Kevin "Amazing Katalyst" Carroll.
I first met Kevin at the Portland Business Journals (BizGrowth Summit) that was held here in Portland http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/event/57061.
Great Story Teller…
Kevin gave quite the captivating talk about his "story". Kevin is a fantastic storyteller and had us all on the edge of our seats. Because we (my intern, Daniel and I) were late (won't go into that right now-Daniel's fault) and we found ourselves in the back of a packed room. Through an hour of Kevin's presentation I had slowly wiggled myself up to about ten rows of chairs away and I couldn't get close enough. I told Daniel that we needed to go up and introduce ourselves to Kevin after his presentation was finished. We got up to the front of the line and exchanged business cards with Mr. Carroll and told him that I would like to do an interview for my Inkspot Graphics blog. I was shocked when Kevin said, "I would love to… just email me and I'll set up a time with you." Katalyst Kevin had no agenda, he was honest and opened the door for a further conversation with another passionate dreamer. Kevin is now one of my lifetime friends!
After talking to him about some of my problems with being a motivated entrepreneur with daily challenges. Kevin reminded me that sometimes our visions get detoured and there is a need to be flexible to solve other lingering issues. And sometimes by taking another route to our dream we happen across someone else that can be instrumental in our lives. It all doesn't have to be "black & white".
Author & Radio Co-host…
He is an author, motivational speaker, agent of social change and promoter of "pursuit of play". He breaks it all down to when we were kids we all used to go out into the playground with the big red rubber ball. We all need play in our chaotic lives! Kevin is also working with quite a few international & local charity events to promote play in kid's lives – no matter what socioeconomic area they live in. Kevin also has a weekly radio show "About Face Radio" with co-host Jamie Mustard where they openly discuss some of Portland's success stories about local people with big dreams.
Example of Play at Work
How I related to an example of Kevin's "pursuit of play" was about 8 years ago I talked to buddy of mine that is an owner of a design agency that specializes in the sports athletic industry. He was working crazy hours out of his house to make a name for himself in the industry. I used to go over there a couple times a week to pick up some production work for my business. On numerous occasions he would be totally burnt out and I said, "Why don't we let some steam off and hit some golf balls?" When I got him on the golf course his competitiveness was getting in the way of relaxing and enjoying the beautiful day and some great shots. The next time that we got out I told him that I wasn't going to take the scorecard and when he hit a poor shot I told him "Hit another one!" It turned out that we had a lot better conversation and a realization that we needed to get out on a regular basis.
It is funny that I brought a whole list of questions to ask Kevin and after our hour and half meeting he finally said, "So what were we supposed to talk about?" I thought about the printed list of 15 general questions that I was going to ask him and I said to him, "Kevin, we covered more than I could ever think of and you should be charging by the minute!"
We need constant reminders in our lives to think about Kevin's message. Happy Birthday! Read his Book!
Sharing of Genuine Feelings
It may sound like a small thing but you need to reach out to your clients (by even the smallest amount) constantly. To be social responsible like Alexandra Valentin, CHT, corporate director of The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center, told us at the BizGrowth conference, "their are four proponents of being a socially responsible business - Reinforcement, Reminders, Revelations and Relevancy." Don't underestimate the psychology in Customer Service. It has to come from the heart, you genuinely have to have empathy for your clients. Degree of Delight is only achieved when the customer's Degree of Expectation is exceeded!
"It takes inches to make champions." That is what it takes to be #1.
Ms. Alexandra Valentin, CHT gave a presentation this morning at the BizGrowth conference (Rose Garden, Portland, OR) on taking Customer Service to it's highest level - everyday. Ms. Valentin, is the Corporate Director for the Ritz-Carlton's Leadership Center. This was perfect timing after reading the book, Raving Fans.
She has been in the hospitality industry since 1995 and has an industrial psychological degree from University of Puerto Rico. She said that she started off being a bartender for Ritz-Carlton. Now, it all makes sense since that is where I started bartending for 15 years.
Malcolm Baldrige Award Winners
The Ritz-Carlton has received the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 1992 & 1999. This Malcolm Baldrige Award has quite a few prestigious companys on it's award list.
In Ms. Valentin's presentation (which I was furiously writing notes throughout her talk) she said that they beat in their employee's heads "Radar On…Antennas Up!" This is a constant reminder to reinforce the one-of-a-kind experience that their customers to experience. These are memorable experiences that they share with everyone that they are in contact with (we like to call it Word of Mouth marketing).
She also talked about five practices that they stress to their "ladies & gentlemen"
- Don't overcomplicate customer service…it has to be simple. It can be a little thing that makes the most amount of noise.
- Turn your customer interaction into a defining moment.
- Don't underestimate psychology in customer service. The more you understand how your customers' minds work, the more memorable experience they will have. She gave us a perfect example of how a Ritz-Carlton employee reached out to a little girl whose pet goldfish had died. When the family left the property they were just overwhelmed with joy and the child had the most memorable story that she will remember for the rest of her life.
- Service is about your customers five senses. How does your bathroom smell?
- Attention to detail (plus 1% more). If your customer is going out for a morning jog…have a bottle of water and a towel to hand him/her when they return.
Ladies & Gentlemen
She also told us that it takes about a year to train each employee the Ritz-Carlton customer service approach (each & every day). This first year of training is the most important to learn the highest level of employee customer engagement. From the owner or president of the hotel down to the doorman (or even janitors or housekeepers) they all are important to spreading the message of the Degree of Delight. They have an employee business card that reminds them of their promise to be passionate and to treat each customer like they are their best friend (The Employee Promise & Credo). To be the best, they anticipate and fulfill each guests needs.
Ms. Valentin's talk is a constant reminder that if we are going to rise to be the cream at the top we must be socially responsible and make Raving Fans. Did you ever think that you would hear a customer of yours saying, "I can't imagine a world without (name of your business)!"
So remember - Radar On_Antenna Up!