Thursday, February 21, 2008

Heathy Snacks For Schools

Concession CatalogueToday, I went to a meeting at one of the school districts we sell supplies to. Over 30 schools attended, and the main topic was healthy foods. Costless Express was invited to show what new healthy snacks and beverages were available for the schools to sell in replacement of the current fare.

This school season is the last for any products that don't meet the new, strict Government health guidelines. I have been closely working with our suppliers and schools to stay aware of the newest products that will meet the requirements. Today was a chance to show what will be available for next year, and actually what is available right now.

We brought in a sampling of our overall selection, and let the teachers sample everything. Some were surprised that items such as potato chips (baked not fried) and pudding cups (made with skim milk) met the guidelines. One of my personal favourites was soon a teacher favourite too - the Fresh Cut Apples and Baby Carrot individual packs. A great way to get fruit and veggies into kids' hands! The teachers seem to be adapting, and it looks like the start of the 2008 school year will be full of healthy alternatives. But, will the kids buy them? Or will they walk off school grounds and head over to the closest corner store for their candy fix? Only time will tell.


Friday, February 15, 2008

When Customer Service Sucks...

I saw a funny thing our sales staff did today.

Our staff take great care and pride to ensure every order is perfect. BUT... sometimes things dont always go as planned, and every now and then, they need to do a little apologizing and grovelling to the customer.

The story goes like this: A great customer had ordered some office chairs and one thing after another went wrong. The typical Murphy's Law kicked in with - "if it could go wrong, it did."

The customer received half their order, late and broken. We used a courier instead of our own driver, and that was where things went down hill.

Sorry that our service sucked! The customer was not thrilled, nor was our account manager. In the end, it was all sorted out and the customer was happy, but our sales department wanted to let the customer know we are much better than that. Sales felt the service the customer received "really sucked". This is where they really got creative.

In our office was a 10 pound giant Chupa Chup Sucker a supplier gave us as a gift. The sales department took the sucker, made up a card that said "Sorry Our Service Sucked!". Then proceeded to get our entire company to sign the card while explaining what had happened to this customer and the service we did not deliver. By the time the card was signed, all our staff knew what the problems were and how to circumvent them in the future.

The sucker and card were sent to the customer. Needless to say they were surprised and had a good laugh. Great job staff for thinking outside the box!

Looks like we "licked" the problem! (couldn't resist)


Friday, February 8, 2008

Meeting With EcoTrust Canada

After meeting Robert Safrata from Novex on January 28th, I reviewed all my notes from the meeting. He was a wealth of information about all things ECO. I am very dedicated to changing Costless Express to a Carbon Neutral Company.

EcoTrust CanadaOne group I decided to contact from my notes was EcoTrust Canada. Michelle Bonner, Project Planner was very informative about their services. One such service that caught my attention was a innovative new program to help small- and medium-sized businesses shrink their carbon footprint. Ecotrust Canada, in partnership with The Pembina Institute, the David Suzuki Foundation and corporate sponsors,is offering The Carbon Neutral Workgroup for Small Business will help companies calculate and reduce their greenhouse gas (CO 2 ) emissions. Companies participating in the Carbon Neutral Workgroup will identify cost-effective ways to reduce their carbon emissions. By helping to save the planet, participants will be saving themselves money too says Ian Gill, President of Ecotrust Canada .

CO2 EmissionsThe three month workgroup was a very reasonable $1000 so I signed up Costless Express. To my surprise, only 12 companies have actually completed the Workgroup and interest was still quite low. I'm sure that will change as word spreads about their reasonable and quality services.

I'll post another update after our first session on March 11th, 2008.