Tag Archive: random


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 would not have seen this movie because it is just not one of those that grabbed my attention because it is not a full drama. I was mistaken.

This post was inspired by Crystal Tyler who left a comment asking if I had heard about the twists in this movie and if I had seen it.

Well, I have now and it blew me away. I liked the movie. I would watch it again if I had two hours or more to spear. The film could have been shorter but maybe it needed that time to tell the story. My head is spinning just recollecting all the twists in this movie. I hope I will do a good job because this is a movie you can’t sleep in, no bathroom breaks either. If you do, you would have missed out on a piece of the puzzle.

Shutter Island

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kinsley, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Jackie Earle Haley, Max Von Sydow.

It’s 1954 and U.S Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his new partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) are being sent to investigate the escape of Rachel Solando played by two women (Emily Mortimer and Patricia Clarkson). Do not be confused everything is explained. Rachel, a young woman is convicted of killing her three young children and has escaped from her cell, she is considered dangerous. Shutter Island is a federal maximum security hospital/prison for criminally insane patients.

The movie begins with Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule in a conversation. Truth be told, this is their first meeting which is revealed closer to the end of the movie. So their role is to solve this big mystery of the missing patient at Shutter Island. There is no way off the island, only a ferry seems to have access to it. Upon their arrival they are briefed and reminded of all the rules that govern Shutter Island.

The cops are introduced to Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley) who thinks everyone is a potential patient at Shutter Island. He is good in the film, very serious and seems to be in all the right places at all times.

There is no way to escape Shutter Island which leads Teddy Daniels to think Rachel is still on the island. Teddy Daniels is being haunted by his own hallucinations of his wife Dolores (Michelle Williams) who haunts him constantly. He is still in love with his wife, who appears to be helping him solve the case as well – giving him directions.

After the hour mark in the film the pieces all fall into place with an ending no one could imagine. Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie is at his best. His co-star Mark Ruffalo sometimes is shaky but he holds up to the calibre of DiCaprio. The different juxtapositions in the film are not to confuse the viewers but help in some way. Some roles are doubled with conviction. It leaves the viewer in a position where you become a lost person in a maze and just wants everything to be solved. At the end of the movie you wonder if it was all necessary but it makes the movie what it is – a good watch. If you love movies and I mean love movies then you will want to see this film over and over again. I don’t think the first watch will explain all the twists the movie had but it certainly was entertaining. The movie is also a period film –great set design. You cannot ignore the choice of music for the film. As you hear it you think it was deliberately chosen. It is not sweet and calm but to create a particular effect.

I could not end though without sharing that an encounter Teddy Daniels had with a patient at one of the wards places everything in perspective. It took a storm, cutting electricity for that to happen. Just to say, the conversation revealed who Teddy Daniels was and who he was searching for – himself. The movie is so good that it makes the viewer become Teddy Daniels and allows you to feel the pain he struggles with caught between hallucinations and his own reality. It is revealed to Teddy Daniels the truth that everyone at the facility knows about him and his problem.

If you want to read how the movie really went, continue. I know you would want to read it.

Essentially Teddy Daniels lived a happy life. He came home one evening to see his three children all lying dead in the lake behind their house. In grieving, he shot his wife, killing her. Apparently at this point he went bizarre and had to be placed at Shutter Island – which takes us to the beginning of the movie. Understanding who he is, they tricked him into thinking he is going to Shutter Island to solve a mystery – the missing patient but instead he was there for his own treatment.

In all of this, he figures out he is not there to solve the mystery of the missing girl (they found her) but he becomes the 67th patient at Shutter Island.

There are even more twists in the movie. His pal Chuck Aule is revealed to be his doctor and he has been treating him for 24 months.

When the truth is finally revealed to Teddy Daniels at the end, he is flabbergasted because it is turning out to be true. Therefore everything we saw in the beginning is now false.

The movie Extraordinary Measures is an inspirational movie about a father and his quest to find the right medication for his two children that are suffering from Pompe disease.

