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More Customer Service Experiences...

Two weeks ago, I was on vacation on Cape Cod. The weather was rainy (as it has been for over a month in Massachusetts), so my friends and I did a lot of cooking. That necessitated going to the grocery store - several times.

The old grocery store in my town was recently sold to a new chain. I welcomed the change as the new store was to be significantly expanded. But I did notice one thing... every time I asked where I could find something in the newly rearranged store, I got one of two answers. The first was, "I don’t know." The second was, "Over there somewhere."

I don’t need to be personally escorted to the correct aisle to find the item I’m seeking, but it would be really helpful if the people in the store knew where the products were located. It would also be helpful if they knew what the store stocked.

What made it worse was that no one seemed to care. It seemed as if we (the customers) were an inconvenience. We just didn’t matter.

So, after the third time of getting the unhelpful run around, I went to a smaller (and a little more expensive) store for my groceries. At that store, I was not only welcomed but several sales clerks who I’ve seen over the years in town recognized me. These clerks knew what was in the store and where to find it. They even made recommendations of new and interesting things that they’d added to the inventory. I felt helped and appreciated. It was a refreshing experience - and a lot more fun.

Now, I know our business is training, but I couldn’t help but think that a little customer service training for their staff (combined with some basic instruction on the layout of products) would have paid off and help them deliver a much better experience for customers at the new grocery store. Why didn’t they do it? Basic customer service training isn’t a huge investment of money. It could pay for itself VERY quickly. I wonder why the managers of the new store didn’t even try.

Posted under Customer Service, Miscellaneous Thoughts by Stewart on Jul 10, 2009 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

Great way to say "Thank You" and our raffle WINNER!

Recently, Amy noticed this... well, fabulous e-mail that was sent out from a company that distributes CD’s of independent music groups. The company is called CD Baby and here is their e-mail:

Thank You Note form CD Baby

So this fun and fantastic note got me thinking.

1) If you can show appreciation to your customers and give them a chuckle at the same time, then that is something worth doing.

2) In these (frankly depressing) times, it is great to pass on some good will and cheer.

3) At the core, this message says it all. It says, "we value you as a customer!" I know the e-mail is over the top, but the sentiment comes across. And it is so important to tell customers that we value them...

And so, here is our message. We REALLY value you... our customers. In many cases, you are our friends and fellow travelers on this journey called business (and, for that matter, life). I think we share one overriding goal: we are all trying to make everyone’s business a little more successful and every employee’s work a little more enjoyable. And why not have fun while at work? I am not sure we say thank you enough, but I do want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Thank you, thank you, thank you...

Exciting News!

Our Raffle Contest has ended and we have picked a winning raffle number! Just to keep everyone up-to-date - we have been running a raffle contest. The only thing you had to do to enter was preview a program through our website (or request a raffle number). The winner will receive a FREE Enterprise Media produced training product!

The winning number is: 134544

If you have the ticket with the winning number, here’s how you can collect your prize: Call us at 1-800-423-6021 or send us an email by clicking here.

If you didn’t win...stay tuned...we’re doing more contests throughout the summer!

And... THANK YOU!

Posted under Corporate, Customer Service, Miscellaneous Thoughts by Stewart on Jun 12, 2009 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

Attitude Really Does Matter!

Sunset on Cape Cod

As I think you’ve read, we recently launched three new programs with Sam Glenn. Sam is very funny and he believes that people can benefit from a positive attitude and outlook.

Maybe it is because I edited Sam’s three programs and heard his speeches so many times in the process, but I realize that his message is really on target. And that realization was reinforced for me when I went away over the Memorial Day weekend.

I was down on Cape Cod (or as we call it, "The Cape"). It was so wonderful to be down there. The houses seemed to be freshly painted, the stores had fun new stuff, and people seemed to be in a jolly mood. I had a wonderful weekend... All of this got me thinking:

I realize that at the beginning of the summer, the store and restaurant owners and employees are really excited to see their customers. The winter on The Cape is very quiet, and I suspect that everyone is very glad to welcome the influx of people and see new (and familiar) faces. Their positive, welcoming attitude is infectious! I felt great as I wandered through the stores. (On the negative side, often by the end of the summer, the same people can become exhausted. The summer is very busy. They’re working long hours, often six or seven days a week. And sometimes, they can be less friendly or even downright cranky by late August... It can be a bummer.)

I also noticed that all my friends seemed to be more positive and jolly. I know Bostonians have a reputation for being reserved. But when everyone was on the Cape over the long weekend, they seemed to be downright giddy. Why is this the case? Maybe people are happy to get away from the pressures of home and work. Maybe they’re glad that the weather is nice and the sun is shining. Maybe they feel more relaxed and positive. It’s probably a bit of everything. But it does make a difference.

So that raises the question, how can we develop and keep a positive attitude all of the time? How can we spread that positivity? Well, it does take practice (and some times a lot of practice) and it also helps when you laugh a lot

All of this brings me back to Sam Glenn. I think he has a lot of great ideas. He’s also really funny. If you want to see his videos (and get a good dose of laughter), then go the Sam Glenn Series page on our website. You’ll laugh and it might just give you a good kick in the attitude, too.

Or you can come visit Cape Cod in the early summer. That would be fun, too! So no matter what you are doing be sure to HAVE FUN!

