You’re Doing It Wrong

I shoo’d a very pleasant salesman (let’s call him Steve since I can’t remember his name) out of our office yesterday. He was selling pampering packages at a “newly opened” spa down the street at a very low price and only had three left.

I barely gave the man the time of day and actually felt a little bit guilty, but here’s why I sent him packing:

  • Last year a pushy salesman had to be kicked out of my office by my boss because he kept trying to convince me I needed a pampering package from a newly opened spa down the street… coincidentally the same package Steve was offering at the same location, but the spa had a different name.
  • Steve asked questions that no woman would say no to (except for me) like: Would you like to be pampered for 90% off? Who doesn’t need a relaxing massage? Those cornering questions annoy me, since they are asked to get me to crack open my wallet while exclaiming “I want that!”
  • Our building has a “No Soliciting” sign posted at the entrance, so I assumed Steve couldn’t read anyway.
  • Really? Only 3 left? I know it’s supposed to make it seem popular or urgent but I saw more than 3 package vouchers in the portfolio he fumbled with.

{Available on Etsy}

Seriously Steve, you’re doing it wrong.

Since Steve was so nice, I rushed him through his pitch and got him out the door in 2 minutes. He’s doing his job and probably lives on door-to-door sales so I wanted him to get on his way for me to get back to my job.

Sales people often get a bad rap and are viewed often as pests. That’s not an excuse for rudeness though. I try to be a nice person but found that simply being nice, wastes my time with salespeople. So I’m trying to cultivate a balanced nice, but firm, manner in which to send them on their way (quickly!).

Any tips or stories you’d like to share?


I’m not a “miss”

I’ve been analyzing some of the things that bug me recently… so let’s chat about another one of my pet peeves.

I probably shouldn’t say this, but I tend to have a lot of trouble with waitresses (I’m being gender specific because I never have seems to have issues with waiters). Whether it’s having water spilled on me, getting judgmental looks for ordering “slim and fit” meals or being given a Diet Coke instead of Coke Zero, I often find myself not really liking our waitresses (specifically the ones close to my age).

We recently went out with Brad’s family for my brother-in-law’s birthday. Our waitress was great overall, very nice, helpful, timely and accurate. But one thing she did really got under my skin, she would always refer to me and my mother-in-law as “miss.” I realize that would be considered polite, but she didn’t call any of our men “sir” or “mister” or anything at all.

I always wear my wedding and engagement rings, as does my mother-in-law, so it was pretty obvious that neither of us are a “miss.”

This is where my preferences and the preferences of other millennial women diverge. Continue reading

Twitter as customer service

The customer has it figured out, but companies are neglecting it!

Twitter is like word-of-mouth advertising (one of the fastest growing areas of communication) but the kicker here is that companies can and should respond (to good and bad) tweets about them. And they aren’t.

Honestly, we vent on Twitter when we have a bad experience and it’s a golden and free opportunity to make things right for a customer. And the customer wants them to respond!

Based on this study by Maritz Research, only 1/3 of the people they surveyed who had tweeted a complaint received a response. 86% of those who didn’t receive a response wanted one.

As a customer, I would rather tweet at you than call customer service and get put on hold.


Say Thanks!

Thanksgiving is coming up and more and more things are happening that make me realize how important it is to say “Thank you.” Honestly, it’s two words that go a really, really long way with people.

I was knee deep in wedding thank you notes when I got really sick with DKA and was admitted to the hospital, then the whirlwind of our lives happened and the thank you notes (75% written) sat unsent and I felt like scum. Everyone had been so generous and so supportive of us, but they were still waiting on a thank you note. In this case, I figured that “better late than never” applied.

In our everyday lives, expressions of gratitude are extremely important. But looking on a larger scale, and into the communication industry, gratitude goes a super long way with customers, supporters and partners. Saying “thank you” is a big part of customer service (as are using other basic manners).

Non-profits are usually great examples of organizations who have saying thanks down to an art. Without generosity and support they can’t succeed and they frequently acknowledge that. An organization which I particularly close to that does a fantastic job of saying thank you is Humane Ohio. I interned for them when I was a junior at Mount Union. They take gratitude seriously with a section of their e-news dedicated to saying thanks and constant social media updates about how awesome their volunteers are and about organizations that partner with them for fund raising.

A picture straight from the Humane Ohio Facebook page

Continue reading

Crisis Communication for Super Bowl Pizza

Being the pizza loving college students that we are, we took our handy-dandy coupon and pre-ordered our Super Bowl pizzas to be ready at 6 pm.

At 6:00 we pull up to the pizza shop to find two firetrucks outside with lights flashing and all of the employees standing in the parking lot. We decided that was the wrong moment to try to figure out what was happening. So frustrated that we couldn’t get pizza from somewhere else, we ran down to the grocery store for some frozen pizzas.

At about 6:20, phone calls finally made it through. The shop’s deep fryer had “exploded” but our pizzas were ready, just not our jojos. So we arrive back at the shop to see all of the employees in an understandable frenzy. The girl at the counter, is immediately defensive to every customer basically scolding everyone that they can’t make chicken or anything in the fryer (not once saying I’m sorry or acknowledging the inconvenience to the customer). She takes her time getting our already made pizzas, taking our coupon and all the while she is talking to another girl who is loitering at the counter about how the owner is coming in and everyone is probably going to be fired.

We left the place angry. With pizza, but angry at the poor experience.

Ok small pizza shop owners, the following is FREE advice on keeping customers from getting ticked at you.

  • Accept that things will happen when you don’t plan on them. No one expected the fryer to “explode” (the exploding part still has me puzzled because with their open kitchen set up I could see said fryer and it appeared normal and there was not fire damage or extra amounts of grease around, but I’ll go with it since there were two fire trucks). If you have any equipment at all, eventually a piece will breakdown at an inconvenient time. Care for your equipment properly and train your employees on how to deal with bad situations before they happen.
  • The fryer exploded. They called the fire department. Good safety move. When you get back in, make a sign explaining that no chicken, jojos, etc can be made. That will save the number of times you have to tell people, the extreme defensiveness in the employee’s explanation, and people wanting chicken or jojos can leave as soon as they see the sign and get it somewhere else, as opposed to standing in line to wait and be told 10-15 minutes later.
  • People ordered food that you can’t make. Call them! Yes, there was one girl on one phone calling about 100 people. This is where you use any available phone and call, ASAP. Calmly explain what happened and apologize that you cannot fill their order. May I say it again, apologize. People want to at least feel like you wish you could have made their food.
  • People are picking up partial orders that are now cold from sitting on a counter while the firemen checked the place out. Yes, pizza can be reheated so that is not a big deal. But several people (including us) could not pick up their pizzas at their scheduled time. If they pay with a coupon, give them the coupon price and give them back their coupon, it’s not a big loss and it makes people happier.
  • At all times: never, ever complain about your boss being angry in front of customers. They like your boss better than they like you. The boss runs the pizza place, you just work there… and maybe not even for much longer.
  • At all times: never ignore the customers to talk to someone about your personal life. They don’t like waiting on you to finish a story before being served. Especially when the national anthem to the Super Bowl is already being sung and they want to just get their cold pizza and go home.

Tips: Have a contingency plan for equipment failure and post it for employees. Don’t under-staff on usually busy days.