Sunday, February 26, 2012

120226 QR Codes and Business cards

So, let's talk about this #QRCode thingy. You've probably seen them.  Little square boxes with a bunch of square dots inside of it.  Looks like a futuristic barcode; but what is it? Well QR codes are basically "Quick Response" codes designed by Toyota to store and retrieve information quickly. Today, they are basically text storage and quick links to allow your smart phone to read something or take you somewhere on the world wide web.

So, what do you do with them? Link someone to your website? Maybe... But why? QR codes really should have a purpose.  People are starting to put them on their business cards, but why do I just want to scan your QR Code to go to your website from my blackberry? 

If your going put a QR code on your business card, this is what it should do:

Display your phone number or email address so I can just click on it and call you.

It should pop up your outlook contact information so I can immediately store your information on my blackberry.
I should be able to enter my email address so I can send myself an email with your website and contact information so I can store it on my computer the next time I get to it.

And / or have a form so I can send some information to you.

If you have a QR Code on your business card, make it user friendly. Making your customer's lives easier should be the point.  It's going to make them want to come to use you and your business because your easier to reach!

Give it a try.

Have a great day!


Michael D. Chavez
Cherokee Street, L.L.C.
"Live off the Blackberry"

Monday, February 20, 2012

120220 The Will to Live

So, I know this has nothing to do with business, customer service, or our fare city of Albuquerque in the tourism industry, however I wanted to write about something that I noticed in two very dear, very old people in my life; my grandparents.

So, as many of you know, my grandmother was in the hospital, and now in a skilled nursing / rehabilitation center; ferociously trying to get better so she can just “go home.”  What really wasn’t mentioned too much was my grandfather.

My grandfather just turned 89 years old this year.  He is the youngest of 8 siblings, and is the only one of his siblings; basically the only one in his family still alive.  This year in the middle part of January, he got really sick, and towards his birthday on January 25,6th, and 7th (yes he has multiple birthdays) he got so ill, the doctors really didn’t expect him to get much better; and this was “it” for him.  And we thought, 89 years old, that was a pretty good run, the rest of his family lived into their 90’s and 100's, we really didn’t want him to suffer any more.  He was in pretty bad shape.  Well, in all this time of him being sick, my grandmother came down with pneumonia herself, and refused to go to the ER because she wanted to make sure my grandpa was taken care of.  Well, we all know what pneumonia does, and come the last weekend in January, she wound up in the emergency room, not able to breathe, and going into heart failure herself because she had let the pneumonia advance so far without addressing it.

Needless to say, Grandma wound up in the hospital, on a ventilator, basically a heart beat away from death her self, and Grandpa at home, sick, and unable to care for himself; and having other people care for him that was not his wife.

What happens next, astounds me!  Grandpa, unable to see my grandma because he is basically bed and recliner ridden – at home; starts to get better!  (Now, mind you, the Indians have certain remedies that may or may not have attributed to him gaining his strength back, and feeling better, but it sure was working)  He misses Grandma, and wants to go see her!

After nearly (9) nine days of my Grandma being in a coma, and on a ventilator, monitoring her heart, and going thru a roller coaster of heart / lung issues, and being told she’s likely not going to pull out of this heart failure – starts to get better!  And on the 10th day the hospital removes her from the ventilator that was keeping her alive this whole time, and she is able to breathe on her own, and make her first phone call to Gramps after being separated for 10 days!  It was amazing.  My grandpa knows that he has to get strong in order to not only support himself, but grandma when she comes home; and my grandma knows she needs to get better so she can go home and take care of gramps.

This weekend, my grandparents got to spend some real time with each other (Albeit, in the nursing / rehab facility) it was very nice, and a little romantic.  To watch them to go head to head with their walkers, and lean in for that first, long awaited kiss;  I simply have to attribute this a true “miracle;” from each one having 1 foot in the grave, to recovering at a rapid pace by driving themselves with the will to live for each other.

Today, my grandmother’s recovery efforts and progress are literally doubling each day.  She went from: no strength, to: able to get in and out of bed with minor assistance in just about 4 days.  She still has a way to go, but that lady, with her strong will is doing something I haven’t seen her do in a long time; fight for her self.

It’s amazing.  I can’t wait to see them both at home.

