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Hire Attitude; Train Skills

by Andy Deyo, President, H/D Sports Management

Good customer service is essential for the success of an ice arena; therefore a customer service oriented staff is critical. When hiring staff, look for attitudes - people with a sense of humor, people who don’t take themselves too seriously. Hire the attitude and train the people on what they need to know. You can change people’s skills, but don’t expect to change their inherent attitudes.

Traits to Look for in Job Candidates:

• Creativity

• Strong work ethic

• Sense of humor

• Outgoing personality

• Intelligence

• Previous work success

Implement Multiple Step Interview Process:

• Initial interview with Director of Human Resources

• Reference check

• Second interview with Department Head

Hire with Lofty Goals and Expectations –

Job candidates need to know that you expect them

to be prepared to work:

• Bring your personality to work.

• Be aware of facility events and programs.

• Report to work neat and clean, in proper uniform.

• Report to work on time.

Customer Service

• Direct your immediate attention to the customer.

• Be willing to “step out of the box” to find creative

solutions to solving customers’ needs.

• Commit to keeping current on facility programs.

Everything We Do Is a Reflection on Us:

• Have fun and interact with customers and co-workers.

• Keep your work environment clean and organized at all times.

• Stay focused on job related tasks and challenges.

• Read, review and know all facility programs, policies and procedures.

• You are responsible for your scheduled shift.

• Help each other to be the best.

• Use your time effectively and efficiently.

• Take pride in yourself and the facility.

Ice arenas are in the business of entertainment. To succeed you need a clean, efficient well maintained, people-friendly facility; trained, customer service oriented staff; and good programs. You can have the facility and the programs, but if your staff is not customer oriented, you loose.

What to Do When a Customer Is Unhappy – No Matter Whose Fault It Is

1. Listen, while the customer vents.

• Always give audible feedback (i.e. yes, I see, sure)

• Take notes.

• Ask open-ended questions.

• Paraphrase to test for accuracy.

2. Stay in control of your emotions.

• Control your emotions even if the anger is directed at you.

• Match the customer’s energy, not his/her anger.

3. Own the problem.

• Take the problem and customer seriously.

• Thank the customer for bringing the situation to your attention.

4. Resolve the situation.

• Offer resolution if the problem is simple or familiar.

• If the situation is severe or unfamiliar, ask the customer for input as to resolution. Ask: “How would you like this situation resolved?” or “What can I do to make this right?”

5. Do it!

• A difficult situation will worsen if promises are made and not kept.

• Immediate resolution will hasten positive results.

6. Follow up.

• A formal or informal follow-up will cement the relationship.

• Follow-up provides an opportunity to build rapport.

*Andy Deyo is President of H/D Sports Management. He can be reached at 6574 Hermitage Dr. Westerville, Ohio 43082, phone- 614-891-2949 or send e-mail to akd6574@aol.com.

7 Tips to Keeping Good People

by Emily Huling

• Allow employees to select and attend the training course of their choice.

• Schedule brief, regular one-on-one meetings with all personnel to hear what’s really going on with your employees and your customers.

• Frederick Herzberg, management psychologist, says, “If you want someone to do a good job, give them a good job to do.”

• Always replace an exiting employee with an even better, brighter, more creative employee.

• Be flexible and accommodating with employees’ life challenges. Children, parents, health matters all require time and energy. Happy, balanced employees are productive and lasting.

• Ask employees for their ideas on how to improve your organization. Listen and implement.

• Always believe your employees will do a better job than you will – and they will.

* Reprinted with permission of Emily Huling, Selling Strategies Inc., P.O. Box 200, Terrell, NC 28682. Phone: 888-309-8802. Fax: 888-309-7355. www.sellingstrategies.com