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Showing posts from 2010

Wish people working on Christmas a Merry Christmas

There are lots of people who have today and tomorrow off and can enjoy Christmas with family and friends. There are some that are still working, today and Christmas Day. The world of customer service people seem to always be there on a holiday.

This is the time to hold in any urge to complain about something and give a smile and a greeting to that clerk or person working these two days. Remember they are working perhaps not by choice, but they may need the money or because someone has to do the work to serve you.

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
Norman Vincent Peale

* If you are on a bus or BART, smile and wish the driver and passengers a Merry Christmas.
* If you order coffee at a cafe, smile and wish them Merry Christmas.
* If you order a meal at a restaurant, give a smile and wish them Merry Christmas.
* If you are standing in line in a store, an airport or a theater show some patience when you are f…

Maggiano's Little Italy in San Jose

Massiano's Little Italy is in twenty states, but their only Bay Area location is in San Jose. Located in Santana Row, among all the shops this cozy restaurant seats 220 people, but their is enough room between tables to give it an intimate feeling.

They specialize in serving generous portions of Southern Italian cuisine served family style. The menu is large and varied, offering a fine selection of many homemade pastas, salads, prime steaks, fresh fish and home made desserts.

Lots of restaurants let you take your unfinished meal home after you dine there. Maggiano's in San Jose however, offers you more than a bang for your buck. You order one of their eleven classic pasta dishes for today, then you can take another home for tomorrow, at no charge, compliments of your chef.

With a reservation we were seated quickly after we arrived. There was a brief waiter transition after the Calamari Appetizer without a hitch. Both were pleasant and knowledgeable about the menu.

Our group tried …

Democrats and Republicans

With the election coming up Tuesday, I sometimes wonder how people choose political parties. Maybe the parties choose them. After doing some thinking and research I came up with some differences between the two.

Republicans roll a toothpaste tube as they use it. Democrats squeeze from the top.

Republicans like a good brandy. Democrats drink beer.

Republicans sleep in twin beds. That is why there are more Democrats. Thank you will Stanton.

When a leader is in the Democratic Party he's a boss; when he's in the Republican Party he's a leader.Thank you Harry Truman.

Democrats give their old clothes to the poor, Republicans wear theirs

Democrats like baseball,especially the World Series. Republicans like college football, especially the BCS controversies.

Democrats drink coffee from a mug. Republicans drink coffee from a cup with a saucer

Democrats call the evening meal supper. Republicans call it dinner.

Democrats believe people are basically good but must be saved from themselves by …

Target online is way off target

How long would you think it takes to get a ten dollar item from an online site shipped ? Three days maybe. Possibly a week ? Try two weeks. On September 29 I ordered a cool reader/sunglasses combination from Target.com for $9.99 plus shipping and handling which came to around sixteen dollars.

After a phone call and several emails back and forth over the next two weeks as to the status it was finally sent out on October 13. Why the delay ? Well, it seems that the order was "stuck in the system." I was told twice that it could be neither cancelled or sent out.

Here is what one response said, which by the way is from Target.com Guest Services:

I'm really sorry for the delay in shipping your order.

I know this must be frustrating for you, but your order is stuck in our system. Right now I can't get at the order either to ship it or cancel it. Our technical team is working hard to take care of this, and we'll let you know just as soon as we have an update.

We'll e-mail…

When did service stations turn into plain old gas stations ?

Remember when you drove into a service station and sat in your car while it was filled with gas , had the oil and tires checked , your windows cleaned and someone waved and said have a nice day? Not in a long time.

One would pull into a service station and almost immediately two or three smiling people wearing matching white shirts, bow ties (yes they did wear them) and dark uniforms swarmed all over your car.

One would lift the hood, pull the dipstick to check the oil and squirt some water in the radiator with no extra fee.

Another checks and inflates all four tires to the required pressure and asks if the spare also could use some air. He would then spray water on the windshield, towel and wipe it off while meticulously cleaning all other visible panes of glass.

The last attendant would lift the nozzle and pump leaded or unleaded gasoline into the tank and give you the total for the gas , walk back into the office and return with your change. Sometimes you even get a free road map.

Fam…

Hello, may I help you

There are actually hundreds of reasons but let's focus on ten of the most common reasons why someone calls in to a service center. You want to have your 800 number handy for the company. If it is PG&E, Comcast, AT&T or banks like Wells Fargo, Bank of America or Chase you may have your own record of times you have called.

