Archive for the ‘Customer Service’ Category

Validation

November 9, 2009

A must see video starring TJ Thyne wherein we are shown the overpowering importance of a smile and how we all need to be validated.
Have you ever walked down the street and smiled at a stranger? Did they smile back? Did they look away? Did they look happy or sad? How did either of these actions make you feel?
I always try to smile rather than frown. According to Google, it takes 33 facial muscles to frown and 13 facial muscles to smile which should equate to less wrinkles as we age. That factor notwithstanding, I choose to smile rather than frown even in the face of true adversity. That’s not to say that I don’t have my sad moments. But, I don’t let those moments take me over and neither should you!
So watch this video and remember you have the power to validate someone – to make them smile and make them feel good about themselves. You can even do this for yourself. To smile or not to smile is a choice. Choose wisely!

A Call To Action – You Are Needed Now!

November 9, 2009

I read a story today at Career Rocketeer that you’ll want to read as well. It’s a call to action, whether you’re fully employed, unemployed or know of someone who is unemployed. You’re needed.

Here’s the story…

It’s a story of Kim and Frank. Kim is a pastor at a local church. Frank is one of Kim’s patrons who had been attending Kim’s church for 65 years.

Frank was one of the faithful who attended church almost every Sunday. Just like clockwork, Frank would attend the 9:30 service and sit in the same spot… eight rows back right on the aisle.

For the first fifty years, Frank sat in his spot with his wife, Carol, beside him. Kim could count on looking up and seeing Frank and his wife every Sunday in their spot.

After Carol’s death, Frank continued to come to church and sit in his same spot, eight rows back right on the aisle. Sometimes he was there by himself. Sometimes he was there with his son or daughter. Always, he was there.

Then out of the blue, Kim noticed Frank wasn’t at church on a particular Sunday. Kim didn’t think much of it until the next week when Frank wasn’t there again. In fact, six months went by without Kim seeing Frank in his usual spot, eight rows back right on the aisle.

Kim didn’t know why. Did he go on an extended vacation? Did he change churches? Did he move? Did Frank unexpectedly die and nobody told him?

Finally, curiosity got the best of Kim. He didn’t know Frank’s telephone number, so Kim decided to drive by Frank’s house. He saw the house was mostly dark, but there was a light on in the back of the house.

Kim rang the doorbell, and Frank answered. Frank explained he and his family were struggling both financially and with their health. That’s why he hadn’t been attending church.

Kim asked how he could help Frank. Frank said that the hardships over the past six months had been some of the most difficult of his life. However, as difficult as that was, the most painful thing was that nobody from the church bothered to stop by and check in on him during the past six months. He’s been forgotten, and that was very painful.

As Kim heard this, tears streamed his cheeks (and Frank’s too). Kim realized he failed in his job as a friend.

There are many people in the working world today who have faithfully attended their job for years and years, only to find themselves in the loneliness of the unemployed.

If you know of someone who is unemployed, reach out to them. Take them out to lunch. Treat them to a coffee at Starbucks. Let them know you’re thinking about them in their time of need. Make sure they know that even though they are unemployed, they are still important in your life. Just a small amount of your time will mean tons to them.

And if you’re unemployed, make sure you take the time to reach out to others. If nobody is reaching out to you, reach out to them, no matter how awkward it feels. This is the time for your support group to come through and be there for you.

Don’t wait six months. Don’t wait another day. Do it now!!

As a job seeker myself, I found these LinkedIn tips invaluable – so I thought you might as well

October 17, 2009

Point for Point LinkedIn Tips

How can LinkedIn get you a job fast? This guide will tell you everything you need to know.

Quick Glossary

Profile – the LinkedIn page describing you. The Public version is seen by anyone not signed in to LinkedIn and can be found by search engines.
Relationship – “1st degree” users are LinkedIn users that you connect with directly. “2nd degree” connections are those that require you to go through one middle man connection to reach. “3rd degree” means two middle man connections are needed to contact the LinkedIn user.
Connection – a 1st degree LinkedIn user in your network.
Inside connection – a connection employed at a company you’re targeting.
Introductions – a way to contact 2nd or 3rd degree connections via middle man connections.
Recommendations – positive feedback about you from another LinkedIn connection.
InMails – LinkedIn’s internal emails. Must be a premium member or pay US$10 per InMail.
OpenLink Network – an exclusive network for premium members only. However, premium members can opt to allow any LinkedIn user to send them an OpenLink message which is like a free InMail.

