Sunday, December 04, 2005

My Wolf Camera Story

I can't believe how many friends and clients have read my blog. I am constantly asked about the accident, my Wolf Camera story and what I have planned for 2006.

To start with, Brenda is progressing slower than we had hoped. I think the high speed of the impact caused her more internal damage than we first realized. She is still very sore, stiff and weak. She takes 18 pills a day just to function and manage the pain. We go back to the doctor this week and we will see if her wrist needs surgery.

My friends, family and just local people keep asking what the agent is doing for us on our behalf. Here is the sad truth. Our local State Farm agent is a lovely lady, she is very nice, her name is Donna. She has been with State Farm for many years. She use to be a claims adjustor.

Unfortunately, something has changed, State Farm has become the king of the hill, the giant, the ruler. Their new policy seems to be, train the agents to sell-sell-sell and keep out of the claims adjusting area of insurance. This sounds simple and efficient, unfortunately, if everyone is treated as poorly as we are being treated, she won't have anyone to sell to.

This reminds me of car dealerships, if you buy a car, have a problem, come back to the salesperson and he or she says, I am sorry, I only sell cars, you will need to see a service writer for your problems, you won't be a customer for long. I think my agent does not realize that when this is over, she might have a hard time finding new customers or keeping her current ones. She has been very nice to me along the way, but it seems her hands are tied. She keeps saying, what can I do. Personally, I would not sell a product that was defective and apparently State Farm sold us a policy and now does not want to live up to their commitment.

Ok, as promised, here is the Wolf Camera story. About a year ago, I stopped into Wolf Camera in Gainesville Georgia. I ordered several printed items, including a calendar, t-shirts, coffee mugs and a puzzle. All the items were made from family pictures and to be used as a gift.

I ordered these items and paid for them long before I needed them. I called to confirm the order, again I was told that everything would be in next week. Well next week came and I returned to the store only to find the calendar was not printed, in fact the pictures had been returned and the order never turned in. Apparently the Wolf Camera employee dropped the ball.

I complained to the manager, he was rude, uncaring and basically obnoxious. I called corporate, guess what, they called the district manager who promised me this would not happen again. He refunded my money, which they should do since they never printed the item. I ended up ordering it at a 24 hour sign shop for twice the price.

I have not been in a Wolf Camera store in a full year. Now I decide to try Wolf Camera again. So I take my digital media card to Wolf to print the pictures, I order the pictures, I pay for the pictures, and then I am told to come back in one hour.

I return in one hour, pick up my pictures and drive 45 miles to my home. When I open the package, most of my pictures are missing. So I call the store, I am told they were in the package. I ask nicely to look around, I beg, they look around the guess what, the pictures are there. I think the manager left them out to get even with me from the problem we had the year before.

I ask the clerk to over-night the pictures to me, she laughs, tells me that corporate does not allow them to spend $10 for over-night mail. So I ask her to drive them to me, she really has a good laugh. She says I can drive back to Gainesville, 45 miles each way and pick them up myself.

I call corporate, write a letter to corporate and send a letter to the CEO, Mr. Ritz and the vice-president of Wolf Camera. Guess what, never heard a word, never received an apology from Bob the manager and most of all, they sold me this crazy Wolf Pack discount card when I was there for $15 and I would never step back in their store again.

So I am sure David Ritz is sitting at home with him family bragging about how well his stores are doing, but you know what, behind his back, his employees are running his business into the ground. My guess, Wolf Camera, owned by Ritz Camera, will be out of business in less than 5 years. Wolf Camera was owned by Chuck Wolf, but they went bankrupt and have now been bought by his cousin, David Ritz.

I have seen bigger companies than Wolf Camera & Ritz Camera come and go. I sent these men a letter, the least I could have received was a simple reply and maybe, just maybe an apology. David Ritz should be ashamed of himself. He took my $15 and sold me a worthless membership card. Who would want to go back to a Wolf Camera store and be treated like that. Who would want to give their hard earned money to a company that does not care one bit about customer service.

So that is my Wolf Camera story. I am owed an apology and $15. Mr. Ritz, you should see what is going on in your stores, your father would not be proud.

Until tomorrow, please shop at stores that appreciate your business.

