Author Archives: brian

Three Ways We’re Trying to Improve Our Customer Service

Exceptional customer service is not a destination; it is a process of evolving and becoming better. I seldom see a business that does everything right all the time.

customer service word cloud

At the beginning of this year, Kona Impact set out to improve all our processes, from our invoicing and billing systems to our project management and communications systems. We put everything on the table and tried to find ways to do them better. Most of the changes we made are not visible to our customers, but they help us plan, implement and bill our projects more efficiently.

One thing we did was move to a space that is more than twice as big as our old office. This allowed us to have a dedicated production room, and a lot more storage space. The additional personal and work space is great, and it allows us to meet one of our primary goals this year: same day and next day turnaround on many of our products.

We now keep more than enough inventory to allow us to fulfill almost all banner, foam core, PVC and aluminum sign orders in a day. This is what we would want as consumers, so we are trying to provide this to our customers.

Another thing we did was to expand our deliveries to clients. So, for example, a customer staying at a resort in the Waikoloa area can, if the order meets certain criteria, expect same or next day delivery on a print or sign order. A local client can expect us to drop off most orders the same or next day.download movie Everest 2015

fast delivery

Finally, we try to recognize companies that do an exceptional job at customer service. This might include a mention on our blog or writing a positive Yelp! or TripAdvisior review.

We hope that by observing others, we can learn and grow. Likewise, we strive to help new businesses by sharing what we have learned.

So, 2015 has given us some new ways to serve our customers better:

  1. More space and inventory to reduce production time and allow same and next day turnaround.
  2. Expanded delivery options.
  3. Focusing on learning and growing by implementing best practices we see with other businesses.

We’ve been meeting our goals most of the time, and have far exceeded them some of the time. Just last week we had a local restaurant bring in their large beer sign. We made a proof, got it approve, updated the sign and delivered it in less than 24 hours. We also put some vinyl signage on a local retailer the same day they requested it. Yesterday we had a consultant who needed several reports printed and bound that day. We did so and delivered them to the Mauna Lani, allowing her to spend two  more hours enjoying her time in Hawaii instead of driving to Kailua-Kona and back.

Are we going to get everything right all the time? Certainly not. Are we going to learn from our mistakes and seek new ways of becoming more customer-centric? Absolutely.

Kona Impact has been helping new and established businesses on Hawaii Island for since 2006. We’ve  seen boom and bust economies and have worked with hundreds of local businesses on their design and marketing needs.

Kona Impact   | 329-6077

 

Great Results with No Effort….Really??

A guy walks into his annual physical with his doctor. He says, “You know, Doc, I don’t have lot of energy, I can’t play sports like I used to and, well, things aren’t going very well in the bedroom either.” man with no energy The doctor looks at his chart and says, “Well, you’re very overweight, and your blood work shows high cholesterol.

The guy replies, “Oh, that’s not good. How can I get my weight and cholesterol down?” The doctor answers, “Well, you need to eat less, eat more healthy food and exercise more. Those are three ways you can achieve better health. We have classes and program that can help.”

The man says, “I don’t have time to exercise; I love pizza and beer; and, I don’t want to make any major changes in my life. I’ll try to figure it out myself.”

The doctor’s answer: “Well, with no change, I guarantee tomorrow will be the same as today, only worse. There are no miracle cures.”

Later that day the man gives an online marketing consultant a call and says: “business is down. I know I’m not reaching my potential with my company. My customers say that can’t find my online easily, and my website is outdated. Can you do some magic to change this?”

The consultant looks at the website and runs some tests on the site’s visibility and says, “Well, your website is 8 years old, it’s only three pages and it does not meet Google’s guidelines.”

The guy replies, “Well, I don’t want to spend a lot of money or time on this, maybe just a few hundred dollars. Can’t you just do something with what I have?”

The consultant replies, “What you want is for me to take your old Honda and make it perform like a Ferrari. Can’t be done. Your website needs to be replaced. Fixing an old website is like fixing an old car; it will always be sub-optimal.”

