Posts tagged customer service

Safe Harbor…

In 2017, I lost my mom.  The person who gave me the most encouragement, the person who drove me crazy without even trying, the one who I could debate, discuss and debrief with at any time of the day; in an instant, she was gone.

A friend of mine attended the funeral service, as she had for my dad ten years earlier.  Seeing her at the back of the church that day, I was a bit surprised as she had attended the wake the night before – I know how busy she always is so to come again the next day, I was surprised.

A few weeks after that, I received a call from my friend.  She was curious about how I was doing, what I was up to and if I needed anything.  She also asked me if I would be interested in helping her with projects at the workplace.  It was something I was always interested in and she knew that I brought a special set of skills to the projects I ran – it was something she wanted to incorporate with her team.

And so began the first steps for a new company, what would become Lighthouse Creative Management.  The lighthouse is a special symbol, connecting me back to my grandmother’s roots – the lighthouse at Europa Point at the southern tip on the Rock of Gibraltar.   A symbol of hope and strength, the lighthouse stands to remind sailors that even in the worst of storms, the lighthouse provides a safe harbor; a place where you can dock, refresh and reset, figuring out what is needed to go back out and sail on to their purpose.

Lighthouse Creative Management is poised to make a difference, an impact and be a light to guide coaches, entrepreneurs and professionals to higher levels for their businesses, their missions and themselves.

To find out more about what Lighthouse Creative Management can do, please visit our site


Shaking Your Head – When Social Media Starts Off Wrong

We Americans of a certain age can live by this!

We Americans of a certain age can live by this!


After taking countless seminars, classes and webinars, reading e-book after e-book, and forum after forum on the subject of Social Media, it amazes me (oh well, maybe it really doesn’t AMAZE me) that people attempt to handle their business accounts the way they handle their personal Facebook pages and Twitter accounts.

I met with a client today that wants to delve into the world of Social Media but is not “up” on alot of the in’s and out’s of its use. While 2013 brings about a change from worrying about “like” and “followers”, the real engagement is to offer the clients something to make them come back for more. In this instance, with this particular client, media and its ability to enhance his business is scoffed at – an old traditional place doesn’t need to get into all this “new stuff” but then he wants to make a splash on a Facebook page.

So we start out simply – he shows me a picture and says it received over 4,000 views – my answer, “what did it bring into the business?” His response, “I don’t know”. My next question is why did you post the picture which illicted the response, “These pasteries everyone loves! Look at the number of views!” But this business does not offer these desserts as a take home item, or a take out item, nor does it ship locally or nationally. So again I think, “Why?”

I ask if the picture is “tagged” …. “alternate text”…. “optimized so Search Engines can find it” and I am met with, “Why do I need to do all that? I don’t know what any of that is and what is it going to help?” So I, in turn say, “4,000 becomes 40,000 but again, what do you do with 40,000 views if the people can’t get to taste them?”

That comment didn’t go over well – shipping is not something they are going to do; they are a local restaurant and only have a limited amount of the product. The owner received many “comments” regarding this picture but doesn’t have the time to respond to any of them so he instead wants to just sit back and say “I got over 4,000 views”.

This is what not to do with Social Media.

Want to see how many people want to be your “friend” or “follow” you as you post a 140 character synopsis of what you do each moment, fine…. Facebook and Twitter are for you and YOUR PERSONAL ACCOUNT! Watch those numbers climb because, in all seriousness, they are just that, numbers – no one is buying from you, using your services, hawking your wares – nothing, nada! But for your business, well, that is a different story.

Want to post a picture? Make it relevant to the product or service you are trying to sell on whatever Social Media outlet you are using. Make sure it is tagged right, optimized correctly, hey, let’s even through this one in – use a CLEAR picture!! Then offer the people that are viewing something tangible – easy reservations, “We’ll save one just for you!” promotions, whatever will get them into the door of your local eatery or shop. Just as in life, don’t play the “tease” – there must be follow-up, follow through and something significant in the end.

Please keep posted to my blog as I chronicle the Social Media program I watch this business go through – what works, what doesn’t as my friend in his business does what he always does – wears way too many hats and becomes a master of letting things fall by the wayside. One day, maybe, he will actually hear me and let someone who knows a bit about Social Media handle his business’ Marketing and actually see a difference in the bottom line!

