Category Archives: Concepts

I’ve had a gutful of customer (dis)service…

The Pure and Blessed Way...

cheeseface

As a self-employed person, I like to purchase the goods and services of other self-employed people as often as possible…

I place a lot of value on the personal touch and to me it is worth the extra pennies rather than handing over my hard earned cash to big faceless companies that offer knock down prices that drive small businesses out of business…

But Jeez…. it really is hard!!!

Now don’t get me wrong… I have had some exquisite service and wonderful purchasing experiences with independent retailers…

But on the other hand…

Oh! my giddy Aunt… it proves almost impossible to buy something you want…

I can’t understand the lackadaisical attitude of people who promote their goods then can’t be bothered to respond when you attempt to purchase… or those who take your orders and fail to deliver on time and seem to take a perverse delight in keeping you…

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What an incredible event!

the following is from a promotional email.

You’re not at the level of success you expected. Why is that? What’s missing?

* Time – you don’t have enough to get everything done.
* Money – sales haven’t really hit where you need them to be.
* Confidence – you’re going slow because you’re unsure.
* Attention – people don’t even seem to see you.
* Health – you feel tired and sluggish more often than not.
* Organization – everything’s scattered and nothing seems easy.
* Support – you’re trying, but everyone at home is getting anxious.

Did any of that ring a bell with you, ? All of it? Are you unhappy with where you are with your personal level of success and/or the health of your business?

Come to Camp

Announcing the Owner’s Path Training Camp (O.P.T.C.), a Two Day LIVE event in Boston, October 20th and 21st, led by Chris Brogan, Rob Hatch, and Jacqueline Carly at the beautiful Colonnade Hotel at 120 Huntington Avenue, in Boston, Massachusetts.

O.P.T.C. is a one-of-a-kind experience blending business and health, personal and professional development, and a full-spectrum dose of actionable plans and systems designed to help you attain and master a high level of performance and execution on your goals and responsibilities.

This is War

We are at war, you and I. The enemy wears the name “average” and “settling” and “good enough.” A great deal of what got us to where we are in our lives and efforts is that we fell away from consistent discipline, from living by a strong and guiding mission, and we got into the habit of doing the absolute minimum, especially if we felt any degree of pushback from many parts of the process.

One unique facet of the O.P.T.C. experience is that we will seek to reacquaint you with your commitments, your personal discipline, your ability to execute at a higher level. Through workshops, exercise, and your own discoveries, you will leave this event transformed by the process and committed to a higher level of personal and professional performance as a result.

What To Expect

Over the course of two full days, plan to move your body and stretch your mind as we guide you through a series of lessons, workshops, group sessions, and focused personal and professional growth.

You will leave with new systems, new beliefs, new ideas, fuel for your journey, new friends and allies, and the foundations of a new approach to what you need to do to build out everything it’s going to take to achieve the level of success you want in your life and your business.

Yes, you will have up close and personal time with Chris Brogan, Rob Hatch, and Jacqueline Carly. It’s not some mega-event. It’s small and intimate and touch-your-elbow level stuff.

Yes, you will be able to bring all your questions to be answered: on health, on home life, on fitness, on business, on goals, on sales, on marketing, on the digital channel. That’s why we’re here.

Yes, there will be actual physical exercise (adaptable to your level of health and readiness so don’t panic!).

We are seeking professionals who want to improve their level of commitment to success, who want to reach for that next level of performance, who want to bring their abilities far beyond the levels you’ve reached in the last year or two.

Is that you?

Make the Commitment

We will accomplish a lot together. Your first step? Register now. The full retail price of this event is $597 for the two days. If you purchase your ticket before September 30th, we will know you’re committed to being part of this experience. For that, we’ll make your ticket cost only $297 (keep the $300 for further developmental experiences, because we want you to grow and thrive).

If you wait, if you delay, if you procrastinate, there may still be a seat for you. It will cost $597, but provided we haven’t sold out, it would be our pleasure to help you improve your performance to a much higher level through the Owner’s Path Training Camp.

Be Part of the FOUNDING CLASS of O.P.T.C.

This event is growing, and will take on a whole new shape and form in subsequent years, but Chris and the rest of us at Owner Media Group always remember those who joined in and helped us shape the experience early on. If you come to O.P.T.C. this (date) with us, you’ll receive a special commemorative tee shirt and other awards citing that you were part of the O.P.T.C. Founder’s Class.

Come join us and get ready to grow your capabilities and connections with us!

