Cosmic Cow Pie: Connecting the Dots


The Bar Of Expectations... Do We Have A Responsibility To Raise It?

                                The Bar Of Expectations... Do We Have A Responsibility To Raise It?


                                         Bar of expectations

                                        Do you want to just step over this or help raise the bar?

Unemployment is at one of the nations all time high levels.  Well educated people who can read, think and reason are all over the work place applying for the same jobs as hundreds in hopes of maintaining their homes and food for their families. 

The law of supply and demand should be in effect now with having such a large supply of workers to fill the small amount of job openings.  The workplace should be filled with cordial, helpful and professional workers. Consumers should NOT accept substandard service and if you do not say anything, you are adding to the problem where you could be part of the solution.  

I am tired of stepping over the bar and making excuses about why the service industry cannot satisfy the consumer.  I feel I now have a responsibility to HELP the standards of service by communicating with management in a business like manner to do my part in monitoring the standard of care the customer experiences.

Earth to BUSINESS OWNERS from the Cosmos:  Consumers are talking and you might want to listen! 

  • Each customer should feel like they are important to the store or service survival.
  • Each customer should feel happy after doing a transaction with your business.
  • Each customer should want to connect with you in social media because they like what you provide.
  • Each customer should want to be a raving fan and share your information with their friends.

One perfect example of social media and consumer satisfaction ratings can be found on Yelp.  Our voices do MAKE a difference.  Foursquare is another venue where consumers can voice their opinions openly for others to read and assess.   Cosmic Shift Happens™ are you ready for it and do you know how to make a difference in it?

"Yelp is the fun and easy way to find and talk about great (and not so great) local businesses"

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Recently, while in Phoenix we wanted to try  Jimmy Buffett's Maragaritaville and see what the food was like.  I looked at the reviews on Yelp and at the time, the overwhelming remarks indicated the food was mediocre and high priced but the experience was a good event. There were also mentions of a few quality items.  We thought about the food and cost but decided that the "memory" was more important and went anyway.  Yes, the food was marginal, the cost was high and No, we won't go back. Been there done that however, did not get the t-shirt.

How does a business modify in today's world to meet customer expectations?  It takes time and energy to READ what consumers are writing and to respond to make things right.  Ask Nordstorms.. they KNOW how to create customer loyalty and satisfaction.  I think "The Nordstrom Way" is a must read for anyone in business no matter what the product or service you sell.  They "Get It." Think about it... have you ever heard anyone say anything negative about service at Nordstroms?

National coach and "queen of bliss," Joeann Fossland did a post on how she used Twitter and facebook to work through a customer issue with Lowes. She used the power of her cyber connections to achieve an acceptable resolution to a conflict she had with a service representative. Lowe's was watching the twitter feed therfore responded quickly and to her satisfaction.

Sharing examples of how we can make a difference might help all consumers in some way.  Our mother's told us.. it's not what you say but HOW you say it. So say it nicely and professionally but tell all business owners or managers your concerns.

Our daughter got married 10.10.10 on the Colorado River in Laughlin, Nevada. Andy, our son-in-law from Colorado shot pictures of the wedding and took 13 rolls of film to Walgreen's in Bullhead City, AZ for 1 hour service so we could all have instant gratification with pictures.  Along with double prints, he ordered 2 sets of CD's with digital images of the photos so everyone could e-mail and share the wedding day.  The CD's were an important part of the package as we wanted to share the festivity immediately on flickr so everyone could see.  (So can you; click the flickr link)  

Andy took the negatives, 1 copy of the CD and the prints they wanted from the order and were back on their way out of town.  The honeymooners were not going to be back for awhile so the posting of the digital images was something they were looking forward to right away.  I got the 2nd set of prints and a CD to start the Internet input.  As I opened the CD I found the images were all upside down!  Yikes.. no batch edit on the CD so that meant 314 photos needed to be rotated 180 degrees individually.  This just did not seem right to me.  The bar of expectation was on the ground and I was going to have to step over it. 

Wedding party guys





    314 photos all upside down!




I called Walgreen's to do my part in raising the bar and got the photo department.  They told me that someone did the photos who was just filling in so if I wanted to bring the negatives back in they would make new CD's at half price.  The negatives were in Colorado, I was in Williams, AZ, 2 hours away from Bullhead City and that was not going to be acceptable.  The quality of the CD's were so grainy that it now appears as though some setting might have been wrong when they transferred the images to the CD as well.   I wanted a full refund on the CD's so the photo manager needed to check with the store manager.  Randy Winter was a very nice manager who called me back and agreed to give a full refund on the CD's to my son-in-law.  I asked him if Walgreen's had any social media sites and he said no.  I wanted to express my appreciation for taking care of the issues by tweeting or posting on facebook.  They were willing to re-do the CD's so if I had the negatives and didn't live 2 hours away I would have been completely satisfied. 

