Showing posts with label Customer Service. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Customer Service. Show all posts

March 30, 2019

This Is The IT Help Desk

This was a funny true story that happened recently. 

Someone found a roach walking around their desk in the office. 

Not knowing who to call...they call the (IT) Help Desk.


Hello. What is the asset number on the device you are calling about?


Asset Number! You don't need my asset number.


Well, what is the nature of your problem?


I'll tell you what my problem is. The problem is that I have a cockroach walking around on my desk!"


Ah, do you know that you are calling the IT!!! Help Desk?


Ah, yes I do. Can you give me the number for who to call about this roach?


Ah, you are calling the wrong number. Why don't you try finding out who your facilities person is?


Facilities person! But you guys are the Help Desk! Can't you tell me how to get help to get rid of this roach? And by the way--where there is one, there are definitely more.


Ah, We don't typically handle roach problems, but thank you for calling the Help Desk. {{click}}

I know many organizations are moving to Enterprise Service Desks where you can call and get help for all sorts of issues at work. 

Even then, I wonder if the employees answering the line will be trained in who to call to get a Roach Motel or some Raid. 

Perhaps this is the next evolution of support.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 4, 2019

Monday Signs

Starting a new week...

Pick a sign for your desk:

- Good morning let the stress begin

- Step away from my desk and no one gets hurt

- I found your nose, it was in my business

- I'm pretty sure I have no idea

Which one would you pick?

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 17, 2018

Don't Give A Fire Truck

Sometimes, others can get negative at you in life.

People are unhappy. 

They are being unreasonable.

Complaints are rolling in. 

It seems like you can't do right.

But you have to have a thick skin or as one colleague told me:
You need to be like Teflon and have it all just roll off you.

And this book title reminded me of this:
"The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck"

Yes, we do have to care about doing good in what we do. 

It's just that we shouldn't "give a f*ck" when others are just wanting to tear us down and enjoying it. 

Constructive feedback is good. 

But destructive negativity at every turn is just hurtful.

It's also a way for others to not take ownership.

We all need to do our part to make things better in this world. 

Sure, no one does everything right and no one is perfect. 

But everyone needs to try their best, and when others just want to beat on you...

That's a completely appropriate time to not give a firetruck. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 29, 2018

Say YES!

Really liked this sign on my colleague's desk.

It says:
Start With Yes

I remember an old boss who used to say:
Don't make me get through no to get to yes. 

The idea as another colleague put it is to:
Keep a smile on your face and your focus on the customer; everything else takes care of itself. 

Basically, it's all our jobs to make sure that the customer's needs are being met. 

That doesn't mean that we don't need to differentiate between requirements and desirements or that we need to deliver the yacht in the first go around.

As a 4th colleague put it:
The customer is in the water. They want the yacht. But I can give them a boat. It gets them to where they want to go, and they no longer need to swim. We can work our way up to a yacht.

Good analogy analogy and good things to keep in mind for customer service excellence! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 3, 2018

Nitpicking To Death

It's funny some people go straight for the kill when they don't like something. 

Others may nitpick you to death. 

Always! looking for something to henpeck at.

It comes out as you're stupid, lazy, incompetent, and even worthless.

Why can't you do anything right (read: the way I would do it)?

If only you would change this, that, or the other thing then it would all be better!

But even when you do manage to change this, that or the other thing--guess what? That just sparks the next round of destructive criticism and never being satisfied.

Hey, since when are you so (f*ckin) perfect?  

Or as the old saying goes, "Who died and made you G-d?"

It should not be about grabbing some sadistic pleasure out of torturing other people with narcissism, judgmentalism, endless criticism and naysaying.

Instead of tearing down, let's focus on the big picture and what success looks like.

How can everyone contribute to that vision and effort?

Customer service doesn't mean personal servitude. 

There is such a thing as being a team player, identifying when good is good enough, and driving forward rather than seeking to derail or even go backward. 

Competency is not just for service providers, but for the customers. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 31, 2018

Lunch And A Call

This just seemed like a funny photo to me.

In the cafeteria, someone was checking out at the register. 

And on their lunch/food tray, they had, of course, their lunch. 

But also, they had a big black telephone.

