Thursday, July 31, 2008

          Swannanoa River, east Asheville.

Redneck Hummingbird

We just put a hummingbird feeder right outside our sunroom windows. 
We did have the traditional bird feeder hanging there for about 2 months with no visitors. Maybe I bought the wrong kind of bird seed? Didn't think that was possible but something is amiss. Anyway, the hummingbirds seem quite appreciative. Especially our redneck hummingbird. I have learned that he is actually a Ruby-throated hummingbird. Very territorial. He sits in the maple tree watching for any invaders to the feeder. When there is a breach of security around the feeder, he dive bombs the invader. Very effective. He is also quite the piggy. Sucks that nectar down like its a Pisgah Pale Ale.
JJ Big Paws has yet to witness our new little friends but when he does I'm sure he'll greet them with that weird eee-eeing sound he makes when trying to communicate with other inferior species.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Good and Bad of Customer Service

Within 1 week we have experienced both exceptional customer service and the kind of service that makes you feel unappreciated and pretty much used.

I have worked in the customer service industry for over 20 years and have received some pretty extensive training. I know great customer service when I see it. It is a pet peeve of mine. It takes so little to provide great customer service and the benefits to a business can be huge.

Last week we had our front yard landscaped by a very well known company here in town. Long story short, it took 1 email to get a response back on how to pay them and it took 2 emails and 2 phone calls to get someone to tell us when we were scheduled. The designer never came out to check the plants or handle the placement of the plants as originally discussed. I had to check the plants to make sure I got what was listed on the original design. One of the plants was substituted with a smaller size plant from Lowes (it still had the tag). No one mentioned it and I had to bring it up to the foreman. I wonder what they will charge me for. The landscape is now completed and I have not yet been contacted by the company to see if everything went ok, how are the plants, etc.

Also last week, John and I attended an Asheville Tourist game on Friday night. We previously purchased a “flex pack” which are basically vouchers which we turn in for seats at any game we wish to see. Seems there was a mix up when they gave us our seats for the game as those seats had already been sold. They not only handled the problem immediately, they gave us seats in the dugout suites section. This entitled us to all you can eat and drink and the seats are located on the field behind the batter’s box. We were blown away.

There you have it. Not only did the Tourists go above and beyond to make sure their customers were satisfied, but they have empowered their employees to make decisions that exceed expectations.

The nursery/landscaping company on the other hand paid little attention to their customer once they secured the job. By not following up shows that they have little interest in their customer’s satisfaction. Needless to say, I won’t be doing business with them and how many people will ask me about my landscaping? How many potential customers have they lost? Who knows, but if they only would have made a couple different decisions, they would have kept 1 customer and maybe gained many more.

  • Followup on emails/phone calls
  • Follow through on what you promise
  • Solicit feedback from your customers so that you can improve and identify what works and doesn’t work. 
  • Determine your cost for providing exceptional customer service. The Tourists obviously believed that our business and loyalty was worth more in the long run than giving away those 2 dugout suite seats.  

Guess I’ll be going to more baseball games than I will be buying plants.

Monday, July 7, 2008

And Then There Were 2

You can also see this blog on has not only this blog but tons of information on Asheville, NC. The best music venues, coffee shops and restaurants. Plus all the quirky things that make Asheville such a cool place!