Do you recognize your approach to health or business in any of the scenarios above?

We all want quick fixes and instantaneous results. The problem is that fundamentally changing your health or business requires fundamental change. At Kona Impact, we say that there are no home runs in marketing; that is; there are no singular actions you can take that will change everything for your business. Life and business are like that: results require effort and, yes, sacrifice.

Much of this effort requires professional help and costs. I hire a mechanic to fix my truck, and he hires me to help him get found online. We both know what we don’t know.

I suspect that many business owners that want results without meaningful effort understand the impossibility of this. I think these business owners are too focused on today and tomorrow to see the long term benefits of having a professional and solid online presence. They don’t see the thousands, tens of thousands or millions of dollars of business they are currently losing to competitors who do it better. They view a few thousand dollars as an unwanted expense and not an investment in their business.

At Kona Impact we have worked with hundreds of business owners over the years. We have seen some come and go and many who have started with nothing reach wonderful levels of success. We know there are no miracles and “home runs” in business; it’s much more complicated than that. If you want solid, cost-effective solutions for your business, give us a call.

 Kona Impact | 329-6077

Local Spotlight: Fitness Business in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

There are few places on earth that offer such abundant fitness opportunities as Kona, Hawaii. If you want to swim year round, we have a lot of ocean. Runners and cyclists can count on 320+ days of excellent running and cycling weather. (The other 45 or so are not bad either!). There are many golf courses on the Kona-Kohala coast, from exclusive resort courses to more budget-friendly courses.

kona hawaii fitness

Here are some fitness-related business in Kona that have a great reputation and are locally owned and operated.

Hawaii Fitness Academy

Looking for a personal trainer in Kona? How about a specialist in corrective exercise and Parkinson’s fitness? Want to become a qualified personal trainer? Martin Petrofes at Hawaii Fitness Academy is the choice of many athletes and fitness trainers in Kona. Highly qualified and just an all-around great guy, Martin can take you from flabby to fit, from injured to healthy and from athlete to trainer. He is well known as a patient and effective trainer for personal training, corrective exercises and helping people with Parkinson’s with their fitness needs. Give him at a call at 808-936-0903 or visit his website, HawaiiFitnessAcademy.com.

Swing Vision Pro Hawaii

If you’re a golfer, you have to stop by Swing Vision Pro in Kona’s Industrial Area and have a chat with Rob. A certified PGA instructor, Rob and his staff can help you improve all aspects of your game. I’ve been to Rob’s facility and have seen all his high-tech training systems. I don’t think it gets any better than what he has. Give Rob a call at 808-333-5071.

Places to Get a Workout

Kona has no shortage of gyms and places to get a workout. Each has its own approach and vibe. Here are some the gyms that our clients recommend:

M2 Fitness – For those who want a small, private gym setting, M2 Fitness is a good choice. With a well-qualified group of trainers, M2 is a great place for those who want a little bit of help and privacy as they work to achieve their fitness goals.

The Club – Located in downtown Kailua-Kona, The Club is well-known for a good variety of equipment and an indoor lap pool.

Pacific Island Fitness – This comes close to what many consider a traditional workout gym. With a large free weight area and an air-conditioned cardio space, Pacific Island Fitness is a good choice if you already have you routine and needs figured out and you just want to pump iron.

CrossFit – By far the most respected CrossFit in Kona is CrossFit Kona. If you believe in the core principles of CrossFit and you want a Workout of the Day give them a call or stop by their facility.

Full disclosure: some of the businesses above are clients of Kona Impact, and some are not. We recommend businesses that are locally owned and operated and have a good reputation in the community.

At Kona Impact, we strongly believe in supporting local businesses and buying local. Our business spotlight is one way of doing that.

Kona Impact  | 808-329-6077

Five Foolish Mistakes You Might Be Making with Your Online Marketing

This blog post is no joke!

