Shop Online? It May Cost You $1600 If You Live Here…


Gurnee, Illinois is a suburb of Chicago. It offers a wide range of amenities, including Six Flags Great America, the recently closed Key Lime Cove, and other popular attractions.

In fact, Gurnee does so well with taxes collected from local business – around $17.5 million – that the residents do not currently pay property tax.

That soon may change.

Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik recently spoke to the members of the Gurnee Chamber of Commerce, and encouraged members to continue to shop locally, and encourage Gurnee residents to do the same.

She expressed concern that the increase in online shopping is hurting local business. If local business doesn’t thrive, the town won’t see the same level of sales tax revenue. If that continues to happen, the Mayor indicated that residents may have to start paying property taxes in the future.

The impact of the increase in online shopping has made the news as it affects brick and mortar retail stores – we’ve heard plenty about retail giants like Sears, JC Penney, and Macy’s – but this shows the impact on a smaller, more personal level. It’s hurting small business, which in turn can impact residents.

While online shopping is convenient, its impact is becoming visible in many aspects of our lives. Does the answer lie with brick and mortar retail – do they start accommodating and gearing up to more of an online presence, or will we get to a point in the future where online shopping is one of the only options available to us?

Only time will tell.



Customer Service Tips From a 14 Year Old

teen interview


My son, who is 14, just had his first job interview at the local pool. It’s a summer job that entails cleaning locker rooms, changing out the garbage, and other menial tasks. He was thrilled to get an interview, and even more thrilled when they hired him on the spot.

Later that night we were talking about the interview – did he make good eye contact, shake the interviewer’s hand, speak slowly and clearly, and give thoughtful answers? As he shared some of the questions and his responses, I was not surprised that he was hired on the spot.

The one that stood out to me the most was his answer to the question, “If hired, why do you think you have a responsibility to keep the locker rooms and pool grounds clean?” Before he shared his answer, I tried to guess what a 14 year old might say. Typical responses may be, “Because that’s what I will be hired to do” or “because I’m a responsible person and will do what is expected of me” or something along those lines.

My son’s response was interesting, and one that employees who provide customer service should follow. He simply explained that he would put himself in the pool guests’ shoes – what would he like to see when visiting the pool? He’d like a clean, well maintained place to enjoy the day. If that’s what guests would like, then he would need to provide that as a support staff member.

He makes a good point – as an employee who provides a service or interacts with customers, it’s wise to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. How would they like to be treated? Will their experience be different if you smile and make a bit of pleasant conversation as they are making a purchase? If someone couldn’t answer a question for you, which would you prefer – a curt, “I’m not sure, sorry I can’t help” or “I’m not quite sure, but let me find you someone that can help?”

Sometimes we don’t think of the customer and what they are experiencing through their interactions with us. Other times we may think our work is menial and doesn’t make a difference in the big picture of the company. But, as my son realizes, it does – a clean locker room, in his opinion, can affect a guest’s experience, and as a new employee, he will work to make sure it is as he would like to see it.

A very simple lesson, but a great way for staff to think as they go about their workday.

Three Ways to Kill Customer Feedback Responses




Do you want your receipt? While traveling recently, I stopped into a good fast casual burger place for lunch. After placing my order, I was asked by the cashier if I wanted my receipt. I said no, as I always do when I am offered this. It ends up getting stuffed in a coat pocket never to be seen again! However, while I was dining in I noticed invitations to take a survey with signage throughout.

How much different could that transaction have gone if the cashier did not give me the option of a receipt and instead circled it with a red pen and verbally invited me to take the survey? The odds would certainly increase, especially since I was dining alone and might have taken the survey out of boredom alone.

Question Design- Asking the questions in a way that makes it difficult for the respondent to understand is a definite killer and leads to survey abandonment. Carefully design your survey and don’t be afraid to change it up from time to time.

Incentive to take the survey. The majority of consumers today suffer from survey fatigue. That is strike one. Strike two is that they don’t always believe they will be entered into a contest to win a $1,000.00 gift card. Strike three is no offer at all. Doesn’t brand XYZ value my time?

Subway is one of the restaurants who gets it right! How much is that cookie costing Subway? Maybe $.25 and it gets the customer to come back. How much better can it be? Letting the customer know it will only take a minute is another plus to this invitation.