1) Their service is not working

This could be cable, phone, internet, power, plumbing or something they use daily. Some will do basic troubleshooting, others will not but regardless you will be expected to use your Jedi power to correct it.

2) They do not agree with their billing statement

This will happen if there are such items as taxes, delivery charges, "handling" or a charge they do not recognize. If billing is not your main duty, get them to a representative in that department, otherwise you could spend thirty minutes going over everything.

3) They have an appointment and the technician has not arrived

This is when you will need the cooperatio…

More tipping jars than pumpkins

What is it with all these tip jars that are now proliferating on store counters from Fremont to Oakland . They seem to be more common that voting signs or pumpkins. Are we expected to tip for every type of service we pay for. Let's go over some of the most traditional services for tipping.

Restaurants

They have been the most traditional one to tip. You are seated at a table, you order there, your drinks are brought and refilled and your food it put right in front of you. You have personalized service, so you feel generous. Now let's take the delis, fast food chains and coffee shops. You stand in line, order at the counter, wait for your order, take it to your table and that's it for the service. Places like Subway, Starbucks and your local shops now have strategically placed a "tips accepted" jar on the counter.

Tip for What

You are not getting personalized service and no one offers you a refill. I know a lot of people are working barely above the minimum, but these…

Turning your resume into a political ad

If you are like me enough is enough for all these political ads. My mind is made up, I'm voting and then like millions of others it's time to look for a new job.

While I am currently doing campaign work in an election, I thought what if every job seeker had thirty seconds on television to pitch themselves ? You hear about the so called thirty second elevator pitch you should have ready. I call mine a ten second standing in line pitch that describes who you are and what you are looking for.

Anyway, here is what my ad would sound like if I was looking for a position in the customer service industry and I was given time on a network which would feature a voice over and actual people talking about me.

John Swager has ten years experience helping thousands of customers all over California to keep their service working.

He has followed through on issues, resolved technical problems and opened the door to new products for people who have become frustrated with the lack of service in toda…

On 60 Minutes 99er Episode

#

Re the 60 Minutes episode. I am a member of the Job Connections group that Scott Pelley visited in Danville which is almost an hour from Silicon Valley. He spoke to fifteen people that were present and it was edited to show about three of them. A friend of mine was interviewed twice by Pelley for the in depth situations at her apartment but was told it did not make the final 14 minute segment. The Job Connections group is a weekly meeting where you have a guest speaker, new people introduce themselves briefly,there is an open mike where people get to say if they received a job offer or had an interview. There is networking afterwards, but with the majority out of work there is not very productive. What people in the group were disappointed in is he did mention or show what is called success teams , which consist of about 6-8 people who meet once a week for two hours at a library or such to give more personal support and exchange strategies. This is what is really vital to unemployed,…

Job searching and fantasy football

The NFL season started recently. I have been playing fantasy football since 1982. For those of you not born yet, John Elway was in college and Dan Fouts was "the man" in fantasy leagues.

It is truly amazing how much time and effort people I have participated with put into preparing for the draft and into making their weekly lineups. Probably far more than they put into a job search when they are out of work.

Example # 1

The millions of people that buy several magazines on football and study every trend , from who will be the Saints third receiver to who will win the kicking job in Seattle.

In your career field do you ever pick up a magazine or read an article or two online ?

Example # 2

Now be honest, how many times a day do you check sports websites for injury updates, roster changes, players moods and such.

Do you check company websites or look at postings in job sites as often ?

Example # 3

How much time do you spend writing and editing draft lists and ranking players.

Do you ever …

Feels like temperature and customer service phrases

While watching the weather report on television the other day I saw a fairly new phrase: the feels like temperature. Now walking outside I could say it "feels like 80." Someone next to me may say it feels like 65 to them. Another could say it must be at least 90.

The exact meaning of a sentence or phrase is sometimes curious, especially in the world of customer service.

Have you ever been told by an agent, I need to put you on hold for a minute. Meanwhile a real time of five minutes has passed and still no agent back on the line.

You have have walked into a place to eat and the waiter may say, I'll have your table cleaned up in a second. One thousand one, one thousand two. Over two minutes later, it's still being cleaned.

An interesting phrase when buying online is days before your item gets to you. Lots of places now may give themselves a big cushion, like 4-14 days delivery.

Of course, a common one in retail when checking out is, "find everything you wanted ?

Don't leave yet, we want your money

ave you recently looked into a job application, maybe a loan or just following a link on the internet to get more information ?

