Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My 3 Words for 2014

What it's Jan. 28 already! I've been meaning to write my 3 words for 2014 for...well about 28 days now.

I love the 3 words for the year initiative. I was introduced to this through Chris Brogan's blog  and I believe he started it.

I did my first one last year. For the most part I was successful, although I could have completed more projects, but hey who can't say that.

So here they are (in no particular order):
Morning by the lakeWrite: I want to write more. I really enjoy writing, but I can always find an excuse not to write. I'm not great at it, yet, (and that may be why I don't do it enough) but the only way to get better is to do it more. So in 2014 I am going be writing more.

Empathy: I have been continually trying to improve in this area. In doing so I have been reading a lot on the subject. This year I want to put it into practice. Although this will take some adjustments in my mindset it will be well worth it.

Positive: Staying positive has been something that I have had a trouble with in the past and the small steps I have taken to be more positive have had a profound effect. A few years back I came up with a plan that would forever alter how I start my work week: 52 Mondays. By making Monday an awesome day, the rest of the week is awesome. I am going to build on that to become more positive not only in the work life, but most importantly at home as well.

There you have it, my 3 words for 2014.

Have 3 words for 2014? Share them below.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Take the time to change a life today

Change a life...Now!

Today is a great day to take the time to change a life. Each day I have challenged myself to try to go out of my way at least 3 times to change a life. Usually I have this accomplished by noon, but some days are harder than others. More than 3, sure keep them coming.

The key is to go out of your way to help someone out. It can be something as small as opening a door or something complicated like helping to solve a business problem. Doesn't matter if it is big or small it is truly rewarding to help someone out.

Great thing about changing someone else's life is that it changes yours as well. 

Give it a try, you'll be glad you did. Change a life today...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Flexibility, Honda Canada and Twitter

A few weeks back I had to take my Honda in for an oil change. I like to take my car to the dealership to get this done. Lakeshore Honda has a fast lube, quick lube or whatever they call it. Anyway I know what you're thinking 'dealership for an oil change'? Yeah, so what I like them, it costs a little more but I feel better about it. I once had a really bad experience with a quick lube type place, dude "forgot" to tighten the nut on the oil pan. Needless to say I had no oil a few days later.

So back to this story, when they were checking my car it turned out that my battery was shot. Yep a 3 year old battery done, kaput, needed replacing. The kind gentleman who runs the joint informed me of my misfourtune and gave me a price. I hummed and hawed about it and decided to get it changed. It then occurred to me check my warranty. It stated that between year 2 and 3 Honda covers 50% of the battery cost. Cool, I don't think I have had this car for more 3 years.

I had the guy check my warranty and guess what? Yep, I was TWO DAYS passed the 3 year mark. I said, dude come on 2 days. He said his hands were tied but I could check with service advisor at the dealership.

I walked over to the dealership and spoke with the guy there, great guy by the way, and he said... you guessed it... nothing he could do, but he gave me a number to call at Honda Customer Service. I did mention that I have leased through Honda for 8 years, didn't matter. To paraphrase, he had no flexibility on warranty issues, company policy. 2 DAYS! $50. Wow.

As you can imagine I'm pissed. Not about the $50, but about the lack of flexibility on the 2 days. I decided to tweet to see if that would help:

I then called Honda and got routed to some guy in warranty, who was not really very nice, and told me that I was talking to the wrong guy and that there was zero flexibility with warranty issues. He went on about how if they did something for me they would have do it for others etc blah, blah etc. I don't care about that, I care about me and my 2 days. 2 days is not 2 months. A $50 battery is not a $5000 transmission.

I finally ended speaking the guy who I was supposed to and he was very abrupt and not really very compassionate to my plight. In the end he did offer a $50 cheque for my troubles, but did say he was doing me a favour (or something along those lines). I was satisfied, not happy, but satisfied.

My issue was with the process and my awful customer experience. How could a company that I have paid lots and lots of money to for over 8 years, one that I was really, really considering for my next vehicle, care so little?

What next? I did what any good consumer in 2013 would do, I Tweeted again about the my absolutely awful customer experience and how it was handled:

I guess they were monitoring Twitter, because within 10 minutes I received a message to call them back as they had reviewed my situation. I was shocked and called right away. The rep mentioned that he saw my Tweet and that I wasn't too happy with him.  I explained that it wasn't just him it was the whole experience. Well, they had decided to refund me the entire cost of the battery plus installation. Wow! That was awesome. I was very impressed:

This all could've been avoided had they been just a little flexible, give me my $50 warranty for the battery and I leave the dealership happy. But by treating every situation the same and not trusting their employees (at the dealership) to do the right thing, they ended up having to cover their assess and make it up to a long term customer.

At least they saved the situation, and I am once strongly considering Honda for next vehicle.

Is your company flexible? Do you give your employees the abilty to make decisions? A consumer shouldn't have to make things public on Twitter before they get satisifaction.

Well there is my long winded stroy about how Twitter helped me get results and helped Honda keep a customer.

And by the way the cheque that was going to take 4- 6 weeks to arrive, came yesterday.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

My 3 words for 2013

3 words

After reading another fine post from Chris Brogan, who by the way is bringing it post after post these 
days (http://www.chrisbrogan.com/blog/), I decided to write my first ever 3 words for a new year.

