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  • Wednesday, December 27, 2017 9:54 AM | Deleted user

    Customers use feelings to form their perception about the service they receive. These feelings are much stronger, and much more important than what actually happened.

    Service failures can create strong feelings about poor service. Research shows that fixing the problem might not be enough to make the customer feel good again.

    If we want our customer to feel great, we need to overcorrect. Here are some examples:

    • A winery shipped wine to the wrong address. They fixed the problem by sending a new shipment to the correct address and overcorrected by letting the first recipient keep the wine they incorrectly received.
    • A cable repair technician fixed a glitch in the customer's cable system and then overcorrected by showing the customer how to boost their wifi reception.
    • A technical support agent helped a customer access a locked account and then overcorrected by showing the customer some new features that would save her time.

    In each of these cases, the customer went from feeling bad about the problem to feeling great about the extra level of service they received. All because of the overcorrect.

  • Monday, December 11, 2017 3:05 PM | Deleted user

    We're taught to always go the extra mile. You can't go wrong with giving a customer a little extra, right? 

    Well, sometimes you can. 

    • A free dessert at a restaurant can backfire if the guests are already stuffed or watching their diet. Do they eat something they don't want or reject such a nice gift?
    • An upgrade to the deluxe package at the car wash can backfire if the customer is in a hurry and finds the smell of air freshener to be sickening.
    • Upgrading an airline passenger's seat to an exit row can backfire if it separates her from the rest of her family.

    Try to see things through your customer's eyes before giving your customer a little extra. And, when in doubt, ask them first. It shows you care and it might help avoid an uncomfortable situation

    This tip is probably a little out of the box, but that's what makes it fun. We would love to hear your comments or your own experiences with little extras that backfired.

  • Wednesday, November 15, 2017 10:14 AM | Deleted user

    The Attitude Anchor

    The Attitude Anchor is a great way to keep our own negative feelings neutralized, especially when dealing with an upset or difficult customer.

    The concept works by focusing on something positive that "anchors" your attitude where it needs to be to deliver outstanding service. You can use Attitude Anchors to maintain a positive attitude or to help recover your positive attitude after a difficult interaction.

    Attitude Anchors can vary widely from person to person, but here are a few examples:

    • Pictures of family or friends
    • Inspirational (or funny) quotes
    • Upbeat music
    • Conversation with family or friends
    • Humor, including jokes and cartoons
    • Going for a walk

  • Monday, October 30, 2017 1:38 PM | Deleted user

    The 10 & 5 Rule for Greetings

    The 10 and 5 rule is famous in the hospitality industry as a simple reminder to consistently greet people that you encounter.

    • When customers are 10 feet away from you, use a non-verbal greeting such as a smile or a wave.
    • When customers are 5 feet away from you, greet them verbally.

    Why is the 10 and 5 rule effective? Because it reminds you to walk with your head up while looking for opportunities to serve.  It creates a 'customer service zone' around you that makes you more approachable and may lead you to find an unexpected service opportunity.

    You can also modify the 10 and 5 rule to suit your needs. For example, I recently used the "20 and 10" rule while working in the Expo Hall at a conference so I could greet even more people.

  • Thursday, October 05, 2017 9:21 AM | Deleted user

    Is it time to rebrand your business? Use this checklist to develop a successful new brand.

    Here are a few questions to help you decide if you need to revamp your company's image:

    • If you had to give an elevator pitch, how would you describe your business?
    • What gave you the idea for your business?
    • Why did you decide to become your own boss?
    • What is your long-term vision for your business?
    • What elements of your business would you like to keep/change?
    • What products or services do you offer?
    • What makes them unique?
    • Who are your target customers?
    • What are their core values?
    • What does market research show you about your customers?

    For a free consultation on how to take your business to the next level, contact either Arthur or Kathy Messina at Create-A-Card: or (631) 584-2273

  • Wednesday, September 13, 2017 2:12 PM | Deleted user

    Who are the millennials customers and what buying trends can we expect in the future? For full story, click HERE

  • Wednesday, August 23, 2017 10:46 AM | Deleted user

    Founder and president of Create-A-Card along with Managing Director of the Driving Results Alliance, Arthur Messina shares his gratitude for our Sponsors and peer group members. For this special poem, click HERE

  • Wednesday, August 02, 2017 10:03 AM | Deleted user

    As a small business owner, you know the value of every dime. To grow your business you must pay close attention to every expense. Unfortunately, accepting credit cards means incurring processing expenses.

    Typically, credit card processing companies charge as much as 5 percent on everything earned from credit card sales, including interchange costs, processing costs, and even statement fees. Because most people pay with plastic rather than cash, you need to accept credit cards in order to survive. According to the latest statistics, by 2017 only 23 percent of all point-of-sale (POS) purchases will be made with cash. At the same time, a 33-percent increase in credit card use is anticipated. You can reduce your expenses. Here are some tips:

    Comparison Shop

    Before choosing a credit card processor, do some comparison shopping, since some providers have much higher fees for the same type and level of service. Most importantly, look for hidden fees by reading every word of the “terms and conditions.” You also need to choose a reputable company like Chosen Payments. In addition to saving on processing fees, you gain access to other critical services such as online reporting, mobile applications marketing, ecommerce integration, and more.