Talking about a working lunch!

Wow, is that customer service or what? lol

This reminded me also of the BIG red phone on some top officials' desks --always ready for that critical call in case of near world catastrophe.

So here we go Joe... 

I will eat my lunch and am ready for your call at any time. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 11, 2018

Teambuilding S-Cubed

Awesome day today with my team at work. 

We had a half-day team building. 

Started off with a Play-Doh exercise where we had to answer things like what we'd like to accomplish as a team in the new year. 

This was my representation with a S-cubed for the new program implementing process improvements and enterprise service management using:

- Strategy

- Structure

- (Customer) Service

We followed up with a great team luncheon and then a game of Monster Mini Golf.

We broke into two teams and one team came in "first place" and the other team were the "winners."

I suppose whenever we genuinely come together as a team to appreciate each other and work collaboratively as a unified whole--greater than the sum of our parts--then we truly all come out as first place winners! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 8, 2017

It's All In The Interpretation

So a friend sent me this hilarious spoof about automatic transmissions, and it goes something like this...

A guy calls up the car service hotline and asks for help with his car.

What's the matter?

Well the car works perfectly in the daytime, but it refuses to drive at night. 

The lady on the customer service line is baffled.

Then he explains:

- During the daytime, I just put the car into "daytime" (D) mode, and it drives fine.

- But then at night, I put it into the "nighttime" (N) mode, and it doesn't move.

- What's worse yet, when another car tried to jump ahead of him, he puts the transmission into "race" (R) mode, and he ends up hitting the car behind him!

At this point, the customer service representative is completely cracking up laughing. 

Apparently not everyone has the same notion of "drive" (D), "neutral" (N), and "reverse" (R)--and frankly, maybe we shouldn't take so much in life for granted.  ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to AliExpress)
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September 19, 2017

Customer Service NO-NOs

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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July 23, 2017

REI Stupid Coupons

REI had a special online. 

You order $100 or more of stuff, and you get a $20 "member bonus" card. 

That sounded good, so I placed an order. 

So I get a message that I'll have the bonus card within 48 hours or I should check my spam folder. 

Not sure what should take 48 hours, but I end up getting the email with the $20 code the same day. 

Thinking I'd go and get something for the freebie, I head to the store today and find something perfectly for $20!

Wow--that's cool.

I wait on this long line with my wife...and we're checking out this new popcorn on the line called Halfpops, which looks like Half Poop, and what's the other half?  

After having lousy experiences with these B.S. coupons in the past, we are joking back and forth how there is less than a 50% chance that the coupon actually works today and we end up walking out with the product.

Sure enough, we get to the register and the cashier says, 

"Sorry. The coupon is not good for another 2 weeks!"

Bingo.  Well why they heck did you send me the coupon now and not make it good for another 2 weeks--why waste everyone's time here?

Also, what difference is it to REI to make me wait 2 weeks to use the member reward--I'm in the store now, so if they want to cross-sell me some stuff what difference does another couple of weeks make. 

You'd think the customer service at REI would say, "we apologize for the inconvenience" and process it now to make it a positive experience, but instead they actually told me to come back in 2 weeks and start all over AGAIN. 

Gee, thanks REI for the member bonus reward...you've really done so well with customer service for your members, NOT!  

I think REI is blinded by stupid policies and corporate bullsh*t so that they cannot take care of their customers and do what makes common sense. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 12, 2017

Getting To Yes

I thought this was a good and important customer service principle:
"Don't make me go through NO
To get to YES."

When it comes to customer service, the default for reasonable requests from good customers should always be YES!

We can either make the experience miserable for the customer and leave them fuming, never coming back, and bad-mouthing us or we can make it fair, easy, accommodating, and a WOW experience!

Why not build your customer base and reputation for excellence rather than erode it? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 14, 2017

Inspector Inspects Starbucks

This was the first time that I have ever seen an inspector in Starbucks...

See the lady in the white lab coat with hair cap and gloves...

Ah, she stands out like a saw thumb in contrast to the other staff person in the traditional green Starbucks apron. 

So I would imagine that she's not a doctor moonlighting as a barista!

She was checking here, there, and everywhere. 

