Nearly a third of Canadian consumers (32 %) believe that businesses pay less attention to providing good customer service, according to the results of a random survey of 1,003 adult Canadian consumers, conducted for American Express.  61% of respondents said that in the past year they intended to buy a product or service but decided not to, based on poor customer service.  34% said they lost their temper with a customer service representative in the past year. 21% said they stormed out of a store in the past year; 39% said they hung up the phone and 66% said they insisted on speaking with a supervisor.

The survey found that 63% of consumers will tell others about a poor service experience, but only 54% will talk about a good experience.

On average, Canadian consumers tell 13 people about their good experiences, and 21 people about their bad experience.

So what are we doing wrong?  Growing up a Canadian, the one thing I always heard from travelers or from places I have travelled was how friendly and polite Canadian’s are.  Now this is not to say all Canadian’s have forgotten their manors.  I live in the GTA where it seems to be worse.  Just outside of Toronto, people remember to say please and thank you, and places like Tim Horton’s will go out of their way to service their customers in an efficient and friendly manor.

One of the first things we need to remember is that no matter how much you push for sales, you will not succeed if the customer is not happy.  So spend the two seconds it will take say “Have a nice day” Listen to what your customer is asking for and do your best to provide.  Smiles are free (at McDonalds anyway). 

Several large and successful companies, including American Express and Unilever, have done away with traditional budgeting, and have adapted a more continuous planning and rolling forecast model.

Traditional budgeting is a broken tool, particularly in a more volatile business environment.  The biggest problem with most traditional budgets is that they are based on a bunch of assumptions.  Assumptions about what the economy is going to do, future competitive actions, future customer responses, governmental changes, currency movement and a whole series of things.  The majority of this is outside the control of the organizations.  When these assumptions turn out to be wrong, the plans based on them pretty much are wrong as well.  As finance professionals, we rigidly want to adhere to those plans and do monthly variance explanations when we are not inside the line.  Had we known the changes that were coming our way we would never have drawn the lines in the first place.  

How common is breast cancer in Canada? 

Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in women. Each year, more than 22,000 women develop breast cancer in Canada and more than 5,000 women die of the disease. Based on current rates, one in nine women in Canada is expected to develop breast cancer during her lifetime.

The risk of getting breast cancer goes up as women get older. The risk of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years is as follows:
  •   13 out of 1,000 women in their 40s 
  •   23 out of 1,000 women in their 50s
  •   29 out of 1,000 women in their 60s
  •   31 out of 1,000 women in their 70s

Since 1999, the rate of new cases of breast cancer has stabilized, and death rates have steadily declined.

Self  Breast Exam Step 1: Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips.

Here's what you should look for:

  • Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color
  • Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling
If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor's attention:

  • Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin
  • A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out)
  • Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling

Breast Self-Exam — Step 1

Step 2: Now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.

Step 3: While you're at the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood).

Step 4: Next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter.

Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.

Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women. Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you've reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.

Step 5: Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in step 4.

In 1985, the first Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) was observed. Initially, the aim of this event was to increase the early detection of breast cancer by encouraging women to have mammograms. As many women know, a mammogram is an x-ray of the breast used to detect abnormalities in breast tissue. Early detection means that cancer can be more effectively treated and prevented from spreading to other areas of the body.

The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Website went online in 1998, and lists the organizations which are on the board of sponsors for this event. Over the years, the focus of this event has widened. A number of organizations based in many countries now support this international health awareness event. 

Given the large number of organizations involved, and the huge sums of money raised, breast cancer awareness has grown into an industry in its own right; this campaign can almost be described as a year long event.  Today, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is as much about raising funds for breast cancer research and support, as it is about raising awareness.

The Color Pink & The Pink Ribbon With the founding of The Breast Cancer Research Foundation in 1993, the pink ribbon, which had previously been used to symbolize breast cancer, was chosen as the symbol for breast cancer awareness.

The color pink itself, at times, has been used to striking effect in raising breast cancer awareness. Many famous buildings and landmarks across the globe have been illuminated in pink light during this event; Sydney's Harbour Bridge, Japan's Tokyo Tower and Canada's Niagara Falls to name a few.

Due to the success of this awareness event, for many people, the color pink and breast cancer awareness ribbons are now associated with breast cancer awareness.