Earning Trust and Respect

Presidents’ Day was earlier this month, and with that holiday the ideas of trust and respect are brought to the forefront of our minds.  This holiday celebrates our country’s leaders, namely two of the most widely respected Presidents our country has seen, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.   George Washington was not known for his knowledge, nor his experience, however he did have a wonderful reputation for his character and integrity.  Likewise, Abraham Lincoln was well-known for his honesty, as well as his modesty.  Times have changed since their presidencies, but they are still looked back upon in a positive light by the vast majority of people.

Businesses can benefit from keeping this information in mind. People make mistakes, that is to be expected.  You can learn the character of the business you are working with by paying attention to what happens after the mistake is made.  Does the business own this mistake, and work to make it right?  Or do they try to cover it up, telling lies and making excuses?  Or even worse, do they blame you, the customer? Everyone has had the experience of working with a dishonest company, or one who refuses to admit wrongdoing.  Recently, a light in my car needed a new bulb.  This happened before on the other side, so I knew from experience that a special bulb was needed.  Having two little boys at home makes it difficult for me to get out to the dealership, so my husband called ahead and explained the situation prior to an oil change, hoping that both could be taken care of at the same time.  He was told that they had the correct bulb in stock, and it would be no problem.  However, when he arrived at his appointment, he was told the bulb would need to be ordered.  Now maybe if we were childless and/or jobless, this would not be a very big deal.  However, we are neither, so making an additional trip out to the dealership is a big hassle.  They called us when the light came in, but it was a few weeks before we could find time to go back.  When my husband got there, he should have received major apologies, right?  Instead, he was given grief for taking so long to get there after they called!  Where is the customer service?

When you work with Royal Services, you are working with a facility management company that is on your side.  We do our best to give honest quotes, limit the number of calls to your store, and reduce the number of mistakes that are made.  However, we are human!  Therefore, if a mistake is made, we own it.  If we quote a certain dollar amount, but find a less expensive route, we will bill you for that lesser amount.  If we can find a way to fix the problem over the phone without visiting your store, we will do it!  We believe in developing long-lasting relationships and partnerships with our clients.  The only way to do that is to earn the trust and respect of the people we work with, much like Washington and Lincoln earned the trust and respect of Americans.

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Everyone’s a winner

Triple bottom line (or otherwise noted as TBL or 3BL) is an accounting framework with three parts: social, environmental (or ecological) and financial. Many organizations have adopted the TBL framework to evaluate their performance in a broader perspective to create greater business value. This concept is playing an ever increasing role in the business world as more and more companies strive to become #LEED Certified.

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The #SPRINT signs below were installed using neon tubing technology for their light source. Neon’s have been around for seventy years and are stable for their artistic value but my opinion is that using a Neon just to fill light inside an opaque sign is a waste and creates a lot of issues especially for the northern states and their temperature fluctuations throughout the year.

Take a look at one of our previous blogs, which pits neon against LED lighting systems. 

1. Neon generates a lot of heat which causes them to have a need to be refilled or recharged with neon gas at least every couple of years.
2. Neon glass signs use 15,000 volts of electricity
3. Neon gas, though an inert gas, operates well within the normal tolerances of temperature but with extreme cold or heat it breaks down the gas presence quicker (thus we are back to issue in #1)
4. Neon generates a “warm” light most used for art deco, small signage applications, etc.,.

+Royal Services, Inc. believes LED will be a better choice for you and your stores:
1. LED lights are sealed and have ZERO hotspots
2. LED lights generate far more light than conventional neon glass tubing so would be a better source for designer signage like SPRINT.
3. LED lights are shockproof and generate very little heat so are best suited for encased light sources for hot (summertime) conditions as well as cold (like now) conditions.
4. LED lights use only 24 volts whereas Neon glass signs uses 15,000 volts which will provide substantial electrical bill savings in the long term.
5. LED lights are generally 10% less expensive than Neon tube signage.

