4 Steps to Awesome Customer Service When Something Goes Wrong

July 27th, 2015

sorryLast week, I went to the salon to treat myself to an honest-to-goodness cut and color. I think the last time I’d entered a proper salon might have been before I got married … 15 years ago.

Sadly, when I arrived, my appointment wasn’t in their computer, and all of the stylists were busy with other clients. My heart dropped. I was so disappointed. After an already rough week, this was the last straw. Nearly in tears, I wanted to hang my head in defeat and walk away.

I don’t think it was the salon’s fault. Somehow I must have inadvertently called a different salon. I’m not exactly sure how it happened. All I know was that I stood there, disappointed and defeated when the owner of the salon, Carol, stepped in. This woman is a force of nature – in a beautiful way. She asked what had happened, and after the receptionist explained the problem, this wonderful woman said, “Well then, I’ll do your hair.”

This is a woman who, at the height of her career, owned 6 salons. She has been in the business and styling hair for decades. And she charges MUCH more than the stylist I (thought I) had been booked to see. She wasn’t even supposed to be in the salon that day, but gave up several hours of her time to do what she saw as the right thing to do for a customer.

I learned so much that day  from her actions about graciousness and how to handle situations where a customer is disappointed or possibly even disgruntled (which I wasn’t, but some people might have been).

 

1. Be kind. When Carol stepped forward and took on my appointment, she did it graciously. She didn’t make me feel guilty or treat me as if I was ruining her whole day (which I honestly might have been). She didn’t rush through my appointment, but instead sat and talked with me for a bit, asked what I hoped for with my hair, and then took her time to work with me to get it just right.

I can’t stress enough how patient and kind she was. What a balm to this customer’s disappointed spirit and exactly what was needed to turn the experience from a huge bummer into a major blessing.

It’s amazing how many times as business owners we miss this one simple thing – be kind. We get so wrapped up in making the sale, being right, making sure we’re not getting taken advantage of, that we miss out on the one thing that matters most. Kindness.

Continue reading 4 Steps to Awesome Customer Service When Something Goes Wrong

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Interview with Joanna Weaver

July 14th, 2015

Lazarus-Awakening-set325In your first book, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, you began teaching about Mary, Martha, and Lazarus 15 years ago. What has held your interest for so long about the three siblings from Bethany?

Well, to be honest, I never dreamed there would be three books! I thought I was done after the first one. Then the second one…and the third! I was all ready to write a completely different book when I was offered the chance to do the companion DVD Bible studies for the books. Lazarus Awakening is the final study of the series and “comes forth!” July 21st.   

Though I look forward to writing on a different topic, I never get tired of talking about Mary and Martha and Lazarus. God continues to make their story fresh and alive to me. Just the other day I had an a-ha moment that blessed my heart. (Wish I could remember it because it was really good! J)

 

A main topic in Lazarus Awakening is living resurrected as Christians – shedding our graveclothes to live fully in our lives with Christ. What are some things that you think hold us back from living fully in our faith?

I’m not sure how it is for other people, but one of the things that consistently held me back as a young Christian was a sense of hopelessness at how far I still had to go. I expected a magic-wand transformation when I was saved – that somehow holiness would just happen to me and I’d suddenly be all I needed to be. More like Jesus and less like me!

But one of the most valuable things I’ve learned is that sanctification is a process. I don’t suddenly become like Jesus overnight – instead I am becoming like Him! And best of all, it’s not all up to me!

Just as Jesus called Lazarus out of his tomb, He’s calling us to leave our halfway living behind and the graveclothe patterns that keep tripping us up, so that, with the Holy Spirit’s help, we can learn how to walk and live truly free.

Another thing that holds many of us back is the enemy’s lie that we’re hopeless and helpless – that true transformation can never be ours on earth. But, he is a liar! The same power that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us, and that means resurrection life isn’t just for heaven.  Jesus wants to make us fully alive, right here and right now!

 

You write, “If we embrace the process of crucifying our flesh, we’ll find the joy that Lazarus found.” Can you elaborate on what you mean by that?

As you study the New Testament, Christianity really comes down to this: are we willing to “lose” our lives in order to “find” them (Matthew 16:25)? Are we willing to die to self so that Jesus can live in us? I’m afraid that many of us spend our lives walking down the Via Dolorosa, but never allow ourselves to reach Golgotha. But that isn’t what Jesus had in mind when He said, “Follow me.”