–Chris

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Owner Media Group Inc 110 Marginal Way #744 Portland, Maine 04101 United States (207) 650-5290

Do the Work First, Then Ask Others to Do the Work.

Image
Can you dig it?

The Tattooed motto above means: Naught Without Labor. It’s one of the open mottos of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. It ought be the service motto of everyone who deals with their customers face-to-face. I recently attended a workshop to rebuild a small private school. The trouble was, the small school wasn’t ready to be rebuilt. There were plenty of good intentions. There was a lot of theory based around education and children. There were a lot of ideas. Those things are all like pretty flowers. They smell nice, but without the work, they die. Even with the best effort, they still don’t DO anything.

We were asked to design intentional learning spaces. traditional classrooms are catch-alls. They need to be the space for everything for everybody, and typically they are then nothing to anybody. Like major party politicians. I digress. Intentional space creates purpose. It may serve more than one, and certainly anything may happen in that space if need be. Intentional space is best-suited for one thing. Your store front window is best suited for one thing, providing insight to your operation. I have seen the incredible Macy’s windows at Christmas, and I knew a small Cuban sandwich shop in Tampa that built out theirs, and put a table in it. The satisfied customers became the show and best advertising as you walked by. Whatever is there, it is best suited for that one thing.

Problem was, after the design, and theory and best intentions, nobody lifted a finger. Almost nobody. Two very cool rooms were actually made. A collaborative think-tank with a few different grouping environments, and a performance and presentation theater.  The school was not able to facilitate progress past that. Most of the large furniture was still in storage, many of the rooms were unorganized storehouses. They were not ready to do the work. They were more than ready to have others do it, and even then without the tools they needed.

At once bodies disappeared. Rightfully so. Before you can ask others to be great workers, or others to serve customers, they had better see an example, and have the tools necessary. What tools do you find necessary? Who provides the example for you?

A Quick Educational Survey

I am attending a rebranding project for a small private school trying to things differently. They do quite a bit differently. Here is a survey they would like parents and students to complete. It would be helpful. It may also lend a little insight into your own beliefs. Should education be concerned with proper customer service as well?

Which way to go? and Why?
Which way to go? and Why?

a WOW a day, realistically.

What does it take to get wow’ed. I like, first of all that that word has gone from an interjection to a verb. I was wow’ed at a Burger King On Hwy 27 just and I-4 in near Orlando a few weeks ago, because it was so bad. I was wow’ed at the service I received from a volunteer at Blue Springs State park in Orange City, FL not long after because it was so simply polite and genuine. I spent half as much at the park.

One Hotel management guru suggests that simply wowing one guest per day can turn your establishment into a star earner. In the higher end market a star earned can mean a million more dollars. Some establishments in NYC are forgoing a star to save a million. I won’t encourage that behavior. The long term always demands great service. Cut somewhere else.

Print

Let’s say that a venue has 10 employees on a shift. If each one of them works to wow one client. Potentially 10 clients will be turned into free marketing machines. How do we know to what level each customer responds with “wow.” The secondary effect here is that while each employee strives to make an impression on one customer, they have no idea which customer will respond in that fashion. So each employee, engaged in this strategy will be attempting to wow them all. It should be stressed that we are only requiring one. requiring a wow response from all of them demands that nothing less than a perfect show is acceptable, and that is unacceptable. Furthermore, stressing that they will be attempting to wow just one, allows them to relax and give great service to everyone, knowing that a realistic expectation has been set. Besides, it has been established that “wow” service is personalized. The same wow factor cannot be applied to every client, regardless of expectations. See Personalized Service.

Trying to wow just one person per day alowesthe entire staff to the room to constantly impress all your clients.

But, I am pregnant…what’s your job?

I am always amazed at the level of service I encounter at Dr’s offices. The amazement comes at the point where the expectations meet the sliding glass window. let’s start there. Why does a Dr’s office have that sliding glass window? Is there a good time to cut yourself off from your customers? Is there a good time to give the appearance impropriety and secrecy? More and more modern offices have an open plan, and for good reason. My wife is pregnant. She went to the radiologists to examine a lump. It happens in pregnant women, hormones and all. She was instructed to come a half hour before her appointment in order to fill out paperwork. Why not just make that her appointment time? Nobody rejects the idea of having to fill out paperwork, much. We accept that as part of the receptionist and record-keepers job that we have to do. I think it is nice if a person has a conversation with you and asks you the information. You can do it yourself if you find that privacy is an issue, but that should be the exception. Don’t take an appointment and then patronize us into coming in earlier, thereby making acceptable, sneaky, extra wait time under the guise of administrative necessity. And heaven forbid the facility have a working website where the information can be entered at the patients own time (since we accept that it’s our time we are spending either way) and then simply verify or correct the info at the office? That’s being served.

