It just doesn't get any better than this!


Don’t you just love customer service these days? I know I sure do.


I’ve been wanting to write a blog about customer service for some time. This is Blog #35 and I simply can’t kick the can down the road any more. I need to address this topic. And, my editor says I need to keep it light when I do. You’ll be fielding a lot of complaints if you don’t and the last thing you want to have to do is to spend time on the phone defending yourself with an unhappy reader who threatens to cancel her free subscription to your blog.


There are a lot of people who get angry when the term Customer Service is mentioned. Not me. I am never happier than when I am having a good two-way conversation with a well-trained person who has the authority to resolve my problem. Just last week, for example, my new toaster got stuck and reduced a piece of toast to the size of a quarter. Look at the upside. I’ll never put on weight eating toast the size of a mini-appetizer. There’s always something positive in every experience.


But, I digress. Back to my interaction with the toaster customer service person. I had been told by a neighbor that I might have to call 10 or 12 times before anyone would answer the phone. As it turns out, that was wrong and unfair to the toaster company. I was able to get right through after only seven calls. If you would be willing to take a brief survey at the end of this call, please stay on the line.


I really wanted to take their survey so I did what they requested - and I decided to stay on the line as long as necessary. They were making a sincere effort to learn about my experience and the least I could do was help them out. Two hours and 52 minutes later, the customer service rep came on the line. It wasn’t as bad as you might think as I was able to listen to some really good music during the delay. I apologize for the brief wait. I care about you and your toaster very much and I want to help you. I mean how great is that? That’s my kind of company and I’m going to talk to my new best friend.


I explained my problem and she put me on hold. When she reappeared just 46 minutes later, she introduced me to a second person who, as it turned out, was from a foreign country. He had a very heavy accent and was hard to understand, but I finally figured out he was from the nation of Alabama. I enjoy overseas travel so, for me, talking on the phone with a customer service rep from a country like Alabama can be a lot of fun. I care about you and your toaster very much and I want to help you. Right away he gained my trust. And, finally, here was somebody who had a good suggestion. Let me get you to one of our toaster pop-up experts here at our international toaster service center.


A mere 27 minutes later on comes a new voice. Please listen carefully as our options have changed. If you are calling because you have one of our Series 223 toasters, please press one. For all other reasons, remain on the line and one of our helpful customer service representatives will be on shortly. And sure enough - in just a short 38 additional minutes - on came someone saying, I care about you and your toaster very much. How can I help you today?


I know you are trying to help me, and I appreciate that a lot, but I really have to stop burning my toast and I am counting on you to help me reach that goal. When I push down on the timer handle it almost always gets stuck and sometimes the toast cooks for as long as 40 minutes before it finally pops up.


Sir, may I suggest that if you want to avoid this problem in the future that you may need to purchase one of our relational database management systems (commonly referred to as RDMS) for your toaster. If you do that and also replace your toaster’s hybrid app that should do the trick. A special feature comes with that which allows you to make different types of toast and put them up in the cloud for future consumption.


Just then we got disconnected. So, that’s how I spent my Tuesday. I made several new friends and renewed my faith in customer service. I hope you had a productive Tuesday, too.


Sadly, I’m afraid my toaster is toast.


And let me add that my options have changed, too. I don’t think I’ll write any more blogs about customer service.

DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.


This blog is a product of DY Author & Speaker LLC. Feel free to quote content with attribution. Respond. Agree. Disagree. Share the content with your friends. Heck - even invite him as a speaker for your group! Enjoy!

Oops!


I like to think of myself as being a generous person. Through the years, I have been fortunate to visit many places and I have often brought gifts for family members when I returned.


In 1985, I was sent to London on behalf of the State of Ohio which, at that time, was very interested in telling the story of why Ohio is such a good place to do business. In fact, that is still a story Ohio tells.


It was the Holiday Season, and I managed to find a little time in my important schedule to slip into the world-famous Harrods Department Store in London. Harrods is the 180 degree opposite of online shopping. Spread over seven floors in a gigantic 1,000,000+ square-foot building, more than 300 different departments offer a range of products from A-Z and back again. It is every bit as much a tourist attraction as it is a store.


At Harrods, I came upon a leased department under the brand name Salvatore Ferragamo. It was there that I fell in love with a magnificent scarf that I just had to buy as a Christmas gift for my daughter, Tracy. As I recall, the purchase price was 135 British pounds. That’s pretty pricey, except I calculated that American dollars were about 1-for-2 British pounds. So, I felt pretty good that the actual charge on my Mastercard would only be about $67 and change. I bought the scarf, left Harrod’s with a smile on my face and went back to my more important mission on behalf of the citizens of Ohio. It was only when my Mastercard bill arrived that I discovered my big mistake. Instead of cutting 135 British pounds in half to equal American dollars, I should have doubled them. Thus it was that my daughter received a $270 scarf that Christmas with instructions to never wear it, but to frame it as a fine piece of art.


