Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Geeky Golfer Warning!

If you love golf (and why wouldn't you), but have grown tired of the never-ending Woods-vs-Nicklaus conjecture (Alien-vs-Predator, etc.), here is an article that covers it better than any I've read.

It's thoughtful and well written.

The 15 Commandments of Customer Service

We're remodeling a bathroom ourselves and as a result we've come into contact with many vendors of products as well as services.

Sorry to seem pedantic, but in these rough economic times, when spending is at a historic low point and businesses must thrive on what little spending they receive, customer service can make a difference for any business that wishes to remain in business. This goes for plumbers and physicians, for the mom-and-pop hardware and a giant Lowe's.

Following are what I call "The 15 Commandments of Customer Service."


1. Never forget that without customers, you have no business. Treating customers in any way but courteously and respectfully will signal the beginning of the end of your business.

2. Never forget that you’re not doing customers a favor by being in business; rather, they’re doing you a favor by giving you theirs.

3. It takes 20 positive things to overcome one negative thing.

4. Call when you say you will. If you tell customers you’ll call regarding an order or a service, then call. If you don’t plan to call or think you might forget to call, then don’t say you will (or simply tell customers to call you).

5. Hire employees who share your customer service point of view. Relying on customer service training (or, worse, coercion) to instill the art of customer service in people who have no concept of it
(through a simple lack of experience) will not be anywhere near as successful as you need it to be.

6. Never assume customers know your business or, especially, your processes. You might have to explain how your order process works, what your return policy is, or something similar. Simply handing customers a printed copy of your policies --- or telling them all your policies are discussed at your web page --- is not sufficient and lame to the extreme.

7. Avoid using jargon with customers you don’t know or who don’t know you. How do you feel when someone speaks a language you don’t understand, and does so right in front of you. Confused? Well, jargon is like another language to your customer, and a confused customer will go elsewhere (i.e., you’ll experience Commandment 1).

8. Be careful discussing theory with customers. Chances are customers don’t come to you for an education, they come to you because you can do something for them. If you bury them in theory you’ll confuse them: don’t explain how a vacuum is created inside the BigVac 1000, just demonstrate how well the BigVac 1000 picks up debris. (The corollary to this is customers who know more about the theory than you.)

9. Never try to show your customers you know more than they do (put another way, never assume they know less than you). They’re probably in your store because they know less than you, or simply because what you can do for them is something they can’t do for themselves. Either way, no one likes to be made to feel stupid. (See also Commandments 1 and 2.)

10. Don’t ever think that what you offer is something customers can’t find elsewhere in one form or another. The same day you begin to act as if you’re the only game in town is the same day all those similar games in town begin to appeal to your customers.

11. Listen to your customers twice as much as you speak to them. You have two ears and one mouth. Yes, this is a bromide, but if you have a better way to suggest listening more than speaking, I’m all ears.

12. Avoid a fine-print mentality. Treat your customers as you would wish to be treated when you’re a customer. It’s not called the Tin Rule or the Iron Rule or the Aluminum Rule; its called the Golden Rule. Whoever thought of this used a precious metal because this is a precious rule.
(See also Commandment 6.)

13. Don’t be afraid to say I can’t help you. You can do this positively by suggesting where they might go to find what they need and, if there’s time, by offering to call ahead for them: this can be to a competitive business, to another store within your franchise or chain,
or simply to another department within your store.

14. Never denigrate a competitor or another customer, in front of a
competitor or another customer. (See also “the Golden Rule.”)

15. Follow up with customers after a large sale or a complex service. A small thing like a follow-up phone call or email to ask how things are going can make a huge impression and can ensure return business. No, you probably can’t contact all your customers, but you can contact some of them. John Chambers of Cisco Systems has always done this, and look where Cisco is.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Oops, he did it again...


