Mistakes are inevitable, so how do you handle them?

Life happens. Despite the best laid plans, hours of preparation, and having the best there is on the case, life always manages to throw curve balls our way. If adequate preparation has been done, and high quality back up plans are in place, we are often able to overcome the smaller issues. However, there are those days when things do not go correctly, and it seems that everything you touch goes from bad to worse. These are the moments in which our character is truly revealed.


Unfortunately, as soon as some people experience a couple of challenging situations, they psychologically convince themselves that they cannot turn things around, and they start flying the white flag. There are others who continue striving to find a solution while blaming everyone else for the problem, and cursing about how it’s always them that has all the bad luck. Then there are those special people who despite the hurdles they face, they own the task at hand and do what is needed to get to where they need to be.

Today, we are going to look at some ways in which businesses rely on their employees to go above and beyond the call of duty to overcome issues that stand in their way. No matter what industry you are involved in, mistakes are inevitable, so you might as well embrace them and turn them into something positive!

Apologize – Show that you care about what happened and let those involved know that sorryyou are sorry for what happened.

Communication – When things aren’t going well, it’s definitely time to share the problem, rather than burying your head in the sand. There is often the feeling of failure and the fear that you are going to be dressed down for the way that you handled things, but if you are up front and honest it often diffuses the situation and makes others aware that you are in need of support. It is also a great way to develop trust in a relationship as you are not trying to hide things. A recent example of this was when a service provider was due to call me but completely forgot. Instead of creating some bogus story he immediately apologized, took responsibility, and said that he had just forgotten. You might not think that this is a great way to grow your business, but the honesty and this genuine approach sold me on what a relationship would look like with this company.

Owning it – We have all been there. As a kid you were sat in a classroom and the class clown decides that now is a good time to play a prank. The teacher is upset and demands that the perpetrator make themselves known. They keep quiet and the entire class is punished for one person’s misbehavior. Immaturity frequently plays a part in the behavior of people in these situations, but the culprit is almost guaranteed to be found out. Frequently it’s due to one of their peers sharing the information with the teacher as they are not prepared to suffer the consequences of someone else’s poor decision. When this information surfaces, the child in question is now likely to be reprimanded in a greater way than before for the time they wasted. Admit that you made the mistake before someone comes to you knowing that you are responsible.

Approach – Most people see making mistakes as a big negative that should be avoided at all costs. However, this frequently isn’t the case, as most mistakes are just small steps along a bigger journey and in the end they are essentially irrelevant. Everest is the world’s highest peak and many people over time have attempted to make it to the summit. In total, 29,029 feet above sea level in the Himalayas. More than 290 people have lost their life while attempting to scale Everest. There was obviously the challenge involved in the climb, the reward of becoming one of the few to make it to the summit, the journey and obstacles along the way, the dedication and determination involved in preparing for the climb, and the opportunity to prove people wrong who doubted your abilities. These 290+ people all had their reasons, and going into the adventure knew that there was a huge amount of risk involved. However, they went for it in search of the great reward. Even though Everest took their life, I believe many of these courageous adventurers wouldn’t view this as a mistake as they died doing something that they were truly passionate about.

Progress – If you are afraid of making mistakes, then the chances are you won’t get out of your comfort zone, and your life and/ or career will become stagnant. Most of the most famous and successful people of all time are those who took risks, made huge mistakes, but took the knowledge gained from them to catapult them to success.

Keep things in perspective – It can be difficult to maintain a sense of perspective when perspectiveyou’re upset with yourself, but try to make sure your emotional response is proportional to the mistake that you made. Making an error at work typically is not a life-or-death situation, unless you are a surgeon, a Nascar driver, or a pilot, and most mistakes can be resolved quickly. So you forgot to include an attachment, you accidentally included someone on an email that shouldn’t have been there , you were late for a presentation, or included a typo in an important report. You’re still alive. No one was mortally wounded. On the freeway of life, this is a parking ticket, not a multiple car pile-up.

Create a safety net/ build up credit – The best way to earn people’s trust and admiration is to consistently deliver great work and go above and beyond what is expected. Do this, and occasional bouts of forgetfulness or slip-ups here and there are likely to be quickly forgiven and forgotten.

Learn – one of the most important pieces involved in this whole process. Reflect on what you did, or did not do, and look for ways in which you can prevent, or significantly reduce the chance of this happening again in the future. Look at lessons learned, learnalternative strategies, and how you can turn something negative into something extremely positive.

The best way to earn people’s trust and admiration is to consistently deliver great work. Period. Do that, and occasional bouts of forgetfulness or slip-ups here and there are likely to be quickly forgiven—and forgotten.

