Soupfly Travels & Training March 2016

Welcome Back to Soupfly!

March has been a very  busy month and I am very grateful for all the amazing opportunities and experiences we’ve had thus far.  This is an update of our month and recent travels.

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Getting the  Message of “Getting to WOW!” out

Violette’s Vegan

I have been having great opportunities to speak about and train on WOW! Service & Hospitality and I Am the Guest Experience. At the beginning of the month, I continued with a 4 part Getting to WOW! series for the staff of one of our local vegan restaurants-Violette’s Vegan.  Violette’s is a very new restaurant that serves “food that loves you”, owned by former World Series of Poker Champion Cyndy Violette. They have a very friendly staff who are eager to learn and elevate their Service & Hospitality.  It has been a true pleasure working with them and their commitment is evident in that we meet at 9 pm after the restaurant closes.  Never once have I heard any of them complain about the time, rather, they all show up with eager expectation and with positive energy, ready to learn.  With that attitude and focus, I am confident that Violette’s is on their way to Service Excellence.

 

Ellis Island Casino & Brewery

Another new opportunity I’ve had to teach WOW! Service & Hospitality has been at Ellis Island Casino & Brewery here in Las Vegas. Locally owned, a few blocks from the world famous Las Vegas Strip, this venue has a management team that truly cares about elevating their Service & Hospitality.  We had the opportunity to teach two sessions (the day before we left for our trip) and although many of the staff sitting in the training have been at Ellis Island for a long time (10-22 years)  each one of them were attentive, focused, and eager to learn what Getting to WOW! is all about.  It’s very refreshing to stand in front of a group that really wants to learn and sees the value in what is being presented.

When an organization’s leadership invests in training their staff, the team (consciously or unconsciously) begin to realize that management actually cares about their success.  This then leads to everyone starting to up their game.  Organizations that don’t see the need or the value of investing in training tend to stagnate and get to a point where they’re just going through the motions.  The Service & Hospitality industry is a very demanding business and it’s not easy to take care of, give great service, maintain a positive attitude towards-your guests all the time, every time.  But when the Service Professional feels that the leadership have their back and want them to succeed, there is a greater chance that they will. Working with the Front of the House team at Ellis Island was a very rewarding opportunity for me and we are planning for more sessions as I write this.

St. Louis Bound

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The day after the Ellis Island training, Michelle, (my wife) and our 3 puppy babies-Lilly, Carly & Bruno-woke up at 5 am, packed and loaded the car for our long journey to St. Louis, Missouri.  We were traveling there to celebrate Michelle’s father’s 70th birthday.  What made it a ‘long journey’?  Well, for whatever reason, we decided to drive all the way through- 23 hours of drive time-to St. Louis.  Michelle and I took turns driving, the puppies helped navigate-neither Lilly or Carly tend to sleep while we’re driving.  Bruno, our 3 pound Chihuahua, however, made out the best, as he was very content to sit on the lap of whichever one of us was not driving.  Of course, he prefers Michelle’s lap.  We made it to St. Louis in just about 26 hours from the time we left Las Vegas.

Acero Ristorante

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Once we got settled in our hotel, I went to see my friend Chef Adam Gnau of Acero Ristorante in Maplewood,-near St. Louis.  Adam is one of the very first Industry Professionals that I interviewed for my book, Getting to WOW!  Not only is Adam an amazingly talented chef and has many culinary accomplishments at such a young age, he genuinely gets what WOW! Service & Hospitality is all about. So, to finally see him since my book came out and to hand deliver him a copy was a great honor for me.  Thanks, Adam for all your input in Getting to WOW!  For my readers who live in St. Louis, if you’ve never been to, please do yourself a favor and go have dinner at Acero in Maplewood-you’ll be glad you did.  And tell Adam, I sent you.

