The Corey Story

My random wanderings and things I find entertaining

Archive for the ‘Etiquette Awareness’ Category

Etiquette Awareness — It’s Been An Experience!

Posted by Corey Kaster on June 30, 2010

Over the last few weeks we have been dealing with the after-effects of a, shall we say, water “over-flow” problem in our home. It turned out to be a lot more damage than was initially expected: ruined hard wood floors, wet sheetrock and insulation in three walls, carpet, wet insulation under the house … you get the idea.

To be honest, this type of thing would typically send me over the edge as we have enough going on in our daily lives. However, our insurance agent set the tone from the very beginning, responding calmly and promptly to my calls and providing guidance as to how the claim would process. His regular follow-up calls continue to let me know he is available at any time if I have questions or need his assistance. Thank you, Corey Kaster, of Insurance Masters Northwest — you are appreciated!

It has not only been Corey that has made this process work. I have had restoration service professionals, insurance adjusters, contractors, flooring reps, painters, and more in and out of my home. As I wrote to Corey, “every person I have had contact with has been professional, friendly and very, very helpful. If you have to deal with a problem like this, the attitudes of those you deal with make a tremendous difference in getting through it in one piece. I’m laughing — wryly, but I’m laughing, and that says a lot.”

The second part to this experience has been related to the benefit of networking. When this problem arose, I reached out to those I network with on a regular basis and asked for recommendations … and was truly rewarded. I know that the names provided to me by colleagues and friends are ones I can trust; often times they were accompanied by stories of the great job that was performed for the person making the referral. I also received some very useful tips and suggestions on things to be aware of, which were especially appreciated as living in a construction zone is new to me.

It’s amazing what a little bit of water can do!

Remember…

Friends and colleagues are valuable resources for both professional and personal reasons. It pays to cultivate them!

And as Winston Churchill said:

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”

Please feel free to send me any of your

etiquette or customer service questions or stories!

Previous editions of Etiquette Awareness

may now be viewed at my website,

www.jodiblackwood.com

Jodi Blackwood

Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist

Speaker & Seminar Leader

“Etiquette is about polishing your approach,

not changing who you are.”

mailto:jodi@jodiblackwood.com

360-798-4912

www.jodiblackwood.com

Posted in Coaching, Etiquette Awareness, Farmers Insurance, Vancouver Home Insurance, Washington Home Insurance | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Etiquette Awareness — Three Little Words, BIG Meaning

Posted by Corey Kaster on June 17, 2010

There are two words I use a lot: courtesy and respect.

I believe the interactions we have with others, whether they are a brief, one-time exchange or continuous, long-term relationships, are greatly impacted by the manner in which we treat others. There is no financial cost to using these forms of conduct but they have a powerful affect, not only in how you make others feel but in how you are perceived.

There is another word I believe very strongly in, and that is dignity.

Dignity is the quality of being worthy of esteem or respect. To me, it also reflects composure and poise. I think of dignity in terms of oneself more than other people, as in, always maintain your dignity. Dignity goes hand in hand with presenting a polished presence. We can find ourselves in all sorts of awkward or uncomfortable situations; how we react to them is what is going to be noticed — and judged — by those around us.

Remember…

The only person you have control over is yourself. Sometimes not saying anything, smiling politely, or simply excusing yourself from the situation is the best remedy. No matter how much you may wish to indulge yourself by firing off that comment, stepping in where you shouldn’t or simply not letting go when it is past time to do so, remembering my three words will do you much better.

Courtesy                       Respect                         Dignity

For yourself and those around you.

Please feel free to send me any of your

etiquette or customer service questions or stories!

Previous editions of Etiquette Awareness

may now be viewed at my website,

www.jodiblackwood.com


Jodi Blackwood

Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist

Speaker & Seminar Leader

“Etiquette is about polishing your approach,

not changing who you are.”

mailto:jodi@jodiblackwood.com

360-798-4912

www.jodiblackwood.com

Posted in Coaching, Etiquette Awareness | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Etiquette Awareness — Good Vs. Great

Posted by Corey Kaster on June 9, 2010

Good customer service is about sending people away happy and drawing them back again. It’s about making them feel important and appreciated. To me, great customer service is about making the customer feel really well taken care of and sending them out the door with a “wow” on their lips, wanting to share their experience with others.

