Monday, 19 September 2011

Delighting Your Customers

When I was first approached by Lisa Carden of A & C Black Publishers to write 'Delighting Your Customers' I nearly turned down the opportunity as I didn't think I had the talent to write a book. English was my worst subject at school and as my children will tell you, I don't know many long words! But I realised that I am always telling people to never turn down an opportunity and I was about to do just that so in a wild moment I signed the contract and was committed to write 40,000 words in just five months. It was very hard work but when I saw the book on the shelf at Waterstones in Oxford Street I was so excited that I just wanted to tell everyone in the shop that I had written it. Now four years later the revised Edition is out today and I'm hoping to write another book soon. Never underestimate your talents because you will never know what you are capable of unless you try and persevere.

On Wednesday September 14th I attended the Autumn meeting of the Financial Mail Women's Forum at Fredericks Restaurant in Islington. Unfortunately Jennie Agutter who was booked to be the speaker wasn't able to make it due to her filming schedule and Deborah Hollamby who was to stand in for her was taken ill so there was no speaker but it gave the members an opportunity to network and promote their businesses or events. I met two very nice girls from Bloomberg Bank who were attending the event for the first time and enjoyed talking to them.

Afterwards I dashed home because the Wessex Women were meeting at the Cloud Hotel on that evening and as the Hotel is still fully booked I was needed to help in the restaurant. I wasn't able to listen to Lord Ian Strathcarron's talk but I heard alot of laughter coming from the room and I had some excellent feedback about his presentation from the members who I understand thoroughly enjoyed it. Here is Karen Guttridge's account of his talk.
Following in the footsteps of Mark Twain, Lord Strathcarron proposed "The Moral Regeneration of the Human Race." To draw an analogy from medicine- when a healthy person undergoes vaccination they receive small amounts of the disease-producing microbe thereby ensuring that they do not fall victim to the disease ever again. So perhaps in the same way, we may refer ourselves immune to the 7 deadly sins [wrath, greed, sloth, pride, gluttony, envy and lust] by permitting ourselves to dabble with 'just a little' of each one! It is hoped that our memory of the negative experience [ such as shame] gained by such indulgence will be enough to discourage any further sinning!
Eventually we will be sin free!  My mind boggles and as Karen says "Where's the fun in that?"

It's been a very busy week for me and on Thursday I had the pleasure of attending the pilot of a new competition -The UK Business Speaker of the Year. Motivational speaking is a subject I am very interested in and it is becoming an important part of business. The idea is to create an event that will bring the UK's top business speakers to Bournemouth and make people aware of the the brilliant conference facilities in Bournemouth. The final was held in the Ocean Theatre, Pavilion Dance, there were 8 finalists and I was disappointed to see only one woman amongst them. However it was a very interesting and entertaining evening and was sponsored by RT Media a local branding communications agency that has become very successful since it started in 2002. If anyone is interested in developing their voice for public speaking I can recommend an excellent teacher at the Winchester Voice Studio. Her name is Amanda Smallbone for further information you can contact Amanda at

The next Wessex Women's Network meeting is on Oct 26th when Christine Dyke will be talking about women in politics, I look forward to welcoming you to this event.

I often recommend a book and this time I thought I would like to recommend 'Delighting Your Customers' by Avril Owton MBE published by Bloomsbury. Delivering excellent customer service without breaking the bank. Every one of us can make a difference to the customer's experience in our company often by being just kind and caring.

'Customers don't always care how much you know until they know how much you care'

Take care


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Back to School.

With the school holidays over I'm sure the majority of you are pleased to see the children go back to school! For many of us trying to juggle children or grandchildren with our careers is always challenging. However I hope you were able to enjoy quality time with your families. I spent two glorious weeks in Tenerife with some of my family and came back to work totally relaxed and recharged ready for the challenges that face me daily.

September is one of my favourite months, there is a certain calm about it however the Cloud Hotel is still very busy in September as the more mature customers come to enjoy a break when the children have gone back to school and before winter sets in. Although the evenings are drawing in the days can be warm and sunny if we are lucky!

I have a busy month ahead of me with networking events and Award Ceremonies to attend. The next Wessex Women's Network event is on Wednesday September 14th when Lord Ian Strathcarron will be our speaker. The title of his talk The Moral Regeneration of the Human Race a sideways look at morals! Apparently a very amusing speaker so I look forward to welcoming you to the event. There is always an opportunity for you to promote your business or charity event during the evening as well as network with the other members.

The revised edition of my book Delighting Your Customers [delivering excellent customer service without breaking the bank] published by Bloomsbury is to be released on September 19th. It is packed with essential advice and is aimed at small business owners who want to help their businesses reach their full potential. It can be pre-ordered from Amazon. I hope anyone who buys it will find it useful and enjoy it.

Talking of books I am reading Alan Sugar's autobiography at the moment and what a fascinating story it is.  Like so many successful people he did not go to university and hasn't got a degree but has always found a way to make money even as a young lad. At a time when so many of our young people are starting university I do wonder if some of them would do better to go into the workforce and use their entrepreneurial skills and talents. Not one of the Dragons on Dragons Den have a degree!

Finally. 'There are those who think they can and those who think they can't. Funnily enough they are both right.'  Henry Ford

I suggest you think you can, you achieve more that way.

Till the next time