Customer Service No-Nos

From No To Yes.jpeg

So if you’re in customer service…


The answer is easy. 


It’s always got to be YES. 


– Any less is a big No-No!


The customer’s needs are paramount.


Their satisfaction is your goal. 


So your job is to figure out how to get from no to yes!


You’ve got to problem-solve and figure it out. 


And it’s not enough to come up with any old solution.


When I said to my colleagues the other day:

“There’s a solution to every problem.”


Someone joked and answered back:

“It’s just that the customer may not like it.”


And I responded:

“Well then that’s not the solution you are looking for!”

You’ve got to go back to the drawing board and get to a legitimate yes. 


Of course, it can difficult, especially when at times you deal with some challenging customers and problems.


But listen, this is the customer service field and in the end, the customer experience should be WOW fantastic!


It’s the customer that is depending on you to come through for them and their mission. 


Doing your job isn’t just a matter of reading off of some cue card or playbook. 


This is real life with real consequences. 


If you can deliver, the customer will be able to do their jobs, and they may even sing your wildest praises–wouldn’t that be rewarding? 


Customer service means getting to YES from the earliest possible moment in the interaction, meaning it, and legitimately delivering on it–no other questions asked.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Oculus Rift Has My Attention

Oculus Rift

This picture is an older version of Oculus Rift–larger, heavier, more clunky than the streamlined version coming out this April for $599.


Zuckerberg’s Facebook announced the purchase of Oculus virtual reality (VR) in March 2014.


I can’t think of another piece of consumer technology that I want to try out more than this. 


Initially for immersive 3-D experiences in all sorts of entertainment, including gaming, movies, television, and more. 


But soon to follow are use cases for virtual meetings, classrooms, doctor’s appointments, and anything requiring our interaction and communication. 


Hush-hush is the more intimate use for things like virtual sex. 


Also, there are opportunities for augmented reality where physical reality is supplemented with computer sensory input making your real-experience that much richer and informed.


With the Oculus Rift, I imagine myself immersed on a safari in Africa, flying into the reaches of space, relaxing at the most beautiful beaches, praying at the Western Wall, fighting my way through first person shooter and action adventures, and reliving biblical and other major historical events.


I don’t see VR for myself as an escape from reality, so much as being able to experience many more of life’s realities and possibilities out there. 


My only fear is that as VR gets better and better, it becomes easier and easier to fall away from our challenges in the real world, and just live inside a mask with a controlled environment where our virtual choices and experiences seem all too convenient and real. 😉 


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Weston High School Library)

What’s With The Best Buds?

Best Buds

I never quite understood the best buds t-shirt wave.


This is especially the case when the person is alone and there is no best bud anywhere to be found. 


We are all social animals, and perhaps, we all wish to have a best bud in our lives–someone to “buddy around with” and who knows and understands us, and unconditionally accepts us. 


Best buds seems to almost be able to read each others minds and finish each others sentences…and they laugh hysterically together about these mindless things for which apparently only they get it. 


When best buds are together, it’s like they are almost in a bubble of their own world, and everyone else is on the outside, if they even exist to the buds at all. 


That’s because bests buds are it–they have history, they share things in common, they think alike, and they work in tandem.


It’s like getting two for the price of one: they are Batman and Robbin, Tonto and The Lone Ranger, Cheech and Chong, Laverne and Shirley, Simon and Garfunkel, and so many other couplings that stick together like peanut butter and jelly. 


If you have a best bud then you already know you don’t need to give them a t-shirt to spell it out–the chemistry already says it all. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

From Stability Comes Instability

Buddha 3

I remember hearing the phrase (not sure from where), “everything and the opposite.”


I think it refers to how within each thing in life are elements of the exact contrary and opposing force. 


Similar to the interactions of ying and yang, the world is an interplay of opposites–males and females, black and white, fire and water, ebb and flow, good and bad, optimism and pessimism, and so on. 


Everything has a point and it’s counterpoint.


It was interesting to me to see this concept expressed in terms of the financial markets (Wall Street Journal), where bull and bear contend in terms of our finances.


But what was even more fascinating was the notion from the economist, Hyman Minsky, who noted that the very dynamic between stability and instability was inherent within itself.


So for example, Minsky posits that a stable economic market leads to it’s very opposite, instability.


This happens because stability “leads to optimism, optimism leads to excessive risk-taking, and excessive risk-taking leads to instability” (and I imagine this works in reverse as well with instability-pessimism, retrenchment and limiting risk to stability once again).


