WOW. I have 3 great, personal examples of customer service all very recently – 1 negative and 2 positive. I really don’t like reflecting on the negative, and so I will just say the lesson I learned as a customer of a business where I will never return. It goes a long way for businesses to acknowledge mistakes or to empathize with a customer’s situation. Make your customers feel you are on their side in trying to resolve the situation. In this litigious society, it’s easy to worry that you’ll be sued if you make a mistake, but that fear usually just translates into businesses not accepting responsibility for anything. Assigning blame to the customer is no effective strategy.
As an accountant, I work with sensitive financial information for businesses and individuals. Trust is the most important quality to have as an excellent accountant. I have learned a lot about how to build, bolster, and maintain people’s trust in my business. But, today I got to witness trust as a customer.
For my first positive experience, this morning I was able to schedule an appt. for an x-ray today. I was so thrilled I could get it taken care of on the same day that I called, especially as my insurance is changing. The scheduler warned me several times on the phone to expect the appt. to take an hour. I made sure my schedule could accommodate an hour of my time, and I arranged to bring reading material for the wait. When I entered the crowded waiting room, I expected the wait to be the full hour. As I headed to my car, I looked at my watch, and the total time was about 1/2 hour. I had an extra 1/2 hour of “SAVED” time. I was thrilled, but I might have instead focused on one x-ray taking 30 minutes if I didn’t have the expectation of it taking an hour. They prepared me for the worst, and they not only respected my time, but they far exceeded my expectation.
Example number 2 was some products I ordered from a very small business. I was a bit dismayed at the amount of the shipping costs relative to my purchases, but I wanted to have these exclusive products for this class with the same company. A few days after my order, I got an email stating they were giving me a small refund. They were still delivering all of the products, but for some reason they were giving me a refund. I imagine they found the shipping wasn’t as much as anticipated, and they were passing along the savings to me. That refund, while small, will pay off with huge benefits because I know this company values fair prices and does not engage in price gouging. That small refund has resulted in a very loyal customer.
I was at my bank’s ATM yesterday, and they congratulated me for 36 years of customer loyalty! I thought it was a mistake because there’s no way my Freshman college year was 36 years ago (when my mom and I opened my first checking account), but sure enough they were right! I am a loyal customer when treated well. Now go treat your customers as Kings and Queens, and watch how they reward you!
Hello, learners. When asked what people want to accomplish in life, frequently the answer is, “To make a difference.” Being a math person, I know difference means subtraction in math equations. I don’t want to subtract from people’s lives; I want to ADD to people’s lives. So, let’s add.
My grandfather used to call me Doll Face or sometimes just shortened to Doll. I loved that. Just one person calling me a doll was a huge gift to me. “A. D.O.L.L.” is my acronym for Already DOne List Learning. We all focus on our to do lists, but I find myself not referring to my list after I’ve written down the tasks. Instead, I like to write down everything I do, from the small to the big tasks, throughout my day to prove to myself that I am accomplishing tasks. It’s one way for me to stop the negative mind chatter. In case I’m afraid I haven’t done much that day, I have written proof that I haven’t wasted the day away – my common, negative self-talk.
Start focusing on what you have done during the day, and you’ll find out that you’ll actually do stuff just to be able to put it on the list! Flylady.net is a marvelous website to encourage you in managing your home, and her first baby step rule is to shine your sink every day. It seems like a small thing, but watch how clean your house becomes just by being diligent to have a shiny sink. Then, you’ll find yourself not just cleaning the sink, but also the kitchen counters, and then maybe the floor. Everything else seems to fall in line when you do that one keystone habit. The same is true with our to do lists. Start writing down what you are accomplishing, and you’ll get in the habit of wanting to get things done that never even crossed your to do list or your mind. Just try it out for a few days, and watch how much more productive you’ll become.
Happy Money Magic Monday, fellow learners. The money tip for this Monday is to track your spending by using 10 categories. The list is in alphabetical order except for the #1 category because SAVINGS should always be paid first. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like some ideas on how to prioritize your savings or if you’d like help in tracking your expenses. Here are the 10 categories:
- Debt Payments
- Food & Dining
- Hobbies and Entertainment
- Money Management and Taxes
- Personal Care
For personal books, I prefer to use Quicken. It is the most comprehensive tracking system for your personal books. (I also highly recommend Quickbooks for business books.) Let me know if you need any help in getting started in using either of these tools or in maintaining your personal books. Happy Monday!
Hello, learners. I posted on Facebook a bit ago that I couldn’t go into details but that I was having the best summer yet (I’d say ever, but you never know about the future). I started the post by saying I couldn’t go into details, but the friends kept asking me for details. So, I thought I’d share just a few (seriously I could have kept going on) of my reasons why it is the best summer YET).
