Thankfulness Makes All the Difference.

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By Katie Torres

It's 11:22 PM on a Sunday night, and all I can think about is how thankful I am for this company I work for.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to work hours that fit my needs.

I'm thankful for a team who is a "team" in every sense of the word, supporting each other in our work, and even in the cares of life.

I'm thankful that I get to sit here and write this post on our company's blog, and take this space to tell the world how stinkin' thankful I am.

And you know, this thankfulness is honestly what makes my work so much easier, and even more joyful.

A lot of us go to work, and we work because we have to.

And really, there is nothing wrong with that. 

There is nothing lesser about our jobs just because we feel that they aren't as exciting or instantly rewarding as others' jobs might be.

When we take the time to find the thankfulness for what we do, and for the opportunities we've been given, it truly does make all the difference.

Thankfulness makes our tasks feel like opportunities - because they are.

It causes us to find joy in the mundane, day-to-day work.

And when obstacles and difficulties arise, thankfulness is there to remind us that those struggles DO pass, and there is something to be encouraged about in the meantime.

Take some time today to think about what you are thankful for in your work.

It's not as cliche as it sounds, I promise.

Why That Post?

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By Katie Torres

Every now and then, Envoy will post a good recipe, or a funny meme, or an emotion-invoking blog post.

I'm currently sitting across from my friend and just finished telling her about the recipe I created this morning for the page (keep your eyes peeled, because you won't wanna miss it).

She was so surprised and happy to hear that a facilities maintenance company would post a recipe.

Why? I mean...we're about fixing equipment, right? What the heck does food have to do with broken toilets (well...aside from where that food eventually ends up. But we'll leave that topic to your plumber).

The reason Envoy posts about everything under the sun is because we want to be helpful in as many areas under the sun as we possibly can be.

Is the fryer in your restaurant down? You have a need. We want to help with that so business can go on.

Are you hungry for something good? You have a need. We want to help you enjoy your meal today. Here, have a recipe!

Are you suffering from some Monday blues? Well, there's a need too. Let us spread some joy and brighten your day with a good meme or two.

So, I told my friend, just as we tell everyone: It's not just about fixing things. It's about helping people.

Do something today to be helpful to someone else. It could be anything! It doesn't have to be extravagant to be helpful, and to make someone's day better.

And take a look at our site, and at our Facebook for a more complete collection of our helpful posts.

Communicating with Vendors: How to Get the Information You Need

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By Katie Torres

You make a call because a piece of major equipment has gone down.

You're on edge because you know that fixing this equipment is highly time sensitive, and absolutely essential to the functioning of your business.

And to make matters worse, you're not hearing back from your vendor about what's going on.

It's frustrating to you to have to frequently ask for information, and maybe still not receive the answers you need, even after repeated questioning.

What do you do?

We see this so often in our line of work, and we have spent a lot of time working on ways to prevent it from happening.

When this happens, it all comes down to an issue of communication.

We talked last week about communication, and how it is the backbone for any business to run smoothly.

Great communication is also specifically the solution to the above scenario. 

So here are three ways we have found to get the information our customers need from our vendors:

1. We always keep in mind that, "If our customer is asking us for an update, we are not doing our job well".

If you have to repeatedly ask for updates, this means that you are not getting all the information you need; you are not being served as well as you should be.

We have found that following up with vendors frequently on behalf of our customers takes the pressure off of our customer to find the answers they need. 

We don't just assign a work order and let it sit until completion.

We follow up, again and again, keeping our customer updated so they don't have to worry about whether or not the job is getting done. They will know.

2. We recognize that knowing the job is getting done is not necessarily enough for our customer.

Sure, it's great to know the job is getting done.

But what is the timeline? What has gotten done so far? Are there any complications in completing the work? 

The questions could go on. 

Not only do we provide updates on whether or not the job is being completed, but we have also paid extra close attention to providing updates about every detail along the way.

3. We have found that leveraging technology is absolutely essential to keeping our customers in the loop.

Phone calls and emails are great, but when it comes to information about the repairs of your equipment, you'll want to know that no bit of it is getting lost due to disorganization.

We believe that technology frees people to be people, so they can do what they are best at. And we believe this so much that we've invested a great deal into our technology to make this possible.

For instance, we have set up our software to communicate with leading CMMS software like ServiceChannel and Big Sky. 

This means that it takes less time to communicate the information our customers need, and no detail is lost in the process. The automation in our software helps greatly to ensure this as well.

Whether you are a facilities manager who is managing work orders, or you're trusting another company to help you with the process, look out for these solutions to make sure you are getting the information you need.

Keeping Up With Your Customers' Changing Needs

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By Katie Torres

In today's face-paced world, it comes at no surprise that the rate at which customer needs change is also quickening.

