receptionist1We’ve all heard that first impressions are everything. Have you ever considered where first impressions are made for your business? Chances are most occur at your front desk. The great motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, referred to the receptionist as one of the most critical persons in the sales process. This person literally has the power to break a sale, and that is why it should be a priority of yours to make sure everyone in your operation is fully trained on proper phone etiquette. Here are some tips for answering the phone that can make your business stand well above the competition:

  • Smile when the phone rings. Get in the right frame of mind.
  • Answer every call by the third ring. No one likes to wait.
  • Answer with enthusiasm and energy, but don’t speak too fast. Be easy to understand.
  • Clearly identify who you are and your organization.
  • Have a pen and paper handy so you can quickly write down the name and organization of the person and the details related to the call. This displays a high level of professionalism and makes the caller feel important and appreciated.
  • Listen carefully taking notes. Don’t take on other tasks while on the phone.
  • Confirm that you have everything right before ending the call.
  • Ask permission before putting the caller on hold. Don’t keep anyone on hold more than 17 seconds.
  • Always remain professional no matter how the person on the other end is acting. If you have someone who is upset, you have a much better chance at turning the situation around if you remain calm.
  • If you take a message for someone, make sure they received it.
  • Don’t use a speaker phone unless you need more than one person to be on your end of the call. Speaker phones give the impression that the call is not private and you may not be fully concentrating on the call.
  • Create an on-hold message. It’s much better than silence and you can highlight products, services, and achievements your company has made. It’s free advertising.

Hopefully you are already doing all or most of these, and if not, we hope you try them. Don’t have an on-hold message? SDB Creative Group can produce a highly professional one for you! If you have any other tips on answering the phone, we’d love for you to share!


Years ago I worked in the Sales & Marketing office for an upscale wellness center. One day I received a call from our front desk saying there was an upset member at the front who cheerswanted to talk to someone NOW! So there I was 1 minute later listening to a rant about cheap Q-tips that were now stuck in his ear. I knew what he wanted, so without hesitation I found some tweezers and pulled out the small bit of cotton. 2 days later he walked into my office with 2 friends ready to join. He also was very happy with the newly acquired Q-tips in the locker room. So a 5 minute activity earned me and my company a fan for life and new business!

Have you ever heard “A happy customer tells a friend; an unhappy customer tells the world”? Even though this has been a business adage from years ago, it couldn’t be any truer than today, especially with the internet. From social media, to Google, Yelp and other review sights, there are a myriad of ways people can air their grievances for all to read.

So what do you do if you have an angry customer? Ignore them in the hopes they’ll just go away? Chances are they will just go away, and trash your company as they go, especially if they were never allowed to be heard. Negative referrals are often more powerful than positive referrals and the cost of replacing an angry customer can be 6-7 times greater than retaining their business. Below are a few tips to keep in mind when handling an angry customer, either on social media or in person.

  • Don’t delete negative posts. Show you’re handling the issue
  • Don’t respond with a formal-sounding copied and pasted reply
  • Don’t pick your favorite among problems. Help all customers the same across the board.
  • If you have an employee who has a knack for handling difficult situations, then this person should be tasked with contacting the unhappy customer.
  • Let the person vent and listen. Sometimes that’s all they really need to do.

Truly, you should welcome complaints and look at it as a way to improve your business. Before you walk into a heated situation remember, the people who will share a complaint, are also the customers who can turn out to be one of your biggest cheerleaders bringing you more business and great reviews!

Join SDB’s Super Service Shout Out and have the chance to win $100 Visa Gift Card! The rules are simple. Reward those who serve you with a smile. Every time you post on Facebook with a short story and photo about a positive experience you have had, take a picture and post it on Instagram or make a short video on Vine and get a double entry, #Summershout. It’s so simple and it will feel so good!

