How A barista made my day Passion Squared blog

How A Barista Made My Day

“Customer service is not a department, it’s everyone’s job.” Unknown

A barista at Starbucks made my day.

She surprised and delighted me. She did something unexpected.

What did she do?
She offered me a free beverage.

Well that seems like no big deal.
It was a big deal.

Because it was simple, unexpected and it made me feel valued and happy.

My loves, at the end of the day, all of the marketing programs, fancy Instagram posts, Workshops and Classes don’t matter if we do not remember what matters most, a happy client.

Now, I know what you may be thinking. “Nina, we cannot give stuff away”. I get it, but that’s not the point. I am a regular customer who came in to purchase a pound of espresso, which I do about every 10 days. She did not know me. She did not need to. She just felt like and had the autonomy to do something special.

And that is all.

Surprise. Delight. And make me feel valued and happy. Be a day maker. And give your team permission to be one too.

And if you do, your clients may be inspired to share their experience with their friends. And on Yelp. And even, in a blog post like I did.

Love + Awesomeness-

PS: A big shout out to the Starbucks on Flower + 9th in DTLA. You made my day. Thank you.

3 Ways To Lose A Client Passion Squared blog

3 Ways To Lose An Awesome Client

We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better. ~ Jeff Bezos, Amazon 

We often hear talk about how to keep a client, but today, I am reminding you of how to lose one.

Why? Because sadly, I am seeing more and more the most simple things being overlooked when engaging with a business that I felt inspired to share this reminder with you.

First off, why do we lose clients? Several ways. It all comes down to broken promises, over time, which leads to diminishing trust, which ultimately makes a client decide to choose to go elsewhere.

Recently, I visited a service establishment that pretty much violated most of the reasons clients don’t stay. As I walked in, I was greeted, so yay! But from there, it all went downhill. For some context, there were 6 team members and 2 clients in the business when I arrived. They asked me sit down and wait for my service but never told me where to sit. Once I figured out for myself where to sit, I began to cough. And cough some more. Then some more. For over one minute, I coughed. Yet, it was not until over a minute of coughing that someone decided it was a good time to offer me a beverage.

When I sat for my experience, I was never offered another beverage, even though there were still only 2 clients in the business with idle team members watching TV and staring down at their phones. Really?

I requested a specific service be done, yet, I had to ask 3 times at which point the service provider finally heard me and did what I requested.

Upon checkout, which took WAY too long for no good reason, I was asked 3 times if I wanted a receipt. THREE times. I was never asked if I wanted to leave a tip, how my experience was, not was I asked when I wanted to pre book my next appointment. The fundamentals, forgotten or ignored.

1. Not Listening

This is the foundation of everything. Listening says so much. If we really listen, we can ensure our clients needs are being taken care of. When we listen we show we care. When we listen we deliver awesome experiences. When we deliver awesome experiences, clients are inspired to share them with their friends.

2. Not Providing An Awesome Experience

The client experience begins LONG before we walk through the door. It begins upon first contact. This could be our experience with your online platforms, how we book our appointments, how appointments are confirmed, how we are treated upon entering the business, during our service, checking out of our service, and any post service follow up. This can speak to the products you use, to the towel quality, the beverage service, the music being played, the energy in the space, and so on; experience matters.

3. Not Caring

How do we show we care? We pay attention, we listen, we respond, we engage, online and off, I can tell if you care, and I can tell if you do not. Do you care if I ever come back? If you do, one way to show me is to remind me to book my next experience before I leave. If you care about my experience as a client, you will do everything in your power to ensure my needs are being met, including offering me a beverage the first time you hear me cough. If you care, you will ask me to share my experience on Yelp. And so on, and so on, and so on.

Why does this happen?

Many reasons. Sometimes it may be lack of training, lack of systems, lack of expectations, lack of engagement in the business, a disgruntled team, lack of culture, or lack of leadership.

In this case, the owner was not present. But if leaders do their job, the owner should not have to be present for an awesome experience to be delivered consistently.

What can you do about it?

Take a good, objective look at your experience. The systems, the training, the team, the culture, your brand promise, and your ability to lead. Most likely, something is missing or broken. The good news? You can change it, if you really want to.

Start with brand purpose and promise. Are you clear and is your team clear? What do you stand for? Believe in? Who is your target client? Do you understand them and what they value? What specifically does your experience look and feel like? Is the team crystal clear on how to deliver that experience consistently and what it looks and feels like? What systems can you build to ensure the experience is delivered? How will the team be held accountable if the experience is not delivered consistently.

