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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    10-13-16 Smiling and making eye contact are the first steps in providing 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’s an excellent article that was published recently about the power of nonverbal communication:

    10-6-16 It’s important to ask. How did you learn about my business?

    When someone comes into your store, or contacts you to purchase your product or service, be sure to ask how they found out about your business, and keep track of what you learn.
    If you are already doing this… that’s great!
    Are you keeping a record of what you learn?
    Asking this question and keeping a record of the responses is important, so that you can see where to place your energy and dollars to promote your business.
    On South Whidbey, word-of- mouth seems to be one of the most important sources of business, but we also have newspapers, emails, Drew’s List, (and let’s not forget the “Business Spotlight”), bulletin boards, brochures, and promotions for non-profits (hopefully, you’ve heard me mention businesses that support the Whidbey Children’s Theater, for example).
    When you have a sale or any kind of special promotion, it is especially important to keep track of what brings potential customers to you.
    Be aware also, that advertising and promotion that works well may vary. It is not uncommon for something to work great for a while, and then suddenly not be as effective in generating business for you.
    That’s why it’s so important to continue to check on what works, and if something isn’t working as well as it used to, try something new.

    9-29-16 Three basic marketing concepts to build your business

    When you’re thinking about how to best use your dollars for marketing, here are the
    three ways I approach this:
    1. It is always easiest to sell more to those who are already buying your product or service;
    2. You are more likely to sell to new customers who are much like the customers you already have or have been referred to you by current customers; and
    3. It is hardest to sell to new people about whom you have little information.
    Item 1 assumes that you do everything to keep your customers happy so they’ll want to keep coming back to you.
    Item 2 is based on the idea that the kinds of people who really appreciate you, what you sell, and how you do business are likely to want to do business with you… once they know who you are… and especially if they have heard good things about your from their friends.
    Item 3 means it can be very expensive to simply place an advertisement without knowing details about the audience that will see the advertisement.
    The wise ways to use your advertising dollars are to promote your business to current satisfied customers, and let your customers know how much you appreciate having them refer you to others.
    And, remember… a satisfied customer usually tells many people. A dissatisfied customer tells everyone.

    9-22-16 Let a business owner know if something isn’t right

    Have you ever had a friend tell you about poor service they experienced at a restaurant or a retail store and learned that they were telling you something they never said to the owner of the business?

    Mistakes occur in any business situation. The challenge is to learn about these mistakes and then to do something to acknowledge the error to your customer and apologize. If you’re a customer and you’re not satisfied, ask to talk to an owner or manager and let that person know about the problem. If it’s a business that really cares about customer service, your comments will be appreciated and responded to.

    If you’re the business owner and you hear of a problem, or you are aware that something has gone wrong (for example, if you have a restaurant and the service hasn’t been efficient), if possible, talk directly to the customer, acknowledge the problem, and offer something as an apology. You can also make it clear to your employees how important it is for them to say something when there’s a problem and to give your employees the authority to do something to rectify the mistake.

    Good customer service means no one ever leaves your business dissatisfied.



    9-15-16 On Whidbey, most of us do our best to shop here instead of going to America 

    I don’t remember how long ago I heard someone say, “I’m going to America tomorrow.”  I soon learned that many on the island use the term to mean taking the ferry across and dealing with the traffic and stress of going there to run some errands and/or do shopping.

    Of course, there is a recognition that the “big box” stores over there have more selection and, often, lower prices.

    But for many of us, it is also important to support our local businesses. There definitely is an ethic here, that I am sure is true of other small, connected communities, that doing our part to make the local businesses successful is often more important than going for the selection and the prices at the big boxes.

    We are fortunate on Whidbey to also have many businesses that make their own products (coffee, wines, foods, crafts….to mention a few), and the quality is usually excellent. To have an idea of the diversity of the business community we have on Whidbey, take a look at the Business Spotlight on Whidbey Local (

    There is also a lot to be said for feeling good about helping someone else. I like to buy locally and know that I am playing a small part in helping a small business thrive on Whidbey.

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