What worked a year ago - or even a few months ago - may not be working any longer, and customer satisfaction might be at risk.

Fortunately for all of us, the basic principles of how to keep up with customer's needs are the same across the board, regardless of what kind of company we're talking about. 

Here are a few of the most important aspects of keeping your customers happy, despite changing needs:

1. Pay attention to current trends in your trade.

Always keep learning. You can learn a lot from simply looking at other companies around you and seeing what they're doing to gain business. 

If you are unsure of what your own customers are looking for, maybe a new point of view would help. Look to find out what other companies are offering that is working for their customers, and work at ways to make it better for your own. 

Conversely, if you find that a current trend is losing traction, it might be time to move on to some new ideas. Don't be afraid of this change. Your customers definitely aren't.

2. Understand that even small adjustments to how you run your business can have a great impact.

You don't have to do a complete brand overhaul every time you notice that a trend in your industry is changing (in fact, sticking to your core values regardless of changing trends is completely necessary).

But small adjustments here and there really add up to a greater improvement in customer satisfaction.

The point is to always keep moving forward in your efforts to improve. Every bit of information learned is useful. Put it to practice, and your customers will notice.

3. Live up to your word.

If you tell your customers that you always have a real-person-customer-service-agent ready to help and listen to their needs, then you best have a real-person-customer-service-agent there anytime a customer calls with a question.

Simply, do not make promises you cannot or do not intend on keeping. But also strive to be the company in your trade that can offer the best of the best.

4. Continually have the attitude that you are there to serve your customers.

When companies operate with the sole goal of making profit, customers see this. And, spoiler alert: they don't usually like it.

We mentioned that always sticking to your core values is a must; one of those core values ought to be service, and dedication to meeting your customers' needs. 

After all, companies would be nothing if it weren't for the customers who keep them afloat.

If these tips seem oversimplified to you, you can take a breather and rest assured that it really is pretty simple.

It may be a lot of hard work to stay on top of changing trends within customer needs, but the way to get there is not overly difficult.

What are some trends you've noticed within customer satisfaction? As a customer, what do you look for and value in the company you buy from? Let us know in the comments.

And if you happen to be in need of some gold ole' facilities maintenance help, take a look at our site. We'd be happy to hear about what your needs are there, too.

How to Maintain Culture as Your Company Grows

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By Katie Torres

There's nothing quite like the experience of working with a group of people who you get along with well, and who share your goals and values.

Having a team like this does wonders for a company. 

Not only do tasks get completed with great teamwork, but it also means that coming to work can actually be enjoyable.

But as companies grow, it can sometimes be difficult to maintain the culture that your tight-knit group once had.

This happens for a few reasons, but there are ways to prevent the culture from being lost in every one of these situations:

First, new employees mean new personalities. This can quickly change the culture of your business.

It is not possible to change the personalities and attitudes of your employees. Trying to do so only causes resentment and frustration.

So, it is important to carefully hire, right from the start. Make sure you ask questions that go deeper than the applicant's skills and job history.

Ask questions that, when answered, will give you a good idea of what the person's core values are, and who they really are as a person. This will help you to know whether or not they will add to the culture of your team.

As you begin to hire more people to your team, you will also find that a larger group of people presents challenges to maintaining culture.

In this case, communication is what will save you.

Even a group of people who get along well can run into problems if the communication is not strong and clear.

You may feel that there is not enough time to continue with your regular meetings - meet anyway.

Your team needs to remain on the same page, and everyone needs to stay up-to-date on your company's policies and procedures, and anything that is going on with the business.

Team growth can sometimes lead to complacency after employees become comfortable in their success.

Don't let this happen. 

It is great that your team is growing and progressing toward common goals. But there is always further to go.

Discuss what needs to be improved at weekly meetings, and frequently talk about your team's core values. 

Remind your employees of common goals, and create new ones that keep your core values at the forefront of your efforts.

Also, have fun together. Nothing breaks the cycle of complacency like a good trip outside the office with your team. Have dinner, go to a community event. Anything to foster the sense of community you had when you started off.

These are just a few ways in which you can maintain your company's culture as your business grows. 

Do you work for a company who does this well? Let us know how in the comments. It brings us joy to hear that other companies are succeeding in this area.

How Change Can Help Your Company Grow

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By Katie Torres

A few days ago, we were discussing the topic of change.

I made the comment that I don't (personally) enjoy change. It makes me panic. It's often difficult to navigate, and getting used to it takes time.

But even though there are many areas in life where consistency and routine are great, there are also many areas where change is necessary, and should be welcomed.

Our business - and yours - are among the places that desperately need change.

This is not to say that our companies are bad or lacking. But if we stay where we're at, our growth will become stagnant. 

Growth is not possible unless we are moving forward.

So if we must move forward, the question is, "how?"

