Dec 29, 2011

Customer Service: Get It Together

I can talk about this because if there is one person that knows about customer service, it's this girl. Trust -- I've had my "shut down" moments, meaning where a client or customer has treated me so offensively or has asked maybe the most idiotic question known to man, that I essentially "shut down" the smile and dance routine I usually perform, turn off all the smiles and apologies and just be REAL with these people.

I know this is a line many of you don't cross, however can relate to, because you've wanted to do it. I think you can perform great customer service, be real with each other AND get the respect you deserve, without people bulldozing over you or thinking you're an evil troll. It's a thin line, my friends.

I managed a salon while in college, moved to LA, managed another salon; coordinated a hair salon, then moved into office services at the PR firm I worked at. Luckily, at the PR firm, I was able to work events and get the network I needed (love them!), but dealing with people on a daily basis can be trying and disappointing. Especially working in Beverly Hills, namely at cosmetic institutions. You realize a dollar is worth essentially nothing to most people, and they don't care if they treat you like dirt. There was more than one occasion at the salon I worked at (on Melrose Place) where some old debutaunte would roll in with her endless loads of cash, talk to me like I was a dog (because I was blonde, young and said "y'all") and I would in turn be stern, unfriendly and pretty much get the job done -- to my boss' and the client's expectations -- but not be happy about it. My coworkers always got a kick out of it, but I didn't do it to be an ass or to make things uncomfortable. I did it to humanize these people!

Now most of you are probably wondering how I kept these jobs if my pride got the best of me. Here's the deal: the customer isn't always right. The goal is to make them believe so; if they second guess you, you resign from your own knowledge and/or training and let the customer do what they believe is correct. 100% of the time it won't work out or be right in the slightest, they'll need your help, and you'll be the one who will essentially be saying "I told you so."

I remember a specific incident particularly -- I was checking a color client out and she was questioning the price. I explained everything in a calm, happy manner -- to which she got snappy, made a comment similar to "what do you know?" and asked to see the manager. I obliged, got my boss, and it turns out the client was (always) wrong about what services she thought she received and what she actually received. She made me look like an idiot in front of several other clients, which I wasn't too thrilled about, so once we settled everything I robotically checked her out, handed her products to her without a peep. The best part is she actually apologized because she could tell I was disgruntled.

Sometimes, the customers need a reality check. That was my own personal way of demanding respect. I am friendly to a fault and compassionate out the wazoo -- but you don't get to talk to me however you want and expect me to be all buddy buddy with you and hug you out the door. I mean, I might hug you, but I'll kick you on the way out (in the most southern, charming way possible).

Anyway, LONGEST STORY EVER short: I love reading about customer service crisis'. I read about them initially siding with the employer (a lot of customers are idiotic) but always end up cheering on the customer because these managers missed the course in Management 101 on how to properly and effectively run a business. Oh, and how to not REPLY ALL!

I have a few cases and points:

- Last night. JBlack's in Austin. We (Emily and I) have rounded the block and are waiting with our flashers on for valet. A parking attendant comes up and tells us we can't park there; we tell him we're valeting. He threatens to write us a ticket. We round the block again, pull back up to JBlack's and see an attendant in a yellow safety jacket getting out of a car, so we're eager to pull up and a get valeted. Listen: WE KNOW HOW VALET WORKS. We live in Los Angeles for God's sake. We practically invented valet, given there are no meters in a 100 mile radius that aren't two hours or less and there isn't a parking lot until you hit Pasadena. We pull up and this happens:

"Can we valet?" (to attendant)
"Um, there's a parking spot up across the street on the left."
"Yeah... but aren't you the valet? We pulled up here earlier but the parking officer told us we couldn't wait for you."
"Yeah, I mean, I'm dealing with him too. I don't know what to tell you."
"Okay, but we are asking -- do you guys provide VALET?"
"Look, I'm busy, so put your two pretty little heads together and figure it out. I don't know what to tell you."

After screaming some obscenities and driving away, we could't believe what just happened. Here's what needed to happen:

"Can we valet?"
"No mam, we're all full, sorry for the inconvenience, but there's parking up the street on the left."
"Thanks!"

Instead, we are a) belittled, b) still wondering is JBlack's provides valet, c) wondering if the attendant knew that his SOLE JOB was to take our money (!!!!!!) and park the car!!!!!

- Slate PR published this on their Twitter feed and I just about died. Read about Ocean Marketing and their ignoramus manager (linked). Then, read what another site found out about his fraudulent email tactics and steroid use here.

