Frank Andrews, founder & CEO of City Beat News in Lapeer, Michigan, was born on a farm near Poughkeepsie New York. His parents moved back to Iowa when he was just four and his sister seven, desiring to raise their family in Iowa and Iowa’s small community public schools as they had been. After high school, Andrews attended Michigan State University on academic and need scholarships, graduating magna cum laude in 1972. He received his last degree in 1976, cum laude from Harvard Law.
After college, Frank Andrews returned to Michigan to marry his college sweetheart, practice law, and raise a family. He retired early from legal practice to pursue several personal missions — one being to launch City Beat News.
Success in his legal practice created opportunities to undertake challenges aimed more at leaving a positive impact on the world than just making a buck — not that being financially successful isn’t a goal, but it’s sad if that is someone’s primary goal.
Why did you decide to start your own business?
How often have you thought “That’s not the way this should go down?” I wanted to be a change agent. Despite an advancing technology that delivers wonders, we too often allow it to degrade our interactions and relationships rather than raise them. I’ve known many entrepreneurs, from cutting edge inventors to everyday service providers — virtually all businesses seek to provide an excellent experience to their clientele. And at root most customers are looking for just that, both parties wanting a mutually enhancing rewarding interchange. In a currently dominant anonymous user review process, rather than facilitate useful feedback from customer to owner, too much power and weight and encouragement is given to the occasional human urge to rage. And knowing that the owner, having put herself out there in good faith may too often be flamed, some users tend to compensate by overly raving. City Beat News is built upon a different rating methodology that identifies and promotes customer experience excellence and more of it, to the ultimate benefit of both entrepreneurial owners and customers.
What does a typical day consist of for you?
My daily cycle rolls over each evening, after taking some time to unwind and decompress, reflect on the day past, I lay the groundwork for the next. To various degrees each evening, I consider my longer term goals and plans and the more immediate actions and events of the day. The evening includes time to note concerns and priorities for the day ahead, and also then very consciously let go of them. Having done so I sleep well and awaken with a direction in hand for the new day. During the new day I try to maintain good life balance and advance my goals, recognizing both what I have achieved and what may be beyond my ability to change and must be accepted to move forward.
What keeps you motivated?
I’m motivated by the desire to leave this world and the people who have shared my journey in a better place for my having been here.
How has the City Beat News Spectrum Award grown from its early days to now?
We have gone from general concept for a new better form of business review to a developed methodology identifying excellence in customer service and facilitating and encouraging growth and spread of continuously improving CX.
How do you maintain a solid work life balance?
I probably work too much but have learned to take time as needed to meditate, exercise, recreate and sleep, and to focus on key personal relationships in my life.
What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?
“Never criticize a man before walking a mile in his moccasins.”
What’s one piece of advice you would give to others?
Let go of that urge to control everything — you can’t anyway! Free yourself to concentrate on what you can change.
What is the biggest life lesson you have learned?
Treat everyone well — life is enough of a bitch for you and for them as it is.
What trends in your industry excite you?
There is a growing awareness that despite its merits, current forms of user-review feedback and business rating cry out for improvement. Too often going online after the fact to “flame” someone squeezes out direct communication between consumers and the businesses they patronize, despite the fact that dialogue — even as simple as a quick suggestion in real time — can do much more to produce a better CX immediately. I know most entrepreneurs are massively invested in trying their best and the customers that resort to semi-anonymous harsh critiques may avoid face to face interchange but may also deprive themselves and others of an improved CX that a little real time in-person dialogue would have created. This growing awareness is parallel to the growing awareness of how some of our digital technology may supplant direct interpersonal communication generally, and that it is not a good thing when it does.
The wider recognition of this drawback lays groundwork for reversion to better communications going forward. City Beat News seeks to help develop a healthier business/customer communication and relationship. We don’t have perfect answers but are working towards needed improvements. Perhaps websites relying solely on user-reviews could edit their review format to ask reviewers whether they made any mention of shortcomings to the business in real-time, just as some now preface the review form review with the request that people related to the business refrain from providing reviews.
Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?
City Beat continues to pioneer better procedures and algorithms and methodologies to find un- or under-recognized service all-stars, while also becoming more of a resource for all to learn how to improve their delivered CX. We will also continue to contribute to better CX by aiding top flight businesses to maintain and improve their great CX excellence and grow their ventures.