Wednesday, December 14, 2011

111214 Basic tips for a Job Interview

I have hired and managed hundreds of employees in my life time, and interviewed thousands more. Here are some basic tips to getting past that initial interview. Although you'd think these are common sense, you would be suprised at how many people don't get it. Don't laugh, these actually happened. Ok, you can laugh, I was when I wrote it... :)

So, here it goes, Interview 101:

#1 - Take a Bath. Body odor can be a distraction to the interviewer. They will be so distracted by the smell, that no matter what is said, their one goal is to GET YOU OUT OF THE ROOM. Bam, your done.

#2 - Brush your Teeth. See #1.

#3 - Wear CLEAN clothes. Again, see #1. That smell aint coming out of that chair for days.

#4 - Comb your hair (although, this one is now a days negotiable). Despite me using style gel in my hair to "spike" it, my grandpa constantly tells me to comb my hair. But if you come in looking like a rats nest, then all the interview can do is laugh in side, and try to keep a straight face thru the whole interview. Been there. Done that.

#5 - Guys - wear a tie, girls - well, wear something nice. Dressing for the interview shows me that you are serious about wanting this job, and if you are not going to put the effort forth in dressing the part, then I think about the effort you are going to put into your job. Despite the potential company's "relaxed" dress code, or potential uniform, still make an impression. We talk about that after you leave.

#6 - Show up. No shows don't want the job. Plain and simple.

#7 - Be on time. Your interviewer obviously has a full plate, and a schedule to pack a 13 hours of work into a 8 and a 1/2 hour day. He has set time aside to meet with you, because he thought you were important enough. The very lease is recognize his schedule, and respect it. Bottom line - late to an interview, will always be late for work. Yep, we talk about that too.

#8 - Shoes! Sandles, flip flops, hooker boots (unless that's the job your going for) are strictly prohibited (unless your job is in Key West, FL.). This is just nasty, your feet are nasty, your toe nails are nasty. We don't need to see this. Trust me. We compare your feet to how nasty the last guy who came in with sandles on.

#10 - Don't show up drunk or hung over. If you drank the night before, and are seriously hung over - the interview will be able to tell. We can smell it in your breath, and we can see it in your eyes. If you are to potentially represent the face of the company, the last thing we want is someone who is sloppy drunk. If you are an alcoholic, get help. We are looking for someone reliable, alcoholics are proven to not be reliable. We won't hire you.

#9 - Scratch that... 1 thru 8 should cover it. If you can knock these out, you've won half the battle. The rest is about you being yourself, and confident you can do the job!

Michael D. Chavez
CEO & Executive Event Coordinator
Cherokee Street, L.L.C.
"Live off the Blackberry"

Monday, November 14, 2011

111112 Wendy's on the West Side - Great Customer Retention

Well, being the hermit I’ve been lately, I haven’t gotten out much, however, the other Day, Iris and I were going to the movies, when she noted to me that I needed to eat something because I my blood sugar was getting low. Thankfully she caught it before I did, or it would have been a hell of a date.

We veered into Wendy’s, one of my favorite grab and go places. This one was on the west side, right across from Target on Coors and Paseo Del Norte.

My order was simple, a .99 cent chicken nugget, and a small Dr. Pepper.  Nothing crazy, just enough to get me thru the movie before we went to dinner later.  Well, knowing my sugar issues and what I was going thru, I am real careful on what I say, so it doesn’t affect the projection of my attitude at the moment.  After I order, I notice the guy is being really short with me, AND there is something on that little drive thru screen thing that I didn’t order; so I informed the guy on the intercom “You have an order for a frostee, but I didn’t order one.”  He snapped back before I could finish my sentence and told me “that isn’t for you!”  Knowing my state, I shut up, maybe I’m being sensitive, but man, was he rude.  I drive to the window, and he hands me my nuggets in a bag, with a straw inside, and sends me on my way.  I look up and say, “I also ordered a Dr. Pepper”

1st Drive thru guy: “No you didn’t, it’s not on the ticket.”

Me: “Yes I did.”  (thinking, he put a straw in my bag, that had to say something…)

Other guy at the drive thru: “yes he did” (while dispensing my Dr. Pepper).

1st Rude Drive thru guy: (hands its to me, closes the window and turns away.)

Mind you, I know what my body is doing to me, and my mind.  ‘That can’t be me.’  I asked Iris, “was that guy rude, or was it just me?”  She agreed it was very rude. 

Oh, now I have to say something!

I see another Wendy’s employee standing outside, smoking a cigarette.  “Are you the manager?”  I asked him (knowing darn well he wasn’t, but I had to say something to someone.) “Because the guy at the drive thru is having a really bad day I think.”

Smoking Cigarette guy:  “I heard on the head phones, our boss just got after him on the intercom about talking to you like that; I’m really sorry about that, we will get it taken care of.”

