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11 05, 2013

Challenging a Neighborhood for Change

By |2017-03-03T12:07:01-05:00May 11th, 2013|Categories: Blog, Customer Service|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

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I was talking to a friend of mine about his business success.

“I never wanted to be a  business person,  he said, I just wanted to make people’s lives better.” My friend is a Catholic priest with a large mission.

I started thinking, how do most people go into business and what is their mission or intention? Is it to just make a lot of money? Do you have to want to make a lot of money to be successful?

Obviously caring about people is not a recipe for failure.

People that want to serve people are few and far between. Serving people is the basis for customer service but many companies seem to be on a different path. Are they afraid if they care about people they won’t make money? Are they thinking they will have to ‘give away the house’ to satisfy the customer? Companies like Zippos and Nordstrom are always cited for their customer service policies—exchanging items that have been worn, shipping articles without freight charges and just loving their customers. They are customer friendly and highly profitable.

So what makes the difference? It would appear that a mutual respect must exist between the customer and the business.

My friend went on to talk about the customer relationship. He is in the housing business and provides housing for many in need. Providing housing does not mean giving it away or leaving the  customer out of the equation—on the contrary. The consumer is considered an integral part of the plan.

“In order for people’s lives to be better, says my friend, they must also want better lives. When it comes to housing, they must take care of their property and be proud of what they have. This means no garbage or graffiti, and  caring for their next-door neighbors. There are noexcuses.”

Basically, if the customer isn’t part of the solution, they are part of the problem. (Who needs this kind of customer?)

It assumes there  is a synergy that  exists between the customer and the business. The responsibility for everyone’s success lies in the understanding that all involved must play a part.  In housing, for instance, people must take care of their homes and their neighborhoods. Without this partnership, neighborhoods will not grow and property will eventually deteriorate. This is what often happens in neighborhoods where people take little responsibility and are not held accountable.

Respect for the customer as well as respect for the business lies at the bottom of this equation. One must always be willing to examine the situation reflect on the original premise. Is this what we set out to do? Getting away from the original mission and path is a recipe for disaster.

Customers need to be treated with respect and dignity and held responsible.

The commitment to the community has been the cornerstone of  building and changing neighborhoods. I choose to call this customer service because it’s about giving and providing service for people.

Without this underlying passion for changing lives nothing would be accomplished for the customer or the business.

Lisbeth Calandrino helps business build loyal customers through customer service training and social media marketing. For training or speaking, Lisbeth can be reached at her web site:



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15 01, 2012

Hope To See You At Surfaces: Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

By |2017-03-03T12:07:07-05:00January 15th, 2012|Categories: Blog, Customer Service|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Hope To See You At Surfaces: Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

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Here it is again, the trip many in the floor covering industry love and dread. Despite the sore feet from all the walking,  it is definitely something to be excited about. This is where we get to see what’s hot, what’s in, what’s out as well as looking at new designs.

 I hope you are planning on attending the show In Las Vegas, being held at Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino, January 23-26. The 23rd is the start of the education show with more than 78 great classes to choose from. Unfortunately you can’t attend all of them but there is a CD you can purchase which has all the seminars recorded. Of course there are product and installation seminars as well as all types of business seminars.

I will be offering two seminars that will add profitability to your business whether you are in retail or wholesale. Retention Marketing: Are your Present Customers Putting You Out of Business and Red Hot Customer Service. Everyone I’ve spoken to has a customer service horror story despite the fact that businesses are in competition for customers. Customer service is a  place where businesses can shine. If you want new ideas that will   add to your bottom line and your customer base, head on over to my seminars.

1/23 Retention Marketing:  Room MO13A 1-2:30 PM

1/23 Red Hot Customer Service: MO17A 3-4:40 PM. I am giving a free autographed book (Red Hot Customer Service) for those of you who mention this article or  bring a copy to either seminar.

By the way Fabulous Floors Magazine will be sharing a booth with Floor Covering Weekly. Stop in and pick up a copy of our latest issue of Fabulous Floors Magazine.

I have read so many comments on LinkedIn about Surfaces—the pros and cons of attending. If you’re in the floor covering industry how can you not attend this show? Every industry has a trade show a place to go and meet other people in your industry.  I’m always excited when my optician comes back from the Optical Trade Show and tells me what’s new. I also feel like he’s on top of new products.

I have another friend who just came back with some new ideas for my business which he got from the Promotions Show. Whatever your business, you owe it to your customers to be on top of the trends and products that are new in your industry. Knowing these things increases your credibility and your expertise with your customer. If you’re writing a blog or using other social media, you will find great information for your customers.

My hunch is that those who are making it through these tough times are businesses that are on top of the industry, are showing the best products and know the trends. Don’t forget to gather up as many trade publications and product information for your employees back home. Don’t forget to sign up for the CD.

I’ve been in the industry for a long time wearing many different hats. For 14 years as an owner of a 7 store floor covering and furniture chain, then as associate publisher of Fabulous Floors Magazine and  industry trainer. As the day to leave arrives I put on my Surfaces hat and begin to get excited as to who I’m going to meet in my seminars and what I’m going to learn from exhibitors and other speakers. When I get to the showroom floor I feel proud to be part of the flooring industry.

Of course I get a CD of all of the seminars and can’t wait for it to get to my mailbox.

Despite the economy, Surfaces still exists and is the best show in town. Hopefully you can come out and support our industry as well as get  great ideas for your business. To register for the seminars, go to

I hope to see you there.

Lisbeth can be reached via email: [email protected].



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