Customer Service Matters

I have recently had an experience that really reminded me just how much our interactions with each other truly matter, especially in business.

We have dogs. Two of them currently. We have always had dogs. Growing up Ely and I both had dogs but when we each moved out on our own we lived places where we could not have them. But in 1995 we moved in together and by October 1996 we had our first dog and have had anywhere from 2 – 4 in the house continuously ever since, with the occasional doggy sleepover increasing the in house number as high as 5 or 6.

Our dogs (pets in general) are family to us. They live inside the house, they sleep in our beds, we talk with them (yes, with, they answer us very clearly…), they comfort us and love us unconditionally and we feel exactly the same about them.

So last week during a “routine exam” when we got a diagnosis that means appointments with Veterinarian Cardiology Specialists we were not happy and not a little bit scared for our two boys. On the outside they seem fine but on the inside they have heart things happening that can be very dangerous for them.

Our “primary” vet recommended a place to us. The pet nurses mentioned a different place and a Google search turned up a few more in our area. (*Side note…it is amazing to me just how many of these specialists there are, and sad that they are needed enough to keep them all busy)

So the phone calls started. Checking processes. Checking pricing. Just…checking in general.

I will say everyone I talked to was friendly. They all calmly answered my many many questions. Of course some better than others. But in general they were all helpful.

I also discovered that they all pretty much have the same process and preferred tests or procedures to get you started. They also all have very similar pricing. Well, as similar as can be expected. Some were more, some were less but they all fit within the same range of amounts for the same initial consult and tests.

But…one stood out. It wasn't their prices. It wasn't their hours. It wasn't their location.

It was the girl (woman…) who answers their phone.

There is just something about her that stands out above the others. She is very nice. She sounds like she really likes her job. She sounds like someone that I would like as a person. She is also very knowledgeable. She has known the answer to every question I have asked accept for one.

That one question she didn't know the answer to came up fairly early in our interactions so I did not “know” her very well yet. She let me know that she did not know the answer and would need to check and call me back. I, of course, (based on customer service experience with completely unrelated businesses) was skeptical as to if I would get that return call.

Within 30 minutes she called back and had the full, detailed answer to my question! I know, right?!?

By my second call she was starting to recognize me. πŸ™‚

I would call and ask a question and she would say “You have…Mer…?” trying to recall their names. She knew who I was, she just didn't quite have the names yet. I was very impressed to say the least.

The initial calls happened on Thursday and Friday. Of all the places I called (about 7), some more than once, her office is the second farthest away. They were also not the least expensive, not the most, but definitely not the least.

However when Monday rolled around they were the ones I called to make the appointments with. And you know what….? She knew the names that time. πŸ˜‰

They were closed all weekend. She had probably talked to dozens of people since she had talked with me last. Plus she has her own life things I am sure. But, when I called in and said “I need to make an initial appointment.” she answered with “For Dante' and Merrick?”

She verified (i.e. repeated back to me) what I had told her about them the previous week. She asked me more questions about their history and she made me feel that she actually listened to my answers. I could hear her typing the whole time. And I was confident it was about us and not multi-tasking doing something else only half listening.

She expressed concern over them. She expressed interest in their lives. And she was very friendly without being “chatty” or fake happy.

Then today I called back. (Thursday, 4 days later)

I asked a question about if the tests are done during the initial appointment or later. I never said my name. I never said I was calling about two dogs and I never said their names. But her response…

“Yes when Dante' and Merrick come in for their appointment the Vet will do an exam and then do the Echo-cardiograms right there during that visit.”

And that was it. That cemented them. As long as the Vet isn't a total horror (which I HIGHLY doubt) we are not going anywhere else for this issue…EVER.

I don't even know her name! But she is my very favorite vet office person this month. She makes me feel heard. She makes me feel that our boys are important to her. She makes me feel secure in my choice to bring them to the office where she works.

I will certainly be posting online reviews (I will be going out of my way to find places to post them) praising her specifically and making sure the office knows what a treasure they have in her (once I learn her name…).

Customer service, how you interact with people and specifically how your “front line” people interact with others will absolutely make or break your business. And this woman is a shining example of how to do it exactly right!

And since i know you are wondering. Here is the information about the office, just in case you know someone in the Portland Area who needs it.