One last thing…

As I mentioned in the beginning, there were 2 clients in the salon and 6 service providers. What were the other 4 service providers doing? Nothing. In 2017, there is NO reason in the world to do nothing. If you want to build a clientele, the KEY word is “want”, then it’s your responsibility to build those relationships. One way to do that today is by engaging on social platforms. Create content that is of value to your client. Engage. Build relationships. Create content. Engage. Build relationships. For the one hour I was there, those 4 service providers could have done a mini photo shoot, created a video, done an Instagram or Facebook LIVE, written a blog, practiced their craft, etc.

If you don’t have the clients you dream of, the only place to look is in the mirror. Then at your phone, not to play games, but to create and share content, engage, deliver value and build relationships.

With love-

PS: Just after I finished writing this post, I saw this in my inbox from the awesome Seth Godin. Let it sink in and share it with your teams…

The best time to study for the test… is before it’s given.
The best time to campaign is before the election.
And the best time to keep a customer is before he leaves.- Seth Godin

Video blog Passion Squared hd

Video Killed The Radio Star

I want my MTV

It was August 1, 1981, a day I will always remember. It was the day MTV came on air, and it was insane! The first video that played was Video Killed The Radio Star by The Buggles. That day, our world forever changed. That day was almost 36 years ago.

As one obsessed with music from a very young age, I was fixated on the idea that my songs were given a new life, and I was able to actually see the artists through these things called music videos. All was well in the world.

Most of us had no clue what all this meant from a technology side, we were kids in high school, who only cared about where the next party was and when our next concert was gonna be.

Fast forward to today. In 2017 we all have the opportunity to be our own VJ’s, have our own MTV channel, and we have YouTube + Facebook + Instagram to thank for that.

With the rise of Facebook LIVE and Instagram LIVE, we can now get even closer to our communities and deepen the relationships we have already been building. We can deliver even more value to empower those who have chosen to engage with us. And that is awesome AF.

Here are some LIVE basics to help you create more awesome for your tribes…

Facebook LIVE
Zuckerberg has made it very clear. If you want to “get it right” on Facebook, you gotta embrace Facebook LIVE as well as upload “native video” meaning not sharing links to Facebook but uploading videos direct to Facebook.

Why? Well, if you ask me, he wants to “own” it all, and its a direct assault to YouTube. What’s the reward for doing this? We get to be “seen” more in the newsfeed, which means people can engage more with our content. Period. If you feel victim to the algorithm, then its time to fall in love with LIVE.

Facebook LIVE Tips
1. Who is your audience and what do they value?
2. Create a plan including topics and frequency of LIVES, be intentional and purposeful
3. Create a space that allows for a strong WiFi signal, good lighting, sound along with a tool to keep your phone steady
4. Communicate when you will be broadcasting
5. Engage with your audience while LIVE
6. Title your LIVES with words relevant to your topic
7. Share your LIVE videos on other platforms if relevant
8. Practice if you are uncomfortable, it gets easier the more you do it
9. Be human, this is the social web, and social means SOCIAL
10. Edit your LIVE when it’s finished- on your page, you have many options today, including choosing the best thumbnail image, adding captions (most people watch videos on Facebook with the sound off), adding keywords for targeting, etc.

Click here for more tips on creating an awesome Facebook LIVE

Instagram LIVE Tips
1. Who is your audience and what do they value?
2. Create a plan including topics and frequency of LIVES, be intentional and purposeful
3. Create a space that allows for a strong wifi signal, good lighting, sound along with a tool to keep your phone steady
4. Communicate when you will be broadcasting
5. Engage with your audience while LIVE
6. Practice if you are uncomfortable, it gets easier the more you do it
7. Be human, this is the social web, and social means SOCIAL

Instagram LIVE does not have a save option, at this point, so to be sure you are delivering the most value, #4 is really important.

Click here for more tips on creating awesome with Instagram LIVE

Here are links to the tools I use for my LIVES
Clip On Ring Light

Ring Light

Mini Tripod Kit

Tripod Kit

Now you have all the tools you need, and the most important one, YOU! And your passion for building deeper relationships with your tribe by delivering a ton of value through your LIVE streams.

And lastly, please join me each week on Instagram Tuesday mornings at 7am pacific for my Q+Awesome Instagram LIVES and every Wednesday morning at 7am pacific for my #WednesdayWisdom Facebook LIVES.

Mad Love + Gratitude-

Nina xo


Two Ingredients of An Awesome Client Experience

Focus on the shit that matters.

