By Chris Church Staff Writer Posted on February 14, 2013
EAST GREENWICH — For many this Valentine’s Day, love is in the air. For private investigator Vic Pichette, so is infidelity.
Owner of Genesis Investigations at 5670 Post Road and a licensed private detective in the state for 25 years, he said the day before Feb. 14 is known as “Mistress Day” in the world of private investigators.
“Look, here’s the bottom line,” Pichette said. “Regardless if they’re a male or female cheater, they will most likely be purchasing a gift for their spouse and the person or persons they’re cheating with, and in most cases, they will be seeing that person close to Valentine’s Day.”
It may be a cynical and pessimistic view of the holiday – or relationships in today’s society – but he said it’s the truth based on his experience.
“It’s a crazy phenomenon,” Pichette said in an interview at his nondescript, second-floor office last week. “I’ll start getting a whole bunch more cases this week just because of Valentine’s Day coming up.”
Based on the cases he has worked, he estimates the ratio of male cheaters to female cheaters to be about 60/40.
“It’s more men that appear to be cheating but not much more,” Pichette said.
P.I., gumshoe, sleuth, dick or even flatfoot; whatever you call it, the profession of private detective has been romanticized in print and celluloid for generations. But Pichette, 50, married with two children, is quick to dispel the notion that he is a 2013 version of Magnum, P.I. or Inspector Jacques Clouseau.
“There’s no fun, there’s no excitement,” he said. “Twenty-five years later, it’s a job. There’s nothing fancy about it. There’s no screeching around corners in my car. There’s no shooting at anybody.”
Pichette added, “For me, it’s been a very good job. It’s been a very good career but it’s not something that I see as kind of fun or exciting in any way. It’s almost sad that you’re lurking in corners watching out for people that you don’t know what their situation is. But, at the end of the day, it’s a job and if we don’t do it then someone else is going to do it and I feel that we do it the best.”
According to Jennifer Dionne, president of the Licensed Private Detectives Association of Rhode Island, there are about 200 licensed private investigators in the state, though only about 125 of those are active. She said the number is her own estimate because there isn’t any master list in the state, and each municipality’s governing body grants private investigator licenses in their own towns.
Pichette was 25 years old when he started his career after responding to an advertisement in the newspaper seeking licensed private investigators. The man who placed the ad, a freelance private investigator who sold produce on the side, was looking for help after his caseload increased, but wasn’t interested in Pichette because he wasn’t licensed. After some persistent badgering over the next two months, Pichette was able to arrange for an interview.
“He said, ‘You know what? Come by my house and we’ll sit down and talk.’ And we became instant friends,” recalled Pichette. Two years later he branched off on his own.
Aside from catching cheating spouses in the act, Genesis Investigations handles a variety of cases.
“My bread and butter is working with law firms and the public,” Pichette noted. “With the attorneys it’s whatever the attorney is looking for. So if the attorney is looking for a personal injury case, we work that for them. If they are looking for a criminal case, we work that for them. If they’re looking for a family matter case, we work that for them. For the public, we mainly focus on the family matter stuff – cheating spouses, child custody issues – all the stuff that has to do with family.”
While he downplays inflated, preconceived notions of what the job entails, some of the gadgets available these days were unimaginable when Pichette first started.
“The technology is amazing,” he said.
High definition video cameras with night vision that are hidden in watches, sunglasses or hats make a world of difference when trying to discreetly follow people and document evidence.
During the interview, Pichette showed off a handsome wristwatch that captures high definition video through a pinhole located near the 12 hour marker.
The cost of the high-tech equipment is high, which is why Pichette charges a $1,000 retainer for up to eight hours of work; the rate for additional hours ranges from $75 to $125.
“We’re just like a lawyer, we don’t get paid for results,” he said.
When asked if what he does blurs the line between what’s legal and illegal at times, Pichette was clear. “There isn’t a gray area regarding the law,” he said.
A person can be legally videotaped in a public place and any area where there isn’t an expectation of privacy, such as a bathroom or bedroom.
Phone conversations between two individuals cannot be recorded if neither party gives consent but can be recorded if just one person gives consent. Pichette said Rhode Island is one of about ten states that adhere to that law.
With a career spanning a quarter-century, he’s collected his fair share of stories, although he was reluctant to share them.
There was the time he was chased out of a biker bar in Portsmouth by about a dozen angry motorcyclists while investigating an unfit mother (he escaped unharmed). Then, there was the time he tailed a suspected cheating husband, who boarded a train in Providence and didn’t step off until New York City. Pichette later followed the man to a ritzy hotel in Manhattan and discovered the man had a penchant for high-end call girls.
“We’ve been all over the country following people or looking for missing people,” he said. “Sometimes it’s literally, hop in the cab and tell the cabby, ‘Follow that car.’”
While he chuckles telling some of his stories, the toll it takes on his perspective of people is evident.
