Archive for March, 2010


It’s a Rebirth

Hello my friends,

We have moved! This blog is now at http://corvedacosta.com

I am so excited about it. In a few days, all the readers will be redirected from this site (wordpress.com) to the official Corve DaCosta Blog at http://corvedacosta.com

Hope you will join me. See you there.

Could you do me a favor please? If I appear in your blog roll could you edit the link to say http://corvedacosta.com

That would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

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What is customer service?

Really, what is customer service? Because I am getting to think some companies do not understand the concept and can’t deliver it. An easy definition of customer service is treating your customer well. Ahhh, yes we can agree with that but just treating your customers well is not good enough. We need companies to go beyond treating their customers well.

Customer service in 2010 is a function of how well an organization is able to constantly and consistently exceed the needs of the customer. If a business today is not able to compete on customer service delivery then it makes no sense entering the business world. The company would have missed the point and focus of what companies should deliver to their customers. Firms today display on huge scrolls their mission statements and vision statements in their establishments. They express how wonderful the customer is but somehow their delivery does not match up with the words.

On Wednesday March 3, 2010, my friend purchased two slices of cakes from Pastry Passions. They have outlets in Manor Park and Liguanea, all located in Kingston, Jamaica. Later on, I opened the package, everything looks presentable, glanced a bit; it looked good so I began to partake. After eating two pieces I noticed that there was plastic below the icing. I thought to myself “this isn’t right?” I have never purchased a cake and seen plastic below the icing. After some investigations, I learnt that they use the plastic to retain the moisture. It is used for cakes like black forests – the one we bought. Clearly the individual who applied the icing forgot to take off the plastic.

I recognized then that this must have been a genuine mistake. I can’t fathom a pastry outlet of the repute like Pastry Passions making this mistake.

In a situation like this you either accept the mistake and the disservice as normal or you report the situation. It is sad that I was willing to condone and accept this mediocre service delivery from a company when you have paid a nice chunk for a slice of cake. Many customers share this profile though. When something in the service delivery goes wrong they accept the wrong actions by the company as normal when it is not. We need to reach a level where actions like these don’t go unreported. We were so lackadaisical about it that I was able to convince my friend to eat the cake.

However, he decided to call Pastry Passions to report the case so that they were aware of the matter and that no one would be harmed. It would be sad and a bad tale to have a child swallow a piece of that plastic on the cake.

During the conversation, the representative from the company becomes irate. Not over the fact that this incident could have happened at Pastry Passions but was angry that the person reporting the matter had an attitude. This is a blatant violation and a health risk that could bring the store closed and you are giving the customer an attitude. I was upset because I expected better from Pastry Passions. They are all over the Jamaican media telling how good their cakes are blah blah blah. Truth be told, they aren’t that good. Even their presentation sucks because the cakes on display are messed up, the icing does not hold up. So when people can see flaws in your product and still have the guts to handle it and purchase your goods, giving an attitude should be the last thing on your mind. To bring everything home, honey, this was not a normal entry level employee dishing the attitude and insolent behaviour this is from one of the managers.

And that is the saddest part of the story. That a manager, who we will assume should know better, could have done this.

The night got better though. The cakes were returned. While in the Manor Park outlet of Pastry Passions the other manager stormed in, was angry that this situation all had happened. She apologized and it was accepted.

Customer service in Jamaica is at its lowest point. I think we have low regards for customers because as a people we have no respect for people. There are a few good people left. I wrote a blog post months ago that spoke about this topic. In it I shared great experiences I had, so I know great customer service delivery can be reached. It is not hard, it is not a stretch out of our imagination. We don’t have to wait until we reach on an airplane to enjoy it. Customer service should be like breathing, it’s that easy.

When I left school I was employed with the marketing firm and through another private sector firm was offering free customer service training. You need to read that again, free customer service training for their staff. All I had to do was to call up the companies and share the good news of free customer service with them and ask if they were interested. Would you believe that some companies turned the offer down? This training was not mediocre customer service training. They were getting training materials that they could keep all for free. I had managers on the telephone attempting to convince me that their staff does not need customer service training. I also want to share that the training sessions I did companies were surprised of the quality, the technique I used and some expressed I should continue. I am passionate about customer service. Three companies can be selling the same thing but what makes you stand out is how you treat your customers when they walk through your doors.

Do you say “May I help you?” in a dry tone, or

You walk over with a smile and say “Good morning, how are you?” (Wait for a response)

“I see you’re looking at jeans pants, what size are you looking for?”

I should not be shopping and screaming on top of my lungs “HELP”.

Customer service is something you either have it or you don’t. If you don’t have it, pray that you’ll get it. Because we are at a stage where if you ignore it, another company might steal your idea and do a better job at it. Do you have it? Customer service is history, it is in the past. Today, as customers we seek customer empathy. If the manager on the phone, got apologetic and really expressed his dissatisfaction with what his company did we would feel better to consume there again. With the way he handled the situation I am not sure I want to look through their panes anymore. Customer empathy is showing your customer how much you care about them. Because they would have cared a lot before to have reported how bad they feel.