Thanks Wendy’s Smoking a Cigarette infront of the restaurant so everyone can see you employee guy!  I think you were just making that up, but it was heart felt, genuine, and excellent customer retention!  Start smoking in the back of the restaurant, and you will go along way in the Customer Service Field! 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

111027 McCall's Pumpkin Patch

$30 in gas to get you to the McCall’s Pumpkin Patch.
$30 for 3 people to get in.
Jump on to one of 3 trailers pulled by a tractor,
Out to a 30 Acre field just to go PICK YOUR OWN pumpkin.
Carry that pumpkin back to the trailer,
Straight to the Cash Register to pay $9 for that pumpkin YOU had to pick from the field YOURSELF.

Now, If you haven’t had the pleasure of enjoying the “great pumpkin patch” experience, then you McCall’s Pumpkin Patch in Morarity, NM is an awesome place to visit.  Kid friendly during the day, and scary movie friendly at night.

There's wal-mart pumpkins in a box, and then there's McCall's pumpkins that you can pick straight from the field.

Halloween is a $30 Billion dollar industry, and the 2nd highest grossing “holiday” in the world.  And the McCall’s sure know how to tap into that.  Go check them out!
have a great day, and a safe weekend!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

110925 The Day After

Well, the world is still spinning, the sun is still shining, and I'm still alive. Wow, what an adventure! Everyone was so impressed with the show last night! I even think we set a new standard for the athletic commission in the way things are done.

The show was a huge success! Pictures will be up soon on facebook, and the flikr account that's linked up to the company's website. However, the's have been posting pictures up. We has such a great turn out! My family was especially excited about Holly Holmes showing up. Seeing the smile on my niece and nephew's faces made the whole night worth it!

I do have to say, everyone who was a part of this, I'm calling you for the next one! No sense in re-inventing the wheel on such a successful night! Big Moon, Rick, Junior, Jena, Jennifer, Griego, Mike, Savannah, and of course Andelica... I'm tellin' ya, if there was ever a crew that new how to pull something off like this, it was these guys!

We will be having a strategy meeting this week, we have a few nuts and bolts to tighten up, but we're back at it for another one in Janruary!

Thanks again for helping us showcase all this great New Mexico Talent!


Michael D. Chavez
CEO & Executive Event Coordinator
Cherokee Street, L.L.C.
"Live off the Blackberry"

Saturday, September 24, 2011

110923 The Night Before the Fight...

Well Folks; its been a while since we talked... I've been busy, and you have suffered. I got wrapped up in the MMA world even though I know nothing about MMA. I'll be honest with you, I've had the jitters. Until now. We just wrapped up "weigh-ins" and I was kinda nervous about that.

Here we are, night before the show. Me, rick, and Jennifer "probie" McFarlane are at Dions now, just reflecting on our journey. Its kinda like the calm before the storm, and wow. We've come along way in 3 weeks. Tomorrow's the big day to see. What we're all about. Its been an interesting ride.

Hope you join me!
Michael D. Chavez
CEO & Executive Event Coordinator
Cherokee Street, L.L.C.
"Live off the Blackberry"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

110821 My Tattoo Q&A

Well, after many inquiries, I and no time to talk about it, I’ve finally decided to write about my tattoo.  First, this is my first Tattoo, and probably my last.  So to answer some questions right off the bat:

Q: Did it hurt?
A: Yes

Q: Did I cry?
A: No

Q: Did I want to?
A: Yes

Q: Any witnesses that I didn’t cry?
A: Yes, My sister was there

Q: Is it real?
A: Better be.  It hurt like it was real.  It’s peeling like it’s real.  It bleed like it was real.

Q: What did grandma and grandpa say?
A: They’re first reaction wasn’t all that great, but they actually are appreciating it for the artistic and sentimental value.

Q: What does it mean?

First, my mother had the same type of tattoo; and it has become a Family Crest of sorts.  My mother had a tattoo of a rose on her right shoulder, and a tattoo of 2 feathers on her left arm symbolizing her 2 oldest boys – Me and Jason.

Jason and Scooter both have a similar tattoo; and Savannah and I were the only ones without it.  Now that I have mine, Savannah is the last one to get the tattoo.  There are unconfirmed reports that she should have her within a couple of years.

As for it’s story; well, the two feathers and the rose represent my mother, me and my brother Jason.  The two feathers are structured the same size but with different features.  This represents our similarities and differences.  The band represents the influence our mother has on my life event thru today.  The straps and the coin with her initials that are yet to be finished on the inside will represent the discipline she instilled in me.  This has it’s own story which when I was a kid, our mother use to grab us by the arm, and dig her fingernails into the fleshy tender part under our arm (a very effective way to get a kids attention by the way.)  It hurt!  And, it always made a point.  She always had our undivided attention, and we always remembered why she did it!  The Drop under the rose represents the memory of her loss, and the sentiment of her memory.  Its artistic value can be accredited to Dorian Gray and symbolizes her beauty and ability to command attention to any room she walked into.  Whether it be her work out gear, her hospital gown, or when she was all “doll’d up.”   

