10 Ways To Improve Your Day in Just 5 Minutes!

Five minutes doesn’t seem like a lot of time in the grand scheme of things, but it can mean making your day that much better (or worse)! In just five minutes, you can turn your tough day around to become a great day for you! It can also lower your stress level, raise your energy level, lower your blood pressure, AND give you just the right amount of inspiration you need to get through the rest of your day!

Take five minutes to try out one, several, or all of these tips to help you have a better day!

Stretch – No need to get into the downward-facing dog position! All you need to do is stretch your arms and legs for just a few minutes. Stretching can help improve your flexibility and circulation, and it can help ease any muscle tightness you may be experiencing!

Prioritize – No one’s in a good mood when things are thrown about helter-skelter. Go ahead and take a few minutes to put together a to-do list and prioritize what you need to do in your day. Nibble away at your list bit by bit, and you will find that you will not only get more work done but you will also be in a more positive mood!

When Life Gives You Lemons… – Sniff them! You heard me. When you’re stressed out (and have some lemons around), go grab one and take a few sniffs. Not into lemons? That’s okay – basil, juniper, and lavender do just fine when it comes to lowering your stress levels!

Clean Off Your Desk – Losing focus? Getting more and more negative as the day progresses? Stop what you’re doing RIGHT NOW and clear off your desk! Take a few minutes to properly file stray papers on your desk, clean up your coffee mugs, and generally declutter your workspace. You’ll find that you’ll work better than you have all day!

Meditate – If you find that your stress level is going through the roof, take a few minutes to get into a comfortable position and meditate. Just focus on your breathing and work on getting your stress level down. If you’re not into meditation, you can also try praying or finding a short, powerful mantra to help you get through your day.

Have a Laugh – In a bad mood? Feel like you’ll never shake your frown off your face? Go ahead and take a little time find humor in something! Put on a favorite comedy CD, watch a few clips from America’s Funniest Home Videos, or find a funny video on YouTube to watch and laugh at! You’ll find that once you start laughing, your bad mood will be withering away in no time!

Play Your Favorite Tunes – Did you know that listening to your favorite music can help lower your blood pressure, reduce stress, and boost your mood? It’s true! Put on your favorite tunes and watch your bad mood melt away!

Relive a Memory – When times are tough, try to conjure up a happy memory to put a big smile on your face. Think about your wedding day, a favorite outing with your friends, or the best part of your most favorite vacation to get yourself in a better frame of mind.

Turn Your Electronics Off – Technology in large doses can zap your energy straight away. Take some time in your day to log off you computer and stay away from your smart phone. Better yet, if you can, try to get outside and get some sunshine! Remember, just because the world is turned on 24-7, you don’t have to be!

Practice Gratitude – Take a minute every day to write down whatever it is you’re grateful for – big or small! Keep photos of events or people you are grateful for on your desk, too. This can help you appreciate all the positives you experience in your life and drown out all the negatives.

I hope that these tips will help you have a more positive day! Remember, there are no bad days, just bad moments!

If you would like to learn more about me, please visit www.dawnmushill.com or email me at dawn@dawnmushill.com.  Make it a great day!

Is 24 Hours in a Day Not Enough?

Have you ever wished the clock would stop ticking? Are you constantly forgetting everything in your life?  Do you have trouble finding things?

If this sounds like you, don’t worry – you are like most of the human population! In fact, according to the American Demographics Society, Americans waste 9,000,000 hours per day searching for misplaced items.

In today’s world, it is hard to find time to manage time. However, it is well worth it when it is done. Time management is actually something you want to take slowly to do it right. Try this time management quiz to see where you stand.

How did you do?  Now it is time to create goals to help yourself use your time wisely. Once you create a goal, you will be able to nip running late for appointments, forgetting stuff, and undue stress in the bud!

“Sounds wonderful, Dawn, but how do you do such a thing?” you ask.

