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Customer Service Goes a Long Way

I expect good service.  It's basic: polite manners, personal attention, promptness, follow up.  And most places give it.  But when people give GREAT service it can really differentiate them in a world of mediocre competition.   I love getting great service because well, I deserve it, but I'm also not shy about referring and endorsing places of business that treat their customers right.  On the flip side, there are too many places out there operating on the assumption that their customers don't share their experiences with others.

I'm going to list here some different examples of Kirkland places of business that have made my "Love 'Em and Leave 'Em" lists based on the service I have received and others have shared with me.  And they all have no idea we write this blog (or didn't when the service happened)--so it's a lesson that you should be exceptional to EVERY customer no matter what they're wearing, who they're with, if you woke up grumpy or if it's 5 minutes til closing time.  And please- go ahead and share you favorite experiences of customer service around town- Comment away. 

Salongrotto_002_1 Love 'Em: Salon Grotto on Lake St.  My sister and I went there for services together last year for our birthdays and to our surprise and delight, when we arrived there was a beautiful bouquet of flowers waiting for each of us (not to mention the fabulous massages we then rec'd).  What a thoughtful and memorable gesture- they went above and beyond for sure.

Leave 'Em: Shurgard/now Public Storage on 116th.  They hike our rent every 6 months and the place keeps getting dirtier and more unsafe every time we are there.  There's even big scrappy trucks that have taken up residence in their parking lot.  Sent a note through their website many weeks ago- no response at all.

NoppakaoLove 'Em: Noppakao at Juanita Village.  When I wait more than 5 mins for take-out they often just give me one of those delicious thai iced teas while I'm waiting.  How simple and smart is that?  My sister was in the other day and had to wait a little bit for a table/service, which was no big deal and she'd didn't complain, but they took 10% off her bill and gave her a free appetizer!  Again- going out of their way to insure repeat business.

Leave 'Em: Sprint PCS on 124th.  A friend got a nice bonus check and was going to treat herself to a  new cell phone.  Asked at the desk for help and the doorknob of a sales person told her the choices were on the wall.  She said she didn't really know what she wanted and needed help.  He pointed to the wall.  She asked for the manager.  He said he IS the manager.  She asked for the phone number to call corporate and he wrote down a FAKE number!  Seriously?! Are they employing 12 year olds?

Love 'Em: Kyle Ray, our will/trust attorney.  A down to earth guy that will explain things to you in simple terms and be honest about what your needs are.  He made quite an impression  b/c he didn't try to over-sell us the package that would make him the most money.  And brilliant on his part to be so forthright-we have sent many many friends to him. Bonus- each time we refer somebody he mails us a heartfelt thank you note with a gift certificate to a local restaurant enclosed.  It doesn't get better than that!  They all rave about him too.  So, I'm sure the clients keep pouring in. 

Leave 'Em: Jim Hart & Association (land surveyors).  They did work on our property with the previous owners about 15 years back, so we thought they'd have the most competitive pricing.  After submitting a request for a proposal and receiving no response from them for weeks, I called to see what's up.  Lillian (no wonder she's grumpy) abruptly told me that if we had other bids we should just go with one of those because they're VERY busy and don't have time to respond to us.  Hmmmm, Lily, you must be the only one!  Simple manners coupled with an apology would have been fine.

Mamalucia Love 'Em: Mama Lucia in Kirkland ParkPlace.  Matt and his wife were seated at a wobbly table that the manager quickly corrected by moving them and also bought their dessert AND espresso after dinner.  Way more than was expected, but what an impression that makes!  It's the little things, people, are you getting it yet? Click here to read more about Matt's experience.

Leave 'Em: Perkins & Son Plumbing (services the Eastside).  This one takes the cake: A plumber is supposed to be at my house b/w 2-5 so I stay housebound for that time as instructed.  After not hearing from them, I call at 5:30 to see if someone is still coming as I have plans for that evening, and the guy on the phone tells me that my plumber, Mike, is about 12 blocks away.  No apology.  So I mention that this is my first time using their service and it hasn't been the best first experience so far.  The guy tells me (seriously, this is verbatum) , "Then YOU should cancel."  I was so thrown back that all I could eek out was, "You WANT me to cancel?"  And he said, "Yes.  I don't like your attitude, lady.  You're cancelled."  And then he HUNG UP ON ME.    I have never experienced anything like this- I thought I'm the customer?  I could rant on for hours about this one, but I'll spare you.  Just know that my complaint to the BBB got filed promptly.   

Love 'Em: Zo Hair Salon, 1418 Market St. I can never seem to find a hair place or person I love-it's an ongoing saga for me.  Right now, I'm going to Stacey Van Gelder at Zo Hair Salon whom I am pleased with.  When I made my hair darker (Cameron Diaz told me to do it) she first tried with a semi-permanent color, but warned me it could not take or could fade faster than permanent color which is harsher on your hair.  She said to call her if I wasn't happy with it.  Two days later, my gray hairs had magically shown themselves (How embarrassing is this?) and I called Stacey who convinced me to come back in free of charge.  She spent another 2 1/2 hours of her time on a Sunday re-coloring my hair to make sure it was just right.  That's good service--she made sure she wasn't happy until I was.

Big kudos to those on my loved list- and the others we can send you in for some counseling, perhaps.  I'd like to know who's on your love 'em and leave 'em lists.  Businesses that is, not your personal list. :-)  And I'm not just talking about good, polite service. Who gives extraordinary service and how do they do it?     ~Janis


Kirkland Moms Online

It has arrived!  An online forum for Kirkland moms to share ideas and ask questions.  My friend and fellow mommy, Laura Zeman, just started a Kirkland Moms online discussion group which can be found here:  http://groups.google.com/group/kirklandmoms .

This is a free (virtual) place where you can post questions about preschools, babysitters, parks, community events, swim lessons, etc.  And it's not just for moms- dads are welcome too!

Laura got the idea after hearing about the success of "Madrona Moms" , "West Seattle Moms" and "Mount Baker Moms" and realized that our community could really benefit from a resource like this too. She said, "an online discussion forum is the perfect solution for all of us to benefit from the large amount of information out there that relates to Kirkland parents and our kids." Kudos to Laura for getting it started for us.  Be sure to join and visit often!   ~Janis


Juanita High car wreck

Jhscarwrecked Jhstowtruck Does anybody know what happened at Juanita High today?   It was about 12:45 pm (too early to be drinking)- Firetrucks, police cars, and then a tow truck at what appeared to be one white sedan that had driven over the embankment and crashed into the trees.  I called the PD to get some scoop, but I seemed to know more than they do.  We hope everyone is ok. Anyone know?