Tag Archives: Mystery Shop

Toronto Zoo is the Habitat for Everyone

For many years, I’ve been a big fan of what is considered a crown jewel of the GTA…The Toronto Zoo.

The Zoo is a place that I never get tired of visiting, over and over again. Every time I go there, whether for the arrival of a new baby animal, the beautiful scenery, or to just walk, jog, or hike around, there’s always something new and interesting going on. 

Aside from just visiting with the family, the zoo also has a number of education and camp programs, which include: school visits, zoo camps, youth badge programs, adult programs, and overnight stays. Whether it’s the Critter Cruisers for toddlers aged 2 to 4, the EnviroRangers program for ages 4 to 14, or the adult Zoo Membership program, there truly is something for everyone and every age group.

An exciting and upcoming event this weekend is International Migratory Bird Day, when The Toronto Zoo, in collaboration with Parks Canada, will be helping visitors learn to identify local birds as well as provide short guided bird walks. As for the rest of this month, you can look forward to World Turtle Weekend, the Walk to Make Cystic Fibrosis History Day, and the Raise Your Glass For Rhinos event.

While the zoo is an amazing place to visit at any time of year, one tip that I have for you is to consider going during either the early spring or the fall. At these times of year the weather is neither too hot nor too cold and the animals are generally more active.

Toronto Zoo
2000 Meadowvale Road
Toronto, ON M1B 5K7
(416) 392-5929
torontozoo.com

 

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Top 5 Things to Do on Mother’s Day

Every once in a while, people ask us for recommendations on places to go and things to do, both in Toronto and around the world. To answer these requests, we’ve decided to change things up a bit, and while SQM Picks normally highlights a specific business or an organization, from time to time we will be sharing some of our “Top Lists.” On that note, with Mother’s Day right around the corner, we present to you the Top 5 Things to Do on Mother’s Day:

1. Visit a Spa and Hair Salon
Show your appreciation for your mother’s hard work and dedication by taking her out to a spa and/or hair salon. She will love being pampered and appreciate the much-needed respite.

2. Take a Shopping Trip
Will the weather not be up to par on Mother’s Day? Taking a trip to another city to go shopping may just brighten up the day. You can even get 50% off your bus ticket when you become an SQM Representative!

3. Eat a Healthy Brunch
Explore your city for a restaurant with a healthy menu, and then take your mother out to brunch there! She will love your consideration for her health, and be pleasantly surprised by how healthy food can be delicious at the same time.

4. Visit an Art Museum
Toronto has numerous cultural institutes that warrant a visit. Which special exhibitions or permanent collections would interest your mother? From the Bata Shoe Museum to the Art Gallery on Ontario, there is something for everyone. Don’t forget to keep a lookout for Mother’s Day specials.

5. Plant Some Flowers
Give your mother some flowers that will last more than a couple of weeks in a vase. Purchase some flowers and basic garden tools to get started on this activity. Whether you plant a garden full of flowers for or with your mother, it will show how much your love for her grows and grows.

 

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LED Bulbs are a Bright Idea

Normally, I would highlight a business or an organization, however this week, something has been on my mind, as I’ve been debating about the usage of LED bulbs.

While some people say that LED bulbs help them save money, others say the opposite. Most people say that the bulbs save the most energy and last longer if they are of good quality, however, the biggest challenge to their acceptance may be that they are expensive.

That said, there are occasionally significant savings on the bulbs, by keeping an eye out for sales and online coupons. By applying this method, a $15.00 to $20.00 LED bulb could become only $5.00 to $7.00, which makes it easier to justify the purchase.

One thing to keep in mind is that you may run into an issue with the dimmer switches, which must be compatible with the new bulbs.  I’m told that some dimmers can cost up to $100.00, so you have to keep this in mind when considering a changeover.

Recently, when one of my friends built a new house, it was twice the size of their old one, but they have insisted that they are paying the same electricity bill as the old house, mainly because of the new LED bulbs.   

The debate continues, but I am nonetheless very happy with my LED bulbs. They save on energy, can be purchased at a significant discount, and have the bonus of helping the environment.  In the end, whether you are converting one room at a time or all the rooms at once, LED bulbs seem like a bright idea.

Toronto Hydro Corporation
500 Commissioners Street
Toronto, ON M4M 1B4
(416) 542-8000
torontohydro.com

 

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Best Buy Is Plugged Into Customer Service

A few months ago, I went into Best Buy because my daughter needed an iPad keyboard case.  Since there was a case on sale and it was a brand name that we had trusted over the years, we bought it immediately.  A couple of weeks later, however, the case had a crack in the corner, so we had to return to the store for a replacement.

During the second visit, my daughter chose a case of the same brand as last time, but decided on a different colour.  Apparently, this colour case was not on sale and was approximately $30.00 more without then discounted model.   When we were doing the exchange, I informed the employee about what had happened to the last case, and she immediately obtained approval from a supervisor to provide the added courtesy of allowing my daughter to choose the different coloured replacement at no additional cost.  When my daughter and I left the store, it was with a smile on both of our faces.

Our smiles turned into frowns when a few weeks later, the case had yet another crack.  Perhaps it was due to a manufacturing issue, as the crack was in the same location as the last one.  By this time, my daughter was very upset and annoyed with the brand (note to brands…even 10 year olds have a say in certain purchase decisions).

When we went back to Best Buy once more, we picked out a new case, made by a different company.  Although this case was now $10.00 more than the previous case, we reasoned that it would be worth it if it worked properly.  At the service desk, I again explained why we were back at the store, and that this is now the third time in less than a month that we were having issues with the original product / brand. Immediately, the employee apologized for what had happened and did an exchange for us, again obtaining management’s approval to exchange the product at no additional cost to us.  Once again, when we left the store (a third time), my daughter was happy with her new case, and I was happy with not having to pay again and again for an item.