- I hate to even bring this one up, but I have to because I am experiencing endless problems with them myself. Brandlink Communications is a PR firm that I first starting working with as an upcoming beauty writer. Loved the girls that worked there (they've since left -- thank Jesus!) but lately things have been just terrible on their end... I.E. sending me emails asking me to publish stories that have nothing to do with beauty, cutting and pasting emails to someone else and not changing the name or publications they worked for, and generally having zero understanding of how A) bloggers work and B) Examiner works. I received an email on 11/30 asking me to include one of their clients in an article about the VS Fashion Show, with the story linked in the email. I would have obliged, except I didn't write the article. It was the Atlanta Fashion Examiner's article and I clearly have no relation or connection to Atlanta or fashion. I wrote back telling the account manager that the email must have a been sent to the wrong person. We ended up going back and forth with her explaining what she was really trying to do (which I'm going to call BS on) and me refuting every point she tried to make.

Anyway, I hope they try a little harder when it comes to blog outreach because I actually like the people that work there. However, Brandlink became a Twitter Trending Topic thanks to this entire blog war that went on between Brandlink's VP and TheBloggess.com.

So that's a decent 30 to 45 minutes of reading for you. Enjoy!





Dec 26, 2011

"Let's set the world on fire, we can burn brighter than the sun"

Well my friends, the time has come. (To raise the roof and have some fun...)

FUN will be had. After all, 25 is a quarter of a century! Is this where I officially commence my quarter-life crisis? I'm pretty sure I went through that around, say, two-ish years ago, so let's hope not.

25. Does this mean I can rent a car without hassle? Does my car insurance go down? OH THE POSSIBILITIES!

If you couldn't tell, this is my annual birthday post. Hoorah! I made it through my early twenties alive!

More importantly, 25 signifies that I'm officially in my late 20s. If I can quote Jessica Simpson (and I will), I recall when she was turning the tender age of 23 on Newlyweds, when she was receiving endless bouquets of roses, tulips, daisies and the like, and she says, "23? That's almost mid-twenties!"

That's me, folks. Mid-twenties, right here. I can't believe it. Can anyone else who has been 25 or has just turned 25 believe that they are fully capable of being a functioning, responsible adult? It blows my mind that college is already over; that I am living in another state, miles and miles away from my family. That I have to pay car insurance and figure out health benefits. That I could give birth to a child and it wouldn't be some kind of 16 and Pregnant disaster -- albeit a disaster, just not something completely horrible -- and I can't claim "dependent" status on my taxes.

I feel like I've learned so much over the past year. I will say this for the thousandth time, but one thing I love about LA is the opportunity it brings. I love that they're always a party to go to and celebrity sightings to spot, and while I pride myself on keeping my cool around them, I hope I never lose the "pep" in my step when I see them -- even if it is just for two seconds.

This time last December, I had never worked The GRAMMY Awards or Elton John's Oscar Party; I had never taken a hosting class or been on an real hosting audition before. My living situation was completely different; I didn't know my current roommate existed at this point! Two of the dearest friends I have made in LA, Natalie and Shauna, were not as close to me as they are now. My relationships with my coworkers truly turned into long-withstanding friendships; they're people I would call up to go out with me at a moment's notice or invite over for movies and popcorn.

Mentervention wasn't even invented yet! Kirbie Goes to Hollywood was still my baby, I was working with Examiner, however not nationally, and I was trying to figure out a way to get involved with Giuliana Rancic (enter FabFitFun in March '11).

I have some crazy stories from 24: the night of epicness, featuring Rufio, at Ryan & Zac's houses; drinking champagne with Jack Dawson, the epic Taye Diggs incident at EJ's Oscar Party; Winning "Best Halloween Costume" (as Twitter, of course) at The Marble Mansion, realizing there's less than six degrees of separation between the Glee cast and the entire population of Los Angeles residents; working The GRAMMY Nominations concert this year during hurricane force winds, Marine Corps Ball madness, Dodgers' games, shaking chili-infused vinegar in people's eyes (not maliciously) to "make it rain" and/or "making it rain" anywhere possible (bathrooms, bars, cars). I got to see Oprah in the FLESH! I attended my first movie premiere (Scream 4) -- fun!

