Thursday, September 3, 2015

Is the Bobbie the perfect Gobbler?

The Perfect Gobbler

This weekend I had an experience at a restaurant that warranted me blogging about it. Yes, it happens to be a client of ours but that’s not the reason why I am writing about. It’s the incredible sandwich and overall experience that has me wanting to sing their praises.

Let me start out by first telling you about the type of sandwich that makes me do a happy dance. For as long as I can remember my wife and I have referred to a turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce as a gobbler. We’ve been chasing gobblers since we met 20 years ago and we’ve had some of the best, all over the world. For us it all started in the mid 90’s when we were living in the seacoast of New Hampshire at a restaurant in New Market at the time called Wheelies Roast Beef. They had a version of the gobbler that had turkey, cranberry, and bacon and was served on an onion roll. It was awesome, and it probably still is. There’s place in Washington DC called Jetties that also does an delicious gobbler. The standard to all Gobblers and the namesake of the sandwich is from a place in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard called Skinny’s Fat Sandwiches. Their gobbler was always my favorite, but that’s a long way to travel for a sub. This led to other great gobbler finds from Maine to California and back again. My love for these has never dwindled.

Last weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to see ACDC at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA. Side note: The concert was unreal and Angus Young acted like he was 25. I’m not sure how he doesn’t blow his knees out every show. If they come to a city near you go and get a ticket. They may never be back again.  Anyways, I had some time to kill and spent some time at Patriot Place looking for obscure John Hannah and Moises Tatupu jerseys, and I noticed there was a Capriotti’s Sandwich store in the shopping area. As they are a client of ours, I always like to try to buy from someone who invested in us. All I can say is WOW! The gobbler sandwich there is called the Bobbie and it is something to seek out. From the moment I opened the door to the brightly lit, extremely welcoming decor to the woman who took my order, explaining everything on my sandwich and soft peddling an up sell (clearly she’s been trained well, because the first impression of this business was professional all they way). I really hoped my sub would be as good as the service. I waited a few minutes for the Bobbie to get constructed and out it came wrapped in a nice sub paper.

When I unrolled this thing of beauty I could barely believe my eyes. This is no deli sliced turkey meat slapped on some bread with canned cranberry sauce. This was hand roasted white and dark meat picked off of a turkey, piled with the perfect amount of stuffing and some of the best cranberry sauce I’ve ever had. I can’t be certain but they might make it from scratch, it sure tasted like that. Who cares? All of this gets piled on the perfect roll. When I get a sub roll that can’t handle the sauce and just shreds apart it infuriates me. It ruins a good sub. The rolls that Capriotti’s uses are absolutely perfect, with enough chew and outer core to contain any sauce but soft enough that your aren’t going to pull out a molar. With every bite I loved it more and more. When I got home a week later I was still craving this amazing sandwich, so I went online pulled up a store close by and sampled a couple more. The Capastrami is as amazing as the Bobbie.

I can certainly say Capriotti’s is every bit as good as the hype or quite possibly better. I’d like to think that having a learning management system like LearningZen helps build this culture of excellence. The quality ingredients, the impeccable service and the inviting d├ęcor shows me they’ve built a franchise system that will be here for the long haul. If you get a chance try the Bobbie, thank me later and enjoy a post-thanksgiving sandwich any time of the year.

Doug Mark

Monday, April 20, 2015

Wowing your customers with finely tuned customer service...

Providing the best products or a great service idea is nothing without great customer service. Customer service is at the center to every business’ success, and great customer service is often the deciding factor of whether to pay a little less at business A and receive mediocre to bad customer service and whether to spend a little more at business B and receive outstanding customer service. In a world where customer service has turned into an often lackluster experience, there is something so very appealing about an optimistic, warm voice on the other end of a phone, computer or face to face meeting.

Your employees are your company’s first impression. They are very often the deciding factor whether new business becomes returning business that refers other new business to your business. In today’s fiercely competitive marketplace, your best edge over the competition is obsessive customer service training.  

We all know that practice makes perfect and there is no better way for your employees to receive the ongoing, consistent training they need to drive customers to your door than by providing on-line customer service training.  Online customer service training is available when and where you need it for your employees. The benefits of providing on-line customer service training is huge; here are just a few:

Improved Customer Service Skills  
Customer service training programs focus on improving communication, listening, problem-solving and organizational skills. Training employees on the same standards sets the bar for consistent and remarkable service, creating camaraderie, motivation and engagement between staff leading to improved customer service.

Increased Customer Satisfaction
Through effective customer service training, employees are able to resolve customer issues quickly and efficiently, decreasing prolonged resolution which greatly increases customer satisfaction. The confidence gained by employees through customer service training leads to the consumer feeling appreciated and respected. This is the basis for customer loyalty, and new referrals.

Higher Profits
Investing in online customer service for your staff pays back big dividends in other areas such as customer loyalty, new customers, lower employee turnover and increased sales.  Customer service training also has a great impact on employee motivation and morale, which leads to increased productivity. Training, increased customers numbers, higher productivity and morale, those are the keys to higher profit.

What are you waiting for? Improved customer service, increased customer satisfaction and higher profits are just a click away. 

