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)

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Getting “Unf*cked”

UNF.jpeg

So on July 4th, I wrote and did a short video about how messed (f*cked) up things are in the world today (of course, technology-aside), and I advocated for people being a good influence and for constructive change. 

On the positive side, I saw this neat bumper sticker to “Unf*ck The World,” and I checked out their website utwnow.org

It was impressive to see people advocating for, banding together, and engaging to do good things to help others such as assist the homelessness by giving them haircuts, doing laundry, providing “mobile hygiene,” and helping with a thrift shop and job opportunities.  

In contrast again, it was interesting in the Wall Street Journal today, there was an editorial on how Brexit (Britian leaving the EU) has nothing on Amexit (America’s disengagement from global affairs). 

Around the world, there is cause for not only pause, but great concern.

– From allowing Syria to cross the red line in using chemical weapons (on civilians!) to the recommendation to not charge the former First Lady, we are in moral and leadership retreat.

– Russia takes over Crimea and agitates in Eastern Ukraine and the Baltics, while China continues its island buildup in the strategic South China Sea.  

– ISIS continues to hold ground across the Middle East and Northern Africa and attacks targets literally everywhere in the world and routinely takes, enslaves, and sells women to the highest bidder on the Internet.

– North Korea and Iran test ballistic missiles, and nukes are a forgone conclusion for them. 

– South America and Europe are in economic and political turmoil with varying degrees of recessions, runaway inflation, shortages, impeachment proceedings, voter recalls, and fractioning. 

– The U.S. is struggling to maintain its leadership role as we fluctuate between recognizing the dire need and pulling back all around. 

In the election cycle, I think just about every single person I have heard from now says in near hopelessness something like, “If only there was another candidate that I could vote for.”

What we can do locally to help–and certainly there is a lot more to do there with poverty and homelessness–perhaps people can do nationally and globally in demanding more–not material things, but rather a real caring about others and not just ourselves, a genuine discourse on policy and not just punch lines for the next election or media soundbite, a solutions-oriented mindset rather than a gaming the system one, and a big vision to settle the stars, cure vicious diseases, pull everyone out of poverty, and resolve endless cycles of global conflicts.

Do you hear much of anything on this these days and is anyone taking the high ground or is it just who is more crooked and untrustworthy–this cannot be the answer. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Make Up Your Mind

Yes No Maybe

It all started with the Staples “Easy” button that says robotically when pressed, “That was easy!” 

Then came the “B.S.” button that yells out, “That was bullsh*t!”

Now we have the decision and indecisional buttons for “Sorry,” “Yes,” “Maybe,” and “No.”

Very much like organizational decision-making and politics where either we can’t make up our minds, hedge our bets because we simply don’t know, or make decisions on imperfect knowledge or with plenty of biases.

It’s funny-sad how instead of decisions and progress, some people lie and pretend that what they are saying has any reality or basis to it despite proof to the compelte opposite. 

For example, over and over again, we hear some politicians say there is no military solution in Syria, yet Russia has proved that completely false turning the tides of the war in Assad’s favor and driving back the U.S.-backed rebels and recapturing dozens of towns and cities.

You can probably think of plenty more examples as this is the germy spin that we all must swim and navigate in. 

If only, we could just press a “truth” button to get past all the garbage thrown at us then maybe we could get down to business and really get something done. 😉

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Does Every Problem Have A Solution?

Hands

So someone said something interesting to me yesterday.


They were going off about this and that problem in the world. 


Then seemingly exasperated by the current and desperate state of affairs, they go “You know what? Not every problem has a solution.”


And that really took me aback.


As a student and then a professional, I have always prided myself on looking for a solution to every problem. 


Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don’t, but I was always taught to try!


Now someone says to me this earth-shattering news that maybe there is not a good solution out there for every catastrophic problem.


So this got me thinking…


Maybe some problems are just too big or too complex for our mortal minds to even understand or our supercomputers to really solve. 


Or perhaps sometimes things have gone too far or are too far gone, and we can’t always easily just turn back the clock.