Mostly, in between all of the events, the friendships formed, and the absolute blast I had this entire year, I learned a few things about myself:

I'm actually pretty patient. I like being independent (eh, I already knew that). People like me for being who I am. If the email responses at work are any indication, I'm at the very least a little funny, somewhat clever, and people enjoy my writing. :) I tend to write people off; some of the best surprises are hidden under your nose, so give everything and everyone a chance! I have the travel bug!!! I'm turning into my mother. (I guess I have some tenderness in this cold, cold soul of mine somewhere...) I make the right decisions. My intuition is always spot-on. I'm a great investigator, a terrible loser (a great competitor?), and a decent car-and-shower singer when need be. I will never forget the choreography to "Oops...!" or "I Want You Back." Moscow Mules are my favorite; Ciroc Obamas are a close second. And at the risk of sounding completely vulnerable and like a total hopeful romantic: being single makes me whole -- I appreciate myself more than I ever have -- but deep down, I hope I find someone else (quoting Christina Yang: my "person") to share all the fun with. But who doesn't? :)

Thanks to everyone who made this past year so much fun for me. And to circle back to the title of this post, here's one of my favorite songs ever, as covered by Glee. We are young, my friends. xox

Dec 21, 2011

New beginnings

Folks,

You all know I love writing about beauty and my passion for hair, skin and nails! However, that content is coming to an end on Kirbie Goes to Hollywood. I will be doing a few more posts on Examiner.com, however, after the first of the year I won't be writing for them anymore.

I'm not giving up on my love for beauty -- there are several things in the works that will be coming up in the New Year that I can't wait to share with you. Kirbie Goes to Hollywood is still alive and kicking, minus the beauty giveaways and all that.

Happy Holidays!


Dec 20, 2011

Things I should be doing but I'm not: Part 2939292

You know when Diane Keaton is straight-up wailing in Something's Gotta Give? It's like, borderline ridiculous, and half annoying (yet an awesome movie)? That was me circa, oh, say, 25 minutes ago. I hate crying, I acting irrational, and I would like to believe I'm a patient, calm and collected when sh*t truly hits the fan. But tell me if sobbing like an infant in this situation isn't natural: 

I'm studying and rehearsing for tomorrow's shoot, when I realize I don't know when I'm supposed to get to the airport Thursday. Non-chaulant like, I login to Southwest.com to see my itinerary. 

EXCEPT THERE WASN'T ONE.

No upcoming trips.
No "Your Trip is Around the Corner!" email.

I thought it was bizarre because the first thing I did with my Southwest credit card was buy this trip home for Christmas with my free flight. I go back to my emails -- can't find any verification. I go to my sent mail to see if I forwarded to my parents. Nada. I even looked in my precious "Travel" folder on my Gmail and didn't find jack crap.

I. just. can't. I need this extended vacay. I need my childhood home. I need a home cooked meal. Please Lord, help a sistah OUT. I didn't go home for Thanksgiving, and I'm not missing Christmas!!!!

Cue the waterworks, people. For a hot minute, I thought I lost my mind and didn't book a flight home for Christmas. But you know me; I'm pretty on top of my stuff, especially when it comes to holidays -- definitely when it comes to Texas. Am I really this delusional? Am I now going to spend Christmas alone in bed, crying while watching A Christmas Story? (Or getting hammed, perhaps?)

I went to my Rapid Rewards statements and noticed a hefty amount was removed to Redeem reward travel on 12/22-1/02. JACKPOT. It had a confirmation number and everything. So, I give it the ol' honest try and enter in the confirmation number, but to no avail.


Southwest suggested I call them because they were having issues finding my reservation. (So help me God.) So here I am, at 1:00 in the morning, listening to elevator music/some derivative of the "Terms of Endearment" theme because, apparently, here's what happened (according to a very nice and accommodating Southwest representative):

  • I booked my flight
  • A "glitch" happened
  • My flight was not booked
  • Yet it still took out all my rewards points, didn't redeem them, and also didn't book the bloody flight
Thankfully, Tabitha is working with a tech consultant on getting this flight rebooked. I think she's doing it partly because it's her job, but mostly because she could tell I've been a blubbering buffoon. Furthermore, my parents have a real special, mostly inaudible but highly hilarious voicemail to (hopefully) delete immediately tomorrow morning. Something along the lines of "Wah wah wah, I'm not coming home for Christmas, wee wah wah wah." 

I still don't have a flight, but I need to get back to studying. Stay tuned!


Dec 14, 2011

Clarisonic Mia 2: THE WINNER IS...?