The Best Buy employees that we encountered were efficient, pleasant, and knowledgeable and clearly attempted to put the customer first.  With the increase of online retailers, sales and electronic stores like Best Buy have taken a hit, however, based on my recent experiences with the store’s excellent customer service, I would suggest that there are still numerous benefits to doing business with such a company.

Whether it is the chance to actually experience the product before you buy it, the company’s willingness to price match, and perhaps most importantly, demonstrated commitment to putting the customer first, I believe the company is heading in the right direction.

Best Buy certainly seems to be plugged into customer service….well done!

Best Buy Canada
1-866-237-8289
bestbuy.ca

 

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Union Lighting & Furnishings Brighten My Day

When my wife and I bought our house, several years ago, it was in great shape, but required some updates to the decor.  Since one of the areas we wanted to update was the lighting fixtures, a friend suggested we visit Union Lighting & Furnishings. When we arrived at the location, we were met with a huge showroom that had lights for every price and every style.  We were able to find just about everything that we needed, fairly quickly, with the help of knowledgeable employees.  Ever since then, we have always gone back to the store for any of our lighting needs.

Recently, we decided to make the move to LED bulbs, and switch over all of our pot lights…over 40 bulbs!  Since the bulbs were on sale, and I had government coupons for $5.00 off (to a maximum of five bulbs_), I went straight to Union Lighting & Furnishings.  However, I soon discovered that because I needed 50 bulbs, in order get the government discount, I would have to visit the store again and again.  I was confused as to why the government wanted to promote the purchase LED bulbs, yet only limit them to 5 at a time….but that’s a discussion for another time.

Union Lighting & Furnishings, however, were the light at the end of the tunnel.  They honoured the discount for all the bulbs in one visit, and assured me that they would take care of the accounting and added work on their end.  On top of that, it turned out that the sale was only held for the previous generation of LED bulbs, and not the new ones that I had been informed about by an employee, but Union Lighting & Furnishings honoured that as well.

From my first visit to the store over eight years ago, I have been amazed by the company’s commitment to excellent customer service.  Whether it’s their product knowledge, the availability of a large selection of styles and models, or the way that employees go above and beyond to guarantee the satisfaction of their customers, Union Lighting & Furnishings truly brightens my day!  I highly recommend giving them a visit for all of your lighting needs.  You won’t be kept in the dark 🙂

Union Lighting & Furnishings
1491 Castlefield Avenue
York, ON M6M 1Y3
416-652-2200
unionlightingandfurnishings.com

 

 

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Putting the Fun Back in Customer Service

A few weeks ago, I read an interesting article about how bricks and mortar retail stores in North America have been losing the battle against online retailers. In the Information Age, online retailers have the edge of easy browsing, fast and free shipping, and customer reviews – all from the comfort of one’s own home.

If traditional retailers are going to be successful, they must step up their game and think outside the box, so as to not lose their customers. It’s been suggested that one of the ways that retailers could do so is to make visiting the stores more fun. People truly want to go out and have a memorable experience, and at the same time, companies need to improve customer loyalty and retention. For example, Chapters / Indigo has cozy seats for customers who love to read, while some grocery stores have cooking demonstrations to entice customers shopping for food and kitchen products, and a few clothing stores and restaurants invite local bands to play music for the customers.

Given the fact that bricks and mortar retail stores in North America are losing customers and online retailers are becoming more effective and prominent, bricks and mortar retailers have to learn to entertain and bring more fun into the experiences they are delivering. I encourage everyone to look out for the fun retailers… they are the ones whose employees seem the most passionate, provide great customer service, and make it worth a trip outside of the house.

 

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Sunnybrook Hospital Shows Its Sunny-Side of Customer Service

A few months ago, I wrote a blog for North York General Hospital, praising how wonderfully its employees treat patients. Today, I would like to offer the same praise to Sunnybrook Hospital.

A couple of months ago, my father got into a bad car accident. He is an older gentleman, and I was somewhat concerned about the interaction between the EMS workers and himself would be handled, as he was very upset and more worries about picking up his sister (who was waiting for him) than his own well being. Thankfully, his injuries were not serious, but given his age, he was quickly taken to the hospital for precautionary purposes.

Upon arrival he was quickly registered, to see a doctor despite it being a busy Friday evening. When it was my father’s turn to be checked out, the doctor was cool, calm, and organized. He took my father in for an examination, which was followed b some x-rays. While we waited for the x-rays, the doctor came into the waiting area to check up on us, and see how my father was handling the wait. A short time later, after by father complained about a noise in his ears, he was immediately reexamined. Again, the doctor who took a look at my father remained calm, pleasant, and perhaps most importantly…patient throughout the entire process, as he understood that my father was shook up by the car accident.

In addition to the EMS workers and doctors, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the outstanding team of nurses who work in Sunnybrook’s Emergency Department. While the Department was not as busy and chaotic as on a show such as ER, the staff are certainly busy and running around while always clearly being concerned and focussed on the well being of all patients. Whether it was a few words of encouragement for my dad, finding a chair for my aunt, putting a bandage on my dad’s arm, or assisting the needs of other patients, these nurses are quite pleasant, friendly, and clearly very caring.

Whether it’s the EMS teams who transport patients to the facility, the nurses who do a lot of the care work, or the doctors who must deal with older patients, Sunnybrook Hospital shows its sunny-side of customer service by treating each patient as an individual and treating each patient very well.

Sunnybrook Hospital
2075 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, ON M4N 3M5
416-480-6100

 

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