If you have you may have run into the annoying pop-up below:



Are you sure you want to navigate away from this page?

Your dream job is ONE STEP AWAY!

Register to view the latest job openings in your area. Press CANCEL to continue.

Press OK to continue, or Cancel to stay on the current page.

It's like someone there has come up with a way to keep you from leaving their page. Most of the time the site is possibly for a job or perhaps a loan or a school.

Having spent time recently on what I thought was a job application turned into a front for a school. Aside from the pop-up, I received three emails and two voicemails saying I had not completed the information.

How is that for someone watching what you do and where you go on the internet.

Imagine walking out of a market or retail store and a clerk steps in front of you and says, "sure you want to leave, you did no…

Outsourced: The TV Show

Having worked in call centers I was curious to watch the opening show of NBC's Outsourced, the new comedy about, you guessed it, a call center being outsourced to India.

Doing a comedy on this touchy subject may not go over well with unemployment at over 12% in the Bay Area.

There were lots of things wrong from the way the center is setup ( one big room with desks around) to silly one line zingers.

Oh and just in case anyone thinks outsourcing is a political subject, there was an ad for Barbara Boxer blasting Carly Fiorina for among other things, outsourcing jobs.

Let's see, if I knew absultely nothing about Indian cultute I learned that:

* Spicy curry will have you going to the bathroom for five days.
* Deroit is the home of Motors and Black People.
* Americans eat hamburgers all day long.
* Cows are treated with respect and can go anywhere.
* People in India wonder why Americans buy stupid products.

Among the one liners that came across are:

* A manager tells th…

Wells Fargo and it's Fees

A San Francisco judge's pwerful ruling ordering Wells Fargo to pay its customers $203 million for manipulating debit transactions to maximize overdraft fees might be just the tip of the iceberg for the bank.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup's 90-page opinion Tuesday described Wells Fargo's motive as profiteering and said the San Francisco-based bank's goal was to "maximize the number of overdrafts and squeeze as much as possible" out of customers. Are we talking banks or loan sharks here? This is customer service at it's worst.

But the hefty tab represents only what Wells owes its California customers. That figure is far smaller than the potential bill from a separate suit in which Wells' clients in other states have accused the bank of the same unfair practices.

That case, consolidated in federal court in Miami, includes similar claims against 30 other lending institutions, including Bank of America, Citibank, Chase, Union Bank and U.S. Bank. Oh my, is…

On Steven Slater

A pair of Pittsburgh women aboard a JetBlue flight said flight attendant Steven Slater, hailed by some as folk hero, was rude to passengers and instigated the confrontation that resulted in his barreling down an emergency chute from the plane and, ultimately, his arrest.

Marjorie Briskin, 53, told The Wall Street Journal for a story Thursday that Slater blurted out an expletive during an otherwise normal conversation with a passenger over luggage. Marjorie gets her 15 minutes of fame.

Another woman, 25-year-old Lauren Dominijanni, told the Journal that Slater was immediately rude to her. She said he "rolled his eyes at me" when she asked for a wipe to clean up coffee someone spilled on her seat. !5 minutes of fame to Laureen.

The paper quoted Briskin as saying that Slater's conversation about luggage with the as-yet unidentified passenger was normal but turned nasty after Slater said the expletive. "I didn't think she was rude in the least," Briskin said, acco…

Ultimate Customer Service Job Description

If you have always wanted to be a Customer Service Rep, here is what a job description might look like.

General Description:

Interact with customers to provide and process information in response to inquiries, concerns and requests about products and services. Take action to correct any issues.

Main Job Tasks and Responsibilities

* Deal directly with customers either by telephone, electronically or face to face. You may end up talking to over 100 people a day. How does that sound?

* Respond promptly to customer inquiries. Like they want it yesterday.

* Handle and resolve customer complaints. Good buddy, you will get them constantly.

* Perform customer verifications. It will be amusing when you are staring at their driver's license number or social security number and they claim they never gave it to the company. Yeah.

* Process orders, forms, applications and requests. Better not make any mistakes or look out.

* Direct requests and unresolved issues to the designated resource. Whew! At le…

Are these really Jobs?

Having spent time looking for a position, I came across some unique job offers. Customer service is associated with a company to consumers but what about service to potential employees.

We are not talking about emails involving bank transfers here or winning lotto tickets, but ads on Monster, Career Builder and especially Craig's List where it seems like a daily race to get postings on.