I experienced great customer service last Friday. My car chose that morning to begin doing some peculiar things and while I am very willing to get in and deal with many things, I don’t do car issues. As I was on my way to a coffee meeting, I placed a call to my husband and, in a nutshell, suggested he “deal with it…” He very quickly called me back and told me he had made arrangements for me to stop by the auto repair shop after my meeting.

I sat in the waiting room at the shop for just a few minutes before Dirk, the manager, came in to talk to me about my car. Unfortunately, it was behaving perfectly for him! Together, we went on a short drive (I was hoping that with me in the driver’s seat it would choose to show its true colors) but again, there were no signs of the trouble that had started this whole experience. Dirk then checked the electrical signals and fluid levels and pronounced me well. He also told me that if (when) my vehicle started acting up again, I should come right back in for them to take a look at it.

I left, somewhat frustrated that my car had chosen to selectively misbehave, yet feeling like I had just been enveloped in great customer service. I did not have an appointment and although it was a Friday afternoon and the shop appeared to be busy, they still said to come on in. Quick attention was paid to my situation and I feel a thorough check on potential causes was made. And even though I took up Dirk’s time, there was no charge for my visit.

My husband has been taking his car into this shop for a number of years as they specialized in the type of vehicles he drove. Now, however, they are a full-service shop and this is the second time I have been in as well.

It is very clear to me that Northwest Import Specialists, Inc., located in Vancouver, WA, are not only knowledgeable and reliable in terms of their repair service but they also offer great customer service at the same time … the kind of customer service that makes you feel well taken care of, puts a “wow” on your lips, and makes you want to tell other people about.

Remember…

It’s not just what you do, it’s how you do it that matters!

Please feel free to send me any of your

etiquette or customer service questions or stories!

Previous editions of Etiquette Awareness

may now be viewed at my website,

www.jodiblackwood.com


Jodi Blackwood

Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist

Speaker & Seminar Leader

“Etiquette is about polishing your approach,

not changing who you are.”

mailto:jodi@jodiblackwood.com

360-798-4912

www.jodiblackwood.com

Posted in Coaching, Etiquette Awareness | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Etiquette Awareness — Hey, Move It!

Posted by Corey Kaster on May 27, 2010

I see this everywhere, so I know something like this has happened to you. But I finally experienced a version of it that was pretty much the last straw, so I’m publicly saying enough is enough: Get out of the way!

While attending a public open house type of event, my friend and I moved towards the stairs to view the large second floor loft area of this public venue. We were not the only ones that had that idea as there were five or six people trailing behind us as we began our ascent. However, mid-way up the staircase, we came to something of an abrupt stop.

There was a man in the way. He was well over six feet and had the build to accompany the height. He was neither walking up nor down but instead, was parked, center stage, talking on his cell phone. He clearly couldn’t miss us attempting to get by but instead, chose to stand smack in the center of the stair and ignore us. He made no effort to even turn his body sideways so that we might reasonably pass by; instead we were forced to squeeze past, an effort made even more perilous due to his glass of red wine balancing precariously on the ledge of the staircase.

May I ask everyone, here and now, to please be aware that you are not the only critter on this planet? When you are at a public event, note that other people probably have the same idea as you, often at the same time. (Good minds DO think alike!)

For example, when you step up to the bar to obtain a beverage, move out of the way once you have received it. Don’t stand there talking; there are others waiting for something to drink too! The same goes for the food. Help yourself to a selection, then step away from the table before you begin eating so that others may do the same. It is extremely irritating to those waiting when two or three people are standing there, sans plates, gobbling and talking without any regard to the crowd around them.

In other words, remember to get out of the way!

Remember…

A colleague recently told me she could tell when I had a “bee in my bonnet”; it was reflected in my writing. I admit it — this one has bothered me for a while, partly because it seems to be plain common sense!

Just as we should say “excuse me” when stepping past someone, so too should we be aware of when we may be causing an inconvenience to others.

Please feel free to send me any of your

etiquette or customer service questions or stories!

