Saturday, December 31, 2016

Secret electronic communications (there is no such thing)

No text, no email, no electronic communication is safe and secure, not in the top levels of our government, not in the biggest companies on our planet. So, why would anyone text or email anything that you wish to remain a secret? Is it criminal or just stupid? Firewalls, encryption, spam filters, no anti-mal-ware, virus, Trojan protectors---nothing makes your emails or texts safe, private, or secure. So, piece of advice #1: Don't send anything via your computer, tablet, phone, that you'd be uncomfortable sharing with the world, OR anything that might cost you money. Then, Piece of advice #2: Don't open emails or ever click on links in emails that you are not 100% certain are safe (and now go back and read the title of this post). I work for one of the largest companies on earth, we own a technology company, we spend huge amounts on data security, hardware, software, training---and probably have one of the safest networks available, yet, we never stop working to safeguard information. But, look around, at Yahoo (billions of accounts compromised), Target (110 million), Adobe (150 million), Ebay (145 million), and now we hear the DNC was hacked. Those people, those companies, spend millions on IT security, they're not stupid, not even careless, typically; but, in spite of the best efforts of some very smart people, they got hacked. MORE, a person I work with had her identity stolen recently. Her personal information was taken from her dentist's office and with that information the thief opened new accounts, ran up balances of thousands of dollars, and it took her nearly a year to get it all sorted out. Does your dentist, doctor, hairdresser, plumber, on-line store have your personal info? Like Amazon, maybe, or iTunes, perhaps. If a bad guy knew what iTunes knows about you, he good bankrupt you. We give in to the convenience of leaving info to providers of goods and services and I understand that, but it increases the risk immeasurably. Don't do it. If you trust me, check out this link from the Federal Trade Commission or look around on line for tips on how to protect yourself.

Put your company atop the customer service mountain---secrets revealed!! You won’t believe how simple it really is!!

Want to set your organization apart from the pack? First, learn this inescapable truth about customer service: TECHNOLOGY IS NOT YOUR FRIEND, is NOT YOUR CUSTOMERS' FRIEND!! If you want to build a reputation for customer service, take these two easy steps: first, hire a person, a Human Being, with a clear, pleasant voice to answer your customer service phone. Second, empower that person (or the one sitting next to him or her) to fix 99% of issues. That's it, put a friendly, smart person on the other end of the phone--YOU WILL INSTANTLY BECOME BEST IN YOUR INDUSTRY!

I went through three phone trees today to report a lost/stolen credit card (had to go back to “main menu” once so that’s really four phone trees), tried the multiple automated options and wound up inadvertently cancelling the wrong card, talked to two people, in two different departments, equally unable to help before finally finding the person who would solve the problem. It wasn’t a routine situation, but I can’t believe that it was so rare that NONE of the many automated options would work and the first two humans couldn’t help. My history with this company is great (by comparison), so I was really disappointed, so let me repeat, “Technology is not your friend (in your customer service effort).”

But, it goes way beyond that--train and motivate all of your employees to first, NOW, FOREVER, AND ALWAYS, do everything with the goal of exceeding customers' expectations, 2nd, train and empower every employee to fix problems before they grow so large that your house counsel has to get involved.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Advances in technology?

A father and son were recently walking through a suburban mall, moving at a leisurely pace, window-shopping, and working their way toward a sporting goods store on the far end. The son’s phone beeped, that tell-tale sound indicating he had received a text. He pulled out his phone and responded to the incoming message. He had a five minute "conversation" with someone, eyes intense, thumbs a blur. Father watched, out of the corner of his eye, as the son smiled, laughed, blushed, and grimaced once. As he put his phone away his father asked, “Who was that?”

“Just a friend,” the son replied, sheepishly.

The lack of a name and the keyword “just” were dead giveaways—Father knew it was a girl on the other end of the conversation. “What’s she doing today?”

“She’s in that store,” he said, nodding his head indicating the shop to their right. They walked on, past the store, though their pace slowed a little.

“She’s thirty feet away, why don’t you go talk to her?”

Son shrugged his shoulders.

The father couldn’t help laughing, “At least stick your head in and say, “Hi.” I’ll hide so she won’t know you’re with your father.”

Son was blushing, more, and appeared anxious, nervous, “I just told her hi.”

“You mean you texted her hi. That’s not the same thing. Don’t you want to see her face? Did she smile when you said hi?”

Now he was agitated, “I don’t know Dad!” He stepped up his pace a little.

“You laughed when you were texting her. Did she laugh? Did you share a laugh?”

“I don’t know Dad, please!”

The father wondered, silently, “Is this what passes for flirting these days? Text messages?”

They kept walking, past the store, into the depths of the vast chasm created by texting. They might as well have been exchanging telegrams across a continent.

I thought things were different—between me and my son. My father was a typical father of his generation. He worked, Mom ran the home and raised the boys (four sons). Dad taught me many things, how to build, how to fix things, how to throw a ball, and how to take care of myself. True to our roles in those days, we had very few real conversations, but by example he impressed upon me my real purpose on earth—caring for those around me. We definitely did not discuss flirting. Apparently, things have not changed as much as I thought.