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Credit Card Usage Fees Can Wipe Out Your Rewards

At the outset, it should be noted that merchants, by law, cannot charge customers a fee for the use of debit or prepaid cards. On the other hand, merchants may assess a surcharge on credit card purchases that does not exceed the merchant discount rate for the applicable credit card charged - usually between 1.5% and 3.5% - and it cannot exceed 4%.  Rules and Restrictions

As a general rule, practically every credit card in circulation has some reward connected with its use. There is a panoply of benefits constantly being offered - like a moving target - to encourage and entice you to sign up and continue using the cards for every purchase on the planet. What happens to those points earned when you have to pay 4% to a merchant for using the issued card? Let's take a look.

A 4% merchant-imposed fee for using a credit card means that, for every dollar you spend, you incur an additional charge of 4 cents. Reward points are typically earned for every dollar...

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The Escalation of Retail Tipping: Is it Time to Rethink Gratuity at Every Level of Service?

In recent years, retail tipping has become a controversial phenomenon that has spiraled out of control. From coffee shops to clothing stores, it seems like every corner of the retail industry has a tip jar or a prompt for gratuity. However, many are beginning to question whether it's time to eliminate tipping at every level of service.Tipping was initially introduced as a way to reward exceptional service and show gratitude to service industry workers. Restaurants and hair salons were among the first places where tipping became customary. However, in the retail sector, tipping has taken on a different meaning and purpose. It is no longer about rewarding exceptional service but has become an expectation, regardless of the quality of service received.

One key argument against retail tipping is that it blurs the line between regular customer service and extraordinary service deserving of a tip. Retail employees, who are typically already receiving a regular wage, are sometimes...

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The Lost Art of Conversation

 The Lost Art of Conversation

From the June 24, 1899 issue of The Saturday Evening Post

It is high time that someone in authority announced that reading is not the summum bonum of life. The very act of reading is unsocial. It is a kind of melancholy barbarism. If you look about you in a railway train, in a streetcar, or bus you will observe that everyone is reading – men, women, and even the innocent little children. Silent, glum, their eyes glued to book or paper, they sit there, like so many savages brooding in a jungle. Where are the jolly conversations that Washington Irving and Dickens overheard in the stagecoaches of the long ago? Where is the cheery sociability that once made traveling a liberal education?

Conversation is in the way of becoming a lost art - like the making of mummies and the laying of the great auk’s egg. We have such a precious deal of reading to do that conversation is out of the question. We have no time to talk. We have no leisure for...

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Who Developed Your Company Mission Statement?

Your Mission Statement can be the most significant piece of your company's identity - both externally and internally. It contains the words that create the understanding of why the company exists. It is the compass that guides and influences the direction of your company, working to deliver on its value proposition - the promise made to the public.

Contrary to what many executives believe, the most significant and purposeful mission statements are not developed in the board room, marketing agency/department, or solely at the C-suite level. Truly, the best mission statements are debated, discussed, and created in Mission Statement workshops that include a spectrum of multi-level employees from each department in the company.

A Mission Statement workshop that includes participants from all departments can have several positive effects on a company's culture and atmosphere. By involving representatives from different departments, the workshop can promote collaboration,...

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Who Wrote It? Man or Machine?

Recently, I posted a blog about AI and how it is stealing creativity. Now, a recently published New York Times article reinforces my personal opinion that, not only creativity but, the truth could be replaced as well.

See if you can tell which of these essays was written by a fourth grader or by a chatbot. You may be quite surprised.

 

 

 

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Love Calls - The Overlooked Goodwill Asset

In 1984, Stevie Wonder released one of his all-time classic songs, “I Just Called To Say I Love You”. It became an instant hit, quickly moving up the charts to the number one spot where it remained for several weeks. Additionally, it won a Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Song and it received three Grammy Award nominations that year, as well.  

The song is about Stevie making a call to his girlfriend for no special reason – only to say “I love you”. Throughout the song, he names the many holidays and occasions that usually warrant such a call but emphasizes that, unlike those days that prompt good wishes and expressions of love, this call was only influenced by his love for her.  

Do you and your employees make “Love Calls” in your business throughout the year? You should. Oh, I don’t mean it literally. Are you and your team making calls to customers and clients to express gratitude and appreciation...

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Compelling Mission Is More Important Than Salary

Recently, I posted a blog regarding how critical Service Culture development is to building value in any business. Now, this Business News Daily report details how Company Culture is more important than salary when job applicants consider where they want to work.

Is your company culture properly defined and showcased? Does your company Mission Statement speak to its true purpose and is it shared by every employee? Do your company Values align with the personal values of your employees and applicants? Is talent retention a concern in the current high-turnover environment?

If you would like to discuss the significance of your company culture, mission statement, and values, let's schedule a 14 to 17-minute call. Email me and we will put it on the calendar.

 

 

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Is Artificial Intelligence Stealing Creativity?

With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), there has been a lot of talk about how AI will change the world as we know it. Among the many ways it is expected to change the world, one of the most controversial is its impact on creativity. Some people believe that AI will destroy creativity because it will make things too easy and predictable. However, there are others who believe that it will enhance creativity because it will give people new tools to work with. So, which is it? Will AI destroy or enhance creativity? Let's take a look at both sides of the argument.

The Argument for AI Destroying Creativity
There are a few reasons why some people believe that AI will ultimately lead to the destruction of creativity. First, they argue that AI takes away the element of surprise. When everything is predictable, there is no room for creativity. Second, they argue that AI makes things too easy. When everything is easy, people become complacent and stop thinking outside the box. Third,...

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Tipped Employees and Sub-Minimum Wage

According to this article, efforts are underway in many areas to do away with the sub-minimum wage model that dominates the world of employees who work for tips. Food and beverage servers, housekeepers, valets, car washers, and nail salon workers are among those who fall into this category. If proposed changes take effect, do you think tipping should be eliminated and wage increases passed on to customers in the cost of the meal or service?

Personally, I would like to see us move to the European model of "service compris" where all is included in the final bill.

Check out this very interesting New York Times article and let me know what you think. 

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Service Culture Development Is Critical To Building Value In Any Business

A company's culture is its identity. It's what sets it apart from its competitors and attracts top talent. A strong service culture is critical to building and sustaining value in any business. Here's why.

Team psychologists, Hackman and Wageman, define a positive service culture as a set of shared values and beliefs that guide collective action and shape individual behavior within an organization. It is the foundation upon which companies are built and successful teams are developed. It is a promise made to the public that speaks to reliability, accountability, and loyalty. There are countless examples of companies with strong service cultures—Zappos, Four Seasons, Southwest Airlines, Disney, to name a few—that have achieved long-term success due to their unwavering commitment to delivering consistent and superlative customer experiences. 

There are three primary benefits of having a strong service culture: increased employee engagement, improved customer...

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