When was the last time going to the vet was an awesome experience? For me, it’s been way too long. And while this story is about a vet visit, my experience applies beautifully to small businesses of many kinds, salons included.

When it comes to client experience in the social + digital age, there are several opportunities which allow us to engage our clients and make them feel special and cared for. And in doing this, we can also capture their experience and turn that into stories to share online and off.

Going to the vets office (and the salon) sometimes comes with a bit of anxiety. Knowing that, it’s clear that Mohawk Alley Animal Hospital made it a priority to make their experience less stressful and more joyful.

The Photo Booth
The first thing I noticed when entering Mohawk Alley Animal Hospital on Courage Jude’s first visit was a photo booth. What? A photo booth at the vets office? Yep. A photo booth at a vets office.

For all the pet parents out there we know that capturing photos with our babies is a big part of our daily existence. Mohawk knows this too. We were immediately put at ease, because #selfiesession

Simple Booth Photo App + iPad at Mohawk Alley Animal Hospital in Echo Park, California

The name says it all. Simple Booth. And based on their website, it truly is that simple to create a space where clients can capture their experiences to share with their friends and create content for you to share on your social platforms. They have three different packages to choose from for different sized business and needs. Then just add an iPad and you are in business. Just as we share creating a space to capture your work, this takes up very little space and it so worth it. #yourcontentisyourmarketing

Business Is Personal
The next thing that captured my eye, and heart, was also incredibly simple. A personalized welcome. That’s it. And you know it only took a few seconds to make such a huge impact. So much so that I have dedicated an entire blog to it. Good Morning Courage.

Both of these “little things” are two ways to make your client experience even more awesome. These two “little things” along with a system to execute on them consistently, can turn an average visit to your business into an awesome visit.

Two simple ways to make your clients experience even more awesome, memorable and special. Two ways to encourage word of mouth. Two ways to deepen the relationship between you and your clients. Two ways to create more awesome. What are you waiting for?

Love + Awesomeness-
Nina xo

PS: A big shout out of love and gratitude to the awesome humans at Mohawk Alley Animal Hospital for making Courage Jude’s first visit one that brought smiles to our hearts and faces. And to Courage’s new vet Dr. Lena Braham, we love you!

dr-lena-braham                                                 Dr. Lena Braham and Courage Jude Louis Kovner


Is Your Business Disoverable Passion Squared blog

Is Your Business Discoverable?

The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place. George Bernard Shaw

One of the most effective ways we grow our business is by engaging new clients. Word of mouth and referrals are the way this happens. We all know this. With the social + digital web, we have an awesome opportunity to amplify word of mouth and referrals. Yet, unless we are present on the platforms that people use to find businesses, then we have missed the opportunity to be discoverable.

So let me take you on a little journey, and before you jump on, put your “client” hat on…

I want or need something

I am going to look for it

Yay, I found it.

I am going to click, call, book, buy…. or NOT!

There are two ways I like to look at search and discovery. There is social and digital. Both need to be looked at now as mobile search as nearly all of our day to day online activities are happening via our mobile.

Social search is what it sounds like, searching on social. This is what we do when we use the search bar on Facebook, peruse hashtags or use the discovery page on Instagram or even use Snapchat to find businesses via a tool like Ghostcode, Add Nearby, etc. See where I am going with this?

Digital search is a more traditional type search like Google, Yelp, YouTube, Yahoo, Siri, etc.

The Job of Search Engines & How You Benefit
Both social + digital platforms and search engines are designed to deliver to us the most relevant and recent results for the terms we used to search. So if your business is relevant to the search and you are active on the platforms you have chosen, you have more of a chance of being in the top results.

Put Your Consumer Hat Back On
Ask yourself and think about the last time you searched for something online.
What terms did you use?

Now think about clients looking for your business.
What terms would they use to find you?
What is your “thing”? What experiences do you offer?
Who is your audience?
All these things need to be thought through to ensure you get matched up with the ideal target clients.

The words, posts, photo descriptions, about sections, etc. need to be relevant to your brand and business so when I go looking, I find YOU.

What Pages Matter?
Well, there are some that matter to all and then some that matter depending on your target audience as we always want to be where our clients are. But here is a good start.
Google Business

Now Its Your Turn!

This week, I want you to set aside one hour to do some more searches of your own. Then head back to your social + digital pages and see where you can improve your chances of becoming more discoverable. Think words, think pictures and their descriptions, think contact info, brand name, services and specialties, all those things matter.

And if you feel extra inspired, click here and let me know what you discovered and what actions you will take.

Love + Awesomeness-