Make the right choices first

• Join LinkedIn.17 million and counting, there’s still room for more.
• Only join LinkedIn once. Having multiple accounts will only dilute the usefulness of each individual profile, and LinkedIn Customer Support cannot merge accounts for you.
• Update your account with all your email addresses that people might use for LinkedIn invitations. This will help you avoid creating multiple accounts by accident.
• Consider upgrading to a premium account with features such as enhanced search results containing relevant LinkedIn users that aren’t yet connections of yours. You can then contact them with InMails which have a much higher rate of being opened that regular email.
• Subscribe to the LinkedIn blog to find out about new features.
• Cancel your account if you decide to stop using LinkedIn by emailing Customer Service. Don’t leave expired information to be found by people researching you.

Develop a LinkedIn strategy

You need to cover 3 fundamentals:

1. Make your profile the best sales document for you so that you can…
2. Get a maximum number of recommendations to build your stature, which will help…
3. Grow your LinkedIn network to increase the chance that your profile will be seen by the right person to hire you.

Supercharge your LinkedIn profile

• The LinkedIn Profile is your online resume or CV. Apply great resume tips, avoid any typical or unusual resume mistakes.
• LinkedIn gives you a lot of control over what appears in your profile and your public profile. The public profile should only display positive elements that are pertinent to your current work search.
• Attract hiring managers or clients via your public profile by only including hard-hitting information such as stellar recommendations from past hiring managers or clients.
• All texts should be well-written, but by YOU, written in your voice.
• Write memorable Summary text, it’s your LinkedIn elevator pitch.
• Although your profile is promoting you, avoid using annoying sales text (”Act now!”) that you wouldn’t have on your resume.
• Display an effective photo on your profile that best conveys the impression you want to leave with the viewer. People remember faces.
• Hide irrelevant connections from your public profile. Typically this means non-work-related friends and family.
• Create a LinkedIn “vanity URL” using a format that’s easy to guess and remember: http://www.linkedin.com/in/firstnamelastname
• Publicize your LinkedIn vanity URL in your email signature, on business cards and wherever it may be seen by someone who would want your resume.
• Use a LinkedIn-generated email signature to promote your public profile. It will also help grow your network of connections from your email recipients.
• Promote your profile on your blog, other websites, and forum signatures with official LinkedIn buttons.
• Update your profile regularly. The easiest way to do this is by constantly adding connections. Every change highlights your profile on connections’ Network Updates pages, giving you more exposure.

Multiply recommendations, yours and theirs

• Who the recommendations are from is more important than the number of recommendations, at least when it comes to job search. Better to have a recommendation from a past boss than from 5 people with no obvious connection to your work experience. If you’re a freelancer, better to have recommendations from past clients.
• The best way to get recommendations is to achieve success for other people. Recommendations from friends and family or other fans may be nice for your ego but it’s the recommendations based on actual success stories that will resonate with a potential employer.
• Ask for recommendations from the people for whom you’ve achieved success. LinkedIn advises asking for recommendations from “former managers, colleagues and co-workers, customers and clients, business partners” but just like when asking for reference letters, start with the people for whom you’ve directly achieved success, beginning with people of authority such as past employers.
• Get as many recommendations as you can from past employers and clients. If all the employers in your work history give you recommendations, your resulting LinkedIn profile will strongly push potential employers to think that you will bring them the success that will make them want to recommend you as well. Make this a goal for completing your profile.
• Encourage connections to improve their recommendations to meet the standards of your public profile in promoting you towards your next job. People like to help as long as they don’t feel you’re wasting their time. Tell them what kind of work you’re looking for so that they can give you a message that’s more appropriate. Another tack- if it would help make the recommendation “timeless,” suggest which success story you’d like them to mention.
• Write as many recommendations as you can about people in your network by first focusing on the people who would want your recommendation most.
• Write great recommendations that will make recipients want to display them on their public profile, giving you additional exposure.
• Be truthful with your recommendations. This is your credibility that will be on public display.
• Don’t write solicited recommendations unless you are comfortable doing so. As your personal brand grows, you might be asked for recommendations by people you barely know, such as people looking for a “recommendation exchange.” If you can’t be truthful or if you have nothing to say that hasn’t already been said by others, don’t give a recommendation at all.
• Hide bad recommendations that are exaggerated or just plain false. People will rarely ever use a LinkedIn recommendation to give you constructive criticism but there are Internet trolls who might leave you fake recommendations.

