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Always Act Professional

In this transcript, Lee Cockerell (personal friend of Mickey Mouse from his time managing Walt Disney World Resort) talks with Clay Clark (Founder of Thrive15.com) about customer service training and acting professionally on Thrive15.com!

Clay:    Here in your book, you say, "Always act professional." I don't think that's common sense, so for it. What does that mean?

Lee:    Professional, to me, is standing up when somebody comes in the room. Professional, to me, is going around and greeting everybody in the room and not just hanging out with your friends over the other ... Because you're more comfortable. Professional is dressing appropriately. When I worked at the Waldorf, as my boss told me, no brown suits after 5:00. You'll be in a tuxedo. The guests are in tuxedos, so you look like you belong in that room. 

    Professionalism, as Priscilla would tell me, "Lee, comb your hair. You look like you just got out of bed." Professionalism. You can define what that is in your company. In my book, I define professionalism: being positive, loving what you do - professionals love what they do for a living, by the way. 

Clay:    If you don't love what you do, you need to peace out and go somewhere else. 

Lee:    Yeah, you do. Not saying negative things about your company, that's what professionals do. They don't talk behind. They don't say negative things about the customer when they walk out the door or the other employees, say, "Oh man, that old lady. She comes in here. She's always c- 

    There's a behavior of professionalism. Even though you might think the old lady is a problem, you don't say it because you're going to influence your other employees and they're going to start to say it. Then they're going to mistreat that lady the next time she comes in. I said, "She's got a credit card. That's all we want. We don't need to worry about anything else. I don't care." 

    As people said in Europe, they were complaining about the Germans and the French and the Dutch and all that. I said, "Hey stop it. They have Euros. You're in business. You're here for Euros. You're not here whether you love Germans or French or ... Just forget all that stuff. You're in business.

Clay:    When you say here, "Hire the best cast," what does that mean?

Lee:    Yeah, hire the best cast and do it in a way that you're making sure you're getting the best people. Take your time. Don't hire people quickly. As we talked about earlier, hiring all the time, so you've got a backup pool of people ready to join you that you've already screened. You've checked their background and you know they're going to be great. 

    I worked with a lady. We developed questions with obstacles in them so we can ask you, "Hey, Clay, tell me about a specific time when you had to deal with an irate customer." No I want to listen to what you tell me you did. Then I want to see what was the outcome. Then I want to see if you really did go all the way because you could tell me, "I went all the way." I'll decide if you went all the way after you tell me the story. 

Clay:    Correct me here. Let's just say that I own a fitness business. Say I have a bunch of personal trainers that work for me. The pragmatic side is I have to have 4 or 5 trainers ready to go tomorrow because we've got 5 or 6 clients every hour. I need to get another trainer. I really need to make a trainer because I've got one trainer who has just got an attitude problem. I need to make a change. 

Want to learn more customer service training? Check out our full site complete with 19 other business categories to learn at Thrive15.com!

    How do you balance that in small business about trying to find ... You have this need to hire people quickly. How do you do it? Would you recommend maybe doing a group interview where you interview a lot of candidates simultaneously? Would you recommend having people shadow you? How do you solve the idea of you want to be selective about who you choose, but you have an immediate fire here, where you need to ...

Lee:    I think you've got to really get the questions for that position. The questions are different for a cashier than they are for a guy back in the storeroom. You've got to think about there are questions for retail. What are the questions for finance people? What are the questions for sales people? You're a salesman. Tell me about a time when the sale really wasn't going well and the guy told you no. Tell me about that. There's an obstacle. I want to hear what ... If you're a good salesman, you're going to, "Let me tell you, that's when it starts, buddy. When they tell me no, I go into twelfth gear. I started calling on this guy. I found somebody who knew him. I got in there. I've met his daughter and she liked it. She told him, "Hey, you should buy ... The guy goes on for an hour telling me what-

Clay:    You can tell that's something he's...

Lee:    The next person, I said, "Tell me what you did." "Oh, you know these people, I went in there. They wouldn't ... I couldn't ... I just gave up." It's amazing what people tell you. The person who is great, they can tell you how they do it. 

Clay:    They can't really make it up on the fly. 

Lee:    You can't make it up because you cause ... People can't make this stuff up. 

Clay:    Let's say this here, be your own-

Lee:    They don't know what you're listening for either.

Clay:    You just have these questions they don't expect, and you can see real fast. 

Lee:    Every question has an obstacle.


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