Here are five foolish errors people make with the online marketing for their business:

  1. Not having a website! We all know that the internet is where people look for goods and services. It’s where we look for restaurants, plumbers and hotels. It’s where we make reservations, buy stuff and find information that we use to choose where to spend our time and money. If your business does not have a website, you have the equivalent of a three-legged chair for your business’ marketing.
  2. Having a website that is outdated! Many businesses made websites five to ten years ago, and these websites have not changed since then. If your website is stuck in the era of “Seinfeld” or “Friends”, it probably makes your business look old and outdated. Is that the way you want potential customers to view you?
  3. Not doing email marketing. You probably have hundreds of customers in your email program. A simple monthly newsletter, if well written and properly focused, could be a great way to keep all your customers a little closer to you….a lot farther from your competitors!
  4. Taking customers away from your website. With few exceptions, you don’t want to link to other websites or resources. These will only take people away from your website. Think carefully about putting Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn links on your website. You want your customers on your website, not 3rd party websites where they will be enticed by ads (even the ads of your savvy competitors).
  5. Not having a solid online marketing plan. Spend some time to learn about what works and doesn’t work. Allocate resources to online marketing! If you need to take advertising dollars out of the newspaper or yellow pages to develop an effective website and online marketing program, do so! If you need help, hire a professional. After all, this is what you do when you need help with your car, home plumbing and electrical. Do this for your business’ online marketing, too!

Mistake Red Grungy Stamp On White Background

The new rules of marketing are not hard, but they do take the willingness to learn. Take some time and look at your competitors and ask other successful business owners what they do. Then begin to make your own online marketing plan. If you need help, get it!

Kona Impact | 329-6077

How to Reduce Costs for Your Sign Project

Kona Impact sells signs…a lot of signs. From foam core displays to semi-permanent building signs to temporary banners-we sell them all.

Our goal is to always provide quality signs at reasonable prices in a quick and timely manner. This guide is a way to help you develop win-win relationships with your sign supplier.

The most important thing to consider is the costs for a sign company.

These are:

  1. The time is takes to go over the signs project with a client.
  2. Design time to make and set up the files for printing.
  3. Materials, including the vinyl, laminate, substrate, ink and shop supplies.
  4. Time to assemble or make the sign.
  5. Installation time and supplies.
  6. Billing and customer support after the project is completed.
  7. Shop overhead.

So, you should immediately get over the idea that any sign can be made cheaply! Even for a 2” by 2” sign, you’re at least looking at 30 minutes of time to go over the project, design it, set it up and make it. I don’t think I’ve seen many projects that can be done in less time. Even if you don’t count materials costs, you’re still looking at a half hour of shop time, which in Kona Impact’s case, makes it a $36 sign!

In the sign business, we need to bill for all of #1-7 above, so how can you help reduce these costs?

The first thing is to upfront with the sign shop. Tell person you speak to what you want to do and what your budget is. Most sign shops have set fees, so telling your budget should not increase your costs. If your budget is clearly out of range for what you want, you’ll know so right away and will not waste anyone’s time—yours or the sign shop’s. You can then look for another provider or adjust your project to meet your budget.

Ask the sign shop how you can reduce costs. Remember: time, materials, installation and overhead are the main variables.

Win-win Concept

Saving on Time/Labor

If you are able to do the design work (ask your sign shop for formats and setup), you can save a lot of money. Professional graphic design costs in Kona, Hawaii, the home of Kona Impact range from $75 to $125/hour, so if you can do the work, you should see a lower project cost. That said, make sure you understand what your sign shop needs: most of the files you download from the internet are not print-quality file and will make for a less-than perfect sign.

Don’t mico-manage the project. Signs are meant to be simple and readable from a distance. The more you put on the sign, the less any element will be emphasized and readable from a distance. Let a professional designer make your sign effective and get out of the way. Every change you make costs money, money that your sign shop should be getting from you.