“The lack of faith in humanity is there,” Pichette said. “No doubt about it, I’m jaded. There’s a big part of me that loves and trusts and cares about people but there’s that other side of me that doesn’t trust anybody or anything because I’ve seen everything you could possibly see. I meet people that have been married for 40 years and in an instant they don’t know who they’ve been married to for 40 years.”
Despite that downside, Pichette said he couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
“I could never do a nine to five,” he said. “I just can’t.”
For more information on Genesis Investigations, visit the companys website at http://www.genesisinvestigations.com.
Reporter Chris Church can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a Link to another Blog
It doesn’t matter what type of business you own: Retail, Hospitality, Banking, Real Estate, Hotels and Motels, Resorts, Car Sales, Home Sales, Financial Services or any business that deals with customers on a regular basis. It seems that business owners and managers have accepted that it’s OK to give mediocre to poor customer service.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t receive lousy customer service. As a customer service consultant who believes that providing great customer service is easy and inexpensive, experiencing what I experience everyday simply astonishes me. I just want to grab the owner or manager and shake some common sense in them.
My friends, what the heck is so hard about treating the very people who pay your salaries, like human beings? I don’t get it, I won’t accept it, and I am on a mission to change the way companies assess and train employees in the future.
Providing quality customer service has become such a burdensome task, that companies have accepted that poor or mediocre customer service is the norm. It’s not the norm, and in most cases creating a great customer experience is so simple and easy, that we have lost sight of what matters the most…The Basics.
Don’t get me wrong, I know most companies care about their customers and want to give a great customer experience. But if they continue to hire Secret Shoppers and High Priced Consultants and Trainers to teach customer service, than they will continue to fail. And here’s why.
For High Priced Consultants and trainers to make the “High Prices”, they need to convince you, (the business owner) that providing quality customer service is so difficult that you must continue to pay for their high-priced services. Let me give you an example of what I am talking about. Go to Google and type in Customer Service Consultants and take a look at what you see. What you’ll see are companies offering thirty different types of services and programs, diagrams, pie charts, and a host of added services. They have management with PhD’s, thirty years’ experience, and employees with training, marketing, and related skills.
Do you really need all of these skills to teach your employees how to treat your customers with a little respect and dignity? Not only does it not work and cost a small fortune, but if it did work, wouldn’t you have great customer service?
Imagine what people fifty years ago would think about our customer service today. Remember the 1960’s TV shows? Remember people walking in a bank and were greeted by a manager or teller with a big smile, a hand shake, and they knew their names. Or when they went to a retail establishment and were happily greeted with enthusiasm and kindness.
How much money and resources does it take for your employees to be happy to see a customer or to greet a customer with a smile? Maybe, just maybe look the customer in the eye and ask them if they need help? Mastering great customer service is more about being human, than anything else.
These are four simple ways to create a great customer service for our customers
1: You need a way of assessing your staff and operation accurately by professional consultants.
2: You need to train your staff on the basics of great customer service, using easy, inexpensive and quick methods.
3: You need to continue to re-assess your staff on a regular basis to make sure compliance.
4: And once your employees are trained properly, compensate your employees for great work.
You do this and I promise your customers will compensate you handsomely.
Now here’s the problem. To assess your staff accurately and properly, most companies turn to secret shopping companies to give a “true and realistic customer experience”. This is where the failure starts. Think about this for a minute? There are multimillion dollar business using “everyday people off the street” (Secret Shoppers) who are paid five or ten dollars, sometimes nothing, to assess their staff and business operation as a means to make serious business decisions. A secret shopper is like a robot with a checklist. I have read hundreds of secret shopping reports, and quite frankly, they are useless. Most reports are not accurate, just ask your staff. In the end, they give no beneficial business assessment information that you can use to make important changes.
A secret shopper is someone with no vested interest in your business, they have no interest in the secret shopping company because they are paid peanuts, and they have no idea of what they see and put in the report will be beneficial to the company. Trust me, relying on a check list to make proper business decisions does not work. If it did, you would have great customer service.
And customer surveys do not work….
Why makes Eye on Success so different? Because our “Secret Shoppers” are employees of our company who are trained and understand instinctively what a “Typical Customer” wants when it comes to customer service. We also can wear covert video cameras so we can videotape our interactions with your staff. I promise you, if you use Eye on Success to assess your employees on customer service, product knowledge, brand compliance and merchandising, your employees will become the best in the industry, and your company will grow.
If you own or run a business that deals with customers on a regular basis, please consider using our professional evaluation and training techniques. I promise, we will quickly turn around your performance assessments, and more importantly, make your customers thrilled to go back to your businesses.
Vic Pichette is an author, trainer and owner of Eye on Success (http://www.eyeonsuccess.net) a professional customer service consultant firm located in Rhode Island. At Eye on Success, we assess businesses and employees using video, and we teach companies how to easily and inexpensively give great customer service.
