Thursday, July 20, 2017

Benefits of loyalty cards or membershps

Recently I discovered one of the benefits of having a loyal card for a grocery store. I have also heard from others that they have experienced the same benefit and it does make me happy hearing that this is now happening.

What I am talking about it getting an email about a specific food or item that is being recalled that you have purchased. Sure in some ways it may feel like the store is being nosy and checking to see what you purchase but then there is the benefit of it being in their system.

I have loyalty cards from a number of the stores that we frequent because I figured if I can get some sort of bonus that makes shopping there a little nicer. Most times I will get my card scanned by the cashier to see if I have earned any points during that visit and also to see what the point total is for that specific store. What I didn’t realize is some of the benefits that scanning the card even when I am only purchasing one or two items. The benefit that I received recently was an email from a store letting me know about a food recall on a product that I had recently purchased. At first I wasn’t too sure about this but then I realized that yes it can be a real benefit to receive this type of email.

The message I received was:
Please be advised that a public safety notice has been issued on select units of xxxxx.
You are receiving this notice because your records indicate you purchased this product.
Click here for full details about this recall.”

I was very happy to receive this recall because it meant that I could double check the recall to ensure that the item I had purchased was either in the recall or it wasn’t in the recall. In my case the item wasn’t in the recall as it was just a specific date. For me I had heard about the recall the evening before I received this email because I also get all the food recalls from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency due to having the various food allergies that I have. Not everyone gets the food recalls from the agency so at least when the store lets you know you can check what you purchased.

I didn’t know that I would receive this type of email as a benefit from using my loyalty card but now that I have it lets me know how important it is for me to have that card scanned each time I do some shopping at the grocery stores.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Window coverings

window coverings
Well recently I was sitting on our balcony and looked over to the apartment beside us and noticed the various types of window coverings that are used in the different apartment units.  I understand that no everything wants drapes or sheers or things like that on their windows but it is interesting to see what people have done.

In this picture that I took there are basically three different types of window coverings.  One of them that is the normal drapes or curtains and then the other two types of things that to me shouldn't be used on the windows.  My basic concern is how are you sticking the material onto the window in the first place and how easy or hard is it to remove late.

On the bottom left of the picture where is what looks like foil over all of the window.  Sure it might help keep the heat out but considering you can now purchase blackout curtains at a reasonable price that would probably work as well and you would even get some air into the room as well. I understand that it may help to keep the room cool but it sure doesn't look nice from the outside of the building.  I know that with the new windows that they have just put in our building that you aren't allowed to put foil on the windows.

The top right of the picture is another method that to me really doesn't seem to be very useful and it looks like they have stuck sales flyers up to cover all of the window.  Again making it extremely hard to get air into the room as it is on all of the windows. The newspaper would be a good idea if you were painting the room and didn't want to get paint on the window but this paper has been up for weeks so it isn't that the unit is just being painted.

Sure everyone has a different view of window coverings and that works for them and what doesn't.  I think what gets to me is when there are the newspaper coverings because those are the ones that I really can't figure out.  I don't think it would keep a lot of the light out but maybe I am wrong. I also understand that no everyone can afford to purchase new curtains or drapes for their home but maybe just going into a thrift store may help them out.  A lot of the thrift stores have tons and tons of curtains and even if they are too big for the window it would probably look a little nicer than the sales flyers.

Window coverings are yes the choice of the people living in the unit so that is why it can be very interesting to just look at the various window treatments you see when you pass by some apartment or condominium buildings.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Being polite does payoff

There are times when just asking a question politely can make a big difference in how things are handled.

Recently there was an issue with the school bells ringing even after the school year had ended. I was trying to figure out why there were ringing when there was no students in the school and won’t be until September. As this is a large school there are a number of recesses which means a number of bells ringing in the morning and afternoon.

What I decided to do was to look up the website for the school board and ask if they could let me know why the bells were ringing. I simply asked if they could explain why the bells would ring in the summer when there were no students in the school. I got a reply early the next morning with a reply of “we have turned off the bells for the summer and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”

Yes, I got the results that I was really looking for and am happy with it. It now means that I can relax and have the windows open and not hear the bells ringing all day long. I think a lot of people will be surprised when they realize that the bells aren’t ringing everyday.

This proves that when you have an issue and would like to understand it simply asking the question politely can really make a difference. I could have written an email just complaining about the continuous bells and it probably wouldn’t have got me the results that I wanted. I just asked for an explanation about the bells because I wasn’t sure if there was a reason for them ringing all the time.
Just asking a simple question and politely can really help you and get you the results that you really wanted. Now I am going to enjoy working even sitting outside without the continual sound of school bells. In the fall the sound will return but at least then I will be inside more often and won’t notice it as much.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Listening to customers

Knowing the important of listening to customers can make a big difference in how you are seen by the customers.

Recently we were attending a conference and there were quite a few issues with regards to registration and the app that the conference was using to plan your agenda. I was fortunate to be able to express some of my frustration with the registration progress to someone from within the company. What I didn’t expect was the outcome of that conversation.

The outcome after the conference was an email from a vice president wanting to talk to me to discuss some of the issues that I had. Now the organization that I am talking about is not a small one location company but a multi-national company which a lot of locations world wide as well as lots of clients, which we are one of them. The email was a touch base and a question to actually talk to me so that they could hear about my issues without anyone else translating them. I had no problem accepting this request and am happy that I did accept it.

