Better Than the Last One

Last updated on March 31st, 2021 at 11:56 pm

Some days you’ve just got little left to give. And those, my friends, are the days where I rely on the people around me to brainstorm and come up with little bits of genius.

Today, Sarah told me about a TED Talk video from Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame about nurturing creativity—pretty apropos considering that I hit a bit of a wall tonight and really needed something to overcome the blockades of my mind.

She speaks about the fear of not being able to do better than our last effort, how it can stifle creativity, and what we can do to continue on. She speaks of our social stigma to link misery and creativity—i.e. that our best creative work comes when we’re the most emotionally disturbed. It’s a good, honest talk about an approach to separate the two without sacrificing quality. You can check it out below:

Thanks for the help, babe. Back to our regularly scheduled posts tomorrow!

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The Art of Customer Service

Last updated on March 31st, 2021 at 01:56 am

Having come from a decade of jobs focused on customer service, let me tell you right here, RIGHT NOWEVERY CUSTOMER IS IMPORTANT.

Now, before we begin, here are some other things I should let you know:

  1. The customer is NOT always right. But when they’re not (and these moments are rare), it’s up to you to steer them in the right direction.
  2. Giving good customer service is NOT EASY. Competing with similar businesses aside, if you want loyal customers who will come back for more of what you’re providing, you have to go above and beyond expectations. You are in charge of manufacturing a memory that the customer will associate with you and share with their friends. Do you really want this to be a negative one?
  3. Treat the customer as YOU would want to be treated! Or even better than you’d want to be treated! If someone has come across you for the first time, you don’t want them leaving having just had a ‘good customer interaction’—you want a ‘great customer EXPERIENCE‘!!!

    It’s not something that can be mastered overnight, but these rules are some of the fundamental drivers behind keeping happy customers. If you run a business, or even if you’re just trying to promote yourself, these are some of the things you should definitely keep in mind to ensure that you’re a success.

With that said, on my recent hunt for new glasses, when Hakim Optical appeared not to want my business as a potential client, I very quickly took my business elsewhere.

Let me share the story with you.

Last Thursday, Sarah and I were on the hunt for new glasses. The last time I’d bought glasses or went to the optometrist was in 2006, and I’d spent a few years without benefits at work, so now that everything had lined up, it seemed like the best time to change my look (just in time for the wedding!)

So we started with a shop that Sarah had heard lots about. When we got there, it was nice and the girl working there was friendly enough, but the frames just didn’t have any “oomph” to them. We looked through drawer after drawer, but eventually had to give it a rest and move on.

We’d only walked down the street for a minute before my penchant for fashion kicked in and some dress shirts in a storefront display caught my eye, beckoning me inside. Upon entering the store, the store’s owner Marco greeted us and offered help if we needed it. Even after telling him that we were just looking, he still struck up conversation to be friendly, finding out that we were in the area shopping for glasses. Turns out that he has a friend that runs a shop in the Yonge-Eglinton Centre! Since we only had just over an hour to get there and we were due to hit a dinner party after our shopping, I got Marco’s card, promising that I’d go back to check out his wares since it was such a pleasant experience.

And then it happened.

We stopped in at a Hakim. It was deserted and the only rep there was a mousy-looking woman at the back counter. She quickly directed us that the men’s glasses were on one side of the store and the women’s on the other. And I think that’s the last time she ever spoke to us! She busied herself by calling someone about an invitation to a party or wedding or something and paid us no mind. We spent 10 minutes looking at glasses there, and yes, we had questions, but she wouldn’t give us the time of day! It was VERY FRUSTRATING. So we left, myself vowing never to shop at Hakim again. Thanks, guys.

After this we made our way down to Optika — the store owned by Peter, Marco’s friend. This is what he did that differed from the other stores:

  • Helped us understand what frames best suited our faces and complexions
  • Discussed the trends in fashion and what we might want to be looking at to be ahead of the curve
  • Gave us as much attention as possible, despite the fact that he was the only one tending the store and that there were other customers around
  • Kept the store open late to make sure that our transaction was finished accurately
  • Got the glasses ready for us in two business days

Overall, we were really happy to have found this guy by random chance. I can assure you that he’ll be getting my future business!

So the moral is, don’t be a Hakim. Don’t be that person who’s too “important” (read: pretentious) to give people the time of day. Everyone is worth it. EVERYONE.

I’m out!

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Making the Earth a Greener Place!

Last updated on April 6th, 2021 at 10:07 am

Every year, April 22nd is Earth Day. Which is good, because I totally forgot about Earth Hour a little while back, apparently choosing to sit around and watch TV with Sarah instead. I’m going to go about it a little differently this time, though. I’m a big fan of making our world a greener place: I cringe when I see coworkers throw items in the trash instead of recycle them; I try to reduce my physical footprint by having less things so that I can use up less resources; I’m a regular public transit rider—in a lot of ways, I’d like to think that I contribute to the solution.

But I’m not perfect.

Get Involved!

Last updated on March 31st, 2021 at 08:57 am

No man is an island. For that matter, neither is any woman, child or organism of any type. If you breathe, you need a community. Now I’m sure that there are the odd thing here or there that contradict this, but from a generalized standpoint, our relationships with others are one of the essential things that define our lives.

Let’s take a look at some practical application:

There’re numerous things going on around you at any given time. At the same time, I hear people talking about being bored or lonely. What’s stopping you from asking that person out across the table? Fear of rejection? Or maybe you want to go and dance at a party, but you’re worried about what people might think. Guess what, guys? A lot of this stuff is inconsequential.