Improving Blog | Golden Retriever Eats Pillow

Smack Me Down Hard: This Blog Will Be Better for It

Today is my two year anniversary of blogging, and I would like to admit something: I don’t know everything.

It’s an obvious statement, of course, who does know everything. But it helps me make my larger point that this blog is primarily a single author blog. While we are increasing our guest posts significantly, at least 2/3 or more of the content is still generated by me.

It’s me and my thoughts. Not only is it limited by what I know, but it is limited by the inherent constraints of blogging twice a week with well over full-time work schedule outside of blogging.

While some posts are comprehensive, many are quick opinion pieces — slivers of life from the business trenches or whatever strikes my mood.

It is you, the readers who comment, who fill in the void.

A Tale of Two Comments

I had a post submitted to Reddit awhile ago: How to Be a Good Customer: 16 Ways to Not Be A Jerk. One commenter on Reddit, cIumsythumbs, shared this comment on item 10 from my list:

10 Attempt To Put It Back Where You Found It — And if you don’t want to do that, at least don’t hide it on a shelf where no one will find it for a month. Stores make money by selling inventory, not by hiding it. If you won’t put it back, then take it to the register so the store can do so for you.

Oh god, not at my store. I expect that this is true in about 80% of retail, but if you’re shopping a specialty store — think staffing ratio of 2-4 customers per worker — it’s bad advice.

I don’t want to feel like I’m following you around the store. I know you mean well when you re-hang your stuff, but we have very high and picky standards, which you will not meet.

The size XL does not belong at the front of the rack. Those black pants you tried on were the Short Length, and you put them with the Averages…etc.

In this case, leave it in the fitting room, or ask the staff where they’d like the rejects.

I’ve had well-meaning customers, with 10-15 items, refuse my help to put them back. When i’m trying to look busy re-folding the same pile of tops for the 10th time. WTF. I’m getting paid, and you’re making me look like I’m not doing my job.

It was a great point from someone in the field. While my original point was still valid, cIumsythumbs’ comment qualified some times when it might not be. Better yet, the opinion was unvarnished. I don’t know cIumsythumbs and cIumsythumbs doesn’t know me.

Another great comment came awhile back from Jeff Toister on my post The Definition of Customer Loyalty.

Here is my definition:

Customer loyalty is the continued and regular patronage of a business in the face of alternative economic activities and competitive attempts to disrupt the relationship.

Customer loyalty often results in other secondary benefits to the firm such as brand advocacy, direct referrals, and price insensitivity.

Jeff made a great point in the comment section (which I just noticed I did not reply to — bad service!).

Adam, you’ve tackled a tough question with a pretty good definition. The one part I struggle with is “alternate economic activities.” Does this mean that if I have $5 to spend and I decide to spend it at Starbucks, I’m loyal to Starbucks because I didn’t use the $5 to make an extra contribution to my IRA?

I’m not sure if this is what you mean or not, but I’d define loyalty in this example as I spent $5 on a latte at Starbucks even though I could have spent $4 on a latte at McDonald’s or $5 on a latte at “Joe’s Cafe” that was 4 blocks closer than the Starbucks.

Jeff’s comment has forced me to consider revising the definition and replacing alternative economic activities with a phrase more steeped in the concept of economic substitutes.

Improving Blog | Golden Retriever Eats PillowOf course, my blog would have gone on without either of the comments above. My larger points would have been made and hopefully received by the readers. But the comments made the points richer, made the posts more valuable.

Filling in what was missed, challenging thoughts not fully formed, all of this makes a blog better and the reader more educated.

So yes, on my two year blogging anniversary, my big revelation is that I don’t know everything, and all I ask of you the reader is this…

Be professional, be constructive, but smack me down hard.

We’ll all learn a lot more if you do. Including me.


By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.

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