    Purchasing versus Leasing a Machine

    While it might seem as if leasing a credit card terminal is cost-efficient, in reality you will spend up to 20 times more than if you purchased it outright. The other issue is that leasing comes with a long-term contract that cannot be cancelled. The average cost of leasing a machine is between $40 and $70 per month, whereas the purchase of a terminal is anywhere from $200 to $400, depending on what you need.

    Avoid Manual Transactions

    Although are times when manual transactions are necessary, you should avoid them whenever possible. Entering transactions manually puts you at greater risk for fraud, so as protection the credit card processing company will charge a fee for every incident.

    Impose Minimum Sales

    If your company handles smaller transactions, consider imposing a minimum for credit card sales. For instance, the profit margin on a $5 or less transaction is only 10 percent. After paying applicable fees, you make virtually nothing. If you impose a minimum sale of $10 to $20, fees are paid you make a profit.

  • Wednesday, July 12, 2017 2:18 PM | Deleted user

    When it is time to retire, who will take over your business?  Your business can provide for your retirement as well as the future of your children and grandchildren if planned and executed correctly. 

    The All-American dream for most of us is to start our own successful business.  We dream of one that will make us rich and provide well for future generations of our family.  Of those who succeed and pass the business down through multiple generations, in most cases, careful planning of the hand-off from one generation to the next takes place.  While it may seem natural to hand it off to the oldest child when the time comes, the oldest child may not be the best choice or may not even want the business according to David K. Nicholas, a CPA with over thirty years experience specializing in emotional and financial issues of family owned and managed businesses.   

    The Test Drive

    Before you bequeath the business in your mind to anyone, it might be a good idea to have them work in the business.  The heir to the throne in your mind just might decide they don’t want to inherit the throne once they try their hand at it.  On the other hand, you may discover the business philosophies of your offspring may be vastly different than your own and want to preserve a certain management style or company image.  Once the company is handed over these philosophy differences can cause very deep wounds that can destroy a family according to Nicholas. 

    The Stein Theory

    Perhaps the most well known father-son team in the limousine industry is Ron Stein and his son, Brandan Stein.  Ron is the CEO and Brandan is the COO of Exclusive Sedan Service Worldwide based in North Hollywood, CA.  The company is a recipient of LCT Magazine’s, Operator of the Year award.

    Ron has a belief that family values should always come before business plans.  This is a sentiment also stated by Nicholas in addressing the two.  “There are business matters and there are family matters and the two should always remain separate and distinct”, says Nicholas.  Brandan joined the business at the age of seventeen.  In his third year with the company, it was apparent to Ron that Brandan had the passion, desire and drive to move the business into a new dimension and eventually take over.  The succession plan called for a role reversal to allow Ron a little more free time while still being involved in the operations. 

    Keeping It Real

    No two people are going to manage the exact same way.  As far as picking a successor, if there are multiple choices, Nicholas recommends forming a board of directors consisting of family members, financial and legal advisors, long term employees and others you value for their business skills.  Let them make an independent decision as to who the successor of the company should be.  Nicholas also believes that the adult brain is not fully developed until the age of thirty.  “While in some rare cases you might trust someone under the age of thirty to take over the business, as a general rule, you should not consider someone under the age of thirty”.  Nicholas also states that there are operational decisions and there are financial decisions to be made and the decision-making processes should always remain separate and never be made based on emotions.

  • Wednesday, June 21, 2017 9:37 AM | Deleted user

    You may be unfamiliar with the term “Loyalty Program” but you are surrounded by them.  One of the most recognized loyalty programs in the nation is Starbucks who uses a “star system”.  Each time you make a Starbucks purchase, you earn a star.  When you have accumulated ten stars, you get a free product.  On some days, they offer “bonus stars” and this causes people to come in to buy coffee on a given day simply to double up on their stars and get to the reward faster.

    Here’s where the loyalty part really plays in.  Card-carrying Starbucks customers are not going to go to Peet’s Coffee or another competitor because they want to get something in return for being so loyal and buying ten cups of coffee to get something free.  Everyone likes to be rewarded.

    Simply awarding stars or points for spending money with your business isn’t the only way to increase sales.  Because you control the data collected at enrollment time, you can glean birthdays, anniversary dates, cell phone numbers and email addresses at the time of enrollment.  From that day forward, you will be able to track spending habits.  You can see what a client likes, which location they go to most often, what their average sale total is, how many days they go without a purchase and many other details that help drive promotions geared specifically for an individual customer.

    Speaking of obtaining a customer’s cell phone number, this tool may be the best target you have.  During the enrollment process, ask the customer to approve getting SMS messaging from your with special offers just for them.  If you use SMS messaging (and you should) you can send special offers that just might drive your customer to your business within the next hour.

    California based Weinerschnitzel and Jack In-The-Box are pros at sending out messages to their customers that cause an immediate hunger attack and subsequent purchase.  Sending an SMS message that says, “Come in for lunch today and enjoy a free beverage on us” or something similar can skyrocket sales for the day.  Sending a message about food at 10:30am to someone working in an office can cause the whole office to decide that a chili-cheese dog is what they are having for lunch.

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