Showing posts from June, 2010

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.


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, 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, 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.

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.

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…