Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Toronto Blue Jays are customer service champions!

Last year, I decided to join many Torontonians by purchasing seasons tickets for the Toronto Blue Jays. Given the off-season acquisitions, I had high expectations, so when the Jay’s missed the playoffs I was left like many other Jays fans mumbling, “maybe next year”. Perhaps most importantly, I was left considering whether to renew my season tickets.

I don’t know if I said those words too loud, or if someone at the Blue Jays head office overheard me, but a few days later I received a package from none other than Mr. Paul Beeston- the President and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays. He sent a personally signed letter thanking me for my continued support of the team, apologized for the poor season, and indicated how he and the rest of management were committed to improving the team and continuing in the direction that they began last season. To top it all off, all season ticket holders received a baseball autographed by a member of the 2013 team!

This small gesture left me with the impression that Mr. Beeston and the entire Toronto Blue Jays organization genuinely care about those who support them, taking responsibility for not meeting certain expectations, and truly standing behind their product. You would think that a major league sports team, such as the Blue Jays, would make no added effort to assure their supporters that they were striving to do better, however, they made this added gesture. Unlike many other companies that don’t necessarily stand behind their product, but simply provide lip service, Mr. Beeston and the Blue Jays management team did the complete opposite. Perhaps their efforts can be a lesson to businesses in other industries- no matter what you are selling, when things go wrong, you have to stand behind your product with more than just words! Great customer service goes a long way.

But the story doesn’t end there. In an effort to thank Mr. Beeston for his kind words and wonderful gift, I put a call in to his office. When I called he was unfortunately out of the office so I left him a message. Not expecting to hear anything back, I was amazed when two hours later I received a return call- not from his secretary, nor his intern, but Mr. Beeston himself! We only spoke for five minutes, but he took the time to thank me for my call, and my continued support for the team. He then assured me that the organization is still very much committed to taking a run at the playoffs next season.

For me, it was remarkable to see the President of a large organization personally take the time to thank one of his many season ticket holders, his fan, and his customer! It truly demonstrates how much Mr. Beeston and the rest of the Blue Jays staff care about their customers and stand behind their organization both in good times and in bad. It was also nice to see the organization back up their words by offering me a little insight into what the team is planning to do to make improvements for the next season.

Going into 2014, I look forward to what the coming season has in store for the Blue Jays. If you want to find me, I’ll be in the same seats, beer and popcorn in hand, supporting Mr. Beeston and cheering on the home team!

Go Jays Go!

The Toronto Blue Jays
1 Blue Jays Way, Suite 3200
Toronto, ON M5V 1J1



Add Comment

Hitting the Slopes at Brimacombe

Slogging through knee-high snow drifts and shivering in multiple layers of clothing has far too often been the norm these past few months. Of course, while I think we can all agree that this has been a rough winter in Canada, the skiing has never been better!

This past January, I made the trek up to Brimacombe, a ski resort in Orono, Ontario. A few of my daughter’s friends were enrolled in the ski school on the upcoming weekend (a two day, 9am-4pm service), so we called hoping to enroll our daughter as well (albeit, after the registration deadline). The people we spoke with were extremely accommodating, telling us to show up the morning of to complete some paperwork, and they’d have her on the slopes in no time. In fact, not only did they get her on the slopes, but by the end of the weekend she was skiing down the intermediate hills- a young girl who’d never skied before!

Home of the Oshawa Ski Club, Brimacombe has been around since the 1940s. Starting off as a small cabin at the base of the hill with only 137 members, it has now grown to 3,500 members and 130,000 annual visits. With well groomed, powder white hills generated by snow blowers (not that we’ve needed it this year), an ample number of chair lifts, a pro shop, rental shop, and two cafeterias to provide you with some heart warming hot chocolate, you’re getting your money’s worth. The staff are extremely friendly and helpful, particularly the snow school instructors, who are excellent with kids. In addition, there’s no fear of getting lost with signs directing you where to go and staff galore to answer any questions.

Whether you’re new to the sport or an avid skier, I highly recommend visiting Brimacombe. Only a 45 minute drive outside of Toronto, it’s a great way to take advantage of all the white stuff that’s fallen this winter.

4098 Regional 9 Road
Orono, ON LOB 1MO



Add Comment

Customer Service- A Home Run at Play It Again Sports

Compromise and effective budgeting are the name of the game when it comes to kids. Recently, my daughter outgrew her baseball glove—which seems to be happening fairly regularly with all her clothing and sports equipment—so we decided to buy her a new one. There was one condition though, the glove had  to be pink or purple—her condition, not mine. Fair enough, girls will be girls, but I also wanted a good quality glove that would last her for a while, so I went to Canadian Tire and browsed through the Rawlings gloves. There were a few with pink and purple, but all were too large for my daughter’s hand. Our neighbour’s daughter had a pink Rawlings glove, but my neighbours seemed to think they weren’t manufacturing that kind anymore. Well, I called up Rawlings Canada’s Customer Service line to make sure and got some very helpful people on the line who directed me to a few Ontario stores that might carry the glove. I called the store closest to us and they were willing to order the glove from the States, but it’d take three weeks to get there and included shipping costs, so I turned to the next store on the list- a Play It Again Sports in Burlington.

