Customer Service & The Basics

May 11, 2014

Quick Shot:

Saturday night found me hungry and wanting to try something/someplace new. I saw Wasabi Jane’s, a sushi place I hadn’t tried and thought… “excellent.” I stood in front of the register browsing the menu. No one came. Clearly busy, two chefs were in the work area. No one came. Struggling to understand the ordering process, I left. Where did I end up eating? Taco Bell. Why? They took my order quickly and the associate ending up being the most pleasant person I dealt with all day. Why did restaurant #1 lose my money while restaurant #2 got it? Well, they got it in more ways than one, even up-selling me on a local promotion with a community charity by explaining it in terms of (making me look good) what I would get by doing so. Free taco? “…Excellent.”
Operators, Corporate Fellow-Travelers, -it’s ALWAYS the details and the little things. How easy is it, -really, to do business with you? Say what will about Taco Bell, but that night it was pretty easy.


Is there a such thing as “fair” with wireless customer service?

December 22, 2013

A friend of mine, a fellow veteran of wireless carriers, had a problem with his cell phone company. He reported the problem to them and they didn’t fix it the first time. He called back, talked to a supervisor, and using both his experience and basic politeness (which came from his experience). got the result he wanted. This result, being honest, likely would not have happened had he not known which facts to emphasize and how to “speak wireless” to the customer service representative. He’s happy and the carrier is happy, money continuing to exchange hands in the foreseeable future. Should you be happy? It’s a question that is starting to vex many retail operators. Inconsistent outcomes, -where Customer A gets “XYZ,” and Customer B gets nothing when circumstances are exactly the same. Not the way to breed long-term customer loyalty, the knowledge that what they can expect from the company is fluid and depends on the luck of the draw. Companies would say that any system trusting the judgement of individual representatives will cause different outcomes. Many customers are starting to be less than pleased with that answer.

The small business guide to Google [interactive flowchart]

October 18, 2013

The small business guide to Google [interactive flowchart].


July 16, 2012

One of the most surprising problems facing customers is the relative lack of basic handsets compared to, -you guessed it, smartphones. The handset company, perhaps not unsurprisingly, generally has a lack of interest in making basic feature phones. You remember the feature phone, right? You parents or grandparents may carry one. Perhaps a flip phone like this Samsung Chrono 2. No one wants to make them anymore. No money in it. Sad.

So, I propose a touch screen phone that, at first, simply displays a very basic feature set. The Galaxy S III is the right design, and has the lack of confusing buttons and lights I am looking for… The screen would display ONLY a dialer, contact information (more on that later) and a send/end key. No data plan would be needed. Yet. When the customer enters contact information, a helpful drop-down list would appear, saying “Is “Tim” your friend/co-worker/son/daughter?” This would also ask, on a separate screen with no other questions on that screen,  -do they have an email address and what, exactly, is it?

As the customer became more comfortable with the phone, more features could be offered via an automatic software prompt, in a careful, non-intimidating  way. A pop-up window could appear, asking “would you like to see your daughter’s latest Facebook photos?” The phone already has an email address tagged as his daughter. A pricing menu could also be offered at this time. I might turn down $50/month for a data plan, but I might accept $3 for checking those photos TODAY. Then, the software could be downloaded and installed to remind me I always have that option. The occasional prompt based on an email social media search? That’s good, too. All sorts of potential sales occur to me.

Think about it. A phone that scales capacity based on your wants or needs.

Samsung Chrono 2

Samsung Chrono 2

Data Cap

August 30, 2011

Which came first, people’s average data usage, or data caps? Back in the day “WIDEN” was supposed to be a hot technology, you begged customers to add data features because in addition to being a money-maker, it increased satisfaction and retention. Now we limit, for the best of reasons, be it network capacity or faith no average customer will use that much data, the ability of people to use something that if promoted might cause greatly increased reliance on carrier services. As John Warner once said, “what does that mean, for US?” It means we need to devote every resource towards better, faster networks.

Some thoughts on satellite phones.

April 18, 2011

There are still an astonishing number of areas without cell phone service. What matters most right now are areas between two towns that will not support a cell tower, be it for lack of commercial power, inhospitable terrain, and so on…. So, what do you do when you travel through those places and you need, at least, the capability to make an emergency phone call? Satellite? Not so fast. Let’s hope you’re not in Redwood National Forrest. Let’s also hope you are calling at the suggested time of day. What does that leave the casual traveler? More sophisticated satellite phones, really, professional grade stuff. Expensive. I’ll call you when I have a reasonable solution.

Android on PC?

April 6, 2011

“@TechCrunch: Want To Run Android Apps On Your Windows PC? You Can With BlueStacks.”

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