PROFILE

Art Suriano

Chief Executive Officer, The TSi Company

Art Suriano is a business development executive with expertise in retail sales consulting, business culture analysis, and process improvements. He is a forward-thinking business intelligence leader who knows what it takes to run a business and make it a success. Suriano has had an extremely successful and multi-faceted career path that has been anything but conventional. Suriano’s career has provided him skills as CEO, VP of Sales & Marketing, Patent Owner, Published Author, Award-Winning Composer/Arranger, and Public Speaker.

Suriano’s talent includes a keen eye for mining, analyzing, compiling, and presenting data that consistently boosts company value. His patented methodology known as LTraining® has put numerous businesses back on track fixing disconnect, improving performance, consistency, sales culture, sales, and customer satisfaction.

In addition, Suriano is the author of “The Ultimate Customer Experience…The Path to Victory for Any Business…Any Size…Any Time.” His leadership style is extremely creative, energetic, motivational, customer-focused, collaborative and ambitious.

Suriano began his career accepting work as a freelance composer. Soon he was scoring original compositions for television and radio for such programs as As The World Turns and Another World, and jingles/soundtracks for companies such as Subaru, Ford and more. From his success working for media directly as well as advertising agencies, Suriano soon figured out he could offer clients better and more effective creative campaigns for less than what they were paying. This led to founding his own company, PMI in the late 1980’s, which in time, became a full- service ad agency billing over $5 million annually, with local and regional clients.

From the success of his winning agency formula, a few years later, Suriano was offered an opportunity to offer his talent directly to broadcast companies such as WABC in New York and Kiss 108 in Boston. His assignment was helping underperforming clients get better results. Suriano would write and produce a new ad campaign that included custom commercials, and oftentimes, a custom jingle. It was during this period that his peers and clients coined him, “Mr. Fix It,” as every client he was handed began to see improvements in advertising results within 30 days.

Suriano’s passion for advertising continued, but as deregulation affected broadcast media and how they operated, he felt the need to move on and in 1994, founded the company he has today, The TSi Company. Starting out as an in-store marketing/advertising program for retailers, Suriano created an exciting program known as RadioPlusTM. Simply a better in-store music program, RadioPlusTM provided retailers with in-store commercials, complete with a custom client jingle, stations calls and personalities, making their in-store sound system appear as if it was the company’s own radio station. Soon, The TSi Company was signing local and regional retail clients who liked the idea of the added opportunities to build sales with customers through Suriano’s effective commercials and concepts.

By 1997, Suriano’s creative reputation was growing and clients were asking for his help in what was becoming a strong need: training. He began by creating and producing an in-store “before and after” hour radio program that quickly helped store associates learn about upcoming events, in-store promotions, customer service, and policies and procedures. Starting with Stern’s Department Stores, he was soon asked to expand the product to Macy’s, and other divisions after such as May Company divisions and other retail chains. Next, he turned his attention to part-time employees and created what eventually became his patented training method, LTraining®.

Today, LTraining® has been used by over 4 million trainees and consistently outperforms any other training method, scoring over 90% retention after a single session. LTraining® sessions have been created for every training topic necessary from orientation, POS and systems training, product training, sales training, customer service, and more.

As time progressed and Suriano recognized the strong results his training method was achieving, he realized that in order to get maximum impact for any business, he had to take it one step further. He began to look at the other areas of a business that, regardless of how effective his training was, would prevent a business from reaching its full potential.

Suriano met and spoke with clients and requested the opportunity to perform assessments, asking the right questions from top executives to the field and then comparing answers. Soon he found that every business was experiencing serious disconnect from the vision and objectives of the senior staff and what was actually taking place with lower level employees, especially the employees dealing with the customers. Soon he created his TSi 360TM, which became the footprint for helping clients increase sales, cut costs and improve customer satisfaction. Clients experienced over 15% increases in comparable store sales, saved millions of dollars that were being wasted, and saw increases in conversion of 7% annually. Moreover, clients saw long term growth quarter after quarter due to the improvements in performance and consistency.