There are certain aspects of business that never stop evolving. Special attention should be payed to these areas.

For instance, technology is always changing.

This is true of all technology, not just technology within our companies. So it pays to keep up with current trends. 

Make the investments necessary to keep up with the pace of technology in your trade, or else risk losing out to the companies who are advancing in their own use of technology.

Your customer's needs may also be changing.

As the world around us changes, we need to adapt to maintain success.

Your customers are adapting, even if you are not. So, if you have not made the necessary changes to stay relevant to the needs of your customers, your customers will move on to someone who has.

This is also another reason why staying up-to-date on technology is so important; because of the evolution of technology, your customers may now have different needs due to those changes.

For instance, a company looking for a website that stands out among other modern websites will need a graphic designer who is up-to-date on the current trends. They don't want a designer who is still creating layouts that look like they belong in a website from ten years ago.

One other aspect that always changes is the growth process itself.

As mentioned before, it is impossible to grow as a company without implementing change.

If you have the opportunity to equip your employees with new skills and avenues to create, why wouldn't you do that?

Sure, the direction may change a bit. But it could be completely beneficial to the quality of your business. 

Bottom line: If you don't embrace change, you stop growing as a company. If you choose to embrace change and make some mistakes along the way, at least you're learning what not to do. Even learning what doesn't work is a part of growing.

So, meet with your team this week and talk about it. Are there areas where you could be embracing change to grow as a company?

If you have stories of how embracing change has helped your company, we'd love to hear about them. Feel free to share in the comments, or better yet, tell someone else so they can benefit, too.

Communication: Let's Talk About It.

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By Katie Torres

Have you ever played the telephone game?

It never ceases to amaze me how the message can start so clearly with the first person, and end up so completely misinterpreted by the last.

I loved this game as a kid. But as an adult, in real life, it would be pretty frustrating if this is how we communicated with one another.

And yet, we sometimes do.

Has your company ever made a decision and passed down the information through managers, rather than taking the time to meet together or even pass out the same memo to everyone?

Hopefully not, but it has happened. This creates all kinds of confusion and misunderstanding when the messenger doesn't get the message exactly right.

Great communication is key to ensuring the message stays in tact, and is understood by everyone.

But a mixed-up-message is not the only thing we need to be concerned about when it comes to communicating properly.

So, here are a few ways in which we can make sure our communication stays strong within our companies.

1. Make sure the message is complete in all details to avoid misunderstanding.

The message you communicate must be complete. Leaving out important details means more follow up questions have to be asked, and there is more room for error if the message is communicating a task that needs to be completed.

If the message is a written one, read what you have written before sending. Make sure all details are included. If it is a verbal message, think about what you need to communicate before speaking.

2. Communicating well means crafting your message with care.

If you are writing a message to someone but use terrible grammar, the message can be easily misunderstood, and the sender could even be viewed as careless.

The person on the receiving end of your message should be able to clearly understand what you are saying. Remember: "Let's eat, Grandpa!" is not the same as, "let's eat Grandpa!"

3. Be considerate of your audience.

The way you speak to a coworker is different than the way you speak to a customer.

For instance, a mechanic might go into greater detail when communicating with another mechanic, but when speaking to a customer, the message would be simplified to make it understandable. 

In this case, lesser detail may be better. A customer coming in with a broken spark plug does not need to know how the spark plug works - they just need it fixed.

If you speak to all audiences the same way, you can't expect everyone to understand exactly what you're saying.

Taking the time to communicate well will save you from misunderstandings and mistakes.

It is the backbone of a business that runs smoothly, so it truly pays to do it well.

Fun Friday

Happy Friday!

This week at Envoy, we played a game where we all shared our favorite concert experiences. There is a blank copy at the bottom in case you want to copy and paste to share your answers, too.

But first, a video of some kids who really know how to enjoy music.

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PRESTON
Best “ROCK” concert you’ve been to: Foo Fighters (face was melted for 3 hours, Laney had to lay down on gross Gwinnett Arena floor due to exhaustion, I stayed standing and rockin #badhusband ) 

Best “POP” concert you’ve ever been to: Coldplay - Viva La Vida tour (wish I had gone to the Mylo Xyloto one)

Best “OTHER” you’ve ever been to: tough…..Outkast at Music Midtown before some of y’all were born or Zac Brown Band

Your favorite concert of all time: Needtobreathe - The Tabernacle

Coolest concert/concerts/music midtown event you have ever been to: U2, Southern Ground Festival (Zac Brown/country/rock/food festival in Charleston) Music Midtowns - assorted and yes, 21 bracelets @heather ….still remember hearing some guy yell “My name is Kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid “ at one of his first concerts to go big while holding a Lite Tall Boy

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JOSH
Best “Other” concert you’ve been to: Jimmy Buffet
Best “Rap” concert you’ve ever been to: Ludacris - Music Midtown
Best “OTHER” you’ve ever been to: Luke Brian
Your favorite concert of all time (that you attended, and would go again like tonight if you could) Band AND Venue: U2 bartended in the Dome for a private party in a super suite
Coolest concert/concerts/music midtown event you have ever been to: Dome was my favorite. 