I love what Major Ian Thomas says about this necessary crucifixion:   

“Willingness to die is the price you must pay if you want to be raised from the dead to live and work and walk in the power of the third morning. Once the willingness to die is there for us, there are no more issues to face, only instructions to obey.”11

 Imagine the freedom Lazarus must have felt when he came to the end of himself – literally! After facing humanity’s greatest fear – death – he found Jesus waiting for him there. I’m asking the Lord to help me come to the end of myself so that I can find that kind of freedom. Freedom from fear of man or fear of failure…freedom from fear of any kind! What a joyful, overcoming life that would be.

 

This new Lazarus Awakening DVD Study was filmed in Israel. What was it like to visit Bethany, the home of Mary and Martha and Lazarus? And why did you decide to film the curriculum there?

After thirty years of ministry, my husband John and I took our first trip to Israel a few years ago.  It was incredible to say the least! We spent our first day in Bethany. After so many years of writing, speaking and thinking about Mary, Martha and Lazarus, to actually be in the spot – or very near the spot – where they’d lived brought tears to my eyes.

I had come to the Holy Land fully expecting to see the two sisters everywhere I went. But instead, it was Lazarus that I encountered over and over.  Spiritual correlations and teaching points filled my heart as we toured different locations. By the time we came home, I couldn’t imagine filming Lazarus Awakening any other place.

I’m so grateful that WaterBrook Press agreed and made it possible to film in Israel. I sensed a special anointing as we worked on the project, and I’m praying it blesses those who watch it.

Note: For a behind-the-scene peak at “Filming Lazarus,” I’ll be blogging about it June 11-21st over at my website.  

 

joannaYou can learn more about Joanna Weaver, her books and DVD studies at her website. The new companion DVD Bible study forLazarus Awakening: Finding Your Place in the Heart of God releases on July 21, 2015. “There’s no tomb so deep or so dark that Jesus cannot open,” Joanna says. “We were made for resurrection life – a heart-pumping, deep-breathing, feet-running vitality that only comes from Jesus Christ.” To view the promo video and learn more about the new DVD Bible study, go to www.JoannaWeaverBooks.com. You can connect with Joanna at www.Facebook.com/BecomingHis

A Note To My Young-mom Self

June 26th, 2015

I letterhave a teenager now. And another child in the double digits. (Okay, he’s 10. But still.) When I started CWAHM, I had 0 kids. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

As CWAHM grew, my kids grew. And I grew – as a person, as a business owner, as a mom.

Now I watch my months-old niece regularly and find myself reminiscing about what it was like when my kids were small. I find myself telling my (amazing) sister-in-law little things I wish I’d known. She’s most likely tired of hearing them…But I’ll keep telling her, because it’s important that we moms remind each other that it’s going to be OK someday.

Frankly, I find myself wishing I could write my young-mom self a note to encourage her and to let her know that there really IS a light at the end of this tunnel. Here’s what it would say:

 

* This WILL end. Whatever it is. Terrible twos, terrible threes, frustrating fours (So. Many. Questions.). Temper tantrums. Potty training. Diapers.

This season will end. And you’ll move on to the next one. And it may be better. It may suck worse. But it will end,  too, and there will be a new season. And another and another.

 

* Breathe. It’s ok, even normal for your kid to get on your nerves sometimes. It doesn’t make you a bad mom. It doesn’t mean anything other than that you’re normal. Welcome to motherhood. :) Thank God, every morning is a fresh start.

 

*  It’s ok for your child to do their own thing some of the time. You are her mom, not her playmate. You can read or clean or stare out the window for a little while and your child will survive. They may even learn to become independent. ;)

 

* Choose your battles. Oh, if I had figured this out sooner what a quieter home we would have had in those early years. This one applies to marriage to. Not every battle needs to be fought. Not every frustration needs to be aired.

Take a walk, have coffee with a friend, find a healthy way to manage the stresses of motherhood and marriage. Continue reading A Note To My Young-mom Self

Five Steps to Get Your Priorities Straight in Business and at Home

April 21st, 2015

jackie-solo1Operating a successful home-based business is a time-consuming endeavor. This is doubly true as work-at-home moms in that we are responsible not only for the success of our business, but for our family as well. We must be self-reliant, self-motivated, and discipline ourselves in order to attain success in both areas.