Ideally, you should create long-term and short-term goals. Your long-term goal may be to organize your entire house while your short-term goal may be to organize the garage. It is important to have both types of goals because the short-term successes keep you positive. When you finish the garage, you will feel HAPPY! This boost of happiness is the kick you need to keep moving from room to room, and before you know it, your long-term goal will be complete!

To start your goal, try these simple organization and time management tips to gain more time in your day, eliminate stress, and save money.

1.     Start small – If your life is extremely disorganized, don’t try to overcome it all at once!  Maybe try organizing the top of your desk, and then tomorrow expand to the inside of your desk.

2.     Put it away NOW – Done using something? Put it away right now, no exceptions. If you don’t put things back where they belong right away, a big mess can sneak up on you. One shirt on the floor may not seem like a big deal, but soon you won’t be able to see the floor!

3.     Create habits – Try to make a routine for laundry, errands, finances, checking email, and well, pretty much everything.  You can optimize your life if you know what you have to do and you know when you’re going to do it. Try writing these habits on a calendar.

4.     Stay focused with to-do lists – Sticky notes are a man’s (and woman’s) best friend. I start my day with a list of tasks I want to complete, and this helps me stay focused. Plus, always prioritize and put the most important thing first on the to-do list to have done.

5.     Wake up early – Don’t be a bed bum! Waking up early (say, 5-6 a.m.) improves your productivity and quality of life. I feel it’s because when you wake up early, your mindset is already set to continue the momentum proactively throughout the day.

6.     Reduce the time you spend on chat programs – I realized having chat programs open at default resulted in a lot of wasted time. Try disabling the auto start-up option in the chat programs to keep yourself on task.

Imagine how great you will feel when you are organized. You will…

·      Enjoy your family more

·      Reduce your forgetfulness

·      Find bonus hours in your day

·      Locate your belongings quickly and easily

·      Arrive early to appointments

Twenty-four hours a day may not be enough for the human population, but now you have an advantage – time management. By setting goals and using the tips given, you can conquer time and set your own watch, leading you to live a happier, more positive life!

If you would like to learn more about me, please visit http://www.dawnmushill.com or email me at dawn@dawnmushill.com.  Make it a great day!

My Pedicure Experience – Relaxing to Ridiculous!

My pedicure might be one of my favorite hours. It is not so much the relaxation (you know that I can’t just sit there – I am working!) but how nice the outcome is with some freshly painted nails and smooth feet.

My recent pedicure started off well. The staff introduced themselves, gathered the tools they needed, asked what type of pedicure I wanted, and got to work.

Then it happened – the staff member’s (the one who was giving me a pedicure) cell phone beeped with a text.

She hid her phone from her boss to read the text. Whatever it said clearly made her angry! She continued to scrape my feet and boom! Another text! She again picked up her phone, read it and, get ready for this – she sent a text back!

So, back to my feet she went AGAIN. About twenty seconds later her phone beeped again, and she stopped (in mid toe), picked up her phone, and went out front.

No explanation. NOTHING.

So, I sat there, for ten (yes, ten) minutes and she was NOWHERE to be found.

I caught the owner’s eye and gesticulated “Where did she go?” with my hands. Clearly, the owner had not seen her leave. So in a different language, she asked the staff where she went. After she received a response, she waited for another employee to finish with another customer and had her finish my pedicure.

I never saw my original girl again.

On the way out the owner asked if everything was okay and also said she was sorry for the confusion. I am not convinced there was confusion as much as horrible customer service. Although I absolutely love going to this particular salon, I have not been back. It has really just left a terrible taste in my mouth.

What would you have done differently?

If you would like to learn more about me, please visit http://www.dawnmushill.com or email me at dawn@dawnmushill.com.  Make it a great day!

Need a New Audiobook? I’ve Got What You’re Looking For!

 

You know, it’s nearly summertime, and you know what that means – people will be relaxing and going on vacation or simply taking spontaneous road trips to a fun destination.

Sometimes the fun journey can become long and monotonous, and you may find yourself yawing and nearly falling asleep at the wheel as the road before you goes on and on, and your however many CDs that you burned keep rotating over and over and over (yawn!).