Burlington is a little out of the way for me, but, as any of you fellow parents know, you’re willing to go the extra distance for your kid. I called the store and got the store owner/operator on the line, Gord, who told me they had the glove. This was just before the Easter Weekend, though, and his store was going to be closed on Good Friday. Just my luck, I would be driving right through Burlington on Good Friday and wasn’t sure when I’d be out that way next. Did Gord ever step up to the plate. He told me he only lived five minutes from the store and gave me his personal number in order to call him when I got to Burlington so he could swing by the store and open it up for us. I mean, it’s Easter weekend, his day off, and Gord was planning on taking his family out for breakfast that morning, but he still made time for us. That’s excellent customer service if I’ve ever seen it!

We pulled into the store parking lot around 10 am and there he was waiting. He brought us into the store and showed my daughter three different gloves. She ended up settling on the size 11 3/4 glove with some pink trim around the edges and a pink centre. It took a total of ten minutes, Gord locked up the store and we headed on our merry way. For a sale that totalled forty dollars, Gord was willing to take time out of his holiday to help my daughter and I out and give us a great experience at his shop. The Burlington store is a little out of my way, but the next time I have a sporting goods need I’ll be sure to make the trek out to see Gord. He definitely hit a customer service home run!
Play It Again Sports
3450 Dundas Street Unit B19
Burlington, ON L7M 4B8


Add Comment

Maple Leaf Garage Doors is full of passion

Not too long ago, I decided it was time to replace my garage door. I began by making calls to several prominent companies in the GTA, however, to my surprise, all but one of the companies either never returned my calls, or did so several weeks later. Two of the companies set up a consultation, yet only one of them showed up. Frustrated, I eventually found someone that offered a reasonable price, but I still wasn’t sold. Then one day, I noticed a white van parked on my street. It had a large sign that read ‘Maple Leaf Garage Doors’. Disillusioned by my experiences thus far, I decided to give them a chance. To my delight (and relief), the call was immediately answered by Steve Minakakis. The owner, installer, and service technician of ‘Maple Leaf Garage Doors’- A real one man show!

After speaking with Steve, he immediately came by to show me a variety of samples. He also took the appropriate measurements and provided me with a fair quote on the spot. Even though I had just met him, I could tell that Steve took great pride in his work and valued me as a potential customer. Since this quality of customer service was remarkably different from what I had experienced with other companies, I decided to go with ‘Maple Leaf Garage Doors’.

Despite initially asking Steve for colour samples that he did not have, he still dropped new ones off in my mailbox the next day! Most importantly, he returned all of my calls in a timely matter and provided me with updates on when my parts were to arrive. If that wasn’t enough, Steve generously adjusted his own schedule (without me asking), so he could complete the replacement in time for some guests I was expecting later on that week! To top off Steve’s amazing customer service, he sent me several pictures of the finished product while I was at work. He even disposed of my old garage door and installed a new opener free of charge!

Above all, what struck me the most about my experience with Steve was his passion. From our initial consultation, to his regular communications, and finally, accommodating my schedule, Steve went above and beyond what I expected. I always try to support small businesses, especially when the service is this good. So I would definitely recommend calling Steve and ‘Maple Leaf Garage Doors’ for all of your replacement and repair needs! If his product doesn’t convince you, I guarantee his passion will!

Maple Leaf Garage Doors
Steve Minakakis



Add Comment

Tiffany & Co. wraps their customer service in a little blue box

Tiffany & Co. necklace

Recently, it was my wife’s birthday and to “hit one out of the park” I decided that jewelry was the way to go. Previously, my wife had picked out a pendant / necklace as a gift suggestion for two of her friends and after seeing how much she liked the necklace, I decided I couldn’t go wrong to buy it myself.

So I was off to explore the world of the iconic Tiffany blue box…

During the visit to purchase the necklace, I had a great overall experience. There was someone at the door to greet me, staff were readily available and easily accessible, and most importantly; everyone was helpful, friendly, and very knowledgeable. As a result, my visit was very enjoyable and I was out with the necklace in a very short amount of time.

When my wife opened the present she absolutely loved the necklace, however, there was one small issue… the chain was too short.

As a result, we went back to the store to see what could be done and we were immediately directed over to the Customer Service area. Prior to being directed to the Customer Service area, it was explained to us that typically they would add-on the required length for the chain at a cost of $40.00 for the first inch and $5.00 for each additional inch. I understood that there would be extra work involved in making the chain longer, but I was annoyed that after spending money on the necklace that I would have to spend even more to get it to properly fit.

The woman at Customer Service was friendly and immediately took my wife’s measurements for the chain. When she asked if we were aware of how the fees worked, I told her that I was, but not very happy about it. Beginning to do a slow burn, I asked if I could possibly speak to her manager as I thought that it was unfair that they only had one size of the necklace and didn’t mention the charges at the time it was purchased. I also let her know that I was upset because the chain size would not fit most women and it would cause many people to have to incur extra costs.

