Starting a “Yes” Revolution

It all began innocently enough. I went to a gas station with the needle on  my fuel gage a tiny bit below empty. Not to worry, I had a VISA gift card that one of my clients gave me as a “thank you” for doing great work on a project. I have been given these types of gift cards before and have used them at gas stations previously without any issues. Not this time.

At the pump I swiped the brand new VISA card. And, a strange thing happened. It was declined. I walked up to the attendant and asked if he knew what happened. He tried to manually charge the card and told me the same thing the computer in the pump did. Declined.

I then called the number on the back of the card. This was not an easy feat. The type was tiny, and I had to wait 20 minutes to speak to a real person. Once I got connected to someone, the representative advised me that gas stations place a hold on credit cards once the card is swiped. It was some sort of crazy “policy” to ensure that the card actually had enough money on it. Perhaps there were a lot of instances of people trying to drive off after filling their minivans and trucks with $75 worth of gas. Oh yeah, that’s right. The hold placed on the card was SEVENTY FIVE dollars.

After going around and around with the “representative” – surely if VISA had placed a hold on my card, they could put it back – I asked to speak to a manager. The manager told me the same thing. There was nothing he could do. He asked me if I read the 20 page pamphlet that came with the card. I was honest and replied no. He then replied that this “gas station policy” was outlined in pamphlet. I then returned to the issue at hand. I was out of gas, had no cash on me, and only had the VISA gift card on me as payment. Was there any way to return the money taken from the card back to the card?

davidspadeno

I pretty much told the manager that I was tired of being told what can’t be done, and asked what COULD be done. Nothing, apparently, as the manager went back to the script and rattled off policy.

Wouldn’t it be nice to hear the word “yes” when dealing with businesses? Wouldn’t it
be nice, when talking to a service-facing employee that they they treated you like an actual person and had some compassion instead of rattling off “policy” like a robot?

I am suggesting a new way of customer service. Saying yes. Sure, it may take a bit more time and thinking out of the box. But just imagine what the word yes would do for your company. It can make a customers day. And bring them back for more.

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A Whole Fail Customer Service Experience

We took a family trip to Wisconsin. We do it every year around July 4th, but this year was a special visit since Geoff’s dad is in very poor health. We drove so it took two days to get there. On Thursday, July 3rd I was the Whole Foods in downtown Milwaukee store. I frequent the Fairfax, Springfield and Clarendon stores. On this day, my husband had just dropped me off at the Whole Foods store after a long visit with his father who is in hospice care down the street. I was hungry and had time to kill since we were traveling and only had one car in town.

While I was walking around the store, I was talking to various clients. You see, I own a marketing consulting firm. So, I was taking and making various calls and shopping at the same time. I did not pick up a cart at the entrance of the store due to the fact that I did not think I would be buying much. As I selected more and more items, the items were falling out of my hands. I took a plastic produce bag and placed the items in it so they would not fall out of my large bucket purse (that had no closure). I also, as I previously mentioned, was hungry and got some nuts from the bulk food aisle. I weighed and labeled the bag of the nuts, as I typically do at the stores back home.

I stopped in the coffee area and made another phone call to a client. At that time, I ate the nuts, which again I typically do at the Virginia Whole stores I frequent. When I check out, I simply give the cashier the bag with the sticker so I can show him or her how much product was in the bag the point the bag was filled.

The music and noise got loud in the coffee area, so I left to go into the vestibule to talk to a friend. I had planned on returning into the store to buy the items in my bag, but was not given the time nor opportunity to do so. At that time a female loss prevention employee (I can only guess at her function since she had no name tag and refused to tell me her name) grabbed me by the arm and took me back into the store. I was led upstairs by the unnamed female employee and a male employee named Ted. Ted was extremely sarcastic and rude to me. I was detained for almost an hour until the police arrived. I called my lawyer for some assistance and Ted told me that I was making him uncomfortable.

Courtesy of Failbog.

Courtesy of Failbog.

The police finally did arrive and gave me a ticket for shoplifting. The ticket is $375. Thus far I have talked to a shift leader at the store in question named Mike who informed me that he was unwilling to discuss the matter with me, and also unwilling to review the store tape. I received a call from Whole Foods Headquarters informing me that “they were siding with the store, and if I had an issue with the ticket, that I would need to deal with the police directly.

 

It is a hell of a town.

It is a hell of a town.

Here are the issues that still need to be addressed:

– I have a bruise on my arm due to one of the Milwaukee store employees (the female who refused to give me her name) using unnecessary force.

– I was told by Ted at the Milwaukee store that I was “banned” from all Whole Foods stores nationwide. Be assured that I will not patronize that store in the future. However, I would like to know if I would be welcome in the Whole Foods stores I typically frequent. If not, there are plenty of your competitors who I am sure would value my business.

