We had a weekend of learning/practising/exercising patience - you know the art of breathing deeply and shutting down anger because anger and frustration are useless emotions that suck the life force out of you.

Our current web host, Host Gator had experienced outages that caused our site to go down for hours AGAIN on Sunday. Technical glitches happen, that any of us understand, but to be lied to by said host, had myself and Ali really having to focus on patience, breathing deeply and continuing the work of moving towards transferring all of our content on our site to a new host.

We know our days are numbered with Host Gator and so we let the lies go and didn't give them much for energy - why bother, but when I think back to the article I wrote on Friday about customer service, the weekend's experience really affirmed for me that customer service - the art of caring for and building relationships with your customer appears to be a dying art with some companies.

If there is a problem you are so better off to just admit it and move towards resolution instead of blaming your customer or attempting to hoodwink them with fancy terminology.

Is customer service that much of a dying art? It is with some companies and yet there are other companies who are either stepping up their game or just continuing the practise of relationship building and great service.

I have two such stories to relate to you today...

The first one involves our calendars. UPS had lost them, they finally found them and delivered them late Thursday. I opened them up - all excited - the printing was gorgeous - they looked really good for my first attempt at doing something like that and then I went to open them, only to discover that they had been stapled on the side instead of the middle....OH NO...they were pretty much useless as calendars - now what?

A call to the printer - it appears there was a miscommunication between he and I - the printer agrees to reprint them but we have NO time if they are to get in the hands of those who ordered them in time for what?

I get a brainwave and take the calendars to Staples, now I have never had much luck with customer service at Staples but at this late date I was willing to try anything - I talked to a gal named Jen in the copy centre - showed her the calendars and asked her if she had any solutions that would allow the calendars to be useable. She did! She took one calendar, sliced the side off where the staples were and then used a clear coil binding at the top - because of the way they were printed it means having to turn the calendars over when you change months but far better than not being able to use them at all...

She expressed that they were busy and probably would not have them done until Sunday. Well that was better than waiting another 10 - 12 days to get reprinted ones  plus shipping time, so I called the printer - he agreed to split the cost of having coils put on them and I told Jen to go ahead. Then Friday morning at 10 AM I got the call that they were ready - I was floored - I ran down to get the calendars - they looked 1000% better than when I had dropped them off the night before and was pleasantly surprised that they had given me a 20% discount since the calendars were clearly fund raisers - can you say WOW!

I got to work and got them all in the mail and if all goes well this week people should start seeing their calendars arrive.  Am I 100% happy with them? No - I would have liked them to have been done right to begin with BUT it is amazing what happens when you think creatively and find people who are willing to help you make a silk purse out of a sow's ear - so HATS off to Jen and the team at Staples for the fabulous job they did and to my printer for being so willing to right a mistake.

The next wonderful thing that happened took place when ordering my new media kits.  Every year I have to update my sales kits to reflect the growth of the business and printing is expensive. I often use Vista Print for my business cards etc because they provide a great quality product at a very affordable price.

Anyway, the order I had to place was a very large one, I was pleased to note that one of their specials was free shipping on orders of over $65. I also qualified for other discounts because of the size of the order and the products I was purchasing. When I went to check out however, the discounts weren't showing up and neither was the free shipping. So I emailed their customer service department, next thing I know the discounts are all showing up on my order - SWEET!

But the $120 shipping fee was still showing and since I needed to get the products coming right away I placed the order before I got any response regarding the shipping.

About two hours later, while I am out doing some shopping, I start getting all of these refund notices in my email on my phone. HMMM - what the heck, looks like they are having trouble providing some of the things I ordered. Then I get one final email explaining to me that there was problem on their end with the web offer not going through right and that in order to rectify the situation they were giving me two of the products I had ordered completely free - almost $200 worth to make up for the oops! In fact the refunds totalled to almost double the cost of the shipping. Can you say impressed?

So while some companies out there do not seem to be able to attract good customer service reps and or have a culture within their businesses that does not empower their employees to be good at customer service or perhaps the company itself has no real customer service values to install in their people - I must say that other companies do and or have found their way back to good customer service - I know I will begin using Staples far more often than I have in the past to see if this great experience I had on the weekend is part of a new philosophy at Staples or not and I know that Vista Print has reaffirmed for me why I have done business with them for the past 10 years.  I have always gotten great service, prices and quality from them and this weekend's experience has totally validated for me why I use them as much as I do.

I would love to hear your thoughts on customer service - is it a dying art or are companies finally starting to get that customers have lots of choice and WILL take their business and move it to companies that exhibit great service...what say you?

The news feeds have been rather quiet the last few days, it seems that after that spate of articles last Thursday that everyone went on vacation.

Honda USA has announced a brake recall...

There is an interesting product review on Smoothie Hard Bags for Harley's

There is another product review on Alpinestar's airbag suits that you might find interesting

Inside Motorcycles has info on the upcoming Toronto Motorcycle Show

There's a great story about a Goldwing that survived the earthquake in Christchurch earlier this year

Harley is pleased with their new Blackline and how younger riders are embracing their product.

There are a few other articles you might find interesting so check them out at where we sift through the news so you don't have to...

I have a few funnies to share from people who either email them to me or share them on Facebook because it's Monday and we all need a giggle to get the week started off on a better foot!

That's what's fit to print in my world today...soooo

Have a fabulous day,

Belt Drive Betty,
Editor & Rider

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