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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    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?


    6-12-14 The Langley Merchants Survey – The biggest take-away from this survey

    Doing a business survey has value if there are some key findings that can be used for planning future marketing.

    Looking at the major finding that people learned about Langley businesses from just walking by a store gives a strong message that the value of promoting Langley as a whole, rather than individual businesses, will benefit everyone in the business community.

    As more people are encouraged to “Visit Langley,” the economy of the community will reflect the increase in visitors.  It’s also likely that there is funding already available that can be used for promoting the community.

    It’s also more fun and rewarding to participate in a collaborative effort.

    Note: For a copy of the survey report, contact Marc Esterly at the Langley Chamber of Commerce.


    6-5-14 The Langley Merchants Survey – What are some of the other major reasons given for choosing to shop at a particular business?

    As I mentioned in the previous Blog, “Just saw it walking by” was the reason marked by the largest number of respondents (47%).

    The next two most repeated responses to the question were: returning customer (37%) and learned from a friend or relative (18% word-of-mouth).

    These second and third most common choices are basically responses to good customer service.  If you like a business, you’ll come back again, and you’ll tell others about your positive experience.

    Excellent customer service begins very simply with eye contact, a smile and a friendly “Hello.”  Once someone feels welcome, they want to stay and look around.  Most people appreciate this basic process of feeling welcomed.

    Note: You may obtain a copy of this report by contacting Marc Esterly at the Langley Chamber of Commerce.