No.12 / February 19, 2006

The Corporate Muse

Welcome to the anniversary issue of The Corporate Muse.  We launched this ezine one year ago.  Thanks for joining us for our birthday celebration. Hope you enjoy this month's articles and tips. As always, we'd love to hear from you.  Send your comments to:



   Experiencing Great Service

In previous issues, we've spotlighted some of the dreadful service we've received. This month, we want to share just the opposite.


For several months, I've had a skin condition that has baffled my regular doctor. She finally referred me to a dermatologist. My experience with dermatologists is limited to high school acne. I remember my visits there as being pleasant. He checked my face, gave me a handful of horse pills and finished with dry ice treatments. Okay, I know, they sounds painful or at least uncomfortable, but they were neither. In fact, I looked forward to them -- I enjoyed them that much!


That was then, this is now...


As I always am upon meeting a new doctor, I was a little anxious as I rode the elevator to his office. When I followed the nurse back to the exam room, I didn't know quite what to expect. Right away, she put me at ease.


She told me to have a seat, while she sat across from me. For a good five or six minutes, she questioned me about my malady. Not to discredit my GP -- she's a good doctor -- but her office is always hectic and she only has a few minutes to allocate to each patient. During the time the dermatologist's nurse explored my symptoms, I was struck by the difference. There was no rush. There was no feeling of being a number. This woman had time for me. She gave me the sense she'd take all the time necessary to take down the information. Maybe she had four or five other patients waiting for her, but her attention remained on me. I felt important.


But the best was yet to come...


I have a childish fear of needles. It's a legitimate phobia -- even has a name -- two in fact: Aichmophobia and Belonephobia. I appreciate how silly it is for a grown woman to be afraid of a little old inoculation, but I am. I mentioned it to the nurse. Probably a good thing too, because after the first shot and biopsy, I reacted badly. I began shaking uncontrollably and apparently went white.


Now I realize any doctor's office will jump into action when a patient doesn't respond normally to a procedure. While they maintained the expected sense of urgency, there was the unexpected addition of care. Not in the traditional meaning of "health care," but a step beyond. Was I comfortable? Could she get me anything? (She brought me apple juice.) Don't get up until you’re sure you're ready. The doctor returned briefly to check my vitals. The nurse even covered me with my coat and sweater when I complained of being cold. I stayed in that room for almost a full half hour. And never once did I feel like I was taking up space or time unnecessarily.  


When the moment came for me to have the corticosteroid shot I'd opted for over another dose of Prednisone, the nurse called in her colleague, a more practiced "inoculator." Just for the record, it didn't hurt a bit. I even told her she could give me a shot any time.


The preferential treatment wasn't by accident...


Once to the doctor and once to the nurse, I commented, "You're so nice." Each responded, "We try to be," with a smile that said they meant it. 


In his book, What Customers Really Want, Scott McKain writes, "What do customers REALLY want? Ready? Here it is: Customers desire a connection with the people and organizations with whom they do business so the outcome is a compelling experience that transcends mere transactions." (Underline mine.) Businesses that understand this principal set themselves apart from the ordinary. Most of us go to the doctor expecting to be treated like just another patient. We don't fault doctors because we understand they are busy. That's what makes my encounter with the dermatologist so exceptional. 


Being a specialist means he probably has fewer patients and can devote more time to each one's needs. He doesn't have to hurry through his day. But on my second visit they were running behind because he was performing surgery. My point? He has the same stresses of other doctors, but he and his partner have built their practice through offering superior service. It distinguishes them from the adequacy meted out elsewhere.


Setting yourself apart from the crowd...


"Differentiation works ... and differentiation comes through experience ... The customer experience is that powerful feeling generated when the processing goes right, the service is impeccable--and there is a compelling emotional element that engages the customer," again from Scott McKain's book. I had a "compelling emotional experience." So much so, that I bragged about it to my husband, sent a Thank You card, and am touting it here. At this particular office, they coddled me, sympathized with me and showed me genuine concern. Next appointment, they won't remember my name without looking at my chart, but it doesn't matter. Each encounter is unique. And making sure it stays true is what savvy business people do every day.


In this world of bad, mediocre or satisfactory service, it's easy to stand out by simply being especially nice. Consumers remember their horrific experiences, but they'll recall the outstanding ones even more, because they are so rare.


