Your customers. The ones who support your business – regardless of what it is – are the ones who will be reassuring you that you’re doing things correctly, or they’re the ones openly complaining when you’re doing things wrong.

I mean, they’re the ones who are giving you money… Listen to what they have to say!

I’ve had interactions with many different businesses as a customer and as an independent contractor, as well as lots of interactions with customers as the face of a business. Each time I do, I notice what makes the business successful. Is it the funky interior design of your favorite coffee shop that keeps you coming back?

Maybe. That place is pretty cool. But what is it actually? More likely – it’s the interactions you have with the staff members – the baristas, owners, etc. They’re the ones who are going to give you that home feeling and keep you coming back (unless the coffee is THAT good).

So why do so many businesses fail at their greatest media of marketing – customer service?

It’s ’cause it’s hard. It’s difficult to be an owner, barista, bookkeeper, marketing manager, inventory controller, supervisor and also ensure each customer receives the same degree of customer service that has made your business successful so far. Especially when you cannot work 24 hours/7 days a week and have to trust your business in the hands of your employees.

Now, where am I going with this… I’ve learned a lot about customer service, interactions with clients and just all around happiness in the past few months.

Thanks to the amazing people at Richard Kilburn and Associates, along with the Hampton Inn and Suites Saskatoon Airport, and the career facilitator at Aden Bowman Collegiate, Mr. Adair, I’ve been able to learn a tremendous amount about myself and also how I interact with people.

At Richard Kilburn and Associates, located in Investors Group NE Saskatoon, I was able to grasp a greater understanding of the financial world and how it all works – all while learning about what makes them so successful. Each time a client walked into their office, they were never dreading talking about their finances – in fact, they usually had a smile on their face as the assistants asked how their family or latest venture was doing. And even greater yet, they did this without a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM). Granted, the appointments were logged, but that type of human interaction and hospitality is appreciated by many and shown by few.

Speaking of hospitality, my placement at the Hampton Inn and Suites really showed me what it was like to take care of people. Hotels and hospitality have always been interests of mine – and I don’t believe there is any other place that could’ve shown me how to interact with guests. Right from the beginning, everyone showed me respect and patience, introducing me to their world.

“To be the best, you have to learn from the best.”

That statement could not be any more relevant as I speak of these two workplaces. Both businesses and their management teams showed incredible passion for what they offer and taught me how I can apply those skills to whatever venture I eventually create.