It’s been a busy week. Like, really busy. Like, much busier than usual. I like to think of myself as a constant, lifelong learner so I truly feel that even through really negative experiences, you have to learn something. If you had a great time, but didn’t learn anything, maybe you can get by on that. But imagine if you had a terrible time AND you didn’t learn anything? That would be the worst. I’m lucky. I’ve enjoyed myself over the last 7 days. In any case, here, in no particular order is what I learned this week.
1. Customer Service Is Dead. Or maybe dying. Or at least injured. In any case, it’s not healthy. This is of course not true of everywhere. I’ve had wonderful experiences at a number of different stores and locations over the past week but I’ve had a few experiences that have just rubbed me the wrong way. Firstly, I will not be naming the locations. The experiences weren’t horrific. In any case, what they really did was inform me on what good customer service is. Sometimes it’s just acknowledging that I’m there. I get it. Your store is closing in about 8 minutes. You had a long day. You just want to go home. Well, so do I. But first, I need to find that thing I’m looking for. That thing that I’ve been looking for for the last 35 minutes, in a number of stores, without success, and I think you have it. I will never get mad when a team is working hard and just can’t get to me. I’ll wait. I understand how a queue works. BUT when I’m the only person in the store, there are 3 staff members and you’re having a lengthy conversation about who played Selma on The Simpsons… it’s not good. Just say hello and I’ll handle the rest.
I take this to heart because I was blessed (not even kidding) with working in a retail environment from the time I graduated high school until just after I completed my first degree and I strongly believe that it’s so important to create an environment that people want to visit. And so, it made me think. Sure, I’m not a retail location. I don’t have a trenchcoat full of watches or a car trunk full of vegetables from our ever expanding vegetable garden. But I am my own brick and mortar. I am the store front and as such how I present myself, in all its glory is absolutely a reflection of my brand. So, I commit myself, here and now, to being better. I commit myself to being my own ambassador of quan (see Jerry Maguire. No Really. If you haven’t, see it. Even if you have. Great movie).
2. You’re Not The Best. Well, you might be but it’s important that you always take what people have to offer. I have been blessed (there’s that word again) with meeting literally a dozen fantastic people over the last week. These are new people, not previously in my life, each of whom has provided something in the way of knowledge to me. In some cases (Andre Myette) it was a passion, a common interest and a dedication to just doing things you love. Andre is incredibly passionate and brings himself into every project he works on, including a joint project coming soon. In some cases (Anita Hovey) it was a (excuse the terminology, it’s NOT an insult, I promise) a fantastic mini geek out about products and services that help us do what we do. Anita is such a professional and is someone I truly look up to in this industry despite the tendency for haters to hate. To the other 10 of you, I promise you left me with something awesome. In any cases, each of you has shown me something that is powerful and so integral to the way we move forward in business and in life; a passionate dedication to doing what you love doing.
3. People Will Surprise You. I was afforded the opportunity to speak at It’s All Social 2013 in Truro, NS this past week. I was incredibly excited to present, excited to meet some new people and make some new contacts and was really excited to listen to what other people had to say. Except one. The keynote speaker for the evening was a dentist who was going to talk about Facebook. I had zero interest. Lucky for me it coincided with dinner because Dr. Anil Makkar was engaging, excited, exuberant and knowledgable. His presentation was for me one of the absolute highlights of the conference and I had a wonderful time speaking with him in between talks. The “never judge a book by its cover” adage has never been more true than in his case and I’m strongly considering switching dentists, despite the 45 minute drive. Not joking. Totally serious.
In closing, (I’ve been giving too many presentations) it is incredibly important that you (insert corny pun here), put your best foot forward, open your mind to what people around you have to offer, and recognize that their is a wealth of passion and knowledge out there that you don’t even know existed.