Friday, January 17, 2014

Customer Service Isn't Just Serving Customers

I had a sad interaction with a local business a couple weeks ago. I received a coupon FROM THEM inviting me to enjoy 15% off of an order at their restaurant. I was super excited because this restaurant is not in my town and out of my way but I enjoy going there. It's a pizza place that has a unique taste so we get it as a "treat." Here is a copy of the coupon I received in my email -



So I called and asked if they had any specials, you know to get more "bang for my buck" if you will. They explained to me the special and I ordered it, I also mentioned that I would like to use the 15% coupon that they sent me in my email. The order taker asked me to hold for a moment. She came back on the phone and said "The owner says that you can't use a coupon with a special." I replied that the coupon doesn't indicate that it can't be combined with other offers. She told me my total and asked me to bring the coupon with me anyways.

So, as any good customer would do - I went in to the pizza place and when I got there the order taker said "Hey (owner) this is the girl that wants to use her coupon with the special. She says the coupon doesn't mention any restrictions." So the owner says "Show me the coupon!" in a pretty mean voice. 

He looks it over, walks over to me and asks "Didn't you order the special?" I replied, "Yes I did and this coupon is why I called your establishment in the first place this evening." He told me that I ordered an "In-house special." I told him that was correct and asked why I couldn't use my coupon with that special. He said "because that's not what the coupon is for, it's only for non-special items." I reminded him to look at his own coupon that he sent me. That it did not mention any restrictions on using it whatsoever. (You can look at it yourself again above)


After he argued with me for a couple of minutes, he then blamed it on Constant Contact and said they must have put out the wrong coupon.  Then says "You know what? FINE. Give her the discount." He was very rude and stand-offish. Now, I think we all know that it's not CC's fault.



So let's talk about how this should have been handled. It was 100% the person who put out the mailing's fault. Constant Contact (or any other email service) doesn't "make" coupons for people. I know because I make them for my clients. I'm not necessarily a subscriber to "the customer is always right" but I do think that their perception of a situation is right to them and it's our job to help change that perception of what happened.

What should have happened was the owner should have apologized and owned up for the mistake and been glad to give me the discount. He could have then either sent out a replacement coupon to the mailing list or honored the incorrect coupon for future patrons.  



Customer Service isn't just about serving customers. It's making your customers feel welcome and ensuring they are satisfied enough to COME BACK to your establishment. Everyone is human and even (gasp!) business owners make mistakes. But it's important to recognize them, apologize for them and move on instead of arguing with a customer to make them feel stupid.



Thursday, August 22, 2013

Elevator Speech or Surprise Date?

It's been a long time since I've been to a networking event. We have had a lot of changes in our house over the last couple years - we had a baby and I added 2 more positions to my resume. Most of the time my glamorous work-at-home-mom life looks like this photo.
Photo Credit: Istock

I was invited to an event recently that was a great "After Hours" at a local business. I was really excited to attend because as I mentioned, it's been a while since I've been able to get out and meet other business people. I was looking forward to it even more when I walked in because it was a room of faces I had never met. 

Photo Credit: Hark.com

You're thinking "Oh my goodness, how intimidating!" (read - that's scary I probably would have walked out) Not for me. I am always looking for someone new to connect with so I can add to the list of people I know. I seem to get a lot of random phone calls that start with "Hey Lindsey, I know you know somebody that does ______." And yes, I usually do know someone that does that. I'm like the legit version of Huggy Bear. 



I digress, I walked into this event ready to talk to people. All the people. I started with the person I knew of course then worked my way to the drink table (great place to strike up a conversation, just like a high school dance). I started talking to a new acquaintance and realized after 90 seconds of listening "Oh no, we are on a date." 

When you are at a networking event, "dates" are BAD. In the first 60 seconds I met this person I figured out what they did and tried asked a question about it.  Boom. Crystal clear. But then...I was now being told about every single other thing that business did, how they impacted the community, the list goes on. When they finally asked what I did - I gave them my elevator speech -I told them who I work for, the clients I assist and the kind of work I do. Then I was asked me to sit down with them so they could tell me more about what they do. 

See? We were on a date. I politely put my food down and mentioned I needed to speak with someone else and would come back to the table to continue our talk. Guess what happened? Someone else at the event sat next to him and they ended up talking to only each other almost the entire event.

I am by no means saying I'm an "expert networker" because I have TOTALLY been the one that surprised the other person with a date. I'd be talking to someone and before I knew it I was telling them my dog's bathroom habits (again, not a good subject when you first meet someone). 




In case you are wondering here are a few cues that the person you are talking to thinks they are on a surprise date:  they are looking around the room constantly, shaking their head a lot and saying "yep, mmhmm or I agree," looking at their phone like they have an important call/text/facebook update to respond to, etc. 



If that sounds like your situation and you realize you have surprised someone with a date here's how to get out of it - down your drink, check your phone, make a comment about how you didn't realize you've been monopolizing their time, ask for their business card and head back to the drink table.

Moral of the story is:

Have an elevator speech. What is it you ask? You're in an elevator, someone steps in and you have to tell them everything about your business before they reach their floor. Stick to the who, what, where and why. When they tell you their speech ask a question about how you can help them further their business or ask for a business card, it's a great way to plant the seed to exchange future referrals. (more about that later)





What's the best way to practice your elevator speech? GO TO LOCAL NETWORKING EVENTS! They are safe, I promise!  You can even go with a friend and ask them "Did I sound like I was on a surprised date or in the elevator?" 

As a side note - business "dates" are great things! But only if they are planned. You can get to know someone and their business plus learn how to help further each other's goals. The best way to set one up is contact the person after the networking event and tell them you'd love to learn more about their business over lunch. 


-- Filed by Lindsey under: Brutally Honest and Networking--



Have you ever realized you were on a date in the middle of a networking event? Do you have an elevator speech? What are your tips for networking events? Shoot me a comment and let's talk!




Wednesday, March 13, 2013

SBDC Springfield/Clark County

Great news! Lindsey from 16th Floor Marketing is now a Staff Consultant for 
Online Media at SBDC Springfield/Clark County! 


If you are interested in starting a new business or need help with a current business give SBDC a call. Check out their website at SmBusDev.org ! We have many consultants in many areas of business that can help you with your needs! 




Saturday, March 2, 2013

Launch Date March 2, 2013

16th Floor Marketing finally launched! The logo is below! It's just me at the moment but I have great partnerships with Graphic Designers, Website Designers, Video Production and Photography Services!

You can email me at Lindsey@16thfloormarketing.com

I will have more announcements in the future!