The Smarties and Dum-Dums of the Business World

The following is a guest post written by my friend, Amber Christensen, of

The Smarties and Dum-Dums of the Business World

Last Saturday, our microwave stopped working mid cheese-melt. From grilled cheese sandwiches and quesadillas to chili nachos, my kids think melted cheese is the only food group. We were in a crisis!


My husband and I had a babysitter lined up for the evening but instead of heading to the bowling alley, we went to a furniture store. We walked in ready to buy and passed at least four available salesmen who failed to acknowledge us. One was looking at his phone, one was watching a football game, and two were talking to each other. The only other one I saw was helping another customer.

We found the microwave we wanted and after he finished his other sale, the man who had been with another customer came to help us. We told him exactly what we wanted: a white over-the-range model. We didn’t know how to remove the old one or install the new one, so he gave us a little demonstration. He also offered tips on how to protect our stove top when making the switch. Next time I’m in the market for an appliance, I will find that same salesman. By putting forth a few minutes of extra effort, he earned my continued business.

Anyone who approached us that evening would have had a guaranteed sale. Yet there were four people who chose to let someone else earn the commission. Even in the same company, or on the same sales floor, customer care makes a big difference to your bottom line.

In an online business, responding to emails, blog comments, or Facebook messages is just as important. If customers don’t feel their needs and concerns are being met, the next guy is only a Google search away. If you’re a blogger simply trying to grow your audience, this still applies. Readers who leave comments are looking to interact. Genuinely responding will help them become loyal readers. I have blog friends I’ve never met who I would sprint toward and hug if I ever got the chance!

Now let’s go back to a brick and mortar scenario and take customer care to another level. When kids are involved, it’s a whole new ball game. Unless you own an indoor playground, there’s a good chance the parents don’t want their kids in your shop any more than you do. But things have to get done regardless, so sometimes the munchkins have to tag along!

It’s amazing how a toddler can turn a two-minute conversation into a ten-minute ride on a constantly derailing train of thought.

Normal conversation: I’m wondering if you have any of these in black or if you know when you’ll get more in.

Conversation with a half-pint bopping around: I’m wondering if. . .Don’t touch that! Anyway, do you. . .Come here, I said don’t touch that! I need these in black. . .Put that down! Sorry, I’ll be right back.

Are you ready for the secret solution to this? Be a smarty and stash an emergency bag of Smarties behind the counter. Hand the kid a treat and you can converse in peace! I usually have some in my purse, but sometimes I forget to replenish my supply.

I was in that exact situation at a copy center when the ownder offered my son a Dum-Dum sucker. Problem solved! A cheap bag of candy can win over both the heart of the child and the loyalty of the parent. Unfortunately, some people will hold this against you, so use your best judgment. If you’re not sure about it, quietly ask the parent first.

There are plenty of other businesses and blogs selling the same thing you are. Whether you’re saving people from half-melted cheese or building your email list, customers like to hang out where they feel important.

When it comes to the smarties and the dumb-dumbs of the business world, having a great product is only half the battle. The other half is great customer care, and it makes all the difference!

amber christensenAmber Christensen is the funniest mom of 2016.  She’s “learned that finding the humor in parenting is essential to staying sane,” and blogs about it over at  You can also find her book, “Memoirs of Mayhem: The Good, The Bad, and The Hilarious” on  Be sure to like her page on Facebook!

So what do you think about those smarties and dumb-dumbs?  Amber and I would love to hear about it in the comments!

And, please pass this along to a friend, and have them stop by Amber’s blog.  Her special dose of humor may just carry them through that next job of scrubbing crayon off the walls!

6 thoughts on “The Smarties and Dum-Dums of the Business World”

  1. Amber, you are so right. The customer service here in Spain is horrible. They usually don’t pay much attention to you but many times, when they do they don’t know what they are talking about.

    However, when you find a person that actually helps you it is a wow!

    I understand that when you have a large blog it is tough to reply and stay connected, but I don’t get when that happens with smaller channels. I get so excited when I get a comment or a RT! My audience is the first thing I want to take care of.

    BTW, the story about the kids is great. I don’t have them, but I can see the problem.

    Have a great day!

    1. Thanks for chiming in, Alba! Always love hearing from you. Amber is fast becoming one of my favorite writers. She’s totally hilarious, and has great perspective.

    2. Thanks Alba, and thanks for reading my post! Different cultures definitely have different perspectives on customer service. I tried to cancel a transaction in Italy once after realizing I bought the Women’s version of a fragrance I needed in Men’s. I hadn’t yet signed the receipt, but they were not about to reverse the transaction or let me out of the store until I signed. They said I could buy both if I wanted, but they couldn’t help me otherwise. In America they would have just canceled the charge. Either way, I wasn’t about to buy anything else from that store!

      1. That is so weird! They would have done the same here in Spain, I believe. Or maybe they would have finished the transaction and then give it back in cash or something. I don’t see a reason for not accepting it.

        Anyhow, it was great to read you. I will stop by on your blog for sure.

        Have a good day!

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