This is a genetic disease that affects children that disables the heart and muscles. Because of the underdevelopment of the muscles it leaves them confined to a wheelchair. Children with this disease normally die at around age nine, at that stage the organs enlarge. You can imagine the shock and the despair John Crowley (Brendan Fraser) and Aileen Crowley (Keri Russell) parents of the children feel when they are told their young children have less than a year to live.

The family leads a pretty normal life, a working dad, stay at home mom with three children to care for. The father, a leading corporate executive is faced with a dilemma; to stay at his job and enjoy the perks of promotions – increased benefits, meeting deadlines and to watch his kids die from a disease that will rob them of a future before they are teenagers or leave the job and find the cure.

Directed by Tom Vaughan, the movie’s cinematography is not only good but shows his experience. The scenes in the movie are amazing; they will grip you from the beginning to end. The characters all have personalities that make you connect more with them. The daughter Megan is full of personality, a typical 8 year old who desires a future. She likes pink and loves to play.

John Crowley (Brendan Fraser) decides to fight the battle with his kids and leaves the state to the University of Nebraska where he meets Dr. Stonehill (Harrison Ford). Dr. Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford) is a scientist who has explored the area of Pompe and has developed what he thinks is the cure. Leaving his wife behind with the children, John Crowley meets with Dr. Stonehill after chasing him down in the wee hours of the morning from his university office to a bar. At the bar, a relationship develops between the two. It leads to a business relationship, with both men partnering to find a cure to help the children, Megan Crowley (Meredith Droeger) and Patrick Crowley (Diego Velazquez).

To make John Crowley’s dream a reality of not only benefiting his own children they meet with executives from drug manufacturers. With this new partnership there are other issues that arise which make the movie even more exciting to watch. Extraordinary Measures is a true story and is an adaptation of the novel The Cure by Geeta Anand.

The movie also explores at length the politics, tribalism, materialistic goals of drug companies. I understand this is a moral dilemma for them and the company executives from the drug company kept emphasizing the importance of objectivity. Because, dealing with drugs, medicines and treating people if you are caught up with the Utilitarian Principle (doing good for the greatest number of people) you may not have a successful company at the end of the day. Drug companies are in business to make a profit and not primarily to save patients at the end of the day.

In the movie John Crowley, the father of the children is caught up emotionally with finding a cure that there is a huge disagreement between him and the company executives. When the company had completed the process and it was time to test the medication, it caused a major conflict of interest. There was a conflict of interest because John Crowley had a vested interest in the company and he also had an interest in the success of the product. Of course he wanted his children to have the medication first. To solve the issue, he was fired from the company. It was sad to see him go but the drug company maintained their strict adherence to policy.

His children did receive the needed medication. The testing worked and they responded well. The movie ends on a good note. Extraordinary Measures will not have you crying but its emotional journey will have you supporting these parents that placed everything on the line – their relationship and jobs to fight for a cure to save their ailing children. You will be cheering on these parents.

I only wish that you will get a hold of this movie and see it. It is worth your time. I yearn for the will that I might have the same fervour and strength these parents had in their darkest moment. The strength to fight on till the desired end is attained.

This post is dedicated to a blogger and a friend of this site who revealed that he has cancer. All of us here wish him the very best and a speedy recovery. I trust that he will not only have the audacity of hope but the certainty of faith that he will get better. Read his updates on his blog. http://jammer5spolyrant.wordpress.com/

30,000 HITS STRONG

Welcome everyone,

This blog has receive over 30,000 hits. When I passed my first 10,000th mark I received a comment from Ken who said “This is an awesome milestone. But you reach 20,000 even faster.” That appears to be so true and today we add 10,000 more.

If you’re a faithful viewer of my blog you will know we celebrate each milestone. This one is no different and we are launching an exciting contest.

BLOG CONTEST – WRITE OF THE GUEST BLOGGER

Two individuals will be awarded the opportunity to appear as Guest Bloggers on February 8 and February 9, 2010.

