A FREE electronic magazine... January 16, 2002
B I G B U C K S I N A B A T H R O B E
Make More Money & Have More Fun With Your Small Business!
Publisher: Dave Balch, "The Stay-at-Home CEO"(tm)
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I n T h i s I s s u e . . .
1. A "Quickie" Personal Observation: More bad customer service
2. Feature: Topic of the Month: "Interruptions"
3. Feature: Article "Be Your Own Customer"
4. Feature: "Ask Dave" - Can I help with a business problem?
5. Feature: "Meanwhile, back at the ranch..."
6. About "Big Bucks in a Bathrobe" Newsletter
7. Who the Heck am I, Anyway?
8. How to Subscribe / Unsubscribe
PLEASE FORWARD THIS to each of your friends who have small or
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(c)2002, A Few Good People, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
11111 A "Quickie" - Personal Observation
I hate to dwell on the negative, but...
Here's another amazing story of bad customer service. Kate, my
assistant, ordered something for Christmas delivery from a mail
order company. It arrived on time, but the box contained the
wrong merchandise. The packing slip was correct, however. Their
mistake, pure and simple.
When she called to get it fixed, they agreed it was their mistake
(DUH!) and that they would send the correct merchandise. All
good. They did, however, want the items in error to be returned
(that's reasonable). But Kate was supposed to pay the return
W R O N G ! ! ! It was entirely their mistake. They should be
falling all over themselves to make it right. Why should this
cost Kate even a fraction of a cent?
I want to think that this was a training problem, not a policy
problem. The lesson: give your front-line employees permission
to bend the rules a little.
22222 T o p i c o f t h e M o n t h
This month's topic...
Interruptions: what kind do you have, how do you handle them,
and what do you do to minimize them?
Since the last issue, I have gotten several responses... here is
From Steve Barnard in Arizona:
I like your topic! The telephone is the worst interrupter of
all, so if I really need quality time, I just turn it off and
let my voice mail pick it up. Rarely is anything so important
that it can't wait an hour or two.
From Alana Stevenson in Idaho:
You hit a sore point with me! I am often interrupted by
neighbors and friends that drop in to visit. They all know
that I work at home and, although they mean well, think
it's okay to stop by whenever they want.
I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I installed a peep-hole in my
door and I simply don't open it if it's someone that I don't
have time for! They think I'm not home and they go away!
HOW ABOUT YOU??? SEND IN YOUR CONTRIBUTION NOW!!!
Take a look at prior "Topics of the Month" along with
their responses at http://www.TheStayAtHomeCEO.com/tom.htm
33333 A r t i c l e "Be Your Own Customer"
By Dave Balch, the "Stay-at-Home CEO"™
Do you actually use your own product or service to see how well
it works? I am constantly amazed at the number of products that
are simply "unusable" for one reason or another.
For example, we purchased a large spill-proof water bowl to bring
in the car when we take the dogs. For $30, it ought to work(!),
and it does.
It is nearly impossible to remove the lid for cleaning. It is
very well made of heavy plastic, with a perfect 'snap' fit. Oh,
the illustration shows that it CAN be removed but not HOW, so if
there is some special trick to it, I have no way of knowing. I
believe that it is not possible to remove the lid without hurting
yourself or the plastic.
Don't these people use their own product????? If they did, they
would know of this major shortcoming.
I am also reminded of a brush that my wife purchased for cleaning
out the tubs that we use for the horses. They have little tiny
handles which are actually loops molded into the plastic, but who
has hands that small? You'd never get a 10-year-old to do that
kind of work! We both end up with scraped or sore knuckles every
time we use it. Again, don't these people use their own
products? Maybe they are made in Japan, where people tend to be
smaller, but even that's no excuse in my opinion.
Which brings up an exception to my caveat; if you would not be
considered to be part of the market for a product, you're off the
hook! You, personally, that is. But you still need to make sure
that your products are usable by those for whom they are
And while we're at it, do you ever call your business to see how
it sounds? It amazes me how large corporations spend millions of
dollars trying to create an image of quality and caring and then
hire someone at minimum wage to answer the phone. Then, when you
call, it sounds like they're annoyed, or they are rude as they
What about your music on hold? Is it too loud? Is it too soft?