Most of you know my Type-A self, so following directions was key to this contest. If you didn't tag Clarisonic or include your email (although I already have some of y'alls on my list serve), then you weren't considered eligible for the prize. (Those of you that mentioned I already had it were entered.)

So, 15 of you went in the running for the Clarisonic Mia 2 and I'll let these pictures reveal the winner:


Beautiful roomie Erin picking the lucky winner!

INTENSE.

Can't read a damn thing...

Bailey!


Congrats to Bailey Shiffler! I'll be contacting you shortly so we can put you in touch with Clarisonic.

Thanks everyone for entering!


Dec 12, 2011

Giveaway: Win yourself (or a friend) a Clarisonic!

I'm really excited about this giveaway because the Clarisonic Skincare Brush is one of my absolute favorites! I had the original back in the day, but I recently tried out the Mia 2 and loooooveeeeeee it even more.

I'm an exfoliation junkie, so having a gentle yet effective brush to really clean my skin has been awesome. I recently had terrible skin and nothing was curing it, but I got the Mia 2 and my skin is back to its old self (hallelujah!).

For those of you not in the know, the Clarisonic is a professional skincare tool that cleanses and exfoliates, leaving skin clearer, softer and more youthful. By sloughing off the dead skin cells your dermis accrues over time, you're able to present even-toned, blemish-free skin to the world. Perfect for any age, it's on everyone's wishlist. I have two now and can't get enough! (It retails for $149.00)

But what good is having a product you love if you don't get to share it? So, the good people at Clarisonic are giving one of my readers their very own Clarisonic Mia 2! Just call me the Clarisonic Claus, and I'm coming to town. (I love puns.)

Here's how to enter to win the contest:
  • Like my blog on Facebook
  • Like Clarisonic on Facebook 
  • Comment on my Facebook page with why you want the Clarisonic to keep or to give. Nothing crazy, just a few words or sentences. Please include your full name and email. You also must tag Clarisonic in the comment, meaning, they have to be highlighted/linked on the page.
    • Note: once you like my Facebook page and Clarisonic's, it will take a few minutes before it will show up and available to tag. Please be patient.
  • Entry deadline is Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 at 12:00PM PST.
  • Winners are drawn at random.
Spread the word to your friends and good luck!

Holiday Shopping for the Ladies: Elephant in the Room

As a child, I hated White Elephant gift exchanges, mostly because I didn't understand them and nobody bothered to explain them to me. In all honesty, I was all about buying some extravagant gift that I could steal for myself, but my mother was always the one to bring me down to Earth and tell me to get something for $20 or less. Bah Humbug!

I inevitably would end up with a Chia Pet that looked (ironically) exactly like my Uncle Mark (who, for a majority of my life, had a fro). Why buy gifts that are a burden to have, rather than enjoyable? (Disclaimer: Uncle Mark is not a burden; he is rather a joy to be around. The Chia Pet version? Not so much.)

Well, my friends, thanks to ModCloth and Urban Outfitters, White Elephant exchanges are not only fun, but hipster chic. Being the Twitter bird that I am, I've been inspired by a few celebrities I follow. Here are some celebrity-inspired gifts (literally and figuratively) for your upcoming festive holiday soiree.

Chrissy Teigen: Moustache Bandages

I wouldn't recommend putting these on your upper lip unless you want a wax-like experience, but placing them around a cut on your finger makes for some instant entertainment. Side note: Chrissy (@ChrissyTeigen) is hands-down my absolute favorite person to follow on Twitter. She's hot (SI swimsuit model), self-deprecating, loves food, and does fun stuff with her boyfriend, John Legend. OH -- and she has THE CUTEST DOGS EVER. My affinity for english bulldogs (any bulldog really) is a defining characteristic of mine, and both her french & english babies are ADORE.A.BULL. (Get it?) I would happily babysit Pippa and Puddy here in LA if she ever needed someone local...



Kristin Cavallari: Bedazzled Vaseline
Win online or DIY



A girl in my office has a giant Vaseline in her office that's bedazzled and I'm semi-obsessed with it. Most of my friends know me as "The girl who owns a pink, leopard print, Swarovski bedazzled camera" (something fierce), and since Vaseline makes it to the #2 spot on my must-have beauty products list, I think this is an adorably-awesome gift idea. What's better? Make it yourself! Bust out the glue gun and create a sparkly, cheaper version for your best girlfrans. And don't stop there: bedazzle lotion, travel-size products, and the like! I wonder if @Glitter_n_Glue would do a featured how-to post?