Book Signing where it all began-Paul Mineo’s Trattoria

The next day we had a Getting to WOW! Book signing event at Paul Mineo’s Trattoria in Westport Plaza.  It was while working at Paul Mineo’s, many years ago, that I got the inspiration for writing my book, Getting to WOW! Everybody WINS with 5 Star Service.  And although I learned that the owner, Brigitte, would not be there this time for the event, I did get the opportunity to see her when I dropped by the day before to check out the location. We had a nice event catching up with some family and friends at Paul Mineo’s including my friend Al Danklefsen, who contributed to my book and long time regular-John Pisa who just happened to be visiting St. Louis at that time-and Michelle’s friends- Vickie & Steve.   I also got to see some former co-workers-James, the Chef, Brett the Bartender, and Jose and Roldan in the kitchen.  Michael, Brigitte’s brother, was a wonderful host and we were very grateful for the opportunity to have our event there.  If you are St. Louis, and you wish to enjoy traditional Italian fare in a beautiful setting, then Paul Mineo’s is the place for you.

 

Family Time

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After our event at Paul Mineo’s, the next few days was spent visiting Michelle’s family around St. Louis.  We celebrated her Father’s 70th birthday and also got to connect with other family members-some of whom Michelle had not seen for years. Every day we drove somewhere-one hour outside of St. Louis, one and a half hours out of St. Louis and it was well worth it. To be able to take a trip like this and see so many people over a span of a few days is a blessing.   We even were met with a heavy burst of snowfall on the drive out to her sister’s for Sunday brunch.  It was pretty to see.  It’s always nice to see snow.  I just prefer to not live by it. Thanks to Shannon and Jason and their family for the warm hospitality on that cold snowy day.

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Our last night in St. Louis we had dinner with Michelle’s family at the restaurant we had our first date at over 3 years ago-Helen Fitzgeralds in South County.

After 4 days in St. Louis, it was time to begin heading west again.  Michelle’s son, Greg lives in Kansas City.  He is a Social Worker and although we would be driving right thru, his schedule was not going to allow us to see him, at all.  But just as we were on the outskirts of town, Michelle said, “I’ll just text him once more to see if he can get away for a few minutes.”  Talk about being in tune, when Michelle texted him, we were just coming upon the exact exit at which Greg was doing a home visit.  I don’t remember the name or number (of course, Michelle does) but Greg immediately texted her back and said that’s exactly where he was at.  So, we got off the exit and drove  a few minutes to where he was.  Even just for 5 minutes to say hello and exchange hugs-our timing was perfect.

We arrived in Loveland on late Monday evening.  The front desk staff at the La Quinta were very friendly.  However, we wondered why they chose to put us in a room that was immediately in front of where construction would be taking place the next morning at 8 am.  Their reply was that they did not know the night before where they would be starting the construction.  I find that very hard to believe.  It just so happened that all rooms on that floor were unoccupied except for ours.  It was very disruptive and impossible to sleep in the morning (after having driven for 14 hours the night before) and hearing a constant tapping and banging right outside our door.

Great customer service would be to consider your guests situation- are they perhaps planning/hoping to sleep in in the morning?  Perhaps giving them a room that is far from the construction would make their stay more enjoyable.  As I mentioned, the staff were very friendly, but this one aspect of our stay made it less than pleasant. Also, after having requested for a late check out,  both the night before, and that morning, two times in the span of 10 minutes, we had housekeeping knocking at our door at 9 am to see if they could clean our room.  This is NOT WOW! Service.

Contrast that with our stay at a La Quinta in St. Louis, where they too, were doing construction,  but they actually closed the entire floor where the construction was taking place, so as to not be disruptive to the guests.

The front desk staff at the Loveland La Quinta did help me out when  I had asked them where I might find an Office Max or some place similar to make copies for my presentation, but instead of giving directions, they offered to make the copies for me.  Thanks, La Quinta staff.  That saved us time and money.  Next time, please  focus on being attentive to your guests’ need for peace and quiet.

I have much more to share so we will close for now and resume with Part 2  in a couple of days.

I am very grateful for ALL my Soupfly readers from around the world.  I would like to recognize and say Thank You specifically to our March readers from the following countries:  

United States, Germany, Philippines, Brazil, Slovakia, Australia, United Kingdom, India, Czech Republic, Italy, Singapore, Canada, Malawi, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Russia, Viet Nam, Belgium, Indonesia, Colombia, France, Latvia, Slovenia, Portugal, Norway, Austria, South Africa, Spain

 

Thanks for Reading!  Please feel free to Comment below, Like us on Facebook:

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And Share on Social Media.

