July 2019
Ladysmith Chamber Business Essentials


Ladysmith Chamber 12th Annual Golf Classic!

12th Annual Golf Classic Video.   

The Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce extends a huge Thank You to our Title Sponsor, the Ladysmith & District Credit Union, our Tournament Sponsors, Nanaimo Airport - YCD & RE/MAX Ocean Pointe Ladysmith and our Hole/Cart/Prize Sponsors for their generosity and support of the Ladysmith Chambers 12th Annual Golf Classic! 

WHAT A GREAT DAY AT COTTONWOOD GOLF COURSE!   90+ Chamber Members, businesses and friends came out to enjoy the day.  Fun was had by all and we look forward to next years 13th Annual Golf Classic.  Thanks to MyLadysmith.com for the fun video recap of the event.  



7 Ways to Give Your Customers VIP Treatment


7 Ways to Give Your Customers VIP Treatment

We've all experienced bad customer service, but even when the service is so-so it still leaves us feeling that we're a commodity – just a source of revenue rather than a valued customer. Exceptional customer service makes us feel good, maybe even great. The challenge many companies face is that winning customer loyalty takes a lot of time and energy. On the upside once you do achieve it, it will give you a never-ending source of repeat business and referrals. Here are seven ways you can give your customers the VIP treatment.

Pay Attention

Encourage your employees to notice customers, really notice them – even those staff members who don't service them directly. Customers love it, and feel valued, when you notice their child, or see they have a tan and ask about their vacation, or with a regular customer notice they are limping and show concern.

Really Listen

Use what Stephen Covey calls Level 4 Listening – listening empathically. Not just for content, or for how you will respond, but listen between the words. Do you hear fear, reluctance, or excitement? When you really listen, you can learn what your customers truly need, and meeting their needs is another way you can make them feel important.

Put Them First

Remember that most customers are thinking WIIFM (what's in it for me?). In all your interactions with customers, think about whether you're giving them the answer to that question. Do they know you care about what's important to them? What's in it for them has to come before what's in it for you, or the customer service equation doesn't work. Someone once said, "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Imagine you have a customer who is angry about what they perceive is sub-standard service. It sounds like a minor thing to you; but remember, to them it's very real. When faced with complaints or confrontation with your customers, put yourself in their shoes. Try to remember the last time you were unsatisfied with something you paid for. How did it feel? Were you acknowledged or dismissed by the company? How would you have liked to have been treated? Stepping back from the situation and realizing every consumer is just like you, might help you to show a little more compassion and understanding in difficult situations.

Be Honest and Genuinely Open to Feedback

Criticism or complaints from your customers offer your greatest customer service opportunities. When you know what you've done wrong, you can take steps to make it right. Be honest when you have made a mistake, and genuinely seek to rectify it. Throw defensiveness out the window and take your customers' feedback to heart. It may sting, but it will take you to a greater level of customer service. Implement the things you hear from your customers and thank them for the opportunity to be better at what you do.

Deal with Problems Quickly

People hate getting the runaround, or worse getting no attention at all. When a problem comes to your attention, deal with it immediately. Ensure your customers feel they are important to you. When you make the time to deal with their issues immediately, you show you value them. When you put it off, allowing weeks to go by without a word, you let them know that you don't care if they go somewhere else!

Be Creative in Showing Appreciation

Creativity takes effort but taking those few moments each week to do something nice for your customers goes a long way to inspiring loyalty and making them feel special. You may need to add some money to your marketing budget, but a minimal investment on showing your appreciation can pay huge dividends. The possibilities are only as limited as your imagination. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Hold a customer appreciation event – lay on some food and beverages, perhaps a door prize or two, add some discount coupons and make it fun.
  • Offer a discount to a returning customer on part of their order.
  • Send flowers to a long-time customer who's experienced a loss or is going through a difficult time.
  • Purchase two $20 Starbucks cards and have a draw for a couple of customers a month – just because you appreciate them.
  • Send a thank-you note or maybe a bottle of wine to a customer who made a large purchase.
  • Purchase two event tickets (sports or concert) and send them to a customer who gave you a referral.
  • Have a weekly or monthly draw for a gift basket – customers can enter every time they make a purchase.
  • Send thank you cards for no other reason than to thank your customers for their loyalty.

What's holding you back from making your customers feel important? These few simple steps can help you create a loyal customer base – and that's something solid on which to build a business!

7 Ways to Give Your Customers VIP Treatment


Give Your Office a Fresh Start

Spring cleaning is something many people do every year; it's like they are waiting for an excuse to clean and tidy their homes, gardens, garages, and offices. But when it comes to your business, is spring the best time to undertake this task? It somewhat depends on what time of year your business is busy or quiet, but the reality is any time is a good time. Now, for instance is the perfect time! You will become more efficient and focused after you file away all those "important" papers and files off your desk that haven't been touched for several months. A clean office can be liberating; the act of cleaning itself is cathartic. A cluttered, disorganized work space not only reflects badly on your ability to manage your business but prevents you from working efficiently and effectively.


