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.
  • Posted on: 06/13/2018

    Macy’s takes stake in retail-as-a-service tech firm

    I think Macy’s is on the right track and I like that they are experimenting with new ideas and concepts. The in-store customer today is looking for an experience that is different and exciting. Old store concepts are not it, and Macy’s has done a great job with breaking its traditional department store image compared to its competitors. The Market @ Macy's concept is another move to pull them away from their competition and should appeal to customers who will be curious and will visit the pop-ups. Over time, I think Macy’s will continue to bring in more ideas and through STORY build a compelling in-store experience that could indeed make them the department store of the future.
  • Posted on: 06/13/2018

    Will IHOP’s burger buzz translate into sales?

    What comes to mind is the failed "Where's Herb" campaign that years ago cost Burger King significant dollars. It did nothing for business. With the IHOP/IHOb campaign, I see at first what they wanted -- media coverage -- and they got it. However, customers are confused. "Are they changing their name for real?" will be what customers will ask. Moreover, because pancakes are their trademark, the customer is not going to think burgers when it comes to IHOP. There are so many other ways they could have done a successful campaign to introduce their new burger menu but, in my opinion, this is not it. Businesses should never mess with their name especially at a time like today when there is so much competition. Brand identity is important and when you mess with that, you’re causing serious damage to your business even if you get that short-term media recognition. Long-term, people will forget, leaving the company with bad memories of their marketing program like “Where’s Herb.”
  • Posted on: 06/12/2018

    Are chronic online returners only a few bad apples?

    Years ago a customer would go to a store, buy a dress outfit, wear it to a wedding and return it on Monday. In the '80s a customer would go to a consumer electronics store, by a new TV and return it after watching the Super Bowl. Retailers got smart with how to deal with those issues and online retailers need to do the same thing. In life, it’s always that small percentage of those who take advantage and unfortunately make it worse for everyone else. The good news is today through technology it’s easier to get control of returns. For starters, an online retailer who offers a free return policy can state in their disclaimer that after “X” number of returns within “X” amount of time the customer will be charged “X” percent. Another practice for addressing excessive returners could be the retailer reaching out directly to the customer alerting them of their high return rate and warning them that they will be charged a return fee in the future. There are methods that can help control return rates and online retailers need to do their part so that the large majority of customers not abusing the free return policy are not penalized.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2018

    Should retailers incentivize store staff to accept digital transformation?

    Most people don’t like change, and when it involves learning a new technology they often want it less. That said, new technology is everywhere, and there are those who embrace it and those who fear it. The smart retailer will use technology as a better way to service customers and not as a way to eliminate human interaction. That’s the first point that needs to be addressed and shared with all employees. Assure them that the new technology is there to help them and not hurt them. Provide the necessary training so they can quickly learn how to use the latest technology and let them see for themselves the benefits. So the real answer is active communication with employees. Avoid them fearing for their job and help them embrace the new technological tools. Not everyone will adapt but the majority will and, in the end, you’ll have great success for the customer, the employee and the retail business.
  • Posted on: 06/11/2018

    Are retailers short-changing national grocery brands?

    Retailers need to maintain the right balance of private label and national brands. The private label brands were always less expensive for the consumer and more profitable for the retailer. In many cases that may not be true today. If the private label brand has something unique about it that appeals to the customer, it will remain successful. But if it has less quality than the national brand, that can turn the customer off. And with so many buying opportunities today between the number of competitors, buying direct and online, the customer may be able to find the national brand for the same price as the private label brand. There is no doubt there are many more challenges today which makes knowing what the right mix of private label versus national brand labels should be critical, along with pricing, what to discount with coupons, etc. For retailers, I think the solution is to listen to your customers and give them what they want. You may not always make the most amount of profit on the item, but if it keeps the customer happy and coming back to your store, it’s worth it.
  • Posted on: 06/11/2018

    Brands win with TV 2.0 and the new direct mail

    As the article points out, there are still many pluses to using TV advertising. However it is costly, and those buying the ads need to be very strategic in terms of knowing where and when to buy airtime. Today many people who watch TV tend to DVR their favorite programs so they can watch them at their convenience and fast forward through the commercials. Today there are so many commercials, it can become tedious to watch all the ads because a stop set of four minutes can have as many as ten different businesses. Nevertheless, TV can still be useful. Keep the message simple so that it doesn’t get lost. I liked the SCOTTeVEST spot because it did that. In seconds, I understood what they were selling. However, I found Hello Fresh to be less effective. Keep in mind that because there are so many commercials today, it is not uncommon for the viewer to walk out of the room to get a snack. When there is no sound other than music, as in the case of the Hello Fresh spot, the person out of the room has no opportunity to know what the commercial is selling. Brands, make your message easy to grasp and advertise on the programs that are right for you. Do this and you will have success.
  • Posted on: 06/07/2018

    How many e-mails are too much?

    Many retailers send out way too many emails to their customers. It’s free, and marketers figure, “why not?” But it frustrates customers, and all they do is delete them, so very little gets accomplished. Retailers would be best served to send an email no more than once a week or twice a month and personalize emails to customers needs and preferences. The technology is there, it just requires a little effort on the part of the retailers. Also, use variety and creativity. Textbook standards state that a consumer must see an ad three times before responding. That may be true today with TV ads and even radio, but with an email, you have the luxury of being more creative to make the emails appear different and more interesting. Also, don’t always make them “sell” ads but consider offering useful information that the customer might take the time to read. Content that the customer will enjoy learning about will be helpful to keep the customer interested in future emails you send. Be creative, don’t send too many emails and use today's technology wisely. Follow those rules, and you’ll have great success.
  • Posted on: 06/07/2018

