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A Perfect 10!

Posted on May 28, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

I bet a lot of you have stayed in Airbnbs in the past, so you know how the quality of the accommodations can vary widely. Even when you carefully read the reviews and compare properties, you can still end up renting a real stinker. One time our apartment was in the attic of an old Virginian mansion that smelled like mothballs. Another place looked inviting in the pictures but really needed a deep cleaning. And the worst one was located right next to a fire station! We didn’t sleep too well in Savannah, Georgia.

Mostly though, I’ve had great experiences with Airbnb properties, and my recent stay in San Antonio, Texas was the best one ever. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Customer Service, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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Please Give Us More Icing on the Cake!

Posted on February 26, 2019 by Chris Bjorklund

It often surprises me how little it takes to brighten someone’s day. I wish more businesses understood that sometimes even a tiny thing can perk you up or just make you smile.

For example, I was window-shopping at an outdoor mall when I came across free organic lemons outside of a storefront. The owner had more bowls of fruit at the sales counter. This small gesture wasn’t just a conversation starter—I was lured inside to see the merchandise and left with a positive feeling about the place. I didn’t buy anything that day, but I will return. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Customer Service, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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Expressing Gratitude All Year Long

Posted on November 29, 2018 by Chris Bjorklund

During the month of November and the Thanksgiving season, most of us are more focused than usual on the gift of gratitude. But given the positive impact of gratitude on others, perhaps we should think about ways to express our gratitude throughout the year.

I started reflecting on that the other day after listening to my voicemail. A local framing store manager called to let me know that my two paintings were ready to be picked up. Then, he added something extra—he said he sincerely appreciated my continued business, which meant a lot to him. Read more

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Posted in: Holiday Related, Seasonal, Consumers, Customer Service, Savvy Tips
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Straight Talk Runs Deep

Posted on October 25, 2018 by Chris Bjorklund

I was lucky enough to travel to Alaska recently on a small ship adventure. The Wilderness Discoverer cruised from Sitka to Juneau through the Inside Passage, an archipelago that was created by glaciers. With only 76 passengers and 25 crew members on board, it was an intimate experience. The activities ranged from sea kayaking and bushwhacking to snorkeling and meadow meanderings, all of which provided chances to both see Alaskan wildlife and get wet and muddy. There was even a polar plunge for some!

The Captain spoke to us every day, mostly via intercom, as did the Expedition Leader and Kitchen Steward. We received updates on the itinerary, how choppy the waters might get and why dinner would be late. Read more

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Posted in: Consumers, Customer Service, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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How To Choose a Contractor

Posted on October 09, 2018 by Joy Lanzaro

How to Choose a Contractor for Your Home Improvement Project, in 8 Easy steps.

Today we’re republishing one of our most popular (and useful) posts from Joy Lanzaro, Director of Mediation & Compliance.

Here are eight steps you can take to hire a reputable remodeling contractor:

  1.  Obtain multiple bids (if possible). Getting multiple bids is a great way to ensure you’re making an informed choice. If you sign a contract, you have exactly three days to rescind in writing. Upon rescission, the contractor must return your deposit. If your area has been declared a disaster area, the three-day Right of Rescission extends to seven days.
  2. Check license information. By law, anyone who undertakes to improve your home or property must have a contractor’s license if the cost from start to completion will exceed $500.
  3. Read more

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Posted in: Uncategorized, Consumer News, Consumer Events, Consumers, Customer Service, Diamond Certified News, Home Improvement
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What Should Be on Your “Do Not Pack” List

Posted on August 28, 2018 by Chris Bjorklund

A couple of summers ago, I was flying to France to stay with friends who had visited San Francisco in the past and fell in love with our foggy city. I thought I had found the perfect hospitality gift when I bought a fog globe featuring the Golden Gate Bridge. A fog globe is similar to a snow globe, but when you shake it up, instead of snow falling, the bridge disappears in gray fog. Because it was breakable, I carefully packed the globe in a carry-on bag, and that was my big mistake. It never occurred to me that airport security (TSA) would confiscate the gift because it contained too much liquid. I have since learned that fog and snow globes about the size of a tennis ball are allowed if they can fit in a clear, Read more

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Posted in: Holiday Related, Consumers, Customer Service, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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Best Practices for Giving Feedback to a Company

Posted on August 13, 2018 by Joy Lanzaro

Delivering feedback to a company is like landing an airplane on an old runway—it can be bumpy or smooth depending on how much work has been put into maintaining the area. Without the proper approach, asking a company if you can give some feedback can prompt a defensiveness that redirects your desired change into the weeds.

Unfortunately, some people’s definition of “feedback” is simply venting without consideration of the receiver’s good intentions. On the other hand, accurate and timely consumer feedback can be a company’s free ticket to a competitive advantage in the market. Read more

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Posted in: Uncategorized, Consumers, Customer Service
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