Successful businesses do this really well.

Posted by John Park on Aug 11th, 2014
Aug 11

Thanks to Groupon and other group deal web sites, I’ve been to a number of business establishments once.

Why just once?

In most cases, we got what we came for and so so service–what you might expect from most retail businesses these days.

These flash sale web sites offer an unprecedented advantage to business owners–the ability to clearly identity first time patrons.

Why then did no owner, manager, cashier or server say to us… “Hello, I understand it’s your first time here. If there is anything I can do to make sure your visit is a great one, please let me know. Also, here’s a coupon for your next visit. We hope you come back.”

You get the idea.

Think of it as a relay race. Groupon is running the first leg (getting the customer to walk in) and the merchant is running the second leg (delivering an experience worth coming back for).

Most successful businesses do one thing very well. They know how to identify a new opportunity and capitalize on the moment. In essence, they don’t drop the baton.

A customer walking into your business for the first time is a new opportunity. It can change everything.

Seize the opportunity.

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What Came First, the Chicken or Customer Service?

Posted by John Park on Aug 7th, 2014
Aug 7

My kids and I went to an El Pollo Loco the other day to pick-up some dinner.

There was no one in line. We walked up to the cash register to order and the Manager (in the white corporate dress shirt) said to me “I’ll be with you in a moment” and walked away.

I saw her go into her office and I could hear her doing things–important work I’m sure.

I waited and waited. By this time a line had formed. Periodically, I would get a blank stare from the cooks and the worker bees on the line.

Knowing that I was in a shopping center with approximately 10 other dining choices, we left and took our business elsewhere.

What’s more important than the customer standing directly in front of you?


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I am one loyal GHOST.

Posted by John Park on Aug 1st, 2014
Aug 1

I’ve been going to the same Super Cuts for over 15 years.

They know me by my first name. All of the hair stylists recognize me and they always make me feel welcome.

During the Great Recession, I saw them go from 20 stylists to 8. I heard the stories of how customers were abandoning them for a cheaper alternative.

I was loyal. I kept going on my regular intervals.

But… in reality, I am just a ghost to them. What if I stopped going one day? How would they reach me? How would they look me up? How would they bring me back to my regular haircut intervals?

They can’t.

I am a ghost because in over 15 years, they have never asked me for my phone number, email address or even my last name.

How many loyal ghosts are you serving today? Turn them into real people. They are the backbone of your business.

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The Customer Service Business Lesson From Empty Booths

Posted by John Park on Nov 3rd, 2012
Nov 3

Recently, I took my family of four to a popular neighborhood restaurant.

The place was about half full. The host/waiter escorted us to a small corner table. I asked if we can sit at one of the empty larger booths.

The waiter asked the manager who promptly said no. The manager went on to explain that the booths were only for larger parties. Normally, I would engage at this point but I was so tired after a long day, we just accepted the small table.

Our dinner experience lasted for about an hour and a half.

And… giving me cause to write this piece, the booth we wanted to sit at was empty the entire time. I guess the phantom customers never arrived. The nonexistent customers were of higher value to the manager than us paying customers.

I would like to think that this scenario is not familiar to you and that something like this has never happened to you. Unfortunately, I know that’s not true.

In business, it’s important to take care of the customers you have instead of the phantom customers you are expecting.

Fleeting are the customers who are mistreated by you and courted by your competitors.

Focus on what you can control in 2012.

Posted by John Park on Jan 2nd, 2012
Jan 2

Movie ticket sales hit a 16-year low in 2011. The theater industry attributes higher prices and the prevalence of new platforms to view movies.


I certainly believe this is true and I am certain that these factors played a key role.


However, I was surprised to learn that the industry did not mention what role customer service may have played in this outcome. To be specific, I am referring to the lack of or declining customer service in movie theaters. Civilized decorum and the almost cliche concept of “Silence is Golden” has become increasingly absent in the theaters. It is common to find crying babies, people using their phones, disruptive or obnoxious behavior. And, I am not even mentioning those who love to kick the chairs of the persons in front of them or those who use the theater floors as their personal trash cans leaving the auditoriums in a disgusting state. If you spend more than 5 minutes reading online reviews about movie theaters, it’s clear that I am not the only one who feels this way.


This is another example of an industry using the economy as a scapegoat. Customer service is the one area of any business that can be transformed instantly. Best of all, it can be transformed without a heavy financial investment. Examples include answering the phones a certain way or just saying “Thank You” properly.


There is nothing you can do about the economy. It is what it is. Instead of using it as a crutch for poor results in 2012, focus on what you can control. You have 100% control of customer service.


I say… bring back the ushers with the flashlights.





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