Tag Archives: positive feedback

Taking Ownership

Recently, I ordered some headbands on Amazon.  As my hairstyle of choice has been ponytail lately, and I occasionally like to be active, I thought some nice headbands to hold my hair back, as well as collect sweat if I’m doing something particularly strenuous, would be a nice item to have.  I read the reviews on Amazon, as I always do, and ended up choosing this particular brand because of the mostly 5 star reviews; the only low star reviews were about how tight they are, and my head isn’t huge, so I thought this would not affect me at all.  Upon receiving them, I realized I probably should have paid a little bit more attention to those negative reviews!  The bands were so tight that they slipped right off the back of my head after wearing them for only a few minutes.  I even tried using clips to keep them in place, but this did not work either.  So I packaged them up to return them, and also left an honest review of my experience on Amazon.  The next day I had an email from the headband company.  I hoped that they were informing me that they had made changes in production, or had a different option I could try, but it was nothing like that.  They said they saw my review on Amazon and my plans to return the headbands and they offered to refund half my money, as well as let me keep the headbands.  They worded it as though they were looking out for me, as Amazon would make me pay shipping for the return and they were here to save me the hassle of returns!  I declined, however, as I knewbuying-stars that Amazon would cover the shipping and I would just end up throwing the bands in the trash if I kept them.  They responded that they would look into offering me a full refund, if only I would “consider the review” I left. I asked them to clarify, and basically, they said they will give me my money back if I will change my review.  What?  That certainly should not be how reviews work.  I purchased these headbands based upon positive reviews; were they all paid for?
I contacted Amazon and they said they would “investigate” as this is against their policies.

This long, drawn-out situation was over HEADBANDS.  The company could not even take ownership of a faulty product as small as a headband.  So what about companies that are hired to do much, much bigger things, like build a house?  Or rollout new display cases over hundreds of stores?  Can you imagine the nightmare you would be in if that company acted like the headband company?  “Sorry we sealed a raccoon into your roof.  We’re going to leave it there, but would you consider giving us a positive review anyway?”   Hiring a company to take on a big project can be a stressful ordeal.  You need to consider quality, cost and time and if you’re like me, you will also pore over online reviews for hours.  The last thing you want is to invest a ton of money into a project only to have a mediocre finished project, or worse, a project that is not finished at all.

But mistakes happen; the people working for you are only human, after all.  The important thing is that they take responsibility for any mistakes that are made, take ownership of the originally agreed upon cost of services, and do their very best to make sure you are completely happy at the end of the day.

I’m sure everyone has a story about a project gone bad, either for your home or business.  From projects that take months too long, to end results that are dangerous for the home or business owner, it’s always a gamble when you begin working with a company who you have never worked with before.  Thanks to the wide world of the internet, we are lucky enough to be able to research the heck out of a company before hiring them on.  If you are thinking of hiring a new project management or facility maintenance company, Royal Services actually encourages potential clients to speak with current partners about their experiences.  They are so confident in the work that they do and the high-quality service they provide,  they know you will be impressed with the feedback you receive.   Royal Services has five key pillars that they stand by, the first of which is Ownership.

Assume accountability for completion of all steps and ensure the best outcome for our clients through planning and execution.

As a business owner, you know the risks involved in a big project.  Don’t hire a company who refuses to stand behind their finished product!  Find a company who is with you even after the job is complete, truly standing by everything that they do.


Nickel and diming

I love fall.  I love everything about fall.  I love the changing temperatures, the changing colors; I love going to wineries and and I love apple cider.  I love pumpkins, and pumpkin flavors (to an extent)!  Should I go on?  Ok, I will.  I love carving pumpkins and watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”  When I was a kid, we had a scarecrow making party at our house each year – I plan to reinstate that with my boys!  I love having people over on Halloween for mulled wine and Halloween snacks.  I love wearing flannel shirts and leggings and boots.  And I love going to the pumpkin patch!!

This year, we had the pleasure of attending a family fun day at a new pumpkin patch in our area, hosted by our wonderful realtor Megan Irvine.  We tried to go to this pumpkin patch last year on Halloween, but unfortunately it was too muddy, so we sadly had to spend all our time at the adjoining winery.