At this point, she was taking out the milk and looked like she had some thermometer like device to make sure it was cold enough and not spoiled. 

Honestly, I was impressed that they have this level of quality control in the stores. 

We need more of this to ensure quality standards as well as customer service -- here and everywhere in industry and government. 

There is way too much dysfunction, inefficiencies, politics, power plays, turf battles, backstabbing, bullying, lack of accountability, unprofessionalism, fraud, waste, and abuse, and mucho organizational culture issues that need to be--must be--addressed and fast!

Can the inspector that inspects do it?

Of course, that's probably not enough--it just uncovers the defects--we still have the hard work of leadership to make things right--and not just to checklist them and say we did it.

I wonder if the Starbucks inspector will also address the annoying long lines on the other side of the counter as well? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 1, 2017

2017 Year Of The Customer

So here's a resolution for all of us for 2017...

How about this year be the year of the customer!

- Where we care more about doing a good job for someone than we do about what time we get off from work.

- Where we talk to and treat customers with respect, dignity, and ultimately to solve their needs, rather than it escalating to a yelling match and oh, did I accidentally hang up the phone on you?

- Where we make the customer feel good about dealing with us and our organization, rather than wanting to beg for a supervisor or cyanide please!

- Where the customer isn't lied to, manipulated, and taken advantage of just so someone can make another quick buck!

- Where the quality and value is #1 and it's not just a shinny veneer on a car that accelerates on it's own and with fake emissions test results or smartphone batteries that light up on fire and explode

- Where we don't cross-sell and up-sell customers, like phony bank accounts or other things they don't want, need, and never asked for just to make our sales quotas, and accrue the fine bonuses and stock options that go with them. 

- Where we don't oversell the capability of a product, like fraudulent blood testing devices and medical results, and instead deliver what's really doable and as promised. 

- Where there's no error in the charge to the customer or it's in the customer's favor, rather than always an overcharge in the seller's favor, and the price from the beginning is fair and reasonable and not hiked up 400% like on critical medicine that people's lives depend on. 

- Where items arrive on time and work the first time, rather than having delays, making excuses, and causing endless customer returns of defective items or those that didn't fit, look, or work as advertised. 

- Where the customer is happy to come back to and where they feel trust in the people, products, and services offered--not another Home Shopping Network or QVC shoddy experience of "It slices, it dices...the only tears you'll shed are tears of joy!"

- Where we solve genuine customer needs or problems and not just "build it and they will come."

- Where rather than a pure what's in it for me (WIIFM) mentality, we suspend our self-interest and greed for the moment and we do for others, because it's not just a job and we actually have a work ethic and care about what we do. 

- Where we delight! and wow!, rather than disengage and disappoint, and we put the customer first, and like first responders, we run to help and not run away. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 18, 2016

Survey The Performance

So I was in the Apple store recently and made a purchase to upgrade some technology.

Afterwards, I got an email asking:

"How was your experience with Beverly?

When I opened this my wife saw this and was like, "What the heck is that?!"

We should be surveying the work performance and not the experience with the person.

I can't imagine that super smart Apple didn't see this sort of double entendre about sweet Beverly.

All Apple needed to do was add in the word(s) at the top, shopping and/or at Apple, as in "How was your shopping experience with Beverly at Apple? (rather than burying it in the subtext later)"

But then their customer satisfaction survey maybe wouldn't get as much attention.

Sexualizing the customer experience shouldn't be part of marketing, unless maybe your purposely visiting a shady part of town for unscrupulous reasons. 

Anyway, I did respond that Beverly was a definite 5!

Thank you for the wonderful technology Apple and for the experience with Beverly--it was great! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 6, 2016

Requirements Management 101

This was a funny Dilbert on Requirements Management. 

In IT, we all know that getting requirements can be like pulling teeth. 

No one either has time or desire to provide them or perhaps they simply don't know what they're really after.

Knowing what you want is a lot harder than just telling someone to automate what I got because it isn't working for me anymore!

In the comic, Dilbert shows the frustration and tension between technology providers and customers in trying to figure out what the new software should do. 

Technology Person: "Tell me what you want to accomplish."

Business Customer: "Tell me what the software can do."