15800 SW Upper Boones Ferry Rd #300, Lake Oswego, OR 97035
http://heartoregon.com
(971) 727-3059


Memory Lane: A Grandma Sandwich

Memory Lane: Grandma Sandwich
Today Morgan came in the kitchen (My office) to make lunch. She said “I am having a Grandma Sandwich for lunch”. I looked at her and said “A what?” and she explained.

It made perfect sense.

You see the picture on this post is my Grandma and Morgan. Every time you went to visit Grandma she tried to feed you (like most Grandmas πŸ™‚ ). And if she convinced you that you needed a sandwich it was always made the same way.

Wonderful soft white bread (Wonder I think), mayo, cheese, ham and lettuce. Cut in half across, not diagonal.

And…it was the best sandwich you had ever had each and every time.

Well Morgan decided a while back apparently that the missing ingredient in her sandwiches was the lettuce. And sure enough she added it and it was wonderful.

Of course not perfect because it was not made by her Great Grandma, but much better none the less.

As she told me about her “Grandma Sandwich” I realized that I have the same memories.

Sitting at Grandma's little kitchen table with my ham sandwich with lettuce with my Grandma while we talked about every thing and anything.

She was a wonderful person. I am brought to tears with happiness that my daughter was able to have her in her childhood as well. I wish all children the joy of a Grandma like mine. I miss her daily and it is extra special that something as simple as a “Grandma Sandwich” allows her to live on in our lives.

Of course today I also had a Grandma Sandwich for lunch. And you know what, my daughter was right (sshh, don't tell her I said that she will never let me live it down… πŸ™‚ ). It was a pretty great sandwich. The only difference was the lettuce. But it also came with wonderful memories. So my ham sandwich is now a Grandma Sandwich and comes with a side of love and memories with each and every bite.

I do believe there may be a new tradition in our family. The tradition of the Grandma Sandwich. Which means Grandma Mitchell will live on in one more way (there are already a lot…did I mention how great she was?) for many generations to come.

Funny how the simplest things can bring back a flood of memories. Something as simple as a basic ham sandwich can remind you of your childhood and one of the best people in it.

I would love to hear YOUR stories about the simple things in your life that remind you of your childhood. Please share…

You Can Block Facebook Game Invites….

Did you know YOU can stop getting game invites? Yep…YOU have to power to stop Facebook from sending you game invites. From anyone… I will show you exactly how!

Stop-Facebook-Game-InvitesSo…let's talk about Facebook Game invites.

People who play games on Facebook LOVE them (the games). They play the games a lot.

People who do not play the games on Facebook HATE them (the games ;)) Those of us who do not play the games Facebook has to offer sometimes feel like we are fighting a losing battle against the title wave of invites we get asking us to join our game playing friends in the fun.

It can be very frustrating. Many people try to deal with this by posting one of hundreds of photos with various images and word combinations asking (BEGGING) their game playing friends to please, please, PLEASE stop sending them game invites.

I have even seen people unfriend people because of the flood of game invites.

A couple of things to understand:

  1. Sometimes your friends don't know they invited you
  2. Sometimes it was an accident (and honest mistake)
  3. Sometimes the game does it without their knowledge
  4. Sometimes they simply do not know how to turn off that option in the game they are playing.
  5. Very rarely are your friends sending you game invites simply to annoy you…

With that said…

Did you know YOU can stop getting game invites?

Yep…YOU have to power to stop Facebook from sending you game invites. From anyone…

It is a really simple process. Unfortunately it is not a setting and it cannot be done once for any and all future games. However it takes about 2 minutes once a month or so to make it so you are only getting 10-20 a month instead of 10-20 a day.

Hey! At some point better is better than nothing at all…right?

So…check out the video below and see exactly how to stop game invites. I show you exactly how to do it. It is really easy and only takes a few seconds per game. and then you never get another invite from that game, from anyone ever again!

Click the image to play the video

Did that help? I hope so. Believe me I totally understand the frustration. But this is really the only way to make the invites stop (or at least slow down dramatically…)

Hope this was useful. Be sure to post your thoughts below and share this post with any frustrated friends you might have (or run across in the future)

Is There Such A Thing As A Humanist?

So I am probably not a feminist. I am more of a equal job/skill gets equal pay, benefits, etc -ist. Or maybe I am something else… maybe a Humanist.

