Monthly Archives: September 2012

    • 5 Ways Reviews Are Important

      I have noticed that my purchasing strategies have changed over the last several years.  Maybe yours have too.  Not necessarily what I purchase, but how.  I've always believed in the power of a good review (or a bad one).  Bad reviews can be like wildfire...spreading and causing damage before you even know they exist.  But if someone goes out of their way to tell me about a good experience they had, I want to see for myself what it's all about.  The fact that all this is done so publicly now on the Internet and social media makes it even more powerful.

      Online reviews help me shop faster and smarter. Online reviews help me shop faster and smarter.

      Here's what I see:

      1)  I spend time researching a product or service online before I engage with a company who can provide that product or service.  I'm sure you do this too.  It helps me to have a better conversation with the provider.  And it helps me to decide that I am, in fact, talking with the right/best provider.

      2)  I say I spend time researching, but in reality, I don't have the time to do the research thoroughly.  So I depend on the opinions of others.  This alone isn't new. What's new is that I depend on the opinions of strangers.  If you've checked on those cool little gold stars on a product review then you are helping me with my research.  Thank you.  If I see more than one option for what I'm looking for, and they are very similar, I'm going with the one with more stars.  Pretty simple.

      3)  I find that I am more likely to read the comments and reviews first.  Then if those sound pretty good I'll go back and read the detailed product descriptions.  As an example, I like to read, but I don't like to pick out my next book.  I use my friends on Goodreads or Facebook to tell me what to read next.  If they've read it and given it a good review, then I'll probably like it to.  And if others have checked that they thought the review was 'helpful' then even better.

      4)  On the other hand, if I find something that looks good but I don't see any comments or reviews entered for it, I will probably just keep looking.

      5)  I love the social aspect of shopping online.  I see my friends putting a question out to all their Social Media friends.  Something like, 'I'm looking for a new roof.  Are you happy with your roof company?'  Again, this isn't new.  We have always asked our friends for suggestions like this.  The difference is that now you can have 5 answers in just a few minutes without even picking up the phone.

      So, after thinking about all this I decided to re-read some of the comments we have received and share them with you.  We send an email to all our customers a few weeks after their order to give them a chance to review our products and our service.  Here's a few of my recent favorites:

      This trophy turned out fabulous! The online ordering process was easy and the delivery time was fast! Trophy looks great!!! Very pleased and will be definitely use Trophies2Go in the future!

      I have been ordering this trophy for several years as the prize in a competition. Each year the winners are so impressed by the beauty and quality of the trophy, as am I. Excellent service!

      I have purchased awards related to my work several times from Trophies2Go. I am always pleased, but this glass award exceeded my expectations. It is very beautiful.

      I was surprised and very pleased with the ease of online ordering and quick turnaround time of both responses and shipping of finished product which turned out to be a well-crafted and beautiful parting gift for a well-respected fellow professional from all of us…Arrived intact, well insulated, and in excellent condition sooner than expected!

      These reviews would make me more interested in the products.  How about you?  Bottom line, keep the reviews coming.  Thanks for helping me shop!!

      Blessings,

      Anne

    • Chili Cookoff Ideas

      Looking for something to spice up your fall?  Consider hosting a chili cook-off!  It’s a great event for the office, neighborhood, or family.  The change in the weather makes everyone crave warm and spicy dishes; chili hits the spot!

      chili crocks For the Trophies2Go holiday party, one year we held a chili cookoff competition.

      So how do you start?  First, put together your guest list and send your invites.  I like Evite – it’s fast and easy.  Unfortunately, they don’t have a chili cookoff themed background, but they do have a cute “potluck” design that features a stock pot.  It works for me.

      Rules

      Then find out how many entrees you have in your cook-off and give those folks the rules.  I keep my rules very simple – the chili has to be homemade, and that’s it.  But some purists don’t allow any “foreign matter” into their chili, including beans, onion, pepper, etc.  It’s only beef, tomato and spices for the really hard core competitors.  See the International Chili Society for the “official” rules for professional chili cookoff competitions.  But like I said, we’re pretty relaxed in the Northwest, so anything goes as long as it doesn’t come out of a can!

