Tag Archives: Service

Picturing the Perfect Customer Service

I discovered Picture Picture about three years ago, when I needed to have several pictures framed. I went in on a weekend and I met a very pleasant, friendly gentleman by the name of Benny. The operation is actually quite a big facility, including hundreds of different frames to choose from. They also have different types of glass and material to use, and on top of that, they can do dry-mounting. Additionally, they also sell ready-to-choose framed items, including anything from landscapes to sports posters, to cityscapes, (including lots of photos and paintings of Toronto), to objects like food or flowers.

While I’ve been in numerous times to have different items framed, a couple of weeks ago I gave Benny and Co. a bit of a challenge. I had a poster that I had purchased from the Grand Ole Opry, and I had a vision on how I wanted it framed, so I brought him a couple of pieces of barn board (thick wood from the side of a barn) and wanted to somehow affix the poster to the wood.

First, Benny had to figure out a way of attaching the two pieces of wood together…neither of which was smooth. After he solved this challenge, he needed to figure out how to attach the poster to the wood. Lo and behold, he came up with a solution that was inexpensive and relatively simple. When my wife and I saw the end result, it was exactly as we pictured and better than we could have hoped for!

Benny and his colleagues, did such a great project with this one, we decided to throw another curveball at him with some other unique and challenging framing projects. Again and again, Benny came through with flying colours.

Whether it’s as simple as a diploma, a treasured family photograph, or a piece of expensive art…where the frame has to be just perfect, Benny and his colleagues have your back. I highly suggest him for all of your framing needs.

Picture Picture
(416) 787-9827
http://www.picturepictureco.com/

 

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Great Customer Service from Great-West Life

I realize that many people don’t always look at insurance companies in a positive way; however, on several occasions I’ve written about my experiences dealing with these organizations – all of them being quite positive. As a result, I wanted to continue the trend and speak about yet another one that I’m very pleased with.

SQM’s benefits program is presently handled by Great-West Life Assurance Company. While I am also the employer, thankfully my contact with them is generally limited to when I’m submitting a claim for prescriptions, massages, physiotherapy, etc. On the odd occasion I’ve had to reach out and speak to someone to get more information, or for help completing the claims process, and I find that their call centre staff are very friendly, professional, and knowledgeable. When the call is completed, I have always hung up with complete confidence in the information provided, or that my issue will be quickly addressed.

In addition to their call centre, the company has a great online claims submission system. Unlike the old way when you hadto mail something in and photocopy the receipts, all you have to do is fill out the forms online. If there’s no snags, the money is placed in your bank account within a few days. On some occasions, when a receipt is requested, all you have to do is take a photo and email it off to them. When it comes to claims, they really have made the process as simple and seamless as possible.

Putting on my employer hat for a minute, when choosing an insurance company, it often comes down to price and product. However, it’s great when you can do business with a company that also provides outstanding customer service.

While I often recommend dealing with the companies we highlight in this blog, I recognize that when it comes to insurance companies, there’s a number of individual requirements and specifics to be met. However, I highly recommend considering Great-West Life.

https://www.greatwestlife.com

 

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The Fabric of Customer Service

I first heard about Paul’s Tailors through a neighbourhood Facebook group, when someone was asking where to take an expensive dress to be altered. Even though there are a lot of businesses in the area, the majority of people in the group recommended Paul’s Tailors.

The business is a small, well-known store located on Bathurst Street, just south of Hwy 401. The store does tailoring, alterations, and cleaning. They work extremely efficiently and I was told they are less expensive, despite the high-quality workmanship.
They’ve been in business for almost 40 years. Even though it’s called Paul’s Tailors, it’s owned by Harry and Jack. Harry’s wife, Renee, also helps run things.

My first experience was several months ago when I got a new suit and needed to have it altered. Knowing that it is the go to place in the area, I headed over to see what they could do for me. Once I arrived, I learned that there are a lot of well known people that take their clothes to Paul’s for tailoring. From celebrities to athletes, including players on the Toronto Maple Leafs, all have their photos and autographs hanging on the wall.

Yet, Harry and Jack treat you with the same level of respect…whether you’re a celebrity or an average Torontonian.