Are there some things that we can’t really make right what we did so wrong for so long, despite the best intentions now. 


And in life are some things just a catch-22 or a zero-sum game–where every way forward is another dead end or it has consequences which are too painful or otherwise unacceptable. 


This sort of reminds me of the sick brutal Nazi in the Holocaust who took a women with two beautiful young children to the side and said, “Choose!”


“Choose what?” she innocently replies.


And the sadistic Nazi pulling out his gun says, “Choose which of your children will live and which will die, you have 30 seconds or I kill them both!”


Indeed, some problems have no good solution as hard as that is for me to hear or accept.  


All we can do is our best, and even when we can’t satisfactorily solve those completely vexing problems to us (because some things are not in the realm of the possible for mere mortals), we have to continue to go forward in life because there really is no going back. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Requirements, I Don’t Know

Requirements Management

This was a funny cartoon. 


Who are we?  


Clients!


What do we want?


We don’t know!


When do we want it?


Now!


This is like way to many IT projects…


The customer knows they need to do something, because of changing market conditions, internal (dys)functioning, arising competition, or external mandates and regulations. 


But when the IT project managers and business analysts interview and ask the customer what they want and need to address these…quite often they get blank faces and hands raised in circuitous, endless doubt. 


What do the customers really want?


For IT to define, solve, and make their problems go away–and by the way do it yesterday and without any extra / proportionate resources


For some IT “professionals” that may be a little lacking themselves, you end up getting half-assed solutions to half-baked requirements that accomplish nothing or perhaps even break things more.


Hence, the true miracle of technology–to read minds and deliver valuable solutions to problems that no one could fully define to begin with! 😉


(Source Cartoon: Roz Blumenthal @ Facebook)

The Status Quo, No!

The Status Quo, No!

Two more articles, this time in Fast Company (Sept 2013) are pointing to the unhappiness of people and the desire to change things.

The first “You Sign, Companies Listen,” about Change.org, “the world’s petition platform” that now has 40 million users launching as many as 1,000 petitions a day. Now the site is allowing organizations to respond to petitions publicly and also has a “Decision Maker page,” which shows organizations all the petitions against them.

Change.org focuses on “personal issues with achievable solutions,” especially personal stories of injustice. The site is about a carrot and stick approach. Organizations can choose to listen and respond positively to their constituents legitimate issues or “there is a stick” if they don’t engage with the hundreds of thousands and millions of petitioners.

A second article, “Not Kidding Around,” about DoSomething.org, which “spearheads national campaigns” for young people interested in social change. Their values are optimism for a sense of hope, rebellion meaning the rules are broken and needs to be rewritten, and empathy to feel others pain so we can change things for the better.

There is a notion here that the youngsters “have no faith that Washington politicians can solve this problem.” These kids feel that “the world is in the shitter” and they want to help create social change.

It is interesting to me that despite our immense wealth and technological advances or maybe in some cases because of it–creating a materialistic, self-based society–that people are disillusioned and looking to restore meaning, purpose, and social justice.

Things have got to mean more than just getting the latest gadget, blurbing about what you had for lunch on twitter, or accumulating material things (homes, cars, vacations, clothes, shoes, bags, and more).

People can’t live on materialism alone, but are seeking a deeper connection with G-d and the universe–to make peace with our creator and with each other and create a better world where we are elevated for helping others, rather than just taking for ourselves.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Go Curly!

This was a funny picture hanging around a local eatery in D.C–at election season.

Curly for President–sort of reminded me of when I was in grade school and had a head full of curly hair and some of the other kids (especially the females in the class) fondly called me “chief curly chicken”–yeah, it stuck for about a year or two. 

Anyway, maybe this is something both Democrats and Republicans can agree on: the three Stooges–Moe, Larry, and Curly–were pretty darn funny. 

With the big looming issues facing America today (exploding national deficits, high unemployment, endangered social programs, declining global competitiveness–now 7th, and more), we can certainly use a little humor to get past it, along with a good dose of strong leadership and breakthrough solutions. 

Whoever you vote for–keep smiling!  🙂

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)