You know the drill, you get an email or call telling you your qualifications are beyond belief and we want to interview you ASAP. It may be a coincidence but sometimes the same posting comes up in different cities under you guessed it different company names. Most of the time they want you to come in today for an interview. You are the player they want. You are LeBron James. Right.

I had one offer where it wasn't exactly explained what I would be doing but I was a perfect fit based on my background. They said to report to a large retail store the next morning where I would be "in training&quo…

Campaign 2010 Part 2

Here is another email I receive.
This time from Meg Whitmas



IF YOU HAVE ANY ITEMS YOU CAN DONATE LIKE FOLDING TABLES,FOLDING CHAIRS,COFFEEMAKERS,MICROWAVES,COUCH,RADIO,TELEVISION,CHAIRS,DESKS…PLEASE BRING THEM ON DOWN!This for for the tour of the HQ in Oakland.
Plus they want money!!Also your free time, unpaid of course.

Campaign 2010

Here is a typical letter I get for the Governor's Position.

It seems like almost every week that Meg launches a new, false attack ad, and we quickly debunk it. But it's not just our campaign -- independent and non-partisan newspapers, news broadcasts, and bloggers are all calling her ads false and misleading. But despite all the independent fact checks, Meg keeps spouting the same lies.

Now, we've got a video to demonstrate just how upside down she is. Watch this video, share it with all of your friends, and chip in $5, $10, $50 bucks to help us get the resources we need to get the facts straight and make our case to California.

Thanks,

Steven Glazer

Attack Attack Attack . This election will be won on tv, not by either candidate.Note the chipping in of dollars.

Is your company treating you fairly?

I recently witnessed two incidents that had me shaking my head on how they were handled in local stores. At Safeway in San Leandro on a day when the temperature was near 100 degrees, a checkout clerk turned around and took a sip of water. A supervisor came up to her and said not to drink with people in her line. She could have easily told her that on a break.

At a Wal-Mart in Livermore,on a busy express checkout a supervisor told the harried person at the checkout to apoligize a little better to the people waiting. Why the supervisor did not open up another line is beyond me.

It seems like some companies treat their copiers better than their employees.

Stress and customer service go together like love and marriage. They have been intertwined since someone first realized that customers will go elsewhere if there is no service to back it up. However, a corollary is that whenever service and customers come together stress is not far behind. Since the majority of our employees are human ther…

Customer Service and Political Campaigns

Managing a political campaign is a demanding job that requires intimate knowledge of all aspects of campaigning, including communications, volunteers, fundraising and accounting. At any time day or night, campaign managers can have access to all of the campaign records in their system. Just like a business.

If you have received phone calls, canvassers, campaign mail and ads, you have seen how people want your vote rather than your service or money. Oh, excuse me. They do want your money. I get several emails several times a week from the Jerry Brown's the Meg Whitman's, the Barbara Boxer's all asking for at least $5 to $50. Never mind the sky high unemployment rate, just gimme what you can afford.

Using phone banks, canvassing teams and direct mailing you will get bombarded with information, twisted truths, accusations and most of all we want your vote, Sometimes if records are not kept correctly, you may get more than one call or visit.

With elections for Governor, US Senate…

Ellison and the Warriors

If Larry Ellison wants to whine about not getting a second rate basketball team for his own fantasy means and be like Mark Cuban or Dan Snyder, why doesn't he REALLY do something for the Bay Area. He has $300-400 million to throw around so why not put it to better use and hire about 500 people at Oracle.

Working at Comcast and ATT

Having worked at both places there are striking differences. ATT is unionized and people are treated fairly and rules do not change as you go along. There are raises and people are far more apt to stay. Comcast is not unionized and changes policies on the fly. Their customer service center in Livermore, CA has a lot of turnover not to mention poor morale.. No wonder people say things like Comcast service is lousy and post complaints on Twitter, blogs and Facebook. After all there are invisible managers there, supervisors who refuse to take escalation calls and leads who say they will call a customer back and don't. They have a person and group who regularly checks the web for nasty things that people may say about them, but in Livemore that is kept a secret from the employees. If they were aware of this,their service would not rank at the bottom of JD Powers constantly. Soon customers will soon get it and post their issues on the web. They will get a quicker response and better de…

Job Connections in Danville

Job Connections at one time was a fine group. Now it is a standard good old boy's and girl's network. Most people I spoke to did not feel welcomed to the Saturday meeting. Most of the "staff" just say mix and mingle.There are no intros made, you are on your own. The speaker's are more interested in hawking their books and services.They have success teams which support small groups 4-10 people to focus on job searching. However there seems to be two types.If you are on a success team you will find yourself with winners and may find it helpful.If you end up with a suckcess team you will encounter whiners who will go over all their personal woes and take up a lot of time. You can find groups that are better off in libraries and other churches.