Above are sample before and after photos from a test market. The visual difference is quite remarkable. Contact us today to see how we can help your store to draw in more customers. #projectmanagement #LEDretrofit #royalservices #facilitysolutions #servicethatsolves #royalfamily

Unwritten Rules

In business dealings, there are often unwritten rules that legally do not have to be followed, but ethically absolutely should be followed.  Whether you work for a Fortune 500 company, a small retail location or even are just selling items online, following a code of conduct helps to build a loyal client base and ensure your customers are satisfied.

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Recently, I was shopping for a train table for my son’s second birthday.  I did months of research and now know far more about toy trains than I care to admit.  I decided that rather than pay full price for a new table, I would prefer to find one on Craigslist in like-new condition.  Every day, I diligently got online and checked new listings, until I was sure I would have to bite the bullet and purchase new.  Just before I did this, I checked one last time and lo and behold!  A brand new, in the box table and train set for a low price and it was even the exact brand I was looking for!  I immediately sent a text to the seller and lucky me, it was still available!  I made plans for my husband to pick the table up the next day on his way home from his first job, before leaving for his second job.  Obviously, he had to make special arrangements, but it was worth it – he will do anything to put a smile on that little guy’s face!  I was feeling so accomplished and thrifty that evening when I received a text from the seller: “Someone just came by and got the table-sorry.”  Pure devastation.  And immediately after, pure anger.  Usually, I would have just wallowed in sorrow without saying a word, but this time I felt the need to speak up.  I responded that I thought it was horrible she would do that after promising it to me.  She responded with, “Those are the rules, first come first served.”  I don’t make many purchases on Craigslist, but I was fairly certain that by responding to the ad first, I was in fact first.  But I did not respond and ended up finding a much better deal, much to my delight.

This whole situation made me think about unwritten rules.  Could I sue that lady for selling my table to someone else?  Absolutely not.  It’s her table, and she can do with it what she wants.  But I left that situation feeling cheated and sad, and I don’t think any business would want their customers to leave feeling that way.  Therefore, following unwritten rules like keeping promises, honoring coupons and sale prices, sticking to the original quoted price, and finishing jobs in the time frame that was initially given are so important in business today.  At Royal Services, the unwritten rules are followed.  Businesses need not worry about a job taking twice as long as planned or paying twice as much as they were quoted.  Companies get away with this every day, and technically, they have the right to do this.  But good companies, like Royal, would never dream of it. We believe in the importance of following unwritten rules in order to create long-lasting relationships with our valued partners.

Building and Maintaining Relationships

Developing quality relationships with clients is an essential part of business, as those relationships will most likely lead to many more in the future.  But what do you do when your business is complete?  Many businesses maintain open lines of communication and high quality customer service right up until the work is complete and the bill is paid.  After that, they spend their time looking for the next customer to make the next sale and the next dollar.  But wouldn’t it be easier to let your past clients do that work for you?

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My husband and I purchased a new home just over a year ago, and we had the absolute pleasure of working with Megan Irvine, a realtor with Reece and Nichols.  Megan is a former teacher who won us over on our initial meeting with her highly informative, but very low-pressure style.  We immediately connected and were so excited for the journey with her!  She did not disappoint and we are now living in the home of our dreams.  At one point during the process we made an offer on a different house, and I lay awake the entire night feeling that we made a terrible mistake.  I called Megan in the morning and apologized profusely, but she eased my mind explaining that she would do whatever it took to get us into the perfect house – after all, she would be visiting us and wanted to visit us at a house that we loved!  I took that comment with a grain of salt, but appreciated her kindness and we moved on to other houses.  However, we have come to realize that Megan was not just saying what it took to make us happy.  She truly has continued to be a part of our lives despite already completing the task at hand.  Just about every month, we have a special gift on our doorstep from Megan and her team, like the one pictured below.  She has hosted gatherings at her home for past and present clients, and has also attended birthday parties and celebrations at our home for our children.  We truly consider Megan a part of the family and would of course recommend her to anyone who needs a realtor!  It is no surprise the Megan and her team won awards for their amazing service to the 96 families they moved in 2015!

