Highlight of My Year

The year 2010 seemed to have just breezed by. 

I don’t know why but as we get older, the days just pass quickly.  You wake up on a Monday (sometimes grudgingly), do your work or your errands… before you know it, it’s midweek already… and then it’s the weekend… and then you’re back to Monday. Unlike when we were young and the days seemed endless.  You stay in school for what feels like a very long time, but in reality, it’s just a school year.  Or remember those endless summer days and nights?  They just seemed, well, endless…

endless days

The last two weeks of December was a blur.  It was a series of Christmas parties, reunions, dinners and lunches.  It was mostly fun, somewhat tiring, and a whole lot fattening.  I think I gained about five pounds just these past couple of weeks.  THAT is definitely NOT the highlight of my year. 

I have to say, though, that I have honed my entertaining skills given the number of times I hosted a Christmas reunion/party at home this year.  Not bad for someone who used to be afraid of having guests at home.  Like I told a friend of mine, I was truly channeling Giada de Laurentiis these past two weeks!

sample of my feast

Right now I am preparing — yet again —  for another gathering… New Year’s countdown this time.  But before I turn on the domestic diva mode, let me recall the things that happened this year (2010) that pretty much stood out.

—  We moved to a new house end of 2009, and was fully settled by January.  Fully settled meaning most of the house is fully decorated.  However, we kept tweaking some parts — add tiles here, put a roof there, add glass and wood on the fence, etc… thus,  basically the relationship with the architect is long lasting.

— I became more hospitable, more welcoming… I learned how to warmly receive guests.  I used to be afraid of big parties at home.  I dreaded having to fix up afterwards.  For some reason, after we moved to the new house, my perspective changed.  I looked forward to having guests.  We have a group that meets at my home almost every other week.  I have thrown countless parties — and enjoyed every minute of organizing them.  One thing I learned, as I opened my house, I basically opened my heart to people, as well. 

— I started to write regularly again.  Thanks to this blog, I am able to do something that I am passionate about.  I may not be able to write as often as I want, but I do try.  And it’s the perfect outlet.  I love, blogging.

— A favorite writer of mine posted a comment on one of my blogs. Yey!  I almost died of shock, but yey! just the same. Did I say I love blogging?!

— I met new friends and got closer to old ones.  My baseball family is really like family.  I believe all those games helped strengthen the bond between us.  It is good to know that there are people who will look after my son when I’m not around… the same way that they can trust me with theirs when the need arises.  I am also thankful for the blog friends that I found this year.  Who would have thought?  I started blogging just with the goal of somehow being read by someone… I never expected I will form friendships along the way.  A big bonus… or better yet, a blessing. 

— We got a dog.  A yellow labrador. Now a big, yellow labrador. A big, yellow labrador that drags me around the garden whenever I am the one holding him.  I used to be afraid of dogs.  I didn’t like the noise, the smell and the thought that they might bite my legs.  But now I know what googly puppy look means.  My big labrador gives me that look and my heart just melts. I love this dog to bits!

— Sometime during the year I realized I was losing some jewelry.  The thing was, I couldn’t just accuse anyone.  Given the number of workers who went in and out of the house (because it has been a work in progress, like I said), I had no proof.  I was heartbroken.  For some time I didn’t know who to trust, how to trust… But then I guess the most important learning that I had given the incident was that after all that has happened, one’s relationships with people are still more important than any material thing.    And yes, I learned to be more careful (and responsible) with my things, too. During that really low point, I prayed for inner peace, more than anything. 

— I counted — and shared– my blessings.  I became more appreciative of what I have.  Appreciative and thankful.  And I learned how to share wholeheartedly… without expecting for anything in return.  I knew that when you bless someone, you will be blessed back.

count your blessings

Moving on… moving forward…

I am thankful for all the days I was blessed with this year, whether good or bad, exciting or boring… Am glad I was given those days.  I am thankful for friends, near or far… from baseball fields to malls, from Ohio to London to Sweden… You guys totally rock!!  I am so blessed, indeed.