Image result for funny wine

However, while the adults were pleased with this turn of events, we did have two toddlers all dressed up in their Charlie Brown and Lucy costumes ready to pick out pumpkins, so the kind owner of the patch/winery brought a few pumpkins over to choose from.  That act of kindness plus the added bonus of a winery visit made us so excited to return again this year, and we were not disappointed.  KC Pumpkin Patch is not just pumpkins – KC Pumpkin Patch has slides; it has miniature zip lines; there is a giant bounce pad; a haunted house; a maize maze; a little store with yummy treats and fall decorations, and a ton of places for kids of all ages to put their faces and pretend to be fun characters.



One of the greatest and most surprising aspects of this pumpkin patch is when you walk in the door, you pay one fee, then most everything else there is included!  When we saw the giant bounce pad (it looked like so much fun, many parents asked if they could play but sadly, we were not allowed), I just assumed that there would be a nominal fee to play.  But there wasn’t – nor was there any fee for the slides or zip lines, the maize maze was included and so were the tractor and train rides!  We become so accustomed to paying $2 here, $.50 there that we almost forget how much it can affect our wallets, and when the kids are giving you those sweet, puppy-dog eyes, it’s pretty hard to say no!  The pumpkin patch was giving out $2 off coupons for the winery as we left, so after a little arm twisting, we headed that way.  At the winery, there were also fun things for the kids to do which is a great touch!  We also had the pleasure of speaking with the owner, where we expressed our gratitude for the wonderful experience, and also commented about how much we appreciated the included activities.  He explained that when they set everything up, they really thought about it from the point of view of parents – they wanted to create a fun, family atmosphere that everyone could enjoy.  They certainly accomplished that goal!

Royal Services is similar in they way they handle their business.  They include as much as they possibly  can on the front end instead of using low prices to get people in the door and then hammering them with change orders and additional costs.  Just like the pumpkin patch, this up front approach ends up saving you money in the end, making for a stress-free and enjoyable experience that everyone can appreciate.

Worth the Money

One of the first things that we did after returning from our honeymoon was to purchase a timeshare. We both love traveling, we were looking forward to starting a family, had experienced REALLY bad vacations in the past, and liked the idea of paying a monthly maintenance fee which we hoped would “force”us to take time away from work.

We recently returned from spending the Labor Day weekend in Branson, MO where we will return later this year, and in between these two trips we will be heading to the Lake of the Ozarks to celebrate my husband’s birthday.

The way that the system works is pretty straight forward. We paid an upfront amount which gets us a set number of points each year. We then have a monthly maintenance fee and everything else is covered. We decide where we are going on vacation, find a nearby resort, check availability and book our trip. There are times when availability is limited, but for the most part we are able to get the resort that we are looking for.

If you are only looking at the upfront cost, then of course it would be much cheaper to stay in economy properties such as Motel 6, Days Inn or Super 8. However, in the Wyndham properties we experience several benefits that ultimately make the total cost much lower than staying in an economy resort, as well as giving us a much more enjoyable experience, guaranteed.

Image result for good vs bad hotel

The condos are equipped with a full kitchen, dishwasher, washer/dryer, and cleaning supplies. We love being able to do our end-of-vacation laundry before heading home so that the transition into everyday life is much simpler! We will do a supermarket run before arriving at the resort so that we don’t have to spend money on food and drink during our time away. We don’t have to take a trip to the local laundromat or pay extortionate fees at the hotel for their laundry service.  We also save money when we fly, as we do not need to pack a separate outfit for each day, increasing the number of bags required.  Instead, we can pack a few staples and mix and match outfits with the opportunity to throw them in the laundry after wearing them.

The resorts are family friendly and safe.  There is security on site, they are well lit and include well maintained grounds and literally hundreds of amenities for the entire family to enjoy. From swimming pools and shuffle board to table tennis and horseshoes, the resorts are designed for family fun. If you so desired, you could easily spend an entire week of vacation without having to leave the resort.

These are all huge benefits of the timeshare that we own, and we truly enjoy the overall experience. We know that we are going to have an incredible time in a gorgeous resort where we are made to feel like royalty.  There are never any concerns that we will check in to a hotel, only to check out as soon as we see the unacceptable state of the room.

The high quality service that we receive at our timeshare is exactly what Royal Services, the leading national rollout company want their customers to receive. Royal will definitely not be the cheapest provider when looking at upfront cost but when you look at the overall picture and the total cost, Royal will be the best provider.  There is not a concern that the job won’t be done to your satisfaction; there is no worry that it won’t be completed on time.  You won’t have to fret about losing business due to shoddy workmanship.  Royal takes pride in their work, and they are worth every penny.