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This Valentine’s Day, remember the importance of relationships.  Maintaining relationships with past clients can develop into lasting friendships, but can also reduce your workload when they do a large part of your marketing for you by acting as evangelists for your company!  For more ideas, check out these 6 steps for building lasting relationships with clients.

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Royal Services – Service that Solves 

 

Quality Customer Service

Everyone has had the experience of dealing with a company with extremely poor customer service.  You feel angry and warn all of your friends: “If you ever use them again, you’re dead to me!” And any time that company is brought up in conversation, boy do you have a story to tell.  But what happens when you have a wonderful experience, with over the top, unheard of, amazing customer service?  Do you shout it from the rooftops?  Or the equivalent, write about it on your Facebook wall?  Sometimes.  As a society, I think we focus far too much on the negative, but should start challenging ourselves to share our positive experiences more often.  If I’m looking for a new cleaning service, hearing your horror stories will help a little, but hearing your great experiences will be of much greater service.

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Someone asked me recently about the best customer service experience I have had.  Interestingly enough, the one that came to mind was a cable company.  Customer Service is notoriously poor in this field, yet I have had nothing but positive experiences with this company.  In the beginning, I had a sense of dread every time I needed to call for maintenance.  Based on past experiences with other companies, I came to expect an uncaring and less than helpful person on the other end of the line, and the feeling that my problem wasn’t actually solved at the conclusion of the call.  However, with my current company (Consolidated Communications, in case you were wondering), I no longer dread calling because I know that waiting on the other end of the line is a helpful and friendly agent who will take whatever time needed to make sure my problems are solved.  And if it can’t be fixed over the phone, a friendly technician will be to my house in a timely matter to get everything in working order again.  This top of the line service has created a customer for life.  And isn’t that what every company should be striving for?  No one wants to be the company that your friends warned you about; so why not do whatever it takes to be the company that your friends rave about?   At Royal, our best marketing tool is our evangelist customer, and our ongoing goal is to provide retail facility solutions that are worth sharing with others.

Neon vs. LED – which is best?

This is an argument which is becoming increasingly popular in all industries. The main reason for signage in the first place is to draw someone’s attention to your store and to get your brand out there to increase sales. The issue with neon lights then becomes the high failure rate (approximately every 12-18 months), and the expensive cost of repair, not to mention the damage to your brand when the following happens:

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Whereas neon once had an almost complete monopoly on illuminating channel letters, LED’s are now dominating the lighting source market. Their overall features of high brightness, lower cost in terms of energy efficiency and a long operation life of at least 100,000 hours per unit make them very attractive as lighting fixtures.

In one study the objects involved were 10 character 24 inch Channel Letters, and installation. The total savings was approximately $1,000 for the completed job, of LED over Neon. This savings of costs, with no reduction of sales price, is the true beauty and
profit of an LED system for channel letters.

The image below showcase further benefits of LED over Neon and this is expected to increase as LED technologies become even more sophisticated.

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A great scientific article that looks into the Neon vs. LED argument in great detail is Is Your Neon Lit Sign as Inexpensive as an LED Lit Sign? by Greg Honegger. In this research paper, Mr. Honegger does a complete breakdown of the two systems to get the overall value of each. He looks at production costs (labor and materials), energy savings (financial and environmental benefits), failure rates, reliability, frequency and cost of repair and appearance. The data is extremely interesting and clearly points in the favor of LED lighting, and this trend is expected to continue. The cost of raw materials is dropping, people are becoming more environmentally aware, and businesses are having to tighten their purse strings even further. Expect to see Neon signs slowly disappear, to be replaced by their LED rivals.

LED vs. Neon Price Comparison

A huge piece of the decision making process for sign selection is obviously the cost. The following chart shows the energy and financial savings associated with LED lighting over neon. Energy savings of 80.3% (per 100 feet of lighting being run for an average of 12 hours per day), a significant reduction in your firm’s Carbon Footprint, as well as adding $240.46 to your bottom line to keep the CFO happy, are all great reasons that support the switch to LED systems.

