Assorted musings from the road


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Two weeks I was checking into a hotel and noticed that the front desk employees were all wearing big buttons with different numbers on them. One person was wearing 26, another’s button read 52, and the third was wearing 94. I approached 94 in case they were displaying their recent mystery shop scores.

When I asked about the numbers the employees sighed almost in unison, and 94 told me the numbers were based on the 100 things that make their property unique. Each employee then begrudgingly shared his/her number.

I like the idea of getting the employees to engage the customers on the uniqueness of the property, but very few people feel good about wearing company buttons. I’ll never forget the time I asked a store employee about the button he was wearing and he replied, “It should just read I’ve got a loser job.” I don’t think he had a loser job, but the button sure did nothing for morale.

I’m not totally anti-button (although I’m close), but it was a great reminder that our employees need to feel good about the customer engagement and marketing programs we create. I’m sure someone at this company’s corporate office thought this number campaign was brilliant, but it didn’t look so smart when #26 looked like she was being tortured as she shared her line on what made the property unique.


One way we can differentiate ourselves in the market is with premium offers and services. One of the fastest ways to disappoint, or even lose, a customer is to fall short in these areas. Sadly, there are no points awarded for effort.

Here’s an example from the road. For the last few days I’ve been staying at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas. One of the premium amenities is an in-room printer. That’s a big deal for a road warrior like me. Now I can print client documents and boarding passes right in my room. Well, I could if the printer wasn’t out of ink.

So now I’m disappointed that the printer doesn’t work even though I didn’t even expect a printer in my room. There are no points for effort.

What are some of the premium or unique things that you offer?

Free gift wrapping, or offering to carryout a customer’s purchase? You can’t be too busy to ask.

Free drinks? Either you do it or you don’t, but if you do and you don’t offer a beverage to every customer you could lose one of those customers who isn’t offered something to drink.

It’s almost unfair that you could lose a customer because you didn’t do something once that practically every other retailer doesn’t bother to do at all. Then again, we score the points and they don’t. Remember, there are no points for trying.


A shuttle driver at the Doubletree hotel in San Antonio totally exceeded my expectations. I was told at the front desk it would be a twenty-minute wait for the next shuttle to the airport, but the driver who was standing there took the initiative to take me immediately since it was only a five minute ride. Talk about making my day!

Here’s where it got strange. The front desk clerk actually questioned him in front of me about whether he really wanted to take me to the airport. Hello!!! I’m standing right here. One employee is trying to deliver a great experience and the other one is trying to talk him out of him it. You can’t make this stuff up.


I love when retailers promote in their newsletter and Facebook the things they do to make their stores a great place to work. Daily Take Five reader Tanya Burmaster, owner of baby store Snuggle Bugz, recently posted this on her Facebook page.

Just heading out to make a surprise pancake breakfast for our staff meeting at the Burlington store this morning … should be a blast! 🙂

Now check out a few of the responses:

Lisa G. I wish I worked for a company that did that for its staff! 🙂

Nicole G. I’d like to work at Snuggle Bugz. Sounds like a great place to be employed!

Oakville Moms. You guys are so nice to your staff! Great job!

Of course Tanya couldn’t let that one slip by. She responded:

Well, we are hiring! If you know anyone that is looking for a job have them check out our website.

Imagine all of the positive impressions this post made. The more you share about your store and your fabulous team, the stronger the connection you’ll make with your customers. Well, within reason.

Have a great week, and I hope to see you on the road.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Doug Fleener
As the former director of retail for Bose Corporation and an independent retailer himself, Doug has the unique experience and ability to help companies of all sizes. Doug is a retail and customer experience consultant, keynote speaker and a recognized expert worldwide.


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