Author Archives: Lara McCulloch


Permalink to what amazon.ca can teach us about customer service

what amazon.ca can teach us about customer service

3706152960 af3813f7be b 570x380 what amazon.ca can teach us about customer service

I’m in the process of working on a presentation for Event Solutions Catersource on ‘How to turn customers into Evangelists”. I’ve been immersing myself in examples of companies who have provided exceptional customer experiences – so much so, they’ve risen from the ranks of good stories to epic tales.

But alas, I don’t have a touchy-feely story to share with you. Instead, it’s probably a scenario you’re very familiar with.

amazon.ca’s take on customer service

On Tuesday I decided to buy a few books on amazon.ca. While I was on the site I noticed that they also offer used and new books for an even further discounted price. I found one of the books I was looking for at more than half the regular price, so I bought it. I wasn’t planning on buying the 2nd book, but it was recommended by amazon and the same 3rd party retailer was offering it for a price that was too good to be true. So I added this book to my cart (along with 3 other books bought directly through amazon).

A day later I received an email (click here to view) from amazon indicating that I was receiving a reimbursement for a portion of my order. Confused as to what “Account Adjustment” meant, I went on what felt like a wild goose chase to try to find a way to contact amazon.ca so I could get some clarification.

Their email to me the next day (click here to view) was extremely disappointing…

Here’s a few things that would have made this process so much easier:

  • take ownership: I found the 3rd party through amazon.ca, I made my purchase through amazon.ca, I communicated through amazon.ca…yet, when I email about an issue I’m told that “it’s important to note that my order is not being fulfilled by amazon.ca directly” and to “contact the seller for a refund”.
  • make it easy to ask questions: I think that the common perception by mass retailers is that if we give our phone number or email, people will use it too much. Instead, I had to hunt for it – through 3 pages of links and information. This is a frustrating process and makes a disgruntled customer all the more disgruntled. Instead, companies need to make it easy to hear from their customers.
  • make it easy to communicate: I’m not sure if you noticed, but I wasn’t able to respond to the email that was sent to me by amazon.ca. It was one of those “please note that this email was sent from an address that cannot accept emails” things. Why do companies do this? I mean, they went through the effort of including “please let us know if we answered your question” with a link to “yes” or “no”. What if they didn’t answer my question? I now have to go back to find the way to contact amazon.ca, re-explain my issue to someone new, and wait for someone I don’t know to hopefully answer my question (which, I might add, the first person did not). On the other hand, what if the original person did answer my question and did so in such a way that I was delighted with their service. Why expect the customer to click on a link that opens up a survey? Why not make it easy for them to share their delight by clicking reply?
  • make communication clear: Why was the communication so convoluted? Amazon emailed me that there was an “account adjustment”. I had no idea that this actually meant that the 3rd party didn’t have the book they sold me. In this case, Amazon.ca should have clearly said just that: “We’re sorry but the 3rd party retailer does not have the book in stock…”. (see next point)
  • give me the option to cancel my order: I ordered through this retailer because I could purchase more than one book. Yet, when they cancelled my one order, they didn’t give me the option of cancelling my full order. So what now? Because this retailer sold me a product that was not in stock, I have to hunt through amazon.ca’s website to try to find the information to cancel this order.

why we need to rethink customer service

  • Our customers are time stressed – We’re working harder and longer than ever before. Companies need to make interactions with their brands easy and stress-free.
  • Our customers are well connected – Our circle of influence used to include family, friends and workplace peers. Now, with the advent of social media, our circle can include hundreds or thousands of people with shared interests, beliefs and/or industries.
  • Our customers know they have power – With highly publicized stories about average Joe’s influencing the way large corporations do business, customers now know they hold the power. Rest assured, they’ll wield it.
  • Our customers can now share our experiences any time and anywhere – Cell phones + social media have changed the game forever. We now share what we love and what we hate the moment we experience it.
  • Our customers have more choice and higher expectations than ever had before – Recognize that if you can’t satisfy your customer’s needs, wants and desires, there’s probably a competitor out there who’s hungry for their business.
  • Our customers have great ideas – Companies loose sight of the fact that our customers should be at the heart of everything that we do. After all, if you have no customers you have no business. If it’s the needs, wants and desires of our customers that we seek to serve, why wouldn’t we be open to hearing from them about: their experiences with our brand(s), their recommendations for improvement and their issues? Recognize that your customers have great ideas, listen to them and be prepared to act.

What would you add?

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Permalink to sunday spark . finishing the race

sunday spark . finishing the race

In honor of the 2010 Winter Olympics, I thought I’d share an inspiring video showing what it means to finish the race. Even if you’re not an Olympian, there’s a great lesson here…

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Permalink to events asia 2010 . social media strategy

events asia 2010 . social media strategy

Join me at Events Asia 2010 in Boracay, Philippines, April 28-30th!