Make up for it – We can all say that we are sorry and regret making the mistake, but the key way to bounce back is to make up for it with your actions. Were you the one who forgot to add a crucial document that lead to your company losing a business opportunity? Were you responsible for failing to complete your part of a group project on time? Was it your poor follow up and lack of communication that lost your company a client? In this day and age, these things happen all the time. They are part and parcel of today’s world, and unfortunately no one is immune to them. If you are the one that drops the ball, this is a great opportunity to strengthen the relationship by going above and beyond to wow the other people involved. If you are involved in losing

If you ask most people to think back in their life about mistakes that they made, most people will give you an answer about something that they didn’t do, rather than an issue that arose from something that they did do. This fear and worry is something that controls so many people’s emotions and unfortunately can prevent them from truly making the most of the opportunities that are available to them.

The next time you have worries about making a mistake, step back and think about what the worst thing that could happen is. Often it’s nothing like as bad as you initially thought! Go for it, take that chance, try that new idea at work, share that business idea with your colleagues and as the famous Nike slogan goes, “Just Do It”. If it does turn out to be a mistake with some negative aspects, follow the ideas above and turn it into something positive. Embrace risk and mistakes and see them as opportunities that will help you to progress.

Bonus tip: When you next find yourself in a job interview and are asked about examples of great things that you have done. It definitely wouldn’t be a bad thing to discuss something negative that you managed to turn around with your diligence and problem solving capabilities.

Until next time Expect The Exceptional in everything that you do.


Neon vs. LED: The Fight of the Century

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 is the high failure rate (approximately every 12-18 months), the expensive cost of repair, and the damage to your brand when your customers are greeted by these signs:




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 higher brightness, lower electrical costs, increased energy efficiency, and a longer operation life, typically at least 100,000 hours per unit, make them very attractive as lighting fixtures.

In one recent study to demonstrate the benefits of LED over neon lights, the scope of work covered the cost and installation of 10 character 24 inch channel letters. The total savings was approximately $1,000 for the completed job in favor LED over Neon. These savings are 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 and more economical over time.

LED JT02 spec

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, businesses are having to tighten their purse strings even further, and businesses are able to take advantage of the associated rebates, tax credits, and reduced utility bills. 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, better looking stores, 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 would 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!

carbon footprint

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!

sprint aftersprint after retrofit

To find out about how your company could benefit from this technology, please reach out to Jamie Leeper at jleeper@royalsvcs.com or 913-717-3188.

Royal Services – Service That Solves – Expect The Exceptional

royal logo

Why is customer service disappearing?

Subscribers of this blog will know that one of my pet peeves is the fact that customer service seems to have been slowing in performance over the past decade. Today we are going to take a look at some factors that have led to this demise.