Until next time!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

120215 Customer Service in Healthcare

So, a very serious subject that really touched me this week. As some of you know, my grandmother is in the hospital. After a very long drawn out ordeal, she is ready to be discharged from hospital care, but needs to be checked into something called a "Skilled Nursing Facility."
Lovelace gave us a list of rehabilitation services to choose from and advised us to pick one because she would have to do this therapy "in patient" meaning she would have to stay there.
Well, we had time to check out (2) two facilities as the close of business was drawing near. We jumped in Jason's dodge diesel, and we headed to the closest one. Paloma Blanca. On the way, I called ahead to let them know we were coming. The phone was answered by a lady who was very attentive, understanding, and was adamant that she wanted to get us to the right person right away, but the person I needed to talk to was on the other line. She asked me to wait a moment, and I was soon transferred to Lorraine. I explained my situation, and she said no problem, "I'll see you in a few. very pleasant.
We arrive and Jason was not very impressed with the facility. He said it reminded him of the old day care we use to go to 30 years ago (Peanut Butter and Jelly). To say this was an older facility would be a fair assessment, I believe. When we arrived we rang the little desk bell, and were greeted by a very cheerful receptionist. Granted it was 4pm, and I know it was a long day. Lorraine game out immediately, welcomed us, and was very patient, understanding and compassionate as well as very understanding of our time constraints. The facility was very clean, however you can tell this facility has been in service for quite a few years. (The TV's were the old tube TV's, that gave it away for me right away :)
After the tour, Lorraine thanked us for visiting, and understood that we had other facilities to go to, and if there were any questions to not hesitate to call.
We then proceeded to Albuquerque Heights Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center. On our way, we called, and the person on the other end of the phone couldn't be less interested in helping me. She didn't tell me who she was, or who she was transferring me to, she just said "please hold" and connected me with someone's voice mail. Well, I need to let someone know I'm on my way down now, so I called back, and the individual on the phone, in the snottiest teenager voice possible said, "You need to talk to Amber, if she's not answering, just leave a message."
By the time I finish the conversation with Ms. Cheerful on the phone, we arrive. We walk into the facility, and I have to admit, it was nicer than the last. The ambiance was relaxing, and everything looked more modern than the last facility. The receptionist was breaking down her station for the night because it was 4:30 and it looked like it was time for her to go home. She didn't look at us, or greet us, however when I said "Hi, I need to talk to someone about admitting my grandmother from the hospital.," the moment she opened her mouth I could tell it was the same person I spoke with on the phone.
She tisked, and handed me a clipboard and informed me that I need to fill this out to speed things up when Amber frees up. I sit and filled out the paperwork, and shortly Amber, who was dressed, in an outfit that revealed all of natural 'assets' showed up and began to review the form I just filled out. From there she walked us back to the unit where Grandma would be staying, a "show" room, and pointed it out that she would only get 2 showers a week, and that was it. At least, that's what I remember of the whole conversation.
Needless to say I was able to control the geekiness part of me, and focus on the service, and realize that if the folks at ABQ Heights Rehab walk around hating the job, in a rush, and generally unfriendly with me... How are they gonna treat grandma. Well, today she checked in to Paloma Blanca!
Here's what I really want my readers to get out of this: How are your ,front line' or, as I like to say "First Impression" employees projecting the quality of service for your company? Are they warm and inviting? Are they truly showing off what your company has to offer? Or, do they hate their Jobs... And show it to every one they comes thru your doors? I hope, that if you truly understand that service gets return customers, you will know how to answer that.
Have a great week!

Michael D. Chavez
Cherokee Street, L.L.C.
"Live off the Blackberry"

120211 My Favorite Village Inn

Wow... I hate to say it, but my favorite Village Inn has been a bit of a disappointment the last two (2) visits. The last time I let it go, and figured everyone was having a bad day; then I walked in this morning.

Junior (the host/manager with a tattoo of lips on his neck, looked like a hickey) completely ignored me as I walked up to the podium as he continued to talk to Faith, the hostess seating everybody; as if the seating chart was so critical that to take his eyes off it for just a moment to smile, greet me, and say "just one moment, we'll be right with you." would have caused a crisis of such mass proportion that breakfast would have been ruined for everyone world wide... Then they both proceed to turn their back on us and walk away from us.

Needless to say, Faith did come back to seat us; with Surup dripping off the menu, and dirty silverware. Once we. Pointed it out, (step by step of everything the surup landing on) we finally settled in for breakfast.

From there on our, our waitress gave us fantastic service.

The point I'm getting at, is the customer IS the most important aspect of your business, and to treat the customer like he/she is the most valuable ingredient in your business, you will repeat that business. And to ignore a customer, or treat your customers as if they are secondary to your immediate concerns (Unless your putting out a fire, or chasing a bull from a china shop) your priorities are a little off track. Village Inn; you can paint your walls a more appealing and comfortable color, you can hang TV's up, you can even give me free pie on Wednesdays... But if for a moment I feel like my presence as a customer is so much of an inconvenience to you, then I am going to Monroes! Bottom line is it is your employee's and their service that keep customers coming back!

Michael D. Chavez
Cherokee Street, L.L.C.
"Live off the Blackberry"