On the last weekend of February, my wife and I celebrated 28 years of marriage and our seventh wedding anniversary. Both statements are true. Do the math. Anyway, we decided to spend a long weekend in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico (Okay, she decided, and I wholeheartedly agreed!) It was a great weekend. We were as happy as a happy monkey should be.

 We tried to remember how many times we had been to Puerto Vallarta and concluded that it was somewhere between eight and ten visits. We love the weather, beaches, the ocean, and whales. We enjoy leisurely strolling along the beachfront downtown, and the food, ah, especially the seafood.

So, when was the last time we were here? 

We stayed at Villa del Mar Puerto Vallarta, a resort we had been to a decade before. From top to bottom, employees smiled, greeted you when they passed you in the hall (not some of the staff some of the time but Every. Single. One!) I talked to our breakfast omelet chef about this. He shared with me that although he was born in Mexico, he grew up in Chicago and later moved to North Carolina to take a job as a welder.

He told me that the company he worked for as a wielder didn’t treat their employees well. He said they could care less about employee’s well-being, safety, or happiness. Then he told me he was so much happier working here because the management cared. It showed. It’s hard to expect excellent customer service from unhappy employees. The Villa Del Mar staff was happy.

Our morning routine 

Every morning my wife and I would grab towels and then stake out chairs on the beach. Then we’d go to the breakfast buffet. Did I mention it was my all-time favorite breakfast buffet? I mean made to order eggs, lox and bagels, and a bloody Mary bar, what else could you ask for? After breakfast, we would go to the beach.

On the beach, vendors dressed in white from head to toe offered their wares: sombreros, jewelry, food, and more. Most were upbeat and friendly as we were in return. One morning the couple next to us asked if we were from Canada. I said no and asked why? “Because you’re so friendly to everyone.” Later we learned that the couple owned a fishing resort on Lake Erie. They closed for the winter.

The Happy Monkey vendor 

Okay, so to the point of this post and the title. One of the vendors sold marionettes and happy monkeys. He would walk by holding a broomstick full of monkeys and puppets and say softly in a dry voice that was almost sad and certainly without expression, “Happy Monkey.”

I don’t know if I can get across how downcast he sounded selling happy monkeys. We never saw him sell one.

I don’t profess to know why he sounded off, but I do know this. Watching him say “Happy Monkey” with a defeated tone for three days in a row wasn’t helping his sales.

How many Happy Monkeys are in your organization?

So, here’s my question. How many happy monkey are in your organization? How many potential customers have been turned off by a staff persons’ downer demeanor or tone? It happens, and it has happened in your organization.

How do you overcome this? By making your employees happy and through customer service training. Remember the omelet chef? He told me that the company had follow-up training for customer service, and regardless of how many times an employee had been to the training, it was mandatory every two months. So, do your employees know how to treat your customers, or are they selling happy monkeys?

 How Can I Help You?

I like to help people and organizations, but I have three criteria I consider before taking an assignment – I believe in what the organization stands for, I know I can help, and it looks like fun. If you have any questions, Contact Me. 

So, does your business have a management training plan? Because, if not, many organizations, large and small, use my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management, as the basis for their leadership development program. Check it out.

Photo by Andre Mouton on Unsplash