Well, there you have it!  I hope this answers some questions… Until next time!

Michael Chavez

Saturday, July 16, 2011

110716 Blowing a Customer Off = Getting your business blown off

This segment actually has to do with a Customer Service call to my insurance company, and several companies here in ABQ.  So, everybody knows about the #Cadillac being wrecked by the #USPS.  Well, since the United States Postal Service doesn’t have an insurance company, and handles their tort claims outright, I had to go thru MY insurance company to handle the damage, repair, and reimbursement.  Well, #LibertyMutual is my insurance carrier, and they handle everything from my stuff, my family’s stuff, and then some.

For reasons that would take too long to explain, the bottom line is the car isn’t done yet, and #Enterprise Rent-a-car called and said they wanted the #ManCar back.  I went down to straighten it out since Liberty Mutual said it was their bad for taking so long; and they would cover the rental for as long as it was needed until I got the caddy back.  I had 2 different people at Liberty Mutual tell me this, so I went along my marry way doing my thing until Enterprise called and said bring the car back.  Not their fault, No one had told Enterprise to let me keep it, so the folks at Enterprise here in ABQ off of Lomas and Broadway, you guys still rock!

I call my Insurance Agent @KimberlyHolmes at Liberty Mutual, and she’s aware of the extended rental, and she gets on it.  She calls her boss, my adjuster, anyone and every one she can - she’s burning up her dial pad on her phone in her cubical at her office; and for some reason NO one can own up to the “our bad” over at Liberty Mutual.  The insurance company actually blamed me for taking it to the wrong body shop!  That was their ultimate excuse for not continuing to cover the rental. 

Now, who hear owns a Cadillac??  Raise your hands.  Who is the ONLY place you can take your car to get worked on if something goes wrong with it??  (Say it with me) “Cadillac!!”  So, when the car gets wrecked, I didn’t know anywhere else to have it towed to, except the #GallesAndDavis Cadillac dealer here in Albuquerque.  However, Galles and Davis doesn’t do body work, only Mechanical.  HOWEVER, they trust all their body work to Harold’s Body Shop for all their Cadillac bodywork needs.  “Ok” I say… Do what ever needs to be done, and let Liberty Mutual know.

Ugh, sorry, I should write a book.  LoL  Anyway, So, I’m sitting at Enterprise…  Jennifer, the girl behind the counter talks to my Agent.  She then tries to get ahold of my Claims Adjuster.  6 Phone calls on Enterprise ends and all end with the same answer: Policy Max is Policy Max.  What the hell is Policy Max.  Now, I’m not an idiot, I know the definition of the two terms, so I’m putting it together that Liberty Mutual is going back on their word and is not going to cover the car any more; but what the heck!!!  Are you serious??  “Yes” was the look I got from the folks at Enterprise; but Kimberly Holmes is hard on it, in her office yelling at everybody she can talk to too get her own company to own up to their word.

Here’s the blown off part.  Kim finally gets ahold of someone in the claims adjuster department to get me some info on how to get the Man Car rental to continued to be covered.  Now, apparently only 2 people in the entire Liberty Mutual world has access to my claim, and that is these 2 girls, “Regina” and “Stephanie.”  Well, guess who’s the 2 people within the Liberty Mutual company not answering their phone at the moment (if these 2 girls are that important, get them a blackberry! Please!).  Yep, you guessed it, “Stephanie” and “Regina”  Now mind you, I’ve been at Enterprise Rent-a-car for, now, 3 hours.  I know everyone’s names, I know their kids name, I’ve seen pictures, and we’re now planning on what we’re all gonna go drinkin’ later. Kimberly is able to conference me in with someone in the claim’s department who has no other alternative but to send “Stephanie” and “Regina” an email and have them call me back!  (Are you serious?! – really? An Email?  That’s YOUR FIX?  Why don’t you just transfer me to that complaint voicemail box you send all the whiners too so you can go smoke that cigarette you’ve been craving for  the last 45 minutes!  It’s not like I’m stuck or anything!)

Now, ya’ll know, I’m a smart ass – and Kim and attest to this, because I know she was cracking up on the other end with her phone on mute.  I tell the girl “Look, I’ve been here for 3 hours, and I didn’t bring my sleeping bag with me, I wanna go home! Are you serious? The only thing you can do is send someone an email?”  That was her story and she was sticking to it.  Apparently she didn’t bother to go thru my case and look because she completed the email to the 2 girls mentioned above before she said “Oh, wait!  You need the claim number from the postal service? Here it is!” 