And I am looking forward to another year of abundance. 

Happy New Year everyone!  See you next year… or tomorrow. 🙂

*** *** *** *** *** ***

photo credits: beach house and blessings — via weheartit.com;  Sumptuous feast — mine!!!

Christmas Rush and a Female Villain

Christmas Rush. 

Round and round going nowhere

A lot of times I wonder where the term originated from.  Freedictionary.com defines it as the flurry of activity during Christmas… La actividad frenetica de las Navidades… Okay, I was just trying to sound smart.  I got that from the online free dictionary, as well. 

Perhaps the term was coined because this phenomenon is universal.  For some reason, the season just seems to give everyone a dose of adrenaline boost.  All of a sudden, there’s so much to do… presents to buy (and wrap), Christmas parties to attend, work to finish before the Christmas/New Year break… Everybody’s on the go.  Stressed.  Happily stressed?  It depends on the person, really.

Shopping and Wrapping

Months back, I told myself I will not take part in the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping and preparations.  I made a Christmas shopping list early on so I’ll have time to prepare.  I think I did pretty well for the most part… finished shopping early enough.  Or so I thought.  Yesterday I found myself at the mall still buying some stuff. 

Worse, I paced myself in wrapping gifts (I personally do the wrapping because it’s somewhat therapeutic for me)… so for the past three nights, I have been sleeping past 1am because I was wrapping.  Pardon the analogy, but at some point last night I was beginning to compare the unwrapped gifts to the loaves of bread — they never ran out.      

Christmas Parties

We have family reunions, we have the Christmas midnight get together,  reunion with friends… lunches and dinners.  There is an overabundance of food.  Not that I am complaining because I do love getting together with family and friends.  But planning for those get togethers can be really taxing, too.  I have yet to finalize the menu for the Christmas dinner and family lunch that I will be hosting.  (…and right this moment I am asking myself what I’m doing in front of the computer when I still don’t know what to feed my guests in the coming days…)  Like I said earlier, STRESS…

To add to the neverending activities for this season, I was invited to an office Christmas party.  It’s imperative that I attend… and they even gave me a role (I’ll be a judge of an activity).  I know it’s going to be a fun night.  The only catch is, it’s a themed party… and everyone had to come in a costume.  And that included ME. 

The theme is “Comic Book Villain.”  Great, I had to add finding a female villain costume to my list of things to do. So I did what I do best when I needed an idea… I googled.

Female villain, hmmm… I did Catwoman years ago in my past life, so scrap that.  Poison Ivy — where will I get the red hair?? Oh, and the body that will go with the green leotard?!  Scrap that, as well.  The Evil Queen in Snow White or Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty.  (Are they even comic book characters?)  But didn’t I blog before that I WANTED to be Snow White — and not the Evil Queen??  I told myself, though, that if I don’t find a character I would like, I’d dress up as the Evil Queen — grudgingly so.

And then I found her… Lady Deathstrike

I am so channeling her!!

Former lover of Wolverine turned evil.  In that skin tight, all black leather outfit of hers, she’s a sight to behold!  Fine, I don’t have skin tight leather outfit (nor the body for that, as well), but I have black skinny jeans… I can improvise.  And the hair. I can do that — or at least, ask someone to do my hair just like that.  I can do my make up.  Piece of cake.  The only semi-difficult part would be finding the claws — which I ended up making myself (with bond paper, silver poster paint and lots of imagination)…

… and lastly, a pair of leather boots!  Now I have every reason to get myself a pair.  

these boots are made for walking...

~ * ~

Now that I think about it, I just realized that I got my Halloween “I-want-to-wear-a-costume” wish for Christmas…  Amazing! 

Forget the rush, forget the hustle and bustle… I know tomorrow and in the coming days I will be running around like the White Rabbit again, making last minute preparations for Christmas dinner (and everything else).  But tonight I will have fun channeling Lady Deathstrike.