The Professional Unemployed

Who came up with the term 99er? Is that something you should be proud of like a 49er? The math says almost two years collecting unemployment and they want more??? There used to be what was called professional students now it is professional unemployed. Now some of course need money coming in , but others...gimme a break. Some people I know spend the day, walking the dog, playing golf with the boys,shopping with the girls and other leisure activities other than LOOKING for work. Time these freeloaders received a reality check not an unemployment check. I guess they will soon be called 125ers with a brand new 26 week extension of benefits.

On those slackers on the job

One of the great problems in a company is the impact that one bad employee can have on good employees. This one bad employee can lower the standards of good employees to the extent that an entire department can suffer.

What makes this really puzzling is that the reverse does not seem to be true. Good employees rarely can elevate a bad employee. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, "How is it that so few can do so much to so many?"

What's a place to do?

Someone once said that it is not the people that you fire who are a problem, it is the employees who should be fired, but aren't, that are the problem. Think about these points:

* Do you find yourself grumbling every day about a particular employee that just exudes an attitude of not caring and makes those feelings known to everyone within earshot.
* Are there some employees that never get motivated no matter what threat or incentive is offered?
* Do you have a certain employee that "gets by" somehow by doing the minim…

World Cup terms explained

With the World Cup over and Spain the winner, I thought it would be helpful to review several phrases you heard during the broadcasts and where they may have originated from.

Advantage Rule: This used to be when a company had a monopoly on a service. Like the old Ma Bell days.

Assist: When you are in a call center and you put a customer on hold and ask a colleague a question. They get an assist. Don't overuse it or you may hear the dreaded RTFM.

Back Header: This is when you have been with a customer a long time and you simply bend your head back and ask "why me? "

Banana Kick: Common in fast food or take out places. You slip on a wet spot and your leg kicks up but you keep your balance and (hopefully) you don't get hurt. If you due hello litigation.

Bicycle Kick: When you arrive at work and see no more bicycle slots available. So you kick the one that you haven't recognized before.

Chest Trap: This is when you are reading a magazine at work and your boss walks by. You…

Government and Customer Service

As the former Governor of Alaska likes to say, YOU BETCHA !

You may not be able to fight City Hall, but you sure can call or contact them. Customer service here comes under the heading of serving the public.

This is what cities from Oakland to San Leandro to Fremont and all points in between should provide:

1) One main number for citizens to call for information or service request and a walk-up information counter to provide personal service to our citizens. This is a natural.
2) Develop knowledge-based definitions for call takers to answer most frequently asked questions quickly and correctly. Like where is the DMV.
3) Provide a management system that identifies and warns of potential problems.
4) Resolve all problems experienced with any fragmented call system.
5) Bring innovations to the relationship with citizens.
6) Have web access for citizens to initiate a complaint or check on status of a previous request.
7) Allow County staff to focus on handling the complaints and other job duties.
8…

Oakland, Mehserle Verdict and Customer Service

With all the hype,anticipation and fear surrounding the Mehserle verdict, the city of Oakland has taken a positive step as far as serving the public with a special section on it's city website. This has updates for the community and businesses which include Spanish,Chinese and Vietnamese languages.

Considering that most disasters or demonstrations or riots catch the population unprepared this shows that any violence will not be tolerated. The website is http://www2.oaklandnet.com/

There is also a number to call 510-777-8814 to report tips, rumors or information related to disturbances regarding the Mehserle verdict. In companies this would be referred to as disaster preparation. The city of Oakland, for all the criticism it takes shows real customer service for keeping people in the know.

There has been enough fear and loathing generated by the local media on the subject. Television stations want ratings, papers want to sell copies and radio wants listeners. On the day of the verdict…

Nonprofit Career Conference

Opportunity Knocks and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network put on a Nonprofit Career Conference in Oakland yesterday.The event was designed for nonprofit professionals seeking to advance their career and for-profit/corporate professionals looking to switch careers to the nonprofit sector. Several good organizations sponsored the conference including the Foundation Center and California State University East Bay.