“Ohh-EEM-GEE!”  (That’s what I thought, not what I said).  Yes ma’am, that’s all I need, the phone number, and the claim number for the postal service.

“Hear you go” and she proceeds to rattle off the info I’ve been spending the last 3 hours trying to get.  1 more phone call, and 10 minutes later, the Man Car and I were on the road again.

Needless to say, Stephanie called me 2 hours after left the rental car office, informing me that she just saw an urgent message to call me; and Regina emailed me the information the next morning around 11AM my time.  If that wasn’t some bureaucracy bullshit, I don’t know what is.

I know that if It wasn’t for my trusted insurance agent, @KimberlyHolmes; I would be shopping for new insurance right now.  1 person can be the life and death of your customer’s “experience” with your company.  If it wasn’t for my insurance agent, Liberty Mutual would have lost: my business, the estate of my mother’s business, my grandparents business, my 2 brother’s business and we probably would have all gone to #WellsFargo!

Thank you Kimberly!  Liberty Mutual, thank Kimberly as well!  She is definitely someone who is out there Hustlin’ to make sure your company is lookin’ good!

Michael D. Chavez
Cherokee Street, LLC

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sure its Easy... Why don't you Teach it!

This story so funny that, first, I couldn't make it up, and second, I had to share it right away; because I believe its a great lesson.

I'm referring to something that happened just today; I'm down on the farm, spending time with my grandparents; and we were talking about a "walnut / pecan cracker". You know that gadget that you break these types of nuts with. Well, my grandpa was lecturing me on how "easy" it was to use after learning that (at 35 years old) I didn't know how. (Apparently, you just don't 'crack' these nuts just any old way.)

To which I reminded him that "easy" and "knowing how" are two different situations. I told him that wiping your ass is easy, but if you didn't know how, you would be in a pretty shitty situation...

If you know it, teach it! I have never chastised my employees for something they didn't know. If I knew it, I taught it. If I didn't know it, I learned it. Needless to say, I made my grandparents laugh so hard we lost track of what we were talking about and, I will have to learn the walnut cracker some other way. To my preacher friends, yes, you can use this, but you may need to clean it up a little. :)

Have a great weekend!


Michael Chavez
Executive Event Coordinator
Cherokee Street, L.L.C.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

2011 06 30 Take responsibility for your screw up

In business, there is nothing worse than screwing up your customer’s order and not fessing up to it.  It’s like lying to the press.  It stirs a bigger fire than the actual news itself.  Have you ever sat in a restaurant and they forgot about you?

This has happened to me several times.  I think it’s because I’m so small, I’m nearly invisible…  One time I was sitting at the roof top bar of the Sandia Casino and Resort with my friend, Maricella (about 6 years ago or so) and we each had ordered a drink, and after being served, we never saw our waitress again.  Literally, 2 hours had gone by, and nothing.  Well, we didn’t see the waitress; and she also forgot to bring us our check.  To make up for it, we took that as a sign that our drinks were on the house that night; and after 2 hours of laughing and enjoying the ambiance and scenery we left. 

Another time, I was with my grandparents at the Village Inn on University and the airport; you remember, the stinky one; for their famous Friday fish night.  Well, I’m not a big fish eater, however, my grandparents are; and Gramma is notorious for ordering a second helping  just to sneak it out in a napkin to take it home for left overs.  The last time we were at that particular Village Inn, she of course ordered her second helping as she was clearing out round 1.  10 minutes go by, some other customers come in and they get seated, no fish.  20 minutes go by, and another family comes in and gets seated; the first family is getting served their dinner, no fish.  30 minutes go by, the second family gets served their dinner, our waitress walks past, and doesn’t even acknowledge that we are even there. 

Now, my Grandpa isn’t exactly the most patient man in the world.  As a matter of fact, he absolutely hates when Gramma orders seconds, because he doesn’t like sitting there waiting for her to finish.  So, at 30 minutes, he’s already ‘mean mugging’ the waitress; and trying get Gramma out of her seat so he can get up and walk around.  40 minutes now go by, Grandpa has lost all patience, and doesn’t even want to pay for his dinner; he wants to just walk out.  45 minutes – Gramma is now done waiting.  We get up, and pay for our check and walk out.  As we are walking out the door, the waitress is bringing the 2nd plate of fish to the table and looks at us in disgust, with that ‘how rude’ look on her face.  My Grandmother, who is the most non-confrontational person in the world – says “we waited for an hour, and thought you forgot” and she turns and walked out the door!  I laughed so hard, because I never seen her that pissed off!   Mind you Including us, there was only 4 other tables occupied in this whole restaurant.