I’m very excited to be a part of this great event. I’ll be joining some fantastic speakers including Max Lenderman, author of Experience the Message. The event will be held at the beautiful Boracay Ecovillage Resort & Convention Center (you may recognize the name from the Miss Earth 2009 competition). For more information, visit the official event website. I hope to see you there!

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Permalink to got something to say? . win free tickets to the spotlight awards

got something to say? . win free tickets to the spotlight awards

Do you love food? Check √

Do you adore events? Check √

Do you love to share your opinion? Check √

Do you own a suit or gown? Check √

Do you have a vlog, blog and/or twitter account? Check √

2428580273 e193c3c97f b 570x381 got something to say? . win free tickets to the spotlight awards

If you said yes, yes, yes, yes and yes, you may qualify win 1 of 4 free tickets to the Event Solutions / Catersource Spotlight Awards Celebration in Las Vegas. This event is being produced by the totally fantastic Ryan Hanson of Beevents (so you know it’s going to be great). The Beevents and Event Solutions teams get the power of social media and would like to extend the gala experience beyond the ballroom. Ticket recipients will get ‘behind the scenes’ access and some trade secrets along the way!

Go to Beevents’ blog for instructions on how to enter. But don’t delay, these are sure to go fast!

Leaderboard 728x90 got something to say? . win free tickets to the spotlight awards

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Permalink to your path to happiness . may be simpler than you think

your path to happiness . may be simpler than you think

Why over think happiness? It may just be simpler than you think…

090924 Are You Happy large 570x806 your path to happiness . may be simpler than you think

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Permalink to say happy birthday . to eventprofs

say happy birthday . to eventprofs

eventprofs birthday say happy birthday . to eventprofsYes, it’s true! #eventprofs turns 1 today!! It’s been a truly incredible year and as I’ve watched the community grow from a small group of people on February 9, 2009 to a thriving community of thousands today, I can say that I’m truly proud and amazed. In celebration of our first birthday, I wanted to turn it over to you, the community, to share what #eventprofs has meant to you.

Share your thoughts

Feel free to comment on this post & let everyone know how the #eventprofs community has impacted you or your business.

Also, please join us this evening @ 9pm EST / 6pm PST for our weekly Twitter chat to share your stories. Click here for instructions on how to participate in a chat.

More info

Wow – and for a very comprehensive overview of #eventprofs’ history, see Samuel J Smith’s post.

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Permalink to restaurants for event planners . my jaw-dropping top 7

restaurants for event planners . my jaw-dropping top 7

It was difficult to narrow down the world’s most beautiful restaurants to my top 7…but I did it. There are just so many worthy contenders out there. To me, an event planner-worthy restaurant must have a totally unique experience to provide its guests, innovative design and a big punch of drama. Each of my favorites below accomplish all three criteria and then some. I will admit that the venue I now have on my must-visit-before-I-expire list is Piz Gloria in Switzerland. Being able to say that you dined with 360 degree views of one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world is true bragging rights. But the remaining 6 restaurants are very close runner ups.

1. Beijing Noodle No. 9, Las Vegas, NV, United States

I’ll be taking a trip to Las Vegas in the next few weeks and you can be sure I’ll be stopping by this restaurant. I found the design so etherial. This is a true statement restaurant.

sushi restaurants for event planners . my jaw dropping top 7

sushi2 restaurants for event planners . my jaw dropping top 7

2. Piz Gloria, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland

Need I say anything? This restaurant could serve cardboard wrapped styrofoam hamburgers for all I care. The breathtaking beauty of the view says it all.

Piz Gloria restaurants for event planners . my jaw dropping top 7

3. Bei, Beijing, China

I picked this one in large part because of my obsession with pink. The design is sleek, but it’s the color combinations that had me swooning. Note to self: pink, black & gold = hot, hot, hot.

bei restaurants for event planners . my jaw dropping top 7

4. Hoto Fudo, Mount Fuji, Japan

Another restaurant that is a must-see for me. Dining in an open air restaurant at the foot of Mount Fuji is a dream I didn’t know I had until I saw this venue.

hoto fudo 2 restaurants for event planners . my jaw dropping top 7hoto fudo restaurants for event planners . my jaw dropping top 7

5. Robert Restaurant, New York, NY, United States

Such a cool, new space that has just launched in New York. I quite liked the unconventional seating groupings.

robert restaurant restaurants for event planners . my jaw dropping top 7

6. Sliver Restaurant (not yet open)

I love the design of this restaurant space.

silver restaurant restaurants for event planners . my jaw dropping top 7

7. Germain, Paris, France

Paris is one of my favourite places on Earth. And Germain is one restaurant that I won’t miss the next time I’m in town. Beautiful and unexpected architecture give this venue a checkmark for me.

germain restaurants for event planners . my jaw dropping top 7

So, I’d love to hear from you. Are you an event planner? What do you think of the restaurants on this list? Which restaurants would you add?

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