I am happily stressed… and I do love the season!

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

*** *** *** ***

photo credits: Carousel via weheartit.com, Lady Deathstrike via google images.  Ralph Lauren leather boots via google images (though I so wish they were mine!!)

Extraordinary Day

happy birthday to me...

It’s just like any ordinary day.

You wake up at the same hour that you do everyday.  You walk the dog… have coffee… watch the sunrise.  Then you prepare your son’s things for school, wake him up, wait for him to get ready… bring him to school.

It’s the same old routine that you do day in and day out.  It seems like just any ordinary day.

But it’s not. 

It IS your special day.  It’s the day that you mark the anniversary of your birth.  And somehow you know that this day is anything but ordinary.

You look in the mirror and you try to find out if you have aged overnight.  Do you have more lines on your forehead?  Crow’s feet? Laugh lines?   Gray hair?  Worse, less hair?

You reflect about the year that was.  You try to think back and remember the good things that happened over the year.  Were you a good person? A good mother, partner, daughter, sister or friend?  Did you build new friendships?  Did you rekindle old ones?  Did you reach out to people you didn’t know… touch other people’s lives?  

Was the past year significant?

You look forward and think of the things you would still want to do… goals you want to achieve… dreams you want fulfilled.  You try to plan.  You dream some more.  You wish for things, and you think of ways to turn those wishes into reality.

You look forward and envision yourself making this new year relevant.  

AND then you think about today.  You take this time to regroup… to recharge.  You know that the past is over and done with and the future is still not within your grasp.  Today is yours.  Today is about YOU. 

You know that today is not like any ordinary day… because today marks the beginning of the rest of your life.

 *** *** *** *** *** ***

photo via weheartit.com

12 Gifts for Christmas

Glorious Treats

loving the holidays

I spent the most part of the day wrapping Christmas gifts. 

I am not complaining, really.  I think I love wrapping gifts as much as I love shopping for them.  For some reason I find wrapping gifts quite therapeutic.    I even sing — or hum– as I wrap.  I really get transported to another world and when I’m in the zone, nobody dares to bother me.

As I was wrapping — and humming Christmas songs this time — I got to think of the gifts I would want for myself. 

I had to dig in really deep.  You see, as much as I love the whole process of buying, wrapping and giving of gifts, I am not the type who will ask for something for myself.  Of course I like receiving gifts (who doesn’t?!), but I’m fine with anything that’s given to me.  I’m happy enough with just the thought of getting something.   Some people call it being cheap, I call it being appreciative.

~ * ~

After my last blog entry which was pretty serious stuff, here’s something quite shallow — and yes, bordering materialistic.  Shame, shame, shame!!  But since it’s the holidays, indulge me… 

12 Gifts I WANT for Christmas

#12.  A new cellphone.  With touch screen.  Color pink or white.  With unlimited call and text plan.

#11.  Nate Archibald (aka Chace Crawford) OR Damon Salvatore (aka Ian Somerhalder). Come on, a girl can dream!

be still, my heart...

favorite vampire

 #10.  Latest Glee CD (vol. 4) and the Glee CD Journey to Regionals

#9.  A 60′ Sony Bravia LCD TV with complete home entertainment system. For my Gossip Girl and Vampire Diary nights.

#8.  Complete DVD set of Charmed seasons 4-8.

#7. Complete DVD set of all seasons of How I Met Your Mother

#6.  Victoria’s Secret lingerieOne can never have enough VS underwear.

sale or no sale…

#5.  A gift certificate for a half day photo session with a famous glamour photographer. Make up and all.  Think Nigel Barker.  Such a dream!  Hopefully I don’t faint before the photo shoot even starts

#4.  Escada Perfume.

#3.  Asus Notebook. Preferably pink.  The Seashell Karim Rashid Collection is ultra hot!!!

to die for!!!