Vic can be reached at 401-225-4104 or e-mailed at email@example.com
Answer: Because most websites do a lousy job of reflecting your business image to the consumer who is looking for a great night out.
The more I look at restaurant websites, the more I realize how bad most of them are. A website is the face of your business and for your website to do its job, it has about 20 seconds to make a potential customer want to go to the restaurant or not. In most cases, these websites are uninspiring, not set up properly and give no one reason to look further. Then they potential customer searches yelp and other review sites, and they get a mixed bag of information. And guess what? They move on to a place that had a better website.
You know who has good websites? Lousy restaurants and clubs, how ironic.
Not only are the websites not inspiring, but their entire internet presence is a mess. You must understand that it is a privilege for someone to take the time to look at your website, DO NOT DISAPPOINT them, you will always pay the greatest price.
Please consider having your business website and internet presence analyzed by a company like ours. We know the psychology of how people search the internet, we know what content your potential customers are looking for, and we can build you a new site or work with your existing designer. Please keep in mind, high quality photos and video is vital for your business image. Our photographer is one of the best.
Vic Pichette owner of Eye on Success, A Rhode Island based Restaurant, Bar, and Nightclub Hospitality Consultant Business
I see this time after time as a Restaurant, Bar, Business Consultant. Bartenders running a muck and owners either ignoring it or too afraid to say something. And as the hapless owner sits back and allows this to take place, he or she loses a small fortune.
Last night a few of my friends went for the first time to a rock club that is inside a bowling alley, yea I know not very sexy. But the club had been advertising and a blues band was there, so we went.
The club consisted of a long oval bar that could seat at lease 30 people with two bartenders. When we arrived the bar was not full and the club had approximately 30 people in the entire place. We approached the tall female bartender and stood 3 feet away staring at her and she looking right at us. The first thing she did was drop a full shot into a small plastic cup and drank it. Mind you this was 8:30pm. She then took a solid minute to give us the privilege of asking what we wanted. We ordered four beers and took a seat. The beers were completely warm. What a hell of a start to a great night. As we chatted and waited for the band, I took some time to scope things out. Yup, not only were the two bartenders drinking the owners booze, but they also gave it away. Nice… Even taking payments and putting them discretely in the tip jar
We decided to order an ice cold picture of beer…Oh, that too was warm and toasty, just the way most of like beer.
To my left was a door person eating a huge plate of food that I am sure he didn’t pay for, the cooks were behind the bar drinking when they came out with food. This is what I call the lunatics running the insane asylum.
So lets take a look at some numbers, shall we? If this behavior goes on lets say, 3-days a week for 6 hours a day, that’s 18 hours a week for 52 weeks. I would estimation that this bar owner lost approximately….. $37,500.00 a year and trust me, I was going low on my numbers, I say more like $50,000.00 and up.
So what does all this mean? Well, if you’re not willing to crack down on these abuses or you allow your staff to drink, STOP IT IMMEDIATELY. If you don’t have the balls to do something, HIRE a company like ours, have us covertly assess your situation, report our findings and WE will talk to your staff about the NEW RULES and REGULATIONS that the owner asked us to write that they have to sign onto. If they are caught giving away food or liquor or drinking, or not ringing, or over-pouring, (which will be another topic later), THEY WILL BE FIRED. Let us be the bad guys and you can walk away.
So please WAKE up and get a hold of your business, you could be putting a small fortune back in your pocket while maintaining a clean, professional profitable bar.
This is a difficult topic because many Pi’s don’t like to talk about how hard this business is. But the fact is, this is a very difficult business to get into and make money at. When I say money, I mean at least working full-time as a PI. So why do most Pi’s fail? Because they don’t know how to run a business, they know how to be a PI, but they don’t know how to run a business. This is common for many small business owners regardless the profession. Great chefs open restaurants and fail, and so do PI’s. I use to teach a class called “So you want to be a PI”. Most of the attendees were already licensed investigators who were not making it. Many were retired cops, state troopers etc. Regardless of the skill level, they were clueless as to why they were not making money. When I say “Don’t know how to run a business, I really mean MARKETING. Let me walk you through typical PI who get’s licensed. They get their PI license and think business will come flying through the door, they really do. Imagine a profession where you can make $50-$125 per hour and not have to learn a craft? Well PI’s do. So let’s assume you are reading this blog and you are one of the struggling PI’s out there, here is my advice. Learn, study and implement how to market and use the internet, including social media, video, blogging and writing, or you will be in big trouble. First you NEED a web site, second you NEED to optimize it properly or pay to have that done, then you need to know how to use social media to get the word out. Facebook, YouTube, Google, LinkedIn etc. You must do some marketing everyday, do something. Make some calls, send emails, send letters or flyers, blog everyday and you will grow your business. Anyway, I hope this helps, the internet offers a world of information to teach you how to do this, now get to work.