The Norman Transcript

December 15, 2012

Thunder exec. speaks to Chamber

By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Want your business to be world famous? It’s not what you say, it’s not what you do, it’s how you make people feel that creates their memory of experience with your company, said Pete Winemiller, senior vice president of Guest Relations for the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Norman Chamber of Commerce’s general membership meeting on Friday.

Based on the quote by poet Maya Angelo, this concept is the key to great customer relations no matter what business you’re in, Winemiller said.

Winemiller said when Martin Luther King, Jr. talked about building a new future for all Americans he did not describe a plan or an idea. He described a dream.

Creating a vision for your company that focuses on customer service can be key to improving relations and future business prospects, Winemiller said.

Businesses lose customers for a number of reasons — they die, move away, are influenced by friends, lured away from the competition or are dissatisfied with the product. But the majority, 69 percent, are “turned away by an attitude of indifference on the part of a company employee,” Winemiller said.

To change that, Winemiller advocates doing “little things really well consistently.”

First impressions are important and it’s the little things that can make a big difference he said.

“People don’t remember days, they remember moments and moments matter,” Winemiller said. “Indifference is the worst thing that can happen to your organization.”

He challenged businesses to adopt an “attitude of invitation” through communicating courteously, listening to learn, initiating immediately, creating connections and knowing your stuff.

“We can’t control the play on the floor,” he said of his approach to guest hospitality at Thunder games. “But we can control how we treat our guests.”

Winemiller challenged everyone to pick one small thing to improve on this year by 1 percent as a starting point.

“It’s not doing one thing 100 percent better,” he said. “It’s doing 100 things 1 percent better.”

Engage employees in the effort.

“If you want to go fast, go alone,” he said. “If you want to go far, go together.”

In that spirit of going together, the chamber has made many strides this year.

“We have, right now, the highest membership this chamber has ever known,” said Chamber Board Chairman Trey Bates.

Continued leadership development through Leadership Norman, new programs like 35 South, a new initiative that brings Norman issues to Oklahoma City commuters to keep them connected, the micro web site,, and the hiring of Tessa Breder as Government Affairs and Events Manager are some of the positive stride forward the Chamber has made, Bates said.


For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.