Credit Where It’s Due – Great Customer Service

I have never been lucky with sunglasses. They never seem to last and every year I have to go out and buy a new pair. Some are better than others and, to my utter shame, I have bought some real ‘doozies’ in the past but this year I bought a nice pair of Foster Grants (not exactly D&G, I know, but I liked them).

The other day I was devastated to find that my relatively new glasses had a detachable arm. This was mainly due to the fact that the small screw that attaches it had fallen out. What was I to do?

I decided to go to a local opticians in Kilmarnock to see if they carried out repairs. As a young (Editors comment: What?), fit (Editors comment: What?) and healthy guy, I don’t normally have need of their services and I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Well, I can report that the staff in Optical Express, Kilmarnock were absolutely brilliant. Although they established I wasn’t a regular customer, they took my afore-mentioned ‘tinged pince-nez’ and spent about five minutes replacing the screw. When I asked how much it had cost, they said it was free of charge. Okay, I know it was only a small screw and that it probably cost just a few pence but, to a lot of people, this would have been a chargeable service. Well done Optical Express, you re-invigorated my faith in human kindness and brightened up the rest of my day.

I now don’t feel so guilty and neglectful of my own business skills when I charge an old-age pensioner a cup of tea and a chat when I have just helped them with a minor computer problem.

Ain’t it nice to be nice.

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Bob Thomson is an IT professional with over 20 years experience in the industry having worked as a Consultant, Director, Manager and Trainer. He has vast experience using Microsoft software packages as an individual and in businesses situations.

Bob Thomson
Owner / Managing Director
Real Options

“Eat Your Frogs For Breakfast”

frogYesterday I attended a Time and Priority Management session and one of the topics that came up for discussion was procrastination, the act of putting off, delaying or deferring an action or task to a later time or date.

I suspect many of us, in business, are guilty of this to some degree but, hopefully, not that often. I know I, for one, have procrastinated in the past. In fact, I put off a task to attend that morning’s session in the first place.

Anyway, one of the attendees shared a technique with the rest of us which she referred to as “Eating your frogs for breakfast”. It is a term I was unfamiliar with although, I now know, it is a widely accepted method for aiding your productivity.

It is actually based on a quote attributed to Mark Twain, who said,

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

So the idea is that you start your day by doing a number of the tasks you have been putting off for whatever reason. By achieving this, the day ahead seems brighter and your productivity soars. I can see the psychology behind it and will be giving it a try over the next few weeks to see how I get on.

So, pass ‘les grenouilles’ (that’s French for frogs by the way), I’m feeling hungry.

Have a great day, all.

Please use the comments box below to let us know what you think of our blogs.

Bob Thomson is an IT professional with over 20 years experience in the industry having worked as a Consultant, Director, Manager and Trainer. He has vast experience using Microsoft software packages as an individual and in businesses situations.

Bob Thomson
Owner / Managing Director
Real Options

Happy Being a Digital Immigrant?

Computer of the World Graphic
A Digital Immigrant is a name coined by Marc Prensky in his book Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants published in 2001. He describes a Digital Immigrant as a person who was born before the onset of digital technology (in the late 1960′s) but who became proficient in it in later life as opposed to the Digital Natives that have grown up with technology and ‘techno-speak’.

Now, if truth be told, I come from an age when there were no such things as computers and mobile phones. In fact, I even remember the coin-operated telephone boxes that you would find on most street corners. You spoke to a telephone operator and pressed either the A or B buttons depending on whether they could connect you or not (look them up on Google if you are wondering what the hell I’m talking about). Whatever, it seems a really complicated system by today’s standards.

Having got into computing in the early-90′s, becoming an IT Manager and then a Consultant I suppose I am a true Digital Immigrant. You would think, then, that I would embrace the latest technology as soon as it appeared on the market but you would be mistaken. I view the ‘bleeding edge’ of technology with a great deal of wariness and scepticism because there are so many new products and developments appearing, almost on a daily basis, it is impossible to keep up to date with it all.

I am quite happy to leave it to the Digital Natives to push the boundaries of technology and I believe the time to adopt it into the mainstream is when it is tried, tested and fully understood.

My advice to clients has always been to wait and see how a product develops before jumping in to whatever it may be unless, of course, there is a business need for the change. I would suggest, you also take up this business methodology if you haven’t already done so.

So, am I happy being a Digital Immigrant … I should say so.

Bob Thomson is an IT professional with over 20 years experience in the industry having worked as a Consultant, Director, Manager and Trainer. He started Real Options in 2000 and provides technology help and advice to clients in South and Central Scotland.

Bob Thomson
Owner / Managing Director
Real Options

Cookery School in Scotland

Chef Photo
Last night I had this great idea for a new business venture and I thought it was just so exciting I could hardly sleep.

My idea was to set up a posh kitchen, employ some top-of-the-range chefs (hand picked, not only for their culinary expertise but for their great ‘patter’ and charm too). I would employ the best front-of-house staff I could afford and some amazing backroom staff.

Then I would invite some friends (old and new), charge them a few bob and sit them down for a wee chat and a glass of wine. After they had relaxed a bit, I would invite them through to the kitchen for a themed cookery demonstration, allowing them to taste the dishes being cooked and plying them with more wine and/or soft drinks.

If that wasn’t enough, I would then invite my guests back through to the dining room for a two course meal of exceptional quality, more wine and finish off with either a cup of tea or coffee.

Additionally, because it was a dream and I wanted a utopian event, I would furnish my guests with a copy of all the recipes they witnessed during the demonstration as a parting gift.

How about that for a luxury event to brighten up our drab lives?

Shock … horror. I wake up this morning and find out someone had pinched my idea and set it up exactly the way I had dreamt it. It is called The Cook School Scotland and is situated just 30 mins from Glasgow.

Damn it … back to the drawing board.

This is an unashamed plug for a great East Ayrshire Business. It is well worth the effort travelling to it and is exceptonal value for money. Make sure it is on your radar and go there.

The photo above shows resident chef Gary MacLean preparing the pesto sauce for what turned out to be one of the best pasta dishes I have ever tasted.

Contact Details:
The Cook School Scotland
7 Moorfield North Industrial Park,
Crosshouse,
Kilmarnock,
KA2 0FE

Tel: 01563 550008

www.cookschool.org

The writer received no payment for this article.

Bob Thomson is an IT professional with over 20 years experience in the industry having worked as a Consultant, Director, Manager and Trainer. He has vast experience using Microsoft software packages as an individual and in businesses situations.

He is also the Group Manager of the East Ayrshire Business Forum on LinkedIn.

Bob Thomson
Owner / Managing Director
Real Options