2011 was a year of challenge and change. I am thankful for all of the new people I've met and the opportunity to serve, teach or present. This year is going to be a roller coaster… working on my 1st book with a professional writer, starting to expand my business with two new on-line ventures, and I'm looking forward to many more opportunities to teach and give presentations across the country.
Trouble in Paradise…
Being in business means you can't survive without customers. Customer service is part of every business. How you communicate is part of that customer service. What follows is the story of our New Years Eve and the Customer Service nightmare that dampened our evening.
We chose to go out with some neighbors to a very nice local steak house (Kim's favorite meal). We had reservations for 9:30 but decided to go about 8:30 and have a glass of wine. We found a table at the bar and asked the server for an appetizer menu and to take our wine order. 10 minutes goes by and no sign of our waitress again. We see some seats open up at the bar and move there. Another 10 minutes passes before we can get the attention of the bartender to order 4 glasses of wine.
Over the next 40 minutes or so we see people enter the bar and get seated while we waited. At 9:30 we go to see the Maître d' and ask how much longer? She says “10 more minutes”. At that time we noticed there was a table for four open just needing to be bussed. As we waited, the girls were treated to sewer gas filling the ladies room. They alerted the manager who apologized.
At 10pm we are getting anxious while watching groups getting seated as we continue to wait. We asked to see the manager (who was a no show). By now, there are dozens of open tables. Eventually we are seated at a table for 8 (with lots of open tables for 4?). We get to order our appetizer (almost two hours later). The main course comes and one of the plates has a hair on it… so it's sent back and three of us were told to eat (awkward). Finally we get some attention from the Manager who came over and apologized again and comped our entire dinner bill.
The food was awesome and getting a free dinner was a bonus… but the lack of customer service left a bad taste in our mouths! The moral of the story is that they didn't plan ahead to deal with the holiday onslaught. I was constantly posting on Facebook (look up the posts). Do you know what customers are saying about you online?
I am not big into New Years Resolutions… but I take January 1st as a breather to refocus (and write my blog). Since today is the celebrated New Years Day… I have a pile of file folders and bankers boxes ready to box the folders from last year, and make all the new folders needed for 2012! With that said… I want to offer you a few business tips that I think can help you in the coming year!
1) Don't Leave Money on the Table
It took me all of 5+ hours yesterday, but I logged my mileage for the last year today and found $4000+ of money my company owed me. It was .51.5¢ From January and .55¢ from July on. Now I am not an accountant, and you need to have professional help to confirm it… but what I found was $4k of money that I don't have to pay taxes on personally (expense income on a 7+ year old car) and $4K my business can deduct as an expense (a double win-win)!
2) Don't Leave Business on the Table
I had a stack of business cards that I had collected during Holiday parties and networking events. I used my Neat Scanner, and OCR'd (optical character recognition) them and added them to my IContact email database. There are now dozens of people who will receive my New Year Welcome email! I am sure some of them will opt-out, but there are at least a few that I can count on for new business or recommend me if they follow my Facebook page!
3) Don't Leave Your Customers on the Table
Part of my New Year Resolution (not that I really make any) is to add every new customer this year to my eMail marketing program, send them a thank you, and communicate to them new things that I am doing to help make their business better. It may not be an immediate need for them, but they may be happy enough to recommend my business to a friend or another business! Depending on your business, you may not get a lot of repeat customers, but it's no reason to get it… and forget it!
We wish you much success, happiness, and health this New Year!
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