Monday, November 21, 2005

GM, Where is their mind?

You might be wondering how a Life Coach thinks he knows how GM can turn around their company. Well I am more than a Life Coach, I am a consumer, a businessman and a owner/driver of Chevrolet vehicles for the past 30 years.

Take my word, General Motors is headed down the same path as Delta, Winn Dixie and K-Mart. For the record, GM is making all the same mistakes. They won't listen to anyone, I even wrote to Rick Wagoner Jr. today with my comments.

My only concern is that Ford is right behind GM. In less than 5 years, all cars will be imported or built with 100% imported parts. I have owned and operated 6 businesses and I speak from experience, GM is making all the wrong moves.

Lets look at all of these companies and see if there is a pattern.

K-Mart was up and running long before Wal-Mart started. K-Mart built large stores, lost control and never fixed up their stores. Wal-Mart was started as Walton's 5 & 10. Sam built larger, newer stores. He kept his stores clean and neat. He focused on price but more important, he focused on " Made In America." Even though almost everything at Wal-Mart is imported. Most important, Sam focused on taking anything back. Although this has changed, they still stand behind their products.

K-Mart employees lost interest, the stores became dirty, yet the management continued to spend millions on the glossy weekly newspaper inserts. Most of the time they never had the item or it did not look like the one in the ad. They were on the right track bringing in Martha Stewart, but just about everything else was a mistake. Where did it leave them, in Chapter 11.

Now take Winn Dixie, they let their stores run down, they were dirty and old. What did they do, they tried to compete with Wal-Mart and Publix on price. As you can see, guess who lost that fight, Winn Dixie stock is now about 60 cents a share.

Ok, now lets take a look at Delta. What a sad story. At one time Delta was perceived as the top airline in America. Delta was rock solid. Delta was strong and healthy, but problems developed before 9/11. They started to compete with Value Jet, now known as Air Trans. They should have stayed the leader, increasing customer service and improving meals. Instead of growing stronger, they decided to compete on price and give Air Trans tough competition. Look how this ended, Delta stock is worth about 60 cents.

Now look at GM, "HELLO", "WAKE UP", do you see a pattern. For many years, GM vehicles were king of the road. I remember as a kid riding in my parents Chevrolet. The door panel had a logo that said, "Body Made By Fisher." This was when cars were built like tanks.

Then the imports arrived. They were perceived to be built better and cheaper. Remember those days when imports meant cheap, not anymore. Buying a new car was an experience. Each model year the vehicles changed and the excitement built, but overall cars were still inexpensive.

Over the past 20 years, buying a car has lost it's luster. Cars are expensive and dealer lots are full. Now lets compare this to K-Mart. Most dealers have a great deal of inventory, they push locating the car you want instead of selling you the car they have. The sales people at most GM lots I visit have lost their enthusiasm. Now lets talk about service after the sale. GM in my book rates a big "0".

Have a problem, go back to the dealer with your $50,000 and see how you are treated. Have a problem that the dealer does not resolve, good luck, writing GM is like talking to a nice big rock. They don't care.

Ok, so how could GM reinvent itself. First, they could hold town hall style meetings, each night invite owners of a certain model to a free dinner. Lets the owners tell the designers what they like and don't like.

Second, they could shift the way dealers repair vehicles. Try looking at it from the customers view point. Start treating the customers like they just bought a new $50,000 vehicle. Maybe see how Lexus and Range Rover treat their customers.

Then stop spending millions on daily newspaper ads and start treating customers like they should be treated. How about a gift and follow up call after the sale from someone at GM who cares and has some authority. When you take your car in for repair, act like it is GM's fault instead of the customers. Do whatever it takes to make it right.

I buy my vehicles from an old fashion Chevy dealer. The general manager waits on us himself. He treats us like a friend instead of a customer. One thing I know for sure, if I have a problem after the sale, he will take care of it and treat us right. Maybe GM needs to visit Hardy Chevrolet in Gainesville Georgia where I buy my vehicles.

Ok, so there you have it, GM just took its first step in recreating itself and I think it took a big leap in the wrong direction.

Tomorrow I will write about Wolf Camera, definitely #1 on my list of customer service nightmare stories.

Until then, when you are driving, please wear your seat belt.