I have lovable but impatient FB friends. Let me break down the yin and yang for you for my best summer so far:
- I quit Diet Coke on June 6th, and on June 7th, Panera Bread (the worst culprit ever) called me Edie. I haven’t been called Eddie to my face since.
- I learned the time is now to tackle my longtime dysfunctional relationship with food, and I found out that taking care of myself is way easier and more fulfilling than I thought.
- I let go of what other people think of me, negativity, and gossip (I slip at times, and I’m cutting back on my unreal housewives), and I only hang out with people who celebrate me instead of tolerate me.
- I got turned down for a part-time faculty position, but then I applied to teach a paperwork organization/scrapbooking class, and my proposal was accepted. Yes, you read that right. I WILL BE PAID TO CRAFT!
- I am not allowed to give details, but I think soon I’ll be spending most weekends in my RV in a parking lot in Victorville, CA because of just one restaurant. (This may make #2 no longer true.)
- Lots of loved ones wished me a happy birthday, but at least 3 wishes knocked me to my knees.
- I experienced real magic at Disneyland this summer one day. A few of you know I’m not kidding.
- I started taking my own advice and dedicated the first 15 minutes in the morning to reading 3 books – personal growth, a daily reflection, and a fun book. I’m now up to an hour, and now it is my best habit ever.
- While spending time with their mother is not what two teenager sons are into right now, I found that my Father loves it when I spend time with Him. Plus, when I just sit and listen, the signs of being on the right path surround me.
- Speaking of signs, put on your rose colored glasses because they are ALLLLL over. I was hesitant about calling one aspect of my business The Purple Crown, and I asked a random lady a question at a sewing store. I looked down, and she was holding onto a PURPLE CROWN!
- I haven’t been able to travel this summer, but my mental travels have been rich and rewarding. Plus, I traveled to China in a fiction book this summer that opened my world to the healing power of tea.
- I was dismayed at the zillions of hours I spent writing down stories and did nothing with UNTIL NOW! The table of contents with many of my stories has been completed for my first book.
- And, finally, FINALLY, I can answer the life-long question of what I want to be when I grow up with just one simple word – MYSELF!
And, friends, it is only July 25th of summer. Nope, sorry Coming Soon. If your Happy Place is between your two ears, it is with you always.
The Learning Club’s inspiration is to increase Back Pocket Skills. These are skills you learn to enhance and better your life but that you might not need on a regular basis. So, they are in your back pocket in case you need them. For example, you may not ever have to perform CPR on someone, but having that back pocket skill may save someone’s life one day. Back pocket skills should be personalized to your particular gifts in life. What floats your boat? What do you love to do that makes time disappear? What exercise energizes you instead of makes you weak? Here is a visual on what Joey Tribbiani’s, a character from Friends, main back pocket skill is: being ready to eat at any time. While he technically produced a fork from his coat pocket instead of his back pocket, the idea is the same. He is ready whenever to eat whatever. Enjoy:
What back pocket skill do you want to learn?
That’s what Steve Martin said in The Jerk when he anxiously awaited to be listed in the new phone book because that meant, “Now I’m somebody!” Anyways, a new class list is in for a list of Master Classes that The Learning Club is offering in July. This is so exciting to have MATH classes – Make N Take Hours or Money and Time Habits. There is a mixture of craft classes with money organization classes. Check out www.50statesclub.net/GoalsStore.html for details on the classes and to sign up for any classes. Or, email me at email@example.com to get any questions answered. Happy learning!
Sometimes people admonish sensitive people to get a thick skin. However, what most don’t realize is that sensitive people can be keenly aware of their surroundings and can know things without understanding the source of that knowledge. Sensitive people know how to assess situations and to read subtle clues to know when reality is different than the words used to describe the situation.
Traditional ways to greet people are with the question, “How are you?” But, traditional ways also dictate that the only acceptable answer is, “Fine.” It is a ritual you have to begin to get to the heart of a conversation. However, rarely is a person just fine. Even if everything is going well, fine just doesn’t give any information. I will be so bold as to say that the beginning of most conversations is a tradition of lies. Sensitive people know that the fine answer is wrong, and they usually can sense what the real and more accurate adjective is.
The Learning Club would like to start a new tradition of greeting. Instead of asking how someone is, try greeting anyone – friend or stranger – with the question, “What are you reading?” W.A.Y.R. is the acronym and can be pronounced like WHERE. Unless your book is one word, a one word answer is just not going to suffice. If you are not reading anything, the shame of your repeated, “Nothing” answer may be just the incentive to get you reading. Your current book(s) answer will begin the conversation by spreading learning (instead of perpetuating a lie) and will hopefully help your enhance your conversation. It will get the conversation off to the right start.