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SCOTT
Rock: Vampire Weekend at the Tabernacle
Pop: Imogene Heap at the Tabernacle
Other: Charles Bradley at the Tabernacle (was an opener)
Best Ever: Band of Horses at the Tabernacle in New Years Eve 2008/2009

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KATIE

Best “OTHER” you’ve ever been to:  The three I've seen have all fallen under the "other" category; Paramore (genre neutral), twenty one pilots (alternative, rap), and We The Kings (what we scene kids used to listen to in high school). And We The Kings was cool because I got to sing with the lead singer after the concert.

Your favorite concert of all time (that you attended, and would go again like tonight if you could) Band AND Venue: Paramore @ the Fox Theatre in Detroit, only this time I'd do it front row. 

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JUSTIN
First Concert I went to was Eminem!

(Justin didn't exactly play the game right, but at least he's reppin' for Eminem.)

Your turn! Post your answers in the comment section of our status. Here's your copy to play:

Best “ROCK” concert you’ve been to:

Best “POP” concert you’ve ever been to:

Best “OTHER” you’ve ever been to:

Your favorite concert of all time (that you attended, and would go again like tonight if you could) Band AND Venue:

Coolest concert/concerts/music midtown event you have ever been to:

How Your Perspective Changes Your Learning Experience

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By Katie Torres

I vividly remember the day I learned that Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States.

The excitement I felt to tell my mom that little fact was overwhelming. I literally could not wait to tell her what I learned.

And then, some years later, there was a shift in my attitude toward learning.

Learning became a burden.

It became six hours a day in a hard desk chair, my only "escape" being recess in elementary, and eventually just lunch in high school.

It became hours of forced homework and the punishment of a bad grade if I didn't do it.

It became failed tests because I felt too overwhelmed to even try to study.

Learning no longer excited me. If I'm being real honest, it just made me angry.

The curious mind that once longed for exploration was gone. 

Somewhere along the lines, it just changed. And learning was no longer something I desired; it was something I resented.

I wish I had the wisdom back then that I have now.

I wish I had realized that learning is not a burden, or a task to check off the list.

Learning is the way we live life. 

My attitude may have changed along the way, but the truth about learning had not. I just had a flawed perspective.

Learning opens doors. It shows us what we need to know to be successful, and it fills us with experiences.

There is no way you can book a ticket overseas if you don't ever learn how to manage finances.

You can't write a novel if you never learn how to write.

You can never even hold conversation if you don't learn how to speak as a toddler. 

Learning is so vital. Don't ever be deceived into thinking it's a burden.

Whether you have another training this week for work, or you have hours of homework piled up for that college course, remember that every bit of it will help you.

And if you have the proper perspective, it can even be exciting.

What have you learned that has made your life richer? Share it with us in the comments, and hold onto the excitement of learning.

Stop Playing the Comparison Game

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By Katie Torres

Our CEO loves to share blog posts written by Seth Godin. 

He shared one a few weeks back that particularly struck me as inspiring (here's the link if you want to read it for yourself).

His post was about our tendency to compare ourselves to the lives of others, particularly when it comes to how we view them on social media.

His point was that holding ourselves to a standard that isn't even necessarily based in reality is not the best way to determine our own success.

I finished reading his post, and just as I have after reading all of his blog posts, I felt extremely inspired...and also a little discouraged.

You see, Seth Godin writes exquisitely. He says all that he needs to say, usually in a very small amount of space. He writes so well that he doesn't even need to take up 500 words to be inspiring.

So I often compare my own writing style to his, and it's no wonder I feel like I'm missing the mark somewhere.

And then I realized...I was doing exactly what he said we shouldn't do.

I was comparing my own success to the success of someone I've never even met, based on a beautiful, polished post that he published on the internet.

It truly is a reality that his writing is great. But, what about the parts of his blog that I don't see?

I don't see how much time it takes for him to come up with great ideas.

I don't see the work he puts into editing his words before perfecting them.

I don't see the years he's spent working at what he does, to get to where he is now.

Does my writing need work? Sure. It always will, no matter how great it gets.

Do you need to practice and keep working to get better at what you do? Absolutely. We all do.

But playing this comparison game does not benefit us.

Let's appreciate what others bring to the world, without sinking into discouragement if we don't think we're as talented (or as beautiful, or as smart...etc.)

We can appreciate others and improve ourselves at the same time.

In fact, maybe the beginning of self-improvement starts only when we choose to end the comparison game.