Entry Requirements:

  1. Leave a comment on this post (that will award you one entry). Your blog name will appear on the entry form.
  2. If you do not own a blog, you may still participate by leaving a comment. The notification I receive will provide your email address, which I will save and that will be on your entry form.
  3. To double your entry, RETWEET this: I just entered Write of the Guest Blogger on https://corvedacosta.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/30000-hits-strong/ Enter by clicking on the link.
  4. To triple your entry, you will have to comment three times on the post.

It is as simple as A, B, C.

Entries are now open and will be closed on Saturday, January 30, 2010 midnight.

Being the winners of this competition, you will have exclusive rights and authority on what is posted for the assigned days. In addition a widget with your blog/image will be posted at the top right position on the blog from February 1, 2010 to February 12, 2010 linking the photos to your blog (if you have one).

***Corve DaCosta has the right to reject any inappropriate post from the winners.

The Grand Draw of the winners will be posted on January 31, 2010 on this blog via a YouTube video.

All the best and May the best blogger win. Let the games begin.

I am excited about this and I hope you will enter.

Let’s celebrate 30,000 HITS.

20,000 Hits

Gracias

Gracias

A time to celebrate again! This blog received another 10,000 hits and we are now celebrating 20,000.

Merci

Thank You

I am so happy my blog is growing. I would never have thought bloggers would be interested in what I have to say. To the people who I motivate, inspire, and share information with – having fun, the laughs, the sad moments. This is for all for you.

Let me first start out by saying I was on Nationwide Radio in Kingston, Jamaica promoting an expo. I am the Event Officer for the expo. I didn’t want to appear on the programme but I eventually did. People who listened to the broadcast expressed that they were impressed and liked the delivery.

I have a personal issue that I will be working on. My demeanour does not speak of my potential and abilities. I hope I am expressing myself well. Most people who know me do not really KNOW ME. I appear to be reserved, laid back, unenergetic and conservative. Although that may be true, I have the ability to turn on the energy when needed. Some folks today call it an alter ego. I may be reserved but when the opportunity presents itself I turn into a total different person full of energy and life. It causes people who will offer opportunities to hold back because they don’t know what I am truly capable of.

I am a talented young man who is really underutilised in my job. So today, when I turned on the alter ego (no name for that person yet) my boss was really overwhelmed and seemed particularly impressed with my delivery. I want to get to the place where I turn it on all the time. I just hope I won’t turn people off.
You can’t have your cake and eat it, I guess.

Dancing with the Stars

Last night I watched the finale of the Dancing with the Stars. It was an entertainment night, filled with excitement and of course the revelation of the winner of the season. It was a surprise to see Donny Osmond win over Mya. I really think with all my heart that Mya would have taken the trophy home. I wanted to see her win. Her dance routine not ignoring her partner were always excellent and it reflects the perfect scores she received in the season.

However, the point must be noted that the core target audience may just have voted more for the winner. Clearly, if the winner was decided on the fact of delivery over the season then Mya would have won. Some people would argue that Kelly should have won based on the fact that she was the most improved. The fact is voting process was used and sometimes it isn’t fair.

 

My Favourite MYA

 

 

So of course, with Donny winning someone else would have taken the night. Whitney Houston was simply fantastic. I will only say this – her addictions may have affected her voice but she certainly can still deliver a great performance. Her songs on the night, I am still on cloud nine over it. Sorry! The videos are posted below for your viewing. The last song on the first video is one of my favourites from Houston so you could imagine my excitement and jumping in the house when she started to sing it. I have also posted a video of the song “I wana dance with somebody” from Whitney Houston back in the days. I have posted it because this is the real performance of the song. Enjoy.

CLICK TOGGLE COMMENTS TO COMMENT. NEW VERSION ON MY BLOG 🙂

Water Cooler Ed. 11

Welcome to the eleventh edition in the series of the Water Cooler – appears every Sunday on this blog. This feature will highlight what’s hot, topical and up for discussion.

Here we go.