Today, Suriano enjoys his role as Chief Executive Officer of The TSi Company which has expanded into a full-service company providing branding/marketing, training, communication skills and technology. He also provides his expertise as a consultant, teaching companies what they need to know to grow their business.

As the author of “The Ultimate Customer Experience”, Suriano follows the principles in his book that help clients achieve their goals. Furthermore, as a public speaker, Suriano has been asked to speak at various functions and events all over the world including the Intercoifure International event held in Australia.

Suriano is an accomplished composer/musician who won numerous awards through the decades for original scores for radio/television and corporate presentations. Today, he is under contract with two record labels in the UK as the songwriter/arranger for Circle of Faith, an up and coming Christian pop band.

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  • Posted on: 08/20/2019

    Is technology really making stores more like the web?

    I think it is accurate to say that stores are using technology to save money ... period! That’s not a bad idea and, if done correctly, it can still make for a positive shopping experience. However the line in the article, which is said too often, “allowing store personnel to provide personalized service” is the statement in the article that gives me concern. Retailers have reduced store staff to the bare minimum and wonder why sales are declining, and customers are not happy. Using technology to minimize tasks is fine, but when the onus is on the customer to have to use technology instead of engaging with a store associate is not wise. Sure it’s helpful if I’m looking at a product and push a button that might start a video showing features and benefits, price, and warranty. However if I have a question, or I can’t find an item, or I’m not sure about the purchase I might be interested in, I don’t want to have to walk over to a kiosk and search through a bunch of FAQs.  The technology works best when the store associate has the tool and comes over with an iPad and can show me some information, answer my questions and when I’ve decided to make the purchase, the store associate is right there using his or her scanner allows me to pay for the product and leave. That’s technology at its best. So no I don’t see in-store technology working the same way as online as the solution but using the same basic principles of helping a customer through the purchase supported by human interaction is how retail stores can succeed.
  • Posted on: 08/20/2019

    Can local artists help Target create community support?

    I see partnering with local artists as excellent community collaboration, but other than the good feeling it will give few people and the press Target is receiving, it will do very little if anything for business. The sad truth is that most customers won't even notice. Those that do will take a look and move on. We are in a world today where retailers are experimenting with new ideas and concepts to help themselves stand aside from their competition, and that's wise. In time we'll know what is working and what is not. Perhaps if Target were to set up a small department in the store allowing customers to see and purchase some of the local artists' work, it would not only be a good idea but would help customers take more significant notice of the local talent and how Target is supporting it.
  • Posted on: 08/16/2019

    Can Jill Soltau rebuild J.C. Penney?

    I have strong doubts that Jill Soltau can turn things around for J. C. Penney. The company has floundered far too long with no direction, no definitive identity and therefore no real reason to shop them. They survive because most of their stores are in malls and whatever traffic the mall gets usually allows for some customers to walk through their stores. J. C. Penney needs a significant facelift: 1.) a well thought out and implemented identity/branding campaign complete with a tag line and great advertising, 2.) redesigned stores that create the desire to shop, 3.) merchandise that will impress the customers and as often as possible be exclusive to J. C. Penney, 4.) attractive prices, 5.) excellent customer service.  The problem is: where will they get the money? It’s probably best for them to go down to a few hundred stores and focus on rebuilding the company and eventually building themselves back up. I don’t them see them doing that nor do I see Jill Soltau, who did very little at Joann Fabrics, to be the game-changer. I hope I’m wrong because I would love for them to survive and thrive.
  • Posted on: 08/15/2019

    Is it time for retailers to tier up their loyalty/reward programs?

    It merely comes down to value, meaning, “what do I the customer get for spending money on this?” Loyalty programs can be very beneficial. They range from the car wash punching the customer loyalty card and giving the 11th car wash for free to more sophisticated programs like Amazon Prime.  Value is vital and will make or break a customer’s participation. Looking at Prime, for example, the $119 a year I fork over is a considerable value. I save on shipping; I get to watch unlimited movies and TV on my devices and Smart TV, I get to download and read many free books on my iPad or Kindle all for $119. That’s real value. So retailers need to look at the big picture and create value for customers participating in their loyalty programs. However more than anything, in the end, it still comes down to how the customer feels about shopping you; are they satisfied with their purchase and the service? No matter how great a loyalty program might be in concept, no retailers will ever achieve success unless they know how to “wow” their customers with excellent products, prices, and service.
  • Posted on: 08/15/2019

    Will thredUP make Macy’s more thrifty?