Being a cut above doesn't have to be hard. Performing one act of extraordinary kindness can set you apart from your competition. And practicing thoughtfulness might mean the difference between just another burger joint and the place everyone's talking about. Strive to be a standout and I bet you'll have your customers bragging about you in their newsletters.  (SKC) 


       © QuickSilver Copywriters 2006 – Andy & Shawn Catsimanes;; mailto:; Sign up for The Corporate Muse:




We've signed on for an exciting new project. We're co-authoring a book with a number of other copywriters and Internet marketers (as yet untitled).


Our chapter is on networking. Over the next several months, we'll include ideas and excerpts in this section of The Corporate Muse. Prior to the book's publication, we'll offer an advanced purchase at a special price to all of our subscribers.


When deciding on a topic to write about, I resisted the idea of networking. I'm not good at it. Both Andy and I are inclined to be shy when meeting new people. So why would we choose to write about something we don't excel in? That's easy really -- because networking is crucial to the success of any business.


Before researching this subject, my understanding was limited. When I heard the word "Network," I pictured going to meetings, introducing myself to new people and handing out business cards. What I've learned since then is that only scratches the surface. Networking, at its best, encompasses a lifestyle of reciprocation.


While I was single and lived close to my family, I didn't think twice about asking my brothers to look at my car or fix my sink. They in turn, expected me to host holiday dinners. It worked well for all of us. We were networking, though it never occurred to me at the time.


All of us are naturally connected to Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother, cousin and so on. Each of them has their own circle of associations. From this, it's easy to see how quickly your affiliations can grow. And that's just with your immediate family!


When you take this concept into the workplace, neighborhood and community your networking world expands infinitely. As you can see, it's not so much about building a network as it is about utilizing the one you already have.


This is where I start to have problems. While I automatically networked with my family members, I've not been so bold in our business. I get nervous when it comes to asking others for help. I lean toward what authors Donna Fisher and Sandy Vilas, in their book Power Networking, call the "Lone-Ranger attitude." Instead of employing others to help me, I try to accomplish almost everything on my own. Sometimes falling into frustration or using up valuable time, I make things harder than necessary with my self-reliance.


So for me, the first two lessons of networking have to be recognizing the wealth of knowledge available to me through bonds I already have and accepting or seeking help when I need it.


Your experience may be different. You might be way ahead of us on this. In fact, if you are a master networker or (you know someone who is) and wouldn't mind sharing with us, we'd love to talk to you about it. Part of our learning curve is interviewing experts in the field and including their stories and information in the chapter. If interested, you can email us at: or phone us at: 913-239-9021.






It's that time of year. Time to file your income taxes. (Did I hear a collective,"Ugh?")


For freelancers and the self-employed the rules change. Unless you have a very a simple business, with very little income and expenses, filing your taxes can be a big hassle.


But they don't have to be daunting. Learning to properly organize your records, receipts, earnings and operating costs is essential. Having it all together when you take it to your taxman or load the computer with the latest tax software will save you hours of grief.  


Many people wisely hire an accountant. But if you're not ready for an accountant or prefer not to use one, don't despair. You can still file on your own with a just little know how.


Jessica Ramirez, a freelance writer herself, has composed an excellent article entitled, "Tax Answers For The Freelance Writer."  You can access it at: Though it's geared toward writers, her ideas work for the self-employed or home business, as well.


No matter what your situation, making a few small changes now will save you from headaches in the future. After all, there's no scarier phrase in the English language than, "Hello. This is the IRS," and the better you plan, the less likely you'll ever have to hear it.


Thanks for reading.  See you next month!


Andy & Shawn Catsimanes

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"With Andy & Shawn's help, 'Snapshots from the Soul' became a reality. They demonstrated great sensitivity and compassion and we enjoyed working with them very much."

~Dennis E. Chapman, Associate Executive Director, City Union Mission, KC, MO


“Andy and Shawn are copywriters you can count on to understand your business and your customers. I couldn’t be more impressed with the copy they provided us. Their work is excellent. I look forward to working with them again soon.”

~Kevin Fryer


"A book would not be enough room to compliment Shawn on her work. Her professionalism comes first even if it means staying up late at night to answer all your question. She works tirelessly to get the best results possible. Her attitude, caring, and devotion are unique and I'm thankful I had the chance to work with her."

~ Olga O'Mara


"Andy is a no fluff wordsmith with high direct response, long copy talent. His work will lift interest in your website. His ability to get up to speed on your unique business model is impressive. He is persistent to completing projects and takes personal pride in the quality of his work. He is honest and knows what drives sales. If you are lucky enough to get him, you will get above average copy for a fair price. I'd use Andy anytime."

~ Christopher Hebard
Pruett Media