Maximize your connections

Get the best

• Upload your work and personal address books to LinkedIn to discover potential connections and sources of recommendations. Then begin inviting connections beginning with people who are already on LinkedIn.
• Leverage other social networks such as Facebook to find people with whom you can also connect on LinkedIn. Facebook is better than LinkedIn at finding former teachers, classmates and other people who knew you in the past. Once on Facebook, asked them to connect with you on LinkedIn too.
• When you invite new connections, write personalized messages instead of the boring default suggestion from LinkedIn unless the recipient is already waiting for your invite.
• A great way to grow your network is to write recommendations about potential connections. If the person isn’t on LinkedIn, the recommendation will give them a reason to join. Even if they don’t join, you will likely leave a positive impression that may help later.
• Invite or accept connections only with people you trust and share the same social networking values. This isn’t MySpace where the objective is to have as many friends as possible. Your objective is to leverage the network to find a job. You need help from people you can depend on. Only people you trust can possibly write truthful recommendations.
• Remove connections that have lost your trust before they can do any damage to your network or waste more of your time.

Reach the best

• Install the LinkedIn Toolbar for your browser to make searching LinkedIn easy. The Toolbar also allows you to bookmark other users’ profiles from LinkedIn search results.
• Use the LinkedIn JobsInsider (part of the LinkedIn toolbar) if you’re looking for work on major job sites such as Monster, HotJobs, CareerBuilder, Craigslist, Vault, or Dice. It will save you time by automatically display your inside connections for the company mentioned in any job listing.
• Whether via the Toolbar or LinkedIn’s onsite Jobs Search, be specific when searching for contacts. Include job titles where relevant and geographic location if you’re aiming to work in a specific city or region.
• Search for headhunters and recruiters in your domain of expertise. They will always want to talk to you since you represent a business opportunity for them.
• Ask your connections to send over profiles of people relevant to your job search.
• To contact specific LinkedIn users that aren’t in your network even to the 3rd degree, use free OpenLink messages if those users are accepting them or join a LinkedIn Group they’re in. As a last resort, consider buying individual InMails.
• Use Introductions to contact people in your network at the 2nd or 3rd degree. You’ll be more successful if your message includes a suggestion describing how you can help them – even with a simple tip – instead of vice-versa.
• You can also use Introductions to reach inside connections as a way to request referrals to hiring managers. This is especially useful if the inside connections’ companies have win-win employee referral bonus programs.
• Other conversation starters over Introductions are to do company reference checks by asking former employees about a company or hiring manager. This way you get your research done without the company knowing.
• Respond to LinkedIn Answers on topics in your industry. Answering relevant industry questions looks great on your public profile where you can display “questions you have asked, answers you have provided, and expertise you have earned by providing the best answers to questions.”
• Ask your connections to send you questions they think you can answer via the Share This link beneath the question.
• Respond to LinkedIn Answers from employees in targeted companies as a lead-in to generating inside connections.
• Join industry-related LinkedIn Groups, as many as you can handle. It’s a terrific way to meet people and get relevant new connections. Remember that you can contact group members directly as if they’re already connected with you.
• Create your own LinkedIn Group as a way to build stature in your industry, but only if your Group will creates value and so will attract users that you currently can’t reach directly. Simply copying an existing group for no apparent reason will only lower your credibility.

Copied from: http://internsover40.blogspot.com/2009/10/point-for-point-linkedin-tips.html
http://www.linkedin.com/in/berniewarren

From Dealing with Difficult People…A Lesson From Serena Williams

September 18, 2009

A lesson from Serena Williams – keep your cool!

Serena Williams lost it at the US Open last weekend. Her temper got the best of her and she reacted emotionally, inappropriately and unprofessionally.

What gets lost in the story is the calmness with which the line judge held herself.

Had the line judge yelled and threatened back to Williams, then we would have all jumped to Williams’ defense.

How people feel about footfaults being called during high-level matches would be irrelevant if the line judge had fought back. She didn’t, which was the perfect response. And that response put all the fault on Williams who, alone, will pay for her outburst. (Williams was fined $10,000, the maximum penalty allowed for unsportsmanlike conduct in tennis, not to mention the loss of an important match and the untold damage to her reputation.)

After being called on a footfault during her serve, Williams walked over to the line judge, making a threatening gesture with her racquet and reportedly told her, “If I could, I would take this **** ball and shove it down your **** throat.” It is also alleged she threatened to kill the line judge, although Williams vehemently denies it.

Read more and watch a six-minute video of the confrontation at http://bit.ly/w4mrJ
If you were the line judge, could you have kept your cool in that situation? Could you have received those comments without fighting back?