I think this is a great idea – endorsing a blog. This is a blog for all fashion lovers. enjoy http://londonlouie.blogspot.com/

Politics

I love education and support lifelong learning. Just after completing my undergraduate degree I am looking to pursue higher education. Not because it is an opportunity to take advantage of but I appreciate the benefits of education. Graduating in a recession is painful. Job opportunities are not forthcoming the way you would intend it to be and your bills just pile up. Education is so important that without so many people are left behind. They are left behind not because they want to be underdeveloped but because of so many other reasons.

 

Cost

It costs so much to get an education today. To think that governments support this type of structure is shocking when they are so corrupt in their own ways. Nations that begin to accept education as the way forward think differently and treat their people differently. Everyday I wish education was free. I have so many friends back home in rural (country) Jamaica that have the potential but because they can’t afford higher education, it holds them back. This causes some people to think ‘oh they want to be like that’ but they don’t. They genuinely cannot afford millions of dollars for the basic qualification for an entry level job in the field they would study in.

I cannot fathom to think what it is like to live in a country where education is free. I cannot fathom to think what it is like to be accepted to a school without paying those ridiculous fees!

To think all of this can be made right if the proper investments and structures are in place makes me flabbergasted. It is time education be made free. Give everyone the chance to rise.

Thanks Oprah for giving young, bright kids a chance in Africa.

Entertainment

Speaking of Oprah, she made a huge revelation on her show last week that she will be ending her contract to start her own venture – a network.

What Oprah has done in her lifetime is a tremendous accomplishment. She has been an inspiration to not only those of her race but to others all over the world. I read some articles online which questioned the hype around this announcement. Just remember it’s Oprah. She even endorsed Barack Obama. Some would argue a key endorsement for the women vote.

Oprah has been an agent for inspiration for many people. For what she has done is huge, great, big. She is larger than life. I must say I appreciate her work as a presenter and anyone who aspires to be in that industry or area of work would look to Oprah for inspiration. Give it to her. Doing that for 25 years is a tonne of work. It is a happy feeling leaving it when you are at the top. Let’s not forget she will not be going away in retirement now, she is just gearing up to make some more money and continue the legacy she has started.

Love & Relationship

Couples today have so much going on and finding the time to bond can be a hassle. The tip for this week is to find time to communicate. Try communicating just before going to bed or before getting out of bed.

Photo of the Week

You will never guess what this is? I will reveal it to the person who comments and gets it correct. This is my friend’s photo – actual image.

Climate Change

This blog post is to celebrate Blog Action Day 2009 on October 15, 2009.

The planet is ours to take care of and each one has a personal responsibility to do whatever they can to make that change. Surely, we like to place the blame at the politician’s feet to make the policies and legislate and we ought to. However, in the catastrophe we can act in some way to make Earth a better place.

We are blessed with a wonderful world and it pains my heart to see how come industries treat the natural resources we have in the name of profitability. We all can agree climate change is on everyone’s mind because we see not only the changes presently but also ramifications of our bad habits.

We know some of the effects of climate change – change in temperatures, water supply, animals, wildlife etc.

I want to focus on the effect on transportation. I am on the roads almost every day of the week and the traffic is terrible. We are not car pooling, we have awful images in our minds of public transportation at the same time damaging the environment we should be caring for.

If one driver per household switched to taking public transportation for a daily commute of 10 miles each way, this would save 4,627 pounds of carbon dioxide per household per year – equivalent to an 8.1% reduction in the annual carbon footprint of a typical American household.

We can do that much if we begin to think about the Earth and not ourselves. Surely we want the convenience of driving comfortably to our locations but sometimes we can suffer a little bit to benefit a wider cause and that is to preserve the world we live in.

Years ago in university I received an assignment that included climate change. My team mate (Annette Brown; God bless her heart) and I decided to create a video to emphasize our main points. We used our own Jamaica Urban Transit Company (public transportation) brand to promote the use of public transportation as it relates to climate change. We did so and the class at that time found climate change rather scary. It is scary because all we have to do is give up a little.

Today, climate change should not scare us but urge us to be different world citizens. It may be an inconvenient to some of us but something will have to give for us to save ‘Mother Earth.’ If Earth could speak s/he would be crying, shouting at us to care better for our world, to preserve what we have and change our lifestyles to make future generations live in peace.

