Author Archives: Mike Urgo

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Go to THIS coffee shop for the best service

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I don’t go to coffee shops all that often, but once in a while the kids will want to get a donut and we’ll stop. The other day my 7 year old daughter convinced me it would be a good idea while we were running errands. As we approached the shop I was about to take a left and pull in and she said “no dad, not this one, go to the one down the road.” Since I always do whatever my kids tell me, I kept on driving :). As we drove along I asked her, why didn’t you want to go to that one. She said, ” they take forever there and they always mess up the order”. We proceeded to the shop down the road and sure enough she was right. The shop just a couple of miles down the road and still on our route did have quick and efficient service with a smile!
drive through smiling pic of car and worker
A few weeks later we were in Hartford and again found ourselves needing to grab a quick snack. We pulled through the drive through and placed a pretty large offer with 3 drinks and some breakfast sandwiches. As we pulled up to pay, we were greeted with a smile and asked to pull forward into the parking lot and they would bring our order out to us in a minute or two. I was happy to do so. We can all relate to waiting in that drive thru line wondering why that person in front of us didn’t go inside if they had such a large order. Well this place has the solution, and such a simple one, just ask that person nicely to pull forward so business can continue behind them while our order is prepared.

Why are some franchises run better than others? Many times it’s competent employees, other times it’s good processes, and still others it’s great management. There are a lot of reasons why things can go well in your business but one common thing is having people that truly care about the work they are doing and have pride in the product they are putting out. These are the people we want to do business with. Those that have a smile on their face and are eager to make sure we have a good experience.

We always stop at the Dunkin Donuts, Bess Eaton, Starbucks or Honey Dew that is closest if we aren’t given many choices because convenience generally remains the number one determinant of our actions. If we do have choices though, we usually exercise them and go where our preferences are. My good experiences this time happened to be at Dunkin Donuts in North Stonington CT and on Washington Street in Hartford CT. If I am in the neighborhood again and need some refreshment, that is where I will stop because I received top notch service there. Think about where you received the best service. Do you tell your friends about it? Do you frequent it often? Chances are yes on both counts and word of mouth is the best advertising you can ask for and it costs nothing!

It doesn’t take a lot to provide the highest level of customer service. Just pay attention to detail, treat each customer as if they are important, and smile! Do this consistently and you’ll be the place everyone is talking about with the best service around.

Mike Urgo Consulting LLC


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Take these steps to promote stong morale on your team

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I was speaking with a friend of mine this week. We were discussing how she has been passed up for a promotion or two over the past two years. Obviously this isn’t an uncommon problem. Many people are passed up for promotions all of the time, whether it’s for a better candidate, a stronger fit for the organization, or they just aren’t the right person for the job.
penguin loves his job
What struck me about our conversation was the ways in which she was passed up. She mentioned she never even received an interview after many years working for her organization. She was obviously qualified for the roles that she applied for so this seemed strange. She also mentioned that some of the positions didn’t seem to get posted internally so that current employees could have the opportunity to apply before the job was advertised outside the organization.

If there is one thing that will destroy morale it is making your employees feel like they have no room to grow. When you choose to hire from outside of the organization before giving your own loyal employees a chance first you have a recipe for mutiny. Thankfully there are some simple steps you can take that will please your employees and also help assure you hire the best person for the job.

You should always post all positions internally before looking outside the organization for a candidate. Be clear about the requirements of the position so that your employees know whether or not they have the skills needed to apply. Some employees may still apply even though they do not meet the qualifications. Take this opportunity to coach and mentor them on what they would need to do in order to apply in the future. This will help them realize you care about them as an individual and their career path.

Give those current employees that are qualified a true chance to win the position. The old adage the grass isn’t always greener on the other side usually holds true. Sure, the employee you have now isn’t perfect, but who is! It’s amazing when given the opportunity how many will rise to the occasion. There is nothing more motivating to someone than knowing their superiors believe in them enough to take a chance on their success. You know your staff well already which is a positive. Those candidates outside the organization also aren’t perfect, but you do not know what their imperfections are and rarely will an interview give you that information.

If you are in a position to do so, make sure your entire management team and human resources group are on board with your plan. It does no good for your organization to have one or two departments that don’t adhere to the company policy. It undermines your credibility and in the end will make all of your hard work for naught. If you aren’t the head decision maker at your company, implement this practice to the best of your ability within your own team. You will soon be known as the leader that everyone wants to work with.