It is important to remember that when one person loses it, the other should do the complete opposite, and remain very calm.

Do not interrupt the other person. Imagine if the line judge had angrily responded, ‘Are you threatening me?’ Even though I know that type of retort would have been wrong, I can imagine myself responding that way.

An angry response would have escalated the argument to much higher levels and Williams could have charged that she had been provoked.

Let the other person have her tirade; let her finish. If appropriate, call a time-out by saying something along the lines of, ‘This is not a good time to finish this conversation. Let’s meet again this afternoon’ – then walk away. Do not continue the conversation when tempers are flaring.

The line judge didn’t respond to Williams, but instead quickly got the referee involved. The line judge kept her cool, even though she felt physically threatened, believing that Williams was threatening her life. That is the calm, cool exterior we want to achieve when we are in a confrontation.

A lot can be learned from this episode. Williams should have done things differently, and I’m certainly hoping she regrets her inability to control her temper.

Learn from the line judge, the referee and even Williams, so you can avoid being the front page news story at your office.

(Copied from : http://www.dealingwithdifficultpeople.org/dealing-with-difficult-people-tips/?p=137)

Kraft Lunch Note Promise – Feed a hungry child!

September 17, 2009

Kraft is launching a new campaign…Lunchables is asking parents nationwide to promise to drop a lunch note in their kid’s lunch box.

Each promise button clicked means one free lunch to a child in need through Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief charity. The goal is to turn 100,000 promises into 100,000 meals! You can help.

Check it out…it’s really cute and can help to feed hungry kids: http://www.lunchnotepromise.com

Thanx Gwen!

September 12, 2009

Thanx Gwen!

I’ll bet you are wondering who Gwen is and why I am thanking her on my blog.  Let me tell you the story of Gwen.

I was raising a young daughter on my own and needed to supplement my income so I could buy food and clothing after all my other bills were paid.  You know the story….dead beat Dad.  Anyhow, I had a dear friend whose father owned a very busy and elite diner back in New Jersey and he arranged a part-time job for me despite the fact that I didn’t have experience.  Other, more experienced waitresses were lined up waiting for a job at Jim’s Diner.  Always busy, great tips, good place to work.  I was VERY lucky to have gotten in, especially with no experience.

Gwen was the hostess; and I don’t mean the hostess with the most-est either.  She basically was a very strict woman.  But, as I learned over time, she had to be mean to run the diner with the precision and customer focus she utilized to keep the customers coming back time after time.

The more experienced waitresses provided basic training like where things were, what side dishes came with what entrees, how to set the tables, side work at the end of your shift, menu items, etc.  I got all these items down pat pretty quickly because I was anxious to start taking tables on my own and make some money.

Gwen was the final check point as you left the kitchen with your tray of food.  She would eyeball the tray and if you were serving steak, notice if you were missing something and ask where are your steak knives and steak sauce?  Or if you were serving seafood, where were your lemons and tartar sauce?  It was infuriating for me.  It was a VERY busy diner and you often would get 3 or 4 tables at once which would make it very hard to manage with excellence.  As a result, I would ALWAYS forget something and Gwen would once again get the better of me as I was leaving the kitchen.  Ooooh, I got so mad at myself. 

Then a light went on in my head.  If I were sitting at that table in that diner and ordered seafood what would I want with it when it was served?  Lemon, tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, cocktail fork, crackers, and a package of hand wipes.  So, when I into the kitchen to get the salad I would load all those things I would like with seafood on a small plate and deliver that when I delivered the salad.  When I carried the tray out of the kitchen Gwen would ask me where my lemons were and I would reply, “already on the table.”  She would then ask me where the tartar sauce was and I would reply, “already on the table,” and so on…. 

Gwen only asked me a few more times before she was confident that I knew what I should be bringing to the customer and would actually bring it. 

The gratification I felt for thwarting her was wonderful.  Then it suddenly occurred to me that the only emotion I should be feeling is gratitude!

Gwen, strict as she was, showed me the true meaning of customer service – to anticipate what a customer wants and give it to them before they ask! 

 So Gwen where ever you are, Thank you.  You taught me a lesson I use every day in every aspect of my life.

3 Reasons Why a Woman Must Put on Her “Game Hat” to Land a New Job! by Vicki Brackett

September 9, 2009

3 Reasons Why a Woman Must Put on Her “Game Hat” to Land a New Job!

There is a difference on how men and women approach their job search. If women truly understand the differences, it can help them get what they want.

