Tag Archive: food


What is customer service?

Really, what is customer service? Because I am getting to think some companies do not understand the concept and can’t deliver it. An easy definition of customer service is treating your customer well. Ahhh, yes we can agree with that but just treating your customers well is not good enough. We need companies to go beyond treating their customers well.

Customer service in 2010 is a function of how well an organization is able to constantly and consistently exceed the needs of the customer. If a business today is not able to compete on customer service delivery then it makes no sense entering the business world. The company would have missed the point and focus of what companies should deliver to their customers. Firms today display on huge scrolls their mission statements and vision statements in their establishments. They express how wonderful the customer is but somehow their delivery does not match up with the words.

On Wednesday March 3, 2010, my friend purchased two slices of cakes from Pastry Passions. They have outlets in Manor Park and Liguanea, all located in Kingston, Jamaica. Later on, I opened the package, everything looks presentable, glanced a bit; it looked good so I began to partake. After eating two pieces I noticed that there was plastic below the icing. I thought to myself “this isn’t right?” I have never purchased a cake and seen plastic below the icing. After some investigations, I learnt that they use the plastic to retain the moisture. It is used for cakes like black forests – the one we bought. Clearly the individual who applied the icing forgot to take off the plastic.

I recognized then that this must have been a genuine mistake. I can’t fathom a pastry outlet of the repute like Pastry Passions making this mistake.

In a situation like this you either accept the mistake and the disservice as normal or you report the situation. It is sad that I was willing to condone and accept this mediocre service delivery from a company when you have paid a nice chunk for a slice of cake. Many customers share this profile though. When something in the service delivery goes wrong they accept the wrong actions by the company as normal when it is not. We need to reach a level where actions like these don’t go unreported. We were so lackadaisical about it that I was able to convince my friend to eat the cake.

However, he decided to call Pastry Passions to report the case so that they were aware of the matter and that no one would be harmed. It would be sad and a bad tale to have a child swallow a piece of that plastic on the cake.

During the conversation, the representative from the company becomes irate. Not over the fact that this incident could have happened at Pastry Passions but was angry that the person reporting the matter had an attitude. This is a blatant violation and a health risk that could bring the store closed and you are giving the customer an attitude. I was upset because I expected better from Pastry Passions. They are all over the Jamaican media telling how good their cakes are blah blah blah. Truth be told, they aren’t that good. Even their presentation sucks because the cakes on display are messed up, the icing does not hold up. So when people can see flaws in your product and still have the guts to handle it and purchase your goods, giving an attitude should be the last thing on your mind. To bring everything home, honey, this was not a normal entry level employee dishing the attitude and insolent behaviour this is from one of the managers.

And that is the saddest part of the story. That a manager, who we will assume should know better, could have done this.

The night got better though. The cakes were returned. While in the Manor Park outlet of Pastry Passions the other manager stormed in, was angry that this situation all had happened. She apologized and it was accepted.

Customer service in Jamaica is at its lowest point. I think we have low regards for customers because as a people we have no respect for people. There are a few good people left. I wrote a blog post months ago that spoke about this topic. In it I shared great experiences I had, so I know great customer service delivery can be reached. It is not hard, it is not a stretch out of our imagination. We don’t have to wait until we reach on an airplane to enjoy it. Customer service should be like breathing, it’s that easy.

When I left school I was employed with the marketing firm and through another private sector firm was offering free customer service training. You need to read that again, free customer service training for their staff. All I had to do was to call up the companies and share the good news of free customer service with them and ask if they were interested. Would you believe that some companies turned the offer down? This training was not mediocre customer service training. They were getting training materials that they could keep all for free. I had managers on the telephone attempting to convince me that their staff does not need customer service training. I also want to share that the training sessions I did companies were surprised of the quality, the technique I used and some expressed I should continue. I am passionate about customer service. Three companies can be selling the same thing but what makes you stand out is how you treat your customers when they walk through your doors.