- contributed by Felita Estes

Monday, April 6, 2015

Train your staff.... for their good and yours!

There is nothing like walking into a business or receiving a service from a company whose employees are friendly, effective, efficient, knowledgeable, and encourage referrals. As a customer, you leave the business satisfied and ready to tell everyone about the great service you experienced. You then flash to your business and wonder if your employees could deliver that same level of product knowledge, and service in the same manner.  For restaurant and franchise businesses to thrive having a great product or service is only half the battle.  Without great employees to deliver and represent your business, the best business can find itself treading water. After all, great employees still require direction, motivation and incentives to propel them to give the business they work for 100+ percent.  How do you make fair to good employees great? Training. 

For most restaurant and franchise businesses, trying to get everyone trained at the same time is like herding cats. Attempting to schedule everyone in the same place at the same time or even in shifts is difficult for most part-time employees and many full-time employees because of other jobs, school, and family obligations. But the benefit of providing training for employees far outweighs any downside, and on-line training is the tool that can make it happen.

Training not only provides employees the necessary tools to perform their jobs but it also provides something even more valuable to a business; confident employees. When employees are given the tools necessary to be great at their job, it increases their confidence which increases their need to perform above and beyond and increases their desire to make each customer happy and satisfied. That confidence, increased self-worth and desire to succeed translates to a more successful business.

Study after study has proven that training is important in improving an employee’s capabilities, overall productivity and efficiency. But it doesn’t stop there; training can also improve other areas of the business. Imagine a workforce that is consistently trained with substantial, relevant material. A workforce like that will produce increased revenue, productivity and create an atmosphere of strong working relationships, all of which will more than cover the costs associated with the training. Wouldn’t it be amazing to walk in the doors a business and witness a crew of friendly, effective, efficient, knowledgeable employees servicing increased numbers of happy customers and realize it’s your business? 

- contributed by Felita Estes

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sneak preview….

One thing about software development - you can always think of ‘one more thing’ to make it better. It is a constant struggle between time, money, competing priorities, scope creep and just getting something out there that the customer can test.  As someone more eloquent might say, “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”.  Not that I’m excusing Windows 1.0 or the Ford Pinto.  Some things just can’t be justified.

Which brings us to today’s topic. The LearningZen course viewer. It works. It delivers courses to our learners daily, by the thousands. It is not particularly sexy but is easy to navigate. It isn’t a Pinto, but maybe an Explorer? Thus, I am pleased to announce (leak) that we are moving into Tesla territory (please ask me about the Tesla, I am obsessed!).  Yes, we are updating the course viewer.

I’m not supposed to show you this because it isn’t done yet but this is a preview:

We’re moving the navigation info to the top bar, opening up more screen real estate for the course content. We are updating the look and feel with new buttons and icons and removed unnecessary repetition of navigation options.

It is really fun for us to do something that is such a noticeable change.  A lot of software updates are invisible, either fixing something, or providing a feature that might be used by a particular user but which may go mostly unnoticed.  

Doing something that people will notice and appreciate is very motivating for software developers. We think this new viewer will be pleasing to the eye and fun to use. We might just have a party when it goes to production!

We hope you like it - The new LearningZen viewer will be available in early 2015. Let us know what you think…. of course, it can be turned on or off by your portal administrator, so you can keep using that old ‘Explorer’ if you want to! Now who wants to talk Tesla?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Improving Death Certificate Data Quality through Training

The process of properly entering and filing a death certificate is surprisingly complex. For example, when a person passes away, a physician must ‘certify’ the cause of death in a particular way and describe the circumstances in a medically precise, legally allowable (and statistically useful) manner. 

This type of information has become increasingly essential for understanding population trends and surveillance, including tracking of epidemic outbreaks. Many organizations, including the National Centers for Disease Control (CDC), rely heavily on this data for the compilation of regional and national statistics.

Gold Systems has built vital record registration systems for several government agencies, including the States of Montana, Arizona, and the District of Columbia. DC and Arizona both use LearningZen to implement a process in which a user of the registration software must first take a training course pertinent to their area of work. 

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For example, DC has several courses on-line and is in the process of adding a new course on how to properly fill out the 'cause of death' on a death certificate. 

The LearningZen API (application programming interface) is used to create a link between the Birth/Death registration system and LearningZen.  This API allows the registration system to determine whether a user has completed the course.  

If not, a notification is presented to the user reminding them to take the course and provides a link to allow them to go directly to the course.  

This approach allows the administrators of the system to more closely monitor who receives the training that they feel is necessary to use the system. Implementation of the linkage between LearningZen and the DC Birth/Death registration system is relatively recent, so it is currently not ‘mandatory’ that a person completes a particular course before they can use the system. These users are often working in a hospital environment and it is important that they are able to complete their work in a timely fashion. 

Using the API, it is possible to track how many times a user ignores the message to ‘complete the course’ and this will be used by the system administrators to take follow up action. They are also considering locking the user out of the registration system automatically after a certain period of time - at least technically speaking this is easily accomplished.  Whether or not it is a good idea remains to be seen - stay tuned for a report on how it plays out in a future posting!