Having a professional work environment with consistent policies encouraging promotion from within will not only improve morale, but it will also cut down on attrition saving your company time and money while helping you grow stronger in the years ahead. Commit to this philosophy and you will soon see your team become the happy and motivated workforce you have been striving for.

Mike Urgo Consulting LLC


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Organizing a meeting? Set yourself… and your space up for success

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Over the years I have been involved in many meetings, as I’m sure many of you have as well. Board meetings, fundraising meetings, planning meetings, town meetings, the list goes on and on. Some are successful and productive while others keep you watching the clock from the minute you walk in. Why does this happen? Is it the subject matter? Perhaps our mood that day?

Many times it has nothing to do with any of the above. It is something that is quite often over looked by those planning the meeting. Simply put, it’s the meeting space itself.
people meeting round table
I can think of dozens of examples of meetings that took place in too large a room for our group. This left people feeling disconnected from one another and out of place. Other times I can remember being around multiple tables scattered in a disorganized fashion when we needed to be around a single table working together. I can even recall an occasion or two walking into buildings where we were unable to find the room where our meeting was to take place.

On the flip side I always remember the meetings that I felt were well organized and thought out. Experienced meeting planners start their successful meeting before you even arrive. This begins with providing good directions helping you find your way to the meeting. Once you do reach your destination, things are well marked and labeled helping you find your meeting space. One of the nicest touches of an organized meeting is having someone greet people as they walk in to provide them with a warm welcome. A warm welcome should never be overlooked and can set the tone of the entire meeting. You may want to consider the use of creative name tags if the group is unfamiliar with each other or if there are new people joining the group.

Your meeting space should also be appropriately sized for the group you are expecting. It shouldn’t be too big, or too small, but just the right amount of space with enough room available should people want to chat before or after the meeting. We all want to feel comfortable and having a nicely sized space truly creates that feeling.

The seating in your meeting space should be well thought out and appropriate for your discussions. I recommend round tables whenever possible to encourage more open discussion and dialogue. If you are working in groups, then smaller round tables may work well. There are many different types of meetings and each require a different seating configuration. It’s important to give this some thought so you place your tables in a manner which promotes the collaboration you are looking for.

We all know it is time consuming to organize a meeting. If you want to make sure your time is well spent and your meeting is productive and enjoyable, take these extra steps to assure success. This may take a few extra minutes of your time, but you will reap the rewards and receive many compliments in the process.


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I have the best idea… but no one knows about it

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kid with lightbulbHave you ever been involved in the creation of a really special idea? Maybe it was an invention, or something revolutionary that would change things in a big way? Or perhaps something on a smaller scale that you could just tell was going to make a difference. I’ve been involved in many of these situations over the years and it’s a very exciting feeling knowing that you have something new that is going to surprise and maybe even help people.

There’s usually a sequence of events that happens when a new product or service makes its way onto the market. There are many steps but we can summarize them into three basic ones. First you envision the idea. Then you physically create the product or service. Lastly you implement the distribution; or in other words, figure out how you can get people to use it.

Over the weekend I watched a very small example of this unfold. I volunteered on the last day of our local fair. A fantastic idea was dreamed up to manufacture and sell tee shirts and apparel to celebrate the fairs anniversary. The vision was turned into reality and a nice product was created. The problem occurred in the distribution phase. The shirts were sold in a small building that was not in highly visible and off the beaten path. If you were walking around the fair you would never have even seen the shirts and therefore never bought one. With thousands of people making there way through the fairgrounds over the weekend, an opportunity was missed to showcase this great product. Although this was a great idea and creation, the message wasn’t received by the thousands of people in attendance, and thus very few shirts were sold.

Too many times ideas and businesses aren’t successful because the entire process of vision to delivery is not entirely thought out. Maybe you have a a great idea but aren’t sure how to deliver it. Or perhaps you feel like you have a great product already, but are lacking ideas on how to create new variations that appeal to a mass market.

Whatever your challenge is, put a good plan together and think through the entire process before moving forward. There are plenty of options available and many of them free. Most states offer programs to help with marketing and business planning. Or check with your local chamber of commerce. You can also ask questions of experts or people you trust and feel have been successful in similar businesses before you move forward with your own product or service. You would be surprised how many people are willing to share their knowledge to help a fellow entrepreneur.

Proper business planning will assure that you will not only come up with well thought out ideas, but that your audience will know about them. In the end, if you have a great idea that is highly visible, everyone wins!