Working a plan B, I will be getting the negatives at Thanksgiving time in Colorado and then will take the negatives to a local Walgreen's and have them re-done with the right quality. It's a good thing I am adept at accepting plan B and know how to step over the bar or I might have been very angry creating stress and losing balance. I just built a bridge and moved forward.   I rotated the bad quality digital images and will get better quality photos 2 months later.

While having family fun with our grand kids at the wedding we decided to add a new rule of life to the 10 we already have.  It is the "10 second rule."  Anyone can have 10 seconds to have a "pity party" about something but if there is nothing they can do after assessing the information you have 10 seconds to feel bad and then you need to move on. Until we can help the service industry raise the bar we have to be able to process our stress without anxiety and know we are doing our best to actively correct the situation we have been exposed to.      

This is a wake up call is to ALL businesses.  When you have an opening and are hiring new people PLEASE do not avoid hiring people you think are overqualified for the position. That one person may just bring the quality of service up higher and once you start moving the bar up the other employees will start watching. The single action of hiring an overqualified person could possibly raise that bar for your customer service because of the example set by the one new hire, who understands customer satisfaction.

We do have a responsibility to expect good customer service even though it might appear to be negative energy to rectify the situation.  The time you take to HELP raise the bar will help other consumers in the end.

America is the greatest country in the world.  Let's keep it that way!

Comment P.S.  Remember that a compliment for outstanding service is the perfect way to create balance and respect in your community!

Carra Signature Large


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Cosmic Cow Pie

Carra Riley

Comment balloon 30 commentsCarra Riley & Declan Kenyon • October 19 2010 06:27PM


Just as we should all take time to complain in an effort to raise the bar, taking time to recognize extraordinary service is just as important.

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) almost 10 years ago

Hi Carra - First of all, congratulations!  You are right to expect better, and I agree that it is our responsibility not only to raise the bar but also to recognize it when customer service is fantastic.  I just had a stellar experience which I will blog about shortly.  I hope you get your picture situation straightened out!

Posted by Peggy Chirico, REALTOR® 860-748-8900, Hartford & Tolland County Real Estate (Prudential CT Realty) almost 10 years ago

Carra - You cannot expect to build a referral business unless your service is worth referring.  I'm all about raising the bar.

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) almost 10 years ago

Hello Carra:

New take on an old problem.  Perhaps social media can bring  power to bear on the right people, but I'm not yet convinced it will be that easy. I hope I'm wrong on that one.  Part of your post actually articulates the problem.  You went to Buffett's despite bad reviews and Walgreen's did the right thing without being yelled at on the Internet.


Hope the Wedding was evertything you and your family hoped for.

Posted by Brian Rugg, Sun City TX Real Estate - Georgetown, TX Real Est (Rugg Realty LLC Sun City Texas 512-818-6700) almost 10 years ago

Chris Ann~  You bring up an important aspect that I left out.  Thank you!  That is exactly why I love the comments :)  Recognizing stellar service helps keep that bar up there! 

Peggy~  Thank you.. none of the little issues took away from the day.. we all work on the plan B principle and are prepared for quick change of plans.  I look forward to reading your blog post.. I think it would be part of the "who were you nice to"  concept or even paying it forward.  Check out joining that group and posting there too. 

Norma ~  I am teaching a CE class on buyer agency Friday and over the top service is what it takes to create "clients for life."  Then you do have "raving" fans.

Posted by Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) almost 10 years ago

Brian ~  You really got all the double edged points... We all do make choices.. The Margaritaville was about the experience even though we knew the food was not going to be that good.. you see they are missing the point of being able to read customer opinions by not upgrading the quality of the food... just my take on it.. it was a one time visit for us and if someone asks.. they will get the same information.  We worked through the Walgreens without social media... If they have google alerts they might find the blog but who knows.. it's a process like you said  "age old."  Thanks for the comments!

Posted by Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) almost 10 years ago

Like Chris Ann I go out of my way to complain about poor service but do the same for excellent service.  And in this day of transparency I don't know why any company would risk providing bad service.

Posted by Jane Peters, Los Angeles real estate concierge services (Home Jane Realty) almost 10 years ago

Super post Carra,

With all the people out of work, I should think that those who have a job would go out of their way to keep them but not so.  Also with all the social outlets to comment on poor service you'de think the light bulb would go off both for customer and business.