Energy Comparison Neon typical to LED-VLPlusWhite 150feet (2)

How much could you save by converting from neon to LED signage? Complete your own price comparison here: Power Savings Estimator. Start multiplying this through your network and the savings will be astronomical. For example, a company with 1000 locations, at this rate will save $240,460 per year, that’s almost $1,000,000 every 4 years! This is also a savings of 2,0004,000 kWh, which is a carbon emissions reduction of 1,382 Metric Tons, the equivalent of 3,290,143 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle!

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Perform your very own carbon footprint calculator right here: Emissions calculator

Chris Salva, Director of Networking and Government Services at Royal Services, recently completed a neon to LED sign retrofit project for a national telecommunications company. Here are some photos showing the before and after images of these recent retrofits in a target test market, where a variety of climatic conditions will be experienced to truly compare the reliability of these technologies. I will let you guess which photo was taken after the retrofit!

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To find out about how your company could benefit from this technology, please reach out to Chris at csalva@royalsvcs.com or 913-387-2823.

Royal Services – Service That Solves – Expect The Exceptional

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Taking Retail Facility Management to the Next Level

Royal Services in NYC – A Commitment to Continuing Education

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the NRF Big Show in NYC. I had been to a couple of conventions at the Javit’s center, but nothing as large as this. The place was packed from sun up to sun down, with individuals from all over the world, who were keen to learn from their peers, discover the latest trends in the retail industry, and find solutions for long lasting problems that they have experienced in their stores.

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After a slight delay at the Kansas City airport (Royal Services are headquartered in Overland Park, KS)  and connecting through Midway instead of Nashville, I finally touched down on the tarmac at La Guardia at around 11pm. I hadn’t checked any bags so immediately headed outside to find a taxi to transport me to the Hotel Wolcott, which would be my residence for the next three days.

The ride to the hotel was, shall we say, interesting. Not sure if my driver was trying to get someone off of his tail, or just get home quicker, but the ride was far from smooth. However, we made it, and after settling in to my room, it was time to lie my head down and get a good night’s sleep in preparation for the first day of the convention.

The NRF have really strived to attract more small business owners to the show, and one piece of bait was the excellent workshops and seminars that were offered on Sunday. A variety of topics were covered, and I left the center that night feeling good about how Royal Services operate, and our strategic plan, which was put together at the back end of 2015, seemed to be on point given the current state of retail. I walked the exhibit floor multiple times taking in the many different retails solutions that were being presented. By the time I returned to my Hotel, I had covered over 22,000 steps for the day! My favorite booth was without a doubt the one that featured Pepper the Robot. Absolutely fascinating how technology is taking the retail industry by storm and I can’t even imagine how stores will be run when my kids are my current age.

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The best part of the convention for me was being able to discuss how Royal can help these companies to solve their facilities maintenance issues through the use of RAZOR, our Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS). All of these new technologies are great but the installation and the provision of data and power are key factors, and this is where Royal Services excel.

There were several industry experts who gave incredible presentations. My favorites included:

(1) Dr. Bill Hardgrave: http://bigshow16.nrf.com/speaker/bill-c-hardgrave-phd

(2) Uri Minkoff, Co-founder of Rebecca Minkoff

(3) Nir Eyal – Author of “Hooked” – phenomenal presentation and blog – Nir and Far. Very engaging presentation about drawing customers in, engaging with them, and getting them to keep returning.

(4) Rhonda Abrams – her free book, which was given away at end of her presentation has been my bedtime reading for the past few weeks!

It was a great experience but it was definitely nice to get back to Kansas City, where the way of life is a little more relaxed, Fedex Drivers can stop immediately in-front of their destination, and a Turkey sandwich doesn’t cost you $11.50!

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As is often the case with events such as this, you leave and the feeling of the more I know, the less I know, hits you like a sledge hammer. However, I am already looking forward to next year’s event. Only 50 weeks to go 🙂

Take care until next year New York!