Not another sales presentation…

My husband, two boys and I made the 3 hour 15 minute trip south to Branson for Labor Day weekend this year. We have visited the town on several occasions and keep returning as there are lots of things to do, it’s a relatively short drive from our home in Kansas City, and we really enjoy being at an exceptional resort that is well maintained and has plenty of activities available to entertain all members of the family.  We love that we own a timeshare with Wyndham and can experience a weekend getaway at a moment’s notice without worrying about a dirty room, poor service or an unsafe location.  However, while we are owners and not required to attend sales presentations, they offer many incentives for us to listen to a speech for an “hour” during our vacation, and despite almost every single experience being negative, we continue to get sucked in time and time again.



This article about timeshare presentations is hilarious if you don’t mind a little bit of language.  My favorite sentence:
“Will, our sales associate, came over and met with us. He was a gangly, mid-20’s asshat from Dallas who looked like he was cut out from a business casual ad with dork scissors.”

And for even more hilarity, check this one out:

“I said hell yes I’d like to take just one hour of my time to hear about an exciting way I could save money on future vacations. I mean, it sounded pretty awesome to me,” Jones said.

The promised one hour presentation turned into a two and a half hour adventure once Jones arrived at the all inclusive Global Sun Grand Resort. Jones expressed gratitude that she would be privileged with more time in the company of such esteemed individuals.


On our first Wyndham vacation together, we went to Las Vegas and had an amazing time.  The incentive to sit with a sales representative and listen to his schpeel was a meal at a nice restaurant, so we thought “Why not?”  It was actually a great experience, the man did not try to sell us anything, simply educated us about new locations we could visit, as promised when we made the appointment.  After that, our experiences have all gone downhill.  Again and again, we check into our room and are offered something seemingly awesome – a one hour meeting in exchange for dinner certificates, Visa gift cards, sometimes with a meal included at the meeting, sometimes all of the above.  Again and again we tell the person that no, we will not attend because the one hour meeting always ends up being two or more hours and we do not want to spend that much time of our vacation being sold to when we most certainly will not be buying anything.  Which prompts them to say “Oh no!  We promise it will only be ONE hour, and the purpose of this meeting is to teach you about something new and awesome that you don’t already know about!  No selling involved!”  Inevitably, we agree because their offer seems too good to pass up on.  And inevitably, we leave feeling angry and saying “NEVER AGAIN! NEVER!”  Labor Day was no different.  As current timeshare owners, our experiences are not as bad as what was portrayed on the famous episode of South Park, where the characters are held at gunpoint during their presentation.  However, sales people will be sales people, therefore we get to experience a little of the cliché pressure whenever we choose to attend.


We arrived at the meeting with the boys in tow (they wouldn’t allow just one spouse to attend this “educational” meeting about website reservations – that should have been our first red flag).  The young man who sat us down at his desk was very new to the game.  He was trying to play it cool, low pressure, just shooting the breeze until the required hour was up.  I mentioned the website changes we were supposed to learn about and he had no idea what I was talking about (red flag number 2, ignored). We did learn a lot about his life, and he about ours.  We shared laughs and told horror stories about our past sales meetings.  As we were closing in on an hour, the boys were beginning to get restless, I was getting extremely warm and my husband was trying to wrap things up.  Just as we thought we were about to be dismissed to collect our gifts, he mentioned something about a VIP package; upon seeing the blank looks on our faces he immediately realized he probably should have been doing his job the whole time.  He left the table to get a senior representative and that is where things went sour.  Our first guy bailed, and the new guy began the hard sell.  When my husband pointed out we had been there an hour and were ready to go, without purchasing anything new, the man completely ignored him.  When we pointed out our fussy children ready for naps, we were again ignored.  Finally my husband got stern and told the man that we were leaving.

As we left, we discussed how little the operations and sales teams worked together.  There is clearly no communication, and while they have different intermediate goals in mind, would it not suit them to work together on the ultimate goal, bringing people back to your place of business, and creating evangelists at the same time?  Ironically, one of the things the salesman was “educating” us on was the four things that Wyndham owners have requested to change – one of those was the sales meetings.  Yet there we were, in another sales meeting.

I did call to complain, and they did send us a fruit basket.  Very nice, and much appreciated (#harryanddavid #yesplease).  But when will enough be enough?  When we will we wise up and stop attending the meetings?  And when will Wyndham wise up and think about what their current customers want, as well as potential future customers?