There were four workshops each lasting 75 minutes on the agenda along with brief consultations for resumes. carer paths, personal finance and volunteering. The cost was $99 and over 100 people attended which ran from 8:00 to 4:30. With all this on the plate one would think this was a perfect recipe for a successful event for attendees.

Not Quite.

There was confusion early before the workshops started at 9:00 as a large number of people wanted to get that free ten review of their resume or career guidance that the small hallway was jammed. Meanwhile another line tried to fil…

Remember when Gas Stations had Customer Service?

Remember when you drove into a gas station and sat in your car while it was filled with gas , had your oil and tires checked , your windows cleaned and someone said have a nice day? Not since the 70s.

One would pull into a service station and almost Immediately two or three smiling guys wearing matching white shirts, bow ties (yes they did wear them) and dark uniforms swarmed all over your car.

One would lift the hood, pull the dipstick to check the oil and squirt some water in the radiator with no extra fee.

Another checks and inflates all four tires to the required pressure and asks if the spare also could use some air. He would then spray water on the windshield, towel and squeegee it off while meticulously cleaning the front windshield and all other visible panes of glass.

The last attendant would lift the nozzle and pump leaded or unleaded gasoline into the tank and give you the total for the gas , walk back into the office and return with your change. Sometimes you even get a fr…

Doctor's offices do provide Customer Service

You don't think of a doctor's office or in this instance an ophthalmologist's office as providing customer service, just treatment right? It is time to give credit on an event in my life where service in addition to treatment was simply stellar.

A few years ago I was diagnosed as having a cataract in my left eye, which I almost expected since my vision seemed to get weaker over a few months. Thinking that this only happened to people sixty and over my doctor assured me it does happen to people under that age. We set the appointment in June and had a few more checkups to measure the implant replacement and I was thinking FANTASTIC...I will have super vision in four weeks. Not quite, the dark side of The Force was at work.

On a sunny Monday in June with my cataract surgery set for Wednesday, I was nearly at work when I noticed these strange cobwebs on my other eye. After arriving at work I noticed I could hardly see the computer from the right eye now. I called up the doctor…

On those Tipping Jars

What is it with all these tip jars that are now proliferating on store counters from Fremont to Oakland . They seem to be more common that voting signs. Are we expected to tip for every type of service we pay for. Let's go over one of the most traditional services for tipping.

Restaurants

They have been the most traditional one to tip. You are seated at a table, you order there, your drinks are brought and refilled and your food it put right in front of you. You have personalized service, so you feel generous. Now let's take the delis, fast food chains and coffee shops. You stand in line, order at the counter, wait for your order, take it to your table and that's it for the service. Places like Subway, Starbucks and your local shops now have strategically placed a "tips accepted" jar on the counter.

Tip for What

You are not getting personalized service and no one offers you a refill. I know a lot of people are working barely above the minimum, but these are not care…

The Customer is not Always Right

Are you one of those shoppers that mind your own business, keep the table clean after you eat, do not reorganize a store's interior and do not make a spectacle of yourself in front of others? There are however, a small minority of customers who are so self absorbed they do not care about their surroundings and other customers. They come off as rude and haughty.

Here is a list of situations where the customer needs a "get with it" reminder.

1) Did you ever drive around a crowded parking lot, finally see a spot and as you turn in there is a shopping cart in the middle. Safeway, Lucky's and Trader Joe's in San Ramon and Pleasanton are always crowded lots. To whoever left it there.........wish them a flat tire on their way home.

2) You are in another parking lot, you park with no one on your left and on your return there is a huge pickup truck or van over the line and you have have about ten inches to open your door and squeeze in. To whoever owns that vehicle......…

Don't say these words to a Customer

We all have little phrases that can drive us crazy. This is one of mine - the phrase "we can't do that." Not to be confused with the Beatles song "You Can't Do That" but a service rep basically telling me, "sorry pal you're out of luck."

Recently I walked into a well known tire store in the East Bay to have a tire replaced which was damaged. I had only purchased it a little over a month ago. I asked for it to be replaced with no charge since I had purchased four at the time but was told, "we can't do that" it is over thirty days since you bought them. I then asked what about a discount and was told "well you did not buy the warranty." Alright fine I said let's get this fixed. It got me thinking how often we hear that statement in public - and how abrasive it is to hear as a customer. (Excuse me, but I don't "have to" do anything special for a customer.!) They could have easily given me a discount and sp…

On the new iPhone

PC World reports that Apple has pushed back the delivery date for iPhone 4 advance sales even more. The U.S. Apple Store is now showing that iPhone 4 pre-orders will ship by July 14, a 12-day delay to the original postponed delivery date of July 2.

