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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    2055 Pheasant Farm Lane
    Freeland, WA 98249

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    7-17-14 Making eye contact and smiling are the first steps in providing good customer service

    In the Langley Merchants Survey that I worked on recently, I noted that word-of-mouth and being a returning customer were two repeated themes about what encouraged someone to come into a business.  Both of these relate to good customer service. 

    If you tell someone about a business, it’s usually because you were pleased with the service and the product; if you come back to a business again, it’s probably for the same reasons.

    Good customer service includes many elements, but one of the simplest parts of good customer service is the first impression someone has walking into a business.  Making eye contact and having a sincere smile are the first steps in sending the message that you really care about providing a positive experience for the customer.

    While there is a lot of business done today through the Internet, owners and managers of many small retail operations still meet people face to face.  Depending on what source you check out, you’ll find that human communication is 70 – 90% non-verbal.  Even with today’s texting and networking, most true human communication is without words.  (Ever notice how often you have a “gut feeling” when you meet someone new?)

    Making eye contact and having a warm smile are the most effective ways to let someone know you appreciate their business.

    Here is an interesting article I discovered about this:


    7-10-14 Langley has a lovely new public space

    Last week I wrote about our trip to Italy, France and Spain and my response to seeing the people in these countries looking so relaxed and happy as they enjoy good food and friends in the many outdoor cafes and other public places.

    Last night, we went to the dedication of the refurbished and renovated Second Street in Langley, and I was reminded of my recent experiences in Europe.

    The street was closed off and the lovely space that extends from Callahan’s across the street was filled with tables and chairs.  Food and drinks were available and Trio Nouveau provided their usual mellow jazz.  There was lots of conversation and laughter.  We socialized with many people we knew.

    It may have been a hardship for many of the businesses to go through the several months of construction, but I’m sure they will benefit in the long run.

    From a marketing perspective, the “new” Second Street will help the Langley businesses.  It makes a great loop experience for people to walk through the town; it encourages people to stop and talk and notice what is around them; and I have no doubt, it will encourage visitors to stroll into some of the businesses.

    Congratulations, Langley!!


    6-27-14 Honesty is the best policy

    Rich and I just returned from a wonderful one-month adventure in Italy, France and Spain.  Part of our trip included a 7-day river cruise in France.  At lunch one day, I ordered an item from the menu, and after several minutes noticed that others at our table were getting their lunch while I was still waiting.  I started asking our waiter what was happening, and he responded, “It will be ready in just a minute.”

    We had an appointment following the lunch, so I was getting more and more concerned as I waited.  And still I was told it was coming right up.  Finally, about 10 minutes before we had to leave, he brought my lunch and said the kitchen had a little trouble with this particular entrée.

    I had gotten to know the waiter a little and I called him over and said, “I wish you would have told me when things weren’t going right and given me my options of waiting for a while to get what I had ordered or switching to something else to get faster service.”  He thanked me and I could see by the expression on his face that he understood what I had described.

    Later, I went and talked to the person in charge of the dining room service and related what had happened (though I was careful not to identify the waiter).  As a customer, I told the supervisor that I wanted to know what was going on and be given my choices.  She thanked me very sincerely, and the next day came over to tell me that she had passed this on to the entire wait staff.

    This incident is a metaphor for many situations where something goes wrong with an order, and instead of explaining what’s happening at the very beginning, a choice is made to simply continue on and hope things work out before the customer gets too impatient.

    As the title says however, honesty is the best policy.  People want to be told when there is a problem and allowed to make a choice that will best resolve the situation.

    (Note: If you’d like to know more about the trip adventure, visit my Facebook page or send me a request for our itinerary – Carolyn Tamler).



    6-24-14 A smile is contagious and can help build your business

    Shawn Achor has become one of the world’s leading experts on the connection between happiness and success. He is the CEO of Good Think Inc., where he researches and teaches about positive psychology.

    I saw a TED talk by him a year or so ago, and it really impressed me.  One of the concepts he presented is how a smile is contagious (I think I remember being told this when I was a child).  It turns out that when you smile, it actually creates changes in your brain (all positive).  When you smile at someone else, whether they smile back at your or not, their brain replicates the same responses your brain is having, mediated by so-called “mirror neurons”.

    If your business involves face-to-face meetings with your customers, make sure that a smile automatically greets everyone with whom you cross paths.  Actually, this is a great practice for everyone that you see, whether they’re customers or not.

    Just ask yourself: Wouldn’t you rather do business with someone whose presence makes you feel good?


    6-19-14 Why do a survey?

    It seems like I get a Survey Monkey, or some similar kind of email survey, at least a couple of times a month.  As someone who has written hundreds of marketing research surveys in my professional life, I am often bemused at the lack of focus and the inhibiting types of possible responses I see.  The maverick in me often wants to provide an answer that’s different than what I’m offered.

    The major question I always ask myself is “What is the purpose of this survey?”  In other words, what will be done with the information that is gathered, and how accurate will the material be that is collected?

    The most common purpose for doing a survey is a need to gather information about a group of people – often customers or potential customers – that will impact how you market your product.  If the responses to a question do not fit this purpose, they should not be included. 

    And, if you do not have a clear purpose for doing a survey in the first place, why waste the time and energy?