by Caroline Englestad


There are times, at 3am when I wake from a deep sleep with a great campaign idea, my heart pounding. It is at times such as this that I think, why do I do this? This is insane, and yes, it IS mad and yes, I have often asked myself… why? Advertising is a thankless profession. We are the bad guys, the ones who ‘bend’ the truth to make people look good, to sell products no one needs. We know how to take a product or a service and ‘spin’ it to make it more appealing to the public. If you truly believe that, then you only have part of the story, there is so much more.Being a real ‘Ad man’ is SO much more than just throwing a TV commercial together about what somebody sells and putting it out there to the masses, ‘hoping’ it is well received. Agency life is very different from just ‘peddling’ media. Typically when I take a client on, I have already researched this client and their company. Is this company, at its core, a company I would want to do business with? Would I buy anything from them? How do they treat their customers? How committed are they? Is their heart in it? Are they ready? Because if the answer is a resounding no, to any of these questions, then the alarm bells go off… this will NOT be a good fit for either of us. A business must be ready to invest time, energy, and yes… money. If a business owner is willing to do that, then I will invest the same time, energy, blood, sweat, tears (yes, there are tears) and sleepless nights to ensure this company succeeds. I am their partner, I will celebrate with them jubilantly on the mountaintop and on the flip side, and I will walk one step ahead of them through the valley.

It all starts with an idea … (albeit at 3am!) one does not know when these ideas will come but they DO come and eventually I sit round a table with my colleagues and this raw idea is then cultivated, a group of people with very different views, talents and flaws come together to hash out this idea over strong coffee and eventually this seed materializes into a fully grown campaign, with all the elements working together, every piece carefully considered, planned, researched and agonized over.

The Pitch: this is a tricky time for an Ad Man. By the time I get to this stage I almost always know my client and what they need. I use the word ‘need’, they don’t always get what they ‘want’. If a client ‘wants’ to put his small children in a TV commercial, this is not what he ‘needs’ (undoubtedly he is the only one who loves his children, the viewer just finds them annoying) I am only pitching a campaign that I emphatically believe in, and not out of some self-indulgent pride but out of a genuine need to believe it will work. Putting everything on the line requires COMPLETE confidence.

The public are fickle, what works one day, won’t work another. The public get bored very easily so we strive, we change, we constantly evolve and we steer our clients through the ever changing ocean of ‘what’s hot and what’s not’. The client does not see what we put into a campaign, and ultimately if the campaign fails, it is the ‘Ad Mans’ fault, if the campaign is a huge success then we are just ‘doing our job’, thankless … yes, which brings me back to my first question , why do I do it ? Easy…when I have worked day and night on a campaign, when I have agonized, researched, eaten junk food, cried, bitten nails, paced the room, argued with my boss and finally… finally, taken a fledgling idea and made it into something great, when I hear people talk about it, when I see a business owner proud of their business, when I see a business flourishing, I can close my computer down and leave my office, go home to my children and tell them that I have done my best , that I gave it everything I could and my conscience is clean … well, until the next junk food binge anyway!

3rd Step To Success

January 22, 2013

During the month of January, SDB Creative Group has been sharing our New Year’s Resolutions for our business and asking you to share with us what yours is for your business. So far the response has been great and we look forward to sharing them with you all next week. But for now we will share our last one…to get fit! Metaphorically and physically! We want to get healthy for ourselves and our clients.

Getting healthy is not only eating right and working out, although that is a given, but we want more, we want our office to feel great! To be able to relax when it’s time to relax and work without stress when it’s time to work. We feel like a better team environment will come from within and as a staff, we are committed to be more diligent about our diets, and to move more, but why stop there? We want to read more, travel more, learn more, and seek more. We are confident that this will make us a better business to do business with, would you agree?

Have you read a good book lately? Seen a compelling movie? Have and inspirational quote to share? We would love to hear them! Share them with us on our Facebook page. We will be sharing our progress too. From time to time, we may share from our experiences too.

Visit our page at Thanks for sharing and inspiring us and others too!

If you manage a social media budget you quickly realize providing accurate measurements to show ROI isn’t always easily done, especially if you’re just beginning to build your brand. Logically, you begin tracking your new likes, followers & +1’s. It only seems obvious that is a great way to measure you success, right? Not only do you have to build this audience, you have to keep this audience, and that can be even more difficult

You can spend many complicated hours deciding what metrics will work for you, and depending on your company’s goals, you may need the complicated formulas. But, for a simple approach there are a few basics that must be part of any measurement process and these are what we’ll talk about today.

1. Volume is the “size of the conversation” about your brand or campaign. This is a great indicator of interest, and requires more than just counting tweets and wall posts. Measure the number of messages about your brand and people talking about your brand. Are there days or times when people are talking more about your brand? This is information you can use to focus more of your posts during these times. Did you seem to lose several after a specific post or tweet? Maybe after examining that content you’d find there are certain topics not interesting or too controversial for your audience.