Kikkerland Head Massager
$6.00, Urban Outfitters


This doesn't really remind me of a celebrity. I just figure a lot of these people must have intense headaches having to deal with the crazies here in LA. Also, it reminds me of a scalp massage at Drybar, an LA staple, so this is a great stand-in when you can't afford the $35 blowout!

Skuuzi Koozie
$28.00, Urban Outfitters



Again, no celeb inparticular comes to mind, but I feel like we'll see a thousand of these in Silverlake. If you choose to double-fist, you'll need to purchase two.

Sesame Street Mittens in Oscar
$34.99, ModCloth



Calling Jason Segal! Or my grouchy boss!

Statement of the Art necklace
$49.99, ModCloth



When I saw this, my brain screamed, "RACHEL. ZOE!!!!!!" I know it's a tad expensive for a White Elephant, but maybe you and your friends can decide on a chic-er version of White Elephant, like Opal Elephant.

The Elf Sweater
$49.95, TipsyElves.com 


This needs no introduction at all but HOLY KRIS KRINGLE. My obsession with Elf is situated at "particularly unhealthy" so this would be the gift I'd fight to the death for. Bye Buddy, hope you find your DAD!!!
Reindeer Hat
$24.95, TipsyElves.com


Where has this been all my life? I hope I can get expedited shipping for the holiday chaos that will undoubtedly ensue at the holiday party I'm hitting up this weekend!

Dec 9, 2011

Double take: Rachel Bilson & TopShop

Awesome!

In January's issue of InStyle, Rachel Bilson is shown wearing this Red Rose Patch dress from TopShop. I had previously used this dress in a Lancome contest on Polyvore, back in October. Pretty cool to see something you like on one of your favorite celebrities! Or maybe I have star style? Yeah? :)

Retro vintage cute -- Lancome Contest


 



Dec 8, 2011

Holiday Shopping for the Ladies: The New Couple

Some thoughts on how to woo that special someone without making a real commitment... yet. Obviously it involves some alcohol.


Also, HELP ME DECIDE!

Short?




or long?

Dec 6, 2011

On hold

Eh, lady of my word? Most of the time. However, work prevails against this precious blog, unfortunately. Also, I lost my sanity this past week when I didn't hit the gym, so I've been some enjoying some endorphins and getting my fitness on.

Anyway, the second Holiday Shopping for the Ladies video WILL be up on Thursday. New video, new theme, new products. Really excited! Also, I have some luxury beauty product pics on Examiner right now if you're antsy and want some recs for those women who are tres hard to shop for. 

Thanks for reading and watching, as usual! And for your patience...

Prayer request: Lauren Scruggs

Please pray for Lauren Scruggs. Lauren, based out of my home state: Texas, had an accident this past weekend. She was cut by a plane propeller on her face, shoulder, and last I read her hand had to be amputated.
This is obviously a trying time for her family, who lives in Plano, especially with the holidays coming up. This would a detrimental incident for anyone, but Lauren writes a blog: LoLo, and is an avid blogger & up-in-coming stylist. For writers and bloggers, our hands are so important to us. Please pray for Lauren's speedy recovery, that she is able to emotionally and mentally take on her injuries, and to help her perservere and rehabilitate so that she can get back to doing what she loves to do.

Lauren's parents describe her as a woman whose #1 priority is her relationship with God, and that she's "relying on Him" right now. I know she will be resilient with this state of mind! She's a beautiful woman with charm and talent, and I hope you will all join me in praying for her recovery.


Dec 5, 2011

New video gift guide Wednesday. Zero time tonight. Thanks for all of you who watched!!!



Holiday Shopping for the Ladies 2011: Girlfrans

Wahoo!

Here's the first video for Holiday Shopping for the Ladies of 2011! It's all about those ladies who outlive any man (literally and figuratively): your friends.

This is focused for women-on-women gifting, however, guys, you can definitely put these things together for your best girlfriends. Just be advised you'll forever be stuck in the "friends" zone if you gift her a Scentportable from Bath and Body Works.

The video skills are a tad rusty but give me a break, it's the first one I've done in a year. Sue me. It's somewhat choppy as I forgot videos have to be under 10 minutes for Youtube. I'll remember that tonight & will have another video up tomorrow! In the meantime, send me any suggestions you may have (kirbiej@gmail.com). I think I'll also go rogue and do a Gentleman's Gift Guide this year as well!

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Jr81eUDYNE



KirbieGoestoHollywood.com. Powered by Blogger.
Designed By Boutique-Website-Design