Here they are:

Nature: get outside and explore. Ride bikes, camp, go to the beach, boat, surf, snowboard. Touch Goats.

Enjoy: have fun in the moment, stop worrying about what hasn't happened (and probably won't happen anyway).

Completion: follow through on ideas and projects. Complete, execute and then dominate.

I am making 2013 awesome and so should you.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Succumbing to the Hype! (or why I paid $76 bucks for a 6 pack)

This past Friday morning (Dec. 14) something interesting happened. I was sitting at my desk starting my day and then my boss came in and asked if I had heard about the limited release of a super rare Belgian beer. Some call this the world's best beer. I hadn't heard anything about it at all. However, being a person who enjoys the odd beer or two I was intrigued. I quickly looked it up and WOW! people were going crazy for this beer. At this point my boss told me I had to go and put my name on the list at the LCBO to get some. So I did.

 A few hours passed and I walked over to the LCBO again, gave them my yellow post it note, with the store info stamped on it. After a couple minutes a gentleman came out with the beer, in a glorious special six pack box, that included 2 cool glasses and asked for my ID and a signature. Just like that I was the proud owner of a Six pack of Westvleteren XII.

So did I really need this beer? No. Do I really like this type of beer? Maybe a bit. Do I usually spend $76.85 on a 6 pack? HELL NO! 

So why did I buy it then? What happened was that I had succumbed to the hype. Yep. Once I found out how rare this opportunity was, I really, really wanted to have it. As I walked to the store to put my name I was praying that there would still some available. When I got back to the office all I thought of was getting my six pack. The hype got me. It swept me up.

It felt pretty cool to get this rare beer and It's been a lot of fun to talk about it. Most of all I can't wait to drink it with family on Christmas day.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Stepping out of the "Comfort Zone"

The "Comfort Zone"

Yeah, I know there has been lots written about the importance of stepping out of your comfort zone. I have read lots on the subject and although I have to agree for the most part, I haven't really put a lot of stock in it. This changed for me last week. While attending an event for work, I was asked to put on kilt and do a dance with 3 other guys in front of an audience of about 150 people. Um, let me see... NO!!!!! There was no way I was going to do this.  I like to stay in my "Comfort Zone" for the most part and this was so far removed from the norm for me.

Stepping Out- Literally

After much complaining and the amazing persistence of our 25 year old event coordinator (who by way did an amazing job!) we decided to reluctantly go ahead with the dance. The kilts and socks were ordered and it was almost show time. One problem, I had never seen the dance and had no idea what I was doing. Not to worry, we had a 5 minute run through before the event...Oh my God! Why! Putting the kilt on, I started to think that this may not be so bad after all. It felt really cool wearing the kilt. How bad could this be?

Me in a Kilt
Me in a kilt

Show Time

As we skipped into the hall, yep I said Skipped, I had a big smile on my face. This was fun, really fun. Wow. It was such an amazing feeling. I got up there and danced (badly) for about 30 seconds and then skipped back off stage. We really sucked, but it was good laugh for the folks in attendance. Something happened to me by doing this, I felt so great after the dance. 

The Result

I couldn't help but think how many times in my life I said no and didn't do something that didn't feel right. My only thinking was that I must have missed out on a lot fun, not to mention business opportunities, over the years due to my reluctance. I always talk of changing lives and life changing events and this was definitely one for me. From now on I vow to step out of my "Zone" and take some small steps to do something that doesn't feel right. 

Are you often confined to your "Zone" and afraid of what may happen if you venture out of it? Step out, who knows you it may change your life.

Thanks to Maddy for making me do this!

Here for your viewing pleasure, the exclusive video footage: Enjoy

Monday, July 9, 2012

Exceptional Customer Service Story - Lowe's Etobicoke

My wife and I decided to paint our garage this summer. It's old and is looking really bad. The first step however, is to replace some of the old boards that have rotted. I was at the lumber store  (Lakeshore Lumber, great local store) picking some other wood that I needed and I asked about the 6 inch wood siding that I needed for the garage. They only stocked 8 inch and the Lumber Guy mentioned that it would be hard find the 6 inch and he didn't even know where to suggest we try to find it.

When I got back to the house, my wife decided to check online to see if Lowes or Home Depot offered the 6 inch siding. She found both their web sites were not bringing very good results from her searches, so she decided to call. Something I would have never done, I would have driven around looking for the stuff!

She called Lowe's in Etobicoke first. When she called she was transferred to Daniel. Daniel mentioned that they didn't have the item in stock, but he could order it, but in minimum of 1000 ft. We only needed 160 ft, so that wouldn't work. What he did next really surprised me. He said he would try to source out other locations in the GTA to see if they had it and would call back. Yeah sure, I won't hold my breath.

About 1/2 hour or so later the phone rang and it was Daniel (he called back?). Daniel had found what we needed at Rona. Rona? Seriously? Wow Daniel actually called local competitors, found the wood we needed and called us back. Amazing customer service!

Daniel went way above and beyond what I would expect and he even went as far as going to a competitor and letting us know. Incredible. Lowe's didn't make any money off of us this past weekend, but they have definitely gained a new customer as a result of this Customer Service.

Daniel I hope Lowe's Etobicoke knows how lucky they are to have an employee like you. Thanks so much.

Would you go this far to help a potential or current customer? 
Have you ever done anything similar?
What are you doing to change your customer's live's?