Feminist-HumanistI saw this post on Facebook today and in it Sarah asked what type of “Feminist” you would be out of the 4 mentioned in the article she was referencing.

First let me say, I did not read the article (sorry Sarah). But since she asked (might be one of those, be careful what you ask for moments) I thought I would share my thoughts. I posted them on the reply to her post, but then I decided it would make a good blog post and…here we are.

I think I am a Humanist.

I don't even know if that is a thing, but if not I am making it a thing (and it is mine so be sure to quote me so I can be famous…k?)

Now you want to know “what in the world is a Humanist?!” Right?

Okay, here goes…

I don't think boys and girls are equal.

….

I know, I know horrible. But hear me out. We are not equal like Apples and Oranges are not equal. Because they are not the same. Therefore…not equal.

However one is also not better or worse than the other. You may like one better than the other. You may completely dislike one and absolutely LOVE the other, but that does not change the fact that the Apples and Oranges themselves are not better or worse than the other.

Just like people (very much so in fact). You may like boys better, you may like girls better. No..not in the like 'em like 'em way, just enjoy them better as people.

But the fact remains that they are not the same.

However…boys and girls should still have the same rights and the same treatment in the public business world.

Not because “MEN AND WOMEN ARE EQUAL!”. But because we are all human. (Thus the Humanist thing…see…I get back around to it eventually πŸ™‚ )

How we are the same is we are both human. Kind of like Apples and Oranges are both fruits.

Squirrel “They say it's the same…but it's not the same…” (inside joke because it's my blog and it makes me giggle)

And all humans should have the same rights. All humans should be treated the same in situations where they can be the same.Β 

For example if I have a skill and a guy has a skill but I do that skill slightly better then I should get the job. If he does the skill slightly better he should get the job. I should not be hired because I am a girl. I should be hired because I am the better person for the job. And/or the guy should not be hired because I am a girl (sorry folks, but that is reality) but because he is the better person for the job.

However no matter who gets the job the pay should be the same (it is the same job after all…)

We should both have the same freedoms. Girls get maternity leave to bond and nurture their newborn. Guys should get the same thing (and the same amount of time). It is not a boy girl thing, it is a human thing.Β 

SquirrelΒ – When I was a kid our horse had a baby early one morning (yes we knew, it was on purpose πŸ™‚ ). And we went to the pasture to see it. When it was time to leave for school my Mom called the school and said I would not be in that day. When they asked why she said because their was a birth in the family. They said Aww Congratulations! and I got an excused absence and hung out at the pasture all way with the new baby πŸ™‚

But I am a girl. I like pretty things, I like doors opened for me, I like to be cherished and loved in a different way than most guys do. Most guys to not want to be “”treated” the same as a girl.

Some do and that is cool also as long as it works in your personal relationships. My best friend is a guy and he told me his favorite flower so I took a bunch of photos of them and added motivational quotes and created a book and sent it to him just because I knew he would like it. The key is everyone is happy and fulfilled in the ways that are important to them.Β 

And…yes I do use the “girl” card to get out of things.Β Β But I do not need a guy to kill bugs for me…a girl is welcome to do it if she would like. The key is…I am not going to and someone needs to…

But the guy in my world is usually the only one with shoes on so…of course it is his job to deal with the bug because it will be gone by the time the girls find shoes (upstairs…).

SquirrelΒ – Before you defend the poor helpless bug 1. Have you ever SEEN an Arizona Cockroach…?! They are as large as hamsters! And 2. for the record most bugs leave our house a alive. They are rescued and placed outside. Which is fine as long as they don't live in the house. πŸ™‚

So I am probably not a feminist. I am more of a equal job/skill gets equal pay, benefits, etc -ist.Β 

Or maybe I am something else… maybe a Humanist.

Is that a thing? I think it should be… so.. it is now a thing πŸ™‚

What about you? Are you a feminist? A Humanist? Something else entirely (it's okay you can make up your own new -ist too) Β 

Women In The Pet Industry Spring 2014 Magazine

Today I was the featured Women In The Pet Industry Network member. In the spring and the fall of each year WIPIN puts out a magazine featuring women and companies that either are pet industry companies or who work closely with the pet industry.

Are you looking for someone who works in the pet industry? Maybe a groomer, a trainer, a pet sitter, or someone else? This magazine is a great resource!