As soon as I explained what was bothering me, she said that she understood and would “waive the fees”. Surprised, I asked, “Really?”, and the woman answered with one line- “We want you to be happy with your purchase”.
A few things caught my attention from my experience at Tiffany’s:

1) The woman at Customer Service did not have to call her manager to discuss the issue. She was empowered to make the decision on her own.
2) There was no haggling (i.e. reducing the fee by twenty dollars or taking 50% off the costs). She immediately waived the full amount.
3) Her one line answer showed that the most important thing to Tiffany’s is that the customer is happy. It is the only thing that mattered in the situation. I think it is great that this has been instilled in, and taught to the staff, empowering them to provide great customer service for customers. No matter what your status is; whether you are purchasing a $100,000.00 diamond, or a three hundred dollar necklace, for anyone walking out of the store with the blue box, it is clear that everyone should be equally happy with their purchase.

Not to paint every company with the same brush, but there are thousands (if not hundreds of thousands of businesses), that talk about providing great customer service, but rarely take it to this level. I wonder what the customer experience would be like if all other business took the same approach as Tiffany’s and did whatever it would take to ensure that the customer is happy with their purchase!

I truly never thought that shopping for women’s jewelry would be so enjoyable. Well done Tiffany and Co… well done!



Add Comment

Se7en Numbers fills me up

If you’re looking to eat out with family and friends, as a couple, or perhaps on a date, you may want to pay a visit to a restaurant known as 7 Numbers on Eglinton Avenue in Toronto. 7 Numbers is a casual Italian restaurant with an eclectic atmosphere. This is evident as soon as you arrive when you see one of the owners cooking food in the small kitchen near the front window. The restaurant has great food at reasonable prices, is family friendly, and always provides great customer service. As a result, the restaurant has become one of my “go to” places with my wife and our friends.

On the menu 7 Numbers offers appetizers, first and second courses, as well as family-style platters. During my past few visits, our table ordered some of the family-style platters and it was on such an occasion that I realized how different the experience is at this restaurant from many others.

Although the family platters contain a lot of food, I often find that everyone gravitates to the same items that I like, resulting in me getting less of some of my favourite foods, like the calamari, as opposed to the other options. However, on a recent visit after the platter arrived and everyone began to eat, one of my friends simply asked the server if they could bring “a little more calamari”. Without hesitation, a small extra bowl of calamari was brought to our table!

When many companies focus on the bottom line, it is a great feeling to be able to go out to a restaurant, and not worry about incurring extra costs for a little more food in order to leave with a full belly. Clearly it is 7 Numbers’ philosophy that if it takes a few extra pieces of something to create a positive experience for the customer, they are willing to go the distance. It was great to see that at a family-run restaurant, they want you to leave full and satisfied.

On your next night out, be sure to visit 7 Numbers. I am sure that you will leave happy… and full!

7 Numbers (2113407 Ontario Inc.)
516 Eglinton Avenue West
Toronto, ON
M5N 1A5



Add Comment

Guelph takes me by Storm

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to pay a visit to a good friend of mine, down in Guelph Ontario. Amidst the century old Victorian buildings that call Guelph home, exists one of the cities most prized possessions…the Guelph Storm hockey team! During my visit, I was fortunate enough to take in one of their games at downtown’s Sleeman Centre, and what a great experience it was. Despite the fact that the Guelph Storm are just a Junior A team, the atmosphere and fan devotion clearly rivals that of any major league team.

As a child, I remember when my dad used to take me to Toronto Marlie games at Maple Leaf Gardens. Little did I know at the time that what began as the original Toronto Marlborough’s hockey team, back in 1904, eventually would become the Guelph Storm hockey team in 1991! Since then, the Storm have gone on to win a number of Ontario Hockey League (OHL) championships, and are presently the second ranked Junior A team in the country. They have even seen several of their players rise to the ranks of the National Hockey League (NHL) over the years.

What I found quite remarkable was the vibe and spirit that I witnessed firsthand, as soon as I walked into the Sleeman Centre, with roughly 3,500 fans covered head-to-toe in Storm colours, standing behind their team. I’ve been to a few hockey games in my time, but it was really impressive to see this level of commitment for a hockey team in what could still be considered “small town” Ontario. It really goes to show you that the glitz and glamor of the big leagues can’t outshine the core community aspect of small town hockey. What was even better (unlike big league games) was the fact that the tickets were reasonably priced. This allowed anyone from families and children, to hard core hockey nuts to come out and enjoy a game without putting a hole in their pocket book.

If I want to escape the madness of a big league hockey game, I now know where to go! With their devoted fan-base and hardworking team, the Guelph Storm truly embody what hockey means in Canada!

If you would like to get tickets for the next Storm game, or want to see a full season schedule, check out their website: for more information.

Guelph Storm- Sleeman Center
50 Woolwich St.
Guelph, ON



Add Comment