My most recent trip to Paul’s Tailors is a great example of service and of a business thinking about the long-term. I was originally heading to another place that I often go to when I need something small stitched up, but as I was driving by, I thought, “it’s closer, why don’t I just pop in?” When I got to the door, I realized that they were about to close, but Harry immediately told me to come on in. I explained that my daughter had a purse and one of the straps had fallen off and that she needed it in time for an upcoming party. I explained jokingly that my daughter was upset about her purse and because my daughter was upset, my wife was upset, and everyone was taking it out on me. Harry laughed, said to me, “let’s take a look!”, and sat down at one of the sewing machines. In less than five minutes, he was back with the purse and it was looking like brand new.

He jokingly said, “Hopefully this will keep your wife and daughter happy,” and wished me a good day. I asked him how much for the purse, but he only told me not to worry about it and that he’d see me again some time.

Now, this is excellent service! Firstly, he repaired the purse right then and there, whereas he could have asked me to come back tomorrow. I would have been more than happy to pay him $10.00 or so to fix it, but he understands the value of a long-term business relationship. He knows that he kept me very happy and I’m certainly going to come back. On top of that, chances are, like I’m doing now, I’m going to tell my friends, family, and all sorts of people about how great he is to work with.

Paul’s Tailors has been successful for many years because they have the perfect recipe for doing business……high-quality workmanship, great customer service, and the understanding of the value of a long-term customer.

Whether it’s a quick fix-it or something that requires fancy alterations, I highly recommend Paul’s Tailors. He has my business all sewn up.

Paul’s Tailors
416-781-5366
http://www.paulstailors.com/

 

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The Birth of Customer Service

Once upon a time, some 2,000 years ago, a farmer by the name of Mac started selling eggs alongside the road. Once every so often, a neighbour of his would come by and buy a dozen or two. Soon enough, word spread quickly and he had a steady stream of customers to tend to each morning. Farmer Mac found himself content with the sizeable profit he had flowing in each day. Unfortunately for him, Farmer Bob took notice of his easy-going lifestyle and started to sell his eggs on the side of the road as well. To top it off, Farmer Bob offered a free bouquet of flowers with every purchase of a dozen eggs. Naturally, the ladies loved this and flocked to buy eggs from Farmer Bob’s.

Farmer Mac was quite miffed at this turn of events and thought long and hard about how to one-up his crafty neighbour. In the end, he decided to sell fresh meat along with his eggs. His customers loved the convenience and so he won their hearts over, once again.

Farmer Bob thought, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” and asked Farmer Mac if he wanted to set up one big shop at the end of the road. Farmer Mac agreed and they teamed up to sell different products together, including eggs, meats, milk, and flowers.

Soon after, more and more farmers asked to join them, selling their own unique wares. The customers loved the convenience of one stop shopping and Farmer Mac and Farmer Bob’s invention is now considered the birthplace of the modern day shopping mall.

To enhance the customer experience, a courier by the name of Jeff started offering a home delivery service, where those who were sick and elderly could buy products from the marketplace from the comfort of their own home. As more and more people preferred to order from home, Jeff’s service became more and more popular. Today, his company is known as the retail-crusher, tech giant, Amazon.

Okay, admittedly we’re just having some fun in advance of April Fool’s Day, but when you think of it, chances are that customer service did indeed start with a small farmer at the side of a road. Today, it is the key to drawing in consumers and making a profit.

 

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Leisurely Shopping at Lee Valley

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Many years ago, I was introduced to Lee Valley Tools when I required some specialized equipment and supplies for a wood working project. Since that time, I have often returned to their stores for specialty items, but quickly realized that there is much more to them than meets the eye.

Not only does the store have fun and creative little stocking stuffers (it may only be November, but the holidays are just around the corner), but these tools are practical and useful – for things you never knew you needed help with.

As an example, my wife once received a portable can opener at a Secret Santa event. It’s small, safe, and easy on the hands, using a butterfly-shaped crank design instead of the usual handles that require great strength and effort. She loved it so much, we immediately ordered a new one when it inevitably broke years later.

Ever since then, she’s loved the place. She told me that any and all types of gifts she was in search of, she could get at Lee Valley. We were recently going through the website and commenting on the cool and practical things we had found on there. It may be important to note that not all items online are available in-store.

The folding phone holder, for example, makes every outlet your personal charging station with a simple, albeit ingenious, solution. Hang it over your charging plug, and create a small shelf for your phone while it charges. Your phone is kept safely out of the way!

