Monthly Archives: June 2014

Teach me how to fish

Sometimes, I like to take a break from my regular articles to highlight some important issues. At the moment, this has been weighing on my mind…

During my high school and university days, I used to run a small valet parking company with a close friend of mine. The business involved parking cars at house parties, weddings, corporate events, and charity functions.

Many of the events we worked at involved some of Toronto’s wealthier residents, holding fundraisers and galas at their own estates and homes, and while I admit that I was wowed by the big homes and fancy cars, what really caught my attention was how these people were so willing to open their doors, wallets, and hearts to a variety of important causes. Even though I was very far from making that kind of money, I knew that eventually I wanted to give back to the community in a similar way.

Fast forward to today and I still have the same drive and determination to help others as I did several years ago. However, there’s one road block I can’t get passed, I don’t have the kind of money some of my previous clients did. Whatever money I do make, I end up investing back into my business to help it grow. This makes it difficult for me to really “give”‘ on the scale that I would like to. I always say that I would rather invest $500 back into my own business now, so that I’m able to give $50,000 to a charitable cause further down the road. There is also the issue of time. Just as my business requires constant monetary reinvestment, it also requires me to reinvest a sufficient amount of time into its growth. These two factors have made it increasingly difficult to take the steps necessary to bring my philanthropic vision to life.

In an effort to meet my goals, I have attempted to reach out to some of the “big givers” who may be able to provide me with some advice and direction in order to help me grow my business. I always say that if you want to be the best, you have to learn from the best, and that is exactly what I’m trying to do. I’m not looking for money, but rather the opportunity to speak with successful business people who can help me get to the next level of giving by helping me grow my business.

Unfortunately, it seems that while many of today’s philanthropists are very generous with their wallets, there are no mechanisms in place (by these individuals or their foundations) to assist in developing the next generation of philanthropists….the big givers of tomorrow. Given that many of today’s philanthropists are also today’s visionaries and leaders, I’m somewhat surprised that this is the case. As a result, if anyone knows individuals or organizations that could provide me with the assistance I am looking for, I would really appreciate hearing from you.

Someone once said….if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. Can someone please teach me how to fish?



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Exceptional service in every corner of the Fairmont Royal York

A few days ago I was attending an industry function at the beautiful Fairmont Royal York in downtown Toronto. Having stayed in this world renowned hotel before, I knew that the level of service offered by its staff members is second to none, however, it still took me by surprise when one of the washroom attendants went above and beyond his required duties to meet a casual request of mine.

It all started when I was washing my hands and noticed that the soap and hand lotion was the same fragrance as the shampoo and conditioners that they provide in the guest rooms. I casually mentioned that I really enjoyed the fragrance and quality of the product and joked that they should have some in the public washrooms. Thinking nothing of my remark, I was completely caught off guard when the attendant told me to return later on so he could give me a few bottles of the items that I liked. I thanked him for the offer, but generally thought nothing of my own request, nor his desire to meet it.

Later that day, when I returned to the washroom, I was surprised to see that not only did he remember me, but he also came through with his promise and had brought me several small bottles. I was truly amazed because here’s a guy, who to many, it would seem as if his main responsibility is simply to provide hand towels and keep the washroom clean, yet he embraces the “customer first” spirit of the hospitality industry and displayed a genuine desire to go above and beyond what is normally expected. Rarely have I experienced such a display of customer service from higher level employees, let alone from line staff.

My experience couldn’t have come at a better time seeing that I was attending an award ceremony celebrating the excellent customer service found in Canada’s hospitality and foodservice industry. In my opinion, this gentleman was just as deserving of a Pinnacle Award, as any other person in attendance! Not only is he a representative of the great customer service found at the Fairmont Royal York, but he is also a great representative of the hospitality industry as a whole! If management is listening, this gentleman is definitely a keeper. Perhaps, like other senior executives with the company who started out in such positions, he too is a future leader.

Fairmont Royal York
100 Front St. W.
Toronto, ON
416 368 2511




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Little business knows how to do it right!

This past summer, I was in need of a carpenter who could build me a door and a portico. I ran across a man named Greg Aboud from Greg Aboud Woodworking who has completed projects in my neighbourhood and was recommended to me. Greg is truly a jack of all trades, and handles such work as: fencing, sheds, doors… you name it and Greg can build it. He charges a reasonable price and has a great reputation.

Despite Greg’s extreme flexiblity and wide scope of abilities, during the course of the summer, Greg ran into a few challenges. After ordering the wrong pillars for the portico, family members falling ill, bad weather, and hurting his back, what was supposed to be a 4-8 week job turned into a 7 month ordeal. After the job was finally completed, I received an invoice and noticed that a significant amount of money had been deducted due to “unacceptable delays”. Since I hadn’t asked Greg to reduce his fees, I was completely astonished with his generous offer. Not only did he own up to the significant delays, but he exceeded my expectations by adjusting the bill.

What’s more amazing is that here is a small, independent businessman who understands that exceeding expectations will lead to new customers, referrals, and repeat businesses. Larger businesses could learn from a guy like Greg. As an example, Greg has no idea that I am writing a blog about him, but because of his excellent customer service and great public relations, I’ve already spread the word about him to dozens of my friends, colleagues, and neigbours- not to mention everyone who reads the SQM blogs.

In this day and age when it has become increasingly difficult to find a good trades person, let alone a good trades person, at a reasonable price, here is one that doesn’t just meet, but exceeds his customers’ expectations. Greg is truly a class act and I would strongly suggest you consider using him for your next project.

Greg Aboud Woodworking
Greg Aboud



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At the RIM of customer service

In lieu of all the news surrounding the smart phone industry, I wanted to put the spotlight on a company that seems to have been receiving more than their fair share of negative press and criticism as of late.

I have been dealing with RIM for several years now, and they have equipped myself, my wife, and even some of my colleagues with great wireless devices. Through this period, I have come across issues with my Blackberry…just like most users of wireless devices would with whatever product they were using.

The issues that I have faced with my Blackberry have usually been technical issues, some of which require repairs. Whenever I contact RIM, the technical support staff is always very knowledgeable and extremely patient. In other instances, I have also had issues with my Blackberry when it was no longer under warranty by my service provider. While my service provider would not do anything about the issue, I have always found RIM to be helpful in finding a solution and correcting the problem, quickly and efficiently. They have never disappointed me and they always go above and beyond what I expect from such a company in terms of customer service.

I distinctly remember one time, when I was trying to trying to find somebody at RIM to speak with after calling their customer service line. After trying repeatedly to contact the right person, I asked to be connected to the President’s office, and I found myself with the option of leaving them a voicemail message. Within thirty minutes of having left a message, I was contacted by someone who helped me right away.

Many companies in the wireless industry have been battling head-to-head for market share and it often seems as if they have abandoned the concept of providing great customer service, but I believe that RIM has kept that at the forefront of their vision. I should mention that I also own various Apple products and their service has been just as great in terms of efficiency and correcting any problems.

We have reached a point where companies seem to be disregarding the true needs of their customers. It’s great to see RIM still knows how to take care of their customer, by going above and beyond the call, every time I contact them. It would be nice if more businesses followed RIM’s lead. I know the company continues to experience unprecedented challenges but if everything else is equal, regardless of the product or service, I will always support the company that provides better customer service and a better experience.

RIM (BlackBerry)
2200 University Ave. E.
Waterloo, ON



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