Friday, November 11, 2005

My article in 400 Edition is back!

Wow, I don't know where to start. I have received so many e mails and phone calls from friends, family and even just local people. When I go into town to pick up a few things at Wal-Mart, I am stopped so often and asked what is going on.

As many of you know, due to the accident, I missed writing my October article for 400 Edition. I write a one page article each month for 400 Edition on life experiences. I was under so much stress trying to take care of Brenda and help keep her comfortable, that I just could not write the article. The folks over at 400 Edition are wonderful. They fully understood.

Well my monthly article will be back in the paper starting this month. The November edition comes out Tuesday. I wrote about customer service or lack of customer service. In the past I shopped at Publix. I grew up shopping at Publix. Then about a year ago, I started shopping several times a week at the Publix on Thompson Bridge in Gainesville Georgia.

The employees were always nice, the store is clean and the food is delicious. One day on my way home, my daughter asked me to pick up some rotisserie chicken. I stopped in and bought two rotisserie chickens and some side dishes.

It was 5 pm and when I arrived home at 5:45, my daughter noticed that the chicken was marked, sell by 3 pm. That means it was cooked at 1 pm and sitting under a heat lamp that does not keep food at a safe temperature. It might make the food seem warm to the touch, but from a sanitary condition, it does not always keep it at a safe temperature throughout.

The next time I was in the store, I mentioned it to the assistant manager. She seemed really concerned and said she would take care of it. About two weeks later, I go back to the same Publix, buy two more rotisserie chickens and guess what, this time when I get home, the chicken seems cool, but there is no time marked on the chicken.

So I go back, the next day, only this time I am not as understanding. The same assistant manager is there. I explain the problem. She tells me it is not possible. So I go out to my car and get the package. Then she tries to tell me that it was an isolated case. So I march her back to the deli and guess what, all the rotisserie chickens are unmarked, no time on any of them. So I ask the employee, right there in front of the assistant manager, why they do not have a time stamp.

The employee tells me why does it matter, they just came out. Was that a few minutes ago or a few hours ago. So I ask the employee if this happens all the time or just today. She tells me that the deli manager tells them to leave the time off to get a longer shelf life. I was really mad at this point.

So I ask the assistant manager to have the manager call me back. Guess what, he never does. So I go see him a few days later. He tells me he was busy and forgot to call me. He tells me he is sorry, but there is nothing more he could do. So I paid $20, wasted a trip to Publix, had to throw away the dinner and eat cold cereal for dinner. My children will always remember the manager of that Publix for his understanding and lack of good business sense.

So the next time I am out giving a speech to a large group of massage therapist, I tell this story, I called it, " How not to treat your customers." I tell the group that I grew up remembering Publix philosophy, they would stand behind the products they sell, even after the meal is cooked. I remember as a kid my mom taking back a roast after she cooked it because it was so tough.

About 4 months ago, I am in Florida, I am telling this story for the fiftieth time, a man stands up and tells me he works for Publix and that something is wrong, this is not how Publix operates. I explain to him that this is how I was treated. He was a 20 year employee of Publix and that I should go back to the store and tell the manager that I am still upset.

So true to my word, I go back to the Publix on Thompson Bridge Rd. in Gainesville Georgia and speak with the manager. I ask him if he remembers the rotisserie chicken problem, I remind him that his assistant manager was too busy to talk to me that day since they had a shoplifter and were waiting for the police to show up.

The manager acknowledges that he remembers clearly what happened and he is sorry, but there is nothing more he can do but apologize and hope that I will continue shopping at Publix. I told him very clearly that I was not happy, I think he made a poor decision and I felt like Publix owed me $20. He said he was sorry and that he appreciates the feedback.

So rest assured I will continue to tell my rotisserie chicken story across America. Now I have added a twist to my story. I have started shopping at Kroger in Dawsonville. Jay Walker is the manager, he does an excellent job. More important, he tells me, " I know sometimes we will make a mistake, but if we do, just tell him and allow him to make it right."

To me, that is what customer service and customer loyalty is all about. Would you like to hear the saddest customer service quote of the week.

I needed to replace Brenda's sunglasses. During the accident and upon loading her in the ambulance, he designer sunglasses are gone. State Farm agreed to replace them. The adjustor for State Farm was not willing to just see how much they cost, she needed a receipt to show we replaced them.