      Next I have all of the participants bring their chili in a crock pot with their own ladle.  That way I know the chili will stay warm and I won’t have to supply all of the spoons.  With all of those appliances in the same spot, I keep extra extension cords handy in case I blow an outlet.  This system seems to work pretty well.

      Judging

      chili trophy Our Trophies2Go chili trophy. It can be passed on each year.

      How do you want to judge your cookoff?  You can either have 3-5 official judges, or have all of the attendees taste and judge (that’s what I do).

      For judging, I take a paper plate and glue small paper tasting cups to it.  I use a sharpie to label each chili entry so they are all anonymous.  I dish up the chili entries to keep it secret.  Then I let the judges have at it!

      Prizes

      Participants: I recommend participation ribbons, pins, or medals for each person who enters the competition.  We have lots of cute and affordable options.

      Winners: For my cookoff, I have an adult’s choice and a kid’s choice winner.  In the past, I engraved cutting boards for the winners.  This year I think I’ll do ribbons (Blue – first, Red – second, White – third) and maybe an engraved ladle for the winners.  Trophies are always a great option, especially perpetual chili pots that can pass from champ to champ each year.  The awards are the fun part and the hit of the party!

      Wishing you fun and laughter at your event!

      Cheers, Jessica

    • Happy Employees Means Happy Customers

      We all want happy customers.  Happy, satisfied customers are returning customers, and we know it costs much less to keep a customer than it does to find a new one.  Retention is the new Acquisition.

      According to Wikipedia, Customer Satisfaction is a term frequently used as a measure of how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpass customer expectations.  It can and should be measured with surveys and numbers. But my favorite way to know if our customers are happy is to check out the comments they enter on our website.  These three just came in this week:

      "Awesome Trophy. I highly recommend this company and we’ll be using them again. The proof feature was above and beyond and helped make this the best Fantasy Football Trophy ever."

      "Excellent service!"

      "The plaque is beautiful. What is more impressive is the response time. A proof was sent to me within hours… Then it arrived in three days! I have ordered many recognition items from Trophies2go. They are the best!"

      Happy Employees lead to Happy Customers

      One of the best ways to make customers happy is to have happy employees.  And not just the people who answer the phone. Every employee has some way they are interacting with the customer or the customer’s order.  If those employees are happy, they will be more likely to provide great customer service.

      What are ways to make your employees happy?

      Employee Engagement.

      You’ve heard this term a lot.  I think the most important thing about employee engagement is that it needs to be more than something discussed in the human resources department.  It needs to be a large part of how a business is structured and how it runs on a daily basis.

      Engaged employees are more productive, more creative, more customer-focused and more loyal.  They actually show up to work and give best effort.

      Clear Communication.

      Identify meaningful Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or performance metrics for each employee that relate to providing excellent customer service.  They should be involved in the development of these KPIs.

      Hold regular meetings to review how they are performing to these metrics.  These don’t have to be formal sit-down meetings.  Make them more relaxed at the local coffee shop, or if you’re strapped for time, do them on the phone or Skype.

      A manager should always ask the employee how they can help them in the attainment of these metrics. Do they have the needed tools and education to do their job and meet their goals?

      And feel free to adjust the KPIs if you find they are not reflecting how to make customers happy.

      Recognition.

      Recognize, informally or formally, when an employee does a great job.  Reward what you want repeated.

      Reward the attainment of KPIs, as long as they are properly aligned to the service delivered to your customers.

      Recognition leads to increased productivity, higher loyalty, enhanced teamwork and lower employee turnover.  All good things to have in place when you want to have Happy Customers.

      Show Your Employees That They are Important to You.

      Investment in your employees: their education, development and growth.

      Discuss potential career paths, what they should be doing to move along those paths, and how you will help them.

      ABOVE ALL:  Value your employees even more than your customers.

      Without one, you won’t have the other!