Bang Head Here!

See if this works!

See if this works!

I think that this picture says it all.

Over the last 20 years, we have built a strong business presence – following all the marketing, business and promotion advice given to use especially from the Balloon Industry but also every seminar, workshop, class, roundtable and more.

“Be professional” – “Uniforms for employees” – “Procedures, Guidelines and Protocols”
“Write everything down” – “Everything in writing” – “Accountability” – “Transparency”

Blah, blah, blah!!!

Well it appears that we were one of the few companies that listened.

Our employees are consistently mistaken for staff at whatever venue we are in as they all have embroidered uniform shirts, black pants and sneakers. Aprons with our logo, paperwork for each detail of an installation, storage bins to carry equipment, toolboxes, and a vehicle that looks good when we pull up to a site. We have in place procedures for bouquet deliveries, decor installation and breakdowns. We have guidelines in place for alternatives to “regular” deliveries – something goes wrong, we have a quick fix or someone to speak to to get a change accomplished.

And yet, this week, we are once again sabotaged by those who have nothing to do with our company or the deliveries we go on.

A doorman or two think taking the enclosure card off a bouquet is the thing to do after they deliver the balloons to our recipient. Here’s my problem with that – on two levels: one, do they even look at the inside of a folded card to see that there is a sentiment written to go along with the balloon bouquet?? Our national partner can’t imagine how this happens and we end up paying for it in the end – we can say that the card is on the piece, we can take pictures of the card on the piece, we can even take a picture with the doorman smiling in it, holding the balloons while showing the card and it still doesn’t prove the card was attached when it got to the recipient – which brings out the second level here – my employees don’t get to the recipient, they don’t get the tip that the doormen pocket and that is really not fair. On top of which, our company gets fined because the customer states the card was not present – naturally, it has to be our omission – no one else on this supply chain could possibly be responsible.

Yeah, right!

We have had pieces that were left in mail rooms, perfectly arranged when we leave, yet get to the customer with broken even missing balloons. Who pays for that? We do.

For further sabotaging this week, my partner and I have both been chewed out on the phone for missing deliveries of balloons. We immediately check our database, all paperwork including credit card charge reports. Customers calling have been irate – stating that we have “no right to charge for something we had no intention of showing up with” and “I’ll sue you for screwing up my order”.

As I always say, you would think we delivered kidneys! People get very irate over balloons, more so than you would ever think. That warm fuzzy feeling you get when you see a balloon dissipates quickly when you have paid for something and not received what you think you were getting.

The really funny part of this venting blog is this – following our procedures, we ask the customer for their name and order number. After they give us a name, the usual response is then, “I don’t have an order number”. Then we ask the $50,000 question, “Did you receive a confirmation with the order number when you placed the order?” The response? “No.” Every …… single ……. time!!!!

Our orders are processed and regardless of the form of payment you choose to use, we issue you a contract/order number for every single order placed. No ifs, no ands, and no buts. We state this to the irate customer who suddenly says, “Wait isn’t this XYZ Balloons?” To which we answer, “No – you are calling the NY Balloon & Basket Company.”

“Aren’t you located in Somewhere, NY?”

“No, we are located in Coney Island, Brooklyn.”

Here’s how the rest of the conversation usually goes:
“Oh my god – I can’t believe it! I called the wrong company! Are you sure this is not XYZ Balloons? I’m so sorry! What should I so now?”

We usually tell the customer to find out what company they did use, call them and complain and if that doesn’t work, we remind them that they did use a credit card and the credit card companies will gladly put a stop on the charge.

But here’s what I want to say to all my Balloon Industry Colleagues out there in Heliumville –


You make the rest of us look bad. But here’s the biggest irony of all – you keep right on doing what you do, XYZ Balloon company because one good thing comes from your horrible customer service, irresponsibility, and lack of value for the clients you had –

The last thing those irate customers usually say before they hang up is, “Thank you so much – I will keep your company’s number for the next time I need balloons – I’m sorry I was so mad – Thank you again!”

That’s the one thing my partner, my staff and I absolutely love – YOUR customers become OURS!!!

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