Offer to do the install if possible. Installs often take travel time, vehicle mileage and the time of two or three sign shop employees. If you are thirty minutes from the sign shop and the install takes 30 minutes for three employees, you’re looking at 4.5 hours of billable time (1 hour travel + 30 min. install x 3 people)

Ways to Save on Materials

This is not the best place to cut corners if you end up with an inferior sign. For example, while wood is great for building a work bench, it is, for the most part, a horrible substrate for a sign (a painted sign being the exception). It’s porous, warps, rots and is a great home for termites and other creepy-crawly creatures. Ask, but then trust the answer from your sign supplier, if you have a creative solution to your sign materials.

Talk with your sign shop about materials. You might find that a banner will meet your temporary sign needs at a more affordable price than a metal sign. Coroplast (a corrogated plastic) is very inexpensive and might work for your project. Your sign shop will be able to suggest alternatives, many of which you are probably unaware, for your project.

Another option is to ask the sign shop if they have any remnants that might work for your project. You might need to make a smaller or bigger sign, but sign shops (like carpet stores) love to use remnants whenever possible, and they are likely to give you a better deal if they can use something on hand.

Likewise, stick with common pre-cut sign material dimensions. If you want a 13” x 18” aluminum sign, it will have to be cut just for you, but a 12” x 18” sign is a stock material, which will save the shop time and material costs. Want a circular sign? Be prepared to pay extra, as circles are hard to cut! Ask about signs that can use stock or pre-cut material to save on costs.

Another way to save on materials is to use what your sign shop has in stock. If you want a specialty vinyl, that will need to be ordered just for your project, be prepared for higher costs, as the excess material is unlikely going to be used. Sign shops don’t mind making special orders, but keep in mind, these will add a lot of your costs.

The Big Picture

Your sign shop as a business that wants to make money;  the time you take for design or production is time that can’t be billed for another project. Your goal and the sign shop’s goal should be aligned on this point: get the project started and completed with the least amount of time and material inputs.

You can, of course, have any amount of time you’d like for your project, but we seldom see clients that want to pay for all that time.

Communicate with the sign shop about your budget, needs, time frame and willingness to adjust the project to reduce costs.

Five Things Successful Kona Entrepreneurs Do

Kona Impact has worked with hundreds of businesses over the years. We have worked with many start-ups and established business—big and small. While every business is different, for certain, there seems to be a common set of characteristics for the most successful entrepreneurs with which we work.

The top Kona entrepreneurs…

  1. Have exceptional communication skills. They know how to ask focused questions that get the information they need. They give explicit direction to employees and suppliers. They respond quickly to questions, often responding within minutes. They say “please” and “thank you” and you never seem them go into temper tantrums or bouts of cursing. In short, they are people that communicate clearly and directly.
  2. Know what they don’t know. Many entrepreneurs tend micro-manage all aspects of their business—even when it is clear they are not very good everything. Many will try to do their own accounting, equipment repair, marketing, payroll and just about every other aspect of the business—often with very poor results. The best entrepreneurs—those who run the most profitable and successful businesses—are master delegators. They know when to hire professionals.
  3. Are involved in the community. Whether it is Board of Director work, participation in Rotary, the Lions Club or Kai O’Pua Canoe club, the business owners who tend to be the most successful tend to be part of the community by sharing their time, talent or treasure. This allows them to be connected to pulse of the community, while developing relationships with other business leaders.
  4. Are always marketing. You’ll see them wearing logo shirts, driving vehicles with vehicle graphics or magnets and they are always quick pass out a business card. They sponsor events and make sure they always get recognition for doing so. They are passionate about what they do and that passion permeates every aspect of their lives.
  5. Are some of the most optimistic people you will meet. It takes a huge amount of time, energy and money to make a business successful. Those who have made it to the top know the challenges, but they also have an indelible optimism that their efforts will bring positive results in the future. I don’t know if the optimism is a cause or a result of their efforts, but it is certainly evident in how you see top business owners always focusing on the future.

entreprenuerism

Can you learn these behaviors? (Note: I purposely did not call them traits!).