I was sitting at my famous Village Inn on Menaul and University and, I was there meeting with a journalist, and was there for a while.  After my meeting with the journalist, I thought I’d get started on another blog, since I had time before I had to go to my brother’s house.  My waitress, Kerry asked if I would like a re-fill of the ½ Ice Tea ½ Apple Juice concoction that I order.  I decline because the caffeine was going to make me launch thru the roof.  So, I asked for a glass of water.  Well, I imagine 5 minutes had gone by and Kerry comes by with my glass of water, profusely apologetic and admitting that she had forgotten about me. 

First of all, I didn’t even notice, I was so engrossed in what I was writing, and second of all, her admission that she forgot immediately disarmed me, and I told her no worries, that I wasn’t in any hurry.

My point is, we all make mistakes, even me.  Yes, I know, shocking, but yes, I admit, I am not perfect; contrary to popular opinion.  However, we customers know we’re not perfect, and we know you’re not perfect either.  You are more apt to us blowing off your mistake and carrying along with our lives than to try to cover it up and prompting a blog like this for the whole world to see.

When I worked for the Albuquerque Convention Center, I trained each and every one of my staff to come to me at the first sign of making a mistake.  I told them it is much easier to clean up a mess if they have my help; and I will be less apt to discipline them and more willing to help them correct their mistake than if I were to find out about the problem some other way.  (This was totally against SMG’s company policy and standard practice by the way, however, my office was secluded from the rest of administration and was able to get away with that stuff.)  My position with my employees was always completely honest and upfront from the beginning of each of their employment.  My standard line was: “Don’t put me in a position to write you up.”  The employees that worked for me that are still there today are there because they have headed that advice.  Today, they now run that department and do an Excellent Job doing it.  (Richard, Joe, Kelly).  Good Job guys!

Bottom line; Admit your mistakes, embrace your imperfection, train your employees to admit what they’ve done wrong.  It’s much smaller mess to clean up than one that is caused by trying to sweep a problem under the rug.  True transparency is very transparent.

Have a great Day!

Michael D. Chavez
Cherokee Street, LLC

Monday, June 27, 2011

Customer Appreciation – Isabella’s Bakery vs. the Subway Downtown

Although I don’t very much miss the hustle of running ragged working for the Albuquerque Convention Center; I do miss working downtown.  One of the things I do dearly miss is my Thursday’s Meatloaf Day at Isabella’s Bakery.  And I’m reminded of it even more now that I am a subscriber on their Facebook fan page and receive their daily specials every morning; I log in and find my first glace at facebook foaming at the mouth the moment I wake up.

Everyone who knew me on a personal level would know that Thursday’s was my “Meatloaf” day at Isabella’s.  And I do mean everyone!  I had my entire guest services staff recommending meatloaf day at Isabella’s during every convention we had just because I loved it so much! 

What I do like about Isabella’s (not that this happened every day) is that every once and a while the fine folks there would recognize that I was a very faithful customer and tell me that my money was no good that day.  What they probably don’t know is that I also marketed the hell out of Isabella’s; and even though they DID recognize it, I don’t think they realized to what extent.  And my reward…  I wouldn’t get just free Meatloaf on Meatloaf day, I would get Double free meatloaf on meatloaf day!

Subway was also a favorite of mine, just because I recognize that if I did eat at Isabella’s every day, I would probably die of a heart attack.  Not that Isabella’s didn’t have healthy food, it’s just that the unhealthy food at Isabella’s screamed louder at me when I walked in from the street side.  Now, Subway I actually ate at more often.  It was closer by about 25 feet (which was always a plus for me).  And, well, I’m hooked.  Subway was always my quick answer for the “where can I grab a quick bite to eat” question we would get because, well, it was subway, and they were really, really fast.  I don’t care if the line was out the door, and ½ way around the plaza, they could knock out a lunch run with less than 4 minutes of waiting in line on their busiest day. 

I would even let Subway know if we had a special event that would draw a huge crowd on the Saturday’s the they were closed because there would be a huge potential for them to make money.  I also did it, because we needed options for our customers to go to, because, as you know, NOTHING is open on Saturday and Sunday for lunch in Downtown Albuquerque. 

Do you think the owner would cop for so much as a free soda or cookie to me and my staff?  Nope…  Never…  But I didn’t care.  I always considered Subway as the additional option when our clients had no other alternative; however’ Isabella’s Meatloaf – That was an experience you just had to check out!

You have loyal customers?  Appreciate their loyalty.  You can’t buy that kind of PR!

Have a Great Day!

Michael Chavez
Cherokee Street, LLC

Thursday, June 23, 2011

2011 06 23 Village Inn – Menaul and University

First I would like to thank all the fine folks at #VillageInn on Menaul and University for putting up with my ‘can’ going in and hogging up a table for several hours at a time for a glass of Ice Tea and their free #wifi service.  I would like to compliment Diana who is a host at Village Inn as well as the rest of the front line staff I have encountered over there.  Diana always has a smile on her face when I come in, and has made it a point to make me feel welcome every time I walk in.