Are you IN the pet industry and want to connect with other who “get it” or are looking for vendors that “get you and your business”? Then you should look through the WIPIN Magazine.

ClickΒ Here To Download Your FREE Copy Of The Spring 2014 Issue Today!

Here is a copy of the article about me that is in the Spring 2014 Issue πŸ™‚
Cindy Clemens

Free Books – 5/31/2014 On Amazon

Here are books in the Historical Romance Category on Amazon.com that are free today, May 31st 2014.

  • Click the yellow buttons to go to Amazon.com and download each of these books.
  • Click the cover image to learn more about the book.

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Homemade Hummus

I LOVE hummus! It is creamy garlicy deliciousness. However I rarely get it because the stuff at the store is so expensive and FULL of preservatives. I have long thought about making my own (have even looked up recipies online) but never stopped to do it.

But today my friend Ken posted a video on Facebook showing him making some from scratch and it looks pretty easy. I thought I would share his video with you and and see what you think?

What do you think? Are you brave enough to make Hummus yourself? Or will you stick to buying it ready-made?

One Year In Portland

Portland In The FallToday is an anniversary. It is the anniversary of the day me and my family officially arrived in Portland. Today one year ago (2012) we signed our lease, pulled the moving truck in front of the Duplex and began unloading.

It was pouring rain (it is Portland after all). πŸ™‚ And we were exhausted from driving 2 cars, one 26 foot moving truck, three people and nine animals 1500+ miles from Phoenix to Portland in 2 days. But the truck had to go back the next morning, which meant it had to be empty.

So we started unloading. We unloaded into the garage and then big stuff got carted to it's room. One bit of fun was the stairs. So half of the items (including desks, dressers and beds had to be hauled up the stairs. And to make it even more fun the stairs have a U-turn in them half way up. (Try getting 6′ book shelves and King sized under drawer beds around a U-turn in a stairwell πŸ™‚ )

But it all didn't matter. Even in the rain it was beautiful. Since we moved in November Portland was right in the middle of Fall. And we are again now.

I grew up in Boise (which had Fall) but after 18 years with minimal Fall colors in Phoenix you think you remember but you really don't. The colors are amazing! Even a year later I can't get over it. Orange, Yellow, Purple, Red, Brown, and every variety and shade in between. Even the rain and fog help with the beauty.

In the spring there are flowers and bursts of color everywhere. Flowers like I have never seen. Even if they were there in Boise (which they probably were) I was was too young and unaware to notice them. But now I see them everywhere I go.

We go hiking (or sometimes more like nature walking) once a week. And there are literally forests right in the middle of the city! You park and walk about 5 minutes down the trail and you are surrounded by trees taller than the tallest buildings and you cannot hear the cars or city sounds and you feel like you are in the middle of a huge forest in the middle of no where.

The vibrant greens still take my breath away a year later. I am amazed daily by the beauty I am surrounded by.

And the people. Most everyone is friendly. We have local kids knocking on our door to fund-raise. I know it sounds silly but we didn't have that in Phoenix and we lived a block from 2 elementary schools. Here I get a couple of kids about once every couple of months.

Also in Phoenix if you left anything outside (items you wanted to get rid of) they would just magically disappear. So you better make sure you wanted to “donate” them to whoever came by and picked it up. Here…people knock on the door and ask if we are wanting something hauled away. πŸ™‚

It can be hard to move to a new place, and when we do it we tend to pick up and move 1500 miles to a place none of us have been, where we don't know anyone. It isn't necessarily on purpose, it has just kind of worked out that way.

But each time it seems to work out. We LOVE it here. I LOVE it here. I can go for a walk and see a random Raccoon (yes…raccoon) run across the street. I can drive 15 minutes from my front door and see the second tallest water fall in the United States (and it has 7 more around it and I have hiked to all of them). I am in a city that has everything you would expect to find in a big city. But I also have forests in the middle of it. And the way everyone here behaves you would think I lived in a small town of 5000 were everyone knows everyone.

People have gardens in their front yards, they understand doggy etiquette, they smile nod and say hello when you walk by them, you can walk into the local coffee shop and run into 3 people you know at any given time of the day on any day of the week and it is breath takingly beautiful 365 days a year.

What's not to love?

I can't wait to see what Year Two brings!