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: 12/18/2018

    Yoox looks seeks AI’s help for design inspiration

    There might be a place for this type of AI use however I don’t see it being a huge success. Imagine if we took the same idea and used AI to come up with the next hit song, Broadway show or movie? Fashion design is a business based on new innovative styles, marketing, and hype. Its success comes from designers who have “original” design ideas, and when developed and marketed correctly, those designs appeal to the public until the next big idea. AI has a place, and I don’t mean to dismiss its value, but I fear we’re getting a little too caught up in just how great and useful it is going to be. The human mind will always be the source for new ideas and creativity.
  • Posted on: 12/18/2018

    Who will win the battle for holiday gift procrastinators?

    All of these options are great and will have a response because consumers opt for different choices. Retailers who are using every method possible for last minute business are wise because we will always have those shoppers who for whatever reason wait until the absolute last minute. Moreover, even those who get their shopping done on time typically have the one forgotten about item or that one special gift the giver just thought of purchasing. In a world today full of conveniences, it is nice to see smart retailers taking advantage of the opportunities and no doubt customers will as well.
  • Posted on: 12/17/2018

    Are retailers getting over their SKU management hurdles?

    Using sale-based hurdle rates won’t disappear anytime soon because it gives retailers an easy way to measure what products should and should not have a place based on results. However, it is good to have a blend of not just the lead selling items but what drives customers into a store and knowing what those items are is essential. Today with the technology available we can now see what other items may not be leading in sales but are resulting in helping to bring in the right customer. That is very beneficial. Smart retailers need to develop a balance of the “important” products to bring in the right customers along with the lead selling items to remain profitable. It’s doable, and those doing it already will no doubt see the benefits.
  • Posted on: 12/17/2018

    RH’s new location is a ‘luxury compound’

    A luxury compound of this nature is a bit risky and hard to know long-term if it will be successful. There is a curiosity at first which will attract customers because customers are always looking for what’s new and different. In this case the RH luxury compound has a lot to offer, but will those customers be returning? That has yet to be determined. Depending on costs and the value the customers feel they’re getting for their investment is essential along with what the next big thing will be. So I would caution RH from investing into any other new ventures until they know for sure their luxury compound will be a winner long-term.
  • Posted on: 12/17/2018

    Will porch pirates ruin Christmas?

    Unfortunately, with every bit of good, there is always a bit of bad. We will never get away from crime whether it be scammers or in this case thieves who take advantage of packages sitting on people’s doorsteps. The good news is that security measures will continue to get better but as they do most likely thieves will still find ways around them. However, the percentage of theft remains small, and as technology, services, and security improve it will always remain a low number. I would expect package insurance to the be the next best thing because businesses can’t afford to absorb the losses long-term and customers will stop ordering online once they get robbed and they find themselves out the money. Indeed, for larger orders, spending a few extra dollars on insurance knowing that you have coverage in case of theft is an excellent comfort.
  • Posted on: 12/14/2018

    Does Starbucks have a big delivery opportunity?

    I couldn't agree more...spot on!
  • Posted on: 12/14/2018

    Does fear motivate workers or make things worse?

    Fear is a great short-term motivator that only leads to long-term problems. You cannot have a positive culture if all employees are fearful for their jobs. If you do not have a positive culture, no business will reach its fullest potential. When a company using fear as the motivator is one that deals with customers as with retail, it is next to impossible to provide a positive customer experience because the employee will be too scared to engage the customer beyond what he or she is told to do. The customer perceives the employee as being cold or uninterested whereas, in reality, they’re just afraid to go beyond what management has told them in fear of losing their job. Bean counters often see fear as a great motivator with the mindset that no one is indispensable, and they feel they can get more productivity out of the employee if that employee feels threatened about losing their job. However, that type of thinking stumps long-term growth and causes high turnover which is expensive because the second the employee has an opportunity at another company, often a competitor, they quit. Positive reinforcement, employee recognition, proper training and opportunities for advancement and higher pay will always win over fear as an incentive.
  • Posted on: 12/14/2018

    Does Starbucks have a big delivery opportunity?

    I don’t know that I see this as a huge success. Today with Keurigs in most homes and offices, coffee is not as hard to have “now” as it used to be. Granted Starbucks has a loyal following, and most Keurigs are not going to offer the sophisticated options Starbucks provides but how can this be profitable? Unless a group of office workers put in a big order, most likely the delivery charges will be as much as the coffee, if not more. Moreover, it’s challenging for Starbucks to manage this. It’s true their traffic is down, but I believe the reason is that the younger people of today realize how expensive Starbucks is and many of them do not feel it’s worth it. Plus, many young people today are not drinking coffee. So rather than focusing on delivery, I think Starbucks would best be served to look at their overall business model and see how they can re-invent their brand with less expensive items and more appeal to those currently not shopping them.
  • Posted on: 12/13/2018