I uploaded the video we produced years ago to http://www.youtube.com I must say if I were to create that advertisement all over again it would have looked different and the quality of the pictures used would have been better. I must apologize to all who will view this video and comment on the images/quality. However, I want you to focus on the message that was created for the presentation and now it is presented to you on this Blog Action Day – Climate Change.

This was my first time creating a video with the Windows Movie Maker program now I have upgraded to the Adobe Premiere CS4. I will post that video in another post at another time. Stay tuned!

Source:

http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/PublicTransportationsRoleInRespondingToClimateChange.pdf

10,000 Hits!

blog_10k

Today, October 9, 2009 marks a huge milestone for the Corve DaCosta Blog.

To date you have given the blog more than 10,000 hits. This calls for a huge party celebration and for this I am grateful to every viewer and everyone who took the time to give feedback and comments on the posts here.

This celebration is not for my blog alone, it’s for all the other bloggers who visit these pages that feel inspired, entertained and challenged in someway.

I know the congratulatory comments will be submitted. Thank you.

To make the 10,000 Hits celebration interesting I want you to plug your blog in the comment section. Why should visitors click to your blog?

Share it below.

I look forward to the next 10,000 hits and hope you will ‘click’ post after post after post. Spread the word.

Merci, Gracias, Thank you, Thanks y’all!!!

samp38d1aa6b6131fc24

Thanks Daddy

We never can overemphasize a father’s impact in his child’s life. Many times those who have a father’s presence take it for granted. While those who are without a father find ‘father figures’ in the form of boyfriends, uncles and other relatives, it is not surprising that statistics emanating from fatherless homes and lives are horrendous. Many of the myriad problems societies face are a result of fathers not playing a role in their child’s early years. Of course, the same happens when mothers abandon the parent-child relationship. However, there are more negligent fathers than mothers today. Culturally, we have accepted the absence of the father as normal. We have also accepted the ridiculous excuses that may be given by the father to justify his absence as a parent. Even those who live in the same home with the children need to realize that a father is more than a ‘pay-rent.’

The paternal role as sole financial provider is rapidly becoming obsolete as more and more women make their way in the corporate world. Fathers must come to the realization that all the money in the world can never replace the bonding and interaction that characterize healthy parent-child relationships. The relationship should not be forced. It should be built over the years with trust and communication. Certainly, money plays a role, but children must be made to feel independent and should therefore be provided with their own cash. Parents must secure quality education for their children.

Today marks the eighth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan. The soldiers who are deployed in the war-torn areas, to serve their country in an endless war have rocked millions of families in America. Evidently, both mothers and fathers are away from their families but can you imagine the absence of a father? Many of the stories that are told highlight expecting mothers; and that makes the situation even more devastating. The memories these fathers miss cannot be repeated even if they are recorded. Memories like seeing your child going off to school for the first time, seeing them graduate, play in the park, looking at their report cards are all events that parents anticipate. Fathers suffer but more so the children are impacted emotionally because ‘daddy’ is not at home to share in those private ‘Kodak’ moments. Bonding is reduced to letters and phone calls.

paige-benn-425jh100609

Who can forget the video of the dad hugging his daughter after the little girl threw the ball back on the field? It melted hearts but what should never be missed is the father’s reactions. I watched the video over and over again and wondered how many fathers would have reacted the same way. It makes me wonder because here you have a dad who is clearly a baseball fan who decides to hug his daughter in a moment where he could have been upset.

Fathers are important from the fertilization of the egg to adulthood. We should never at any point think mothers should raise children on their own – even though some women beat the incredible odds of single parenthood. Both mothers and fathers are important in the development and nurturing of a child. We need to ensure more than ever that fathers play that role in a child’s life. Fathers may not be aware but children are watching parents and are learning from their attitude and actions.  A father’s presence in his child’s life makes a difference. Only those who have experienced it can begin to express what it really feels like.

It is time for men to be fathers again.