Tips on providing great customer service/empathy

  1. Do not take criticism personally.
  2. Listen to the customer.
  3. Acknowledge that your company did something wrong
  4. If it is the company’s fault fix it.
  5. Do everything with a calm voice, mixed with a smile. It will go a far way.
  6. Never forget to make it up to the customer. Provide free service/gifts, because you want to retain this person.

I want to express Thanks to all the bloggers and readers who click on this blog and have a good read each time. Thanks to all the bloggers who decided to bestow on me these awards.

The Best Blog Award from Pamela. Her blog is at Life – Day and Night

Forever Friends Award from Sandra. Her blog is at Sandra’s World.

The final award comes from Pat over at Pat’s Letters God Inspired .

To help us celebrate we have Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. I love this song.

Thanks, Merci, Gracias.

***I must apologize to all my friends who have Blogspot blogs. I am having a problem leaving my thoughts on your blog. I am trying to solve it. I have not forgotten you at all.

My past weekend in Kingston, Jamaica was by far the best or one of the best I have ever had. In part because I was so busy. There is always some activity going on to entertain people here. One of my favourite places to eat out in Kingston is Jamaica Pegasus and they are up to date with Social Media. They tweet a lot and I follow them. Check out their Twitter Page. They had a Jazz Competition where they invited their followers on twitter to take a photo that signified Jazz. Interestingly, I won and instead of the two tickets, we got four. The winning photo is below.

The Winning Photo by Craig Bloomfield

Event: Jazz in the Gardens – Organs and Vocals in Harmony

MC: Michael Cuffe

Featuring: Dean Fraser, Robbie Lyn, Keisha Patterson, Desi Jones (drums), Diana Rutherford, Glen Browne, Dalton Browne, Ronald Buchanan and Lloyd Denton.

Celebrating ten years, the staging of Jazz in the Gardens at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in association with Capital and Credit Financial Group Limited was a huge success. With a cold front and chilly weather patrons were on time to relish and dance to the good music emanating from the stage.

To kick things off Diana Rutherford was amazing in her set, belting songs that Jazz lovers appreciated. She impressed many with her soulful voice and had many eating out of her hands, singing every line. She was charming throughout. After her performance, the emcee Michael Cuffe invited her back onstage for a second applause. She is married to a French national who resides in Jamaica. Of course, she said a few sentences in French which the audience did not understand but it sounded good.

Continuing an evening with lovely music, Dean Fraser, Robbie Lyn and Desi Jones lit up the stage with their set. The night was cold but you ignored you were outside and continued rocking to every beat they played on stage. I listened to jazz music all day Sunday before attending the show. I was surprised that they used an organ in their set. Normally they play the traditional piano, this was different. It worked though, it sounded very clean. Many of the ladies who came inappropriately dressed, based on the unexpected shift to the cold weather did not complain much. I guess the music had their full attention.

After the first half of the show, Jazz in the Gardens had an intermission which allowed the patrons to partake in the hors d’oeuvres which was lovely apart from the extra spicy chicken – it’s still hot :). Surprise guest artiste of the night Taurus Riley who flew in on the night sang to Nancy McLean (employee of Jamaica Pegasus) in honour of her birthday. This was well received and had the audience participating. Even more, a segment was dedicated to patrons who were celebrating/celebrated birthdays and anniversaries. They were feted to cake and drink which I am sure was good.

For the second half of the show Keisha Patterson took the night away. Belting out many songs, she was incredible. She performed Jazz Standard songs which had the audience singing.

I love Jazz music because of its rhythm and how smooth it flows. There was this gentleman sitting in front of me who was having a great night. He would hold his hands to his chest in awe as the music played. He gave a thunderous applause after each performance. Not to be outdone, there was a lady behind me who seemed to have known all the songs, even if they played the instrumental. Overall the night was amazing. I think I would be correct to say everyone got their monies worth – Jazz in the Gardens was ecstatic.

During the show they promoted the next staging of Jazz in the Gardens which will be on April 25, 2010. Even if I am not privileged to have a free ticket I will pay to experience an event like this. It felt like paradise. The event hit the right jazz notes to make you want to be there. From a marketing perspective I think the sponsors could have branded the location better. They must have known the night would have been windy and that should have given them ideas as to where they could have strategically placed their branding materials. They were out of sight; this means they are out of mind too. From a business point of view it would have been good to see them. It was also sad to have not seen more young adults there experiencing the good music. They are being fed mediocre styles of music so much that they have begun to think that popular music in Jamaica is all there is. It would have been heart warming to see more young adults at Jazz in the Gardens. We will get their though.

I do think for the April Staging that there should be a designated area for patrons to dance. On Sunday night, I saw patrons acting ‘wildly’ in their seats, they wanted to dance. I would have loved to see an area where persons could dance and really enjoy themselves.

While I am experiencing all of this, the journalist in me could not be contained and so I got two interviews. One is with Diana Rutherford and a gentleman called Patrick. If there is a patron who totally enjoyed it more than everyone present it would definitely be Patrick. The emotions he showed during the show, that will make me remember him.

Photos & Video

Diana Rutherford on stage

Hors D'oeuvres

My Interview with Diana Rutherford