Well, instead of listening and hearing the same songs get played continuously until your ears bleed, why not catch up on your reading? No, I’m not talking about reading a novel while you drive (Don’t even get any ideas!)! I’m talking about investing in a good audiobook to keep you company on the road!

In fact, while you’re at it, why not invest in a good audiobook that will make you laugh, make you think, and help you improve your attitude?

That’s where I step in!

My very first published book, Customer Service and Beyond … It Is All About the Wow!, is now available as an audiobook!

What’s that? You’re not taking a road trip anytime soon because work is too hectic? No problem! I’m happy to inform you that you don’t need to be going on vacation anywhere to listen to my audiobook. Heck, if you want, you can simply play the audiobook while you relax at home with your feet up and a glass of wine in your hand.

Though, really, listening to this audiobook on your daily drive to work might be the best thing for you to do for yourself, your future, and your job.

Why? Well, in the audiobook, I discuss all sorts of issues from exemplary and poor customer service tips and stories to changing your negative notions to a positive attitude and so much more! My stories and encounters are bound to keep you laughing, and when you hear me talk about all of my tips for providing excellent customer service or obtaining a more positive mindset, well, it sure could turn your day around!

Who knows? Even your boss might be impressed…

So how can you order this super-cool audiobook? It’s easy! All you have to do is email me at dawn@customerserviceandbeyond.com! You can also pick up your copy of the audiobook (or even the real thing!) at the Troy/Maryville Area Chamber of Commerce in Troy, Illinois, or at Sue’s Corner in Granite City. Easier still, you can order your copy from my website.

So what are you waiting for? Brighten your day and better your attitude and customer service by ordering my audiobook TODAY!

Hey, Olive Garden! YOU Get It!

Hey, Olive Garden! YOU Get It!It’s true – there is the ULTIMATE dining experience out there just for you!

We decided to stop for a quick bite to eat on the way home from Madison, Wisconsin.  There happened to be an Olive Garden along the highway, so we thought it would be a great stop.

Who would have thought just pulling into the parking lot that I would be blogging about this fantastic experience?

As we entered the lobby, an individual with the biggest smile you have ever seen greeted us with, “Hello, welcome to Olive Garden!”  Her tone of voice was inviting, and she was ready to serve us. She asked how many and I said, “Two.”

As we walked to the table, she asked if we have ever been to an Olive Garden, and I said, “Yes, at home.” She asked where “home” was and I said, “St. Louis.”

“Oh,” she said, “I have driven through there! What a great city! Your server (she stated the name) will be with you very shortly.”  Within ten seconds, our server approached us with a wonderful greeting, eye contact, and a very friendly aura about her. It almost made me want to pull out a chair and have her join us.

She said, “So you’re from St. Louis?”

WOW! An actual communication between two staff members!

She explained that she had driven through there many years ago.  She took our order and then, of course, brought us some nice fresh bread.

We were also intrigued by her conversation with the table behind us.  They were also traveling northbound.  There was light discussion on traveling, and then the waitress brought out to-go cups and tightly packed food, commenting, “Now you are going to need this for the ride, so I have packed some extra plastic ware as well as extra ice in your cups.  Be safe and on your way back through town, consider stopping by to see us again!”

Our food came, and it was perfect.  She slid in with some extra Parmesan cheese and plenty of drink refills.  I asked for a to-go box and believe it or not, it was not the same conversation she had with them.

Here is what she said – “So you have a bit of a drive back to St. Louis.  Did you want to take home some dessert to have something to look forward to at the end of your long trip? Or how about some to-go drinks?”

Okay, she had me!

After she brought the bill, I explained to her that every single interaction we had within the last hour at Olive Garden was unbelievable.  She smiled and said, “We want every experience to be fantastic.”

On the way out I stopped and asked the front desk staff member for the manager.  When the manager came out, I shook his hand and told him what I do for a living.  He smiled and said how happy he was that they had exceeded our expectations.  I promised him that I would blog about him and here it is!

