Spring into Action

6 Mar


It’s been great to see some snowdrops and other spring flowers and, dare I say it, a ray of sunshine to show spring is on its way.  I’m not really one for spring cleaning but the sunshine does give me that urge to freshen things up especially when it comes to business.

I had a great meeting this morning with my graphic designer/web guy (Hi Gordon!) about giving my site a spring time spruce up!  If we give our wardrobe a seasonal change why not take this opportunity to look at your business.  One of the areas I feel many businesses should consider, is their customer service.  When I train staff in customer service, I always ask the question “Where & When was the last time you received great customer service?”  Many can reel off stories of bad  service, in fact I had to delete my own rant about my local post office and a still undelivered parcel!  But few can give examples of excellent service and in particular excellent service in the UK.  The examples I usually get are from the States or Caribbean.  When I do get an example closer to home, it’s somewhere we would term ‘High End’, such as Gleneagles.  This in turn raises the discussion of, should the price tag mean a difference in service?  A different product yes but is customer service related to how much we pay?

In a highly competitive market such as the pub/restaurant business, service can often be the only thing differentiating you from your competitors.  This is examined in an article I was recently asked to quote for, in the SLTN (Scottish Licensed Trade News), you can read the full article here.

You can’t go far wrong by following the tips laid out in this article from John Lewis , click here, and I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to get the staff to buy into the service levels.

It’s always interesting when staff realise how the service levels reflect on them not just the company they work for.

My Top tips to assess and improve service today, no matter what line of business you are in, are:-

1 – Everyone has to be involved and buy into it

2 – Give staff power to deal with complaints without blame

3 – Use mystery shopper/caller / customer feedback forms

4 – Regular updates/briefings on customer service with in-house examples of excellence

5 – Make Great Service a priority & part of your company values and ethos!

Here’s hoping you get great service whatever businesses you are interacting with today, and let’s share our excellent customer service stories rather than our bad ones!

Have a great month


Blazing Issues

1 Feb

fire flames

One of the things us British love to talk about is the weather and the last month has certainly given us lots of material,  what with the snow, hail, biting winds and torrential rain.  On a more serious note though, hardly a day has gone by without a story of a fire, from arson attacks in Dundee, a tenement blaze in Edinburgh and business premises fires in Glasgow and Torrance.   Even the international news featured interviews with survivors of a nightclub fire in Brazil which people were lucky to escape from.

Bad weather and accidental fires are often linked, as we pull out portable heaters from days gone by and drape over wet jackets or even socks, as I saw on a recent business audit!, and overload extension cables in order to warm up on these chilly days.  Strathclyde Fire Authority highlighted this issue a couple of weeks ago and it applies equally to workplaces as it does the home.  Now is a great time to look at your Fire Procedures:-

  • Do you have a fire risk assessment, if yes when was it last reviewed?
  • Do ALL staff know what the fire evacuation procedures are & where the assembly point is (is this displayed)?
  • Have all staff had Fire Training?
  • When did you last walk around your workplace/home having a quick look for any fire risks?

There is some excellent advice on Fire for small business on the HSE website – http://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/fire.htm

If it’s not the cold, then it’s suffering from one as we pass our germs from one person to another, staff are off ill and workforces are fed up.  This is a good time to review any working from home practices rather than contaminate the whole office.  Advances in technology mean many of us do not need to be in a workplace to work.  Ensuring you have anti-bacterial soaps can also go a long way!  Probably the most bizarre but fascinating health & safety story I read over the last few weeks has been about “Vomiting Larry” who beautifully demonstrates the spread of infection of the norovirus.  Rather than say any more, you can check out the link yourself and the fabulous british invention – not quite in line with a James Bond Film but very innovative –


As I write this, a rogue beam of sunshine is coming through the window reminding me to enjoy the crisp cold days and look forward to spring time ahead!

Have a great month all

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Resolutions for life?!

7 Jan

What New Skill will you Learn in 2013?

What New Skill will you Learn in 2013?

I love January, it’s a brand new year and we are all filled with great feelings of optimism for the months ahead, with new ideas and dreams of what we want to achieve.
According to various internet search engines featuring in the top ten of New Year’s resolutions  we have:-

  • Getting organised
  • Learning something new
  • Spending more time with friends & family

I was chatting about starting a blog and the above resolutions to my fellow “new mum” friends.  Somewhere in our random chat they also discovered I taught first aid, and talked about what a skill it was to be able to save a life!

It was then suggested to me that you could tick all three of these popular resolutions by learning CPR.

A quick call/email to friends and family and one rainy Thursday evening later and they had all learned the new skill of administering CPR to a baby or fellow adult.  For me who already has this skill I gained the idea of a new work offer and content for this blog thereby being a lot more organised than my usual writing things last-minute!

There are some frightening facts & stats from The British Heart Foundation but the one that hit me (as I usually teach first aid in the workplace) is that statistically if you are called on to carry out CPR, the life you save is likely to be someone at home: a child, a spouse, a parent or a friend.

I’m sure many have seen the Vinnie Jones advert and even just familiarizing yourself with Hands only CPR can increase the chances of survival.


Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do they come under the already mentioned topics at all?

Without really realising it I had covered two of these popular choices by starting a craft night at the end of last year which is back up and running after the festive break both learning a new skill and spending time with friends

Business-wise however I guess I will resolve to give my clients and contacts more free resources and daily tips as their feedback has asked for this – which requires me to be very organised!

No wonder the above three are so popular World Wide!

Wishing you every success in the year ahead