1. Women tend to “downplay” their accomplishments. Women are not boastful by nature. Most women will spend time telling others how great they are, instead of focusing on themselves. This works with our families, our volunteer groups and in our leadership style, but in a job search, it could hinder us from reaching our goals.

2. Women can miss opportunities because they are worried about everyone else. Women will stay longer in their current job, even when they see the warning signs. Because women are nurturers by nature, we put everyone else first and believe that we are letting everyone down by leaving. We just keep on believing things will work out and that we can make the difference. When this happens we may be missing valuable opportunities because we are not looking at OUR future, but the company’s future.

3. Women most often look at themselves first, before placing the responsibility or “blame” on another, even when the issue is clearly not theirs to own. Women look at their own weaknesses first and what they can do to change. It’s not our nature to start pointing the finger at someone else. Because of this, we tend to look inside first and not take the time to look realistically at what could be changing in our career environment that is out of our control.

These are the very traits that can make women great volunteers, employees and leaders. By focusing on other people first, women can pull teams together, make customers feel wonderful and can make real differences in the things that affect the family, workplace and the world.

The key is for each woman is to understand why she is who she is; to give a straightforward look at what her strengths and weaknesses are. Doing that gives her focus, so that she can put on her “game hat” when looking for a new position.

So, put on your “game hat”. Put yourself first. Look realistically at your professional situation at work and decide to make a calculated move; one that puts you in control of your job search. If you are unemployed at the current time, put on your “game hat” and figure out what you can do to help a company grow and articulate that in your resume and interviews. Remember, no one is going to toot your horn in your job search…it’s your responsibility.

So Ladies, let’s celebrate how we are different, put on our “game hat” and go out and get what we want!

Would love to hear your thoughts on this…..
Best Regards,
Vicki
vbrackett@makeithappenforwomen.com

www.makeithappenforwomen.com
720-851-7800

Administrative Tips – To Be The Best You Can Be!

August 29, 2009

Administrative Assistant/Customer Service Tips:
1. Do you have good phone etiquette? Who’s on the other end of the phone? You never know….Answer with a smile; you can hear it in your voice!
2. Always, always be on time! It shows your dedication, professionalism, and how you like to get a jump on things.
3. As I said before, be on time – even better – get in early. Get the office ready for everyone else; lights/copier on, coffee made, etc.
4. Dress professionally. People will know you are serious about your role and the positive impact you want to make on its customers.
5. Have a good, no a GREAT attitude. This will make people want to be around you, especially your boss! Makes the job easier too.
6. Keep your workspace neat and organized – this implies you are organized and ready to go in an instant!
7. Know your expectations/boundaries – ask if you aren’t 100% clear – this solves problems before they start.
8. Make suggestions on improvements – show your initiative on how you can save the company money – bosses LOVE to save money!
9. Suggest a monthly company newsletter – offer to spearhead it – perhaps have dept heads nominate employee of the month/criteria?
10. Offer to take courses in a skill that might make you more valuable to your boss, i.e., Publisher. You could create marketing materials.
11. Learn to anticipate your boss’s needs. This is a skill that takes dedication and is invaluable to a busy executive!
12. Really develop your follow-up skills. Ask your boss if/when you should follow-up on an item and be sure to do it!13. Set reminders for your bosses scheduled off-site meetings to let him know when he needs to leave – he’ll really thank you for that one!
14. Check the ground rules for when you can interrupt him during a closed door session. Define his emergency interruption criteria.
15. Get a list of people your boss wants to speak to no matter what. Conversely, find out who he wants you to take a message from.
16. Write suggested responses to your boss’s simple business correspondence – this will save him precious time.
17. Be well-versed in Microsoft Office – take online courses to perfect your skills. Check out HP- it’s FREE! – http://bit.ly/EE7aA
18. Go the extra distance…when your boss rushes in for an early conference call, get him a cup of coffee or tea. He will be very grateful!
19. Make a point NEVER to run out of ANYTHING. Stock items like batteries for wireless mice or a “stash” of Post It Notes.
20. Always, always try to exceed expectations whether it’s for internal or external customers – it goes a long way in being recognized!
21. Never be afraid to ask if you can challenge your boss’s thinking – it might give him a different perspective on the issue.

How Role-Playing At Administrative Assistant & Customer Service Transformed Me Into A “Can Do” Executive Administrative Assistant!