Mission: Possible

I recently wrote about the wonderful experience my husband and I shared on our honeymoon in Mexico.  We stayed at an all-inclusive resort, where gratuity was included with our fee, however we received such wonderful service that we felt compelled to tip anyway – especially because the service we received was not based on the tradition of receiving gratuity.  From what we could see this service stemmed from excellent training and a genuine love of the hospitality industry.  I wrote about our disappointment upon returning to the “real world,” where bored high-schoolers expect a 20% tip, no matter how much attention they give their tables or how friendly they are.  Four years later, we still reference our time in Mexico when we go out to eat.  We have had a handful of servers that we felt were “Mexico worthy,” and have made sure to tip extra to show our appreciation.  However, for the most part we have encountered service workers who are entitled and for lack of a better word, lazy.  Not necessarily because they are sitting down on the job, but because they are so very clearly not trying; not trying to give us a positive experience, not trying to be friendly, and not trying to make us want to come back.

Recently, we had one of the worst servers we have ever encountered.  We discussed her lack of enthusiasm and skill all the way home, and it led us to thinking about the key pillars that Royal Services has included in their mission statement.  The acronym OPTIC stands for Ownership, Professionalism, Tenacity, Innovation and Collaboration.  These pillars are perfect for the service that Royal provides to its partners, but they can also relate to a wide array of different companies and careers.  In the case of this server, we will call her Rhonda, we felt that she epitomized the exact opposite of each of these pillars.

Ownership: Assume accountability for completion of all steps in the customer engagement relationship. Ensure the best outcome for our clients through planning, execution, and sharing lessons learned.  The part that stands out to me in this step is ensuring the best outcome for clients.  In the sense of being a restaurant customer, we were, in effect, Rhonda’s clients.  She did not go out of her way to ensure a good outcome for us, as a good outcome would mean we would be counting down the minutes until we could return!  Rather, Rhonda actually did her best to ensure that we had a negative experience by acting irritated and grouchy with us through our entire meal.

Professionalism: Effectively communicate and educate our clients to achieve our common goals. To be viewed as knowledgeable within the many trades and customer specific tasks in which we manage through continuous programmatic learning.  Rhonda did not come across as knowledgeable about the menu, the restaurant or its guests.  We arrived at the restaurant at 1:30 and I ordered the very yummy bottomless mimosa special with my brunch.  Rhonda informed me in a very bored and annoyed voice that the deal ended at 2:30 so I probably shouldn’t get it.  I was so taken aback by someone in the service/sales industry turning down a sale that I agreed with her.  But then I thought, that’s a full hour!  That’s plenty of time!  When I found her and placed my order, she still acted as though I was making a mistake.  Surely her boss would not be happy to know that she was turning down business!  And if she was truly looking out for my best interests, she did not do a very good job of communicating that to me.

Tenacity: Develop a mindset and communications dynamic that strives for excellence that flows through to our customers, vendors, and the Royal team.  Again, the communication we received from Rhonda was unenthusiastic and certainly did not show us that she was striving for excellence.  In fact, we wondered a few times why she was in this business in the first place, as she certainly did not seem to enjoy it very much!

Innovation: Strive for creative, cost-effective solutions in a constantly changing world, emphasizing technological improvement and environmental awareness.  Now, I cannot 100% assert that Rhonda does not embrace this pillar at her place of work.  However, based on my experience with her, I think it’s safe to assume that she is not going out of her way to think of creative ways to save the restaurant money.  Unless of course she took one look at me and realized that if anyone could take full advantage of bottomless mimosas, it was me, and she knew that it would be more cost-effective if I did not in fact order it.

Collaboration: Maintain a free flow of knowledge and information through honest discourse and open dialog. Share and implement best practices for the betterment of the client and Royal team. This brunch was an opportunity for my family to get together with my elderly grandmother, and unfortunately while we waited for our food she began getting very lightheaded, probably due to hunger.  I was able to fish out a couple of packs of fruit snacks from the diaper bag to hold her over, but just before the food arrived my dad was getting ready to take her home.  Luckily Rhonda arrived and began placing our plates on the table (after complaining a few times about the fact that we had changed seats), and what do you know but my grandma’s food was not with the rest!  Of all people to have to wait even longer for her food, and to be served last!  We all started handing her food from our plates while Rhonda took her time going back to the kitchen for the last plate.  If Rhonda had made any effort to communicate and converse with our table, she could have had an opportunity to go above and beyond and order my grandmother’s food on the fly.  That would have been so impressive and thoughtful, exactly what you would like to see in a server.