The paperwork ended with a disclaimer which read: Please sign here confirming that you are not pregnant. Being pregnant disqualifies you for radiology in some cases. My wife is pregnant. She explained to the receptionist that she did not fill out the disclaimer, because there was no other choice. She was told to Just sign it anyway. Let’s say that her pregnancy was not as obvious. What could the repercussions of exposing an unborn baby to radiation be, because the tech saw a signature and didn’t take proper precautions?

And 9 months to make a baby..and a second to damage one...
And 9 months to make a baby..and a second to damage one…

My wife is not a liar. We disagree on the role and importance of the designated hitter in the American league of Major League Baseball, but not because she is lying, she’s just wrong. My wife explained that she can not sign it, because she is pregnant and the radiology tech will see her anyway, she was sent by the Ob/Gyn. The receptionist had a choice: to display knowledge of the service her company provides and display caring professionalism, or roll her eyes, huff a little, and express sentiment in the fashion of the neighborhood snitch. She chose incorrectly, stating :Okay…I’ll let’em know.

When you are the face of the medical staff, please don’t refer to women as sweety, or honey. Even if they are very old. Address them by the names on their bank account, get it. The medical community is not social authority, they need to serve the same way that every other business does. Regardless of a nationalized/socialized medical insurance policy, there are still options, and they are populated by human beings, serve each other accordingly.

Living with Poor Service Specialists

I always keep my expectations high, so that I give people the opportunity to succeed and catch them doing so. Of course this is a passion of mine it’s also easy for me to catch the opposite.  I’m looking for opportunities to hone my own skills. Sometimes it takes skills to be a customer to somebody else. Therein lies the problem-a  customer shouldn’t  have to bring many skills the marketplace.

Customer service always starts in your house. You have certain expectations of where you’re going and of the service you want to receive. Customer service also in the house because that’s where most of your advertisements lie. More on that another post. IN this case my house is where customer service barely started, and has hardly seen the light of day. My roof has been leaking for a while. I have been emailing the property management specialists for a while. We were getting death by a million paper cuts. We got the same emails as responses to different questions. The roof continued to drip. Black Mold formed on the ceiling. After a week, someone showed up to paint over it. I know the ceiling can’t be replaced until the leaky roof is. One drip turned into one downspout and 3 drips.

fix a leaky roof
I’m not saying I can do it, but her’es how you do it.

My last email was to inform them that I don’t expect much from them, except to keep depositing my rent check. I have run around emails and many of them to prove that expectation was realistic. It was clear that their actions had lowered my expectations of them. I got a 2 calls- one from the property management owner (not the maintenance person) and one from a very polite roofer’s receptionist asking when I would be available to let the guys in to see the damaged area. Apparently the roofing company was trying to get this done and property management hadn’t provided them with the information. I call a little BS on that, since they were awarded the contract, they had the address. Nobody, but nobody can’t be found when you have an address. That Monday a tarp was put in place until the roof can be replaced at the end of the month. That was all it took. As usual the difference between good and bad customer service was 15 minutes work. Instead, it was 90 days of poor service. I didn’t realistically expect the roof to be replaced right away. It took 6 months to replace a dishwasher that leaked and was infested with bugs. One email reply even asked me what my address was, and it wasn’t the first email.

ceiling stain
Nasty water stains turning into black mold

 

Check out my Vine account, @ConHippy. I have a bunch of Vines showing the drips, spanning months. and that was after a few calls. During one rainy week we were told to be patient, that roofers couldn’t do it while it was still raining. No Kidding and I thought you were going to be patronizing. I had a roofer send me – the renter – a bid. When I told him I am not authorized to accept nor deny, he asked me to forward the email. Is that service? No. Now it is important that I hold the other party accountable to the contract they signed. I pay rent to live in a nice house in a nice ‘hood in a nice town. Because that is the value I receive, in addition to a leaky roof over my head, the price is justified. I also can not use my rent as leverage. Asking someone to abide by their maintenance contract means abiding to my side of the contract as well. In fact, the argument is stronger when I have facts and proper payment in tact. Customer service exists at home. I shouldn’t become used to bad service, even from a landlord.