Carolyn Browne Tamler

has helped hundreds of businesses and organizations with her thoughtful facilitation and research services. She also writes colorful and compelling articles about new business initiatives! Would this help you? Call Carolyn today!

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    p:| 360.222.6820
    c:| 425.351.7531

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    2055 Pheasant Farm Lane
    Freeland, WA 98249

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    2-26-15 Bring a baby to work and build your business

    There are two places I patronize on Whidbey that offer a special incentive: Come say “Hello” to a cute baby while you’re there.  I don’t know if this is a new trend on Whidbey, but I suspect babies at work might be a little more acceptable in our more relaxed lifestyle than in a metropolitan area.

    At any rate, I did a story this week about the new Salon Bella at Bayview, which features, along with highly professional hair stylists, a charming 7-month old “Bella” (short for Margaret Bella) :  Bella is in the salon every work day, and Talmadge and Chelsie take turns holding her while the other person tends to a client.  Often, Bella is happy just playing in her baby walker.  It’s almost impossible not to want to go over and play with Bella before and after a hair appointment.


    This past weekend, I went to a special birthday party at Salish Sea Physical Therapy in Langley.  Erin Rodriguez, my PT person, and her husband, Ian, invited customers and friends to stop by their offices in Langley to wish one-year old Oscar, “Happy Birthday.”  While Erin does the physical therapy, Ian tends to all of the office management and to little Oscar.  Frequently, Oscar is being carried in a front baby pack while Ian tends to welcoming clients and completing the business of running the office. 


    Judging from the success of these two businesses, I am beginning to wonder if they have hit on a new marketing ploy for getting people to patronize your business


    2-19-15 Basic customer service: Eye contact and a smile

    Last week I wrote about the importance of making a person feel welcome coming into your store.

    A couple of days ago I went to a local store to make a few purchases.  As I was going through the checkout line, I realized the clerk wasn’t looking at me; her eyes were staring off somewhere else.

    I accidently did something dumb, and I started laughing at myself and made a comment, and looked up…..and the clerk didn’t break a smile and still didn’t make eye contact.

    When I left, I had such a strange feeling about this encounter that I walked about 30 feet away before I realized I’d left my purchases in the basket at the checkout counter.  I zipped back to pick up my purchases, made a joke about forgetting to take them and still nothing brought the person out of her own space.

    I have no idea what kind of personal issues this clerk may be dealing with off the job, and frankly, it’s not my business.  I simply was there to make some purchases and I wanted to be greeted and acknowledged.

    I have said it numerous times before, but it bears repeating: It’s vitally important that anyone who has personal contact with public is coached on the importance of making eye contact and smiling.


    2-12-15 Your first job as a retail business owner is to make a person feel welcome coming into your store

    Recently, my husband and I stopped off at a takeout restaurant on our way back to Whidbey.  We had been to the place before.  The restaurant was busy, and we stood in line behind two people waiting for service.

    We waited for our turn....and none of the staff looked up from what they were doing; no one made eye contact or said “Hello” or “We’ll be with you in just a minute.”  We waited.  Finally, my husband said, “Let’s go somewhere else.”  And, we did.

    I can imagine the young staff had had a long day, or some cranky customers, or were just anxious to be done with their work day and head home.  

    But, as the customer, my only concern was being waited on, or at least having someone greet me and say they would be helping me soon.  I wanted to feel welcome.

    Anyone who is meeting the public in a business must always be aware of the power of that first moment when a potential customer walks through the door.  More than anything else, a customer must be noticed and made to feel welcomed.


    2-5-15 Authenticity can build tourism

    Hopefully, many of you noticed that I haven’t done a new Blog for a couple of weeks.  That’s because Rich and I went for a get-away to Sayulita, Mexico.  It’s our 4th time there, and it’s the only place we have gone to on a repeat basis.  Many people enjoy going to the resort destinations in Mexico like Cabo or Acapulco.  Rich and I go to Sayulita because it feels like an authentic small Mexican town.  You’ll see lots of American, Canadian and other tourists, but you won’t see any resorts or American corporate businesses.  The beaches are for everyone.  We always stay in an apartment that is in the midst of homes lived in by the year round residents of Sayulita and is walking distance from the always lively town square.

    We learned about Sayulita from friends on Whidbey, and I find myself describing this community of 4,000 people as South Whidbey in Mexico.  By this I mean that we have a lot of tourists who come here to experience the authentic feeling of the island. Just as we enjoy wandering in the retail stores in Sayulita, we love to have off-island friends come to visit, and we take them wandering in Langley or Coupeville.

    Obviously, many people enjoy the experiences offered by large resorts.  But, I believe we are attracting a growing number of tourists coming to Whidbey to experience our authentic small towns and the many lovely places to wander and explore.


    1-15-15 The value of working with a hometown bank

    Some Whidbey people have been concerned about Whidbey Island Bank, now being a “division of Heritage Bank.”  We’ve been worried that we have lost the friendly local bank we have all appreciated.

    I don’t think we have to worry.  A couple of days ago I received a personal phone call from someone I know at the Freeland Branch, where I have been banking for 10 years.  She was calling to let me know that one of my accounts was overdrawn.  As I gulped and waited for the bad news, she told me not to worry that I wouldn’t be charged anything; she just wanted to alert me that I needed to add money to that account.

    It was an account that I don’t have much money in.  I had planned to transfer $50 over to cover a check I wrote, but forgot to make the transfer.  As I was talking to the person (and was in front of my computer), I made the transfer electronically.

    After I was done with the call I mused on how different my experience would have been with one of the big banks.  I would have probably received an electronic notice that I was being charged $25 or $35 for an overdraft.

    If you still have any concerns about Heritage Bank, I urge you to talk with your local bank manager, who will personally help you with your concerns.

    As I have said many times before, creating a satisfied customer is the best marketing any business can do.