With a little help, they have also mastered the #HuevosRanchos Plate that I like over there.  Sure it’s not #Sadies, #Monroes, or even the #BarrelasCoffeeHouse but it works for us light skinned folk, and definitely works for those out of town visitors who want to experience this fine breakfast dish, but don’t want the full “ramifications” that comes with eating the ‘real deal.’ 

I have eaten at several of the other Village Inn’s and I just don’t receive the same service as the one I receive at the one on Menaul and University. 

The Village Inn on Coors north of Montano, I experienced a waitress who just had some inappropriate comments about my gender (man hater) after having a conversation with a friend of mine and finding out they are from the same small town of #Taos, #NewMexico; felt comfortable enough with us to make this comment to me.  I’m kind glad I don’t remember her name, because I definitely would have listed it here.

The Village Inn on University at the Airport smells in the most horrible way.  It seems like there is either mold in the carpet or the vents, or something, but I really get grossed out eating just by the smell.  And for those who know me, know I don’t have a very good sense of smell to begin with, however it seems like that one just hits me.

The Village Inn in #LosLunas I actually enjoy going to, this is the one I find myself taking my Grandparents to quite often.  Even tho they don’t have free wifi; I like it.  I just have one beef, and it’s a small, very correctable one.  When making a Huevos Ranchos Plate, don’t fold the tortilla, spread it out!!!  The whole point of this dish is that the tortilla is the base of everything on the plate.  It’s hard to cut, and very messy.  So, please, all you Huevos Rancho’s makers – the tortilla is supposed to be spread out, not folded.

Michael Chavez
Cherokee Street, LLC

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

2011 06 22 New Beginnings - For my blog any way...

Hello everybody!  Welcome back to my blog.  I haven’t written in a while because I have decided to take my blog in a new direction; and I just had to decide how and where I want to take it.   

So I have decided this:  In my ventures, customer service had always been a component of everywhere I have ever worked, so I have decided that I am going to write about my #CustomerService experiences based off of what I see around Albuquerque, and give compliments to where I see compliments are due, and give my feedback where feedback is due.

I will be calling out actual companies here in #Albuquerque; and so I hope, that these companies will take the information they see here with a grain of salt and use this as a free tool to hopefully better their customer service experience rather than to try to take me to the cleaners for “talking smack.”   My goal is to always move forward; never to “bash”.  I will write on my experience, and I will simply list how I would have handled the situation as if I were on the other side of the counter (especially if the solution wouldn’t cost the company any money what so ever).

I have been a long time advocate of Albuquerque, and the #tourism industry we as a city are trying to build, and the only way Albuquerque is going to do that is thru the “experience” our visitors have during their visit here in Albuquerque.  The fine folks at the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau #see_albuquerque do a fine job of marketing Albuquerque, however it’s going to be up to us, as the folks that actually live and work here, to make it an experience for them!

A little bit if background for those of you who don’t know me, or are new to this #blog.  My name is Michael D. Chavez.  (Not to confuse yourself with the 9Million other michael chavez’s here in Albuquerque.) I have been in the Investigative, Security and Law Enforcement field my entire working career. 

My resume has landed me some pretty prestigious positions in the security field here in Albuquerque; and it seems like every time I have taken over a “security” department, I was eventually given the oversight of “customer service” experience after these companies have seen how I am able to, not just “deal” with the customers, but to deliver a positive customer service experience.   Companies like the Sheraton Old town, (now the #HotelAlbuquerque at Old Town), Allied Barton / Citigroup, The #AlbuquerqueConventionCenter; and many others that would take too long to list.  You can check out my website at www.CherokeeSt.comfor a complete list of every company I have ever worked with.

Anyhow, stay tuned for many segments to come on the customer service experience here in Albuquerque.  My goal is 3 fold with this series.  #1, to correct the customer service experience I have personally experienced.  #2 for everyone who reads my blog to learn from the customer service mistakes I have experienced, and #3 to spot light those who I have experienced excellent customer service from.

I will, from time to time, allow several guests experts in the customer service field to blog on my site as well. 

I am a customer, and I love being one!  And those who are my customers, I want you to love being one as well! 

I look forward to seeing you here!

Michael D. Chavez
President / CEO
Cherokee Street, LLC

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 Q-1 Step One: Boil Water

I personally have a hard time starting something new; loosing weight, going to the gym, getting a different haircut, going to a new restaurant, et cetera. My mom was like that, Her mom was like that, something about new is always scary. I portray that I’m not like that, but deep down I am. I would convince my mom to try something new. When she left the bar (Doc & Eddys), to go to work for the casino, that was a major change in her life. It took months just to get her to apply for the job. Then she did the same job at the Casino for 5 years before she decided that they were just running over her, and when we realized she could work ½ as hard for more money as a bar tender, in the same company, it took months for me to convince her to put in the transfer request. Something new is always hard; and I know that I am not alone.