Do you say “May I help you?” in a dry tone, or

You walk over with a smile and say “Good morning, how are you?” (Wait for a response)

“I see you’re looking at jeans pants, what size are you looking for?”

I should not be shopping and screaming on top of my lungs “HELP”.

Customer service is something you either have it or you don’t. If you don’t have it, pray that you’ll get it. Because we are at a stage where if you ignore it, another company might steal your idea and do a better job at it. Do you have it? Customer service is history, it is in the past. Today, as customers we seek customer empathy. If the manager on the phone, got apologetic and really expressed his dissatisfaction with what his company did we would feel better to consume there again. With the way he handled the situation I am not sure I want to look through their panes anymore. Customer empathy is showing your customer how much you care about them. Because they would have cared a lot before to have reported how bad they feel.

Tips on providing great customer service/empathy

  1. Do not take criticism personally.
  2. Listen to the customer.
  3. Acknowledge that your company did something wrong
  4. If it is the company’s fault fix it.
  5. Do everything with a calm voice, mixed with a smile. It will go a far way.
  6. Never forget to make it up to the customer. Provide free service/gifts, because you want to retain this person.
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I woke up on my birthday (January 30th) to find a Direct Message in my Twitter account from the Jamaica Pegasus. Who knew? They were inviting me to celebrate my birthday at their weekly Tuesdays on the Grill. How could I turn down an offer like this? So I immediately sent them my info through twitter account for booking. I must say thanks to the Jamaica Pegasus and Ms. Simpson who extended the invitation.

The night was wonderful. Tuesdays on the Grill goes from 7:00 pm till around 10:30 pm at the Pegasus. I had class that evening (Supervisory Management) which I remembered only the day before. However, I went after – my class ended at 8:30 pm. It was not my first time eating at the Pegasus; I normally meet with friends there for a good time. The food is always great and at the right price if you’re eating out.

On Tuesday night from the music to the food to the ambience it was lovely. It is right by the poolside which makes it more picturesque. The evening was well attended I might add – full house enjoying the food prepared by the Jamaica Pegasus.

The evening was magical. Certainly if you are in Kingston – the place to be is the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel – Kingston’s Preferred Hotel.

Dessert

Welcome to the fifth edition in the series of the Water Cooler – appears every Sunday on this blog. This feature will highlight what’s hot, topical and up for discussion.

Here we go.

Others in the Series:

Water Cooler, Water Cooler Ed. 2, Water Cooler Ed. 3, Water Cooler Ed. 4

Politics

On Friday October 2, 2009 the Obama administration traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark to encourage the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to choose Chicago, USA for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Competing with Chicago were Madrid, Tokyo and Rio. With local issues behind and pundits crying out for him to stay and focus on the problems affecting the country, Barack Obama flew to Denmark to make the case for Chicago his home state.

Later in the afternoon, the first round of voting eliminated Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 games. Many people especially Americans were shocked and flabbergasted by their early elimination. The energy surrounding Chicago’s bid and information that the media reported was that the decision would have been between Rio and Chicago. Oh how they were wrong?

When I heard the words “Rio de Janeiro” to host the 2016 Olympic Games I had mixed emotions. I am happy that the South American country will be able to host the games of such magnitude there and it shows great leadership and planning on the part of the Brazilian team. The twitter world was lit up by this announcement with IOC, Chicago and Rio as trending topics. What also struck me was that many people seemed happy that Chicago had lost the bid. Were these sentiments ‘un-American’? Were theses feelings driven by conservatives?

In this post I want to share the information that was presented to the International Olympic Committee. I am doing this to give readers a front row seat in the presentations that were delivered. Below are the video presentations and speeches of Chicago and Rio to host the 2016 games.

