Real Customer Service

I’m sure you’ve heard the horror stories about people trying to cancel their cable service, or maybe even heard the recording of the calls themselves, which demonstrates how our culture of service has been turned on its head. When I renewed my AAA membership online, it gave me the option to transfer my membership from Indiana to North Carolina. It seemed to work fine. Until I saw the charge from Indiana on my credit card. I called and was told that the transfer does not override the auto-renew function. But they would reverse the charge and I would see it in 3-5 days. No hard sell. No questions. No fees. Just a reverse of a charge that shouldn’t have happened. This is how is should work.

Positively Japanese

I watched a compilation of the best Japanese commercials and I was struck by how upbeat and positive they all are. It seems like every situation in Japan, even some of the Mad Max or monster scenarios are improved by the products being offered. Granted I don’t speak the language, nor even know what some of the products are, but I still got the sense the all the singing and dancing meant something.

Message from the Past

I sent a former colleague a LinkedIn request, but acknowledged that we had not met. He replied with an existential question that if the email constitutes a meeting, I can no longer say we never met. I replied that it should be a grammar problem rather than an existential one. I should have said “We have not met yet.” This way it is true at the beginning of the sentence, and by the end of the sentence we have. That would have been a smoother transition from present to past.

Lack of Seasonal Signals in Street View

Today I arrived in Iceland. Before I left I was looking at Google Street view to see the neighborhood around my hotel. It is a little ways from the downtown core and I wanted to see what the walk would be like. It’s about 30 minutes, which isn’t too bad, except when you remember the season. Street view shows a pleasant daytime view of way. It is currently cold and snowy in Iceland, with only 4 hours of daylight.

Holiday Selective Perception

Selective perception lets you only see what you want to see, both in the world and in the media. As someone who does not celebrate Christmas, I have pretty much avoided it. I don’t work in an office. I don’t watch tv. I don’t listen to the radio. I rarely visit Facebook. I don’t shop in the mall. Plus my plans today are to travel out of the country. So with the exception of a handful of people wishing me Merry Christmas the past couple of days, it’s almost possible for me to forget it is even Christmas.

Perfunctory Hawaiian Thank You

Everyone knows that Aloha is Hawaiian for hello and goodbye. But unless you have been to Hawaii, you may not know that Mahalo is Hawaiian from thank you. The problem with this word is that it is so overused that it feels required. When traveling in touristy areas and going into stores, every time you leave, the clerk says Mahalo. But they say it in a flat, monotone way that does not show that they care you crossed their threshold.

More of Nature’s Color Palette

Deer are completely camouflaged in the winter woods. Their fur is that same color as the bare trees. That is until they move. When you stare into the woods and just let your eyes relax, that is who you see the deer. First they are none, and suddenly there are five as you notice the movement. There are certainly some overblown analogies here are seeing details that emerge from within the patterns.

Random Acts of Marketing

I was reminded of term that describes many marketers’ unconnected, non-strategic activities: random acts of marketing. These are one-off pieces of content, events and campaigns that don’t connect to the large strategic vision of an organization. A lack of that strategic vision will actually ensure that all you have are random acts of marketing.

Not a Fan of Christmas

I’m not the only to frown on the commercialization and rampant consumerism of Christmas, but I just want less and less to do with the holiday. As a divorced, Jewish dad with older kids who spend Christmas with their mom, my yuletide celebrations over the years have consisted of going to the movies and choosing from the Chinese restaurants that were open. This year I will be traveling, but it still doesn’t ameliorate my problems with the unnecessary gift-giving, which drives a significant portion of our economy. I re-read a post I wrote about this during the midst of the recession, where I hoped it would spur changes in society. Alas, it has not. So we will continue buying and giving and receiving and returning.