– At no time have I received an apology due to my treatment by the employees who handled this event the Milwaukee store.

– At no time was I allowed the opportunity to relay my version of the course of events on July 3rd in the Milwaukee store.

It is truly unfortunate that I have received such a poor response from headquarters and the Milwaukee store. Up until this incident, I shopped at Whole Foods at least once a week and had nothing but positive experiences with the employees.

A few suggestions for the future for the Milwaukee store, if you care to pass them on: I was an assistant manager for a large retailer and we never treated any loss prevention issue in the manner I experienced. We would either call the county/town police or have mall security deal with the customer directly. We also would videotape the conversation with the customer in question and a store manager or manager on duty.

P.S. Seems like bad customer service is not the only issue here.

 

 

Introducing Seletsky Consulting, L.L.C.

Hi. Welcome!

You are probably wondering what I do and how I can help your company. I am so glad you asked!

Surely, you have read and heard a lot about social media. Maybe you don’t know what social media is. It has been defined as communication designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques.

What we do is help individuals and companies utilize social media tools and digital media to promote their business (or themselves) and essentially increase revenue and awareness. You may think that all this stuff sounds easy, but, really, it is more than smoke and mirrors. Here is the what my day to day task list looks like:Interact with customers/clients to determine their needs.

  • Create and execute Pay Per Click campaigns
  • Keyword research for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Effectiveness.
  • Place tags and keywords on websites.
  • Develop reporting metrics for daily visitors, unique visitors, pre and post CPM, and click through rates.
  • Be the eyes and ears of the brand.
  • Engage with customers and potential customers (on Facebook, Twitter and blogs) and answer questions.
  • Create content for blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc including contests.
  • Create a social media corporate action plan and ensure it is followed.

All of this may bring you to another question – why should you hire me? As CEO/Founder of Seletsky Consulting, L.L.C , I have increased the companies Twitter followers from 1000 to 10K and beyond. On Facebook, our client’s Fans/Likes have increased from 60 to 20K plus.

I can do the same for you. We currently have the band-with to take on 4 additional clients in 2014. As an incentive, I will offer ONE HOUR of my services for free to the first company/individual who signs a contract with me.

What are your Social Media or Internet Marketing resolutions for 2014? Let’s achieve them together. Look forward to hearing from you. Just email me at gaylesgreene at gmail dot com or fill out the form below.

Seeing Things Differently

Today I had an eye doctor appointment. I drive 45 minutes to see him (or one of his associates) because he is that good. I have Amblyopia so I need to go to a specialist. The doctor I see is amazing. The odd this is, that until three months ago my weak eye was fine. Once I had my youngest child three and 1/2 years ago my eyesight basically changed and my symptoms (eye moving all over the place, headaches) disappeared. I reached my limit when I lost my glasses. So yeah, eye doctor.

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I allowed plenty of time because the parkway is always jammed. I had traffic on my side for once and made it to the medical office park with an hour to kill. This is rare for me. No kids and no client work pending. I called the one friend I knew who would be awake at that hour and he was getting ready for his morning meeting. Fine. Tweeted out asking if I could help anyone. Apparently not.

I cranked through my to do list. I love Google Calendar and FollowUpThen for reminding me of what to do, when and how to proceed with tasks. I actually had time to manage my social media profiles and write this post. When it was time to see the doctor, I had nothing hanging over my head. It was a nice feeling.

Since I was diagnosed with Amblyopia at age five, I have been to ophthalmologists often. I had not been seen by the one doctor who helped me with my lens prescription, but she was really nice and appreciated that I knew the drill as far as where to look and how the machines worked. I was sent out of the exam room to wait for my eyes to dilate, and after I returned to the room she told me that The Doctor heard I was in the building and could squeeze me in. Apparently, she had called upstairs to his office to see if he wanted to see me, and I did.

So, what did we learn. Since I was extra nice to the office staff and the associate who saw me, they went the extra mile to see if the main doctor (and the doctor who had the most experience with me) spent time with me while I was there. I am also now on the surgery schedule for next month because I waited around to talk to the main scheduling nurse instead of getting put on the “to call” list.

Being nice means you receive better customer service. I had similar experiences at Noodles & Co, CORT Furniture and Dunkin’ Donuts. Be nice today (or tomorrow). See what happens. Share your stories of being nice below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I Go To Starbucks

I am not going to lie, I am not a morning person. I have to force myself to wake up at 6am to get the kids up and get going. Coffee is my drug of choice to help me keep going.

Me Without Coffee Image

 

 

So, this morning after I dropped off my oldest at his school, I had time to kill before I dropped off the girls. There is a drive through Starbucks near their school. I typically do not do drive throughs, but is raining cats and dogs here and it was just easier to keep everyone in the car. The drive thru line was long as it was 8am.