Olive Garden – YOU get it!

Humor – Good For The Soul AND For Your Business!

There’s no doubt about it – humor is definitely good for the soul.

In fact, studies have been showing that a healthy daily dose of hearty laughter in your life will do wonders for your physical health and mental health, too! Laughing puts us in a positive mood, gives us a fresh perspective, and can even burn calories!

Did you know that humor and laughter even have a place in the workforce?

I appreciate a good dose of humor in places of business. It can calm down a nervous customer, bring a customer out of a negative or depressed mood, and it can easily keep your customers coming back for more.

For example, during a lengthy hospitalization, my dad was having a problem with persistently low blood pressure. For two nights, we had struggled to keep it over 75.

One night the nurse came into his room and said, “Mr. Johnson, I just don’t know what I am going to do with you. You know, we really need to get this blood pressure up. If we can’t, I’m going to have to do something drastic.” Everyone in the room froze. She then said, “If we can’t get it any higher, I’m just going to have to show you your hospital bill. I know that will definitely get it up!” We all laughed, even my Dad, and we felt the first sense of relief since he’d been admitted.

There is room for humor in almost every industry, in most situations. Humor helps create an atmosphere of comfort, familiarity, and friendship. All of these elements are necessary for a successful business relationship with your customers.

Here’s another example of humor in the workplace – one local construction company gives a fortune cookie to each of their customers, but instead of the typical fortune or saying, inside the cookie is a joke. The company rep whom I spoke with said that their own workers never hesitate to ask, “Aren’t you going to give me MY fortune cookie? I could use a good laugh, too!”

You can easily keep your customers coming back to you when you use humor in your business dealings with them. The key to success is to balance expectations with humor.

For example, if something goes wrong (maybe your customer’s order got mixed up or you accidentally tripped and wound up dropping the fresh baked goods your customer wanted), humor can help dispel the dissatisfaction and can help your customers let go of their woes and bring them into the present moment. Remember, laughter gives our brains a rush of feel-good endorphins!

Humor establishes rapport. Think about it – pretty much everyone loves a good laugh. Non-offensive, easy-going jokes can easily establish likeability and trust with a potential client. A joke related to a difficult situation can help disarm deliver “tough medicine” to a client (very much like the hospital experience with my dad that I mentioned above).

But be careful when you use humor in your workplace! Certain types of humor aren’t always appreciated (for example: sarcasm).

When you start a new relationship with a new customer, try using light humor or humor geared toward an existing situation. Veer away from jokes about politics or anything that could easily offend people (jokes about religion, “dirty” jokes, etc.). Gage how your customer reacts to your jokes, and try to take their reactions as a guide for your progress. Remember to do all that you can to make your customers fell as comfortable as possible so that they’ll come back to do business with you in the future!

What humor can you bring to your company?

Hey, IHOP! Perception is Reality!

 

So I will publicly admit, I LOVE my chocolate chip pancakes. And frankly, the more chocolate in the pancakes (with a ton of chocolate chips on top), the better!

So I ventured off to IHOP last Sunday for some of those delicious pancakes. It was Sunday morning, so I knew that it would be crowded. I was expecting the usual Sunday morning 20-minute wait.

I put my name in and waited. There were probably twenty people or so waiting. So I decided to sneak off to the restroom before I was seated. As I was coming back from the restroom, I could not help noticing that there were seven tables opened, cleaned off, and ready to serve. So, I went back to the waiting area and waited. And waited. And waited. AND WAITED.

Curiosity got the best of me. I went up (nicely) to the three hostesses who were standing around the podium talking and said, “I just have to ask – you have all of these people waiting and you have seven open tables. Can we be seated?”

She was very polite and said, “We are waiting for the kitchen to catch up.” I thanked her and sat back down.