Posted under What’s New, Miscellaneous Thoughts, Sam Glenn by Stewart on Jun 03, 2009 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

Online Ordering - Your Order is Secure. Is it?

I recently read an article that said that a significant percentage of people were nervous about purchasing anything online. So, I thought I’d do some research on online ordering and security...

Secure Socket Layer encryptions (SSL), VeriSign, SSL Certificates, TLS, access codes, username and passwords, Personal Identity Portal (PIP), PayPal, Firewalls, Fraud Protection Centers - does anything of this mean anything? Not to mention the spyware, adware, cookies and malware that can show up on your PC after you’ve made an online purchase. I confess, I was a little confused by all this terminology.

Are you up to date in your online ordering terminology? Can you really judge if a site is "secure" as opposed to "semi-secure" or "not at all secure"?

VeriSign is the quickest way to assess the security in your online order. VeriSign is the largest internet security company. You may have seen their neat icon when you visit many websites. VeriSign says that because you see their icon, you know your transactions are secure in ordering through that site. But why?

VeriSign provides companies with an SSL certificate. That SSL certificate is used to authenticate the source computer. This insures that your computer is really communicating with the right company and that your information is protected against "eavesdropping" that can be done by other computers who shouldn’t be party to your sensitive information. The SSL certificate is like a passport for your computer. It’s unique and readily identifiable by other computers in the secure transmission. Neat, huh?

Sounds secure doesn’t it! But wait...is it really secure? Your computer is communicating with another computer that has been through all these certifications and is "verified." Very official sounding - almost like dealing with a government agent, right? If someone in a fancy suit showed up on your doorstep with "papers" and "certificates" - you would listen, right?

How about TLS? TLS stands for Transport Layer Security and is the newest development in security certificates. TLS provides endpoint authentication and communications confidentiality over the Internet using cryptography (thanks Wikipedia - I could not have said it better myself). So...if VeriSign is only providing SSL and there’s a new and better TLS - is anyone providing that? Yes, they are...VeriSign does use TLS but we are all very used to seeing SSL. To the layperson, it’s the same thing. VeriSign’s white paper here explains it (and the entire process) very well: http://www.verisign.com/static/012374.pdf

Great - we are secure! But what if we don’t see the VeriSign icon? Are you we secure in entering our credit card information into that website? We might very well be! You can quickly tell if you are entering a secure site by looking at your browser bar. As you complete your order and are asked to provide payment and shipping information, you will notice that no matter what browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox etc) you are using, your location bar will read "https://", indicating that you’ve just entered a secure area. The change is very subtle - your browser bar wills most likely read http:// prior to entering the secure site and then you will see the addition of the "s". Internet Explorer goes one more step and provides a gold padlock icon in the bottom right hand corner of your screen.

If in doubt at all, give the company a call to find out what security features they have in place to ensure that your information stays private. Consumer Reports also has an entire site dedicated to online security: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/electronics-computers/resource-center/cyber-insecurity/cyber-insecurity-hub.htm.

BINGO UPDATE: Thank you all for participating in our BINGO game. We do have a winner, so the game is officially over. But you can still win. Keep your BINGO card and use it when you next purchase or rent an Enterprise Media produced program. You’ll save $50!

Posted under What’s New, Miscellaneous Thoughts by Stewart on Apr 08, 2009 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

Free training for managers and HR Managers

I have noticed that there are an awful lot of these "webinars" (podcasts, webcasts) going around and I wasn’t sure who was really using them, so I did some research... I have compiled a list of the "free" (I like how some places say "Mostly Free") but these are really free webinars that focus on training for Human Resource Professionals and Managers playing the multi-hat game that includes HR responsibilities.

Manpower - has been offering Free Webinars for five years and maintains that they are pre-approved for issuing continuing education credits through the HRCI (Human Resources Certification Institute): https://brc.manpower.com/BRC/contentStandard.jsp?articleid=641

This site is actually not a human resource based site but has an extensive (and I do mean extensive) collection of webinars, white papers and podcasts for free on virtually any subject matter. Need to train someone on managing their wireless handhelds while in a meeting (or rather, not using their wireless handhelds in a meeting)? Send them a link! http://physorg-whitepapers.tradepub.com/?pt=cat&page=Hr&flt=pod

Humanic Designs has a few interesting ones also. They are a HR / Payroll tech company. http://www.humanic.com/resources/index.html

Payscale.com has a two webinars...hopefully they will schedule some more: http://www.payscale.com/hr/resources/hr-webinars

Cisco Webex (one of the major players in webinars and webcasts) hosts a variety of free webinars - the topic list is interesting and I like that you can sort by time frame: http://www.webex.com/web-seminars/index.php?task=recorded&PHPSESSID=d8b036c8c62a79cea541437b393c3ac5

Boston University also hosts a wide variety of topics: http://www.butrain.com/events/webinar.asp?source=23172&gclid=CIDc5vudrZkCFQG7GgodtxYkJQ

Would you use one? If you have, what do you think? Do you like them? Have you recommended them to employees as any kind of continuing education? If so, does your company keep track of the training?

BINGO: I30

Posted under What’s New, Miscellaneous Thoughts, Training Ideas by Stewart on Mar 19, 2009 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

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