Obviously, these pillars were not created for the restaurant industry.  However, you can see how they can be applied to a variety of vocations and are useful to keep in mind as you are working with customers, clients and partners.  There is a reason that Royal has clients who have stayed by their side for over 20 years, and their mission statement and their commitment to living up to that mission statement are a big part of that.  Have you worked for a company with an excellent mission statement?  How has that inspired you to go above and beyond at your job?  Leave us some comments below!


Remembering What’s Important

Spring is finally here, which means summer is just around the corner!  For many people, summer is a time of travel and leisure, so as the weather warms up, you might begin thinking about all of the wonderful places you would like to visit.  Personally, I love a getaway every now and then, even if it’s just a few hours away.  I am probably in the minority on this, but I love staying in hotels!  I love that I can fully relax and not have to worry about a kitchen that needs cleaning, or dinner that needs to be cooked.  I love that my whole family is forced to be crammed together in one place, which always results in fun and laughter.  Now, I’ll admit that as I’ve gotten older, not just any hotel will do.  Especially with small children, I’ve become a little pickier about where we go and much prefer the Wyndham resorts with washer and dryer and separate bedrooms to a standard Holiday Inn with questionable carpets.  But at the end of the day, I just love having my loved ones all in one place.

Travel does bring about many happy feelings, but there is something else that having children has awakened in me, and that is a major fear of flying.  I used to be pretty ok with it, in fact I rather enjoyed it!  But on a flight to England when I was pregnant with my first son, I vowed to never fly pregnant again, because without a little “lubrication,” I just can’t manage.  Just thinking about our next trip to England, which is months away, causes me to feel the need to breathe into a bag and put my head between my legs.  However, if I am going to fly somewhere domestic, Southwest Airlines is always my first preference.  They have made a name for themselves in the airline industry for a number of reasons, including Transfarency, their policy of no hidden costs or extra charges; your bags fly free, which is a load off when figuring out the cost of the flight; and their flight attendants are hilarious!  This fact alone has gotten Southwest a lot of attention recently, especially as one of their YouTube sensations was a contestant on the Amazing Race due to her hilarious public announcements!  My favorite by far, however, is this attendant rapping the safety instructions; I think I would have been able to relax a little on that flight after laughing so much!

Southwest is definitely doing something right.  And although you might argue that their ticket prices are a little higher, the peace of mind is worth it for me.  I know there won’t be extra charges, and I know that if something comes up in my life and I am unable to fly, I will not be out a couple hundred dollars.  All of this, plus in-flight entertainment?  Yes please!

So next time you are looking for a service provider, don’t immediately discount someone due to the higher cost; in many cases, that higher cost comes with additional perks and makes your life much easier.  And when your life is easier, you have more time to spend crammed in a small hotel room with the people you love most in the world.  Which is totally worth it.


Quality Customer Service

Everyone has had the experience of dealing with a company with extremely poor customer service.  You feel angry and warn all of your friends: “If you ever use them again, you’re dead to me!” And any time that company is brought up in conversation, boy do you have a story to tell.  But what happens when you have a wonderful experience, with over the top, unheard of, amazing customer service?  Do you shout it from the rooftops?  Or the equivalent, write about it on your Facebook wall?  Sometimes.  As a society, I think we focus far too much on the negative, but should start challenging ourselves to share our positive experiences more often.  If I’m looking for a new cleaning service, hearing your horror stories will help a little, but hearing your great experiences will be of much greater service.


Someone asked me recently about the best customer service experience I have had.  Interestingly enough, the one that came to mind was a cable company.  Customer Service is notoriously poor in this field, yet I have had nothing but positive experiences with this company.  In the beginning, I had a sense of dread every time I needed to call for maintenance.  Based on past experiences with other companies, I came to expect an uncaring and less than helpful person on the other end of the line, and the feeling that my problem wasn’t actually solved at the conclusion of the call.  However, with my current company (Consolidated Communications, in case you were wondering), I no longer dread calling because I know that waiting on the other end of the line is a helpful and friendly agent who will take whatever time needed to make sure my problems are solved.  And if it can’t be fixed over the phone, a friendly technician will be to my house in a timely matter to get everything in working order again.  This top of the line service has created a customer for life.  And isn’t that what every company should be striving for?  No one wants to be the company that your friends warned you about; so why not do whatever it takes to be the company that your friends rave about?   At Royal, our best marketing tool is our evangelist customer, and our ongoing goal is to provide retail facility solutions that are worth sharing with others.