This summer may be my best summer yet, one for my history’s books. One of the best God gifts of time that I’ve received this summer has been my own form of meditation. The volumes of material on the benefits of traditional meditation still have not helped me to meditate effectively. Similar to the traditional, “How are you?” greeting ritual, I have had to adapt traditional meditation methods to what works for me. This summer I found the value of being each day by reading. It started out as 15 minutes of reading in the morning, and now I’ve allowed myself the guilty pleasure of an hour. I never thought I’d even rise early to get my quiet time reading! I have found a magical formula of reading 3 books at one time. I begin with a daily lesson book, a book designed with one chapter of a few pages each day. I then read a chapter of a personal growth book. The end of the magic time is spent reading a fun book. A personal growth book,P, a daily book, D, and a fun book, F make up my own PDF. It is a fabulous way to start every morning because the rest of the day is spent digesting my new treasures of knowledge.
A man once told of a workshop he attended that began asking the participants to stand after being handed 3 tennis balls. The teacher asked the participants to then juggle. No one was successful. He thanked them and then began the workshop. After the 8 hours of instruction in the workshop, the teacher then handed out the 3 tennis balls again, and he asked them once again to juggle. Everyone could juggle. Did the participants look up how to juggle at lunch? No. Did they practice during breaks? No.
Those 8 hours of workshop training were just enough to give the brain time to figure out how to juggle. The brain needed downtime or alone time to work out the problem of juggling. Once the participants gave their brains enough time to be alone with the problem, the mystery training was completed. That is how it is when we’ve read something… anything. Our brains need time to digest the material and make it our own.
So, what are you reading?
(In case you are interested in my 3 current books, the P is The Gift of Imperfection by Brene Brown, the D is T.D. Jakes’ Destiny, and the F is The Tea Bird of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See.)
If you are a frequent reader of The Learning Club posts, you’ve deduced by now that the themes in The Wizard of Oz bring lots of inspiration to these posts. WHYLD is the new spelling for wild. It asks the question that we should be asking ourselves repeatedly on the road of life. “What Have You Learned, Dorothy?” After all, as the name suggests, The Learning Club’s focus had better be learning.
A review of this past week leads us to these lessons learned:
– You might be turned off just by a sign advertising Fermented Tofu, but if you are close enough to read the sign, you learn that the gross name doesn’t come close to the smell of the experience.
– A class (or in Saturday’s case 2 classes) in a field of study that you LOVE is just about the best experience where time totally disappears.
– Every day spend some time being creative.
– Find enjoyment out of life that has nothing to do with food, and watch how you only eat to nourish your body instead of feeding your emotions.
– Feed your mind with TIME, or Three Intellectual Meals Everyday.
– You know it’s a good book when you are constantly saying Jo MC – Just One More Chapter!
– Time spent with a friend, in a garden, at a book signing, with the author’s incredible speech makes one the richest person in the world.
– Know how valuable you are. An experiment was once done where a famous violinist, who gets $100/ticket at concerts, started playing for tips in a subway. After hours of playing, he only earned $32 in his tip jar. Kids who wanted to listen to the music were whisked away by parents. When something is given for free, it is assumed to be worth what is paid.
– Wake up every day SO happy with how you took care of yourself yesterday.
What great lessons came from last week. Who knows what gems will be found this week!
I know of an accountant who asks potential clients two questions. 1. Where did you go to college? and 2. To what charities do you contribute? Your first reaction, which is totally normal, may be very put off by these two questions, but really, his thinking is unique and kind of refreshing. First of all, this accountant wants to work with people who are challenging and improving themselves and who are givers. I don’t think he necessarily cares where you went to college but that you went to a college. (The question of where takes it to a different level because it is harder to lie about going to a specific college than if you went at all.) Then, he wants to make sure that the person isn’t so absorbed with themselves and their money that they don’t give to the community. Again, he doesn’t care where you give but that you do give.
OK, for anyone new that I meet including potential clients, I also have two questions but two different ones. 1. What are you reading? and 2. How are you getting BETTER? I want to see that you are on a path (I call it your yellow brick road) to becoming your fullest and best self. I want to see that you are learning the lessons God gave you to learn in this life. I would LOVE it if the question, “How are you?” was replaced with, “What are you reading?” You will get an honest answer (instead of just, “Fine” when you are miserable). I’m not necessarily concerned with what you are reading, but I want to surround myself with people who are exploring new worlds and enjoying the journey.
How are you getting better is my question to see if you have a plan. We all should be in control of our plan. If you don’t have a specific, written, daily plan for becoming your truest self, then you are a slave to someone else’s plan. You should be in the driver’s seat of improving yourself. You want to make sure the bus is going forward and not in reverse. Make a plan. If you need help, work with me, and I’ll help you get your own plan. Reach out to me through firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me how I can help you to be your best self.