Previous editions of Etiquette Awareness

may now be viewed at my website,

www.jodiblackwood.com

Jodi Blackwood

Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist

Speaker & Seminar Leader

“Etiquette is about polishing your approach,

not changing who you are.”

mailto:jodi@jodiblackwood.com

360-798-4912

www.jodiblackwood.com

Posted in Coaching, Etiquette Awareness | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Etiquette Awareness — The Referral Reflection

Posted by Corey Kaster on May 14, 2010

Referrals can be the life blood of business, now more than ever. Employers are relying on personal recommendations to fill job vacancies, and research is showing that consumer recommendation is the most trusted form of advertising.

In other words, your referral or recommendation can be gold to another person. In can also be a way to shoot yourself in the foot.

When you refer someone to another person, you are putting your name and reputation on the line. If things don’t go well, it reflects badly on you and could potentially damage the relationship you have with both parties.

People ask for referrals from those they like and to a degree, trust in their judgment. They feel comfortable that you will recommend someone who will treat them as you do. Know who you are recommending — not just their name and what they do, but also such things as how they treat their customers, the level of professionalism they bring to the table and their follow-through.

At the same time, be aware of how you are meeting, or better yet, exceeding the expectations of those who are making referrals to you. Keep in mind that not only are they wanting you to take care of the individuals they refer but they are also wanting you to make them look good!

Remember…

When it comes to referrals, perception is everything. While someone might consider you to be a great person and/or a good friend, they may not be comfortable when it comes to referring you to others professionally. How do you come across to others?

Every time you interact with someone, you have the opportunity to enhance your reputation or diminish it.

Please feel free to send me any of your

etiquette or customer service questions or stories!

Previous editions of Etiquette Awareness

may now be viewed at my website,

www.jodiblackwood.com

Jodi Blackwood

Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist

Speaker & Seminar Leader

“Etiquette is about polishing your approach,

not changing who you are.”

mailto:jodi@jodiblackwood.com

360-798-4912

www.jodiblackwood.com

Posted in Coaching, Etiquette Awareness | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Etiquette Awareness — Paddling Like A Duck

Posted by Corey Kaster on May 10, 2010

Have you heard the expression “Be like a duck, floating calmly on the surface, but paddling furiously under the water?”

I actually saw this in action recently when I took some shoes in for repair. It’s a small shop and I’ve always received excellent service there but I’ve also always been the only customer in the store at the time. On this particular day, there were two people in line ahead of me and while I waited, an additional three came in as well. The man behind the counter was obviously working as fast as he could to take care of each customer but at the same time, service was not being compromised. He greeted each of us with a smile, thanked us for waiting and went on to address our individual needs. Periodically, he would look up and thank the growing line for our patience, explaining that his boss, the owner was not in as he was very ill but he would be with us as soon as he could.

No one was complaining or impatient; we all understood.

When it was my turn to step to the counter, he had momentarily moved to the back area, out of sight of his customers, to put something away. However, I happened to catch sight of him looking at his co-worker (who was diligently working away on a pair of shoes.) This very calm, professional man had his hands in the air, his mouth wide open to mimic a scream and was shaking his head from side to side as he very silently let off some well-deserved stress. Within just a minute he stepped back to the counter with a happy smile and thanked me for waiting, “What may I do for you today?”

It was absolutely fantastic; I felt like I had been let in on a secret. He was obviously aware — and concerned — about his customers but cared enough not to add to the situation in a negative way by becoming flustered and attempting to rush through the process.

He was a perfect duck.

Remember…

People are not going to necessarily remember what happened but they will remember how you handled the situation. Be like a duck!

Please feel free to send me any of your

etiquette or customer service questions or stories!

Previous editions of Etiquette Awareness

may now be viewed at my website,

www.jodiblackwood.com


Jodi Blackwood

Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist

Speaker & Seminar Leader

“Etiquette is about polishing your approach,

not changing who you are.”

mailto:jodi@jodiblackwood.com

360-798-4912

www.jodiblackwood.com

Posted in Coaching, Etiquette Awareness, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Etiquette Awareness — It’s About Choices

Posted by Corey Kaster on May 3, 2010

It’s 4:00 in the afternoon and I am standing in what feels like my second home, the physical therapy clinic. My oldest son has been rehabilitating his knees, then an elbow, since last October. While there has been some underlying muscle injuries, the bottom line is he grew so fast (6″ in about five months) that his body just didn’t stretch properly to keep up. As he is an avid baseball player, we have been working hard to get and keep him physically ready for the season.