The answer is most certainly, “yes”. One thing we recommend to new entrepreneurs at Kona Impact is for the person to immerse himself or herself in situations where they can learn from and be mentored by other business owners.

For a more nuanced discussion of becoming an entrepreneur, check out this article on Forbes.

For example, volunteering will put you in contact with other like-minded people, and many of these are likely to be business owners who might become a formal or informal mentor to you. The canoe clubs in Kona are awesome at fostering team work and sacrifice—all important parts of running a business.

Kona Impact specializes in helping new businesses in Hawaii grow. We offer no nonsense solutions that are based on a record of success and best practices. We hate wasting time or money—yours or ours! If you’re a nascent entrepreneur in Hawaii, give a call. We can help!

 Kona Impact | 329-6077

take risks, be rewarded

Is My Website Down? Maybe…Yes…No!

Occam’s razor is an important and useful idea for trouble-shooting: if there are many possible causes, the one with the least assumptions should be chosen. In other words if there is a complex problem and a simple solution, go for that!

Unfortunately, many confuse this for the “if I have no other information, it must be what I believe” principle. In other words, for lack of any other information, take the one that makes the most intuitive sense.

Here is what your website might or might not be down.

is my website down?

It may well be true: servers do physically break and settings can become corrupted, which can result in a website being down for an extended period of time. If this is true, you need to contact your hosting company or webmaster. That said, your hosting provider is likely to be aware of the problem as soon as it develops.

Another possibility is your website is unavailable for a short period of time because the server is undergoing maintenance. This is very common and may result in your website being unavailable for a short period of time. Most website hosts maintain 99%+ uptime, but even 1% downtime over the course of a year is could be down 84 hours a year and still be u 99% of the time!

There are a whole host of issues that might have nothing to do with your website hosting provider. These include:

  1. You forgot to pay your website hosting and your account was terminated. Most website hosts do not keep backups, so your website is gone! Go to dnsgoodies.com to check.
  2. You forgot to pay your domain name registration fees and your domain name no longer belongs to you. As a result, your website is down….permanently. Go to dnsgoodies.com to check.
  3. Your internet access is not consistent. If you have poor internet connectivity, your website might be doing just fine; your computer is just unable to reach it. If you have a cell phone, turn off the wireless so that you are going through the cell phone network and check your website. Or, have a friend in a different location check your website.
  4. Your computer might be compromised with a virus or browser redirect program. You’ll know this if you start to see your computer behaving unusually. Likewise, if you have installed new software or downloaded programs—knowingly or unknowingly—your computer settings might have changed, which caused poor connectivity.
  5. The internet can be down. On Hawaii Island, we have had two cable breaks in the past few years, which means whole areas of the island had no internet access for many hours.  So your website is accessible by billions of people worldwide, just not you!

What should you do if your website is “down”?

The first step should be to check if it is really “down”.  If you can’t access any other websites or email, it is most likely your network or your internet service provider’s network. Make sure everything is plugged in, call a neighbor and begin your troubleshooting from your end.

There are many services online. I like “Is it down right now? (http://www.isitdownrightnow.com/). Another free service is Up Time Robot (http://www.uptimerobot.com/), which you can use to monitor your website over time. I highly recommend checking one or both of these before doing anything else.

If you find that your website is down by using external tools, wait an hour and try again. This is usually long enough for scheduled updates or maintenance. If it’s still not accessible, contact your hosting provider.

If you find that your website is “down” just for you. You need to do some detective work. Check your website hosting account and your domain registration.

Next check your internet connectivity. Remember that a lot of networks experience heavy congestion from 6 to 10pm as people come home from work and watch streaming video and play online games. If your internet is super slow, it’s time to look for a new provider or check with your current provider about upgrading your speed.

If your computer is compromised, take it to a professional to get it cleaned and optimized.

So, the next time you’re certain your website is down, dig a little deeper and look for range of possible causes. Sometimes the easiest answer is not always correct!