Physical Files – This includes everything currently on your desk, in your in-basket, sitting on trays or in stand-up files. Put all your files in one large pile on your desk and go through them one by one to create three piles: to file (archive), active/current projects, potential work (future projects). Each file must be placed on one of these piles. File the folders that need to be archived. Next, define a system for how you will deal with current projects and potential work. If you're the type that likes all current work on your desk for easy daily access, create a place to keep them on hand. If you like everything to stay in your file cabinets, file them. Do the same for future projects.

Contacts – Go through your contracts (however you store them). Cross off or delete any contacts you know are old. Update any out of date information (e.g. that new phone number for Joe's Body Shop you scribbled on a napkin should be transferred to your address book).

Computer – Does your desktop look like a sale bin for icons? Take a look at how your computer files are organized. Can you create folders and sub-folders to categorize your files logically? Are there files you can delete? Are there items that have been saved to the wrong file? Move them to the correct file. Doing this will make it easier to find things when you need to access them. While you're there, take a look at your internet browser bookmarks. Are there some you can delete? Is there some way to organize and categorize them to make finding sites easier? What about your email? When was the last time you deleted unnecessary messages? Have you created email sub-folders to make searching for a specific email simpler?

Physical Space

Desk – How much unnecessary stuff is on your desk? More than one coffee mug is not OK. A family photo or two are fine, but if your desk looks like a photographer's showroom you'll need to simplify. The clearer your workspace, the more efficiently you will work. Consolidate and simplify what is on your desk. Put away what you can into drawers to leave a clean, neat work surface.

Bookshelves – Are your books organized in some kind of order, so you know where to look when you need something? Are they neat and tidy or have they become the receptacle for everything you don't know what to do with – photos from the Christmas party, outdated company envelopes you can't bring yourself to throw away, business cards from a year's networking, ancient disks and CD's you don't know what to do with? De-clutter (that is, throw out) as much as you can and put the rest away.

Cabinets – If you're lucky enough to have cabinets in your office that have doors on them, you can hide a lot of stuff you don't know what to do with. If you don't, you may need to invest in some bankers boxes or storage bins to get things out of the way.

Floorspace – Nothing says "disorganized and inefficient" like stuff overflowing onto your floor. Binders piled high, that box of annual reports you ended up printing too many of, the three boxes of printer toner you keep forgetting to recycle, magazines, etc. Try to get everything off your floor that isn't a piece of furniture or equipment. You'll be amazed at how good it feels to walk into a room that's been de-cluttered.

Office Equipment

Computer and Accessories – When was the last time you took your computer in for a service? A few bucks now will save you a lot later. What about your printer, fax machine, scanner, keyboard and mouse? Do they need a dusting or service of any kind? Keeping your office equipment well-serviced and maintained will save you hours of frustration, as they won't break down as readily.

Are you feeling inspired yet? Set a goal for accomplishing a fresh-start clean in each of the above areas. You won't believe how good it will feel, and what a difference it will make on your efficiency and the impression you make on others.

7 Ways to Give Your Customers VIP Treatment


Executive Leadership – Focusing on the Important

Too often we get sidetracked from important tasks or things we need to be doing. We lose our focus as we say yes to those requests that we think will only take a few minutes but consume an hour or more, or we are distracted by an email that comes in, or text messages, or telephone calls, or surfing social media. It is so easy to veer off the path to handle something that appears easy or less time consuming.

The chart below might help you analyze where best to focus your time.

IMPORTANT First Second

Being mindful of the Urgent/Important quadrant may be helpful in focusing your time and efforts on those things that require your attention, or that of others in your businesses. When you are confronted with a task or activity, identify in which quadrant it belongs.

Determining where a task fits in the important and urgent grid, encourages you to ask questions that will help focus your efforts throughout your day, whether at work or at home.

Ask yourself, how important is this to accomplishing my goals? If it is important, then determine if it is Urgent or Not Urgent? If it is Urgent it appears in the first quadrant and therefore requires immediate attention.

When it is Not Urgent, you need to attach a time frame to it, so it doesn't get lost. In either case, it is necessary to determine whose responsibility it is. When it's the responsibility of a subordinate or colleague, you need to delegate the task giving clear instructions as to when it needs to be completed.

The third and fourth quadrants indicate where you can get sidetracked in your work environment. This is why it is important to make a determination as to the urgency and importance of tasks or activities. This is especially the case when there is a request for immediate action, and you get caught up in someone else's sense of urgency and lose sight of the fact that it's really not that important. These are the times when delegation is necessary, or you need to simply tell those concerned that this will get attended to at a later date.

There are, however, times when you need to attend to less important yet necessary activities. At these times, be mindful about the amount of time required and by when exactly the task needs to be completed.

A good time to attend to some of those less important activities is when you need a break or a change of pace. The key is to focus on what's important. Get into the habit of not being distracted by non-important and non-urgent tasks, while ensuring what needs to be done gets done.

Paul Abra
Certified Executive Coach, Motivated Coaching


Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 598, 33 Roberts Street, Ladysmith, BC V9G 1A4
Phone: 250-245-2112