Today’s visit was for a new problem — he had banged up a knee in a recent game. As the physical therapist looked at the amount of swelling still present 11 days after the injury occurred and noted the tenderness, he told me he felt we should have it looked at by our friendly — and familiar — orthopedic surgeon.

Knowing that we were only five minutes away from his office, I made the call, hoping, yes, seriously hoping that we would be able to go straight over for an x-ray. We live about 33 miles away from the medical office and as these visits need to be made after school, we fight some of the worst traffic to get there and back; I didn’t want to have to make this trip twice.

The staff in the office has always been extremely friendly and helpful, so you can imagine my surprise when, after briefly explaining my request and dilemma, I received a curt “No” in answer. That was it; no explanation, other than “I will transfer you to the nurse’s voice mail.”

I had a choice at this point. Leave a message on voice mail, expressing my frustration and concern about my son, and wait for the nurse to call me back, or deal with it. As I am not particularly good at waiting, I chose to deal with it. Again, a choice to be made. Do I deal with it in the same manner at which was directed towards me, or in a more professional, friendly tone?

I chose the latter, and when I was able to reconnect with the same receptionist, I explained that I would like to make an appointment to have my son seen, etc. Within just a minute or two, she was over her curtness and I was once again receiving the friendly, courteous service I had been accustomed to — and we had an appointment for the next afternoon.

As for Colby’s knee, he’ll be ok with some rest and of course, more physical therapy. Home again.

Remember…

Sometimes it takes an extra effort to be polite, especially when you are unexpectedly — and for no obvious reason — met with rudeness.

People are more inclined to be helpful to those that are friendly and courteous and by taking the high road you will often feel better in the end. Keep in mind that something or someone else may have been the trigger for the other person’s irritation; unfortunately, you are the one who gets to deal with it. The option of how to respond is yours.

You always have a choice.

Please feel free to send me any of your

etiquette or customer service questions or stories!

Previous editions of Etiquette Awareness

may now be viewed at my website,

www.jodiblackwood.com

Jodi Blackwood

Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist

Speaker & Seminar Leader

“Etiquette is about polishing your approach,

not changing who you are.”

mailto:jodi@jodiblackwood.com

360-798-4912

www.jodiblackwood.com

Posted in Coaching, Etiquette Awareness | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Etiquette Awareness — Missing Phone Booths

Posted by Corey Kaster on April 20, 2010

While browsing through a little shop recently on the hunt for note cards and enjoying all the little odds and ends available for purchase, I found myself stuck listening to a woman’s cell phone conversation. I tried moving away to another part of the store — several times — but she seemed set in wandering along behind in my chosen path as she loudly jabbered on.

After glancing her way several times, I was all ready to give her a rather pointed “look” when I heard her talking about an upcoming event at my son’s school and I realized I was looking at a fellow parent. Keeping in mind that “you never know who you might be interacting with” I pulled back my “look” and went on about my business.

Was I wrong to be annoyed by her rude cell phone manners? No. Does that give me an excuse to react less than politely in return? No, because then we would have simply been two people behaving rudely.

The only person you can control is yourself, and it is by your conduct that people will draw their conclusions.

Not only do you not know who you are interacting with, you never know who is watching.

Remember…

Phone calls can come at all different times. For some odd reason, people always tend to catch me at the grocery store. Either don’t take the call or find yourself an unobtrusive corner and quietly take care of your business.

Don’t make others listen to your conversation. While you may not be thinking about what you are sharing, you may be talking about things they don’t want — or shouldn’t — be hearing!

Please feel free to send me any of your

etiquette or customer service questions or stories!

Previous editions of Etiquette Awareness

may now be viewed at my website,

www.jodiblackwood.com

Jodi Blackwood

Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist

Speaker & Seminar Leader

“Etiquette is about polishing your approach,

not changing who you are.”

mailto:jodi@jodiblackwood.com

360-798-4912

www.jodiblackwood.com

Posted in Coaching, Etiquette Awareness | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Etiquette Awareness — So Pushy It Was Funny!

