Friday, December 28, 2007

You have the choice

The end of the year is near, and so is the decade. What have you done to make the last 10 years meaningful?

Did you get out of debt, lose weight, start a business or new career? Or did you do the same thing you've been doing and are still sitting around complaining about it?

2 years is a long time, but not so long that you'll notice that it has passed by. When 2010 arrives, don't you want to be debt free? Have a paid-for home? Married to the spouse of your dreams? Have lost 50 pounds?

I don't know what it is, but you do. Make a decision today to stop worrying, whining, and complaining about how bad things are in your life and do something about it. The decision begins with you.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Have you Recovered?

Christmas is over. Did you go overboard again this year, or did you devise a budget and put a plan in place to stick to it?

Keep in mind that you only have12 months to save for next Christmas. If you intend to spend $1,000 next year on presents, you must set aside $83.33 per month from now until then.

Doesn't that seem much easier to do than to come up with the entire $1,000 in December? It sure beats putting it on a credit card and making payments on it for years to come.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bad service update

I was told to call back about my refund today (I was mistaken in thinking that they might want to follow-up with me I guess).

To my amazement, they picked up right away, although I had to wait for the supervisor I was told to ask for, for quite a while.

She did put a rush on the refund, which is nice because I've been waiting for over 3 months for it. We hung up, but then she called back a few minutes later to let me know they put a rush on the refund, and that my account has been credited. I thanked her, and she said they are willing to do anything because I'm a 'customer'. I guess that doesn't exclude leaving me on hold, not calling me back, lying to me over the phone, breaking promises and the like. While she was very nice, I pretty much draw the line at spending over 10 hours to get refunded for something that was never shipped to me.

If you are a business owner, or even if you just work in customer service, think about how much the bottom line can be improved by really taking good care of your customers.

For instance, I jumped on the website of a very well known company to order a bumper sticker for a friend. The sticker was only $1, but the shipping was $5. They didn't mean to do this, but no one just buy one bumper sticker, so the minimum shipping is $5.

I called them up to see if I could just pay them $1 for the sticker and another $1 to put a $.41 stamp on an envelope. I'm not kidding when the woman said "Don't worry about it, I'll send it to you for FREE." WHAT?!?!

Think of how much power her boss gave her to take care of the customer. She not only likes her job, but you better believe that I have ordered a TON of products from that company. In fact, I just ordered $50 worth of product from that same person today.

What could improving customer service do to YOUR business?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Holiday Busyness

I don't know about you, but this holiday season has been great for out family. We normally shy away from the busyness of the malls and the crowds and instead focus on the real reason for the season.

Not that we don't enjoy exchanging gifts, but what's the point of running around trying to find the perfect gift for everyone and then not quite coming through in the end. We much prefer going big on birthdays and just laying low on Christmas with each other.

Maybe it's time to examine where your priorities lie. Are they at home with your family, or at the mall?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Customer Sevice

I just spent over 2.5 hours on the phone with a company to straighten out a problem on their website. I ordered a part for one of our cars, and they inadvertently charged me twice for it. They show the second order was canceled, but apparently no one actually got around to issuing a credit memo for it.

I've been trying to get this fixed now for 3 months! That's right, 3 months.

Can you imagine how much better their phone response time would be if they didn't have to deal with repeat callers like me?

Is your customer service failing? If you get a hold of it and take care of problems (and there will always be problems) quickly and efficiently, you will not need to employ (and pay) as many workers and your customers will be much happier.

I returned the part they sent because they sent the wrong one. Not only will the not make money on me, but they will actually lose money trying to take care of this problem. In 3 months I estimate that I have spent about 8 hours on the phone (2.5 today) with various reps and managers.

Including the cost of their toll-free number that I call (and sit on hold), they have probably spent upwards of $200 on someone that will never purchase from them again.

Could you use $200 in your business for marketing or advertising?