Elevating Service & Hospitality,

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Christoff J. Weihman

ASPIRE Enterprises

Las Vegas, NV

http://gettingtowowbook.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Creating 5 Star First Impressions for Your Customers

Welcome Back to SOUPFLY!!

 

The first impression that a person has of your business  is often determined within 5 minutes upon walking into your establishment.  What they see and experience sets the tone and the expectation they have for doing business with you.   What does it take to create a WOW! first impression?  Are you and your team consistently creating 5 Star first impressions for your clients, customers & prospects?  And if not, why not?

Today we want to delve into this very crucial topic-

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Creating 5 Star First Impressions in Your Business

 If you are like many business owners, you may be spending tons of money on marketing and advertising-to announce to the marketplace about your business but are you taking advantage of your marketing success? Are you just assuming that once they’ve been attracted to your business that they’ll spend money,  and become & remain a loyal customer?  True, advertising & marketing is what brings them in, makes them aware of you, and causes them to consider purchasing your product or service.  However, are  those marketing and advertising dollars that you are spending to get them in the door, or on the phone or on your site-being wasted because you did not spend the same amount of time, care, attention and training on creating  that great first impression?  This happens all the time in industry after industry, business after business.

We must make the Service that we provide, the Experience that we deliver to our customers, as important, if not more so, than the advertising hook that entices them to consider doing business with us.

How to Create a  5 Star First Impression

Before I share with you some thoughts on how to create a 5 Star First Impression, let me ask you a question-When does one make a first impression?  Is it when the customer or prospect first meets you?  Or is it when they walk into the reception area or the lobby of your business?  Is it when they call you on the phone?  Is it when they look on your company website or your business profile on Twitter, Linkedin or Facebook or other social media site?  The answer of course, is-yes, yes, yes & yes.

We must realize that oftentimes a first impression is formed in the mind of the prospect or customer long before they even set foot in your place of business, long before you get the chance to meet them.

Things that Influence a First Impression

1.) Your Reputation in the MarketplaceWhat do other customers, previous and current say about your business?  This can be ascertained through looking up online reviews on Yelp, Trip Advisor, Angie’s List, or other sites specific to your industry.  This can also come from the most powerful and cheapest in cost-(as in free) form of advertisement- W.O.M. or Word of Mouth Marketing.  What are those customers saying about you, your business, your staff, how easy it is to do business with you, how you treat your customers, the quality of your product or service?

Your competition-what do they say about you?  Most people who are honest will speak fairly about their competition even though they may not like you or feel happy about the share of the market that you command.  Unless one is in politics, a person generally is not going to make up lies about their competition. Does your competition speak highly of you, say you have integrity, admit that you have a decent product, that you treat your customers well?

Your employees-How do they feel about your company as a place to work?  Are people clamoring to get hired at your place of business?  Or do employees dread coming to work at your there? When you have an opening are you easily able to find qualified candidates or does said position remain vacant for long periods of time?

All of the above contribute to your reputation in the marketplace and can have an influence upon potential customers’ first impression of you and your business. However accurate or inaccurate those assumptions may be-there is a strong likelihood that a customer considering your company has been affected by some of these opinions of others.

2.)  Environment

We hear this in real estate all the time-‘location, location, location’.  This certainly has an impact upon a person’s mental perception and thereby their first impression of the business.  Are you located next to an empty lot and dilapidated old buildings? What does the front of the building look like?  What is the look and feel of the lobby? Is the lighting inviting?  Is the music, the decor etc. appropriate to the type of business?  What do these things combined make a person feel as they walk in?  If you are running a professional law office or dental clinic, for example, you probably don’t want to have super bright lights, extreme gaudy color schemes and hard core punk or rap music playing.

