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3 Days Dedicated to the Monetization of Digital Content

dewDigital Entertainment World 2015 (DEW) is drawing near and organizers are putting together all the final schedules and appearances for their keynote speakers, industry experts, conferences and showcases.

DEW is slotted for February 10-12th and will be held at The Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.

300+ Speakers  100+ Sessions

The three day event brings together leading industry executives from Games, Music, Video and Publishing to discuss, debate, deliberate and celebrate the issues, opportunities and successes driving the digital entertainment industry. The digital entertainment world is changing the way content owners, enabling technology providers, digital distribution platforms and CE manufacturers meet and engage.

DEW 2015 celebrates the visionary content creators and technology innovators who are creating the engaging products and experiences driving the future of connected entertainment.

Major players who have participated in this show in years past include, NFL, Disney, hulu, Google, Facebook, NETFLIX and Microsoft–just to name a few.

For more information, check out the DEW website here.


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The Customer is Always…Ahh Who Cares?!

whocaresIn Los Angeles [and Las Vegas], we have a Chinese-American trendy restaurant called “Chin Chin“. I love the place because not only is the food delicious, but the restaurant is always clean. I’ve been going to Chin Chin for over 20 years now and even though it’s becoming less and less affordable, I am still a loyal customer for dine in and take out.

The other night I phoned in a take out order, like I’ve done on many occasions, however this was the first time I was unhappy with the way I was treated. I ordered two salads and two entrees with a side of white rice, for me and my wife. Even though the kids already ate, I knew that they would want to nibble on something, so I asked for their favorite order, Chin Chin’s Lo Mein noodles off of the children’s menu.

“I’m sorry sir, we don’t sell the children’s Lo Mein noodles for take out anymore,” the phonetress said. “You can order the adult Lo Mein, but not the children’s portion.”

I didn’t want the adult portion. They’re kids and I knew that they were not going to eat all that much so I asked her, “So do you guys not make a children’s Lo Mein anymore?”

“We do, just not for take out,” she replied and reaffirmed, “but you can order an adult Lo Mein for take out.”

Maybe I’m high maintenance or maybe I’ve been living in California too long and have become a little bit of a pain in the tookus, but this explanation was not sitting well with me. I just ordered $60 worth of food…correction…it’s about $12 worth of food that they were charging $60 for–and they’re gonna tell me that I cannot “buy” a dish that they sell in their restaurant because it requires putting it in a box? Not to mention, the price on this tiny box of noodles is $6.00; assuredly a 300% mark up.

So I nicely ask the phonetress, “Aww that’s a shame, my kids really want those noodles. Since we ordered $60 of food already, do you think you can make a little exception and sell me the children’s Lo Mein as part of my order?”

Customer Service 101: The Customer is Always Right. That policy doesn’t mean you have to be a slave to stupid demands by unreasonable customers. That means you have to look at the big picture. Here is a friendly customer that is spending an overpriced amount of money on two meals. He is asking if he can spend more money with your company by buying an item that you already sell. If this request is beyond your pay-grade, put the customer on hold and ask your manager.

What did the Chin Chin phonetress do? She blew it!

“I’m sorry sir, we don’t sell the children’s Lo Mein noodles for take out anymore, you will need to buy the adult portion.” She responded in a curt, ‘I could care less’ kinda tone.

“Yes, I heard you say that,” I continued, “I don’t need the adult portion, but since you sell the children’s Lo Mein noodles in the restaurant, I was hoping you could just make an exception and add it to my order this one time. Would you mind?”

She paused for a moment and then repeated herself, “I’m sorry sir, we don’t sell the children’s Lo Mein noodles for take out anymore, you will need to buy the adult portion.”

I wanted to jump through the phone and scream at this woman at the top of my lungs. I didn’t, but I definitely wasn’t feeling great about the service I was getting. It wasn’t even so much that they couldn’t do it, but the way she spoke to me. All she did was quote policy that shut me down. Not once did she make an effort to make me happy.

chinchinIn over 20 years, I have purchased at least $18,000 worth of meals from Chin Chin. I got this figure by adding $75 (one visit per month) x 12 months x 20 years. Not included in that estimate is the multiple visit months or visits where I brought a larger party of friends and family members, closing checks out worth $200-$300.

With that kind of loyalty, I expect better service. But even if I was a first time customer, an expectation of good service is not unreasonable.

I went to the Studio City location to pick up the food and I was very nice when I gave them the name on the order. They began assembling my to-go order but the girl helping me wasn’t the same girl that was on the phone. Just to test another team member’s response, I told her about my experience with the children’s Lo Mein noodles. This new server gave me the same explanation that the other girl did. I then informed her that I was aware of the new policy but I said, “I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal to just add it to my order, since this is an item you sell anyway.”

Then something amazing happened.

Instead of fighting me or being rude to me and standing her ground, she recognized that this customer [me] may need the assistance of a manager.

She called a pleasant, older gentlemen over and told him my request. Without one hesitation or negative reaction, the manager said, “Absolutely sir, no problem what-so-ever.”

He added the item [that they already make and sell] to the to-go order, I paid an additional six bucks and everyone was happy.

You may be reading this and asking yourself, “will I ever get the five minutes back that it took me to read this blog?” Or you may be wondering, “where is this dude going with this story?”

I’m throwing all this down because I want you to see the importance of good customer service.

  • I have been supporting their company for 20 years
  • I have spent over $18,000.00 at their company
  • I visit at least once a month and recommend them to friends and family

And with all of that upside for this company, one uncooperative phonetress almost chased me away. Yes, whether justified or not, I was so bothered by this silly new policy and her rude, unwillingness to work with me, that I was done. The manager saved our business relationship. However, if that manager demonstrated the same lack of customer service skills, I was outta there and never coming back, even though I loved Chin Chin for so many years.

You may think that’s silly. You may think that’s an overreaction. I’m here to tell you that my situation is nothing compared to most of your other customers–especially young buyers like Millennial kids. Folks walk away from businesses for a lot less. Take this seriously!

EMPLOYEES

  • Go the extra mile for customers
  • Get over yourself and maintain a friendly, upbeat personality
  • If you hate your job–quit–no one wants to give away their hard earned money to someone that has no pride
  • Work hard even if your pay sucks – promotions come faster – nothing bad ever comes from good ethic
  • Thank customers for their business. They could have gone somewhere else. They will next time if you don’t appreciate them

EMPLOYERS

  • Don’t hire staffers to greet your customers that lack people skills
  • Train your staff to be attentive to a customer’s needs
  • Train your staff to say “no problem, I’ll see what I can do” instead of saying “no”
  • Get back out there in front of the people once in a while so you remember what it’s like and can better train your team
  • Recognize staff that works well with your customers – if they make you look good, reward them

I can write blog after blog on this topic but I think I’ll let this rest for today by saying this. Whether you own your own business or work for one, you need to operate and focus on the traits that customers value most:

Attention, Dependability, Promptness and Competence

Make those four assets a standard practice at your business and you are guaranteed to succeed. Go get ’em!


NOTE: Chin Chin and I are speaking again; we have kissed and made up. I want to make sure my one negative experience doesn’t sway you away from the best Chinese Chicken Salad in the business. If you’re in the Los Angeles or Las Vegas area, I highly recommend you check out Chin Chin for yourself. You can find all their locations on their website at www.ChinChin.com.