Lessons from Jose

So I just spent nine days (actually 7 days and two whole travel days) in Puerto Rico.  I attended a two day accounting conference with the North American division of Alliott Group, the international organization we belong to.  Kathi and I stretched it into a nice beach vacation since we had never been to Puerto Rico.  Puerto Rico is a beautiful island with some of the friendliest people anywhere.

After the conference we spent two days in Old San Juan.  This is quite a city with real Caribbean history.  Here we took a two hour Segway Tour.  For those that don’t keep up with interesting gadgets, these are the two wheel scooters that you stand on and gyroscopes keep it upright.  You simply lean forward and it goes forward.  Lean back and it stops or goes backward.  Push the handle left or right and it turns.  Great fun and a great way to get around a city causing zero pollution.  It’s also a hoot to ride around on! 

The owner of the Segway Tour Company, Jose, was our guide to the city and he was great.  It was a slow day for him so it was just Kathi and I which made it very special for us.  Jose had the most fantastic knowledge of the city and its history and was very personable and fun as well.  If you ever find yourself in old San Juan be sure to take this tour with Jose.  You will have a great time and because of Jose, will learn the true history of a fascinating place, and of course get to ride a Segway.

I asked Jose how business was lately and he said it was still doing pretty well even though the cruise ships that start and stop in San Juan are off about 25%.  Not much different than here but Jose had a great observation about it.  His business was still doing  well and he knew why. 

His tour was the best it could be and he made sure that it would always be seen as the best by delivering a unique and quality experience.   He then went on to say that times like this weed out the businesses that aren’t that well run and that the best run businesses would survive and be stronger.  He gave us an example as we talked about the restaurants we visited in old San Juan.  We made our choices by consulting a web site, Tripadvisor.com.  This was also how we found Jose’s tour.  We had some truly great meals and the restaurants were pretty full.  This was not true of other restaurants. They were really struggling.  They probably just assumed it was because of the poor economy when in fact it was because they just weren’t good enough. 

 In times like these, quality and attention to your customer’s needs will surely mean the difference between survival and failure.  Just ask Jose, he knows!

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