Posts Tagged ‘Training’

(In a series: People I saw in action and was inspired by)

free clipart net Businessman_08

I don’t tire re-reading books that capture real-life experiences and perspectives. The other day I was idly browsing through Jack Welch’s ‘Straight From The Gut’. There is this part where he defends his decision to put up a $25 million guesthouse and conference center at GE headquarters that shocked the traditionalists in face of the massive cutbacks and layoff’s elsewhere in production facilities.

In his words, ‘…The story of Crotonville is no different. Our corporate education center was already a quarter of a century old – and unfortunately looked it…The bedrooms had the feel of a roadside motel. We needed to make our own people and our customers…feel they were working for and dealing with a world-class company…’

These lines set off memories of a similar personal experience two decades ago:

He was heading a huge business division dealing with all kinds of electronic instruments for labs and industry. This division had recently diversified into a major venture of making/assembling PC’s for the local market from imported Taiwanese kits. In fact it was his long and succesful track record and reputation with larger players in the same space in the local market brought him into the organization. It also gave him a free hand in how he wanted to organize his operations.

In the few months he was here, he had already caused a flutter at a predictable frequency by making moves one had not seen before in the organization. His latest touched new levels of unprecedented practices. He announced induction program for the (direct) field sales force – some 30 salesmen from all over India.

No one better than him to sense how daunting a task it was to pushing PC’s in an already crowded and highly price-driven market. Further the organization was totally a unknown player in this space.

Against this backdrop he ordered a three-weeks long training program for these kids – in a grand style in a five star hotel in Bangalore that offered an ambience of verdant foliage and vintage architecture in a sprawling layout, not to mention the lavish food spread. Of course the rates were also commensurately five-starry though we were able to beat it down significantly.

www pbjcal org

This meant at least two sacrilegious violations. Training programs hitherto were 2 or 3-day affair. None as long as like this one (geared to solution selling against box selling, covering these solutions individually). And that too in a five-star hotel!! Incredible! Did the man know what he was doing? Whoever approved the budget?

Besides calling his wisdom to question, it also predictably caused considerable heart-burn in other parts of the organization.

He stood firm. They – his detractors – did not know how hostile the market place was for our products with neither price or brand advantages nor some knock-out product specs. These sales kids were going out like sheep for slaughter. This was not all. They were also going to be ‘ably supported’ by a well-meaning back-office that would only compound their misery. This kind of a five-star experience was absolutely essential, he maintained, to keep them charged up to last out there at least for a few months before the field and the back-office drained them out.

Note this is a little different stand from what JW had written about.

It made good sense and it worked as he said. In fact it became a regular annual event that all looked forward to.

From time to time he sensitized the back-office how daunting the jobs were for those in the line of fire and emphasized on the need to top up their charge regularly and make their life easier at least back in the office.

Yes, the man in the narration is once again the inimitable Shashi Ullal.



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Sales Basics

Tch…tch. Poor you if you’re slugging it out under a boss like the one in the picture. But don’t despair, not all is lost – there’s a way out. Scroll down to find out.


A solution that’s known to have fixed it on most occasions:

Get hold of a copy of the CV – your boss’s. And give it to dependable agencies!

Source: funnysalescartoons.com

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Of all the things that waiters/waitresses (henceforth just referred to as “waiters”) could do to increase tips, how important would you place “giving mints” at the end of a meal in terms of effectiveness?

It turns out, you and I probably greatly underestimated the psychological process behind mint-giving.

In a study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, researchers tested the effects that mints had against a control group (where no mints were given) in order to measure their effectiveness in increasing tips.

The results were surprising to say the least.

  • The first group studied had waiters giving mints along with the check, making no mention of the mints themselves. This increased tips by around 3% against the control group.
  • The second group had waiters bring out two mints by hand (separate from the check), and they mentioned them to the table (ie, “Would anyone like some mints before they leave?”). This saw tips increase by about 14% against the control group.
  • The last group had waiters bring out the check first along with a few mints. A short time afterward, the waiter came back with another set of mints, and let customers know that they had brought out more mints, in case they wanted another.

This last test was where waiters saw a 21% increase in tips versus the control group.

At first glance, the last two groups seem very similar: two mints (per-person) were brought out, and the waiter mentioned them.

So, what was different?

In the last test, the only difference was that the waiter brought out the second set of mints after some time had passed, and mentioned that they had done so in case the table would like some more.

Researchers concluded that this seeming genuine concern for the customer (“I thought you might like more mints…”) and the spontaneity of the gesture connected with customers much more than the additional pieces of chocolate mints would imply, even if the waiter did this for every customer.

This is good to know, because it means that it’s applicable to businesses outside of restaurants.

So, how can a business utilize this knowledge?


(Source: See Credits below)

There’s more to this story than the positively-reinforcing gratuity for the waiter.


If we closely look at this scenario, there are 3 essential elements to it:

* Buyer buys a product and/or a service.

* the product or the service is delivered (the waiter could be doing intermediate deliveries too).

* At the end-point of the delivery, the delivery agent is empowered to give away from a range of freebies.

Selecting a freebie appropriate for the occasion and giving it away with finesse and solicitousness are both a matter of training and the employee’s imagination.

It’s easy to see paying attention to this end-of-service experience is a low-hanging fruit in its impact on the overall service experience.

Most self-employed appliance-repair technicians do it in some ways. But mostly overlooked in the organized sector of the industry.

An example from the organized sector:

Class-room training courses usually include hands-on exercises. These are usually very focused and easy enough to be completed within the limited time-slots allotted in the tight course format. A more ambitious course may allow in its format for elaborate projects/case-studies demanding in-depth application of the skills or concepts learned.

Now we get to the ‘mint’.

At the end of the course, the instructor could point out how the projects and their challenge could be further enhanced by interested participants working on their own time outside of the course. And if someone chooses to do so, the instructor could make a time-bound offer of a certain number of free telephonic support calls to help him complete his extended project.

Only imagination limits what could be wrought by the ‘mints’ at the end-point of a delivery.




Credits: The slightly edited extract included in the post is taken from an interesting blog post at https://www.helpscout.net/blog/the-psychology-of-personalization-how-waiters-increased-tips-by-23-percent-without-changing-service/ . Image is from openclipart (waiter shokunin).

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