Another example of miserable customer service…Alain le notre

front_02Last night I went to Alain le notre in Marina – North Coast.  The branch is two floors air-conditioned and an out-door area.  Of course the open area was full and down stairs as well, so we decided to sit upstairs and enjoy the calm atmosphere away from the crowd.  We waited and no waiter showed up.  My husband went downstairs and asked for someone to come and bring the menu.  They said ok and then we waited again and no one showed up.  We decided to go downstairs and order and then go up and wait from them to bring it.  When we came downstairs my husband told them that we asked twice for someone to come and serve us and no one showed up.  I was surprised from the reaction!

Instead of apologizing, they asked us to sit downstairs claiming that the air condition is not working upstairs so it is better for us to stay down. This is in spite of the fact that we were sitting upstairs and the air condition was fine.  The truth is we were the only ones up and the waiters did not want to go up, they preferred to stay down because it is more convenient and the crowd is all down.  My husband told them that the air condition was working fine and that were he was sitting he felt the cold air on his face.  They kept arguing that it was not working and that it is better for us to stay down. We even explained that we are satisfied upstairs regardless of the claimed air conditioning status, and even then they insisted that we stay downstairs.  We felt the “I do not care” attitude so we decided to leave.  We told him no we are not staying down or up we are leaving.

This is the worst part…They simply said OK! they did not even try to apologize or try to convince us to stay.  Either we abide by their orders and stay where they want us to or we can go to hell….this is exactly the attitude.

Some people think that since i have many guests then if someone leaves angry or not satisfied, it is not a big issue.  And they think that this way their business will flourish.  Well I have news for all of you out there who don’t understand the customer service business, one unsatisfied or angry customer will cost you numbers and numbers of other customers and potential customers.

And by the way this is not the first time I have a bad experience inside Alain Le notre.  Once in Heliopolis branch i was not happy also with the waiters who were snobby and impatient and did not want us to ask any questions, just take your order and leave ….this is what I felt.

Again if they had a manager who knew how to monitor the performance of his staff and made sure they offer the best service to their customers, they would not have dared to treat their guests this way….It is all about management!

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Are you a Freelancer? OR Do you need a Freelancer? … check it out

For the first time in the Middle East a portal has been launched to manage the relation between companies and individuals who need to hire a freelancer to get a job done and the freelancers themselves.  The idea has been done globally several times.  Sites like www.rentacoder.com and www.elance.com are good examples of executing this idea.

The idea is, a company needs to get a certain job done but they don’t need to hire an employee and put him on the payroll just for this job.  Especially if they don’t have a job description for him and they will not really need him after the job at hand is done.  So, they consider hiring a freelancer.  Lots of risks involved of course, like he will not be up to the job, he will not get it done right, he will miss the deadline and keep stalling, he will take the down payment and disappear.  Lots of problems.

On the other hand the freelancers don’t know how to get known so that when someone needs them he can contact them.  Also freelancers are afraid of finishing and delivering the work and then never receive their payment and companies are very good at coming up with reasons why they will not pay.  Another concern is that the company will ask for one thing at the beginning and then the actual project turns out to be much bigger than their original statement.  So the freelancer gets under paid.

Portals that govern the relation resolve all these issues.

n120760168295_1664http://www.lancerscafe.com/freelance

Is the first in Egypt and the Middle East to offer such a service.  I think it is a good opportunity for many people who wish to increase their freelance business and earn more money.

I am not sure yet how well it will be managed and maintained but it seems like a good chance for many people.  If you are a woman who wishes to work at home and earn some money, a student who needs to work while studying, an employee who needs to increase his income or an elderly who still wants to do something useful and add some income on his pension….Then Lancerscafe is what you are looking for.

Good luck to the owners and managers of the site because it is a big job at hand and needs a lot of attention to details.  It has only been launched yesterday, so good luck

Measuring Customer Satisfaction

Can customer satisfaction be measured? Indeed it can!

How many companies care to measure customer satisfaction?  Most companies focus on their financial status and cash flow and neglect to keep an eye of the fuel generator…..the customer.

There are many ways to know whether your customer is happy or not.  Surveys are the most commonly used way.  Companies conduct surveys whether online or in print to ask their customers what they think about their service.  The collected results are crucial to help you know what you need to develop and where are your weak areas to work on them. But in my personal opinion they re not enough.  Customers tend not to say the whole truth when they are filling a survey.  They might want to give you 5/10 and instead decide to make it 8/10, for no reason except they don’t want to be too harsh.  Also your survey might not include the right questions that would help your customer say their true opinion of you.

This is why other techniques along with survey work together to bring you the true picture.  For example: track your customer support department tickets.  See how many customers had more than one issue or complaint, how frequent they asked for your help, how long it took you to resolve their issue, how persistent were their issues.  Tracking these cases will help you know how far your customers are suffering.