If it is a radio station, IS IT TUNED IN PROPERLY?????
Maybe you have a recording for your customers to hear. Is it a
good quality recording? Is the meaning of the message clear? Do
your callers have to listen to more than they need to? I am
constantly annoyed when I call the local movies and have to sit
through a description of their location. I think that most
callers to a theater are regular or local callers who already
know where it is; how about putting that information at the END
OF THE RECORDING so the only ones who need it have to hear it?
Or make the directions an option: "Press '1' for directions".
This is starting to sound like a rant. (!) My point is this…
THINK FROM YOUR CUSTOMER'S POINT OF VIEW. Use your product or
service as they would. Call and deal with your business as they
would. Do you like what you get? If not, fix it.
44444 "A s k D a v e"
(Can I help you with a business problem? I will field
business questions in every issue. Send them to
Ask whatever you'd like... all letters will remain anonymous.
Maybe my 2-cents'-worth will make you "Big Bucks"!
I like to sell an Ebook priced $7 on internet.
But I am not sure that I will get some customers.
So I want a 'Credit Card Processor' who will not
charge application, set up & monthly fees and
who accepts International merchants.
Will you please suggest a good one ?
M. K., India.
I do not know of any company that will meet your needs. I
will tell you this, however. Any company who does NOT charge
the application, setup, and monthly fees will get the money
from you in other ways, such as taking a higher percentage of
If you think you will have a high volume of sales, you will
pay less in the long term by paying the one-time fees and
paying less on each transaction.
55555 "M e a n w h i l e, b a c k a t t h e r a n c h..."
A glimpse into the life of this "Stay-at-Home CEO"
(Photos and short bios of the complete "cast of characters"
are posted at http://www.TheStayAtHomeCEO.com/theranch.htm )
The term is "bombproof". It is a horsey term, applied to a horse
that is not easily frightened.
Horses, prey animals in the wild, usually frighten pretty easily.
It's not uncommon for a horse to get scared by something as
mundane as a plastic bag on the ground. If horses and
motorcycles meet on the trail, it is commonly accepted courtesy
for the bikers to turn off their engines until the horses pass so
the horses won't freak, which can be pretty dangerous with a
rider on board.
And then there are Keno and Kelly.
When it snows I take the snow thrower down to clear the paddocks
so the horses will have someplace to walk. In case you are
unfamiliar with these machines, they are like large
gasoline-powered lawn mowers, very noisy, and with lots of scary
moving parts and scary snow flying 30 feet out of the chute.
As I was making my way through the snow, I sensed a large
presence. I turned and there was Kelly's nose about even with my
right ear. She was 'supervising'. I don't know how long she had
been following me, but my feeling was it had been a while. I
greeted her and she walked past me to the snow thrower (which was
still running and making lots of noise!) and calmly sniffed it!
Chris was vacuuming the barn (that's another column!) and Kelly
came in to see what all the noise was about. Chris showed her
the vacuum hose and she seemed interested so Chris, I'm not
kidding, vacuumed Kelly's face! Most horses would have run
screaming from the barn at the mere sound of a vacuum, much less
let the noisy beast actually touch them!
Keno is pretty bombproof too, but not as much as Kelly. He, too,
is curious about the snow thrower; not frightened by it. He's
not so keen on the vacuum, though.
I guess he'll just have to have a dirty face.
66666 A b o u t "Big Bucks in a Bathrobe" N e w s l e t t e r
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77777 W h o t h e H e c k a m I, A n y w a y ?
I've generated over $5 million (so far!) from my own home-based
software business and I have a lot to share with you about how I
did it and what I learned along the way. Now, as a professional
speaker, I offer programs that will help you and your employees
"Make More Money and Have More Fun" with your small or home-based
Visit me at http://www.TheStayAtHomeCEO.com for descriptions of
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88888 H o w to S u b s c r i b e / U n s u b s c r i b e
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