How Do You Value Relationships? How Does Facebook?

While searching for a family heirloom my mom came across her mom’s high school autograph book. Most of the inscriptions are from 1881 and in verse. It’s a beautifully tooled leather booklet. Gives the autographs some weight, some feeling. It was fun leafing through. Most of the inscriptions are in verse. My mother tells me that her father and mother often traded poetic notes with each other and it looks like the practice was widespread, at least in this neck of the woods. While I’m sure many of the verses were used multiple times among many friends, each page provides a touch of personality — a small window into the lives of people I never knew. It felt very personal. “My friends in my album I ask you to write, but to tear out the leaves I deem impolite.    A. Maiers” Annie had a sense of humor. As did Jeannie: … Continue reading

Why ATT Is Fabulous and Why Comcast Should Not Be On Twitter.

This is the story of two wonderful people and two ways of handling customers. Because of one this is not a rant, but a piece about good customer service. MYSTERIOUS FORESHADOWING: This piece ends with the rather unlikely event of more than just I ending up as an ATT U-verse customer thanks to ATT-Sarah in Bloomington. First, the setting: @Comcastcares has done a lot of good work from the looks of it. He (and I assume his helpers) have been talked about on podcasts and at blogs around the net for solving problems customers have had that were not solved by Comcast’s standard customer service center. And that’s good. You need to oil the squeaky wheel quickly.  But as part of that process you really should be fixing the cause of all those squeaky wheels. In twitterspeak: #FAIL

Community Creativity: “Let’s Put On A Show”

Since Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland first appeared together in Babes In Arms, “Let’s put on a show!” pretty much describes the gung-ho attitude of high schoolers, their teachers and the community support that goes into every high school musical.  The connections between community and high school benefit everyone by generating pride of place, generating opportunities for mutual support and, most importantly, reminding everyone that the young can accomplish amazing things. High school performances, sporting events, academic competitions, and service projects build youth confidence and contribute to the community at large. But have the days of singing in the streets to whip-up a crowd been replaced by Facebook and Twitter? The need for community support has not changed. (Honest Disclosure: I’m going to talk about high school musicals today as an excuse for a ‘proud papa’ moment as well as to participate in a Middle Zone Muzings project.) Maine South High … Continue reading

Taking Care Of Loyal Customers
When Change Is Imminent

Soon after my son settled on which pacifier would get him through infancy, Playtex decided to make a change.  He had not jumped recklessly into his choice of pacifier.  There was product testing, parental input, style considerations. He reviewed the various alternatives, including the organic, all-natural thumb. Finally he followed his sister’s recommendation and prepared to happily meditate.  Almost immediately trouble started.  First it became difficult to find the pacifier.  We did what any good parents would, and stocked up.  Bought enough to get us through a few months.  And as supplies got low again. Nothing. They were gone. Playtex had discontinued the design.  There was no replacement.  This taught me the meaning of the word panic. Of course this was in the dark ages before the age of hyper-availability and web searches.  I called the company. “Please, you have to start making these things again.” “Sir, we understand, but other designs … Continue reading

It’s Your Best Ad,
It’s Your Most Popular Service,
It’s FREE*

What happens when the web meets doggie day care? Funny how a simple idea can force service transformations. Most pet boarding facilities I’ve seen in the past involve caging and separating pets. Even the ‘pet motel’ concept involved only larger cages or runs and human play time. We’ve all learned a lot from the Pet Whisperer, however. How does that transform a dog boarding business?  It becomes a broadcaster! What better service for customers than to provide top quality programing involving their favorite ‘star.’ Of course now you have to think in terms of how your compound looks on camera, how your staff acts with the dogs, and all sorts of other things that improve overall service! Simple to set up, yet not necessarily something most boarding facilities are comfortable with, the concept has generated other businesses focused on providing the technology and advice needed to make the idea a … Continue reading