#2.  Something inside that little light blue box.   Specifically, Elsa Perreti collection Alphabet pendant with Open Heart Charm.

who can resist?

#1.  A Lexus convertible.

fit for a goddess

 

Like I said earlier, a girl can dream…

What’s on YOUR wish list?

*** *** *** *** *** ***

photos via weheartit.com and google images

Heart Matters… A Wake Up Call

if only band aids will work

I was about ten years old.

I have been sick for several days and my parents brought me to the family pediatrician. 

I heard the doctor discuss to my parents about rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart.  I didn’t really understand what they were talking about.  I felt too sick to pay attention.

I remember coming home after the pedia consult.  I was in my room, feeling so sick.  My sister — who I used to fight with a lot — was in the same room with me, but she was active and healthy.  Was even playing volleyball inside the room.  Apparently, she also heard the “rheumatic heart” discussion and took the opportunity to be mean and used the issue to her advantage. 

“You have a weak heart,” she says.  “You will die soon.”

To this day, I can still remember my ten year old self sitting at the edge of the bed, watching my sister playing volleyball, thinking to myself that maybe I had a rheumatic heart… and that maybe I was going to die young. 

I was scared.

~ * ~

It started with a regular check up.  They all start with a regular check up.  Since it’s my birth month, and it’s almost the end of the year, I decided to have the usual annual physical examination.  It was a routine.  A yearly thing.  Though  this year they added ECG (electrocardiogram)on top of all the other laboratory exams.

A few days after the exam, I called the clinic for the results.   The guy I talked to said the results were out already and I told him I would just pass by for them sometime during the week.  But before placing the phone down, I asked him to take a peek and to tell me the gist of it.  I was expecting him to say “Everything’s normal. You may get your copy anytime. No need to rush.”  Or something to that effect. 

Ma’am,” he says, “your ECG has some abnormal findings.  You may have to consult with a cardiologist.”

Huh?!  Did he say abnormal? “What exactly does it say?” I asked. 

Possible left atrial enlargement.”

I didn’t know what to say next.

~ * ~

I’m only 37. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t even go clubbing or stay out late at night.  The only vice I have is I drink coffee.  Maybe I drink too much coffee.  But other than that I don’t abuse my health. 

Okay, so maybe I don’t eat much (I’m always dieting)… and yeah, I don’t like sweating (who does?!), and I’m not exactly the active type of person.  I move slow.  I don’t really like being in a rush.  I used to joke that even my heartbeat is quite slow.  

I googled the enlarged heart condition and found out that it can be caused by hypertension.  Me?! How can that be? I am one of the calmest persons I know.  Heck, I don’t even get angry much.  I don’t easily get worked up on something.  It takes a lot to irritate me. 

Could it be what I eat?  But I don’t even eat much…    

My research also says it can be caused by obesity (uhm, hello?!), or stress.  Or it can be genetic.

~ * ~

I went to the clinic to get the actual results on that same day.  I knew it wouldn’t make any difference since I didn’t understand what it meant anyway, but I just had to read with my own eyes what the findings said. 

My sister met up with me to get the results.  When she saw me, the first thing she said was, “So, your rheumatic heart condition recurred?”  And that cracked both of us up.  I never did let her forget about how mean she was to me when we were kids, and somehow this present occurence reminded us about it.  It was funny because I NEVER had a rheumatic heart.  My parents just didn’t explain what it was that they were discussing at that time.

Now I was faced with another heart issue.  I told my sister not to tell our parents first– because they are the ones hypertensive and I didn’t want them to worry.   I told her I would have a cardio consult as soon as I get the chance.

~ * ~

I kept myself busy during the days leading to my cardio consult.  I tried to defer it a bit, what with all the things that are happening at this time of year.  I went to baseball games, did more Christmas shopping… I even organized and  hosted a birthday dinner for my mom and a Christmas dinner for some friends.   I tried to act as normal as possible.  Heart condition or no heart condition, well, life goes on.

