Tag Archives: SQM Picks

Taking Customer Service Into Account

Sensors Quality Management Inc. is coming up to its 26th year in business. Many years ago, when we first started out, I was fortunate that a few of my friends in accounting assisted me from time to time when we needed help with the books….the dreaded financial books!

When we got to the point where we needed an actual accountant, I had initially reached out to my good friend and lawyer, Mitchell Rose, who immediately recommended a colleague of his who he had met during university: Brian Bossin.

Brian’s accounting firm is named Bossin, Tin Yan Chartered Accountants, and right from our first meeting 20 years ago, I knew that Brian was going to be the perfect fit for both myself and SQM. Brian was clearly experienced and knowledgeable enough to deal with larger corporations, but also patient enough and willing to work with smaller, local businesses.

Unlike the bigger firms that often nickel and dime you as soon as you pick up the phone, Brian and his colleagues are more understanding, and are willing to take calls without running the meter, or meet from time to time to provide advice and direction.

In addition to doing the accounting for SQM, over the years, Brian has also taken care of my personal income taxes, done taxes for other family members, worked on other business-related projects, assisted me with various government applications and paperwork, and played a role in providing me with advice on tax and estate planning.

During the 20 odd years that I’ve known Brian, it’s become increasingly clear that he is knowledgeable and experienced with many facets of both personal and business accounting, and for areas in which he is not an expert, he can often direct me to somebody who is. I know that his advice and expertise is just a telephone call away.

Whether you’re looking for somebody to handle personal matters or your business, I highly recommend you consider Brian and the team at Bossin, Tin Yan Chartered Accountants for all of your accounting needs.

Bossin, Tin Yan Chartered Accountants
416-492-8484

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Dialling Up Great Customer Service

Many of the blogs that I write about are based on my own experiences, and while I try to write stories about my travels and encounters outside of Toronto, I do realize that many of my topics are centered on the Greater Toronto Area.

However, this story is about a Canadian company, and while they are here in Toronto, they’re also right across the country. I’ve written about them in the past, but I feel like it is necessary to mention them again.

For many years, my cell phone and cable provider has been Rogers. One of the reasons behind this is because when I ran into a problem several years ago, I came into contact with a customer representative who was extremely helpful and kind. Ever since then, I’ve kept in touch and she’s always been able to help me out whenever I’ve been in a pickle.

In more recent times, she’s taken on another position within the company but has been thoughtful enough to direct me to employees as kind as herself. Back a few weeks ago, I had a software problem with my phone, which then turned into a hardware problem. I realized I needed a new phone and reached out to one of my new contacts at Rogers—John.

I first connected with John when I was looking to reduce some of the costs connected with my services. At the time, John made a few adjustments, so I ended up with more features and services while at the same time, reducing my monthly costs.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when my phone had died and I reached out to him in a little bit of a panic, because like many people, my phone was like my life and I needed it to be working for various reasons. On top of that, my phone was fairly new…only two years old…and should have been operational. Even though John works on the west coast, he got back to me within minutes of me sending him an email, asked me what the issue was, and told me that if I could give him a bit of time, he would work on a solution.

In less than an hour he got back to me and gave me a number of options—all but one of them involved a new phone without any extra charges or long-term commitments. Once I made my decision, I received my new phone just two days later and I was back up and running in no time.

You would expect a company in telecommunications like Rogers to understand the urgency of uptime, and clearly they do from the way that John and some of his other colleagues work.

To tell you how Rogers is evolving as a company, years ago if I had a problem with my bill, phone, or other services, and I had to call Rogers, the hair would stand up on the back of my neck because the entire process was often quite frustrating.

In more recent times, they seem to be changing with the era, and adapting to the growing need for good customer support. I now know that I can count on Rogers to stand behind their services, and support me when I need it.

Rogers
1 (855) 381-7834
www.rogers.com

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Ensuring You Use the Right Insurance Company

This week, I’d like to write a blog about Intact Insurance, however, I’m going to take a slightly different perspective on the subject.

Insurance is one of those industries that touches just about everyone, whether or not you own a house, rent an apartment, drive a car, or run a business. As one of my colleagues says, “you can never have enough insurance”. Most people deal with an insurance company or a broker on a somewhat regular basis, and while buying insurance typically comes down to the cost, I would think that it’s always better and easier to be dealing with an insurance company that has a good reputation in the industry.

Often times, I hear stories about insurance appraisers and adjusters that try to pay as little as possible for claims, or make it very difficult on one to resolve their claims or issues. That said, this story is meant to look at an insurance company from a different angle….

A couple of years ago, my 90 year old aunt tripped on a mat, fell, and broke her hip while shopping at a grocery store. As a result of this accident, a lawsuit was filed as my aunt was incurring a number of significant expenses associated with her injuries. As the lawsuit progressed, we began dealing with a lawyer for the insurance company that was representing the grocery store.

