Take it on the chin and act on feedback
I TEND to look at this town through rose-coloured glasses at times and anything another town can do, Stanthorpe does better.
I sing the praises of the Granite Belt from the highest peaks and am not ashamed to proclaim my family's long history in the region. But in the space of 24 hours I have heard a few 'minor' negative comments about my beloved town.
They weren't an attack, just merely an observation - but it did make me stop, think and question... are we as residents listening to feedback and taking it on board?
My first phone call back from the Christmas break was from an irate client who was very disappointed that we didn't have a message on our phone letting people know about our closure and a contact number in case of emergencies.
I assured her that we had a big sign on the door and had put numerous announcements in the paper. The problem was, she was from Hervey Bay, so how was she to know? Now I didn't like the criticism, but I have rectified the problem and our phone system has been upgraded to include an after hours message.
So, what are we to do when we are told by someone that this is one of the most beautiful towns they have ever been through, but struggled to find things like 'red bridge' - the place that so many people had talked about.
How do we handle feedback like, "the websites are outdated, they advertised they were open, they didn't say they don't cook until lunch time or I saw the sign on the highway, but after looking for hours apparently the business isn't here anymore”?
Now don't get me wrong, marketing of our region (as a whole), major signage and the opening and closing of our Visitor's Information Centre is definitely out of our control (and you all know my thoughts on that one), but as residents, staff and business owners we are all ambassadors of our region. This region really is a gem. The Granite Belt has it all, but it can sometimes be those little things that leave a little sour taste in our visitors' mouths.
Take the time to update your details, your facebook, your website. Make sure you include your address and phone number on all your advertising. Don't ever assume that 'everyone' knows who you are and what your speciality is and most importantly, get to know your region.
Let's be honest, we are never going to be everyone's cup of tea, but there is nothing stopping us from being our own solution and changing the coffee drinkers of the world into sipping our brand of tea.