When running a business from home, it’s easy to let the phone calls, emails and paperwork keep you tied down, making you feel that you don’t have time to take a break or to spend quality time with your family. Maybe you’ve noticed that you spend a little more time than you’d like in front of your computer or on the phone. Maybe you see your kids acting out, trying to gain your attention. Perhaps you are seeing that this isn’t the work-at-home dream you envisioned. You started out with such noble intentions, but maybe the excitement of success in your business has caused you to lose sight of the REAL reason you do what you do each day. It happens to so many of us, but don’t worry, help is on the way.

Below are five ideas to prioritize your life and business:

1. Be Honest – You probably didn’t start your work-at-home career to climb the “corporate ladder” of your at-home business. Chances are that you started your business with the best of intentions – to be able to be at home with your children, to contribute financially to your family, or simply to have a little spending money of your own.

Take a moment and honestly ask yourself how you’ve been handling the time commitment of owning a business:

  • Are you spending too much time on the phone, the computer, etc?
  • Are your kids spending more time than usual in front of the TV?
  • Do you snap at your children because of the stresses of your business?
  • Do you worry about your business – to the point that it distracts you when you are with your family?

2. Make A List – Sit down and write out a list of things that you see that you’d like to change. This can be a list of things you can do differently to limit the time you spend on your business; or a list of ways you can “de-stress” so that you can deal kindly with your family. Continue reading Five Steps to Get Your Priorities Straight in Business and at Home

Is it Possible to Work from Home?

February 1st, 2015

2dRRjXVHave you ever wished that you could work from home? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 19 million people worked from home (either part-time or full-time) in 2001. It’s a growing trend in our society with the number steadily rising as many people are leaving the workplace in favor of a work-at-home career.

There are four main ways to make working from home possible:

1. Telecommute For Your Current Employer – Many employers are beginning to see the benefits of allowing their employees to work from home. If you have a job that would be possible to do from home ask your employer to consider it. More and more employers are allowing employees to telecommute. This is an easy way to work from home while maintaining the security of a stable career. You must realize, though, that working from home may limit you in terms of advancing in your company. It’s important to think through the sacrifices that you may need to make in your situation to work from home.

2. Telecommute As An Independent Contractor – There are many companies that hire independent contractors to do work such as data entry, transcription and customer service from home. This can be an incredible opportunity as long as you’re willing to keep track of your own taxes and aren’t relying on the employer for insurance and other perks There are many benefits to the company also, such as lower wages, not needing to provide insurance, or being able to offer a commission based position. The company may also choose to hire home workers so that they do not need to pay for space to house an office full of employees. Continue reading Is it Possible to Work from Home?

When Calling In Sick is Not An Option

August 12th, 2014

feverThe phone was ringing and I couldn’t find the energy to answer it. I knew I should answer, needed to answer, but couldn’t summon the strength necessary. I’d been fighting the discouragement and frustration of a lingering illness for months and didn’t see any end in sight. Doctor’s said I’d see an improvement within six months of beginning this new medicine, but a month in and nothing felt different, in fact, I felt worse. I couldn’t imagine how my business was going to survive if something didn’t change soon.

Dealing with sickness as a mom is always challenging. When you add in the responsibilities of a business it can feel downright impossible. As I dealt with my health problems over the course of the last year, I’ve found a few ways to keep my business afloat while I’m healing.

Schedule your time in small chunks.
During the toughest weeks of my illness, I would set daily goals like “work for one hour” and “work on laundry.” By giving myself small goals like these I was almost always able to achieve them. It is amazing how crossing things off from my to-do list helped me to feel productive. My efficiency was a far cry from what it normally is, but I felt encouraged by these accomplishments.

It’s also imperative to schedule specific times to rest. Despite the fact that I was sick, I felt guilty for feeling so tired all of the time. By penciling in fifteen minutes or so at a time to rest, I was freed from the guilt. It became one more item to check off of my daily to-do list.

The extra benefit was that scheduling it in helped my three-year old to adjust to these short nap times. I would lay on the couch and rest and he would sit with me and watch a movie or play the Wii. This way I always knew where he was and he knew I was there for him if he needed me.

Outsource as much as possible.
My virtual assistant (VA), without even being aware of it, was crucial to me during this time. She was able to take on some of the tasks that I do on a regular basis. What a relief to know that I could count on her to do the things that HAD to be done. Even the weeks when I was at my lowest I knew the necessary tasks were taken care of. Continue reading When Calling In Sick is Not An Option

Review: Snack Girl to the Rescue!

