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Providing customer service was once about speaking to someone in person at your place of business or providing a phone number for customers to call if they needed assistance. A quick flip through the phonebook or a glance at the sticker on the back of a product could provide someone with a direct line to your business or a physical address to visit so they could get their questions answered.

Published in The Marketing Edge

NEW YORK McDonald's, under intense pressure in a competitive industry, sought to reassure its shareholders Thursday that it is making changes to its food and service that customers want.

Published in Biz
Wednesday, 05 September 2012 14:45

Do you have employees or brand ambassadors?

As a customer, how do you feel when you hear 'Next!' at a coffee shop, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, bank or doctor's office? Now, how do you feel when you are greeted with a smile and welcoming words like 'Good morning! How are you today?' The feeling of being welcome at a place, asked how you're feeling and greeted with a smile makes the experience much more memorable.

From a customer's perspective, there are two major factors that contribute to a memorable experience: the quality of your products or services and great customer service provided by engaged brand ambassadors. But what exactly is a brand ambassador?

Published in The Marketing Edge
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 14:44

Breaking up is hard to do

It was a late night when they checked in - a husband and wife who had booked two weeks at my inn in Bar Harbor. I knew within five minutes of their arrival that this was not going to go well. They expected service valet, restaurant, bar, pool that my property did not offer. I knew there would be no way they would enjoy their stay with me and that we would both be miserable, so I sat them down for 'the talk.' I kindly suggested they would be better off with someone else and offered to find them a room at one of the more 'resort-like' properties on the island. They agreed. I made the break up easy by returning their room deposit and making all the arrangements for them. It was the best decision for both of us.

The downside of this break up was that I found myself with a vacancy at the height of the season and I risked that they would be unhappy with me and tell others (we know how important 'word of mouth' is to business). Fortunately, those worries were unwarranted. I rented their now vacant room quickly and learned a month later that this couple wrote a letter the Bar Harbor Chamber praising me for the exceptional customer service I gave them. They had a fabulous visit to Bar Harbor and planned to return.

Published in Local Business
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 15:56

When good enough is just not enough

I consider myself a straight shooter. From time to time, I've been accused of seeing things in a black and white sort of way. I just don't have time for nonsense, and I don't have much patience for it either. What does that make me? A tough customer with high expectations. But there is a good part about being a pain in the neck, as some might put it: I am continually judging the quality of my own work, which helps me not to fall into complacency.

My first and most memorable boss in the business world used to say that achieving success is easy - the hard part is sustaining it. Sometimes, success can drive a business into complacency, which is a very dangerous path to be on. When things are good for a period of time, people become overly positive about their success. They tend to think that their business will continue on that growth path, which can lead to a false sense of security and lack of a strong business strategy.

Published in The Marketing Edge

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