Archives for November 2012

That’s Right, Another “10 Things I’m Grateful For” List

Gratitude List

I resisted doing this.

Really, I had to think long and hard before adding to the heap of words on the digital mountain of gratitude you see around the ol’ interwebs this time of year.  (U.S. Thanksgiving, for those of you not from around these here parts.)

I woke up to an inbox chock full of bloggers and online biz owners emailing messages of gratitude and directing me to their blogs where I could read still more messages re the same.

But since some kind of writing motivation lightning bolt struck a couple days ago fairly compelling me to write more often here, and today is Thanksgiving, after all, well, here I go.

Today I’m grateful for:

1. The best group of kick-ass female friends a girl could hope for.  Ronda, Annie, Kristal, Carolyn, Sharon – the brain power, resourcefulness and kindness in that group of five could light up the world for an eternity.

2. Technology.  I’m amazed, and some days, overcome, by how much my life is improved and enriched by all that technology allows into it.  Isn’t it a great time to be alive?

3. And on that subject, I’m grateful for all the eyeballs on this blog and on my email newsletter. And the smart and amazing people connected to those eyeballs.  I may not have thousands of readers, but I cherish every single one I do have.  And that is the truth.

4. The fantastic meal I’ll be enjoying later today at my friend Carolyn’s house, plus the conversation, the laughs, the camaraderie and the fellowship.  Not to mention our friend Katelyn’s famous Cheddar Cheese Apple Pie.  Getting to spend time with the adorable 4-year-old who rules the roost over there is an added bonus.

5. My family, both immediate and extended, who I’m missing this Holiday, but who is always in my heart.

6. The Deepak Chopra 21-Day Meditation Challenge I’m participating in this month.  I’ve benefitted enormously from taking 15 minutes each morning to pause and breathe and reflect on all the abundance in my life.  And Deepak’s soooooothhhinnnng voice as he guides each day’s meditation nearly puts me in a trance. Love that.  : )

7. The brilliant, sunny 62 degree day (on November 22nd, no less) here in lovely coastal North Carolina where I am blessed to live.

8. And about that . . . I’m also grateful that I get to live here, in Wilmington, NC, a place I’ve been head-over-heels in love with since I first visited back in the 80’s.  I might not go to the beach more than once a year, but just knowing it’s 10-15 minutes away brings me joy.

9. The excellent new client I started working with in October.  How lucky am I that I get to do interesting, intellectually stimulating work among a group of uber-smart and talented colleagues?  Still drinking that in.  Very cool.

10. The challenges put in my path and the hard lessons I’ve learned.  I believe these events are blessings, given to me to benefit from. (Now let’s be honest, at the time, some of those “lessons” were things I cursed and resisted.  As recently as this week.  Ha ha.  But retrospect is a very useful tool, and I’m deeply grateful for the growth that my challenges have inspired.)

11. And . . . . I could go on, but I’m starting to feel self-indulgent, so I’ll make #11 my last list item:  I am grateful for S.N., an extraordinary man I still think of lovingly  And miss.  Though things didn’t work out the way I wanted them to, it’s because of S.N. that I believed I could give up the 9-5 worker bee life and have a business doing something I love.  It was through S.N. I saw first-hand  what smarts and dedication and hard work can bring into your life, and the experience made me believe I could do it too.  Through S.N. I saw what a successful business looks like, and felt inspired.  But mostly, it was through S.N. that I finally got what real love really feels like, and for that I am forever grateful.

And you?

What are you grateful for today, whichever day you may be reading this?  Shout it out in the comments!

And ~ Happy Thanksgiving!!!  ~ to those of you in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

How to Give Excellent Customer Service That Builds Brand Loyalty: One Simple Tip

outstanding customer service

Today I want to share a winning tale of customer service, done right.

(By the way, isn’t it unfortunate that good customer service is so rare that when you do experience it, it’s a big enough deal that you feel the need to sound the trumpets?  Because really, it should be an everyday occurrence.)

So a couple months back, I went to my favorite place for killer pizza here in Wilmington, NC, Slice of Life.  Good times, good times.  And did I mention they have killer pizza?

Anyway, a few weeks later when I got my bank statement, I noticed that there was a $3.00 difference between what I actually spent on the night in question and what was on my receipt, and the amount that I was charged according to my bank statement.  (I’ve worked in plenty of restaurants in my day, by the way, and I know that the end of a long Saturday night when you’re entering the credit card receipts, this can happen.)

So I called up the restaurant to point out the overcharge, and talked to a lovely person named April, I believe.  She was genuinely apologetic and promised to take care of the issue, pronto.  All good, and I’m happy.

What I didn’t expect was to get a phone call from the owner of Slice of Life a few days later, personally apologizing and telling me he was going to:  A, send me a coupon for a free pizza, and B, a check for $20.

I kid you not.  (By the way, thanks Ray.)

I mean, really, I was blown away.  The owner of the restaurant calls to apologize, says “that shouldn’t have happened, that’s unacceptable, and it’s not the way we do business.  I’m going to send you a coupon for a free pizza and a check for $20 to make it up to you.”  Top notch customer service skills, I tell you.

I already loved Slice of Life for their excellent pizza, and I would’ve continued to visit regularly anyway, but this makes me feel ridiculously loyal to the Slice of Life brand.  

Because Ray didn’t have to reach out that way, but he did.  He went above and beyond.  He showed that his customers are important enough to go the extra mile for.  

That, my friends, is an excellent customer service experience.

And believe me, customers remember this, and they tell all their friends about it

So here’s your one simple tip: A simple, easy to implement way to stand out from the crowd and build strong customer loyalty is to do for your clients and customers what other people in your niche don’t do, or won’t do.  Like Ray did.  You know, something unexpected. (Like the flower manhole cover at the beginning of this post. 😉 )

We all get lackluster, even atrocious, customer service on a way too regular basis, so any effort to do better than that, especially if you do waaaaay better than that, will win you loyal and happy customers who can’t wait to spread the word about the kick-ass thing you did – just like I’m doing here.

And word-of-mouth marketing like that just can’t be bought.  (Unless we’re talking $20 and free pizza.  Ha ha, I kid.)

So what about you?  Do you have any tales of excellent customer service to share?  Please share your story in the comments!