And yet there were nights when I couldn’t sleep.  I’d just lie awake thinking of what would happen if the cardiologist confirms that I do have a heart problem.   My grandfather died of heart failure.  My great grandfather had heart problems, as well.  How will I deal with the condition?

And then the other questions… What if I’ll be needing an operation? Am I ready?  What if I have to be on medication for life?  What if I suffer a heart attack?  Who will take care of me?  What if I just suddenly die… Who will take care of my son? 

Sometimes I get scared.  A lot of times I felt like crying.  But I never did.

~ * ~

I watched an old man on a wheelchair being wheeled in as I waited for the cardiologist to arrive.  The old man was about 40+ years older than me.   It seemed pretty funny that despite our age difference, we were lined up to consult with the same doctor.

As I waited,  a lot of thoughts were running in my head.  I thought about the things that I had to do.  Thought about the things that I wanted to do.  I thought of listing down the places I want to visit, the vacations I want to make.  I thought about my still unfinished Christmas list.  For a moment I was afraid that if the results turn out bad, I might not be able to finish my Christmas shopping for the year.  I brushed that thought aside. 

I thought that maybe I should have brought a friend or my sister along.  No one should undergo this waiting experience alone.  It can be scary when one is left with no one but his or her own imagination.  But then I told myself I am brave enough to do this by myself.

Then the doctor finally called my name.

He looked at the results of my ECG and prescribed that I take another series of cardio exams.  He explained the possible causes of heart enlargement, but said that the ECG results are not always accurate.  He asked if I was feeling anything different, and I said no.  He asked if I notice my feet swelling… and I answered yes, after hours and hours of shopping (which I think is normal).  He said there’s no need to get ahead of ourselves.  He advised me to consult with him again after the results of the next procedure.

I was quite relieved in a way.   

It took me an hour to finish what was supposed to be a 15-minute procedure.  The technicians said they were having a hard time getting a clear picture of the chambers of my heart.  My heart, they said, rests right behind a rib and the bone is blocking the view, thus they cannot measure it fully.  I do have a lazy heart. 

~ * ~

Yesterday I went back to the clinic to get the cardio results and to consult with the doctor again.  Unlike the day before, I didn’t give myself the chance to think of the what ifs and what woulds.  I didn’t even try to make promises (Make me well and I promise to be a good person forever and ever)  nor bargain with the Maker (Make me well and I will serve more in church). 

But I prayed for healing.  And I prayed for acceptance. 

I told myself, too, that should everything come out normal, I will do my best to take good care of this body that I was blessed with.  No more crash diets.  No more caffeine overload.  More fruits and veggies.  Less sugar and salt, more water.  I will smile more.  I won’t get angry unnecessarily.  I won’t even be too emotional nor stressed.  

More movement.  I need to walk more.  I need to move more.  I need to let my heart do its pumping, otherwise it might just grow larger or just wither away. 

And I will do this not out of vanity, but because I want to prolong my life. 

There are still so many things I would want to do, people I want to meet, things I want to experience,  lives I want to touch.  And I won’t be able to do that  if my heart gives up on me. 

~ * ~

It was a false alarm.  My heart is still normal and healthy.  The cardiologist said I just need to be conscious of what I eat and do regular check ups, but over all, nothing’s wrong with my heart.

As I was leaving the clinic, I looked up to the heavens and said a short prayer of thanks.

Suffice it to say that this whole experience has changed me somewhat. 

*** *** *** *** *** *** ***

photo via google images

Princess for a Day… (A Birthday Blog)

fit for a princess

Twenty years ago, around this time of year, I celebrated my 18th birthday with a big party. With big, I meant, gowns, suits, good food, party coordinator, mobile band, photo and video coverage, the works. 

My real birthday wasn’t until after two weeks, but since it was December and there were a lot of bookings for Christmas parties and weddings, the only available date for our chosen venue was the first of December.  It was supposed to be a garden party but it started raining midday so the venue coordinator decided it was best to move the party to the main ballroom upstairs.