When my mom died, I was kinda thrown into the world of the uncomfortable. It’s like jumping off a cliff, or being pushed off is a better way of putting it. When I got back from Jamaica, I went to bed that night, and the first order of business: sign off on the funeral arrangements. Any one of my brothers or sister, grandma, grampa could have done it, but no, the family had immediately designated it as my responsibility. Since then I have been President and CEO of this family; executor of probate, in charge of all property, financial matters, and good advice. It was kind of like being pushed off a cliff, into the water.

If I was pushed off a cliff, I, fortunately can swim, and I can swim like a fish. Well, maybe a small whale, but none the less, water is my friend. Now, would I jump off a cliff into water without thinking about it: probably not. Would I have volunteered to be incharge of all of my mother’s estate: I would have had to given that one some serious thought before I said “yes.” Sometimes, that’s the only way people like me can get into jumping into something new; by being given a little shove.

Iris is not exactly the “cook” in the house. Now, don’t get me wrong, she Shake and Bake a mean chicken leg where I seriously failed in that one. (Seriously, the box said “shake and bake” so that’s what I did, I put the stuff in a bag with the chicken, and I shaked it, then baked it.) She is very good at what she can do, however when it comes to the crafty meals of the house, I am normally the one to do it, and I enjoy it. I remember the first day she made Krafts Macaroni and Cheese; that day will live in infamy in this house. Now, I am not bagging on Iris, and her ability to cook, so please don’t take this the wrong way, because it has a serious lesson in it, since then I have used it as advice when asked about this subject. Iris had filled the pan with water, set it on the stove, fired up the stove, and then immediately threw the macaroni in from the box. Needless to say the macaroni came out as one big chunk of macaroni. How do you screw up Macaroni and cheese? It’s like a 3 step process…!!! She said she had never done it before, and since then began a lesson in life that has prompted the saying in this house on almost every lesson we encounter: Step One – Boil Water.

I watched a movie in which the main character had always dreamed of being a pilot, and worked in the airport, and every day watched planes taking off, and landing; either coming or going from somewhere. He said that one day he’d like to be a pilot. But what did he do about it? Working at an airport didn’t do anything for learning how to be a pilot or his pilot’s license. It took someone to believe and encourage him to tell him if he wanted to be a pilot, he could. He just needed someone to encourage him enough to go to step one: go to pilot’s school. At the end of the movie, he surprised his girlfriend by leading her to an airplane in which he jumps into the pilots seat and said “Ever been to San Francisco?”

I don’t really believe in New Years Resolutions. I think I only made one in my entire life; and that was to allow anyone to steal my joy again. I’ve stuck to it, but I have never made another one. When my mom was alive she was always afraid that I would have a heart attack before I was 40. I would go for a Jog, and I actually use to exercise pretty regularly when I was in school (TV-I / CNM). Now, after she died, I have since been seen by a sleep specialist, and renowned cardiologist Dr. Barry Ramo himself, and both of them have told me I need to cut my weight down. I have to sleep with a machine if I want a decent nights sleep, and Dr. Ramo has me on this God forsaken heart monitor that is a pain in the rear end to wear. Now, to look at me, you wouldn’t think I’m really not feeling well. I always keep a pretty up – beat attitude. My mom was like that. She lived in pain for nearly 22 years of her life, but to look at her, she never showed it. However, having to sleep with a machine, and wear a heart monitor; it’s kinda hard to mask what I’m feeling. Do I want to keep having to “fake it?” Or do I want to try to feel better?

I thought about it, and I decided that I want to feel better. Not loose weight, not look pretty, not for anyone or anything, but just to feel better. But what do I do? Now if you’re like me, you’d say the same thing; “I wanna feel better right now.” You know, the instant gratification thing. I even thought about lipo-suction!!! Yea, I said it!! I actually considered that. But do you know the statistics of people who have lipo-suction who don’t maintain - can end up right where they started again? I don’t have time to google it, but I watch the discovery channel, trust me, it’s quite a bit.

So, what do I do??? Man, I tell you what, I pondered it and thought about it, analyzed it, and I don’t know how I am going to do it. Then, when reading a book by Zig Ziglar, it dawned on me. I can’t loose 50lbs in a year, it’s impossible (for me anyway). But what if I just shot for just 1 to 2lbs a week. I… I could do that! Wait, how could I do that? It’s funny how life works out.

The next day I noticed they opened up a gym right up the street from my house.