June 17th, 2014

snackgirlLisa Cain is the found of Snack-Girl.com and her newest book, Snack Girl to the Rescue is full of tips tricks and recipes to help you lose weight without losing your mind. With 100 recipes under 400 calories included in this book, it’s the perfect way to kick-start your weight loss goals. This book is much more than just a recipe book. It’s filled with Lisa’s own stories of weight loss: what worked for her, what didn’t, and how she eventually overcame.

Snack Girl to the Rescue has recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner and it’s broken into two parts. The first part is full of encouragement and guidance while the second part is chock-full of recipes. If you’re looking for something fresh in the weight loss arena, check out Snack Girl to the Rescue!

Review: Where Will You Go From Here?

May 19th, 2014

I have come to love Valerie Burton’s book. Her attitude and the way she conveys her message of hope have helped me in so many ways during the last few years. Her newest book, Where Will You Go From Here is no exception. This practical book is short, but gets right to the point. Burton covers topics such as: The Five Commitments that propel every successful comeback; guidance for restructuring your life; strategies to find the courage you need for any situation; words and ideas to combat negative thinking; and practical exercises to help you deal with adversity.

This is truly a practical, helpful book that I will recommend to my friends.

Review: How to Love Your Crazy Family: 52 Quick Reads for No Ordinary Days

May 7th, 2014

52crazy

About How to Love Your Crazy Family:
Are you wondering how to love your crazy family without going crazy yourself? You’re not alone. Family relationships are rarely neat and tidy. Life amid the messy complications of imperfect people living in an imperfect world leaves us weary and unsure of how we will love families with the genuine love of Jesus. If you’re tired of trying to love on your own, stop and allow these devotions to fill your heart with the truth that Jesus redeems our lives, even through the crazy, painful times and has the power to transform us from the inside out.

Review:
I have always enjoyed Angela’s writings, so I knew I’d enjoy her devotional book as well. And I was right.

Angela has a practical, no-nonsense way of looking at marriage, parenting and the world and I appreciate. Her book is so authentic and rich, it will meet you right where you’re at, no matter what your family looks like. Angela has a heart for families that comes shining through in her writing. You’ll be inspired by her down-to-Earth, practical ideas for loving your family.

Five Steps to Get Your Priorities Straight in Business and At Home

April 25th, 2014

Operating a successful home-based business is a time-consuming endeavor. This is doubly true as work-at-home moms in that we are responsible not only for the success of our business, but for our family as well. We must be self-reliant, self-motivated, and discipline ourselves in order to attain success in both areas. When running a business from home, it’s easy to let the phone calls, emails and paperwork keep you tied down, making you feel that you don’t have time to take a break or to spend quality time with your family.

Maybe you’ve noticed that you spend a little more time than you’d like in front of your computer or on the phone. Maybe you see your kids acting out, trying to gain your attention. Perhaps you are seeing that this isn’t the work-at-home dream you envisioned. You started out with such noble intentions, but maybe the excitement of success in your business has caused you to lose sight of the REAL reason you do what you do each day. It happens to so many of us, but don’t worry, help is on the way. Below are five ideas to prioritize your life and business:

Be honest – You probably didn’t start your work-at-home career to climb the “corporate ladder” of your at-home business. Chances are that you started your business with the best of intentions – to be able to be at home with your children, to contribute financially to your family, or simply to have a little spending money of your own. Take a moment and honestly ask yourself how you’ve been handling the time commitment of owning a business: Are you spending too much time on the phone, the computer, etc? Are your kids spending more time than usual in front of the TV? Do you snap at your children because of the stresses of your business? Do you worry about your business – to the point that it distracts you when you are with your family?

Make a list – Sit down and write out a list of things that you see that you’d like to change. This can be a list of things you can do differently to limit the time you spend on your business; or a list of ways you can “de-stress” so that you can deal kindly with your family.

Log your time – Buy a notebook or create a spreadsheet that you can use to log the time you spend on your business each day. Make a column for each day across the top and a row of half an hour increments down the side. Every time you sit down at your desk, write “IN” in the box that corresponds to the time and day. Every time you leave your desk (or complete a task), fill the appropriate box with the word “OUT.” At the end of the week, total up the hours each day that you have spent on business tasks. Are you surprised or is it about where you thought you’d be? This can be a real eye-opener and show you in black and white if your priorities have gotten off track. Take special note for how much time you spend on e-mails and things that aren’t billable. Continue reading Five Steps to Get Your Priorities Straight in Business and At Home