Archive for April, 2011

Improving Customer Service

For years, I’ve experienced a decline in the level of service at my local grocers and restaurants. Long gone are the grateful smiles when I enter a place of business. No longer am I greeted and asked if I would like to receive help. Eye contact? What’s that? Doing business has become such a painful experience, I stopped looking forward to it. Welcoming smiles and helpfulness are more the exception than the rule.

Well, instead of complaining about how horrible service has become without telling managment about my experience and giving them an opportunity to address my issues, I recently decided to go on a customer service survey completion campaign. It’s quite easy! I simply began visiting web sites that are printed at the bottom of most receipts and spend 5-10 minutes answering questions and providing feedback. They ask for it, so I give it to them. It’s a win-win (if they are truly committed to changing).

One such submission of feedback recently garnered an immediate phone call asking what could be done to improve my shopping experience. The response was so overwhelming, I couldn’t have written a more perfect script to describe it.

Today brought about new opportunities provide feedback. I’m happy to report that of three stores I visited today, I had nothing but glowing feedback to provide to all three establishments. All feedback does not need to be negative. If associates in stores care enough to provide a great customer service experience, I can provide feedback directly to them – I can also tell store management on the spot, complete online survey requests, and send direct messages to their management and corporate. Who wouldn’t want to be recognized for doing a great job?!

Do you have a good, bad, or ugly customer service story you’d like to share?

Love to all!


Spring Has Sprung!

In case you haven’t noticed, spring has sprung in many parts of the U.S. While the incessant rain in the midwest portion of the country puts a damper (pun intended) on some of my dreams of outdoor activities and projects, I have found a lot of things for which to be grateful.

Yesterday’s record-setting heat, accompanied by a day-long break from rain, brought a ton of members of my community to a local lake and park for walks, bike rides, boating, and kite flying. The scene at the lake was what spring is made of and it was repeated all over the region.

I loved having my skin kissed by the sun. I loved seeing couples enjoying lunch at park benches. I loved seeing families enjoying one another’s company as they found a way to break the cabin fever after a long, cold, snowy, windy winter.

Although I suffer from allergies, I can’t complain one bit about the beautiful blooms that God designed for us to enjoy, or the shade that He knew we’d need provided by the majestic trees that He put before us.

The sound of birds chirping, children giggling as they paddled along the lake with their families, bicycles whizzing by, joggers’ feet pounding the pavement, and rollerblades gliding along the path all made for a symphony fit for the ears of a king. Our King! And He saw fit to share his symphony with me!

I am glad to be able to hear, see, feel, taste, and smell all that spring has to offer.

Spring has sprung and I’m ready for what the rest of the season has to offer.

Love to all!


Southern Hospitality

The saying is that if you experience bad service, you tell ten friends and word spreads like wildfire, but how often do we share good service experiences?

On a recent extended trip to a southern state, my family and I visited countless establishments for purposes of rounding up groceries, purchasing gas, shopping for clothing, and partaking in many of the local activities. One thing that stood out in each and every transaction was how incredibly NICE everyone was. Considering that most of the people who helped us weren’t in tipped positions, I felt that they were genuinely pleasant people with whom to do business.

I don’t get that kind of service in my current hometown, which is why I’ve added tons of businesses to my “do-not-shop” list. If my checkout clerk or attendant is bothered by my presence, I simply “help” him or her by refusing to spend more time and money in a way that would benefit them. In other words, I don’t support bad attitudes and customer service with my hard-earned dollars. I spend them where I feel appreciated.

In my experience, the shops and restaurants in my area can take a few customer service (and human-kind) pointers from our southern neighbors.

Thanks for the truly great customer service to my southern friends! I look forward to seeing you again soon!

Do you have a story you’d like to share about great customer service? Post it here!

Love to all!


My Coupon Binder Is Ready!

I’ve always been a thrifty shopper, never wanting to pay full price for items, but my coupon personality was casual. I loved getting free coupons in the mail. I’d put them into my wallet-sized coupon organizer that was purchased from the bargain bin at my local superstore and try to use them on my frequent shopping trips.

My coupon personality changed about a week ago when I decided that it was finally time for me to kick my grocery savings efforts into high gear. While on vacation, I stopped by the local office supply store to pick up a binder and a packet of baseball card dividers. All that was left to do was to add some coupons. Yahoo! I had a few in my purse, but wanted to get the latest weekly passports to pay less than the store’s advertised pricing. Husband and kids in tow, I made a quick stop at Walgreen’s on the way back to our vacation retreat and here’s what stopped my efforts dead in their tracks.

Me: “Do you have any copies of the Sunday paper left?”

Clerk: (bewildered look – no response)

Me: “You know, the Sunday paper that has the sales and coupon inserts…?”

Clerk: (continued bewildered look)

Me: (Pleadingly looking at nearby Clerk #2 for help and understanding) “Do you have the Sunday paper?”

Clerk #2: (Looking as if I’d asked her for a solution to bring about world peace) “No. It’s Monday.”

Me: (Finally understanding the crazy looks from Clerk #1 and Clerk #2) “Well, where I’m from, I can buy the Sunday paper on other days of the week”.

Clerk #1 or #2 (I don’t remember): “Oh, really?!” (Now, the forehead creases began to smooth at her apparent understanding of my question about wanting to buy a Sunday paper on *gasp!* Monday.

Me: “What do you do with unsold newspapers? Throw them away?”

Clerk whatever number: “Yes.”

Now, it was my turn to gasp!

Vacation lasted 10 days and 9 nights and I began to lose track of what day of the week it was. After all, there’s no calendar or timetable needed for vacation. During week #2 of vacation, I suddenly realized that we’d exhausted yet another vacation day relaxing, having fun, and totally forgetting about buying the Sunday paper. Now, I’d have to wait until I was back at home to make my post-Sunday Sunday paper purchase. Finally, on Monday, during the long drive back home from our vacation oasis, I realized that day I’d freaked out about forgetting to purchase the paper in fact wasn’t Sunday at all, it was Saturday! The sinking realization that I thought Saturday was Sunday and Sunday was Monday led to yet another week of couponing delay. Confused yet?
Finally, on Tuesday (back at home), I walked into a store and asked where they kept their copies of this week’s Sunday paper. Wouldn’t you know I got the same bewildered look that I’d encountered a week earlier…states away? So much for beginning my full-fledged savings campaign…
I resigned myself to inserting my existing coupons into the binder along with a couple dozen internet coupons that I managed to scrounge together. Better luck next week!
In the meantime, I’ve discovered coupon matches for this week’s sales at two of my favorite local grocers. I’m excited about being able to buy a 2-liter bottle of soda for 53¢ and match a few cereal coupons to some excellent sales.

Do you coupon? If so, any tips for a new binder girl?

Love to all!