If you missed it, this was a fun one. Eldrick Tiger Woods did it by locating rough, missing greens, finding bunkers, but dropping putts. Who else in any sport is as competitive, as motivated?
Sometimes the guy just doesn't seem human.

Sean O'Hair will be back. He's too good not to be. Hang in there Sean: par just might have won it for you.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The "scoundrel sniff test?"

John, John, John.

The higher the pedestal, the farther the fall.

This is just sad.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Who goes first?

NASA just announced this.

I'm wondering how they choose the guy who drinks first.

Maybe the delay is because no one would volunteer.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Truer words...

I just can't imagine the current frustration about the financial bonus (a.k.a. retention award) situation being expressed any better than this.

Truer words are rarely spoken.

Its gist? Senator Christopher Dodd has just suggested that allowing us all to be bent over by AIG, et al., is better than not having expressed in writing the ability to be allowed to bend us over should the choice be made to do so.


Grab your ankles, Senator Dodd: 2010 is coming fast.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Stupid is as stupid does...

Forrest Gump's mom spoke the truth, and this is a really stupid idea.... REALLY stoooopid.

Hopefully the Obama team will figure this out sooner rather than later: you can't say you support our troops and then not support our troops.

Buffalo for the Broken Heart...

I know this is what so many book reviewers say, but... if you read just one book this year, please read this one: "Buffalo for the Broken Heart."

It's nothing short of wonderful.

Even if you're a vegetarian, and the thought of eating any animal (including buffalo) is abhorrent to you, you'll get something fine from this moving story
of loss, longing, love, and life on the Great Plains.

For more information about Dan O'Brien and what he's doing now, please check out this web link.

Never thought I'd say this, but...

I never thought I'd thank George W. Bush, but after reading the first four paragraphs of this story, I'm moved to say exactly that: Thank you George.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Only one way to say this...


Ready for Primetime?

This is wonderful viewing, if not excruciatingly uncomfortable to watch.

Jim Cramer is too often simply glib and loud, neither of which helps his arguments; he did little to counter this tendency last night on "The Daily Show." Jon Stewart's argument was cogently constructed and deftly presented. All Mr. Cramer could do was sputter and act contrite, with the accent squarely on "act."

Jim Cramer spent years in the background feathering his own financial nest. He then somehow managed to get his own vacuous infotainment show, which he proved last night he certainly deserves having: he was almost entirely devoid of info and completely full of 'tainment.

CNBC has to be rubbing its collective jaw right now. It certainly took one squarely on Mr. Cramer's chin last night. Ouch.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Wingnut Alert

This video is, well, weird. That's the only way I can put it. I couldn't even imagine what he's thinking. Hence the wingnut alert.

Look, I'm a registered Independent, I voted for President Obama, and I'm happy I did, but oftentimes those for whom you vote come with people about whom you're... how shall I say this... less than thrilled. (Think of all those Dick Cheney supporters who were bummed about his choice of George W. Bush.)

Mr. Reid is a good example of this idea. As an analogy, think of the expression "you can pick your friends but you can't pick your relatives." I'm delighted with my pick of President Obama, but I'm far less happy with his political relatives.

Friday, March 6, 2009

First step?

This article says that Bernie Madoff has "taken the first step to pleading guilty."

Step schmep!

It's is easy to plead guilty, Bernie; just repeat after me: "I'm guilty."

What a douche this guy is.



This better be it.

Talent doesn't make up for bad behavior...

She's at it again.

When are people going to say "enough is enough" with this woman? What's the attraction?

said before that I just don't get it. I still don't.

Being talented does not compensate for being a complete fool.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What's the difference...

...between a zeppelin and Rush Limbaugh?

One is a giant gas-filled bag.

Oh... I just couldn't resist. Actually, that's not true: I could have resisted, but I chose not to.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A good effect of the bad economy...

This story is in the news today.

Who cares? I feel badly for everyone who works for a living and who will lose that living, but the show sucks.

This is just another example of how a competitive marketplace works by weeding out that which