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    Entries in Oakville (3)

    Wednesday
    May162012

    So Proud of My Dad

    CGA Ontario published in May's "Statement Magazine" the list of those that qualified as LPA's this year.  This is a new thing for CGA Ontario (2nd year) and my dad studied his face off to get it.

    It was a massive accomplishment for our firm, and a huge accomplishment for him personally!

    Way to go Dad!

    Tuesday
    Apr032012

    S-T-O-P...STOP

    It's a sign that we learn at a very young age.  Right now we're teaching my oldest daughter (who's almost three) about the different meaning of the colors on a traffic light, as well as what you are supposed to when you see a big red STOP sign.

    As expected, she's become a little police officer quite quickly, warning me of upcoming stop signs and red lights 50+ feet away.  As the cuteness of it fades, I began to think about the reasoning behind what she was doing.  She knew that something was coming...something that she wasn't sure if I saw...so she wanted to warn me.  At the time of warning, I have two paths to choose:

    1) Listen.  Stop.  Avoid injury. 
    2) Don't Lisen. Blow through the warning and the sign. 3) Risk injury and even dealth.

    Seems pretty simple.  The sign is designed to protect me, and my resident police officer is telling me to listen to the sign to avoid suffering.

    Unfortunately, life doesn't have big red signs and doesn't always provide you with a 3-year old giving you advice at will.  That being said, we can quickly blow through the stop signs.  Here are three lessons I've learned through both listening and NOT listening to the signs that were in front of me.

    1) Ask Around - You're not the only one with a problem.  We all have out own, and chances are...someone you know has been where you are.  There is wisdom in the council of many...seek it and listen.

    2) Perform an Efficient Autopsy - This is often the hardest one.  Typically, people either want to forget and move on OR dig deep and spend to much time in analysis of "what could've been."  There is a very fine balance of looking at where you went wrong, stoping to reflect and then moving on.  The balance is in the time spent and the action plan that comes from the lessons learned.  Learn them. Move on.

    3) Intuition is not Overrated - I can recall many occasions when I went against my "gut" feeling on an issue and later had wished I had listened.  Based on #1 (advise from others) and #2 (lessons from past experience) your intuition can be a valueable asset.  Don't solely rely on it, but vette it as a credible source of value in the decision making process.

    I've blown through stop signs and it never ends well.  Look for the signs...Follow the instructions.

     

    Friday
    Oct282011

    A Tale of Two Companies

    So it seems like I'm on a bit of a Customer Service kick lately..but didn't want to NOT write about something just because of recent discussion in last weeks post.

    Most people that know me well, and specifically those that also follow me on any of my online platforms know that I often speak my mind about when a company or organization serves me poorly.  I am trying to improve at also giving kudo's to Customer Service "wins" as well.

    For the purpose of balance...I want to share two short examples; one positive, one negative about how Customer Service can create buzz and lead to building or tarnishing a brand.

    Story One - Expedia
    Over the past year, I have unsubscribed to  Expedia's newsletter dozens of times.  For whatever reason, a few weeks ago, I had had enough and tweeted that I was upset about the lack of customer service I was experiencing in that I was still receiving these emails.

    Within a few minutes, I received a msg asking me to DM them my email for the matter to be looked into.

    Within an hour, I received a phone call on my cell phone from a woman in customer service at Expedia ensuring me that all was looked after, apologizing for the oversight and asking if there was any way she could assist me further.

    My first response after I got off the phone was: WOW!  Mainly for 2 reasons;

    1) Social media is great.  It gives the individual a voice and allows for connections and community that would not exist without it.  But there is something about good 'ol fashion (offline) customer service.  When the two combine (online complaint and offline resolution) it truly embraces the strengths of online service with bricks and mortar execution.

    2) The short response time tells me that expedia understands that customer service is everything.  I'm selling their business right now and they're not paying me a dime.  Talk about ROI on the person watching their twitter account...here's part of it!

    Expedia's handling of my concern was a positive example of a company using social media and

    Story Two - Harbour Sixty
    For those of you that haven't heard of this restaurant before, it's a very high-end steak house in downtown Toronto.  And if you haven't guessed it already...they will be my negative example.

    Being a high-end restaurant, one would expect that the service would be...high-end and that when a problem arises, the staff and management would handle it with the same (or better) intentionality of a lower-end service provider like Expedia did noted above.

    That would be an incorrect assumption in the case of Habour Sixty.

    After pressing the issue with management, a token gesture was offered which did not come close to redeeming the situation.

    The owner was then called and apparently said that if that was "not acceptable to us, he did not want our business anyway."

    Again (like Expedia), my initial response was; WOW.

    I guess the people at Harbour Sixty don't like money...or business.

    But as I thought about it...it's much more simple than that.  They just don't understand business and specifically customer service.  Fact is this: the cost to aquire a client that would spend what our firm does in a year on nice meals downtown is multiples of the cost of reconciling our needs.  Further, although this blog doesn't have thousands of readers, I am using my own platform (online and offline) to voice my disgust with the management of Habour Sixty.

    The cost of strong customer service is like the cost of anything in business...relative.  Although there was no monetary reward/cost in the Expedia example...a reputation was at stake, and Expedia did what they needed to do to make the situation right (they could have corrected it without calling and/or left it alone).

    I can only assume that in a booming economy like this one, that Habour Sixty has plenty of business and can afford the costs associated with losing business and failing in serving the reasonable requests of customers.

    All I know, is that I have since booked 2 separate trips on expedia and will never go to Harbour Sixty again...you be the judge.