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.

Advertisements

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.

 

 

The Hand That Rocked The Cradle

In the beginning of June, I had brought my kids with me to one of my client’s. The client is a national retail chain and the kids really like the product. A nice, young woman must have seen how frazzled I was and came up to me and introduced herself. She asked if I needed a nanny. Up until that point, the thought of hiring a nanny never crossed my mind. However, I was so overwhelmed and exhausted that I quickly invited her over for dinner.

At first it seemed like a great idea....

At first it seemed like a great idea….

Once back at our house she spun a tale about how the “crazy” lady who she was renting a room from was renting out all of the other rooms in the house to family members. I had dealt with odd landlord and roommate situations in the past, so after talking it over as a family we decided to invite her to stay with us for a few weeks until she got a new living situation sorted out. That was a Sunday night. On Sunday, I ran around doing personal errands and she tagged along. I bought her all sorts of personal items (shampoo, clothes, a new duffle bag) and took her out to lunch. That night my husband and I went to a concert and since we had gotten the tickets months before, we had already previously hired a babysitter. She seemed OK with this arrangement and went to bed early.

A witness sketch. Kidding.

A witness sketch. Kidding.

Monday was her real first work day. When I ran a background check on her, all her references said great things about her and the only thing that came up legally is some traffic and parking tickets. I talked to her about what I had planned that day when she told me that she did not have a current driver’s license. That was a problem since a large part of her job was to pick and drop of the kids from school and activities. She asked me if I could bring her to the county treasurer to pay the tickets. Of course, she had no money…so I would have to pay her in advance for work she had not yet completed. We decided that once I picked up the kids, we would all go to the courthouse. Since it was 1pm by the time we got to all of the kids, it took us forever to get into a few towns over where she had to deal with the treasurer. The courthouse closed at 3:00pm and it was already 2:30 by the time we finally figured out where she needed to make the payment. Finally, we got to the treasurer. Now, when she explained about the tickets and about the fact that she had accrued fines and fees for not paying them on time, she gave me an estimate of about a hundred dollars. By the time I met up with her to pay, the cashier told me the amount due was $500. I was pissed because I was lied to, but paid her bill and told her I was not going to pay her again until at least July. She seemed fine with that. On Tuesday, I was focused on doing stuff for my clients since I basically wasted about 4 hours with the nanny the day before. She asked me when I was planning on bringing her back to the treasurer since she was unable to get her license reinstated and I tried to explain the whole “If I don’t work, U can’t pay you” thing. Anyway, it was around then I started noticing things missing. A few checkbooks. MY driver’s license. A credit card. Wednesday rolled around and we had at least twenty “your time” versus “my time” talks. This girl was either in the mirror or on her phone texting/checking voice mail. We got in the car and I told her that we were going to the DMV closest to the house to get my license replaced (at that time I just thought I lost it somehow). She started yelling at me about how she needed a valid license to drive the kids around, and I slowed the car down and told her that when I worked for an employer I was the one who was responsible for paying any traffic tickets and I was the one who kept my license current. Not my employer. She kept on yelling at me. I stopped the car. I calmly said “This clearly is not working out. Your employment has been terminated. Get out of the car.” And she did. Lessons learned? 1). In the span of three days, this woman caused major havoc. Thankfully, I am very aware of my belongings and noticed immediately when things went missing. 2). Always perform background checks. Document everything when it comes to domestic employees. 3) Keep the lines between employee and manager open.

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.

How Is Your Network?

It is an old story. A chain is only as strong as the weakest link.

As you may know, I have been job hunting. I had a recruiter that contacted me via LinkedIn regarding a job that we both agreed was perfect for me. She told me that she would contact the hiring manager, and was hoping to set up an interview the next week. The next week came and went, and I heard nothing from the recruiter.

I sent an email. No response. This got me thinking – the individual who was supposedly advocating for me was not an employee of the company that had the job opening. She was a contractor. Which meant that if she actually filled the position with an awesome candidate (AKA me) she would earn more money. Because she works on commission.

Image

Sometimes you have to take control of your own destiny. One of the positive things about working in marketing/ digital is that one changes jobs often. The more I changed jobs, the more people I met. The more people I interacted with, the more my network grew.

The important thing about a network, as I see it, is knowing when to “call in the troops.” When the whole thing with the recruiter happened, combined with a number of other companies expressing interest in me then falling away into the ether, I knew it was time to reach out to my network. Know your network and know what they can help you with. Don’t bother your old fraternity buddy from college with some random question that you can just Google.

So, how is your network? Do you have one? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Adapt Or Get Left Behind

Today our family started a new morning routine. Up until now, my husband Geoff would drop the kids off at school in the mornings while I would do stuff like laundry, tidy up the house, and client work. The pluses was that he got time alone with our oldest while he walked him to his school, and time alone with the girls while driving them to their school. We were also able to eat breakfast as a family. The downsides were that he would not typically get home until 6:30 or 7 o’clock at night because he was going to the gym after dropping off the kids. He would always miss dinner and sometimes miss bedtime. He was ready to make a change.

So, this morning he was off to the gym soon after I woke the kids up. My kids are not morning people.

 

This is pretty acurate.

This is pretty accurate.

 

I started to make breakfast and since my youngest was up first, I let her pick what she wanted for breakfast (bagels). The older two finally made it downstairs. Once the kids were downstairs, I was able to make their lunches. The kids wanted salad. Easy enough.

 

Simpsons Salad

I pack as much as I can the night before (this is key) like Goldfish, juice boxes, Nutrigrain bars, and juice boxes. I also make sure all the needed papers are in the oldest’s homework folder.

At 7am, I make sure they are all upstairs. Since the oldest can basically dress himself, I focus on the younger ones. I help the youngest pick out her clothes (she is at the “I have opinions” stage) and her dressed. Then, I focus our middle child on picking out her clothes (she is 5 going on 15). Meanwhile the oldest brushes his teeth. We have a Jack and Jill bathroom for the kids so with the two sinks the girls can brush their teeth at the same time.

Of course it is raining out, so I run out to the car with the backpacks to save a step. The kids get their rainboots and coats together and we are ready to go. We all pile into the car and drive to the oldest’s school. I park the car, let everyone out, and walk to the crosswalk with everyone under my huge umbrella. The oldest is holding my youngest’s hand which is super cute.

We walk together to the front of the school, tell the oldest goodbye and find ourselves with about 30 minutes to kill before the girls need to be at school. So I had an idea. Donuts! By this time the youngest has fallen down on a street that is uneven because it is being paved.

I drive the girls to Dunkin’ and they are allowed to pick out a donut while I get my coffee. Everybody is happy. We pile back in the car then it is off to school.  So what did I learn from this? As Steve Winwood would say “Roll with it baby. ” If you are resistant to change, whatever that has changed will be harder for you. This goes for a new software program at work, a change in the layout of Facebook or Twitter, and friends/family moving closer to you or further away. It is your choice. Adapt or die.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Mondays. Oh No, Or Hell Yes, Let’s Go

“Tell me why
I don’t like Mondays
Tell me why
I don’t like Mondays”

There are two kinds of people in the world: people who dread Mondays and people who look forward to them. I am the type who relish in a new Monday. Some of you may ask why?

 

Image

I love Mondays because to me they represent a new set of seven whole days to kick ass. Seven whole days to get stuff done. Seven whole days to connect or re-connect. Seven whole days to be a better wife, a better mom, a better marketer. I honestly think that it is your choice in the way you view Mondays.

So, what are you? Do you love Mondays or hate them? Why? Let me know below.