Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Who You Gonna Call?

I have 2 children; Super Dude just turned 4 and the Bug is 2 (28 months to be exact). Things happen, they get into things they shouldn't, they are kids after all. So here's something that happened the other day and the call to action I face now. 

Super Dude & the Bug

Every morning we have the same routine. Get the kids downstairs. Feed the kids cereal (even though my daughter insists on Hot Dogs - or as she calls them "Hock Gogs" - the answer is always "No"). And then give them their milk & gummies (GummyVites). I place 2 each on top of their sippy cups and wait until they are done with breakfast to give it to them. 
The other morning was very busy and I didn't pay much attention to where I put the cups. The Bug got down from her breakfast and grabbed her milk & gummies. Then Super Dude got down a couple minutes later and came to get his. The Bug was happy to hand Super Dude his sippy cup, minus the gummies. "ACK! Sissy! Did you eat brother's gummies???" "NOoooo..." she replies giggling. Well, okay, so she had 4 gummies, she'll probably be okay. No need to worry. 
I gave Super Dude 2 more gummies and started to turn away when "HEYYYYyyyy! MommEEEEeee! Sissy took my gummy!" It took her less than a second to take the gummy he had just set on his cup, shove it in her mouth, and swallow. Oh boy... 5 Gummies? 
I had better call Poison Control just to be safe. After all, that's what they are there for, right? I don't think the phone even rang on their end when a friendly nurse answered and helped me through the process of determining if I had anything to worry about. Now, I'm not one of those freak-out-at-every-little-thing moms and I spent most of the time on the phone joking about the situation. But it was good to know that she didn't eat a poisonous amount of vitamins, and what to look for if there was going to be a problem. Phew! Poison Control saves the day again! That's right, I've called them a few times. Super Dude ate a strawberry that was recently sprayed with a pesticide when he was 15 months old and once he tried to drink oil out of one of those scented oil warmers. Another time was for me and my Post C-Section Percocet induced idiocy.
Back to the story... Later that day, someone from Poison Control called to check up on the Bug (something that they do with every case). Then he asked me if I wouldn't mind answering a survey. Sure, no problem. That's the least I can do for this free service that I take advantage of. After answering the questions, he told me that the reason for the survey is that they are in danger of closing down. WHAT?!?!? 
This is what he told me (taken from their website SaveOPC.com):

The Oregon Legislature's Joint Ways and Means Committee is determining what budget cuts are necessary for the next budget. Each state-funded program has submitted a description of the impact of a 20 to 30% budget cut. (A full listing of all the agency responses is available at: http://www.leg.state.or.us/budget/home.htm.)
We have communicated to the committee the Oregon Poison Center would not be able to continue if a 20% or 30% cut were implemented.

You want to see me in a panic? Take away the one service I rely on to have my back immediately after my child does something dangerous. I can't always get info in a timely manner from my pediatrician. The emergency room takes too long to get to my emergency. I NEED the Poison Control Center.
I realize that most of my readers aren't Oregonians, but you may want to check to see if the same thing is happening in your neck of the woods. If you do live here, I URGE you to please take action by contacting one (or all) member(s) of the Joint Ways and Means Committee to express your support of Oregon Poison Center. There is a sample letter to send out or you can write your own. It's easy, and necessary. 
The Poison Control Center should not be one of those programs that die because of budget cuts. Please, support SaveOPC.com and save what I believe is the most valuable resource a parent can have. Otherwise, who you gonna call?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What Dutch Brothers Has

I am always impressed by great customer service. My mantra since starting Toddler Tech USA has been "Customer Satisfaction is Worthless. Customer Loyalty is Priceless." My husband had told me this when he was taking a class/reading the book for his MBA and it has stuck with me ever since. If I get good or bad customer service, know that I will shout it from the mountain tops (or twitter). Good customer service buys you more business. Great customer service buys you my undying affection. I believe that this is where Dutch Brothers excels so much over Starbucks. Here's my story:

