Tag Archive: Relationships


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.

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.

What is Money

It’s the root of all evil

It pays the bills,

It may heal your ills

And bring you thrills.

According to Wikipedia, money is anything that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts. For everyone, we interpret and treat money differently. Whether it is the abundance of wealth or the lack thereof there is a certain level of importance which we all seem to place on the precious commodity. From the Forbes list to the United Nations Poorest Countries list we seem to rank everything from those who do not have it to those who have it and may waste it. We live in a world where it seems to have a voice you should have cash to care.

If you grew up in an environment where everything is lavish, fabulous and expensive, you will view money differently from those who did not. It is highly probable that when you enter a certain level of wealth your expenses tend to be higher than others. It is true because you have to keep up with the lifestyle you live. One at this rank does not imagine the day when they will have nothing. Therefore, they will invest in portfolios, real estate and make other investments to maintain their wealth. The responsibilities that come with the lifestyle are also important. Case in point – Casey Johnson. Who knew someone could be kicked to the curb from a family who seemed to have everything? It seems more and more families with a vast amount of wealth are throwing out those family members who could appear to put the family’s wealth in jeopardy. Those who are rich sometimes are forced to continue that legacy to maintain their stature. On the contrary, persons who are rich can mismanage their wealth and become poor. Fantasia, the American Idol winner recently on Oprah opened up about her fall from grace. After buying her home and settling in, she had problems keep it. Her home fell into foreclosure and at one point she was unable to buy a pizza, her card failed. Money can be easy come and easy go. It takes proper financial management and financial sense to keep it.

For those who grew up in a poor background, they understand the importance of money. For many, money is the way out of poverty and they will place all their focus on avenues that could get them out of that state. Whether it is a talent, education or an illegal activity, poor people in the right environment can charter a new course out of poverty. We have seen numerous stories of people who did not have it but with the right attitude and approach they were able to live a better life. Oprah, Jay Z, and Hilary Swank just to name a few have gone from the lowest echelon to some of the richest people in our world.

However, people who are poor see money differently. People who are poor or who are in destitute positions do not see the importance of saving for the future and having investment accounts. Give someone who is poor a bank card with funds that could keep them for a month and see how fast that money goes. They tend to see money as short term, so they spend it to make them content in the moment. While there are others that if you give them the same amount they wouldn’t spend most of it because they understand the position they are in and have an idea of where they would like to be.

Money today is perceived based on cultural attitudes as well. In our world today, young people are materialistic. We tend to focus on what is in, the latest Bling and fashions. The entertainment industry is pushing this attitude of ‘you can have it all’ and at all costs.

Money and the abundance of it can last a lifetime if we understand the basic concepts. As human beings we need to live within our means and recognize that if we spend more than we earn we will be poor. No one wants to be poor; we want to be independent, strong and able to survive. With rising standards of living and costs going up, the worst thing that could happen to us is to lack needed funds. Money can be our way out of poverty but it can also lead to our own detriment.

It is significant that we inculcate cultures where we are not so highly materialistic but we begin to inspire people that can handle wealth without ruining their lives in the pursuit of it. Sure money is good and wonderful to have but the love of it could ruin our lives.

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/

Pain on the Streets

On a bus going home from class, passing a church I overheard a couple arguing on the streets in busy Kingston, the capital. As the bus accelerated I heard the guy who turned out to be in his early twenties blurted an expletive to the younger female who he was talking to. His angry tone rang sirens in my head and as I stepped off the bus I ran around the corner to see what was going down. To tell the truth the journalist in me was at its highest and I literally ran until I was there. I took out my blackberry to record the final moments of the argument but because of the darkness I couldn’t. I hope the next blackberry model will have an embedded light to record in the dark. When I reached an area near this couple they continued to argue while the girl started to cry.

I love relationships. I love the stability and balance it offers for people who decide to share their lives with others. There is a glow that shines on those who share a bond. A glow so beautiful and loving that it makes onlookers jealous. Whether it is your soul mate or your best friend, a relationship with someone can make a friend’s life fulfilling.

Relationships are like living things, they go through stages and their own challenges. My friends can admit (I hope) that they have never heard me arguing with people. Writing this now a moment in time flashes across my mind where I totally went bizarre on my friend who had hurt me so bad. That is one in a million times that I can go out on someone. I do not like arguments with anyone. If I see a crises coming on I literally ignore it. If that is not possible I just zone out, if I can’t step away from your presence. I know this in particular is true and it comes from my childhood experiences. My father would have disagreements and his way of expressing his dissatisfaction or grievance would be to argue and think that would be satisfying or solving the situation. From back then I have not liked arguing with people. I think they are better ways to solve issues that affect each other and that involves sitting down like adults and speaking through issues and seeking the best solutions.

Can you imagine having to discuss disagreements on the streets? It is the most vulgar thing I can imagine someone doing. It is crude and shoddy because you are bringing your most private moments to the public arena and I do not want to be subjected to listen or see you pollute the environment with your antics. If I am not availing myself to discuss what is pertinent to you it means I am not ready to do so. It does not in any way give you the right to step in front of me on the street to make your point be known. Not only will I ignore you but I might act like I don’t know you.

Tips to deal with people who you have a disagreement with:

  1. Before you have a fit. Ask yourself if this is something to be upset about?
  2. If it is big enough and you have reasons to justify it. Attempt to have dialogue with the person about the issue.
  3. Speaking with the other individual does not include shouting, expletives, and offensive remarks and so on. Speak in a relaxed tone and air your issues.
  4. If a meeting is not forthcoming, and you genuinely need to speak with this person it may be time to have others intervene (close pals, professionals) to help you if forgetting this person is not an option.

