Social media monitoring is a customer service game changer

July 7th, 2009

Social media montoring is something that all companies should be doing.

Restaurants have been impressing me lately

April 9th, 2012

There have been a couple of restaurants that have impressed me lately with their level of service.

First, I had made a reservation online last Thursday for my wife and I to have dinner at Fleming’s Steak House. Everything was great at dinner from the service by our server to the food. What really impressed me was the follow up email I received the next morning. While it was a template email from their CRM system, the thought process to put together a professional and somewhat personalized email was very impressive. They have definitely won over someone that will now add Flemings to the list of possible business dinner spots.

The second restaurant that impressed me was Capital Grille. I made the reservation last week for this evening. This afternoon, I received a phone call (yes, from a live person), confirming my reservation and asking me if there was anything special that I needed.

In an era where details are often overlooked by companies, these finer points were definitely not wasted on me!

Starwood – Sheraton – Dolphin Hotel – Thank you for great service

April 26th, 2010

Vicodin online
Cialis online

A couple of weeks ago my family and I went on a short trip to Disney World in FL. After staying 3 nights at one of the hotels on property, we moved over to the Dolphin Hotel, which is located between Epcot and MGM on Disney property. Although it’s on Disney property, it’s owned and operated by Starwood.

As a Gold Starwood member, I always get a room upgrade when staying at a Starwood Property (Sheraton, Westin, W, St. Regis, etc…), and this usually translates to a regular room with a better view or a balcony when I stay at the Dolphin. It was really hot when we were there, the kids were wiped out, and we were just looking forward to getting into an air conditioned room and going to bed.

Due to availability, we were upgraded to a suite with adjoining room. This meant that we could put the kids to bed in the connected room and my wife and I could relax, watch tv, eat a late night snack, and have a drink without worrying about waking up the kids. It was a weclomed surprise that really made a big difference for the 2 nights we were there. I don’t expect this kind of upgrade every time, but in this case it really made a positive difference in our trip and increase my perception of the service levels at Starwood properties.

They person checking me in saw that I was a Gold member, saw that I had cranky little kids who were over tired and over cranky, and made a positive difference within the parameters of his job latitude. He didn’t have to put us in that room, but he did… and I say “thank you!”

It’s this type of customer service, making me feel like I matter as a customer, that will keep me coming back to the brand.

Service Magic contractor Kwik Klean – bad customer service

August 7th, 2009

Service Magic has generally been a good source of referrals for us. We’ve used them a couple of times in the past for other services, with generally excellent service from the contractors they have referred.

We moved last week (finally) and the first thing we did was have the carpets cleaned and have a cleaning service to scrub the place down before furniture and boxes were unloaded and unpacked. We used Service Magic to get referrals for a carpet cleaner, and after getting estimates and interviewing several companies we chose Kwik Klean ( We chose that company because we were dealing directly with the owner and figured that he would give us good service since it was his own company. We were very, very wrong.

Immediately upon walking through our home, he wanted to charge us more than the agreed upon price for the small baseement space even though it was a room as part of the quote. After settling on the agreed upon price, Bob began to clean the carpet. My wife was surprised that none of the stains came out, and was disappointed that the carpet looked no better than before the cleaning. When I came home later in the day, it was clear to me that the carpet still appeared dirty.

The carpet in the house isn’t new, so we weren’t expected

United Airlines – it’s called accountability

July 8th, 2009

Here is a great story shared in a humorous way.

American Airlines turns a bad situation into a positive one

June 16th, 2009

In business and in life, it’s not necessarily what things happen, but instead how you react to them. This goes for people as well as companies.

Last week I was on an American Airlines flight from Denver to Chicago. I was wiped out after a 5 day business conference in Colorado Springs, and I was hoping to get home on time so that I could kiss my kids goodnight.

The first sign that something was wrong was when I received the text message alert that the flight was 30 minutes late. By the time I checked in (2 hours before the flight), the delay had already reached 1 hour. After a quick lunch, I planted myself in a cubicle at

Losing control of your process

January 14th, 2009

Whenever you outsource anything in your business, you lose an apect of control. It’s an inherent risk with outsourcing, which is why chosing a partner is crucial.

I cancelled my Comcast account (triple play – phone, cable, internet) in early December, and switched to AT&T U-Verse due to better pricing along with a more robust product offering.

Part of the cancellation process involves returning the Comcast equipment. I had one cable box with remote and a cable modem to return. Comcast is supposed to send you a couple of boxes via DHL to return the equipment. It’s now been 5 weeks and 4 calls to Comcast, and I still have no boxes.

Last night, I called Comcast for the 4th time and they blamed the problem on DHL, saying that the box order was placed by Comcast and that DHL must have dropped the ball.

Am I frustrated with DHL right now? Well… a little bit, but most I’m mad at Comcast for not taking ownership of the problem and getting me the box so that I can return their equipment.

If DHL really is the problem (the rep wasn’t overly surprised the DHL dropped the ball), why does Comcast outsource to them?

Would you want your brand reputation in the hands of a company that continually damages it?

United Airlines has reached a new low in customer service

December 17th, 2008

Yes… As much as I can’t stand United Airlines, I recently flew them again.

My mother-in-law passed away a couple of weeks ago, and we flew out the next day from Chicago to Boston for the funeral. Even though American Airlines (my preference) and United Airlines were the same price, my father in-law had vouchers for United Airlines, so they won.

There was the usual get on the plane, wait, get off the plane, wait, get back on the plane, go the end of the runway, wait some more. This is not what got under my skin though.

It was a horrible week anyway, with the passing of my mother in-law. To make matters worse, my father in-law caught a stomach bug the morning we were flying back. The flight was about 2/3 full. United charges extra for the “preferred” seats like exit rows, etc… My father in-law was the last person on the plane, and they closed the door behind him. As he got to the exit row, he noticed that there were plenty of open exit row seats. He sat down and was quickly told by the flight attendant that those were only for people who paid extra. My wife explained that her mom had just passed away and that my father in-law also wasn’t feeling well and asked

Bellagio service has me buzzing

March 16th, 2008

I was recently on a business trip to Vegas for a few days. I had been given a gift of $1000 of gift certificates to be spent at Bellagio owned stores, so I was looking forward to seeing what was available.

Unfortunately, the selection of stores was very limited, but I was able to find a counter of Origins products. After confirming with my wife that she wanted Origins products, I started looking around.

As a typical guy, I know absolutely NOTHING about cosmetics, creams, or lotions. When the cosmetic sales guide offered to help me, it was plainly obvious that I didn’t know what I was looking for. After I called my wife to review some of the products with her, the sales guide offered to get on the phone with my wife to find out what she was looking for and make recommendations.

This incrediblly helpful cosmetic sales guide, Ivette Lamboy, spent nearly 20 minutes on the phone with my wife finding out her needs and making recommendations. This went above and beyond the help I’ve ever received at similar types of store in the past. Ivette not only saved me from buying the wrong products, but make my wife and I both feel like valuable clients.

The result was that I ended up buying over $400 worth of products from Origins for my wife, mother in-law, and even a couple of things for myself. Not only is everyone happy with the products, but I’ve told this story about how helpful Ivette was to several people. If you’re ever in Vegas and you use Origins products, visit Ivette at Bellagio.

It’s Okay to Have Mice in Restaurants

September 5th, 2007

My wife just came back from eating dinner with friends at Buffalo’s Restaurant in Buffalo Grove, IL. The story she told me shocked me. Here’s the recount of the story…