In the end, the customer in exasperation just asks the IT person "Can you design [the software] to tell you my requirements?"

And hence, the age old dilemma of the chicken and egg--which came first with technology, the requirements or the capability--and can't you just provide it!

(Source Comic: Dilbert By Scott Adams)
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July 8, 2016

I'm Telling You They're Really New

So I ordered a pair of swim fins to replace a pair that recently ripped in the pool. 

I went online and ordered a brand NEW pair. 

A few days later, the fins arrive in an envelope (no box). 

Already sort of terrified at what I will find in this strange bag, I slowly open it up, and find a completely disgusting dirty, scuffed, USED pair of fins with no tags or packaging

Ew...I am so grossed out and contact the vendor right away to return these, but instead of customer service, I got a boat load of b.s. and chutzpah.

They made a million excuses, tried to make me feel bad, and basically refused to provide for a return, saying that the product is not really used, that it just got dirty in the mail and on the trucks and all, and I just have to clean them off a little!

When I question them about why there was no box or packaging, they say, "Oh that, well we take it out of the box, so we can ship it more cheaply for you

I said, "What right do you have to take it out of the packaging when I ordered it new--maybe I want the packaging or need to give the item as a gift?"

Then they go on to give me an ear-full about about the high cost of shipping and that I should thank them for removing the packaging to the keep costs down (but the problem is that they were trying to keep costs down in more ways than one here). 

They continue to berate me as well about how I should be more understanding as to the dirt and scuff marks, since it's no big deal, because when I put it in the pool, the water and the chlorine will wash it off and kill all the germs anyway!

After patiently taking this abuse for a while, I went online and saw that others had the same experience with this merchant--getting sent used goods in the mail that had been advertised and paid for as new.  

Now I had had it up to HERE, and I promptly did my duty and went online to give them an appropriate customer review to help others from getting cheated like this in the future. 

Guess what happens next? 

They email me to tell me that they took note of my feedback and not that they are sorry about what happened and want to fix it, but that "We will never ship to you again." 

My wife explodes laughing...mwahahahahaha--like who would ever want to go back and do more business with these crooks. 

People are absolutely crazy out there.

Caveat emptor (buyer beware) a million times.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 6, 2016

Agile Processes As An Enabler

So something that I've learned is that processes can be an enabler or a hinderance to progress depending on how it's used.

On one hand, without a standardized and clear process where people know what they are supposed to do and when, we are likely to end up with a lot of chaos and not much getting done for the customer or organization.  

This is especially the case where tasks are complex and numerous people are involved requiring there to be solid coordination of team members, sync of activities, and clear communications.  

On the other hand, rigid processes that are so prescriptive that no one will get out of step for any rhyme or reason can be counter-productive, since this can hinder productivity, time to resolution, and customer service. 

For example, we all understand the importance of a help desk ticketing system in IT to document issues and deploy resources for resolution and measure performance. However, when customers, especially VIPs are in a bind and need help ASAP, it may not make sense to tell them to go open up a ticket first and foremost, instead of helping them to quickly get back online, and even opening the ticket for them and in parallel or as we get to it afterwards. 

Process should be an enabler and not obstacle to progress. Process should be followed under normal circumstances, but rigidly adhering to processes without adapting to conditions on the ground risks being out of step with the needs of the organization and a customer service model. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 16, 2016

Metro Doesn't Always Get You There

So today the Washington D.C. Metro has a full suspension of service for at least 24 hours over the entire system

Metro says it is to check safety after a fire on the system on Monday, but the hastiness and extremeness of the action has many scratching their heads and asking "Terror Threat?"

Either way, better safe than sorry!

It's funny because just on the way home yesterday, I took this photo of what I believe is a advertisement for taking Metro (instead of driving) or for some reason I took it as that. 

Metro is supposed to get you there, but doesn't always. 

Still better than sitting in traffic or getting tickets downtown. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 27, 2015

Next @7Eleven


This lady is a scream at 7-Eleven. 

With the looks, personality, and humor, she should definitely have her own tv show.  

Great times in Florida (thank you Hashem). ;-)

(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 22, 2015

Requirements, I Don't Know

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)
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