Relationships die and you will have challenges. There is no way a face off on the street is the way to go about doing it. Sorry! Friendships and relationships will never go perfectly fine. You are two separate individuals, with two priorities, two different outlook on life and the aim is to make that one. If I am sure about one thing you will have mountains to climb with that diversity. But it can work. Next time you have a disagreement, count to ten and talk it through.

By Esperanza D.

Esperanza

A big thanks to Corve DaCosta who gave me the opportunity, through a blog contest, to be a guest blogger for a day.  I entered the contest with the hope of using it as a platform to creating just a little change, for the better, in this world.

As some of you may know from the HmmSweetSplendidWisdom blog I’m both a Social Work graduate student and a Social Justice activist.  Through my field practicum for school, I am working on HIV prevention and education, as well as HIV testing and counseling. I enjoy it a lot and plan on attending a conference this summer in New York that talks about issues surround HIV and women, in particular women of color.

I’m really excited about this, as my own passion is working with, and empowering women.  In addition, my interest in HIV prevention and education began when my uncle passed away from AIDS and I saw, firsthand, the stigma attached to it. I then knew that it wasn’t ok to treat others as anything less than equal.

Well, I came across a really needed website the other day I want to share with you. It’s called the “Pepsi Refresh Project” that gives $$ to grassroots projects led by real people and community members, like yourselves. Anyone is able to submit an idea that deals with giving back to the community in a way they find most productive or creative. In turn, it is posted online to be voted on by the public and the winner receives a lot of cash for their project. How cool is that? Here is the link if you wish to vote on current projects and find the sign up link to submit your own for the next round.http://www.refresheverything.com/index

What I plan to do is attend the HIV and Women Conference this summer and use my creative talents to come up with a great project proposal for the Pepsi Refresh Project. When this happens, I hope you will support my efforts through your vote. In turn, I hope you feel inspired to come up with a project of your own to submit to the site. Think about what communities or populations could use your support and where you feel your passion can make the most impact.

In blogging being recognized in anyway is always a good thing. I was clicking away as usual and popped up on these two fantastic blogs: Tasneen over at Laugh Hard and Doraz at Believe in Yourself who awarded me the Sunshine Award.

I have to pass it on. Here are some blogs I visit regularly.

Great articles       http://craigabloomfield.wordpress.com/

Politics                   http://emptysuit.wordpress.com/

Japanese Fan      http://www.jamaipanese.com/

Blind as a Bat     http://blindasabat-beth.blogspot.com/

Joey’s Pad          http://llcooljoe01.blogspot.com/

Insights & Laughs  http://insightsandbellylaughs.com/

Colts Fan             http://www.nutwoodjunction.blogspot.com/

Politics & Love  http://fromtop2bttm.blogspot.com/

Those blogs make for some good reading. Now when you click remember me.

To make this post more meaningful.

What do you look forward to each day that will make you happy? Share it.

I woke up on my birthday (January 30th) to find a Direct Message in my Twitter account from the Jamaica Pegasus. Who knew? They were inviting me to celebrate my birthday at their weekly Tuesdays on the Grill. How could I turn down an offer like this? So I immediately sent them my info through twitter account for booking. I must say thanks to the Jamaica Pegasus and Ms. Simpson who extended the invitation.

The night was wonderful. Tuesdays on the Grill goes from 7:00 pm till around 10:30 pm at the Pegasus. I had class that evening (Supervisory Management) which I remembered only the day before. However, I went after – my class ended at 8:30 pm. It was not my first time eating at the Pegasus; I normally meet with friends there for a good time. The food is always great and at the right price if you’re eating out.

On Tuesday night from the music to the food to the ambience it was lovely. It is right by the poolside which makes it more picturesque. The evening was well attended I might add – full house enjoying the food prepared by the Jamaica Pegasus.

The evening was magical. Certainly if you are in Kingston – the place to be is the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel – Kingston’s Preferred Hotel.

Dessert

Kreativ Blogger Award

Mauro Paim from Reality Observer blog awarded me the Kreativ Blogger Award.

I want to thank Mauro for awarding me this wonderful award which seems to be very popular. I am sure I’ve seen it before on some other blogs.

With my blog I try to express my inner feelings on important issues that affect me. I must say I enjoy blogging and I want viewers to enter this space and feel free to articulate themselves on the issues and topics that are raised.

With this award I must tell seven things about myself. If you are a regular visitor to this blog you will know I mentioned ten interesting things about me already. So I will try to cover seven more.

Here we go:

  • I love ice-cream. My favourite flavours are Coconut, Strawberry and Cherry, also Mango.
  • I love choral music.
  • I love Television – Production, Marketing etc
  • I like new things – trends.
  • I love cheesecake.
  • I like going out – I may be reserved but I love dressing up and being out.
  • I love blogging – I’m addicted. It’s like my little baby.

My Seven Nominees for Kreativ Bloggers:

  1. http://craigabloomfield.wordpress.com
  2. http://beartoons.com/
  3. http://writerdood.wordpress.com/
  4. http://jammer5spolyrant.wordpress.com/
  5. http://duttybwoy.wordpress.com/
  6. http://damcfam.blogspot.com/
  7. http://www.pleasesaythedailey.blogspot.com/

The seven listed is just a few compared to the many hot, lovely blogs I follow daily. Check em out and look at the list on the blog roll.

I am 23 today, January 30th. I am excited, I just opened my gifts – hangover (joke) and now I am off to church to celebrate – hope the music is great.

Last night I had a blast – a party with my closest friends (and of course those friends brought guests – not a lot).

We had a ball, we danced, we laughed and we celebrated. So I continue today and hope my day will end on a high.

Of course Beyonce singing Happy Birthday to me would be a dream. But for now I will enjoy the video below.

A gift from my South African Blogger/Friend

Photos from my Birthday


Backdrop

Party While You're Still Living

The 'Unexpected' Gifts