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Not an actual Starbucks Drive thru.

 

I finally got to the speaker and ordered my coffee (Tall soy iced coffee with 2 packets of Equal) and then slowly made it to the window. I am low on funds so I tried my bank debit/credit card with no luck. Then, people behind me started beeping. Really people? Anyway, I always have a Ziplock of change on me so I gave it to the friendly cashier who was kind enough to a) not give me shit for giving him a bag of change and b) told me that I had more than enough change in the bag. I just laughed, gave him my credit card that I knew I had cash on, and told him to give himself a dollar tip.

What can we learn from this? When I get to choose a place to get my coffee, it will totally be Starbucks. I give my business to companies whose employees treat me well, either in person or via Social Media. Other companies that are Doing It Right are Staples, CORT Furniture, Suave and Lego. What are your favorite companies with awesome customer service? Tell me below.

 

 

 

Customer Service: Why It Is Your Most Important Marketing Tool.

As those who follow me on Twitter and Facebook know, I am currently in a hard-core job search for something more full time. Consulting is fun and all, but it literally does not pay the bills. Since most companies are not forward-thinking enough to understand the whole virtual work thing, I need to add some clothes that are office appropriate.

Today I went to Fair Oaks Mall to shop for a structured blazer. I have an interview next week and a few events coming up that I could use a blazer for either way. I entered through Macy’s and was greeted immediately once I reached the women’s department. The sales associate that helped me showed me a great blazer, and even gave me a print out of the item description & number along with a list of Macy’s that also had it in my size. The only issue was the blazer, although was on sale, cost $70. On sale. I am losing weight and light on funds, so I am not willing to pay that much for a piece of clothing that I am only going to wear once.

Next, I went to XXI . Now, before you laugh, they sometimes have nice pants, blazers and skirts at a lower price point than women’s stores. Again, I was greeted as soon as I entered the store. The Fair Oaks store has two levels, and the woman that helped me was going up and down the stairs showing me different options. Unfortunately, they had nothing in my size, so I continued on my quest.

The third store I went to was New York & Company. I walked in the store and neither of the two employees acknowledged me. It was ten am so there was only one other customer in the store at the time. One of the employees slowly walked from the cash wrap to where the other customer was looking at blouses, and asked her if she was finding everything OK. Like I wasn’t even there.

I found the blazers, took one off the hanger and tried it on since I was just wearing a cotton dress. Again, no contact from either of the employees. I felt like I was trapped in that scene from Pretty Woman.

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I found a blazer that fit me perfectly and was only $30. I then walked it up to the cash register where the employee took the item from me and asked me for my phone number. Really? I replied that I was not going to give her any information due to the lack of assistance I received in the store. No apology was given. I paid and left the store.

Now here is where the company could have saved the day. I tweeted at NY & Co while this was happening. I also posted about the incident on their Facebook page as well as tagged them on my page. It is currently almost seven pm, NINE HOURS after the incident and I have heard nothing from NY & Co. What I don’t understand is why companies have ways to communicate with them via social media and don’t listen. Sure, they post all sorts of information about why we should buy their products and shop at their stores or websites. But when we have an actual issue while trying to give them money, when they can actually learn from the situation, they don’t respond.

I guess the next step is to write them a snail mail letter. However, if you or someone you know has the ability to hire a social media person or make the decision to put up a Facebook or Twitter page for your company, please…make sure your hire the right person. And make sure you are listening to your customers.

 

 

 

 

What Is Your Brand?

It is often hard to remember that whatever we do represents us. Post something stupid online? People may think you (or your company, family, friends) are stupid. Put an offensive graphic on Facebook? People may think you are racist/anti-Semitic/bigoted. Tweet something while you are blasted out drinking with friends? People may not realized that you were not inhibited, and think that you meant it.

There are lots of classic examples of this, both from individuals and/or big companies. Justine Sacco , Kenneth Cole , The Red Cross …. the list goes on. Until people and companies get it. Think before you post. Think before you Tweet. Think before you put a picture or graphic on FaceBook.

Do you really want your kid’s parents to think that this is really you?

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Do you want to be the this employee?

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So, before you think it is “right” to scrawl something obnoxious along with your signature on a receipt, or before you post something on any social media outlet take a minute and ask yourself an important question. “Would I want my mom/my kids/my spouse/my boss to read this”? If the answer is even “Maybe Not” don’t do it. It won’t be so funny when you find yourself out of a job, or with someone mad at you or have others have false perceptions of you. You are your brand. Go be great.
 

“Every man dies, not every man really lives.” William Wallace, Braveheart