The people who work at the store are very helpful, knowledgeable, and polite. In fact, they’ve helped me with my own specialty projects in the past.

For those looking for good quality service and unique items – be it for a gift or a project, I highly recommend checking out Lee Valley Tools.

Lee Valley Tools
416-366-5959
www.leevalley.ca

 

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Breaking Boundaries at Best Buy

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Although I wrote about Best Buy a few months ago, this is an unrelated experience, and one which I felt was worth sharing.

Let’s rewind the clock to a couple of weeks ago.  I had been shopping for a laptop and was checking out different options, going through reviews, pricing, visiting different stores, and somehow ended up at the Best Buy at Downsview.

I was very pleased with the knowledge of the sales staff, and in addition, Best Buy had the best prices of all the competitors I was looking at.  In fact, these days, they apparently even go so far as to match prices from other reputable businesses.

In addition to buying a laptop, I needed a Microsoft Windows license.  As a result, the salesperson suggested that I get a Geek Squad membership, which would save me a significant amount off of the regular cost. At first I was skeptical, but when I did the math, between the Windows license, a monthly movie pass, and the added benefit of technical support, I thought it was very much worth it to try out for six months.

In terms of technical support, I’ve brought in different items to be fixed or looked at by Geek Squad. So far, all have been fixed to my satisfaction, and in fact, they’ve consistently exceeded my expectations in terms of getting my things back to me as quickly as possible.

During my most recent Geek Squad visit, I was probably pushing it a little, and really put them to the test. I had been having problems with my phone charger, and while the Geek Squad representative was able to partially fix the issue, the end result was that I needed a new one after only having bought it a couple of months ago.

Since I didn’t have my receipt (my fault) I didn’t have much hope that they could do anything, however, without hesitation, one of the employees at Best Buy provided me with a new charger!  I was completely stunned. My jaw dropped and I walked out of the store with a huge smile on my face.

While the phone manufacturer is known for making their customers jump through hoops to address issues, Best Buy stood behind the product, and their goal of leaving their customers satisfied.

In last week’s blog, I suggested retailers were going to have to step up their game in their battle against Amazon and other online retailers.  From my recent experiences at Best Buy, they clearly understand what they need to do to be successful, and they’re doing a terrific job!

Best Buy (Downsview)
416-636-6574
www.bestbuy.ca

Geek Squad (Downsview)
416-634-2305
www.geeksquad.ca

 

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Woes of the Retail Industry

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Typically, I use this blog to highlight outstanding businesses, however, from time to time I address particular and pressing issues that impact consumers or businesses.

The other night I was in one of the grocery stores in my area, to pick up a few items that we needed the next day.  I arrived at about 8 p.m., and the store was fairly busy with at least five customers in each checkout line, waiting to pay for their groceries. One of the five cashiers had just closed their lane, and despite the long lines, a second cashier indicated that she was closing as well, informing a customer in her line that he would be her last checkout of the evening.

In more recent times I’ve had similar experiences at other grocery stores and retailers alike.  In addition to the frequent frustration that customers are having trying to obtain assistance from a sales person (especially in big box or department stores), retailers are now making it more difficult and time-consuming to pay for purchases and get out.

As a person who works with many companies in the retail industry, I often hear from my colleagues that “the industry is changing” or that “retail is having its challenges.” While this may indeed be the case, I’m beginning to wonder if the industry is partially responsible for causing this to happen.

Let me explain…to be successful in any business, you have to provide an excellent experience for your customers. Time and time again, surveys show that customers want friendly and knowledgeable staff, products readily available, the best possible price, and in many cases, speed of service is also a factor.

Assuming that these businesses have the product in stock, their most important asset is their employees, and they are marginalizing their company’s strengths. As people’s lives become busier and more hectic, retailers are actually pushing their customers to look for better ways of getting what they need.

To add to this, there currently exists a giant online retailer, that provides outstanding service in a very efficient manner, and gets products to their customers in a short amount of time. Is it really any wonder that the retail industry is getting its ass kicked by Amazon?

Make no mistake about it, while Amazon is an amazing company, and gives customers another option for buying products and services, many people still like to see, touch, feel, or try on items (especially clothing) before making a purchase.  This results in them coming to a store and giving that retailer the first…and best…opportunity to make the sale.

Until the retail industry improves the shopping experience and reconnects with their customers, I’m afraid that their woes will continue.

 

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