Posted by Corey Kaster on March 31, 2010

So, I did something I don’t usually do. I allowed myself to be talked into a “frequent purchaser” type of program at a store. I had 30 days to try it out; if I didn’t want to continue with it, all I needed to do was call the toll free number before this date and cancel, otherwise my credit card would be charged the low, low price of $xx each month … My only excuse was I was very tired, the salesman talked really fast, and oh, that glass of wine with dinner didn’t help. (My husband couldn’t believe it either, and he was there.)

When I called to cancel the agreement two weeks later, having not once taken advantage of any of the special offers at any of the area stores (which told me how much I would have actually used the darn thing) I was very pleasantly greeted by a young woman who said she would be happy to help me. After calmly obtaining my name and the necessary information, I found it interesting that she suddenly switched over to warp speed and began verbally reiterating all of the benefits I would receive as a subscriber to this program. Smiling to myself, I patiently let her finish, at which point I thought I heard her say something along the lines of if I was not interested in continuing I would need to call back before this date to cancel.

Excuse me? That was the point of my call! So I asked this very pleasant young woman if my credit card was going to be charged the $xx monthly fee for this program. “Not for another two weeks” was her very chipper reply, “so enjoy the services. If you decide to cancel after that, then you will need to call back.”

Obviously, I saw no need to call back in the future and took care of the matter then and there. But I did get a good laugh out of the whole thing!

Remember…

Active listening means intentionally focusing on the other person in order to understand what is being said. As the listener, you should be able to repeat back, in your own words, what was said. This does not mean that you agree with what is being said; it is meant to show your understanding of the other person’s perspective.

Are you listening to your customers or simply pushing your services?

Please feel free to send me any of your

etiquette or customer service questions or stories!

Previous editions of Etiquette Awareness

may now be viewed at my website,

www.jodiblackwood.com

Jodi Blackwood

Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist

Speaker & Seminar Leader

“Etiquette is about polishing your approach,

not changing who you are.”

mailto:jodi@jodiblackwood.com

360-798-4912

www.jodiblackwood.com

Posted in Etiquette Awareness | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Etiquette Awareness — Alone But In Great Company

Posted by Corey Kaster on March 9, 2010

Last week I unexpectedly found myself with some free time after an early morning meeting so I decided to treat myself to breakfast at a small local cafe. I knew the place wasn’t fancy but the food was good and that was what mattered.

As I walked in the door, I was greeted with a “Go ahead and sit anywhere, hon” and a big smile from the woman I could see through the kitchen pass-through; the two servers were busy with customers so she took it upon herself to greet me. She immediately followed up by leaving the kitchen, where she was obviously cooking, and brought me a menu and some water.

The server came over to take my order and in just a few minutes I was comfortably settled with my breakfast and the morning newspaper, relaxed and thoroughly enjoying myself. At the same time, I was aware that it was more than just my immediate personal circumstances that were putting me in such a happy frame of mind … it was the atmosphere surrounding me.

I could hear the interaction of the servers and the other patrons as they settled themselves. It was obvious that many of them were “regulars” as they were known by name, and that “Henry” liked extra whipped cream in his hot chocolate, and that “Sarah” was going to have her usual. Not only did the servers know the preferences of their customers, but the customers recognized — by their comments — how nice it was to be taken care of in just such a manner. “She knows just what I like!”

The friendliness and mutual respect for each other was obvious and spilled over onto customers like myself, a non-regular. I received smiles and friendly comments from both employees and patrons when I arrived and when I left.

It was a lovely way to start my day!

Remember…

Do you remember the TV show Cheers … the place “where everybody knows your name?” It may be cheesy but it really does make a difference. How do you feel when you are greeted with a friendly smile and a “good morning” or “hello” when you walk into an establishment?

Give it a try — even if you are a customer, not the proprietor. Help build atmosphere!

Please feel free to send me any of your

etiquette or customer service questions or stories!

Previous editions of Etiquette Awareness

may now be viewed at my website,

www.jodiblackwood.com

Jodi Blackwood

Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist

Speaker & Seminar Leader

“Etiquette is about polishing your approach,

not changing who you are.”

mailto:jodi@jodiblackwood.com

360-798-4912

www.jodiblackwood.com

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Posted in Business, Coaching, Etiquette Awareness | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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