While all the things we mentioned so far can and do have an impact and influence upon a customer’s first impression-many of us are not the business owner and we don’t make the decisions on such things.  So, how can we affect a customer’s first impression?  The following are things that any one and everyone on the team/staff, regardless of position, can control.  You are the one who can greatly influence and either positively or negatively affect a customer’s first impression.

3.) Engagement– When someone walks in to your place of business-Welcome them. In fact actually saying the word “Welcome” will make the person feel-welcome.  Do not be on your phone, looking down.  You should be looking forward, smiling, with expectancy. Don’t be more engaged in conversation with your co-workers that you make the customer wait until you finish your conversation.  This is not being welcoming.   It seems strange to me that people whose job it is to greet the customers or guests, are often looking down, unaware and seemingly surprised or taken a back when someone actually walks through the door.  This is a place of business, right?  So, be prepared and don’t be surprised when a customer comes in the door.  As mentioned above, the environment, the exterior and interior of a business can contribute to a customer’s first impression, however, no matter how beautiful the decor, the ambience are, nothing trumps a friendly welcoming greeting from a live person to set the tone for a great first impression.

4.) Enthusiasm & Positive Energy-When you greet & welcome your customers, have some positive energy in your voice.  Let them know and feel that you truly are happy to see them.  They are the ones who pay your salary-right? All too often customers are met with a very non-chalant, no energy, or low energy attitude by the one greeting them.  It shows that you wish you were somewhere else and that you really don’t care about the customer.  If you don’t enjoy what you do, maybe you should find a different job.  This applies not only to greeting customers in person but also when answering the phone.  Be upbeat, act like you are happy that the customer called.  How you greet your customers/prospects has a huge impact on their first impression of the business.

5.) Your Appearance-Dress for Success-that may be a cliche-but it’s a true one. How you feel about yourself is going to affect how you engage with customers.  If you are at a place of business you ought to dress appropriately for where you work.  If you are the front desk manager at a local fitness center then athletic attire makes sense.  If you work in a hotel or restaurant, yoga pants might make you feel comfortable but probably aren’t appropriate for that environment.  Being well groomed and dressed for the business that you are in all add up to make a great first impression.

There are a myriad of other things that can influence a customer’s first impression. In fact, Ravi Shukle-Online Customer Service Expert from the UK, and I did an entire Blab Session on this very topic recently.  As a special treat I have added the video of our session below.  In it Ravi also shares some insights on making 5 Star First Impressions in the Online world.  I hope you enjoy watching.

Thank you for Reading! I am very grateful for ALL my Soupfly readers from around the world!  I invite you to share on Social Media.  Please feel free to leave your comments below.

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To order a copy of my book, Getting to WOW! Everybody WINS with 5 Star Service you may check out my website:

http://gettingtowowbook.com/

For my international (outside of the US) readers to order a copy please go to Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Getting-WOW-Everybody-WINS-Service/dp/0692359192/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1457570752&sr=1-1&keywords=christoff+j.+weihman

Elevating Service & Hospitality,

Christoff J. Weihman

ASPIRE Enterprises

Las Vegas, NV

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Exciting News from Soupfly-February Updates

WELCOME BACK TO SOUPFLY!

Happy March 1 Everyone!

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Temperatures in Sunny Las Vegas are now in the 80s!  I love living here.  I have some very exciting news & updates to share with you!

Guest Speaker at WIPA

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February has been a fantastic month with some great new opportunities for which I am extremely grateful.   I was invited to be the guest speaker at this year’s first WIPA (Wedding Industry Professionals Association) Event at Red Rock Hotel & Casino here in Las Vegas. It was one of my first times to speak about WOW! Customer Service to a non-restaurant group.  WIPA is comprised of many types of vendors-all whom service the wedding industry.  As you may well know, Las Vegas is the wedding capital of the world-with nearly 100.00 performed here each year.   It was a great honor and privilege to stand in front of about 70 wedding planners, floral designers, photographers, djs, caterers and more.

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My presentation on “I Am the Customer Experience” received very positive feedback.  And each time I stand in front of a group, whether it be an audience of 80 or 8 people, I am grateful for the opportunity to share the message of WOW! Service & Hospitality, and I myself, also, always learn something new. Sometimes I get a great response from one of the audience members that I then incorporate into my training next time.  Other times, I learn something that I should do differently to be more effective in my presentations.