Mike Urgo Consulting LLC
www.mikeurgo.com


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Buying local means more than just saving money

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Gas is $3.95 down per gallon right down the road from you but it’s only $3.75 in the next town over. That’s a decent savings and worth the drive right? It might seem so, but by time you drive there, sit in line for 10 minutes and drive back it’s been 45 minutes and you’ve saved a total of $2.00. All of a sudden it doesn’t seem to make that much sense anymore.

All too often we forget to look at the big picture and how buying locally relates to our daily life. This gas scenario is only one example of fooling ourselves into feeling like we’ve received a bargain.

Of course there are the obvious reasons for supporting the local economy. The fact that we are supporting our neighbor when we purchase goods or services locally. That we are keeping tax dollars in our local communities. We are also helping to keep our friends and neighbors employed when we spend money using local stores and services. These are all certainly great and important reasons to support local businesses, however, one of the biggest personal gains from using local businesses is that it usually makes financial sense too! You might assume that the bigger stores have the better prices but this is quite often not the case.
main street matters pic
I am reminded of when I owned a small beach store and was selling my beach chairs at $49.99 per chair. I thought this was a lot of money, but it kept my margins reasonable and I was able to sell quite a few chairs over the years. Late one season I happened to take a trip down the road to a big-box store and was astonished to see them selling a very similar chair (of lesser quality) for $10.00 more per chair! They obviously were paying a lot less for their chairs than I was, and customers certainly weren’t receiving the same level of service when they shopped there. I’m sure most people would have thought they would pay more at my store being that it was right on the beach, and after all, the big-boxes are always supposed to have the best prices right?… Wrong! Most times we are lured into these large stores with a couple of “specials” that are priced very low, but by the time you’ve bought many other items in the store you can throw your savings out the window.

Take the time to sit and analyize your monthly purchases. Factor in the time and effort you spent buying these items. You will quickly realize how much sense it makes for you in so many ways to buy locally no matter what you are purchasing. You will feel great about supporting your neighbors business, and gaining valuable extra time for yourself during the day.

Mike Urgo Consulting LLC
www.mikeurgo.com


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Who’s in charge when you aren’t around?

Category : Uncategorized

It’s a great question. In this global economy where business never sleeps…can we? Will we lose clients if we aren’t there to answer the phone and e-mail 24 hours a day?

Everyone seems to struggle with this problem whether we punch a clock or are self employed. It’s hard to draw the line on when to stop working. It seems we could work 24 hours a day and never be done. So when is enough…enough?

The most important thing you can do for yourself and your company is to clearly communicate your normal response time. After all, follow up is one of the most important steps in gaining and retaining your clients. If you are an established organization or employee then it might not be necessary to return an e-mail within seconds of receiving it. Your clients know you, and you have a great reputation. They will understand if they receive a reply on the next business day if it is not an urgent matter. The same goes for phone calls.

What if you are a new business, or someone who absolutely feels you have to immediately respond to inquiries? Luckily there are some great options. Consider setting up an automatic reply on your email letting the sender know when exactly you will respond to them and offer another means to contact you in an emergency. Utilize your temporary greeting on your voicemail to communicate this same message. If you are in a field which requires 24 hour support consider hiring a 3rd party call center you can trust to help screen and monitor calls and e-mails. Respond only to the most urgent matters during off hours.
mr pig
Whatever your policy is make sure you take the time to recharge your own batteries. If you burn out you are doing a disservice to yourself and your clients. There are countless studies that show if we are overworking ourselves we are not going to be as productive and fresh as possible and then we won’t be functioning at 100%. Both you and your clients deserve your best, so do whatever it takes to provide the highest level of service possible. As long as you follow up appropriately, you will always be in charge!

Mike Urgo Consulting LLC
www.mikeurgo.com


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Summer is here, time to communicate…with your navigation app

Category : Uncategorized

It’s officially summer this Saturday and you’ve probably already noticed the influx of traffic if you live near any tourist destination. For most people who live in my neck of the woods, it’s time to take a back road. We avoid as many of the main streets that get clogged with visitors and start to use those alternative routes.

