SPARKS! Blog

REWARD AND RECOGNITION: All it Takes is a Little Effort

I’ve got a bone to pick with the “certificate of achievement” -- you know, the fancy print-out paper personalized to acknowledge the accomplishments of someone special. It’s a popular prop among team leaders who want to reward and recognize. Sadly, I’ve seen its presentation done wrong too many times and I’ve had enough!

I’m often asked my thoughts on how organizations can build a better culture of “thanks” via an employee recognition program. It’s easy, really: Identify processes, milestones, or efforts worthy of praise, then brainstorm simple, yet thoughtful ways to recognize those who have achieved or surpassed them.

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Saving Signs Around the World...It's #NationalSaveASign Month

It’s #NationalSaveASign Month!

One service-related concept we referenced a lot during my time as a leader at Walt Disney World was the notion of “good show and bad show”. “Good show” is a Disney term for anything that adds to the guest experience. “Bad show” is anything that detracts from the guest experience. 

This simple, but extremely effective concept is easily understood by cast members and is something your organization might consider adopting as your own. Where most organizations miss the boat is thinking that service is only delivered by humans. When in reality, everything your customer comes in contact with speaks volumes about how you operate.

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Great Guest Service is a Continual Process [VIDEO]

When it comes to customer experience, complacency can be a silent killer. On the flip side, continuous improvement generates loyalty. Static organizations – or those unwilling to innovate and evolve – all but push their customers toward competitors who are willing to meet their needs and expectations.

Doing all you can to keep your customers happy on the front line starts with doing all you can to keep your TEAM happy internally. Enabling and encouraging great guest services is a continual process. It’s not a periodic reminder or a one-off effort.

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From ME to WE: Generosity as a business strategy [video]

What if instead of saying, “what can THEY do for ME?” we asked ourselves, “what can I do for THEM?”

As leaders, it’s time to consider shifting our focus to the virtue of generosity as our guiding principle. Those who infuse humanity and generosity into their personal and professional relationships are simply happier people. Organizations that focus on giving more than what is expected – authentically – enjoy more SUCCESS than those who do not.

Sadly, many communities, organizations, and leaders dismiss this simple, but invaluable insight. Yet, the virtue of generosity proves itself again and again in organizations everywhere. Teams that embrace this philosophy feel more connected, inspired, and invested in each other, as well as in the organization they represent.

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CONTRACT VS. CAREER EMPLOYEES: GUESTS DON'T CARE [VIDEO]

When it comes to who is serving them, your guests don’t know (and frankly, don’t care) whether that person is a contract employee or a career employee. They simply expect ASSISTANCE … from whomever is there to offer it. 

Guests make assessments of their experience based on the people, the place, and the processes they encounter. But it’s often the people aspect of the visitor experience that outweighs the place and process. 

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Shaping Guest Experiences: Your Best Employees Are Your Greatest Asset

Customer expectations are continuing to rise. When bombarded with countless businesses and brands all fighting for their loyalty, customers are on the hunt for companies that just “get it.” People are craving businesses who prioritize authenticity, competence, and personalization over nearly everything else.

Placing the guest experience before profit margins is no easy feat, but those who are able to strike the balance connect with the No. 1 differentiator in business.

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Spark Customer Loyalty in Seconds: The Art of Efficient POS Transactions


Modern day point of sale (POS) transactions take too long. Long gone are the days where you can walk into a store, pay for a candy bar, and leave – all while the same songs plays through your car stereo.

What used to be a quick and efficient customer interaction has been flooded with employees who are forced to plug swipe cards, apps, and other lackluster campaigns in an effort to retain your business.

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#WORK HAPPY SERIES: Happiness is an Every Day Choice

Donnelly Effect delivers actionable SPARKS to #WorkHappy, using HAPPINESS BY DESIGN to shape and reinforce a culture of service.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could, one day, simply DECIDE to BE HAPPY? Just flip a switch and BAM! Automatic happiness forever. Sadly, life doesn’t work that way. Happiness is an everyday proactive choice.  Not a one-off task.

Still, genuine happiness can seem like a distant outcome rather than a lasting requirement – especially at work. We spend the majority of our time with the people we work with, so why not enjoy ourselves while we’re at it?

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#WORK HAPPY SERIES: HARNESSING ANGER TO WORK HAPPY

Donnelly Effect delivers actionable SPARKS to #WorkHappy, using HAPPINESS BY DESIGN to shape and reinforce a culture of service.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE WORK ANGRY?

Many of us were taught that the only way to lead effectively is to eliminate emotions like anger and frustration, or at the very least, ignore and hide them. Be professional at all costs, right? Wrong (kind of).

At Donnelly Effect, we love “working happy”...using happiness by design to emphasize an inspired culture of service. But we’d be remiss to pretend that leaders, employees, customers, etc. don’t get angry every now and then. One key to working happy is your ability to show and express a full range of emotions. This includes anger.

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#WorkHappy Series: Can You Train for Genuine Happiness?

Donnelly Effect delivers actionable SPARKS to #WorkHappy, using HAPPINESS BY DESIGN to shape and reinforce a culture of service.

For years we have been relaying the importance of using responsible and engaged employees to create a thriving culture of service. But countless conversations with our clients have raised one very important question: Where are all the HAPPY PEOPLE?

In looking for the GENUINELY happy, positive people, the ones whose glass is always half full, we have learned that happiness attracts happiness. So the key to leveraging Disney inspired service principles is coming armed with delighted people by your side. But here’s the thing about sparking joy:

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