So I looked on-line, I found them, but the adjustor would not accept that, she needed a receipt. So I called Neiman Marcus in Atlanta, they sell the sunglasses. I asked her if she can UPS them to me. She agrees but then finds that the only pair she has are damaged, they have a scratch on the lens.

I requested a few different options, all of which she tells me are against policy or she is unable to do. I explained that my wife had been in a head on collision and is not well. She pauses and then states, " unfortunately, this is not Nordstrom's, where building customer loyalty is the motto, Neiman Marcus focuses on selling name brands and fashion." THIS IS THE WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE QUOTE OF THE YEAR. To tell a customer that your company does not care about customer loyalty as much as your competitor is really risky.

Later I will share my worst customer service story of late, Wolf Camera. I am going to use this story in 06 to demonstrate how not to keep a customer.

Until Sunday, please drive safe.

Monday, October 24, 2005

It Is Not A Perfect World.

We transport Brenda to Hot Springs for rehabilitation. On day 6, Thursday around noon, just after I watched Brenda receive an hour of physical therapy, an hour of water therapy and an hour of walking in the thermal pool, my cell phone rings. It is the Insurance Adjustor from State Farm. She informs me that my trip to Hot Springs will not be covered. She states that physical therapy in Hot Springs is not " reasonable and necessary treatment."

Ok, so I am sitting there thinking that just 6 six days prior, Brenda was bedridden, sleeping 21 hours a day and unable to use the commode without assistance. What is wrong with this picture. That night was my last night teaching the summer coaching class. The students were excited they were graduating and starting their careers as a Life Coach. They asked what took the steam out of me? I could not believe that after watching my wife suffer for two weeks, I finally got her the necessary treatment and the insurance adjustor can call and take that away from us.

Three days later, we were headed back to Dahlonega. On the way back Brenda explained that for the first time since the accident, she could see improvement. Also, she explained that while at home, under medication, she was having awful reoccurring nightmares from the accident. Every night the scene replayed for her seeing this man come across the grassy median on Ga. 400.

The more we talked, the more I found out that one thing that really bothered her was the fact that Mr. Holloway, the man who hit her head on, never apologized or even came over to the ambulance to see if she would live or dye. How could a human being hurt another human being and not care?

Unfortunately in the judicial system, apologies are not a key ingredient. Mr. Holloway, the driver of the truck was cited by the police department and is scheduled to appear in court in December. I started to see a pattern in her nightmares.

When I returned from Hot Springs, I went to see my Insurance Agent. One thing is for sure, most people build trust in their insurance agent. I know I sure did. You grow up watching those commercials that if you ever has a problem, someone will be there to take care of you, to make you whole. What they don't tell you is how limited the agent role is once you have a claim.

Imagine buying a new car, driving it a few days, having a problem and bringing it back and the service writer gives you less than satisfactory service. You go see the salesperson who sold you the car, he or she tells you that their hands are tied, they have no control over the service department.

What if they told you that their boss tells them to focus on selling and not on the service after the sale. Would you buy another car from them? Would you tell your friends to buy a car from their dealership?

This is the fundamental concept I plan to focus on with the new 52 week Life & Business Coaching Program that was scheduled to start on October 10th, 2005 and will now start on January 2nd, 2006.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Natural Healing vs. Western Medicine

After 10 days of watching Brenda lye in bed and sleep, I decided to look for other options to help with her rehabilitation. Although I am a firm believer in all of Dr. Upledgers work, I also believe in Dr. John F. Barnes, Internationally recognized therapist, lecturer and author. He is the President and Director of the Myofascial Release Treatment Centers. I use MFR with many of my clients and I have witnessed the results.

The more research I did on-line, the more I realized she needed movement, she needed to get out of bed and start to move around. She had loss quite a bit of muscle mass and was suffering from constant pain and fluid retention. She had suffered a concussion so she was experiencing headaches 24 hours a day.

I remember the results my sister experienced 35 years ago at Hot Springs Arkansas. For those of you who are not familiar with Hot Springs. It is the home of a thermal well, pumping over 700,000 gallons a day of mineral water which comes flowing out of the ground at 142 degrees. The Federal Government owns the well and controls the water supply.