Kona Impact  | 329-6077

Home Grown: Big Island Agriculture Products

I saw this morning that 90% of Hawaii’s food is imported. That’s an amazing statistic for our islands. We are nearly completely dependent on air and sea transportation, as well as Mainland food growers and distributors for nearly everything we eat and drink.

Even some things that we think are “Hawaiian” are not. Every bag of “Hawaii style” or “Maui Onion” potato chips I see is made on the Mainland. Even a good share of beer with Hawaii logos, names and designs is not brewed here. Clever marketing, indeed!

In this blog post, I’d like to highlight three specialty agriculture businesses that make superior products. They are all what we’d call family farms; businesses owned and operated by families on the Big Island.

Organic Kona Coffee

What do you get when you take some of the world’s best coffee and then grow it organically? You have the best of the best. Hala Tree Coffee is grown organically in the heart of the Kona coffee growing area, in an area known for superior growing conditions and exceptional coffee. I know these farmers, and they have worked very hard and jumped through a lot of hoops to attain the designation of an organic farm. This means that they are stewards of the land and do not use pesticides and herbicides that not only taint the land and water, but as common sense would suggest, they also likely to be present in the food on which they are sprayed. So, if you are looking for an extraordinary organic coffee, check out Hala Tree.

Kona Coffee

In Shell Macadamia Nuts

Hawaii’s Best Mac Nuts has a wonderful story. The owners came to Hawaii Island from very different worlds and bought a macadamia nut farm on the east side of the island in some of the world’s best growing area for mac nuts. Not wanting to be a small fish in a big pond by selling their mac nuts to huge Mainland-based mac nut processors—the ones that fill the tourist shops with inexpensive chocolate covered mac nuts—they have been developing two product lines. The first is in shell mac nuts for pets. It turns out that macaws love mac nuts, and there is a good market for supplying nuts for birds. Another market they have is providing in shell nuts to shops for human consumptions. These nuts are very healthy and taste great out of the shell, which, by the way, is a tough nut to crack!

in shell mac nuts

Dragon Fruit

Tai Shan Farms, located in South Kona, is one of the largest local growers of Dragon Fruit on Hawaii Island. That not to imply that they are a huge conglomerate growing hundreds of acres of Dragon Fruit! This is a small, organic family farm that relies on WOOFERs for a lot their crop maintenance and harvesting.

Dragon Fruit is a sweet, delectable fruit that is certainly a treat for those who find it. It’s costly, but super healthy and simply delicious. They also have a lot of bees, which pollinate the Dragon Fruit and provide a good source of gourmet honey, which they sell on their website.

dragon fruit

While you will certainly not fulfill your caloric need by buying organic Kona coffee, mac nuts or Dragon Fruit, you can do a lot to support local agriculture by supporting our local farmers. All three farms do an exceptional job of taking care of the environment through organic and sustainable agriculture practices.

 Kona Impact  | 329-6077

Review Your Website Every Six Months – Here’s How

We had a local business call the other day in a panic. Their website, which was not hosted or managed by Kona Impact, was gone. We quickly determined that the issue was relatively minor, because though they did not pay for their domain registration, and it was still in their registrar’s grace period. All they had to do was to pay for their domain registration and their site became live again.

checklist

Here is what every website owner should do every six months. Do not count on your web site designer to do this for you unless you are paying the company to do these services for you; they are not part of most web designers duties unless you have an agreement.

1. Check the registration of your website domain. Go to DNS Goodies and check your domain in the WHOIS box. This will tell you where your domain name is registered, in whose name, and most importantly, when the domain registration expires. We recommend registering your domain for blocks of five years or longer.

Once your domain name has expired, anyone can register the name. Getting it back can be nearly impossible in many circumstances.

2. Check the website hosting for your domain. If you have a webmaster taking care of this, make sure you are paying for hosting. If you have arranged website hosting through GoDaddy or another host, log into the account every six months and make sure your contact emails are correct and your credit card hasn’t expired.

