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

    f:| 360.222.6820

    2055 Pheasant Farm Lane
    Freeland, WA 98249

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    3-30-18 I enjoy sharing Whidbey business stories

    A few years ago I got into writing stories about Whidbey businesses.  My professional background was as a marketing research and public involvement consultant.  Then I moved to Whidbey and was asked to write a couple of stories about marketing research for a local business magazine (Northwest Business Monthly, which no longer exists).  I don’t even remember now what first created my connection with the magazine. Then, I was asked to write stories about local businesses for that publication.  

    Somehow, the publisher of Whidbey Local, JoAnna Weeks, learned about my writing, and she asked me to do business stories for her on-line publication.  She encouraged me to write what I wanted, in my own style.  She has now branded me as the “Business Spotlight.”  Each week, she trusts me to choose a business, tell their story, and it is published without any editing (my husband is my “official” editor).

    I feel very privileged because I am having the delight of making my own choices and telling stories in my own way.

    I believe that what makes a business story appealing is knowing about the person or people who started the business.  I ask three basic questions: Why did they come to live on Whidbey? Why did they decide to create their business? What is special or unique about the product and/or services they provide?

    For me, a business story is really about the people behind the business.  If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact me:

    And, I invite you to check out a new story each week on The Business Spotlight on Whidbey Local:



    3-22-18 Do emails and texting provide good sources for accurate communication?

    I’ve talked about this subject in earlier emails, but I am starting to have real concerns about whether the generations coming after me, and after my children, are going to lose basic communication skills.

    • Have you received an email with several misspellings or grammatical errors?
    • Have you had numerous text exchanges with someone and finally gave up and made a phone call to resolve something?
    • Have you received a group email that got sent around several times to several people, including you?
    • Do you find yourself sometimes struggling to get through a long email, only to reach the end and realize you’re still not sure what it was all about?
    • Have you sent an email or a text assuming the other person would understand your words and your tone, only to get a response back that didn’t really relate to your intentions?

    I’m sure you can come up with several other items to put on this list. In our high speed communication age, we rapidly email and text and tweet several times a day (our new President believes in this). But are we really communicating?  There are some disagreements about how much human communication is non-verbal, but I think that we all can agree that lacking voice intonation, facial expression, body language and simply feeling another person’s energy, words alone will not necessarily convey thoughts accurately.

    Here are a few suggestions to avoid misunderstandings when emailing or texting:

    • Keep it short and simple
    • If at all possible, save your sincere, serious communications for in-person or by phone
    • Read every email over before you press “Send”
    • If you are sending out a longer email or something with important information, make sure you have someone else read it before you send it
    • If you are feeling angry or frustrated with someone, DO NOT send them an email or text and let them know this; cool down first, and then make a phone call
    • If you are sending an email to a group of people, use the bcc, even if everyone knows each other; it will seem more personal and it will be impossible for someone else to press the “Reply all” and send out swirling emails that can drive us crazy.

     Better yet, whenever possible, call or meet with the person to whom you are sending an email.


    3-15-18 How do you get attention on Facebook? With a cat....

    I am mystified by Facebook.  I admit to not always knowing or understanding what draws attention, especially when you’re trying to figure out what you can show in social media that will result in responses.

    I often see that what my daughter made for dinner draws 20 or 30 “likes,” yet when I post incredibly cute pictures of my grandchildren or something else I find especially interesting, maybe I’ll get 10 or 15 “likes” (although some of my grandkid and daughter photos have occasionally gotten more).

    A couple of years ago we got a cat from the WAIF Cat Cottage in Freeland. My children and grandchildren still get a few likes when I post their photos, but it is really the pictures of Dash our cat that garner attention. The latest photo just shows him sitting elegantly on the piano bench...and the picture definitely won my "like" contest for the week.

    If you’re a young person and into our Facebook and other social media, you can probably post just about anything to receive a lot of responses.

    If you’re in my generation, I guess if you want to have more responses to your Facebook posts, just add a cat or two.


    3-8-18 Getting zip codes provides important information about your customers

    One of the most basic pieces of information you need when you have a store front business or a business out of your home is knowing where your customers live.

    A simple method to answer this question is to create a system where you get the zip code of every person who comes into your business or contacts you to make a purchase.  This can be done on a computer or by doing listings and hatch marks on a piece of paper near your register (OK, I know this doesn’t sound very high-tech, but it works).

    You can keep track of these zip code tabulations by the month or season, or after you have done a new advertisement or special promotion.

    Once you see the patterns, it can provide you with valuable information about where to focus your advertising dollars. You can also recognize when your customers are locals, rather than tourists.



    3-1-18 Training employees to genuinely connect with customers is a great way to build your business

    Rich and I recently took a short trip to Mexico with a planned stopover in Los Angeles to visit with family before coming back to Whidbey. We had an experience with Alaska Airlines that I have shared with just about everyone I have talked with since we returned.

    Taxiing out of the airport in Puerto Vallarta for the trip to Los Angeles, Rich became ill and was escorted to the front of the plane where he briefly passed out.  Flight attendants and a medical person who was on board came to his aid, giving him oxygen and talking to him. They all made an effort to comfort me (as well as him).

    In the midst of this trauma a man from Alaska Airlines who was a “Customer Service Lead” came on the plane, gave me his card, and told me he would take care of our luggage, and in a very sincere way told me to call him when I knew what was happening with my husband. He assured me he would take care of our luggage and could arrange another flight when we were able to fly.

    An ambulance was called and Rich (with me in the front seat) and I were transported to a local hospital. At the hospital (which was a modern, excellent hospital), he went through two hours of testing and checking before they pronounced him fine (it was food poisoning and dehydration).

    I called the man from Alaska. He was genuinely happy with the news and got us the last two seats on a 5:30 p.m. flight the next day. He told us to meet him at the check in desk for Alaska. When we arrived at the desk, he quickly came out to meet us, gave me the tickets for our flight the next day and our luggage, helped us get a hotel that had arrangements with Alaska and gave us a voucher for the taxi to take us there. There was another customer service person who also helped with what was needed at the time of the incident and the next day when we returned to check in.

    Other than not knowing what was wrong with Rich, the whole experience was peaceful and pleasurable. I was impressed not only with how the situation was handled, but with the kind, honest way Alaska staff worked with us. It’s my belief that Alaska makes a point of training their employees to be this way.

    It’s also my belief that all employers need to get the same message of customer care to their employees. Every business will do better if good customer care is part of the customer experience.

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