Although I often hear horror stories about dealing with lawyers in such cases, the lawyer representing my aunt was pleasantly surprised by the insurance company’s approach to handling the situation. While many insurance companies would have dragged the process out for as long as possible, given my aunt’s advanced age, all parties involved were looking for a reasonable solution so that my aunt could return to a normal life as soon as possible. While it’s difficult to put a price tag on such a terrible accident, and my aunt didn’t necessarily feel that she received as much money as she deserved, the willingness of the insurance company to move the process along was very much appreciated. It was truly a breath of fresh air to see both the lawyer and insurance company treat my aunt respectfully and professionally, while simultaneously looking out for their interests as well. After the case was settled, I took the time to call the President of Intact Insurance to acknowledge how their in-house lawyer handled this difficult matter in a professional and respectful way.

During the conversation, the President mentioned that Intact Insurance attempts to be a different type of insurance company, and treats people the way their employees would want to be treated themselves. While many companies in the industry say this, very few put their words into practice, however, I can tell you firsthand that Intact Insurance really does have this kind of culture and approach.

Again while I realize that purchasing insurance often boils down to price, I highly recommend that you at least look at Intact Insurance for your insurance needs. They are truly an excellent company to deal with.

Intact Insurance
www.intact.ca

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Ten Things To Do During the Canada Day Weekend

Canada’s birthday is approaching, and 152 has never looked better! If you are unsure of what to do for the upcoming long weekend, look no further.

Fireworks: If you’re in the mood to create your own DIY fireworks show, there are many pop-up locations that will suit all of your needs. Kaboom Fireworks, Phatboy Fireworks and Rocket Fireworks are all good choices. If not, you can check out your local parks in order to see if they are doing their own fireworks show.

Wonderland: The amusement park is fun for the whole family! In addition to the spectacular rides, there will be street performers, traditional Canadian food and a light show.

Harbourfront Centre: There will be paddleboard rides on the Natrel Pond from 3:00 – 8:00 PM. At night, make sure to catch the live indie music that will be playing at the Harbourfront Centre Concert Stage!

Blue Jays Games: There will be games every day from June 28th to July 1stat the Rogers Centre. There will also be giveaway prizes on Friday and Monday. Be sure to grab tickets while they last.

Ribfest: The Etobicoke Ribfest is back for another year! From June 29th to July 1st, there will be many activities run from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Stop by to hear live music, visit the Beer Garden and the Kids Zone, all while enjoying delicious ribs. There is something for everyone!

BBQ: Thinking about having a family barbecue or food with friends? Cumbraes and the Healthy Butcher have a wide selection available both in store and online. While it is always nice to support a local butcher, you could also visit your grocery store’s butcher section.

Craft Beer: What’s better than celebrating the country’s birthday than cracking open a cold one? Be sure to check out your local brewery, but please remember to drink responsibly.

Ottawa: Planning on spending the weekend in the capital? Events will be held at Parliament Hill, Major’s Hill Park and the Canadian Museum of History. Check out the official list of events.

Parades: In the mood for travelling? There will be parades held at Niagara Falls and in Downtown Vancouver. Both parades will be followed by fireworks over the Falls and at Canada Place.

Concert: At the North Maple Regional Park in Vaughan, multiple live performances will be played. The headliner will be Toronto’s very own reggae fusion band, MAGIC! See the full details here.

Whatever your plans may be, I hope that you have an enjoyable time. I wish everyone and their families a safe and happy Canada Day!

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A Reye of Sunlight at the Gym

This week, I’d like to talk about a personal trainer who has gone above and beyond the call of a regular trainer.

For over 30 years, I have been a member of the Columbus Centre’s gym / fitness club. Over my time there I’ve gotten to know many of the staff and personal trainers. One of the trainers who I find myself chatting with about anything from sports, to business, to life in general, is a gentleman by the name of John Reyes.

John, works at the Columbus Centre part-time, a personal trainer, and has also recently become a registered kinesiologist. While the kinesiology work that he does is at a separate clinic and has nothing to do with the Columbus Centre, he often uses his knowledge, education, and experience in kinesiology when working with his clients as a personal trainer.

A number of weeks ago, I decided to pick his brain as I was having some difficulties loosening up, even though I stretch regularly. It just seemed that despite my ongoing efforts, I was extremely tight, which was impacting my ability to properly complete some of my exercise routine. John suggested a few stretches and within a short amount of time, these stretches seemed to be working, as I seemed to be improving.

A couple of weeks later, I came back to him again because I was still tight…I just couldn’t loosen up completely. Even though John was only there once a week, he would try and line up his times with mine, and take me to one of the fitness rooms where he would help me stretch. These kinds of stretches were challenging in that you need a second person to help do them properly.