    The partnership with thredUP is excellent and may help Macy's attract some younger customers and make some sales, but Macy's has got to start looking at the bigger picture. Recently reporting a drop in sales shows that they have many problems. First, they still have a brand name but they lack a definition of what that brand stands for from years of focusing too much on discounting. Many stores could change the Macy's name outside to Kohl's, and customers would believe them. Second, Macy's has a massive problem with poor customer service. Too often in their stores, there is no service because there aren't any associates available to help. Moreover, finding an open register is a challenge. Technology is providing so many opportunities, and Macy's needs to lead the department store charge by reinventing themselves with exciting merchandise, customer support with sufficient well-trained staff, and technology to enhance the shopping experience. As for their web presence, all retailers that have stores must realize their website business works much better when the company has their stores up to par. Customers who shop stores will also buy from the web, but customers who only shop the internet will click on Amazon first and, usually, that's as far as they need to go.
  • Posted on: 08/13/2019

    Grocers develop their own tech responses to Amazon Go

    Grocers need to figure out how to get the consumer in and out quickly but without sacrificing the customer experience and that has been the challenge. No doubt using self-checkout registers was a great idea except that too often they jam, and you still need an associate to help you out. That makes the experience frustrating. ShopRite allows you to scan items with your phone, so at the end of your shopping you already have your total, you pay with your credit card, and you’re all set. They have a system where every so often they spot check shoppers to make sure they correctly scanned all the items. It’s fast and easy, and what I like is that there are still associates roaming the store, handling the specialty food departments and the shopping experience is perfect. So figuring out ways to get the consumer in and out quickly is smart and technology is providing the answer but equally important is keeping the store associate to provide human interaction. Only human associates can smile at customers and provide personal assistance when necessary.
  • Posted on: 08/13/2019

    Is Nike’s new subscription program for kids a parent’s best friend?

    I see this as a great idea with a short life span. For starters, it’s a bit expensive. Moreover, unless parents are buying many pairs of sneakers in the course of a year, there’s not much value. We’re living in a world today that has subscriptions for almost everything, and quickly they add up. Consumers are starting to take notice of how much they are paying a month, not for a single subscription but their total. These high monthly costs will begin to change the success of many subscription programs. Nike is on the right track wanting to lock in kids to their brand, and the subscription concept is good, but the program needs a lot more value and opportunities for the members beyond just buying shoes. 
  • Posted on: 08/08/2019

    Will the next big thing since Starbucks be run by robots?

    There is no doubt that the role of robotics in business will continue to increase. It will happen because despite what business leaders say about how this will free up associates to provide better assistance, the truth is it will save them money. However the public will balk at some of the robotic uses, especially when it is a task they prefer handled by a human. Making coffee might be one of them.  It starts with the curiosity of seeing robotics in place and a feeling of “wow” we’re living in the Star Trek world.  However, when customers feel that the robots are not providing the same quality as humans, such as when making coffee, what a business might be saving on payroll will soon work against them. Years ago, a company came out with computerized bartending machines, and they were showing up in the newer bars. Bartenders rather than fix a drink for their customer pushed a button, and before their eyes, a drink adequately mixed with the exact amounts of alcohol came pouring in the glass. Customers soon realized the drinks were not as good and, eventually, human bartenders replaced all the devices. So business leaders need to be careful about how they use robotics and need to remember and understand the importance of what humans do that machines cannot.  
  • Posted on: 08/08/2019

    Has the starting point of customer journeys moved?

