around to doing a Signposts of My Life Album, it will be recorded there. Every day in this business of album-making and helping families preserve their photos and their stories, we meet very special people. From the outside they may look pretty ordinary. We might even make judgements about their ability or inability to be consultants or their ability or inability to make purchases. But the truth of the matter is, we never really know what another person is capable of. People need to feel good; they need to feel important. There is so much pain in people’s lives that is often not visible. Let us be the first maybe, to lift them up and brighten their day. Let us help them to feel good about doing business with us. Let us help them to feel important, that they are valuable.” — Deborah Timko

The Art of Helping Your Customers Buy

March 28, 2009 by · Comments Off on The Art of Helping Your Customers Buy 

I don’t believe you should ever use the words “suggestive selling” in your establishment.  In my opinion, it implies a sort of pushiness that most waiters and customers strongly dislike.  Instead, I suggest that you show your restaurant staff how they can “help your customers buy,” so that they enjoy their dining experience to the fullest.

The first thing you need to do is insure that your staff knows that their main responsibility is to make every customer they come in contact with walk out of your establishment feeling really good about spending their money!  When this happens, your guests will want to return and spend more money. In addition, they’ll tell friends about you.  So keep in mind that “helping your customers buy “is not a one time practice—it should be a recurring practice if you want to increase your restaurant’s popularity and success.

Impacting the bottom line

When it comes to increasing sales, you have three options.  1) You can sell more items per table to increase the guest check average, 2) You can institute a frequent diner club and increase the number of visits per customer, or 3) You can hope your customers will increase their party size on their next visit. In this article, I address increasing the guest check average.

To increase the guest check average, keep in mind that what worked in the 1980s and 1990s doesn’t work today. In recent decades, it was okay for waiters to simply read through specials as though they were half-heartedly reciting a script. In order to “help your customers buy,” your staff needs to do better. It would help if they understood my “M versus E Theory” –Motion vs. Emotion. To use this theory, ask, “Are you just going through the motions?” everyday or “Are you creating an emotional connection with each and every guest you come in contact with?”

What is emotional connection?

I believe emotion connection consists of a number of things, beginning with body language. Surprisingly, your body language communicates 55% of your message and is five times more powerful than your verbal message (Source: You Are the Message: Getting What You Want By Being Who You Are, Roger Ailes). Body language includes every part of your communication act that is not the actual spoken or written words used.  This includes your facial expression, eye contact, body movement, gestures and posture. Vocal pitch, tone, volume and intensity make up another 38 percent of your message, which leaves only 7 percent for the words you speak. What you say is only a fraction of what you are communicating. Your guests will always read visual signals over the verbal ones.  In other words, you are the message.

Emotional connection also encompasses building rapport.  When you’re in rapport with others you see things the way they do; you hear things as they sound to others; you’re even sensing and feeling or responding to a situation as others are. In some instances, this is easy, almost automatic. People do business with people that are like them. Your best friends are usually just like you behaviorally. Your favorite customers are usually just like you. So how do you create rapport with someone that is not just like you behaviorally? There are two easy ways to do this. First, determine how fast or slow their rate of speech is? Then, “pace them,” that is, match your pace and rate of speech with theirs, by slowing or accelerating your speech.  Second, observe and see whether they seem introverted (shy and reserved) or extraverted (outgoing). Introverts talk slower, and will appreciate you matching their pace. The opposite is true for extroverts.

How do you create an emotional connection?

A server can start an emotional connection with an initial greeting and then develop and enhance the connection with every contact he or she has with the guest. It encompasses what I call the Three R’s. Recognition, Responsiveness and Reassurance.

Recognition is greeting the guest within twenty seconds of being seated. It includes making eye contact, smiling and repeating a customer’s name at least twice during the meal. Eye contact is essential, since most people have negative or unfavorable impressions of people who have little eye contact. The most common assumption is that lack of eye contact means lack of honesty. On the other hand, good communicators and good listeners develop positive eye contact with other people. They perceive you as an honest, sincere, and confident person. In addition, a smile is a universal message of friendliness.  When you smile, you look and appear more confident and self-assured.  You set the mood and tone of each interaction, which allows your guests to feel more at ease and comfortable.

Responsiveness involves listening; you must listen to your customers to determine how you can “help them buy.” Responsiveness includes exploring and finding out their likes and dislikes and making a recommendation based on the information they have given you. When I go to a restaurant and don’t know what I want to eat, my favorite question I ask the server is, “If you could eat here right now what would you eat?”  A typical response is, “Everything’s really good.”  And my answer to that is, “I can’t eat everything on your menu, so pick something.”  They are clearly not creating an emotional connection! Some questions that great servers have asked me are, “What are you in the mood for?  Something light or more robust?  Do you like spicy food or more on the mild side? What’s the last great meal you had?”  All of these are open-ended questions, which engage the customer to talk.  It is part of the process of creating an emotional connection.

Listening and paying attention are crucial to responsiveness. Most people hear but don’t really listen. To be successful, you need to overcompensate in this area, since most people are inefficient listeners.  Tests by Dr. Lyman Steil indicate that right after listening to a ten-minute oral presentation, the average listener has heard, comprehended, accurately evaluated, and retained about half of what was said.  Within forty-eight hours, that drops another 50 percent to 25 percent effectiveness.  By the end of a week, that level goes down to about 10 percent or less.  Once you’re asked responsive questions, listen to your customers’ responses to “help them buy.” When you respond, be very specific and offer them two choices.  Two is very key, because you don’t want your guests to be overwhelmed with choices.

And lastly, Reassure your guests that they have made the right decision.  Reassurance validates the guest, and lets them know they’ve chosen the right restaurant as well as the right dish and the right server. Reassuring also involves repeating back the order and validating their selection at the time of the order.  For example, you could say, “You are going to love the special.  Everyone who has ordered it has raved at how good it is.”  Reassuring means always checking back in two minutes of delivering the order and reconfirming their selection.  “How does it taste? Is it cooked to your liking?”  When they respond with a yes, then you provide another reassurance of, “I knew you were going to love it.”

Emotional connection is never pushy, is always helpful and is all about validating your customer throughout the entire meal experience. When you and your staff understand the importance of connecting on an emotional level, you will have guests who feel really good about spending their money, who come back often and tell all of their friends about you!