How to create customer service that works

It’s all about making a connection with your customers and building a relationship by giving them what they need in that moment

How to create customer service that worksI recently gave a customer service session to the employees of a store called Great White Toys. Having seen in the news that Toys ‘R’ Us has filed for bankruptcy protection and that many other retailers are also in trouble as a result of online competition, I was surprised to hear from store owner Cameron…

All talk, no action will leave your business in neutral

Many business owners know exactly what they would like to accomplish in their business. But they lack the necessary plan

All talk, no action will leave your business in neutralWendell is a swell guy with a big heart and a large mouth – and can Wendell ever talk! I worked with Wendell recently at a volunteer project. We were planting a garden and while I was breaking my back, loading dirt in and out of pickup trucks, Wendell would lean on his shovel and…

Five things retailers must do to survive

Exclusive products, niche markets, human contact, offering experiences and developing keen business knowledge can help set you up for success

Five things retailers must do to surviveI recently facilitated a meeting of a group of more than 100 retailers. Seventy per cent of them were either fearful or concerned about the future of their stores. And so they should be. Retailing is changing – you would have to be blind not to see that. When I started in retailing in the…

Five ways small business is taking a tax blow to the head

Wouldn’t it be better to encourage small business ownership than punish it?

Five ways small business is taking a tax blow to the headChris clobbered me on the side of the head and then swam over me. Coughing and sputtering I came up for air and yelled foul. The referee blew his whistle and Chris was sent off to the side of the pool. I laughed and played on. It was all part of the game of water…

How compassion makes businesses money

Companies organized around values such as love, generosity and endearment have significantly greater stock market returns

How compassion makes businesses moneyMichael was my mentor when it comes to compassion. His heart always went out to anyone who was in a tough spot. As a roommate of Michael’s, I saw him reach out to people in the community who were down on their luck and in pain. He would help to mend hearts even after his…

Are you standing on the edge of the cliff with your business?

It’s time to take the plunge: to take a good idea and turn it into a profitable venture, you need to take a risk

Are you standing on the edge of the cliff with your business?Christopher O’Byrne stood on the edge of the cliff, looked down, considered jumping and then stepped back. He repeated the process over and over. He would walk away and then back. His mind told him to jump but his body just wouldn’t do it. Christopher knew he couldn’t take the internal dialogue any more, or…

Business in decline? Start calling your customers back

Reaching out to wayward customers can not only reinvigorate your sales, but allows you to do a lot of market research

Business in decline? Start calling your customers backGrant was on the ground yelling as I came around the corner at high speed on my mountain bike at dusk. He had flown off his bike instead of hitting a moose standing on the trail. I skidded to avoid him. I could still see two moose, a cow and her year-old calf, on the…

In desperate times, business owners must shift strategies

Leaders who make quick, smart decisions in times of difficulty and follow through are significantly more successful than owners who waffle

In desperate times, business owners must shift strategiesIt was an especially nice Irish day, which means it wasn’t raining. Emily, Isabel and Aisling had just been dropped off by their uncle at a train station in the middle of the country. The girls proceeded to the ticket counter, where they realized they were 10 euros short of what they needed to get…

Is customer service dead?

When we take the time to engage with our customers and be sincere and interested, the dollars roll in

Is customer service dead?It was a Friday afternoon in Alberta. I’d met with some clients and had time for a walk. I decided to head to the strip mall near where I was staying. My first stop was the Peavey Mart hardware store, since I’d never visited one before and it looked interesting. I entered the store and…

Pricing mistakes every business makes

Setting a pricing policy and regularly reviewing those prices and strategies allows you to price for profit and success

Pricing mistakes every business makesHave you ever bought something and thought that there’s something not right about the price? Maybe it seemed too cheap or you felt you were getting ripped off. Pricing is tricky and a stressor for many business people. Are we too high and scaring away customers? Our competitors are priced lower than us, should we…

Are great sales people born or trained?

Selling might come naturally to some people, but there’s often more than meets the eye to a truly great salesperson

Are great sales people born or trained?The Gilbert family seem like they were born to sell. Will Gilbert sold 16 cars in June while the average car salesperson in North America sold only 10 vehicles. Will never did work for me, although I did have four other Gilberts employed over the years. Each sibling broke the sales records for departments that…

Playing to win in the business world

Make certain the odds are in your favour – think about what your business is or can be better at than your competition

Playing to win in the business world“Which silver car is it?” Tony Kibonge shouted as I tagged a car and he raced by. This race to the silver car was a rematch on another race I had won one cold morning in Stuart Lake, when we had raced through the water up to my chest and Tony’s neck. While I had…

Did lululemon make a mistake giving away free clothes?

How much leeway do you give your employees to be generous with your products or services?

Did lululemon make a mistake giving away free clothes?Brad Bonner was in a panic that June morning in Victoria. His luggage had been lost and he had an important meeting in a few hours. Getting up early, he walked the downtown streets looking to see which store would be open the earliest where he could buy some suitable clothing. He discovered that lululemon…

Do immigrants work harder?

With limited resources to fall back on and failure not an option, newcomers buckle down and make the most of their new life

Do immigrants work harder?When Henry Novak and his brothers arrived in Canada in 1967 to escape a lack of opportunity in their native Slovenia, they had no option but to work hard. They came without money or English. They hoped to get a job with their brother Tony, who preceded them ito Canada and was working as a…

Air Canada’s lesson in how not to communicate with customers

Air Canada could have reduced a lot of stress among its passengers by clearly conveying the winning message it intended

Air Canada’s lesson in how not to communicate with customers“Why are you making us do this?” the lady screeched to the Air Canada check-in attendant at the Dublin Airport recently. “I’ve never been asked before to put my carry-on luggage into those things.” She pointed to the metal stand into which her teenage kids were forcing their obviously oversized bags, to estimate appropriate size.…