You can also make occasional free visits to your customer and see how they are benefiting from your products or services.  You have to know it is not only about selling, if your products and services are not really benefiting the customer he will not be happy even if there is nothing wrong with your service. Being there with the customer will help you teach him how to make the best of what he purchased from you.  This will strengthen the relation and create not only satisfaction but also loyalty.

You can also analyze your sales figures and focus on the customers who are supposed to be your repeat ones i.e. they are considered a constant source of income.  Pick the ones whose purchases has declined or stopped, analyze the cases and see why it happened.  If it is something related to the quality of your service and/or product, then resolve it right away and try to regain the relation.

You have also to put in mind that satisfied customers are not guaranteed to stay your customers.  You have to opt for extremely satisfied and loyal customers.  To reach this stage it needs even more effort on your side.

How to manage people in 15 minutes a day

I enjoyed reading this article published in Harvard Business. They mentioned what they called “The smart coach approach”.  Which means that you can coach and lead your team and motivate them as well without taking too much of your time or exerting too much effort.  You have to be smart enough in order not to take more than 15 minutes a day to lead and coach, to make them feel that you are there with them and help them develop their skills.

http://blogs.harvardbusiness.org/cs/2009/02/the_31_coach.html

It is realy very true that every manager has to give time to coaching his team and help them innovate and develop their skills or else by the time they will lose their energy.

Enjoy reading the article!

A Self-Selling name … Help needed

My dear readers, I want to rename my blog.  I want a name related to the content I write.  A name that would encourage people interested in business and management related issues to visit my blog and read my posts.  Anyone has any ideas?

If you can suggest a name please send it on my email (on the contact me page).  I will go through all suggestions and choose one.

Thank you and awaiting your great suggestions

Marketing MBA research …. Help needed

It will take 10 minutes of your precious time. As a part of my friend’s friend MBA coursework, he is conducting a marketing research in order to gather some information about the automotive market in Egypt. This research includes distributing a questionnaire in order to collect the consumers’ opinions. it would be great if you do this today, because he has a very tight deadline. The link to this questionnaire is http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=OkPcv2ZXdNxIsw9yfv74Kw_3d_3d

Please try to respond to all questions in this questionnaire by providing personal opinions. As I said before, answering this questionnaire should require no more than 10 minutes of your time.

At the end of the questionnaire, you will be asked whether you want to receive a copy of the analysis report of this questionnaire. If interested, please make sure you provide him with your email address when prompted. he will be sending the analysis report by July 31st.

Putting a game Plan

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/front/Federer_embodies_Swiss_virtues_say_newspapers.html?siteSect=105&sid=10919656&rss=true&ty=st&ref=ti_spa

roger_federer_061

 

This article is about Roger Federer winning the Wimbledon and breaking the record of winning 15 grand slam titles, but I like very much the way it is written.  I talks about Federer as a “top manager” who is capable of doing great planning and this is why he wins.

Quoting the article:

“The Tages-Anzeiger hyped Federer as a “top manager”. “From zero to 15 in six years. He achieved a record number of Grand Slam titles in a stunningly short period of time”

In only six years because of good planning he was able to achieve a record.

“That shows that there is a lot more behind all of his successes than a phenomenal talent. He is also a passionate fighter, and he is masterly at managing his talent, and better than his opponents at making a game plan.”

I like very much the expression “managing his talent” – Yes, we need to manage ourselves, our talents and our time to reach our goals.  Also good planning is needed.  You can’t achieve if you don’t know your strengths and weaknesses and work on both and associate this with a good plan.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck!

The title I used for this article is a saying or sort of a proverb.  I thought it best fits for this post because I will speak about managers who do not see the obvious and continue adopting the same strategies which proved ineffective.

A manager should be able to see his faults before seeing the faults of his employees.  If he adopts a certain strategy at work for a long time and it proved ineffective, then he should CHANGE it.  I know a manager for example who adopted a technique for 10 years now and the result was people keep resigning.  He has a very high turn over rate and people hate him around the office.  Employees join the company motivated and hard-workers and gradually they lose their talent, lose their enthusiasm and even lose their interest to work.  Their quality of work degrades and their mistakes keep increasing.  In spite of all that; he always blames it on someone else and never wants to admit that it is his own fault.

screwpole_situational_management

 

 

Part of being a good manager is evaluating your strategies and leadership skills.  You have to be able to motivate your people and bring the best out of them.  

 

 

 

I read a good quotation that says:

“if you command wisely, you’ll be obeyed cheerfully.” – Thomas Fuller

This is very true, be reasonable if you want to be obeyed.  Show people that you trust them, because if they feel that you don’t trust them they will not strive to achieve. 

Also if you want to be followed and obeyed, then you have to be a role model.  Don’t ask them to do things that you yourself fail to do.  For example, if you come in late, you can’t ask them to be punctual.  If you forget certain matters, do mistakes and miss deadlines, you can’t ask them to be perfect. 

To succeed as a manager work on yourself first…See your own mistakes and resolve them and you will find people naturally following your steps.