The lack of care and attention sometimes boggles the mind not to mention not using plain old common sense to rectify a wrong for the customer and customers who accept lousy service.  I am just as diligent at complementing good service as bad and hopefully it makes a difference sometimes:)

Posted by Ana Hitzel, Professional Home Stager Inland Empire ( AccentPositives Home Staging ) almost 10 years ago

Carra...great post on the bad that happens & the good that comes out of the bad...the 10 second rule is fine but make a statement so companies turn around what's not working for them...good suggest!!

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in Southern RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Carra- very good post. When I moved to Fl over 20 years ago, I was appalled by the lack of customer service in so many places.  No friendly smiles, no attempt to give good service.  And, it's not just at the day to day worker level but often the tone is set from the top down.   Another good book is "Minding the Store" by Stanley Marcus (of Neiman Marcus).  

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) almost 10 years ago

Jane ~  I should go in and amend this post adding the compliment too!  It is just as important to keep the bar up high!

Ana ~  Thank you I just felt it was time to talk about it out loud to make a difference.  Too many people out of work for businesses to keep employees without a high standard customer service awareness.

Ginny  ~  I hope that is what eveyone got out of this.. do your best to help the situation but if your constructive suggestions don't work... don't let that take away your peace. 

Kathy ~  I did read "Minding the Store" and forgot about it.. thanks for the reminder!  Great book.  The TV show now going on where the CEO's are coming to work shows that business is waking up.  I think there needs to be some cages rattled so that workers that read, think and reason get hired in place of those who don't exhibit such qualities.

Posted by Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) almost 10 years ago

Carra, we do need to let those with authority know of our experience with their business good or bad.  My family has been in the restaurant business for many years and it was always appreciated when a customer told us what they thought we were doing right or wrong. 

When I have an exceptional experience in a restaurant or a less than happy experience, I let the manager know...that comes from experience in business not as a complainer looking for a free meal.  I agree with you 100%...why should we reward bad business behavior with our patronage, referrals, tips, etc.

Posted by Nick T Pappas, Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource (Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Huntsville AL) almost 10 years ago

Nick ~  Great to hear from one who has been there.  We spend money in the real estate industry sending out customer satisfaction surveys as we want to know the feedback of the experience. Communicating in a business like manner really does help raise the bar for just plain human understanding and consideration.  The world does become a better place when we act respectfully.

Posted by Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) almost 10 years ago

Howdy and enening to you Carra

Carra, it sure is up to each of us to help keep the bar high. And to take the lead in each of our communitys and even State to do so. Always do for others as you want done for you.

Thank you mighty kindly for another of your out standing blog posts to read and leave a comment on.

Have a good one
Dale in New Hampshire 

Posted by Dale Baker, New Hampshire Relocation Real Estate Information (Baker Energy Audits and Commercial Properties Inspections) almost 10 years ago

Dale ~  Thank you, yes, we should all live that Golden Rule!  You have a nice evening too!

Posted by Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) almost 10 years ago

Carra!  I just used Yelp in Arizona to write a review of my Grandmother's assisted living facility. It is a great way to get the word out.  Interestingly enough, after I yelped, they fixed the issue! Hmmmm....

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach ( (757) 560-0881) almost 10 years ago

Hi Carra, this is like 3 blogs in one. The level of expectations on service, especially in restaurants, should always be high. Eating is something we enjoy doing, and we always want a good memory and a meal. Bad service can make a great meal average.

Yelp was unknown to me, and is something I will take a look at again sometime.

Your Walgren's experience is unfortunate, but at least the manager recognized the issue and dealt with it properly.

In this current economy, with so many people anxious to work, employers should be willing to bring in the highest qualified person, willing to work. Yes there's the thought that they will leave if something that pays better shows up, but also, if their presence improves the business and makes everyone else more productive, that employer will win out in the end

Ooops, I guess that was more like 4 responses, not 3

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) almost 10 years ago

Kathryn~  Yelp was actually one of the social media forerunners... so good for you!  Business needs to listen to consumers and if they are not watching their "brand" on google they could be in trouble!

Ed~  You are exactly right.. it was 3 no 4 blog ideas in one.. I think I will go back and do each one individually.. see.. you just ROCK buddy!  I get too wordy... I should think in shorter sound bites!  I really should do a post on hiring the over qualified worker because it really will set the bar higher... and many of those people are NOT finding jobs anywhere cloe to what they used to make.. it is a credit to them to be willing to do anything to keep the cash flow going.. so my friend.. thank you for the gentle nudge.. to create 3 more posts.. I will look for you YELPING around town!

Posted by Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) almost 10 years ago



This is very good advice. Business owners should always strive to improve. Often, you only get an idea of who you are dealing with when something goes wrong.


Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) almost 10 years ago

Carra ~ Awesome post.  It reminds me about customer service in the food industry.  Today is the time for consumers to stand up for good customer service, and to do it responsibly.  If the service, food quality, or something is not to your liking, speaking to management is appropriate.  So is taking the time to recognize outstanding service, food, etc.