  1. Automation/ technology – In an ever increasing number of locations, your entire applebees tabletexperience can now happen without you actually interacting with a fellow human being. You can perform self-checkout at several stores including Walmart and Target, just make sure you place your goods in the bagging area after scanning them! You can also go out to a restaurant for dinner and have the whole process, apart from the delivery of your food and drinks, handled by a computer.
  2. Poor communication skills – This can be due to poor training and also due to the current society that we find ourselves in. It’s a sorry state of affairs, but humans family-on-phonesdon’t communicate as much as they used to, at least not using their voices. Think about the last time you went to the airport, how many people were engaging with fellow travelers? Probably not very many. How many were instead glued to their screens? More than likely the majority. Next time you are out and about, check your surroundings and look at the ratio of people on their phone to those not on their phone. In most circumstances this is typically a 2:1 ratio, and is frequently higher in some industries.
  3. Greedy business owners – Owners who decide that they are going to squeeze every sleazy car salespossible penny out of their business, take shortcuts and only focus on the short term. They don’t take care of their customers, they don’t return calls, they aren’t receptive to feedback, yet for some strange reason they believe that new replacement customers will immediately come flocking to them. Many owners will also completely eradicate their customer service department which never ends well.
  4. Entitlement – Many people now expect things to be given to them without the need tipsto earn it. We recently went out for dinner with my parents and had to ask the manager to provide us with a new server as instead of helping us, our original server was stood close to our table counting his tips. In many places, the lack of service is clearly noticeable as employees now expect to receive gratuity regardless of the level of service that they provide.
  5. Laziness – Some people just aren’t cut out to be customer service representatives, and that’s ok. However, those that are placed in these positions have to spend the bored employeenecessary time taking care of their customers. On our recent vacation, my husband asked the lady at the guest services desk a question and she just provided him with a very generic answer, and didn’t even take the time to look at all of the resources that were literally right in front of her face. This occurred at 6:30am, and it was clear that this employee was checked out and was not going to raise a finger for the rest of her shift. The member of staff replacing her was the complete opposite and went out of her way to help. Both had the information available to them, one just didn’t want to help because it was an inconvenience to them.
  6. Poor company cultureWhat kind of culture is in place at your current bigstock-Group-of-Diverse-Hands-Togethe-109645244.jpgworkplace? Is it customercentric, or is it profit based? Is the focus on integrity and doing the right thing, or is it on maximizing revenue and hoping that everything else works out? If customer service isn’t demanded, and a service based culture isn’t in place, it will be very hard for you to provide your customers with the service they crave. I am a big believer that this starts at the top of every organization.
  7. Competition – You would think that competition would actually force people to up their game, but it frequently has the opposite effect. Take, for example, two basketballcompeting companies. If they want to increase their bottom line, they can increase revenue and/or reduce expenses. Instead of innovative solutions to grow their revenue, the easy option is to lay employees off and take shortcuts when possible. Customer service representatives are canned, and new salesmen on commission only compensation packages are brought in by the dozen.
  8. Outsourcing – The car dealership that I used to visit for services, outsourced their scheduling department. Now, instead of making a phone call to the dealership in Merriam, KS, you contact a huge call center in Dallas, TX. You speak to someone who has no idea who you are, and frequently doesn’t even know anything about the dealership. The next problem is that you arrive at your appointment and they have no idea about the appointment, the special that you discussed on the phone isn’t actually available, and sometimes they don’t even have you in the system. It’s very difficult to satisfy your customers when your “staff” are on different wavelengths.
  9. Overseas help desks/ call centers – This can make things extremely difficult for the customer as there are often language barriers, cultural differences, and the person on the other end of the phone frequently has no interest or understanding of the client that they are representing. They are just going through the motions until the customer decides to end the call. The customer service representative often isn’t trained to problem solve, and instead just tries to diffuse the situation.

What are some other reasons that you believe have had a negative impact on customer service levels in recent years? We would love to hear your thoughts, and are also keen to hear of any great examples of customer service that you have experienced! Please share your comments below.


Hiring the Right People is at the Root of Building a Great Organization — trainhrtraining

Great blog about the importance of hiring the right people for your business from TrainHRTraining.

Best Hiring Practices- Great people make great organizations. This is universally true, no matter what kind of business the organization does, and what its size.

via Hiring the Right People is at the Root of Building a Great Organization — trainhrtraining


The right thing or the easy thing?

Do your employees always look to do the right thing, or do they look to do the easy thing? This past weekend we visited Nashville, TN to watch the Tottenham Hotspur game at the spurs logoNissan Stadium, as well as squeezing in a couple of site visits and meetings with clients for my husband’s business. It turned out that this was tax free weekend in TN so the resort that we stayed at had very limited availability when we booked it a couple of months ago. Due to the high number of visitors, we actually had to make three different reservations, one for the first night, one for the second night, and then a third for the remaining three nights. This would have meant 3 room changes during the course of our stay, which normally wouldn’t be a problem and would provide us with a clean condo each time, but when there are two young boys in the mix, as well as the fact that I am 6 months pregnant and it’s almost 100 degrees outside, remaining in the same room was much more appealing. When we arrived I asked the gentleman at check in if it was possible to stay in the same room for the duration of the stay, even if it meant having a slightly smaller unit. He took a very quick glance and informed me that there was no way that anything could be done as there were three different kinds of rooms involved with the reservation.

The following morning my husband went down to the front desk and asked again if anything could be done. The employee responded without even looking at the computer system and informed my husband that there was nothing that could be changed as they were very busy, and we should expect our new room to be available at 4pm. This makes life extremely difficult when you have to be out of your current unit by 10am and have 2 young children who are going to need naps, as well as refrigerated and frozen food which is going to be homeless for 6 hours.

This employee then left as her shift had come to an end. My husband went up to the desk and asked the newly arrived employee about the situation, and the response was completely different. Stacey checked the reservation system and noticed that the room that we were due to move into was a 2 bedroom lock-off which actually included the room that we were currently in, so there was actually no need to move anything! We would just open up the door between the two rooms and have double the space for that day! She also saw that the last reservation was actually the second half of the lock off by itself, so again no need to move a thing. My husband returned to the room with a cup of tea for me and the news that we had the comfort of remaining in the same unit for the duration of our trip.  Music to my ears!