I remember visiting a nearby church that afternoon with my mom.  I remember seeing her crying, angry at the weather for ruining the original idea of having a garden party.  But as I prayed, I just offered a prayer of thanksgiving.  I thanked the Maker for, well, making me and blessing me with another birthday.  I thanked Him for the opportunity to celebrate with my family and friends.  I thanked Him for everything that I had and I think the only thing I asked for was for my friends to be able to attend.  (Oh, and I think I prayed for my accounting exam that I took the day before…)

Twenty years is a long time.  Somehow, I still remember bits and pieces of  my 18th birthday party…

  • I had no boyfriend then.
  • My escort was a cousin who was a couple of years younger.  He was more nervous than me because we had to do the waltz.
  • My sister and another cousin were the hosts of the evening.
  • My sister lost the list of names for my 18 roses dance.  She improvised.  Ended up calling the names of her friends instead of mine!! (Dear, dear sister.  I never let her host any of my events after this)
  • I have a family friend nicknamed Booey who was asked to dance by a schoolmate of mine.  With the music blaring, he couldn’t quite get her name right.  He kept calling her “Boobsy” the whooole night.  (Shame!!)
  • I had a hundred guests. I think half of those were my parents’.  Hahaha.
  • It was 1990.  The song of the night — if not the year — was… All right stop, collaborate and listen…  “Ice, Ice Baby.” 
  • Ice, Ice Baby ended the evening.

Vanilla Ice was THE man!!!

I was a happy, single, 18yr old sophomore college student then.   I was studying in a good university, I had great friends, my family was intact.   Perhaps my main and only real concern at that time was passing my Accounting exams. 

At that time I didn’t really know yet what I wanted to do in life.  I was young, naive and pretty clueless about my future.  Maybe I was a bit scared of uncertainty, but I was expectant of great things to happen.

~ * ~

Now,  20 years (and about 20 pounds) later…

I am no longer the naive girl that I once was.  Experience has taught me a lot.  I can make my own decisions and I am firm about the things that I want as well as the ones that I don’t.  I value my non-negotiables.  I now know when to shed a silent tear and when to be a drama queen.  I choose my battles… and I try to choose well.

Oftentimes I am clueless about certain things… but because I am a mom and children look up to me, I try to exude confidence and intelligence.  Moms are supposed to be all-knowing, so I dare not burst the child’s bubble. 

I still get scared of things unknown, things uncertain.  But now, I have more faith in myself. I also have more faith in Someone greater than myself.  I know I will be led.

I still continue being thankful.  Thankful that I have a family that has been ever supportive.  Thankful for my son — the very reason why I try to be the best person I can be, always.  I am thankful for not being alone.  I am thankful for my high school friends who are still my bestest friends ’til today. I am thankful for the new friendships that I have forged.  

I am thankful for this gift called life and for each and every breath that I continue to take. 

And I thank the heavens that I don’t have to take another accounting exam ever. Ever, ever…

Just as I was when I was 18, I am still expectant of greater things to come.

~ * ~

Let's parteee!!!

 

I have no plans for this year’s birthday yet.  Most likely I will spend the day wrapping Christmas gifts… then maybe have a quiet dinner with the family.  Maybe my birthday weekend will be about baseball games and Christmas parties.  I really don’t mind.  At the end of the day, it’s about spending it with the people I love.

It’s 2010.  I have no idea what this year’s best song will be… but I have a feeling I’ll be hearing Justin Bieber’s Baby over and over before the year ends…

 

*** *** *** *** ***

photos via google images and clipart

Service with a Smile

via google images

Yesterday as I was doing some christmas shopping (it never really ends, does it?), I was approached by this salesperson who asked if I needed any help in finding something.   I said I was okay and that I could manage. 