I am on a diet and refused to give up my coffee, so I made a compromise by adding 2 shots of espresso over a 1/2 cup of ice to mix with my sugar-free syrup and shake mix for the perfect iced coffee drink. Most of the time I just make really extra strong coffee with my French Press and call it good. But nothing beats 2 shots. Oh the looks I get when I make my order. What? No cream? No sugar? Uh-uh. Ohhhhh-kayyyy...
Here's the first place I notice how Dutch Brothers does it right. "No Problem!" says the uber-happy guy as he simultaneously works the yummy-caffeine-making-machine and asking me about my day. And this isn't an off-handed "How's your day going" with passing interest. He's being genuine. "That will be One Dollar" he says as he hands me my drink, precisely as ordered. Awesome! Not only do I have my drink, but it's a reasonable price and I feel liked not just as a customer, but as a person. 

When I asked for the exact same drink from a girl at the Starbucks drive-thru, I got nothing but attitude. It was as if I were subhuman. Did I not drive the right car? Was it because I didn't wear designer clothes? They stood there making whispered comments to each other and laughing. While I'm sure it had nothing to do with me, it still made me feel self-conscious. I got a snotty attitude and a teenage girl sticking her hand out at me saying "That will be $1.80" and not even looking at me. It took 3 minutes after she ran my card ($1.80??? Starbucks, are you on crack?) for them to hand me my drink, even though they had it sitting right next to the window the whole time. 

Starbucks, you get an F for customer service. First of all, you are WAY over-priced. Second, you've gotten too big for your britches if you think that allowing your employees to have an attitude towards your customers will help your customer base. I for one, will not be going back. And little girls that work at the store I visited; you work in Hillsboro, Oregon, not on 5th ave in New York, so you can ditch the tude. Ok...so I'm still a bit grumpy about it. 

But Dutch Brothers, you totally rock in my book. You have everything you need to keep your customers loyal. Great product, awesome price points, and above all, wonderful customer service. I need a DB window sticker...and a Dutch Press (how cool is that?). But I will have to settle with shouting out my loyalty on Twitter

Do you have a story about Great or Bad Customer Service you received? Please share!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

This I Love...

This I love... A program simple and easy to use, and perfect for my 4 year old Super Dude. The other night I was at an
awesome fundraiser for Yehu.org and won a game from JumpStart called The Legend of Grizzly McGuffin. 

How cool is this? JumpStart is an award-winning adventure-based 3D virtual world that is super-personalized, wildly imaginative and really fun, but don't let that fool you - it also teaches math, reading, and critical thinking skills so kids get a real jump start in life. How smart is that?

And speaking of smart, I love the idea of Yehu.  
Yehu’s mission is to combat poverty by empowering poor rural entrepreneurs in Kenya to help lift themselves out of poverty through enhanced accessibility to sustainable financial services. This includes enabling them to save and earn interest while giving them access to micro-loans, which can be used to start or expand their small businesses. Yehu also provides some business training, micro-insurance and other services to improve the lives of its members.  They, in partnership with Basa Body, have created employment for over 100 Kenyan families.

Basa Body has some great products too! I got to try out the Basa Body Lotion and the Basa Body Stick. I decided to buy the "Kiss Me" gift pack for my mother in law for Mother's Day. Not only does it include the lotion and the stick, but these oh so very yummy soaps; Cherry Chocolate Truffle and Mint Chocolate Truffle. I wanted to eat them...badly! 

Another sponsor of the Mom It Forward fundraising event was GiftTree.com. The donated a huge basket - no, I didn't win and I'm still sad - with chocolates, wine, and treats. Amazingly generous! 

Toddler Tech USA was also a sponsor and gave away loads of Dapper Snappers. We are also donating 20% of proceeds from online sales for this week to the Mom It Forward/Yehu.org fundraising campaign. It's not too late to donate, or to buy products in support of this wonderful cause.