We figured my loosening up would take a few weeks of stretching on my own, in addition to his assistance. True to his word, after some time I was once again making good progress, and returning to normal. While I’m sure other trainers could have assisted me with the stretches, I believe that John’s background in kinesiology very much helped get me moving in the right direction.

If anyone is looking for a personal trainer, or for someone to help them with their stretching and range of motion, I highly recommend John Reyes.

John Reyes
J-rey636@yahoo.ca

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Nothing’s Tougher Than a Burton

For transparency purposes, I will say right off the bat that the person I am writing about just so happens to be my next-door neighbour, however, this article is based on work that he has done for my family.

Back about three years ago, my 90-year-old aunt fell in a grocery store and broke her hip. Because we felt that the grocery store was responsible for her fall, we quickly decided to retain a lawyer who specialized in personal injury law. While there is certainly no shortage of advertisements for these types of lawyers on TV and in newspapers, I had the good fortune of knowing one who lives 20 feet away from me: Jonathan Burton, who works at Gluckstein Lawyers.

The fact that he was my neighbour and lived nearby was only one factor in deciding to use his services for my aunt. Jonathan has been practicing law for a number of years, and my research indicated that he was extremely experienced, well respected by his colleagues, and specializes in personal injury law. From the beginning, I could tell Jonathan knew how to handle the situation. Whether it was quickly drafting up a letter, scheduling meetings with my aunt and myself, or just organizing his work the way he does, I was able to see that I made the right decision.

Over the course of the case, there were certain objectives that needed to be completed, and Jonathan always made sure to give us the information and heads up in advance. He was always prepared for upcoming activities, and we could tell that we were in good hands.

A few weeks ago, we had a scheduled mediation. For those who are unaware, before you are able to arrange a date for certain types of trials, in Ontario, you have to participate in a mandatory mediation. This involves a third, unbiased party, working with both sides to find common ground. and a settlement that both can live with. It may come as a surprise to many, that the majority of cases are settled at mediation and never end up going to trial.

We were fortunate in that we had a good meditator handling my aunt’s case. Jonathan presented himself in a professional manner, and dealt with the mediator and opposing lawyer in a skillful way. The other party was open to a settlement, and after a few hours of discussion the case was settled.

I truly believe that one of the main reasons the case was settled was because of Jonathan’s reputation amongst his colleagues in the legal profession. Jonathan was never rude in his dealings, and treated people with respect and honesty. He was always willing to listen, however, he recognized that he was there for his clients’ best interests. I often hear of lawyers who are rude, bullies, and not open to discussion, however, when you take on tactics like these, I believe you do it at the disservice of your clients.

I wouldn’t wish my aunt’s situation on anyone, but if you do need a personal injury lawyer, I highly suggest Jonathan Burton.

Jonathan Burton
Gluckstein Lawyers
416-408-4252
burton@gluckstein.com

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The Running Room: A Company Running with Great Customer Service!

People Cheering for the Running Room at an event

Over the last few weeks, I’ve written about some of the challenges facing the retail industry, and highlighted some retailers that are changing the way they do business. Recently, I’ve come across another company that really seems to capture the essence of customer service, as it clearly comes from the top down.

As anyone who knows me well can tell you, I really have a difficult time finding shoes that fit me. While I’ve frequently gone to The Running Room for my daughter’s shoes, I never seem to find anything that works for me, so an employee suggested I go online for a wider variety of their shoes. They told me that there are no shipping fees or returns fees involved.

I thought I’d take a shot at it and (of course) immediately ran into an obstacle when the one pair of shoes I really liked were not available in my size. They had every other size except mine! Throwing up my hands in frustration, I decided to put The Running Room to the test and I contacted their head office. Their head office phone number is answered by a recorded greeting of their founder, John Stanton, and includes an option of hitting a button to speak directly to John. I wasn’t expecting to speak to someone, but to my surprise, he immediately answered.

I had a lovely chat with John, told him my problem, and without hesitation he offered to find someone to help me and said I would get a call back in just a few minutes. Not fifteen minutes later, one of John’s colleagues called me up, asked me some questions about my needs, did some research, and found me some options for shoes that would work for me.

While I was given the option of picking the shoes up from the store, it was easier to have them delivered to my house and within a few days, I had a pair of shoes that fit and easily returned the others that I chose not to keep.

It’s rare to find a company that goes above and beyond to keep customers happy, and it’s even more rare to have a President who is as accessible as John is (answering his own phone). Clearly, The Running Room gets it. Thanks to John and his team, I now have a pair of running shoes that fit my needs….and my feet!

The Running Room
1-800-419-2906
https://www.runningroom.com/hm/

 

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