Friday, 8 January 2010

Newsletter Issue 177 January 2010

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 177, January 2010
Hi guys,
Check out Albert Barneto's ideas on how to Get a Customer Service BLAST below.
Is there something that you want the world to come to you about? Check out TradeMe for Retailers below. 
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Get a Customer Service BLAST

How does your team deal with complaints from customers? You can find out easily by becoming your own mystery shopper; pick up the phone and do a role-play. Ask yourself; if you were an irritated customer, would you come back?
Albert Barneto is a managing partner of CustomerTrend Mystery Shopping and Customer Satisfaction Surveys at He has more than fifteen years of professional experience as a front line manager evaluating the "pulse" of customers and employees. Having worked with KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, A&W, and Long John Silvers, Barneto feels that by using the right responses, you can turn customer complaints into a tool to help build your business.
"BLAST", standing for Believe Listen Apologise Satisfy Thank, is a great tool which teaches the basics of customer complaints handling. Barneto suggests you use this standardised method for dealing with complaints using BLAST:
  1. Believe. Your customer believes that your establishment has wronged them. So you believe them too. Barneto feels that belief is the cornerstone for correctly handling a customer complaint. The customer may be lying or be incorrect about their situation, but you believe.
  2. Listen. Stop and listen to your customer's complaint. Take time, relax and just listen. Don't start formulating your response back, don't start arguing with the detail, don't start judging, don't defend or justify, don't make excuses. Just listen. Remain calm and level headed, even if the customer is angry, rude or uses bad language. Once the customer has explained as fully as they can, repeat the problem back to them in a calm, non-judgmental tone. Barneto uses a KFC mis-packed order example; "What I hear you saying is that, you came in ordered and paid for 10 Pieces of chicken and when you got home, you [had] only received 8, is that correct?" By summarising the issue, the customer understands that you have heard and understood their problem.
  3. Apologise. Always apologise and mean it - even if your people made no mistakes. Apologise because your customer feels wronged. They feel they have a legitimate complaint and an apology will diffuse a lot of their frustration. It could be as simple as "I'm sorry we got that wrong for you" or "I am sorry we have inconvenienced you".
    Critical complaints, such as food poisoning, might be an exception to this, where an apology could be construed as an admission of liability. Refer instead to your company's COPs.
  4. Satisfy. Make it right for your customer. Ask them "What can I do to put this right?" (within bounds of fairness of course, but allowing the customer - and your staff - to feel empowered). Sometimes customers may ask for a replacement on their next visit or to let the person who made the mistake know. Barneto sends personalised postcards apologising for mistakes with a couple of handwritten sentences which were well-received, along with a small unexpected something just to show that they cared about their customers.
  5. Thank. Barneto makes a valuable point; by complaining, the customer is saying "I care about your business and your success". They are giving you the opportunity to fix the problem, so they can continue to give you their custom. So thank them at the beginning, at the end, in the middle of your interaction; thank them for giving you that second chance, thank them for letting you know that something in your business didn't work like it should have, thank them for giving you the chance to put it right, and thank them for the opportunity to leave the reputation of your business undamaged.
Barneto has some very simple, but great customer service ideas bound up in this one little system. I have experienced the BLAST system second-hand through Restaurant Brands in New Zealand, and was impressed by how much goodwill is created with so little expense to the company.

TradeMe for Retailers?

Dutch company Trendwatch has just reported on their website "hundreds of millions of consumers maintain some kind of online profile/presence, [so watch this space for] who's going to set up an intermediary representing consumers who are willing to disclose (parts of) their purchasing intentions, and then invite companies to put in bids" (
A great idea. However, one that has been around for a while, and sprung from an ideas called Doymarn on the CambrianHouse website ( in 2006, who wrote about an idea they called eYAB - "like ebay on its head". The premise was that there was a geographically targeted website where a user posted items they were looking to buy with an indicated price band and any relevant logistics. Suppliers could then browse the website and post reply bids (or have a web-crawler do it for them). Doymarn suggested that suppliers pay a registration fee to submit bids (ie, generating $, not spam). The user could sit back and wait for the best bid, periodically reviewing bids and selecting the best deal. They would contact the supplier through the website (cutting down spam again).
I suggested something similar this to TradeMe as an add-on "search" service a couple of years ago (that I would be prepared to pay for), but they weren't interested in it until Fairfax took over. Now you can save your favourite searches - except it is free - and hopefully run across just that handy little widget that you have been looking for since 1981. And of course, I didn't make any money!
It will be very interesting to see what develops in this space over the next couple of years.

Copy Windows XP Directory Contents

If you need to copy the names of the files in a Windows XP directory (ie, all the names and file extensions of files within a folder), follow the three steps below:
Step 1: Create the Printdir.bat file:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type notepad, and then click OK.
  2. Paste the following text into Notepad:
    @echo off
    dir %1 /-p /o:gn > "%temp%\Listing"
    start /w notepad /p "%temp%\Listing"
    del "%temp%\Listing"
  3. On the File menu, click Exit, and then click Yes to save the changes.
  4. In the Save As dialog box, type the following text, and then click Save:

Step 2: Create a new action for file folders:

  1. Click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Folder Options.

    Or, click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then click Folder Options.
  2. On the File Types tab, click File Folder.
  3. Click Advanced, and then click New.
  4. In the Action box, type Print Directory Listing.
  5. In the Application used to perform action box, type printdir.bat.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Click OK two times, and then click Close.

Step 3: Edit the registry:

NB: this contains steps telling you how to modify the registry. Ensure you follow these steps carefully as serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it so you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base 322756 ( "How to back up and restore the registry in Windows".
After you follow the steps in the previous sections, Search Companion may start when you double-click a folder instead of the folder being opened. Or, if you have associated other actions with file folders, those actions may be performed instead.

To resolve this issue, follow these steps:
  1. Start Registry Editor.
  2. Locate the Default value under the following registry subkey:
  3. On the Edit menu, click Modify.
  4. In the Value data box, type none.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Exit Registry Editor.
Very handy, and thanks to Microsoft for this tip from :-)

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) for you:
  • BLAST, or Believe Listen Apologise Satisfy Thank. See the article in this newsletter about Albert Barneto's work.
  • IM, Instant messaging. Often shortened to simply "IM" or "IMing," is the exchange of text messages through a a software application in real-time.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
This time we have a couple of tricks using the Windows key:
  • Open Windows Explorer - Windows key & E
  • Open a Search window for finding files or folders - Windows key & F
  • Lock your PC - Windows key & L
  • Minimise all open windows - Windows key & M
  • Maximise all open windows - Windows key, Shift & M
  • Open the Run dialogue box - Windows key & R
  • Display the System Control Panel applet, open to the General Tab - Windows key & Pause.

Hot Linx
Need to rent a house in New Zealand? Then check out for houses to rent around the country. A comprehensive listing and easy to follow.
For those of you who know Ian Robertson's photography (, check out his brother's, Graeme Robertson's, work at The abstracts are very style-y.
To pick up a truly good news story, head over to and listen to Jill Bolte Taylor's story of personal challenge and recovery at

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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