    Retailing success doesn’t depend on silver bullets

    The answer to the question is it will come down to the people working in the stores and their ability to “wow” their customers. The problem is that the answer is no different for the future than it is today. You have two audiences: those that want to buy what they need and those who enjoy shopping. Those who buy what they need are going to shop more often online and avoid stores as much as possible. Those who enjoy shopping will remain a large group and that group is a group of consumers who visit stores, who expect service and are looking for a good experience. However, retailers for years have done everything they can to save a dollar short-term by reducing staff and cutting training which has serious long-term consequences. When doing so, these retailers are ignoring the opportunities they have to help the shopper make a purchase and to provide a great shopping experience that has the customer looking forward to returning. The retail winners of today will be the same winners of tomorrow -- those that hire enough staff, train them properly to respect, engage and to “wow” customers. Technology will continue to add conveniences to both the shopping and employee experience, but ultimately it will still be the human interaction that will make the difference!
  • Posted on: 12/13/2018

    Will the maker movement inspire a new creative direction for malls?

    I think this is an excellent concept and with the right marketing will have appeal. It will come down to the quality of the merchandise and price points. Those that like to shop, and there are still many of us, are always looking for something new. JLL’s Rose & Loon is something that will pique interest. As malls and retailers continue to find new methods of attracting customers, this approach should be a winner. Traffic is increasing which also makes this an excellent opportunity. I can see other Rose & Loon stores in the future.
  • Posted on: 12/10/2018

    Walmart wants your walls

    This concept is an excellent strategy for Walmart, and they will find many interested customers. We all have our personal preferences, and this opportunity will provide practically unlimited choices for customers seeking to spruce up their walls with many options. The category will appeal to those with their first apartment or home who may have limited budgets as well as those who are looking to improve or completely redo their entire home décor. I see this as being very successful for Walmart and it will most likely lead to competition from other retailers.
  • Posted on: 12/10/2018

    Will Walgreens win the prescription delivery race?

    Out of all the opportunities for same-day or next-day delivery, I think the most attractive category is prescription drugs, so this is an excellent strategy by Walgreens. I may want an item to arrive quickly, and fast delivery is a nice to have, but when I’m sick and need a prescription the last thing I want to do is go out to the drug store to pick it up. Years ago, all pharmacies delivered and it was a nice luxury. Bringing this back is smart, a great convenience for customers and no doubt will be very profitable. Out of the options with CVS or if Amazon closes their deal, I think the Walgreens program will prove to be the best. $4.99 is a decent price and guaranteed delivery the next day is what customers want, and they will respond favorably.
  • Posted on: 12/06/2018

    What is the dollar value of trust?

    Data is excellent and the more we can learn about our customers, provided it’s valid, the better we can gear our business to their needs. However, it’s the “real” experiences that customers remember and those are the ones that make them loyal. Building a relationship with the store manager or associate you see when you frequently visit the location. How they make you feel appreciated and valued. Those are things that count. How about when you’ve purchased something and when you need to return it, not only do they make that hassle-free, they help you find something more suited to your needs. The products also are important because they must be high quality and make the customer feel their investment was worth it. When shopping online, chat and customer service needs must be easy and painless almost as if you’re speaking directly with someone. So finding more ways of accumulating and using data is fine but, most importantly, look for ways to improve and increase the “real” experience, most often with human interaction as well as easy-to-use systems that provide the service all customers deserve.
  • Posted on: 12/06/2018

    Walmart: Floor cleaning robots will give associates more time to serve customers

    I don’t see if positively or negatively making a difference. The customers at first will be amused and curious but we are living in a world full of new and exciting technology, and customers have no problem with it. I’ve been through some malls that have robots acting as security assistants. Customers look and just keep walking, so I don’t think it will be any different for Walmart. If associates are allowed to spend more time with customers the competition here will be the bean counters figuring how much they can reduce staff as robots pick up more tasks. Every time associates are allowed to engage with customers, it leads to an increase in sales. So hopefully, Walmart will promote that and, if so, this investment will be a win for everyone.
  • Posted on: 12/04/2018

    Are subscriptions an untapped gifting opportunity for retailers?

    I think we are heading into a period soon where many customers are going to frown on subscriptions because we already have too many and consumers are quickly learning that once the company gets their credit card info, they just keep getting billed. What happens with many subscriptions is in time the novelty wears off and then you’re no longer using the product or service as much or at all. Then you have to go through the hassle of canceling your subscription, and we all know with some companies that can be a real problem. So many consumers are becoming skeptical about adding subscriptions to the ones they had. When they receive them as gifts that's okay, but the company may not obtain a loyal customer who once their gift subscription ends, renews it on their own. I think retailers and service companies need to think through their subscription programs and figure out better ways to keep customers interested in their product or service.

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