Working, Training and Meeting Virtually

Technology is great for conducting training, entertaining, or simply holding periodic meetings with management or staff to discuss important topics in the industry. There are many different types of software used for teleconferencing (using technology to conduct a meeting as opposed to a meeting attended in person) however, some helpful tips to follow during your next teleconference have not changed much.

First, pretend that the meeting is actually taking place in person and that the audience can see and hear everything you do. This will prevent some distracting behaviors or inappropriate comments from weakening your presentation or meeting. This includes following some of the most basic tenets of public speaking: speaking slower than usual and enunciating clearly, as well as using abundant eye contact (in teleconferencing you would make eye contact with the camera in place of an actual audience).

If the technology is slightly dated or transmission signal is not strong, you may find that a delay exists between what you say and what is heard by the audience. This is not uncommon, and if you find that there is a delay you should prepare your audience to deal with the delay. Tips like explaining that a delay exists during the meeting will help, as well as explicitly letting meeting members know that you are done talking to avoid overlapping talking and confusion.

Lastly, and very importantly, you should get to the teleconferencing site early to set up and test all the equipment that you will be using before the teleconference starts. It is unprofessional to have a meeting canceled or delayed due a technical difficulty that may have easily been prevented by a routine pre-check. Also, preparing in advance and running through practice meetings or presentations will enable you stay on time with the meeting and not finish either too early or too late.

In summary, these tips should allow you to navigate the still imperfect aspects of teleconferencing while maximizing the benefits that teleconferencing offers.

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Technology, use it!

Technology is an asset to any organization and as such it should be leveraged in the 5 Seasons Restaurant. A search for “adaptability” on the internet results in the following definition: an ability to change something or oneself to fit occurring changes. Recently, an article was published on LinkedIn, a social media platform for professionals, titled Why Adaptability is Making Recruiting Easier and Harder. By the way if you do not have a LinkedIn account, pause reading now and create one. Why? LinkedIn connects you with individuals around the United States and more importantly, it LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to map out the path to your dream career by reviewing the resumes of people with similar interests and desires.

The article stresses that the global economy misses out on $150 billion due to talent mismatch. Basically, talent mismatch refers to a failure to match the skills of an employee with the requirements of the job placement. It is easy to visualize how this mismatch would inhibit productivity in the workplace. Unfortunately, it is not likely that organizations will stop talent mismatch anytime soon. There is already a problem with matching students with the appropriate colleges. Until that problem is fixed, the next step of matching employees with the appropriate career based on their skills cannot be reached. Moreover, employees are not always willing to change in order to increase productivity in the workplace.
So that brings up the question, what is the solution? I recommend utilizing technology to increase productivity in the workplace. Many organizations are afraid of change as well. Therefore, they do not leverage technology and innovation. However, anyone who has ever navigated through on Google Search understands the benefits of utilizing technology to increase productivity.

How would technology be used to increase productivity in the 5 Seasons Restaurant? Creating a method for pre-ordering food online before the customer enters the restaurant. Waiters should have iPad Mini’s to take orders because too much time is wasted between taking the order and delivering the food to the customer. The income generated from increased productivity will help offset iPad Mini costs. The 5 Seasons Restaurants would have a service button that pages a waiter/waitress when something is needed at the table rather than having the waiter ask if something is needed every 5 minutes. Although the restaurant will lose some social capital with the new initiative, the priority is to make it convenient for the customer, not the employee, by leveraging technology.

Setting Up For Success

How customers are treated is the most important aspect in all service industries today. Customers are vital in order to incur revenue and keep the business up and running.  Why?  In order for restaurants to thrive, it is important to strive for success, yet plan for the worst.  There are many ways a restaurant can prove they are customer oriented.  They can do this by overstaffing on holidays, not overbooking reservations, and providing a longer wait time instead of shorter in time sensitive situations.

Restaurants are extremely busy during the holiday season.  Families near and far come together and the last thing they want to do is cook for multiple people.  Therefore, the best alternative is to go out to dinner.  A manager of a restaurant needs to overstaff on those days for it is not easy on the customers or servers to understaff.  Demanding customers want five star service at all times, but being short staffed on busy holidays eliminates the possibility of quality service.  In order for the customers to get the quality service they are paying for, a restaurant should overstaff during the holidays to ensure there are enough employees.

Most restaurants will take some sort of reservation, whether it is the only way to eat at the restaurant or if it is to make sure there is space for a large group of people.  One thing that will improve a restaurant’s customer service is by not overbooking on reservations.  Some customers prefer to call ahead to make certain they will have a table at a specific time. Those who do will become upset if the table is not ready upon their arrival.  In order to prevent this from happening, restaurants must closely monitor their reservations.  When done correctly, the kitchen will not be rushed and servers will not stress about upsetting an already unhappy customer.