What I couldn’t grasp was the fact that all of the people standing around me were asking the same questions (perception). What else could IHOP have done to make my waiting experience better? Hey, how about offering me something to drink (for which I would end up paying for when I was seated)? Or, I don’t know, pacing the seating a bit better?

Look, I am sure not complaining about the kitchen here. There is only so much room to cook so much food. My thought is that maybe IHOP (and others who make you wait) could rethink the whole waiting process.

I will say, our waitress was very good (and it was her first week), and the food, well, those darn pancakes are always great.

Remember – perception is reality, no matter where you go for Sunday breakfast!

Way To Go, Lambert Airport, For WOWing Your Customers!

 

It’s no secret – everyone loves exceptional customer service, especially at times in which you least expect it or really need that extra smile and attention to detail. And while we may recognize and remember poor customer service (Negative stories sadly tend to make better conversation.), we should definitely do the same for excellent customer service that exceeds our every expectation.

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport did just that last month. The airport celebrated its second year of their “Catch Us Giving” Program in which the airport recognized customer service leaders, the unsung heroes of the airline industry.  Recognized were more than 100 airport employees during the reception.

The first ever “Catch Us Giving” Ambassador of the Year award was given to Samantha Hammock, who works at Starbucks as an employee of HMSHost. But why was she chosen? Well, her customers and colleagues strongly felt that she deserved the award because she exemplifies her non-stop energetic, positive attitude in the workplace, day in and day out. Her demeanor and helpfulness embodies the mission of excellent customer service at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

Here are all the other winners for February’s “Catch Us Giving” program at Lambert Airport:

*Jessica Stepke – Southwest Airlines

*Millie Ocasio – Lambert Information Booth

*Tom Worshaw – Midwest Elevator

*Carmelle Costello – HMSHost

*Jacqueline Parker – HMSHost

*Yolanda Edmondson – Super Park

*Keith Burleson – International Ram

*Donnie Pool – Lambert Airport

*Jacie Price – Continental Airlines

*Samantha Hammock and Mekdes Sirage – HMSHost

*Mae Mahone – Lambert Information Booth

*Mildred Dee – TSA

*Brennen Hurt and Darian Callion – HMSHost

*Leslie Granadillo – Lambert Airport

*Reuben Jones – United Airlines

*John Conrades – TSA

*Reginald Rice – Lambert Airport

*Roland Brown – Huntleigh

*Lamont Rice – Lambert Airport

*Marilyn Sanders – Lambert Airport

*Angela Arms – Lambert Airport

*Anthony Capone – Air Tran

*Steven Rhodes – International Ram

*Dearest Wynn – Huntleigh

*Stephanie Morris – Lambert Airport

Congratulations to all the winners this month! I’m sure your company is exceptionally proud and thankful to have you as a member of their team.

And faithful readers, if you by chance are at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport in the near future and you see these great employees, be sure to congratulate them on a job very well done!

Hallmark – Really Sends the Very Best (Service, That Is)!

Hallmark - Really Sends the Very Best (Service, That Is)!I am a card girl and have been my entire life.  I believe that sending a handwritten card is something that everyone enjoys receiving.  It might be for a new grandbaby, an ill relative or even a “just because” card.

Of course, one of the best card selections is your local Hallmark store.  I should have taken out stock in Hallmark, given as much money as I have spent over my entire life!

My list for cards was large, so it was time to venture on to Hallmark.  The closest Hallmark for me is the Collinsville (Illinois) store.

As soon as the door opened, I heard a friendly voice say, “Welcome to Hallmark!” as she made eye contact with me.  She asked if she could assist me, and I explained my list of cards.  She graciously took me to show me where each type of card was.  I also mentioned that I would like a balloon bouquet and without missing a beat, she listened and whisked away to take care of what I needed.

You know, I am all about time management, so someone who was able to multitask with me is someone who is a WOW in my book.

I gathered my cards and in turning the corner, I heard one of the sales clerks explaining to another customer that clearance is 80% off.  Yep, so that got my attention.  I was perusing the deals and another clerk said, “If there is something in particular you are looking for, just let me know.”  Just about that time, the clerk arrived with my balloons and said, “Thank you for your patience.  I apologize for your wait.”