August 9, 2009

After many years of playing boss and assistant with my younger sister, trading roles day after day, we had amassed a huge box of files for the fictitious problems we solved as well as the copiously chronicled meeting notes, final determinations, and invoices for our services. 

We had lots of time to develop the characters we morphed into when we played “office” way back then as we were always in trouble and getting grounded for weeks at a time; sequestered to the attic bedroom we shared.  You know the one without air conditioning or adequate ventilation.  To make matters worse, the walls were lined with knotty pine; a light colored wood with dark knots riddled through it in random patterns.  The biggest problem being in that room was we “saw” things in those random patterns that scared the bejesus out of us.  We had to come up with intricate games to pass the time and take our minds off of the scary details revealed to us on the walls, especially when school wasn’t in session and we had 8-12 hours of quiet time to fill. 

 I had a chance to review that box of files when my parents moved out of our original home when I was in my late teens and marveled at how intricate and complex a system we had!  We cross-referenced files under the client name as well the subject of the issue, i.e., pet-related.  This way we could do research on all pet- related and/or all particular client specific issues more easily.  We came to the conclusion we needed this redundancy as we had a heck of a time trying to research all pet-related events one day.  We were pretty darn smart even back then! 

Looking back on the entire role playing scenario, we had already defined ourselves as customer service/administrative professionals with a propensity to improve our processes as needed to increase our efficiencies way back then.  It certainly is true that necessity is the mother of invention.  And the need to increase efficiency has stayed with me all these years. 

 As a successful executive administrative assistant, you MUST be able to increase your efficiencies to expedite the time it takes you to complete your duties so you can take on more responsibility/tasks as well as increase your worth by saving the company money.  I’ve saved money for every company I’ve ever worked for by improving processes.

 It’s just that simple, especially if you want to excel!

How Customer Service/Administration Found Me

July 5, 2009

It is said that things come full circle.  Well, that is the case with how customer service and an administrative career found me.  Yes, it found me – I didn’t choose it.  Somehow it was inherent in me.

 My story goes back many years (despite the fact that I don’t want to date myself) to when my sister and I pretended our bedroom was our office.  I was twelve and my sister was ten.  We turned our school desk into a President’s desk one day and an assistant’s desk the next.  Each time we played, we traded positions – one day I was President issuing orders and my sister was the assistant shuffling papers, filing, and answering the phones; the next day, the roles were reversed.  When we were assistants we donned long hair; and since neither of us had long hair, we turned our long-sleeved shirts inside out and up over our heads and let the shirt drape down over our backs giving us the illusion (no matter how flawed) that we did, in fact, have long hair.  We constantly pushed the dangling arms of the shirt from in front of our shoulders to behind our back, not unlike Cher.  Laughable now, but very real for us back then!

We wrote memos about imaginary problems and suggested solutions.  We collaborated about potential pitfalls the solutions might incur.  We established files and made sure each document found its rightful place so we could retrieve it when necessary.  When the President asked his assistant for the Ribar file (the name of one of our neighbors) whoever was the assistant that day would adeptly retrieve the Ribar file from our makeshift “file cabinet” and deliver it as requested.  The President would review it quickly and discuss any “new news” with his assistant and decide how to proceed next. 

We would pretend to make an appointment with Mrs. Ribar and actually role-play about how we would handle the discussion with Mrs. Ribar when she came in.  We’d flip a coin to see who would be the client and who would be the President.  When it came time for the actual appointment, (about 3 minutes after we flipped the coin), Mrs. Ribar would knock on our bedroom door (the office) and be seated on the edge of one of our twin beds.  The President would sit in front of her on one of our office chairs and present an overview of the problem and the solution as she saw it.  Of course, Mrs. Ribar would respond differently than how we role-played it just because we were sisters, competitive, and torturous of each other. 

It was up to the President to take what she had to say into consideration, decide if it had merit, and either change the solution or incorporate the factors into the solution, or start all over and create a completely new solution. 

When we first began our bedroom office, we didn’t have a company name nor did we know what our company did other than solve problems.  Granted, they were silly neighborhood related problems, but they were problems and we were creating solutions, even if the real neighbors didn’t really know about them.

When we were in our “office” it was all very real to us.  Little did we know that what we were doing was called Customer Service and that we were trading places as administrative assistant to the President.

We often retrieved the paperwork when a solution had an outcome we didn’t consider and scolded ourselves for not considering it and put corrective action in place so we wouldn’t repeat the error again.  All this when we were only kids!

Little did I know at that point that we were laying the foundation for a career in solving problems and providing the best customer service we could, first time, every time!