Most of us also do our own traveling at some point during the summer even if we already live in great places. We all want to getaway to somewhere new. So why is it that when we travel we make the same mistakes? Why do we get stuck in traffic ourselves? These days it has more to do with electronic maps and navigation software than anything else.
couple driving on backroad
If you are like me you use your “smart” phone to help guide the way. The problem with this is generally it will take you the most direct route without consideration of the bumper to bumper mess that may await you. Sure some programs will alert you of traffic, but most don’t give you a good alternative route or if they do it’s too late. Or worse yet some software isn’t up-to-date and won’t recognize the road you are on at all which can lead you to get lost and frustrated.

You can really help yourself have a great trip this year by taking a few simple steps. First, become familiar with your navigation tool, whichever one you use. Most of these tools allow you to bypass highways, or plan alternative routes with the touch of a button saving you time and frustration. Second, bring a back-up map. Yes they still make them and most of the time you can get them for free by printing something online, or using a service like AAA (if you are a member). GPS signals and electronics often fail and it is great to have the confidence of a piece of paper to fall back on. Lastly, don’t be afraid of the back roads! You’ll be surprised what you might see along the way just by taking the road less traveled. Communicate in advance with your navigation app & enjoy the journey that awaits.

Mike

Mike Urgo Consulting LLC
www.mikeurgo.com


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Who is your favorite salesperson?

Category : Uncategorized

A funny question to ask? The word sales or salesman isn’t a term that often brings a positive feeling. After all salesman are trying to sell you things and don’t have your best interests in mind, right?

As I think about this question I’m reminded of the time I bought my first car. I drove over from one dealership to another and I was pretty furious about the treatment I’d received along the way. Finally at the last dealership I stopped at I blew up on the salesman. It turned out in hindsight he was actually new at the time but I would have never known it. He was quite calm, straightforward, and actually very funny in a stressful situation. He managed to turn the situation from a heated one into a pleasant one. I’ve since bought several cars from him and referred countless people his way.

We are all in sales in one way or another. Whether you are a teacher selling your lesson to your students or a parent selling broccoli to your child, we are all selling something. What I’ve found to be the most important attributes of a great salesperson to be are confidence, a sense of humor, and most importantly integrity. I want to know that if I have a problem or a complaint they will stand behind their product through the good and the bad. It is only those salespeople with these qualities that I would send my friends and colleagues to.
kid with brocolli on fork
Think about that person that has “sold” you something. It doesn’t have to be an actual salesperson. Think about the qualities of that person. If we all emulate those qualities and really believe in what we are doing and/or selling, the world will be full of the most productive and happy salespeople you’ve ever seen. Don’t be afraid of selling, we all do it in one way or another. Embrace it and become your own favorite salesperson!

Mike Urgo
Mike Urgo Consulting LLC
www.mikeurgo.com


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Speaking in terms that your clients can understand

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As I sat there listening to the diagnosis at the clinic, I was quite impressed with the knowledge the doctor had. We weren’t there for a serious medical condition or life threatening issue, but still an issue none-the-less. My 6 year old was there listening intently to each word from the doctors mouth and shook her head each time a question was asked of her. When we left we were pleased enough with the visit, however, it was obvious to me that the encounter wasn’t as perfect as it could have been.

The doctor used words like diagnosis, hypothesize, theorize, among others. No problem for my wife or I, but these were words used when talking to our 6 year old while explaining things to her. Although she shook her head in an understanding way, a conversation with her after the visit made it clear that she had many unanswered questions.little girl with pig tails

How often do professionals use terms that come off of their tongues quite comfortably, but leave their client lost and confused? Terminology differs in each profession. Whether we are in banking, construction, or rocket science there are terms that we use everyday but our colleagues or clients may not recognize them. It is crucial that we make sure that each interaction we have that we take our time and choose our words wisely. Talking “over” someone is a common mistake. Many people feel uncomfortable asking questions when they are talked “over”, and once you do this, you may never see that client again. Can you think of an instance that this has happened to you? How did it make you feel? Did you return to that place of business or refer your friends there?

Take your time and make each customer interaction a special one. Not only will that client benefit, you will be surprised how fast word of mouth travels.


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Looking for BIG sales numbers for years to come? Stop selling and start serving!

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Everyone is looking to boost their bottom line. There is no shortage of sales and closing techniques out there. Many are highly effective no doubt but there is one technique that will always win the race. Service! There is no sales strategy that will ever outperform flawless customer service as a long term solution. Look no further than the Mom & Pop store on the corner, or the large car dealerships that have stood the test of time. If you are looking to build a company that will last and provide great service and repeat referrals then put your service plan into action. Once you do, your sales will be abundant, consistent, and you will become a pillar in your community for decades to come!