Most customers walk in the door, ask for a table, and are instantly seated.  However, sometimes there is a wait during the busy times.  It will be better on the restaurant and the customer if they are told it will be a thirty-minute wait instead of fifteen for many reasons.  When a customer is told their time, they expect to wait that long to be seated.  If they are told thirty-minutes and are seated in twenty, the customer is happy because they feel privileged and get to eat sooner.  Nevertheless, the worst a host can do is tell a customer it is a fifteen-minute wait when it will actually take thirty-minutes.  The customer will be unhappy and possibly walk out taking their money somewhere else.  Remember, customers are how the restaurant makes a profit.  Managers do not want to see customers walk out before they were even sat at a table.

The goal is to keep the customer happy because they generate the restaurant’s revenue.  Following the three tips above will help the restaurant improve customer service.  A happy customer will lead to future profits and keep the business up and running.

 

~Charlynne

When The Customer Goes From “Always Right” To Wrong!

Everyone has heard the popular phrase “the customer is always right”. Whether you are in the service industry, retail business, or sales, this ever so popular phrase has been circulating the business world for decades. However, IS the customer ALWAYS right? Of course no business would be successful without customers, but does that mean that employees must bow down to all customers? Does that mean employees must endure any treatment from customers solely because they are “always right”?

Many people who work in the service industry deal with every kind of customer possible. Some examples are:

  • The indecisive table that quizzes every item on the menu,
  • The table with kids who spills their chocolate milk every 10 minutes,
  • The table that runs the server in circles refilling their sweet tea every 45 seconds,
  • The table that glares at the server every time they approach the table as if they are completely ruining everyone’s meal solely with their presence.

Not all customers are great, but servers tolerate them because it’s their job. The customer could be having a bad day, so the server needs to be aware that customers do not always arrive in a cheery mood. However, there is a line that should not be crossed. Yes, servers are there to serve you, but they are not a stepping-stone nor robots. They are human and have feelings, pride, and enough dignity to know that customers can go from being “always right” to wrong.

There are a couple indicators of when a customer has crossed the line.  When the customer becomes violent, obviously that is intolerable. There is also verbal abuse, which is the most common issue. Some customers feel as if they can talk to employees any way they would like. If someone begins yelling, service should be cut off immediately. If a customer begins insulting an employee, service should be cut off immediately. Customer service is an important part of business and it is vital to have employees that exhibit great quality customer service.

Another vital part of customer service is knowing how to react in certain situations. When the customer becomes irrational, it is the server’s job to know how to handle it. They should try to empathize, negotiate, or settle the issue if possible. If that does not work, the supervisor must be notified. Supervisors have had adequate training in customer service and should be able to handle the situation at hand. If the conflict surpasses the supervisors’ authority, contact the police. It is important for everyone to exhibit quality customer service, however, it is also important to know that a customer can go from “always right” to wrong, and to know the proper actions that servers should take.

 

Storytelling To Meet Your Restaurant Objectives

Customer service is crucial to business success. If you sat down in a restaurant and the meal was excellent, the price was fantastic but the employees treated you poorly, inattentively or worse, were rude; how likely are you to go back to that establishment? In this example, the restaurant had a few things going for it but left out the “special sauce”; the intangible value of great customer service and this is where Storytelling as a training tool comes in.

While many restaurants have standardized manuals to train employees, not every employee is standard. Therefore, those tips in the manual may not prove effective for training all employees. Crafting an engaging, relevant story specifically tailored to reach your employees will have a greater effect on their job outlook and increase their customer service abilities. Storytelling is especially effective when cookie cutter anecdotes and numbing numbers and figures just won’t cut it. Ask yourself which statement is more meaningful:

  • · 33% of customers prefer being seated within 10 ½ minutes of arriving; 1 in 5 customers who are seated after this timeframe will become difficult to the service staff.

Or

  • · I once had a man who was passively angry at having to wait over twenty minutes to be seated. Once seated, the man ordered a plate, returned it because it was not to his liking, and repeated this process with three more plates before finally berating the waiter and storming out. (No tip included.) In short, faster service will get people seated faster and spare you headaches.

This relates to the retention of information during training. (Which of the two statements are you more likely to remember?) This story was completely made up, but nonetheless the story of the dreadful customer will likely have employees at their best to avoid similar scenarios.

Storytelling can also be used for managers to get acquainted with their staff and build trust. A new manager just settling into the restaurant will want to tell stories about him/herself that display their positive leadership style. Revealing personal information during the storytelling will present you as an honest manager, an actual human being and engender trust from your employees. That trust, along with effective storytelling, will go a long way in improving the customer service abilities of your employees.