2. Reach is the measure of potential audience size or how many friends or followers you have. Although this is an important number to watch, it misses a lot of important information in assessing your social media effectiveness. You may have 500 friends, but if you’re only reaching 100, you may want to rethink when your posting.

3. Engagement shows if and how people are engaged with your brand and participating in the conversation. This is when you look at our content and decide if you are “interesting” enough to keep your audience. If people aren’t engaged with our brand by likes, comments, shares or replies eventually your brand won’t show up in their Facebook news feed at all. Pay attention to what content generates interest and be sure to keep those types of topics in your posts.

4. Share of Voice: To really understand how you’re doing with your social media, you have to know how your conversations compare to your competitors. Visit their pages and watch what they and their audience are discussing.
Being consistent is essential to effective social media measurement. Measure monthly by the same formulas and tools. Tracking your numbers over a period of time and pay attention to how they change.

The job of handling your organizations brand can fall under a number of titles: Public Relations, Marketing & Communications just to name a few. No matter what the title on your business card says, if this is a part of your responsibilities, you realize it’s about what, how and when you put information out there. With the fast, ever-changing evolution of social media, you must adopt new skills, knowledge, and daily activities in your professional practice as they relate to social media, technology and your organizations brand. Below are some key responsibilities you must add to your job description for you to be successful.

Social Media Policymaker

Getting other team members involved in your organizations social media campaign is a great way to create content with various perspectives and personalities. Let someone from sales, customer service and even your management team be part of the conversation. However, with this many voices and platforms, you must have guidelines & best practices in place as well as training on various platforms. Employees need straightforward guidelines on how and what can be said. They must also know who to turn to if they have a question on handling a sensitive situation. Not every employee in your organization will be familiar or comfortable with social media. The education of these new communication tools is essential to the success. Employees want to feel part of the process not left behind

Internal Collaboration Generator

You know social media is an excellent tool for all areas of your organization to engage customers. As a PR professional you need to know what is going on in all areas of your company, since social media moves across all areas of your company. To develop your plan and strategy without leaving out an important piece, create your “dream team” by selecting a team member from each department with key players to be part of this team. Better sharing on the inside leads to better sharing on the outside.

Technology Tester

Keep you up to date on new platforms. Set time aside each week to research and test new platforms. Test them among your “dream team” internally to decide if certain platforms are a good fit for your organization and how they should be used.

Communications Organizer

Consider your company’s current communication process. Communication today comes from all departments rather than straight down from management. You must develop a process for gathering information, analyzing its importance and creating a message to be put out to the public. Plan the best ways to create cohesive and consistent messaging so that social media doesn’t fragment your brand.

Reputation Monitor

Last but not least is the responsibility of monitoring your company’s reputation, responding appropriately and in a timely manner. This is where your previous work of defining your company policies comes in to play. Your goal is to have people engaging with your brand. The downside is that people aren’t always going to be positive. With your new communication strategies in place, you and your team will already have a plan on how to quickly handle these situations. Use social media monitoring software that alerts you when important terms are mentioned; check back to your accounts briefly every hour or two to see if you need to respond to anyone, follow someone back, etc.

Your website is the “nuts and bolts” of your company. A good, customer friendly site will provide your customers and prospects most or in many cases all of the information they need about you, without having to contact you. The internet has completely revolutionized customer contact.

Relationships with your clients are still very important, but now the consumer has all the information about you, your industry, and your competitors at their fingertips. There are no secrets on the internet. So why would you not provide your customers with everything they need to know about you through your website? Here are five tips to get your started in the right direction:

1. Know your users. Design your website through the eyes of your customers. It’s worth taking some time to survey customers and have them review your site. Ask them what they like most and least about it. Ask them what they like about competitors sites and other websites they frequently use.

2. Keep your content clear, not cluttered. Use headlines and graphics that make it easy to identify what your customers want to know. Organize the content where they do not have to scroll and scroll and scroll down your page. Don’t overdo it. There is a fine line between just right and too much.

3. Make it easy to contact you. You should include a simple contact form, an email, and a phone number to contact your company on every page.

4. Navigation. The navigation of your website needs to quickly and clearly identify where your customers can access what they are looking for. They should be able to do this with two clicks of the mouse or less.

5. Make sure your website is mobile friendly. In 2011 smartphone shipments surpassed desktop computer shipments. There is a very good chance that your customers will be viewing your website on a smartphone.

Think about how busy you are and how important it is for you to find the information you need quickly. If it is that important to you, don’t you think it is also just as important to your customers?