They have cooling towers which cools the water to about 108 degrees. The water is then pumped to several rehabilitation centers and a few hotel spas. The first hospital built was the Army-Navy Hospital, it opened in 1886. It was the first permanent military hospital in the US. It was torn down and the current facility was completed on that site in October 1933. The Army-Navy Hospital is now the Hot Springs Rehabilitation Center.

Along with the Army-Navy Hospital is the Levi Hospital and Libby Memorial Physical Medicine Center. On December 31, 2005 the Federal Government is closing the Libby after 75 years for major repairs and renovations. The future of the Libby is not certain.

I spoke with our family doctor who is familiar with the benefits of water therapy, especially natural mineral water and he gave us the written orders to take Brenda to Hot Springs for treatment.

Our family doctor cited the fact that Brenda was not recovering as well as he had hoped. Even with pain killers, muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory medications, she was still in severe pain, had little or no range of motion and was not improving.

After speaking with our insurance agent and doctor, Brenda and I decided that she needed to be in Hot Springs not only for the natural mineral water, but for the facilities, they are exceptional. I have never seen a facility in the Southeast United States that compares with Hot Springs.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Transformational Healing In Orlando

Ok, I decided to start blogging again, but I have not followed through. It has been a few days since I posted anything new. Maybe I need a blog coach?

Anyway, I am headed to Orlando next week. If you would like to meet up and discuss life coaching, maybe becoming a life coach, coach training, seeing if life coaching is for you, please feel free to contact me. I will be offering limited appointments in North Orlando, ( Altamonte Springs) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 8/26, 8./27 & 8/28.

If you suffer from burn-out, chronic stress and pain or relationship issues, I can help. I offer Transformational Healing, which I developed over the past few years. It integrates several modalities, including life coaching, touch therapy & bodywork. The results have been incredible.

If you have tried therapy , medical doctors or chiropractors with little results, maybe it is time to try Transformational Healing. My services focus on the source of the problem, not the symptoms.

If you are ready to change your life, I can help.

If you know of anyone in the central Florida area who needs help, please give them my phone number. I have experienced dramatic and permanent improvement with my clients.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Where have I been since I created this blog?

Where have I been since I created this blog in March 2005.

Earlier this year I decided to start my own blog. I first learned of blogging while attending a coaching conference in May 2003. I was in San Mateo California and the guest speaker was so excited to introduce everyone to the world of blogs. This is the first I heard of blogging.

When I came home, I gave it a lot of thought, but then I questioned whether I wanted to share my blog with the world. I am a very private person and why would I want to share my deepest thoughts with strangers.

My coaching friends started their own blogs, some stayed with it and other quit. What did they have to talk about. For some, it became a obsession, others an obligation. Each day of my life I have experiences, I meet new clients, I visit stores and restaurants, I talk with the general public wherever I am at. As I listen, I always process my experiences using what I call the coaching lifestyle. This is a way of life for me. It is a method to listen to what the universe is saying and then speaking the truth.

I often wondered if others would have an interest in reading my about my experiences. In February 2005 I was featured on the front of an Atlanta magazine, 400 Edition. To my surprise, I received phone calls, e mails and letters from readers. Most were positive comments, a few asked how coaching can help improve their life and then there was the ones that just wanted me to know that they enjoyed reading my story.

Since that time, I have written a monthly article for 400 Edition. Each month I receive several e mails from readers who want to share their experiences with me. This has become a wonderful experiences in itself.

So last night I decided it is time to give blogging another try. I had trouble integrating my blog with my web site, but I think I have a new method to link the two. So please feel free to comment and e mail me your thoughts.


Sunday, March 20, 2005

What is Life Coaching

Life Coaching is a natural alternative to traditional problem solving. Life Coaches assist the client in exploring the dynamics that make up their life. Would you like to solve your problems with a Life Coach? Please e mail me if you have questions about coaching.
Welcome to my new Blog. My name is Jeff and I am a Life Coach & Massage Therapist. I will be posting my thoughts, ideas and suggestions. Please visit Life Coach News to read the latest information on Life Coaching, Massage Therapy and other forms of Natural Health Care.