    Neiman Marcus results show the latest sign of department store life

    The secret of success is to be different. Too many retailers have lost their identity and lack reasons for customers to shop them and to remain loyal. Neiman Marcus has found its niche and is staying with it. Kohl’s has a strong identity and continues to be innovative. The jury is still out on Macy's because to me too much emphasis is on price. If through the acquisition of Story they can begin to build a meaningful identity that makes them stand out from their competitors then yes, they too will continue to survive. What retailers have to realize today is the store can still do well, but it must be under today’s terms which is give the customer a rewarding and pleasurable customer experience. One reason why so many department stores have failed is that they have forgotten who they were and more importantly they forgot their customer.
  • Posted on: 06/06/2018

    Costco workers get a raise and the retailer gets more good press

    Happy employees mean happy customers. It’s that simple. Businesses need to take a hard look at themselves and get their priorities straight. There is no one more important in a retail store than the store associate. This person makes or breaks the sale. When management treats them poorly, as in the case of so many retailers, the company loses sales. Customers walk out unhappy, many vowing never to come back. I read so often about how the company that was struggling still managed to pay their substantial executive salaries and bonuses. If they would lower those vast wages, hold the bonuses and reinvest in their company starting with better wages and treatment of the store associate, there is no telling how much more business they would do. Recently, I have seen articles stating that former Toys "R" Us employees are going to sue for severance pay, while the company’s former top executives who didn’t even have the decency to stay with the company until the end, all left early WITH their bonuses. That’s not right, and these business practices have to change. I commend Costco and the other retailers who respect the store employee, who understand their significance to the company and by treating them properly, motivate them to make the company a success. Many retailers need to adopt these practices.
  • Posted on: 06/06/2018

    Mental health is a retail management issue

    Dealing with mental health issues is very challenging. I had a close friend commit suicide a few years ago. No one knew what was going on for he put on a fantastic show, yet inside he was dealing with serious problems. Unfortunately, his death was so sudden, no note, nothing to let us know why. He had a beautiful wife, two children and what everyone would think, a great life. In hindsight, we now recall signs like him being extremely quiet when he was always the life of the party or when his wife asked about his day and unlike sharing his work in the past, he kept everything inside. The first step is medical insurance MUST provide for therapy. Many policies do not. If an employee has a problem, they need to feel comfortable sharing their needs with their employer without fear of losing their job. But the biggest challenge for everyone is finding ways to see the signs in a person that will allow us to help them rather than after it is too late, as in the case with my friend and so many others. We know so little about the brain, and as medical science continues to evolve, I hope someday that these problems become a thing of the past.
  • Posted on: 06/04/2018

    Can department stores be reinvented with a pop-up approach?

    The best way to attract customers to any location whether it be a physical store or website is by appealing to their curiosity. Make the customer take notice of something that piques their interest and you’ll quickly have a visitor. There is no doubt this is what Neighborhood Goods has achieved and why they will be successful. Customers like different experiences and when you have created an experience that plays into one’s curiosity you have a winner. I would expect other retail models to copy Neighborhood Goods in the future. When you have a winning formula, competitors always follow.
  • Posted on: 06/04/2018

    Retailers can make personalization work

    Too many retailers see technology as the answer for everything and there lies the problem. Whether it’s AI or personalization the problem is that we are far from perfecting the technology. So instead of including a few additional ways of communicating with the customer like better chat or a simple survey and, most importantly, good old-fashioned human interaction, too many retailers are in a hurry to implement their technology regardless of how useful it will be and whether they will achieve customer satisfaction. I am impressed with Spotify, but in some ways it’s easier to create a playlist than knowing what I may want to purchase just because I was browsing a webpage or perhaps bought one item. Asking a few questions that might help me give the retailers useful information would undoubtedly be beneficial. So the opportunities are there and in time technology will get better. For now, I would love to see retailers using the technology but including a chance for me as the customer to let them know my likes and dislikes.
  • Posted on: 05/30/2018

    Is GDPR an opportunity or a threat to retailers?

    GDPR might be the solution to solving the many problems that have developed over the years with protecting consumer data. It seems like almost every day, we read about another retailer who had their system hacked and consumer information stolen and, as a result, more and more customers are getting concerned. GDPR is an improvement and all retailers need to take notice. The problem with too many retailers is that they choose not to spend the money. Yes, they want the consumer information so they can target customers which helps sales, but when it comes time to invest in protecting that information, they choose to put their money elsewhere. Long-term that will only hurt their business as they get hit with bad press, unhappy customers and lawsuits.
  • Posted on: 05/30/2018

    MealPal brings subscription savings to lunch

    I see this as a novel idea, but I don’t know if it will be a significant winner long-term. We have so much to choose from today and if the customer has to pick up their order that gives them even more options. The $5.59 or $5.99 per day cost is excellent but only if the customer is willing to commit to the monthly minimum. As a result, that too may become an issue going forward because people like change, possibly going out to lunch one day or if they are traveling or working from home, they won’t be using the MealPal service. I do see this as a business that will survive for a while with a limited audience who as long as they’re happy with the quality of the food will make MealPal reasonably successful.
  • Posted on: 05/29/2018

    Publix pulls political funding amid anti-gun protests

    I think Publix made the right decision to stop political donations. Companies don’t vote for candidates, people do. We have to recognize that how an individual votes and who they choose to vote for is a personal choice, not one directed by their employer. I don’t agree when unions take money from dues collected from members to support a candidate when many members who have paid those dues are in favor of someone else. Unfortunately, politics today require an enormous amount of money to get into the game. As a result, lobbyists and donors give vast sums of money to get a person elected and, once they do, the elected official is expected to follow the requests of their lobbyists and donors. If more companies stopped making political contributions, perhaps the people’s vote would once again matter.

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