Apple is having trouble fulfilling the surge of pre-orders that it began taking on June 15, noting in a statement on Wednesday that it has already sold more than 600,000 iPhone 4s. This is like trying to get tickets to a Rolling Stones concert when they were in their prime.

Pre-ordering an iPhone 4 is not easy job, however. First off, AT&T suspended iPhone 4 pre-orders on Wednesday, only a day after its Web site was overwhelmed with demand from customers.

AT&T's surge of interest didn't just come from new customers, but also from current customers. AT&T extended the new iPhone 4 customer pricing to those whose iPhone contracts expire at any point this year, thus making them eligible for discounted prices starting at $199 (w…

Does BP understand Customer Service

According to Jamier L. Scott in Electronic Commerce: A Managerial Perspective, “Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation." Its importance varies by product, industry and customer; defective or broken merchandise can be exchanged, often only with a receipt and within a specified time frame.

Some have argued that the quality and level of customer service has decreased in recent years, and that this can be attributed to a lack of support or understanding at the executive and middle management levels of a corporation. How true considering the problems that BP has been experiencing since April 20th..

According to consumerist.com, BP service reps have had their hands full since the oil disaster.

"Janice," not her actual name, has been working in the BP Call Center in Houston, answering calls about the disaster from all over the world, and she…

Customer Service or Customer Selling

The recent news that Wells Fargo and Bank of America Corp. are pushing their customers to buy more brokerage, savings and banking services from them as the weak economy and new regulations make it harder to earn money from investment banking and loans should come as no surprise.

Known as cross-selling, the concept has been pursued for decades by bankers eager to expand their business without having to find new customers. Now, banks are counting on cross-selling to replace some profit lost after the financial crisis. According to Accenture Plc, which estimates that returns on equity have dropped 21 percentage points from pre-crisis levels to 5 percent.

Profit is under pressure after bank assets shrank by a record 5.3 percent last year and consumer credit dropped 6.6 percent in 16 months, the most since World War II. Now Congress is preparing new regulations on fees, credit cards, securities and capital that may cut income at the 26 largest banks by $21 billion, according to Barclays Capi…

I want to speak to a Supervisor

If you have ever answered calls in a call center, you probably heard these words several times. "I WANNA SPEAK TO A SUPERVISOR". From working in centers and knowing people in other centers, these happens at least once a day or several times a week depending on the type of business.

Raise your hands if you have ever received this type of call.

Thank you.

From the company's standpoint they always want the agent to take care of the problem. Sometimes the callers will not budge and will insist on talking to a supervisor. The type of business could be banking,cable.phone or internet.These problems may involve fouled up orders, no shows for appointments, billing inquiries or just general gripes on their "customer experience".

Folks let me first let you in on a little secret. About half the time the call will not be transferred to a supervisor. A real supervisor being a person who hires, fires, writes reviews, signs your time sheet etc. Most supervisors may not have the …

Calling an 800 Number

Have you ever had the time, patience and sometimes enjoyment of calling an 800 number for a major company? First of all I have attached a link to a brief history of the 800 number and Roy Weber who in 1978 invented the modern toll free system.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toll-free_telephone_number

Let's take a look at ten companies, many with Bay Area strongholds on their 800 number system and a rating based on five stars for getting to a live person without pushing too many buttons or delays.

1) PG& E 800-743- 5000. You can report an outage, check on your bill or open an account.

Rating: Four Stars

2) AT&T 800-288-2020 You plow through lots of questions, there are many products from basic phone to billing to tech support to new service to make it stretch out a bit..

Rating: Three and a half Stars

3) Comcast 800- 266-2278 At last they have the Shaq and Ben show opening the call taken off. If you press support, it still says as it has in th…

Is Customer Service a thing of the past

I did a search on Google for " is customer service dead" to see what kind of posts there were. Below is the link for the search. The results were absolutely stunning. Click on it and feel your jaw drop or your eyes widen.

http://www.google.com/search?q=is+customer+service+dead&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

Over 18 million results found from it is dead, dying, a thing of the past, blog entries, complaints, threats and plain old bad service. What has happened in the past few years? Do companies really care about excellent service or does adequate service make the grade. Focusing on call centers, numbers are the name of the game there. From calls taken, to how long you talk to a customer, to how much time you spend after a call and different rating systems that review a handful of calls per month are the standard.

