Thursday, June 07, 2007

On Retreat: Amazing Customer Service

Kim KroupaAs I mentioned, I'm up here in Traverse City on a self-directed business retreat. My goal is just to relax and think about my business. I've got a list of several items that I can work on, but really, they are just the filler -- something solid that I can get my hands on while I let my brain consider more esoteric things. Basically, I don't need to walk away from here with all the answers, but as I drive away tomorrow, I do want to have a good list of questions in hand.

That all being said, the location I'm using has been perfect for my needs. I'm staying at Pinestead Reef, a timeshare resort which also has nightly rentals. My room looks out on Grand Traverse Bay and, it still being during the school year, my fellow residents are a pretty quiet bunch.

The stand-out star of this peaceful oasis has been a young woman by the name of Kim Kroupa. She's been working at the front desk since I drove in on Tuesday and has been a font of great advice from the first day. One of my practices when away on a business trip is, on the first night, to order a pizza from a local pizza place. I always ask the front desk their recommendation. Most of the time, I get a half-hearted listing of the pizza shops in the area -- often including such "local" fare as Pizza Hut and Domino's. Not so with Kim. She spoke right up and pointed me to "That's a Pizza!", then provided me with a menu and her recommendations for a vegetarian like me.

Great Pizza!

Nor was her behavior just a one-time thing. She had a willing smile and a helpful attitude for anyone who wandered in. Moreover, she really knew her stuff, including the history of the area and the current events of the town. I wish more front-line staff were just like Kim.

For dinner last night I asked Kim for recommendations on a restaurant within walking distance and she pointed me to the Red Mesa Grill. I've got to say that this was a real find. Tim Middaugh, the general manager was the one who answered the phone and later greeted me at the door. He assured me that they could take care of a vegetarian like me and, boy, was he right. The had a variety of southwestern and Latin dishes that tempted me. I ended up with a plate called the "Vegetarian Fiesta". It included a burrito, an enchilada, and a Cuban black bean cake. All three were quite delicious, though the latter was definitely the tastiest.

I think my biggest problem with the meal was just that. It was huge! By the time my server, Bert, brought the fried ice cream (with habenaro hot fudge sauce) I could only finish half of it (and that with almost half of my dinner in a box waiting to be heated up for lunch today)!

So, if you are going to be up in the area, you might want to drop by to say hello to Kim. You might even see if there are any vacancies! And, if you are really hungry for some great food (or don't mind some leftovers), you should stop by and have lunch or dinner at the Red Mesa Grill.

So, have you ever been up to Traverse City?


Anonymous said...

No, but I'm going there right now if their icecream has habanero hot fudge sauce.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the wonderful comments about Kim. I am a little biased since she is our daughter!! She is in the last months of her pregnancy with our first grandchild. Your compliments went a long way to make her feel better after a stressful weekend!
Thanks!! We will be seeing her tomorrow! Hope you plan on heading back "up north" to enjoy what Traverse and the North country have to offer.Its a wonderful place to visit and even better to live up here!

Dani Nordin said...

oh my good lord, habanero hot fudge - that sounds SOOO good! Although actually, I'm really more on the chipotle/chocolate side of things; just a dab.

Good customer service is so hard to find these days, and it's a joy to find a gem like Kim.

Dani Nordin said...

By the way, in terms of e-zine article farms, I'm not sure how I feel about them, being a writer myself - but if you find helpful, well-written articles that are appropriate to your target audience, then yes, I say go ahead.

What I find works is being able to say yes to three major questions:
1. Is it relatable?
2. Is it friendly?

The last piece is the most important - it has to resonate with YOU before you send it to anyone.

I believe you work with non-profits, right? So not only would you look for articles about fundraising and the challenges of running a non-profit, you can find articles about how to use the web to increase donor awareness, or other things that relate to what you do for your clients specifically. If