Thus, success and hubris breeds failure, and similarly failure and repetitive trial and error/hard work results in success.


It is the interflow between ying and yang, the cycle of life, life and death (and rebirth), the seasons come and go, boom and bust, and ever other swinging of the pendulum being polar opposites that we experience. 


The article in the Journal is called “Don’t Fear The Bear Market,” I suppose because we can take comfort that what follows the bear is another bull. 


But the title sort of minimizes the corollary–Don’t (overly) rejoice in the bull–because you know what comes next.


Go cautiously and humbly through life’s swings.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

UNSOCIAL Social Media

This video is absolutely fantastic.

Congratulations to Gary Turk for hitting the nail on the head here.

And thank you to my daughter, Michelle, for sharing this with me.

Smartphones, dumb people.
Easier to connect with people, but we spend more time alone.
Be there in the moment.
Give your love, not your like.
Look up from your phone, shut down your display.

Part of me just wants to say that Social Media is one of THE biggest wastes of our time…REALLY!

Another part of me, believes in some aspects of it for information sharing, collaboration, and being a greater influence.

But Social Computing is NOT a replacement for genuine human interaction, which is too OFTEN what it has become.

I applaud my daughters, for at times, disconnecting their Facebook accounts to read, spend time with friends, and do other activities.

We’ve lost too much of ourselves to an escapist virtual reality–where it’s easier to HIDE behind a screen, then be there in the flesh facing the challenges that we must.

There are great aspects to being online–it’s been a true information revolution–but the computer needs to SERVE the human master, and not the other way around. 😉

Treat People Nice

Treat People Nice

On a recent college visit, I saw this sign hanging on a door.

The quote is by Maya Angelou and it is very powerful:

“People will forget what you said,
People will forget what you did,
But people will never forget how you made them feel.”

As human beings in this world, we come and go.

Our time here is finite.

We will be replaced by others.

What is truly memorable about us is our relationships and how we treat others.

When we show kindness to people or when we are cruel to others–these things are never forgotten.

Our interactions are the mark of who we are inside–do we sincerely care about others and the bigger picture or are we just plain selfish?

How about you–can you remember:

  • how that parent who loved you made you feel?
  • how that teacher who taught you made you feel?
  • how that friend who played with you made you feel?
  • how that boss who mentored you made you feel?
  • how that clergy who inspired you made you feel?
  • how that spouse who was your companion made you feel?
  • how those children who looked up to you made you feel?
  • how those colleagues who supported your work made you feel?

I’m sure you can also remember times when people made you feel not so good–perhaps, you scowled or even cursed them under your breath.

Getting results in life is not enough–we can’t do it by stepping on other people and really being successful that way.

Empathy and kindness or a hard heart and cruelty–you will be remembered one way or another. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Time To Spread The Magic

Time To Spread The Magic

So I’m not the biggest fan of Disney theme parks — maybe that is not a popular thing to write.

But to me, the rides alternate between fake or nauseating (when they’re not broken down), the characters are outdated, the parks are hot, overcrowded, and the lines and wait times are long, and the ticket prices are sort of crazy for what you’re getting (not).

Let’s see, a day at Disney or day at the beach–uh, I’ll take the beach any day!

But Disney is doing something magical these days.

Bloomberg Businessweek reports how Disney’s new MagicBands are using technology to make the theme park experience more convenient, even if not more fun.

The MagicBands are like an all-in-one electronic link between you and Disney:

– No need for an admission ticket, because the MagicBand does that.

– Reserve your favorite rides, use your wrist band.

– Hotel room keys, that’s right the band unlocks your door.

– Shopping at Disney kingdom, the band functions as your debit/credit card.

– Being greeted by name or wished a happy birthday, the bands make your experience more personal.

What’s more Disney uses the bands for “big data” analytics–for capturing your likes and preferences for rides, restaurants, food, and souvenirs–and this adds up to customer service enhancements like restocking shelves, opening up reservations, expedited queues, and even targeted mail and text messaging/advertising.

The bands have radio frequency identification tag/chips (RFID) as well as GPS sensors, so Disney knows who you are, where you are, and even much of what you’re doing.

Spooky from a privacy standpoint–sure, you are really sitting there exposed in just about every way.

But this technology has arrived, not just at Disney, but via embedded RFID in your smartphones or your body someday soon.

The synthesis of man and machine…the mystery is gone in the magic kingdom, but maybe the service gets better. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)