Customer service: I really don’t need to tell you how important it is. But I will.

I don’t wanna brag, but I kinda think I’m the ideal customer.

I’ve worked in an ice cream shop, been a lifeguard, babysitter, college orientation leader and cashier (excuse me, “Point of Sale”. That’s much fancier.), all positions where I’ve had to deal with people kindly and judiciously.

I’m also just a really nice, compassionate person.

These traits and experiences combined make me Super Customer! Here to make your $%^&*# work day better!

I want their experience serving me to be good so that, in turn, my experience will be a good one. And they almost always are. I cannot recall a single incident that just enraged me so much that I would never return to the store or use that service again. I should note that I do have a quick temper. I’m sure there have been a handful of times where I’ve unleashed my death stare on a deserving employee, but nothing sticks out in my head. Maybe I’m just a forgiving person and realized that everyone has bad days. Just kidding, I’m just really forgetful.

I did, however, have a couple of recent experiences where I will not be using the services again. In the first, there was a total lack of customer service; I was directed to a machine each time. I wrote an angry and sassy Yelp review in retaliation. The other is more about the facility, itself. I recently called a salon that I had a Groupon for to make an appointment. The woman on the phone was not very personable and evidently we were both pretty hard to understand because we were getting nowhere. I ended up having to call back later because she was clearly so frustrated that one of our phone services was spotty. Anyway, minor annoyance. The real problem came when I arrived for my appointment. I had to wait about 15 minutes, no big deal, she apologized, but that gave me time to look around the room and notice how utterly filthy it was. I should note that this appointment was to remove follicles from an unmentionable area of the body (TMI, I’m sorry, but it’s necessary to the story), so it’s extra, super important that the facility is immaculate. Anyway the point of this story is that customer service extends beyond the front desk. Nobody is going to want to return to your facility if it’s in disarray or, in this case, has wax splattered all over the walls. (Really.)

If you ask me, every single employee, every sector, every part of the company has to be aware of the customer. What they may see, what they may feel, what they may perceive. It’s all a part of good customer service and makes a major difference in their experience.


Let’s get personal

I would like to give ALL THE APPLAUSE to brands like Oreo and JCPenney, who have decided to take the courageous step to voice their opinions. That’s not to say “shame on you” to those who haven’t, of course, but they’ve done a really excellent job of stating their company beliefs.

I’m going to be honest, I’m having a very hard time separating my own morals from my position on companies getting personal like that. I’m a flaming liberal, it’s true (um, I’m a Chicagoan in advertising), so I find it very difficult to support anyone that honestly believes that things such as gay marriage should be illegal. I won’t get into any more of my feelings on that matter to spare you a tirade. So, needless to say, I support the brands that support equal rights for all.

I think that sharing their beliefs on such a hot topic is a way for these companies to bond with their existing and potential consumers. Knowing that they are so adamant on their position that they would go as far as to ostracize certain demographics surely creates a more personal relationship between the supporting groups.

That being said, while I don’t agree with the opinions of other companies such as Chick-fil-A and Target, I think they have just as much right to voice their views. Even if I find it obnoxious.

And let’s be real, I’m not gonna stop going to either of them because milkshakes and dollar section, respectively.

Corportate blogs, worth my time?

I should start out by saying, yes, they probably are good to read and I should maybe be doing it.

But I cannot think of a single way a brand could get me to be so interested that I would check out their blog every single day, unless they were my client.

Maybe I shouldn’t have said that. But you know what, I like to live transparently. So there.

Blogs have to be crazy entertaining for me to read them once a week, so I can’t imagine what they’d have to do to get me to read them every day. In fact, the only true blog that I really follow is called Cake Wrecks and is just a collection of hideous store-made cakes with hilarious commentary. You should really check them out.

Anyway, maybe it’s my ENFP personality, or maybe it’s my young age, but I find reading long blog posts to be, on the whole, mundane. Just because you, as a representative of your company, find something that they did to be interesting, honestly doesn’t mean that more than a select few fanatics will agree with you. Because they probably won’t. In this age of instant gratification and short attention spans, you’ve got to hook us with something pretty wild and maintain that same energy to get us to read what you’ve got to say. Because otherwise, I’ll just switch over to Huff Post or CNN or BuzzFeed, something that’ll give me the information I need in a voice I want to read.

Maybe if you cracked jokes and had puppies, narwhals, a crazy cool manicure, a ridiculous DIY and some slow lorises, I would pay attention.

Like I said, just being honest.

Brands and disasters: how to deal

I’ve largely kept mum about all the goings-on in Boston this past week. I’ve been too horrified to do anything but say “oh my gosh” repeatedly and regurgitate what news outlets have been telling me.

And for the most part, I think that staying quiet is what brands should be doing too.

That sounds insensitive, so let me clarify. I think offering up thoughts, prayers and well-wishes over social media is not only an acceptable but also expected way for most brands to react. A quick tweet or Facebook post is all that is necessary, and frankly, wanted, if a brand is unable to donate time or money to relief efforts. It’s respectable.

However, it can also come across as insincere. With all brands saying the same thing, who’s keeping track of any of it? It all just seems so robotic.

The unfortunate truth, though, is that it’s tough for any brand to sound like they really mean what they say, so there’s not much point in saying a whole lot about the matter. But then there are some companies that are just doing it right.

The Chicago Tribune has made me so proud to be from this great city this week. They ran a beautifully simple ad on Tuesday that quickly went viral and followed it up by sending pizzas over to the hard-working Boston journalists. Both were such effortless gestures that demonstrated the Trib’s, and Chicago’s, compassion for the devastated city and showed that, though we may be bitter sports rivals, we’ll always have their back and stand with them as one.

Now THAT is the way to respond to events like this past week’s. Go big or go home.