If he had not asked the newly arrived employee, we would have gone through all of the hassle of packing up our belongings, our food spoiling, and our boys going without a nap, bored employeeonly to find that there was no need to move in the first place. This was a very simple thing but the first two employees just didn’t take the time to look into the situation, instead deciding to share canned responses with us. The second employee was about to end her shift, and sat with her jacket on and her bag on her back for 30 minutes before the clock struck 7am. She had no interest whatsoever in helping guests, she was just passing the buck with minimal effort until she could get out of the door.

The third employee thankfully had a focus on customer service, and wanted to do whatever she could to make our experience enjoyable. In the end, she actually didn’t have to change anything, as we had already been assigned connected rooms which meant there was no need to move. However, she took the time and effort to investigate the situation, and made our whole experience much more enjoyable.

In your position at your work, do you do what it takes to get the job done the right way, or do you just do enough to squeeze by and get to clocking off time? Do you have employees who are engaged enough that they will do whatever is needed to make the customer experience a special one? Or do you have employees who do the absolute minimum, and spend the last 30 minutes of their shift looking at the clock with their bag packed and ready to go, as many of us did back in school during the last hour of the day? How do you train this quality? Can it be trained? How do you develop a culture of providing impeccable service? What drives you to do the right thing, regardless of how long it takes, or the obstacles that might be in your way? We are eager to hear your thoughts on this, as well as examples where you have had similar experiences. Until next week stay safe, and expect the exceptional in everything that you do.


Ways to become WELLthier

My current city of Overland Park, Kansas, was recently named in the top America’s WELLthiest cities.

This list was compiled by looking at data from across a variety of aspects including health and fitness businesses and amenities, healthy eating establishments, and activities around town that promote healthy living.  The article also included reviews of these places and their popularity among residents.  Overland Park was recognized namely because of their expansive arboretum and botanical gardens, availability of fresh produce at the farmer’s market, as well as the outdoor  walking and educational activities available at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead.

Even if your city wasn’t recognized on this list, there are so many ways you can ensure a “wellthy” lifestyle on your own.  Here are a few ideas to get you started!

(1) Walk daily: walking trails are everywhere.  Even if there isn’t one connected to your pexels-photo-504881neighborhood, it’s nice to drive to new places and explore the area.  This is especially true if you live near a busy road, as most trails are a safe place to take your kids and let them run!

(2) Visit your local farmer’s market: you wouldn’t believe the great deals you can get on produce at a farmer’s market vs. a grocery store.  Not to mention the other fun things they have, like honey and jam and beautiful flower bouquets!

(3) Participate in physical activities: going for a run or to the gym may not be your cup of tea, but maybe you love to play basketball when you get the chance.  This is a great way to get exercise and have fun at the same time, so find a league and join up!

(4) Work-life balance: it’s important to take a break every now and again to clear your mind and enjoy time with family.  Be sure you have a healthy balance between work and home life so you can get the most out of every day!

(5) Annual medical check ups: this is a great way to make sure your health is on track.  doctor-medical-medicine-health-42273Don’t forget about the dentist, dermatologist and optometrist when you are making your appointments!

(6) Stay hydrated: when I notice my energy levels are low, I can usually pinpoint the cause as dehydration.  If constantly drinking water feels like a chore to you, try adding some flavor or even eating watermelon!  This is a great way to stay hydrated and get some vitamins as well.

(7) Sun screen: don’t leave home without it.  We all know the risks associated with sun exposure, but many of us will only apply if we are spending the day at the pool or beach.  Even if you are just out running errands, it’s a good idea to lather up before you go as you will be in the sun more than you think!

(8) Get a good nights sleep – this means a good night’s sleep, not lying in bed for several out of bedhours looking at your phone.  The light on your phone can cause insomnia, so turn the blue light filter on if you do have a habit of playing games or browsing Facebook before you sleep.

(9) Sign up for an event so that you have something to work towards – signing up for a 5k or Tough Mudder “forces” you to create a fitness regime so that the day of the event isn’t a complete disaster!

(10) Family time – spend time with friends and loved ones. Workout together when possible so that everyone is involved and something that typically isn’t enjoyable becomes something that the whole family looks forward to!


Off topic: On customer service

Great post about professionalism and the importance of in-person customer service by Ming Thein!

Pro photographers have to be two things: able to deliver (i.e. technically and creatively competent) and fully aware that the whole business hinges critically on being a relationship game: if anything, this is more important than the execution. We are not just service providers, but in a way also providing confidence and reassurance on a […]

via Off topic: On customer service — Ming Thein | Photographer