    It’s wonderful that we live in a world today with so much technology and so many conveniences, but sometimes I think we have drifted far away from the basics and that is not a good thing. Reading this article shows how some retailers have forgotten why customers shop them as Nikki states and the need for value because they have become too focused on how to promote their business. They don’t take into account what they are promoting, and if it will matter to the customer.  With competition as intense as it is today, every company needs to be a brand that stands for something, but that something should start with quality, value and most importantly a positive customer experience from purchase through continued use of the product. Customer journey triggers is another catchphrase that sounds good, but if you have something worth purchasing and promote it correctly, you’re going to succeed. If not, all the gimmicks in the world will not sustain growth for your business.
  • Posted on: 08/06/2019

    What are the signs of a dying retail business?

    I agree with all the points of the article but the one missing is: focus. When company leaders no longer concentrate on the store level, that's when things begin to change. Today too many leaders are more interested in focusing on the latest technology that will save them money, their bonuses, and their next job when their current one ends. Moreover, there is too much concentration on "me" and what's in it for me. This type of leadership is the death of any business. The point made: "Customers are not viewed as important" is SO on target because that's the one point that will negatively impact all the other aspects shared in the article. However, when management is more interested in protecting bonuses while at the same time reducing staff, not making needed store improvements not keeping up with the best merchandise and listening to customer demands, the party is over. Why is it today that so many executives who leave a failed company get rehired to do it again and again? That's a question I would love someone to answer.
  • Posted on: 08/06/2019

    CVS subscription program goes big to outdo Amazon Prime

    CarePass is a great program! With competition being as intense as it is, it shows that when you’re creative, you can still find ways to succeed. Many of us remember when the local pharmacy would deliver prescriptions. CVS has taken it one step further by offering discounts on their brand products as well as a monthly $10 promo reward. The $5 a month charge is a small price to pay for all the conveniences. I see this going national and other retailers soon following because I find CarePass to be that good! 
  • Posted on: 08/05/2019

    Will outsourcing jobs help Lowe’s associates better serve customers in stores?

    How often have you heard the line, ”We’re doing this so our store associates can spend more time with customers?” It never happens. These are layoffs, and that’s that. During his time at J.C. Penney, Marv Ellison had no “wow” moments and the chain struggled along. I see no difference with him at the helm at Lowe’s. Last year we heard and read all about the new campaign, “Do it right for less.” What happened? They never introduced it, never promoted it, and it did nothing for their business. That’s the new norm too often today; get the sound bite and news article and then do what you’re going to do. I sincerely doubt that a couple of months after these layoffs happen, we will see anything different at store level regarding the availability of store associates to assist customers. 
  • Posted on: 08/05/2019

    The Container Store debuts new custom closet store concept

    Everyone is looking for that next new best thing. However when a business is thriving like The Container Store, I would be cautious with how far we go. I don’t see the need for a separate banner because The Container Store has been thriving with success. Too often we see retailers expanding their chains with new stores featuring a different concept. Then years later, we find confused customers not shopping them as they used to, and the retailer is forced to close stores. The Container Store has built an excellent brand and reputation, and customers are familiar with what they offer them. I think they could have, if need be, added a section in existing stores to feature this new concept, but I don’t know that I see a whole store. Only time will tell how successful this new venture may or may not be.
  • Posted on: 08/02/2019

    Amazon kills its Dash button – what comes next?

    I am curious to know how many customers were using the Dash button, for how long and if they were satisfied with the experience. If the numbers were as substantial as Amazon would like us to believe, then I am puzzled by their decision and wonder how customers using the Dash button will respond. However, if the number of Dash button users were not up to Amazon’s expectations, then it makes sense for the company to attempt a different method in hoping to secure more customers using the service. Only time will tell, and we’ll have to wait and see how customers respond to the new reordering technology method.
  • Posted on: 08/02/2019

    Will its ‘best of’ designer sale trigger a massive run on Target?

    I think Target's designer collection has been a good strategy because it's different, and being different is what it's all about to stand aside from your competitors. That said, I don't see the "best of promotion campaign" being a huge success but it should be successful enough to make it worth pursuing. There is too much "sameness" in retail today with too many retailers simply copying competitors rather than being innovative themselves. Target has consistently not only been successful quarter after quarter but has done so primarily because it strives to be different. The strategy works, and they do a great job. It's a wonder other retailers don't see that and realize that being different is what makes you successful.

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