Getting to WOW! Training at Violette’s Vegan

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Also, in the month of February, we began a 4 part series of Getting to WOW! Training for the Front of the House Staff & Management at a local vegan restaurant-Violette’s Vegan.  Violette’s is owned by former WSOP poker champion turned restaurateur- Cyndy Violette.  Violette’s serves healthy, organic, fresh made, vegan cuisine-“food that loves you” she calls it.  Her staff and management are eager to learn about “WOW! Service & Hospitality” and after each session they tell me they are inspired by the information I’ve shared with them.  If you live in Las Vegas- I encourage you to give Violette’s Vegan a try.  I’m confident that you will feel warmly welcomed in this casual, vibrantly colorful, peaceful environment. They even have live music on Friday evenings.      http://violettesvegan.com/

 

 

I’m excited that I am now very close to bringing Getting to WOW! Service & Hospitality Training to 2 other major Hotel/Casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. What are those 2 locations?  It will have to remain a mystery while we work out the details.

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St. Louis Bound

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In two weeks, my wife, Michelle, her daughter-Melissa & her puppy and our 3 puppies will be driving cross country to St. Louis, Missouri to celebrate Michelle’s Dad’s 79th birthday.  We look forward to seeing friends and family during our short visit. We will be in St. Louis from March 18-20, leaving early on the 21st.  If you’d like to see us, please message me here or on FB or Michelle. We are planning on having at least one book signing event while in St. Louis, most likely on Friday, March 18.  Details will be posted on Social media once we finalize them.  And…

Book Signing Event in Loveland, Colorado at Door 222!

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On our return to Las Vegas, we will be passing through Loveland, Colorado and we’ll be having a book signing event/presentation at Door 222 Food & Drink, on Tuesday, March 22.  Jim Edwards, the owner, is one of the industry experts/restaurateurs that I had the privilege of interviewing for my book, Getting to WOW! Everybody WINS with 5 Star Service.  I am very excited to connect with the people of Loveland and share the message of WOW! Service and Hospitality with them.  I know this will be a fun and exciting event. Details coming soon.

And finally…

A NEW BOOK IN THE WORKS!

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That’s right my friends, I am currently in the midst of writing my 2nd book, my Best Seller, entitled-I AM the Customer Experience-Taking Ownership of the Service You Deliver & Creating a Culture of Care.

My passion is Service & Hospitality and Customer Service.  As I’ve been doing my Getting to WOW! Trainings, so much more information has come my way and I intend to incorporate much of that into this next book.  There is such a vast need for great customer service in every industry and business category-it is my desire to inspire, motivate, challenge & equip people to deliver WOW! Customer Experiences regardless of the business they are in.

I will be sharing with you updates about the book and even asking for your insights and ideas as we progress on this project.  Also, there will be an opportunity to pre-order copies in the near future.

I am very excited about this project and have a very ambitious timeline that I expect to fulfill.  I am planning to finish this in a very short period of time.  I already have  a handful of Customer Service Experts that have agreed to lend their insights & expertise in allowing me to interview them.  So, in the very near future, you will see book number 2 by this author, Christoff J. Weihman-I Am the Customer Experience!

Thank you for reading!  I am so grateful for my readers.  I am blessed to have readers in over 108 countries around the world.  I would love to meet and connect with you, my readers.

I invite you to comment below or feel free to email me and share your thoughts and input about Soupfly.  As always, I appreciate when you share on Social Media.

 

To order your copy of my book, Getting to WOW! visit our website:    http://gettingtowowbook.com/

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For our friends outside the US-to order please visit Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Getting-WOW-Everybody-WINS-Service/dp/0692359192/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1456874030&sr=1-1&keywords=christoff+j.+weihman

Until next time-God Bless you and Cheers!!

Elevating Service & Hospitality,

 

Christoff J. Weihman

Christoff@aspire2wow.com

ASPIRE Enterprises

Las Vegas, NV

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