      Blessings, Anne

    • Volunteering at Susan G Komen 3-Day Walk

      This past Sunday, Janice, our customer service manager, and I volunteered at the Seattle Susan G Komen 3-Day Walk for breast cancer.

      Komen 3 Day Janice & I at the Seattle Komen 3-Day Walk.

      It was a beautiful, sunny  Seattle day with perfect weather for the event. Janice and I were stationed just past the finish line at the Victory T-shirts station. Our job was to hand out t-shirts to the finishers; pink t-shirts to breast cancer survivors, white t-shirts to walkers and gray t-shirts to crew members.

      What touched me the most about this event was how moving it was to all who participated. Many of the finishers were in tears, either from the physical feat of walking 60 miles, or from the emotion of dedicating their walk to a loved one. I found myself tearing up often, seeing all of these women and men overcome with emotion. Janice's job was to hand out pink t-shirts to breast cancer survivors who finished the 60 miles. She congratulated each one and gave out many hugs during her shift. One women, probably in her early 20’s, surprised Janice because she was a breast cancer survivor. It's tragic for anyone to have breast cancer, but especially someone so young. Yet these survivors served as an inspiration to us, beating the disease and walking 60 miles to prove the point. What an accomplishment!

      Komen Walkers Seattle 3-Day finishers - love the outfits!

      The Susan G. Komen's 3 Day Walk is our 3rd quarter 'Awards for a Cause' charity. If you would like to support our 'Awards for a Cause' program, consider purchasing one of our designated products or donate directly to their organization.

      This event reminds me to be grateful for my health, my family, and my life. Thank you customers for buying our 'Awards For A Cause' products so we have the opportunity to help those in need in our community. I’m so happy that I spent my Sunday at this worthwhile event.

      Cheers, Jessica

    • Issaquah Trophy Salmon Festival

      THE SALMON ARE COMING!

      Every October, the city of Issaquah celebrates the return of the Salmon to our hatchery by hosting the Issaquah Salmon Days Festival.  It’s a weekend full of fun, food, games, music, art and community pride.  This year, during the month leading up to the festival, we have a new activity called Splash!MOB: The Ultimate Salmon Quest!  Issaquah Trophy & Awards (and our parent company, Trophies2Go) is excited to be a part of this unique community game.

      For Splash!MOB: The Ultimate Salmon Quest! participants fish around the Issaquah area Splash Moblooking for outrageously decorated Salmon in businesses and community institutions participating in Splash!MOB. The fun starts Sept. 7th and continues through Oct. 7th. The Splash!MOB Game is a great family activity to play together whether it takes you one day or one week. You will explore the city, collect the different stamps, have fun and earn the chance to win great prizes!

      When you stop by our showroom to get your game card stamped, you can play a small scavenger hunt game to earn a prize, including an Issaquah Trophy coffee mug, candy and trophy coupons. You can also enter our contest to win $100 off a future trophy or corporate award order.  Our showroom is located at 1320 NW Mall Street, suite A-2.

      We’ll have an extra fishy fun time at Issaquah Trophy & Awards on Thursday, September 20th, 4-5pm.  Join us for a game of Bean Bag Toss, Build a Trophy, share a snack and visit with Sammy the Salmon.

      Visit with Sammy the Salmon on Sept 20, 4-5pm at Issaquah Trophy & Awards!

      Where do you get a Splash! Mob: Ultimate Salmon Quest game card? You can download the card here, or from the Splash!MOB website, cut it out of the Issaquah Press newspaper, pick one up at any of the 24 participating businesses or swing by the Issaquah Visitor Information Center. It's that easy!

      1st Place: $1,000 in valuable gift cards from local merchants. 2nd Place: $200 in valuable gift cards from local merchants.

      Please drop off your game cards to the Visitor Information Center (155 NW Gilman Blvd, Issaquah) by Oct. 5th or turn them in to one of the Salmon Days Information Booths on Oct. 6th & 7th before 4:00pm.   Grand Prize drawing will be held Sunday, Oct 7th at 5:00pm at the Rainier Blvd. Stage!

      FUN FISHING!

      Blessings, Anne

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