The conversation took place and I am happy that he was willing to listen to my issues and help explain why some of them actually happened. I was also provided with some follow up on one of the major issues and am happy that it was handled as quickly as it was. Now the rest of the issues that I talked to him about are things that can be improved moving forward and I hope that they are. The end of this conversation was a promise by him to follow up with me again once he has some more information. I appreciated the time he took to listen and the promise of following up with how some of the issues will be addressed moving forward.

Now what I have promised to do is if needed is to test both the registration and the app for next year to ensure that some of the issues that I pointed out have been resolved and the system is working better. I am glad that this organization did want to list to an end user / customer because I will now favourable recommend them as a software provided and know that they really do listen.

Listening to the customers can really make a difference on how you as an organization will be seen. Not everyone that is unhappy will provide the feedback but when they do make sure you take the time to listen and inquiry about the issue because if one person has had the problem and is complaining about it, how many have had the same issue and are just frustrated and maybe left.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Tourist in my own city

Toronto sign
City Hall with Toronto sign
There are times when it can be a lot of fun to just be a tourist in your own city.  We had a little bit of an opportunity this week to spend a bit of time downtown and of course I had to walk around City Hall so that I could take a few pictures of what I saw.

Part of the reason I wanted to see City Hall was because they had just finished redoing the Toronto sign that sits in Nathan Phillips Square.  As it is Canada's 150th birthday they added the Maple Leaf beside the word Toronto so I wanted a couple of pictures of that.  It was pretty busy down around City Hall but with all the various conferences and tourists in the city it is not surprising.

Old City Hall
The weather actually cooperated which was nice as we have been getting a lot of rain in June so having a day where we could walk around outside without an umbrella was also nice.  I think that might have explained also why it was so busy as it was one of the nice days this week where you could be outside.

Old City Hall Clock
We didn't spend a lot of time walking around as we were heading back from a conference and also had some work that needed to be done.  I decided that besides having a picture of the new City Hall I also needed to ensure that I had a couple of pictures of Old City Hall as well.  Old City Hall is right across the road from City Hall so it meant that I didn't have to go anywhere else to get these additional pictures.

It is always fun when you can be a tourist in your own city even if it's only for an hour or so. I hope to be able to spend some more time as a tourist in my own city this summer.  I think just being able to do it at various times is wonderful.  We hadn't planned on going to City Hall to take pictures so the pictures that I was able to capture were actually taken using my smart phone.  Sure I might have been able to capture more detail with my camera but it was nice getting the pictures that I did.

Being a tourist in your own city can be a lot of fun and even those shorts trip can be worth it.  Next time you have a free hour look at what you can see in your own city and enjoy it.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Frustration with forms

I recently received an email about receiving an e-book that I could easily download. It sounds simple enough and so I decided to fill out the form that I needed to before getting the download. Now the form was pretty simple as it included my name, city and then State. Well I figured that I would be able to at least find the provinces on the list because a lot of companies realize that there are places in Canada that would want this information. I was surprised when I couldn’t find either Canada or any of the provinces but you needed to provide a state to continue with the download. So I decided that considering I had to pick a state I decided I would pick Alaska as it would really confuse the data. I could have picked New York or a state close to Ontario but I decided to make it obvious that I wasn’t happy with the selection that I had.

I did receive the e-book so will now read it and I will probably get a call from the company in the not too distance future asking how they can help me. My answer is going to be that they can help me by making sure the form includes provinces especially since they do have a Canadian presence as I have seen them at various IT shows. I understand that a lot of people joke around that there is nothing north of the 49th parallel and here is an example of why sometimes Canadian’s get upset about how we are treated.

There are a lot of businesses that have their main head quarters down the States but when you providing a service to Canada please ensure that you at least let me either select Canada or a province on your form. When I have to select a state I will pick one that is very obvious and I know that the next time I have to pick a state it will be Hawaii.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Blog posts and ideas from them

I know that I have been writing blog posts for quite a while and now I am thinking what I am going to do with some of the blog posts that I have written.

I haven’t been writing a lot of posts lately and part of that is because I have been trying to think of what to write and I have also been looking back at some of my older posts. I have come up with an idea for some of my posts but that is going to involve quite a bit of work. I have decided that some of my blogs could be combined into one larger document or at least I could collect all the blogs on one topic into something that is easily shared. Of course, to do this it means going back through lots of posts and figuring out how to combine the different posts and see what happens from there.

I am going to continue to work on writing the posts because I can normally find things to write about. I have been looking around me lately and haven’t had a lot of new topics so that has made it a little harder to actually write about something. I hope that over the next couple of weeks that I will be able to start getting back to the overall writing that I have been doing and have more ideas.

Writing a blog post can sometimes be a challenge because coming up with a different idea or topic can sometimes take a while. I am happy with all the posts that I have been able to write and know that it will continue.

A collection of various posts is going to be a lot of fun to work on and it will also mean that the posts may be edited a little bit as I start to pull them together into the various topics. I may even get some more post ideas just by going through some of the topics that I have written about in the past.

Writing for me is something that I really enjoy doing and I just need to get back to the actual writing instead of just looking at the page and not having ideas that I can write about.