A close cousin of that story comes from my first trip to Japan in 1984. I came upon a district in Tokyo known as Akihabara. It is the center of the universe for consumer electronics. Floor after floor, store after store of nothing but geeky stuff I don’t understand but which I know is important to the way the world works. I revisited Akihabara in 2013 and the only thing that had changed was that the electronics were far advanced and the product offerings much more sophisticated than in 1984. If you want to bring home a gift and have people think you are really a geeky dad, do your shopping at Akihabara.


It’s important for kids to think their parents are really with it, that they have the coolest mom or dad in town. I know my kids still feel that way as they struggle to have their own offspring know how lucky they are to have hip parents who play their music and video games. With that in mind, how could I leave Tokyo and Akihabara without a gift for Denny?


What should I get for that fine young man? I settled on a boombox, a large, clumsy thing long gone from our lexicon and store shelves, but a must have for every kid in the mid-1980s. Boombox was the perfect name as that thing sure was loud. And I was a cool dad, right?


About a week after I got home, I needed an Akihabara fix. I ventured over to a local discount store called Uncle Bill’s to see what electronics were on their shelves. Lo and behold there was an exact duplicate of what I had purchased for Denny. And the price tag was several dollars less than I had paid in Japan. What a discovery! I had schlepped that obnoxious boombox through airports just to find out I could have purchased the exact same item for less just a few blocks from my house.


The lesson to be learned from these two long-remembered experiences is that father doesn’t always know best. In fact, in my case, I think I need adult supervision if I am going into a store.

DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.


This blog is a product of DY Author & Speaker LLC. Feel free to quote content with attribution. Respond. Agree. Disagree. Share the content with your friends. Heck - even invite him as a speaker for your group! Enjoy!

Sportsmanship at its finest.


I have a good and long-time friend named Jim Jung. He pronounces his last name Young. I am constantly reminding him to correct the spelling. If you want the honor of having the last name Young, you have to spell it right. Jim Jung is a great guy, but his spelling needs some work.


Today, I want to tell you the story of another Jim Young, a man who spelled his last name correctly. Jim Young, who passed away some years ago, was a successful lawyer who worked with a respected firm in our city. But, there are lots of lawyers here and everywhere and that did not distinguish him. What set him apart for me was how he conducted himself as a team manager in our community’s summer baseball league. We have all learned of instances of adults - masquerading as juveniles - screaming and swearing at umpires, throwing objects on the field and even engaging in fisticuffs with other parents. Jim Young was the polar opposite of all that.


In 1981, I was the third base coach working under Jim. My son was the team’s catcher. The players were all 15ish. Some were really good and some were less than really good. But, it was a very good team that came to the championship game having lost only one time all season. Seventeen wins and one bad game when they did not bring focus, got sloppy, blew a big lead and lost.


A few minutes before the first pitch of the championship, Jim called the players, coaches and parents together and sent this powerful message: We’ve had a great season and everyone has played every game. League rules say that in the championship game, a manager can use his nine best players. Everyone does not have to play. But, that’s not the way we’re going to do it. We got here with everyone playing every game and tonight everyone is going to get their innings same as always. We are a team and win or lose, we will leave here as a team.


It’s been 40 years since I heard Jim say those words. What a role model for kids and parents. What an example of sportsmanship. What a leader for a team of youths.


And, oh yes, you want to know how the game turned out. Keep in mind, these were kids, not major leaguers. Typical scores in games like this are high. The final score was 1-0. We won and everybody got their innings and contributed. Think about how well that game was played to end up with a score like that. Full focus. Everyone working together. No one player dominating. A game, well-played by kids, with a lesson learned and I hope retained by everyone.


When the season was over, the team and parents all went to Jim Young’s house for a cookout and trophy presentation. He wasn’t one for participation trophies. Rather, as each player received his trophy, their manager shared a very specific example of how that young person had contributed to the team’s success.


It’s been 40 years since that magical season and championship game. Even after all that time, I continue to have a trophy in my office that is inscribed: Shaker Boys League, 1981 Senior A Champs, Davis Young - Coach. It’s a constant reminder to do what’s right, not just what’s required.


Long-time major league manager Leo Durocher is remembered for saying Nice Guys Finish Last. Now you know the truth. Nice guys finish first. Jim Young was one nice guy.


Thank you, Jim, for a life lesson well worth remembering. I learned a lot from you that season.

DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.


This blog is a product of DY Author & Speaker LLC. Feel free to quote content with attribution. Respond. Agree. Disagree. Share the content with your friends. Heck - even invite him as a speaker for your group! Enjoy!


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