We were traveling recently and stopped for dinner at a crowded, busy restaurant.  We had a large group, a big order and lots of conversation, requests, and even some changes.  Short version is that we had a fantastic meal and time together.

As we were leaving, I asked to speak to the manager.  The young hostess looked like a Halloween teenager who'd just seen a major ghost!  The manager was a bit apprehensive, until I thanked him and the staff for the wonderful food and fantastic service, especially by the waitress.  She took all of it in stride, and was even having fun joking with us!  Just a little attitude goes a long way.  Obviously, the manager was please, as was the waitress.  Could you imagine not giving her a generous tip for such a fun evening.  That's a way to RAISE THE BAR!

Posted by Ken Speer (Alpha Global Associates) almost 10 years ago

Brian~  Exactly right.. as a business owner we have to listen to what the consumer is saying and respond.

Ken ~  Great example of raising the bar with gratitude!  Thanks for sharing your experience!

Posted by Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) almost 10 years ago

A great post Carra.

Posted by Joshua Zargari, MJ Decorators Workshop (MJ Decorators Workshop LI staging and home decorating) almost 10 years ago

Carra I agree with Norma's statement. Some companies need to be careful. Especially companies who have employees that don't want to work. If you don't want to work,why the heck are you there? You better be grateful and thankful to God that you have a job. Some many people who are looking for work would love to take your job. If you don't be careful that is exactly what is going to happen. Great post Carra.

Posted by Lanre-"THE REAL ESTATE FARMER" Folayan, I don't make promises.I deliver results.SOLD HOMES (Keller Williams Select Realtors-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC) almost 10 years ago

Sorry for that rotten experience. Good post.

Posted by Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales (Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties) almost 10 years ago

Joshua ~  Thank you

Lanre ~  That is what I say.. business needs to step up and either encourage behavior modification or hire people who value good service.

Ann~  Good to see you here... I presented a buyer Agency Class at NAAR today and was hoping to see you!  See you at the Inauguration in November.

Posted by Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) almost 10 years ago


Great post and congratulations on making your points so brilliantly.  I think we all need to keep raising the bar daily.  It just feels good to do that no matter what one is up to!  Thanks for sharing your insights and perspective.  All the best, (How was the wedding?  Outstanding, no doubt.) A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) almost 10 years ago

Ron and Alexandra... I am just thinking about how to reach businesses and send them the message.. get new employees who need to work and understand customer service!  The link up above to flickr has some of the wedding pictures.. I guess I should do a post on it.. several people have asked so thank you for asking it went great!  Not one ounce of drama! 

Posted by Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) almost 10 years ago

I’m going to reference an earlier post of yours that I commented on about “creating transactions.” If we create transactions, isn’t that simply easy money from the bar being low? I might have to do a post about “creating transactions.” Might get some interesting comments.

Posted by Jim Frimmer, Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist (HomeSmart Realty West) almost 10 years ago

I wanted to tell you about an "excuse" I got recently from a large distributor. A Fortune 500 company hired a woman to be their product manager for Sony.   I was looking at several Sony cameras for my staging business, and was trying to determine what might work best.  It seems this individual thought I would accept this.  This is where I RAISED THE BAR.  

First of all,  she couldn't figure it out.  She was representing a global company as their product manager, and could not  answer simple questions about a camera.   Her excuse was "I'm new, and I'll have to research it".  Okay folks, most of us are over 35, so how many times have we heard this?  

Here was my response to her team.   "I'm sorry she's new, but I'm old, and I don't have the patience to wait for her learning curve to improve.  You are a Fortune 500 company representing a global company, and this is the best you can do?  You need to send her back for more training".   Incidentally they agreed! 

Almost everyone I've told this too has laughed like crazy.  Perhaps it was direct, but I'm really tired of having to endure through the apprentice of the month.  In the end, I called the manufacturer direct, and what a difference in service.  

Let's face it, there will always be "newbies", but that shouldn't mean we have to accept poorly trained representatives.    Telling someone I'm old,  gives them something to think about when they say they are "new".  



Posted by Liz Murray, Professional Home Stager (Renaissance Home Staging & Redesign) almost 10 years ago

Jim ~ I featured your post on "creating transactions." Let's see the responses, great idea!

Liz ~  I love your response!  I would love to use it in some of the classes I teach.. it is the prefect response and companies should NOT let employees meet and greet the public till they "practice" enough to know the product!  Whatever it is they sell they should know the inventory and the product!  Great comment!  thanks.

Posted by Carra Riley & Declan Kenyon, Helping people Transition at all ages! (Brokers Guild Cherry Creek Ltd) almost 10 years ago