“But I can’t afford a new Gym Membership! (Here come the excuses right about now)
“It’s too far” (a mile and ½ tops from my house).
There’s too much traffic for me to ride my segway (now I’m reaching for excuses =o).
“I’ll stink up the car from sweating after the shower.” (even though my mom did the same thing every day, and I never smelled it.)
How about my blood sugar? Last time I was at a Gym, I had a sugar reaction, and I collapsed, what if it happens again?”
“It’s too cold outside, I don’t have a jacket I want to stink up walking in and out of the gym” – (that one actually was a good one. It was like 11 degree’s outside)

I could give you about 15 pages worth of excuses, but I think you get the point. Then a commercial; the gym down the street offering a $99 deal for a one year membership, and what did I have in my hand at that particular time?, a $100 bill that my grandpa gave me for Christmas. Well, that was it; time to swallow my own words. Step one: go to the Gym. Needless to say, on December 30th I took my $100 bill and went and paid for my first Gym Membership. Step 2 wasn’t any easier, but I had to get to step one to get to step 2. I just made a decision to get up and go, looking back, it wasn’t that hard. I think I put more work into figuring out excuse after excuse, and psyching myself out, then actually doing it. I went to the Gym twice, I think I’m going to start keeping track, and just shooting for 2lbs. And what if I don’t make my Goal? I’m not going to worry about that. I can’t fail at something I’m not reaching for, I am making it about the journey, not the finish line. What wonderful things are going to be in store for me along the way? I loose my membership to the heart hospital? I have to return my sleep machine? I may even have a better handle on my sugar problems, back problems, and as a whole, feel better!!!

In the last two years working for the Albuquerque Convention Center, I promised myself that this would be the last security job I do. I have been doing it for close to 20 years, I have mastered it, taught it, wrote books about it, but man, it is a job that will keep a lid on you for the rest of your life. I wanted to do something different. Well, in October 2010 I left the convention center, I mounted up on my segway, and rode off into the sunset. Man, what a scary world. I was comfortable in my job, I loved my job, but man, was it taking its toll on me. I was having weight problems because I wasn’t eating or sleeping regularly. I was having heart problems because I was always so stressed out. Hair was turning grey. My mind was able to keep up, but my body wasn’t. So, here was my chance. I have always been told I should start my own business, but what? Security? Consulting? What? Then it hit me, I have spent so much time at the convention center, working for a church, doing security, that I have become some what of an expert in problem solving in events. In 2010 alone I have coordinated and consulted on several events outside of the convention center, and these folks sought me out, so why not be an event planner?

Work for myself? Wow? How? What do I do? Where do I go? Questions, Questions, Questions… Then it hit me: Step one. Step one, file for a tax ID number. And things have just been falling into place since. I have since had my Articles of Organization approved by the State PRC Commission, I have my business license, business cards, email address, bank accounts, and off to closing my first deal with several leads in the making. Now, it’s not immediate success, it is something I didn’t have in the beginning of October. When you start from rock bottom, you have no where to go but up. (Heard that in a movie once, it stuck).

So, where is your Step One? Go look in your cupboard, and grab the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese box, look on the side, and when you see Step One: Boil Water, remember all you have to do is boil water! I’m not saying the rest will be easy, however, it will be some pretty good Mac and Cheese!

2011 is a new year, what was 2010 is in 2010. 2011 will only be what you make it. I’m not saying there wont be bumps in the road, tragedy may even strike! Yes, the road ahead is filled with many uncertain and scary things, I wont sugar coat it. Shit will happen. The question is, how will you handle it? I have used this verse before, 2 Timothy 1:7 that God did not give us a spirit of Fear. Meaning we were not born with fear, we learned it. Take child, a child is fearless. It’s not until they are taught that the stove is hot do they learn to fear it’s potential for pain. Pastor Steve Smotherman taught me that the Bible describes fear as a Spirit. But the Spirit is not from God, so where is it from? Well, what is not of God, it is of the devil. Think of Bobby Boucher’s mom from The Water Boy: “Fear is the Devil!”

So, what do you do about it? Recognize it, and pray it out. It may take several times to do it, but I prayed it out, and believed it out. I Believe that My God is more powerful than the spirit of fear, and that with His help, He will see me thru it! I believe He will see you thru it too. Then with every little triumph over fear, you will see your life start to change. I am so glad that I learned this lesson with my mom before she died. It helped me to be the strong one. Don’t get me wrong, I spent many many MANY nights in sloppy nasty, snot all over the place, neighbors thinking I was being beaten down crying in agony, and many showers just pounding on the walls, but I got thru it. I’m still getting thru it. Now,I can talk about it. I can listen to the music without having to stop the car, and I believe that my God is a powerful God. 2 Tim 1:7 also say that God DID give me the spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind. I don’t have to get it, I don’t have to find it, I don’t even have to learn it; I just have to use it.

In 2011 Let Tears be Tears, let your triumphs be triumphs, let your power be powerful! let your love be real! And Let your mind be at peace about everything!

Thank you for reading this!  I appreciate it.