He lingered a bit,  saw my shopping list and  when he saw how long it was, jokingly asked  if I was sure I didn’t need any help.  He offered some suggestions which were truly helpful.  And then he was called by another customer — who looked like she really needed someone’s help.  But before he turned his back, he told me that he’ll just be there in the area, in case I needed some assistance.

I really appreciate salespeople who extend quality service.  By quality service, I mean, it’s not just about getting me the product/s that I need.  It’s about the way they attend to me as a customer.  I don’t like salespeople who move like programmed robots… the ones who just memorize a spiel but are blankfaced when you inquire about something they are not prepared for.  Nor do I like the ones who are too pushy and who oversell.  But I think the ones I dislike the most are the ones who can’t even smile… the ones who make you feel like you are being a burden when you ask for assistance.

~ * ~

My love for shopping makes me a perennial customer, but I do know how it feels to be on the other side… the side that provides the ‘service.’

Having worked for the front office as well as the customer service department of a big company in my past life, I have faced a lot of different personalities.  Not all of them were nice, believe me. Some people can be really rude or overbearing.  There are those who have the tendency to look down on other people, well, just because.  And when you are a sales person, a front office staff or a customer service personnel, or have whatever frontline job, you are prone to coming across different characters.

how will you fare?

 

In my years of doing frontline work, here are some things that I learned about customer service that hopefully can be valuable to the readers who are also in the same line of job.

1)  Smile  And I mean ALL the time.  Yes, smile though your heart is breaking.  Smile even if you’ve been standing the whole day and your feet are killing you.  Your customers don’t know that.  If you are the type who loves to channel Oscar the Grouch, then by all means, choose another department… far from the front office, far from the customers. 

2)  Be courteous, polite and friendly

3)  Be professional.  When I said friendly, I didn’t mean you should overdo it.  Customers are still customers.  No matter how long you have known them, or how often they go to your store or your company,  keep in mind that you have to treat your customers with respect. Don’t be all chummy-chummy, and avoid making jokes specially at the expense of the customer!  It’s okay to kid around once in a while with customers you are already comfortable with, but still know your place.  Don’t be OVERfriendly.  It could cost you your job.

4)  Let the customer or client talk.  Find out what he/she needs.  Don’t assume.  You are not a mind reader. 

Be different

5)  Be knowledgeable.  Know your company. Know your products. Know current events if needed. As a customer myself, I really hate it when I am asking for something and the sales person answers me with either a flat out ‘No’ or ‘I don’t know,’  without even exerting any effort to either look for the product or offer me alternatives.

6)  Go the extra mile.  In line with #5, going the extra mile or giving a service that is more than what is expected of you makes you different from all the rest.  Chances are your customers will remember you.  AND they will come back.  Happy customers normally come back.

7)  Patience is a virtue.  Don’t rush the customer.  Don’t act like you can’t wait to get rid of him or her.    Some customers take longer time to think or decide on certain things.  There are fickle buyers.  Offer suggestions as you see fit and leave them first if they need more time to think. But like the guy in my example above, let them know that you are just there to assist when they’re ready.  Surely they will appreciate the space rather than having you breathing over their shoulders.

8)  Remember, it is NOT personal. Frontliners face different people with different moods and temperament day in and day out.  Any given day, you may come face to face with not just one but maybe even two or more irate customers.  Customers who, themselves, are having a bad day and somehow end up displacing their anger.  Unfortunately, you end up being at the receiving end.  So, what do you do? Do you cry?  Do you shout back?  Do you walk out?

Best thing to do is just keep quiet.  Let the customer blow off his steam.  It will pass, eventually.  And if you really are not at fault, somehow the customer will realize that.  Most often than not, they even become apologetic in the end.  Just remember, it’s not about you.  Don’t take it personally.

and lastly…

9)  SMILE.  I just have to say it again.  It all starts — and ends — with a smile.  Works wonders on a stressful day.  Makes you look much, much younger, too. 

🙂

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photo via weheartit.com and google images