Wait?  I didn’t even feel like I was waiting!  To me, that is the true trick of having to wait – not feeling like you are waiting because the organization has helped with that wait time.

As I checked out, they reminded me that I could order my chocolate covered strawberries.  Mmmmmm.  I really wanted to but refrained (simply from a caloric point of view).  I used my debit card to pay for the transaction and I intentionally had not signed the back of the card.  The clerk asked for my ID. All of the staff were very friendly and clearly, high customer service expectations had been set for all.

Kudos to the owner of the Collinsville Hallmark.  YOU get it!

Wow Your New Customers With These Eight Fantastic Tips For First Impressions!

You only have three seconds to make a first impression. That’s right. THREE.

Don’t believe me? The next time you encounter a stranger, start the countdown and decide how long it takes for you to form an impression of them. And within that nearly non-existent amount of time you too will be completely evaluated, the person on the receiving end will be scrutinizing everything from body language, mannerisms, physical/verbal, and every other little detail from your haircut to your shoes.

It’s only human nature to do so. We’re visual creatures, and the visual perception leaves a strong imprint. How come so many people blow it? Well, because we have many opportunities to blow it – via telephone, in person, or even on the Internet.

Consider the following example, which happened many years ago in a jewelry store. I always make it a point to support small businesses whenever possible and had decided to make a planned purchase at a local jewelry store rather than a large franchised operation.

I entered the store, a small but empty showroom where no one greeted me. After several minutes, an employee finally emerged from the back room. I could hear the television playing and it sounded like a commercial had come on. She asked if she could help me. I said, “I am looking for a heart necklace,” and she showed me the case where they were displayed.

It was then that the phone rang. From the tone of voice and conversation, it was obviously a personal friend. I heard that her daughter had a problem with a teacher, that she had forgotten to take the hamburger out of the freezer, and the fact that oh-how-she-wished that she weren’t at work.

At the end of her phone conversation, she returned to the back room for some reason. When she returned after a short time, she asked, “Have you made a decision?” I smiled and said, “Yes,” and I turned around and left the store.

Now, what’s wrong with this picture? Several things. See how you can avoid making those mistakes; check out these following eight tips on how to give your customer a great first impression:

1. Never, ever, EVER chew gum. And I mean never. While chewing gum itself may freshen your breath, the act of chewing gum shows contempt for your customer.

2. No matter how bad you feel, smile. It won’t kill you! Your customer may feel lousy, too, or they might be having a horrible day. Maybe their dad is in the hospital or their dog just died. But a smile and a warm greeting from you may be the thing they need right now, and it will keep them coming back.

Oh, and by the way, smiling makes YOU feel better. Try it. Right now. See? Don’t you feel better now?

3. Remember – every customer who walks through your door should be the most important thing that has happened all day. Be sure to treat them that way!

4. Even if you’re busy when the customer arrives, acknowledge their presence and let them know you’ll be with them shortly. There’s nothing worse than being ignored when you arrive and made to feel like you are a secondary consideration to the important task at hand!

5. If the customer needs to wait, ask if they would like anything to drink while they wait like water, coffee, or tea. They’ll feel more at home.

6. Engage your customer in small talk, but be sure to not talk TOO much. They don’t want to hear about your life story or the latest information about your surgery or health.

7. Learn to love your customers and enjoy having them around, and DO NOT look or act bored! Whether you think the customer is important or not, THEY think that they are. Don’t let them think that they’re not important!

8. If a customer comments on the beautiful weather, NEVER reply with, “Yeah, too nice to be working!” These comments reflect badly on the company and make the customer feel uncomfortable.

If you follow these tips and keep in mind that the customer is #1, you will be amazed at how your customers will respond. And who knows? That very customer may tell all their family and friends how great you are, and you could generate even more business. Remember, it’s ALL about the attitude!