If you don’t pay, your website will go offline. If you use a template system for your website, you will lose everything. If you have a professionally designed website, your webmaster might have a backup. Your hosting company will not have a backup in most cases!

3. Go to any contact forms on your website and send yourself a message. Make sure everything is working.

It’s a common mistake to believe that things on website do not break. They do, and you’ll never know until you test them.

4. Check all links on your website to ensure the site to which you are linking still exists. Your website will get penalized in the search engine rankings if it is low-quality, and links are part of this.

5. Read every page carefully. Is all the information correct? Are there any typos?

6. Look at every picture and graphic. Is there anything or anybody that shouldn’t be on your website anymore?

7. If you have an online store, go through the order process–you don’t need to complete the process–several times with different variations of products and shipping options. Make at least one purchase to ensure that the billing system is working correctly and all the confirmation emails are as they should be.

8. Check every page to make sure it displays correctly in the most popular browsers. Check out Browser Shots as a tool that can make this easier. Remember that all browsers show web pages slightly differently and it might not be worth the cost to go for 100% perfection on these.

9. Check your website on your phone and mobile devices. If it does not display correctly, you probably have an old website or you did not make this part of your web design agreement. In some cases, it might make sense to start over; in some cases your webmaster may be able to implement some code changes to make your site more mobile friendly.

10. Review your online marketing strategies and actions with a professional. It is easy to have an imprecise and ineffective online advertising program and waste a lot of opportunities and money. Hire someone to review what you’re doing, and if you’re not doing anything, consider how you can have a more effective online presence.

These are the things we recommend that every business do every six months. From start to finish, it should take about an hour. This hour might save your business from loosing its website or domain name. It can help you find inefficiencies in your messaging, and it can help you avoid giving your customers incorrect or outdated information.

If you have a website and you want some professional help, give us a call!

Kona Impact  | 329-6077

Customer Service – The Little Things That Matter

I’ve been thinking a lot about customer service lately. As such, I decided to take one day, a Saturday, and keep a look out for instances of awesome customer service. I didn’t consider things like “thank yous” and incentives; I wanted to identify three businesses that do things that have little or no cost, ideas that might inspire other businesses.

The first example I have Kona Veterinary Service. I have taken my dog there since she was a puppy, and have always been impressed with how they provide excellent care for my dog, including the time she needed emergency care after being attacked by another dog.

What impressed me on Saturday is a call I received that went to my voice mail. The staff was called to see how our dog was doing after two (routine) vaccinations on Friday. it was a simple gesture, but very thoughtful. It took maybe a few minutes of time, but it showed us their professionalism and their concern for our dog. it also showed that they cared about us as dog owners.

Later on Saturday, I was running around town and decided to go through the McDonald’s drive through and get an apple pie and a coffee. Routine, for certain, but the interaction was interesting. The woman at the payment window took my money–$4 for a $3.27 order-and then asked, “would you like your receipt?” Maybe I don’t go through McDonald’s drive-throughs very often, but this unexpected question got me thinking. Of course, I don’t want my receipt. I don’t think I ever need the receipt from a drive-through. It just would end up in my truck’s console. Not needed. Thanks for asking!

Finally, I was at the Aloha Theater at the end of a performance of “Evita”. Before many of the audience could get out of the theater, many of the cast went to the front exit and proceeded to thank audience members for coming and posed for photos. What a nice gesture; that is, thanking the people who make community theater possible–the audience.

I have always been a big fan of the Aloha Performing Arts Center (Aloha Theater), so much so that my business has contributed thousands of dollars of in-kind services. It’s a well-run group, and the performances are simply amazing. It’s easy to give to groups that do things so well!

When you’re out and about this week, pick a day and keep notes of what customer service experiences wow you. You might begin to make a list, as I have, of the little things that seem to make a big difference.

Kona Impact   | 329-6077  | KonaImpact.com

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