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Small Business Leadership Academy

Rebecca Koury: Small Business Leadership Academy Past Participant

Rebecca Koury discusses how her participation in the Small Business Leadership Academy has benefited her and her business, Prudential Cleanroom Services.


Small Business Leadership Academy Past Participant:

Rebecca Koury
Prudential Cleanroom Services

Tell us about your business: We are a cleanroom laundry providing uniforms for controlled environments.

Year of participation in SBLA: 2011

What was the most important thing you learned from SBLA? There is so much that I learned. People: How to apply autonomy in relationships and how to empower people. Marketing: How to identify your product to sell. Negotiations: Building good relationships with vendors and how to get the best fair price. Strategy: How to organize your business and processes step-by-step to understand strengths and weaknesses.

How have you changed the way you do business based on what you learned during SBLA? I’m more focused and motivated when I use the tools I learned.

How has the SBLA alumni community been helpful to you since you went through the program? I learned so much in a peer setting. I realized I was not on a island by myself. Although our businesses are different, we face many of the same challenges. We were able to brainstorm together and to help each other with ideas and solutions. Really a compliment to the program.

What aspects of SBLA do you consider most valuable for other small business owners in Phoenix? I like the support the small businesses are being given through this program. It helps small businesses to re-evaluate and look at how to become better at what we do. It allows us the opportunity to grow in the community and to create jobs locally.

The next Small Business Leadership Academy program will begin Wednesday, August 29, 2012.

For more information about the program, including admission requirements, please visit SBLA’s website.

Small Business Leadership Academy, W.P. Carey School of Business, ASU

Small Business Leadership Academy: Competing Through Services (Part II)

Small Business Leadership Academy: Competing Through Services (Part II)

Last week, Small Business Leadership Academy students learned how to blueprint processes within their organization that affect customer satisfaction. Their application assignment was to pick an aspect of their organization to blueprint. By detailing the process, including both what happens behind the scenes and in plain sight of the customers, students were able to identify areas that are ripe for innovation and improvement.

Several students identified the phenomenon about how readily positive information gets passed up through the organization, while it is harder to get honest information about what is going wrong. Blueprinting your service can find pain points where the customer is not receiving optimal service or when the backroom systems aren’t running optimally.

“By going through this process, we were able to identify double handling inefficiencies,” says Rebecca Koury from Prudential Cleanroom Services. “Now I have a blueprint that I can use to write thorough work instructions. I think that will definitely benefit the customer, us, and our employees. Employees will be able to provide better service to the customer because they’ll now know where our inefficiencies are, and we can do a better job of keeping the customer happy.”

One of the factors mentioned in multiple students’ presentations was how a customer’s expectations of the service can have an influence on how they view the service. If front-line employees don’t communicate with their managers about the quality of their interactions with customers, or if there are too many layers between front-line employees and those managers that can affect change, then there will continue to be a gap between the customer’s expectations of the service and their actual experience with it.

“Another factor that can affect a customer’s perception of a service is how the front-line employee is evaluated,” says Professor Doug Olsen. If a customer wants fast service, but the employee is rated on whether they get the proper approvals, there will be a disconnect. If a customer wants resolution for their problem, but the employee is rated on how quickly they get the customer off the phone, there will be a disconnect. The desires of the customer need to be aligned with the evaluation system for the front-line employee to maximize service satisfaction.

By making those sometimes incremental improvements to their service offerings, small business owners can ensure that a customer will not walk away due to disappointment with a customer service interaction with their organization.

The Small Business Leadership Academy (SBLA) is an intensive executive education program designed to strengthen the business acumen of small business leaders in Arizona. The program was jointly developed by the W. P. Carey School of Business and the Salt River Project (SRP), the program’s founding sponsor. Other seat sponsors this year include: Arizona Lottery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Hahnco and U. S. Bank. Each week we will bring you a few salient points from each class as well as comments from the professors themselves and the impact the information has had on the students.

For more information about the Small Business Leadership Academy, please visit the Small Business Leadership Academy’s website.