Here are some possible reasons for a decline and why this is a hot topic.

People are not trained properly. F…

McBug, Customer Service Ninja 6

Being in London recently,McBug was amazed that checkout clerks in grocery stores are SITTING rather than standing. It takes the pressure off of standing your whole shift and improves the customer experience. When will this come into play into the United States he wonders. Are you listening Lucky's, Safeway and other retailers?

McBug, Customer Service Ninja 5

McBug said he had one of the greatest customer service experiences ever. At a dentist office no less. Instead of browsing through a magazine and waiting to have his teeth checked and cleaned, the receptionist took him into a side room where there was a ....gasp.. a massage chair. He spent almost eight quick minutes in dental heaven before the assistant popped in and announced the doctor is ready for you. Can't we do the cleaning in here he exclaimed.This is at Tr-Valley Dental in Pleasanton. Makes you look forward to the next visit. McBug has a physician visit next week.Don't expect a pleasant report on this McBlog then.

McBug, Customer Service Ninja 4

Having worked in several contact centers, my buddy McBug is just amazed as to why people will wait on hold 30 minutes or longer to complain about something. There was the one person who called at a newspaper circulation department because the Safeway Flyer was not in the daily paper. One head scratcher. Then there was another who called their credit card provider claiming the balance of $5,456.98 was wrong. Her findings showed the balance at $5,455.89. two head scratchers there. To show that cable tv watchers are not left out, one said their remote was a tad slow in changing in changing channels. Whatever a tad is this gets three head scratchers. Finally at an online bookstore, the customer wanted a refund on the book she purchased because the ending was too depressing. McBug smiles through all this and delivers as one company says " Galaxy Class Service" !!!!

McBug, Customer Service Ninja 3

Mcbug today is so confused by all the different promotions that come across his desk. In banking you have someone create their own credit card. They still have to make the minimum payment though. In cable, telephone and internet there are double plays, triple plays, buy two get one free for a month, grand slams, take it to the house, going yard and hat tricks. What happened to buying one product at a time and seeing how well the service goes I ask? This is 2010 the company says. Remember..... abc..... always be closing.

McBug, Customer Service Ninja 2

How many times do you hear from someone in a call center that they get a call of "I wanna speak to a supervisor". Not a manager...or someone who knows what they are doing...or the boss. Chances are when this call is transferred, I hate to tell you that the person you get is not a supervisor. May be a lead, or floor walker or senior rep ( who get paid an extra buck an hour to do this) . That's their job. Most real supervisors don't want to hear someone rant and then tell the customer " it can't be done". Believe me this happens in most major centers daily.

McBug, Customer Service Ninja 1

My friend mcbug feels that customer service would vastly improve if companies treated their people like ...well people rather than a numbers on a sheet. They in turn would treat customers better and would not feel a rush to wrap this call up under ten minutes and take the next call. What one company does as far as stats, talk time, following a script is copied by others.

on the nfl draft

Wouldn’t it be something if companies had testing combines and then a draft like the NFL ! Imagine the excitement if Microsoft or Apple or Google or ESPN or Disney called and said we just drafted you with our third pick to be an analyst or writer or IT person. Dreaming? I guess so. Back to reality.

on Big Ben or now little ben

Looks like Ben Roethlisberger is taking the headlines away from Brett Favre. I have never seen a star QB situation like this in NFL history. Joe Namath, Ken Stabler or any other championship QB was never in a fire like this. The closest situation to this is probably Paul Hornung and Alex Karras being suspended for a year by Rozelle in 1963.

On TVAR

Tri Valley Animal Rescue (TVAR)in Dublin is a nonprofit, all volunteer organization whose mission is to end the unnecessary euthanasia of homeless animals. TVAR cooperates with area shelters and rescue groups, primarily the East County Animal Shelter, to provide homeless animals with socialization, foster homes, medical care and an opportunity for a second chance.
TriValley Animal Rescue (TVAR) is a nonprofit charitable organization run solely by volunteers dedicated to placing homeless animals. Through the commitment of our volunteers, TVAR works to ensure services such as: Rescuing adoptable and/or treatable animals at risk and placing them in our foster program, Provide medical care, both routine and special needs providing volunteers at the East County Animal Shelter to spend time socializing the animals and interfacing with the general public.