I must say hands down the presentation by the Rio team was concrete. It articulated a phenomenal approach to the games. The video presentation outlined to the delegates was unique and displayed quality images to show voters what they would expect from Brazil hosting such a game. The video presentation made you believe that this would be spectacular; it challenged your imagination and made you believe that athletes would live their passions in Brazil. This was followed by a moving speech that was delivered with such emotion and one that would make the delegates move to action to choose Rio as the perfect destination.

The Chicago bid was different from the Rio presentation. In that it presented the information but was low on substance – imagery.  The presentation would be what my lecturers accuse my classmates of having – it was all over the place. It was not compelling and not believable. As we saw in the Rio presentation a focus was on sporting activities and the athletes; I did not see that in Chicago’s bid. I got the impression that they (the athletes) would be spread across the city like nomads. In Rio’s presentation, although they (the athletes and games) are in four areas, it had an aim in mind. I watched the videos carefully and nowhere in Chicago’s video do you see people. They talked about humanity and friendship and one would have liked to see two people laughing or sharing something. The video showed buildings, google earth graphics and animations the entire time.

michelle-obama404_676280cSpeeches by the Obama’s and the others didn’t help. Michelle Obama before her trip to Denmark said the Obama team would be taking the bid as the Iowa primary. What was their focus? Clearly they thought these delegates would have been bought by their fame and shared ignorance of what the Olympic Games are all about or they are still in campaign mode. The Chicago team sent the wrong signal expecting everything to change with Obama’s presence; in their words “to put it in the bag.” With Michelle Obama lies and a groggy President Obama the speeches clearly made the delegates cringe. Michelle Obama stated that she sat on her father’s lap cheering on Carl Lewis etc. Which 20 year old sits on a father’s lap at that stage of their life watching the Olympics? Barack Obama’s speech didn’t help. He focused on his ego and him winning the election, this is not what the speech should have surrounded. He should have emphasized more the decision that they had to make and how Chicago is the best option. Obama wants to step a few blocks from his home with Michelle and his girls to welcome the world. Wouldn’t it have sounded better if he stated that Chicagoans and Americans want to welcome the world to their shores?

Who would you have voted for? What do you think?

Love & Relationship

Many people would agree that compromises are the hallmark of all relationships. Sharing an environment like a home isn’t always easy for couples; living together or dating. Couples who face this challenge face a real divide especially dsc_0076when pets are at the heart of the issue. A dating partner may compromise on one pet, but what should be done when the other keeps adopting more animals? Surely, pets should be cared for and deserve a home. Should your partner keep adopting pets ignoring your preference of having none at all? Or shouldn’t it be an issue once you are not allergic to one?

Having pets is surely a rewarding experience for those who love them but it should never be at the expense of your partner’s happiness or experience.

Inspiration

2072865350015798315S500x500Q85This week’s inspiration has to deal with taking care of our bodies. We have one life to live and one body to experience it with. Eating the right foods and exercising regularly should be everyone’s focus as we get older. We are busier than ever these days with family obligations, our own education pursuits, workplace issues etc. We should however take some quality time in taking care of ourselves. If it means taking a well needed check-up at the doctor, a massage at a spa, that visit to the dentist, for women – that pap smear test and for men prostate exam. You have one body; take care of your health this week and on.

Today, July 30, 2009 is Cheesecake day.

Cheesecake

Cheesecake

If you have not had cheesecake, half of your life is gone. Today is dedicated to cheesecakes, oh how we love them. Whatever the type you like cheesecakes have brought families together and many special moments. There is something special about this wonderful and divine cake.

If you want to be my friend, let’s have an evening out and have cheesecake. Many people associate cheesecakes with gaining weight, breakouts on the face (zits), fat, calorie intake etc. All of this may be true but there is something very appealing about the presentation and aesthetic of a cheesecake.

They come in a variety of flavours and once you try one that you like. You will forever be having them as desserts.

My top five flavours are:

  1. White Chocolate
  2. Vanilla
  3. Cherry
  4. Blueberry
  5. Run and Raison

Sound off. What is your favourite flavour and what makes a cheesecake special to you?