Tag Archive: Thoughts


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.

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.

I received an invitation from a friend inviting me to the Edna Manley School of Dance Faculty in Concert titled “Physical Labrish…Reflections of the Moving Mind”.

For my international readers the word ‘labrish’ in the Jamaican culture means to gossip or to chitchat.

When I received the invitation I made up my mind in earnest to attend this concert. One, I have not been to many and since I am free why not? That same evening I had a group meeting for my Supervisory Management course which was near the dance school. I was late because of my group meeting but I could not miss it. I literally ran to the venue, paid the entry fee and walked right in, head upright as if I were early.

Looking back, I have been to a concert at Edna Manle before but it was in a different studio. The Dennis Scott Studio the venue for the concert was exquisite. I liked the interior, very modern. It made their presentation look credible. They utilised a huge projector and lighting to enhance their routines, which was pleasing to the eye. I will not continue to describe the aesthetic appeal but just to say, the stage without the dancers was good.

The faculty concert was dedicated to the late Professor the Honourable Rex Nettleford, O.M., O.C.C., F.I.J., who has been integral to the dance community in Jamaica and the Caribbean region. He was a Jamaican Scholar, choreographer and Vice-Chancellor Emeritus at the University of the West Indies. In 1963 he founded the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, a respected ensemble which he led until he passed away.

Of the pieces I saw I could not decide on a favourite. I loved all of them. They each had something that you could connect with and appreciate.

To begin with the show had to be good. The dancers are lecturers in their field at the dance institution. How can they fail?

One of my favourites of the night was a piece entitled “Today and Tomorrow” choreographed by Arsenio Andrade-Calderon. It was very short but essentially he prepared for the rain. He sat on stage on a chair with his umbrella while dancers walked on stage opening water bottles one by one and pouring the liquid on his umbrella. It was a very reflective piece. After the pouring of the water which signified the rain he then closed the umbrella and walked out signalling the rain had ended – tomorrow.

I thought the piece could have been better presented if better use of the lighting was done. To signal the clouds and the initial preparations for the rain, the set could have been dark while brighter lights could signal the tomorrow which came after the dark moments. However the interpretation, the point was made.

The concert ended with everyone laughing. The final piece entitled”Of Tensions and Dilemma” brought to life through dance the struggles the lecturers encounter in their normal day-to-day activities as dance facilitators. The choreography began with teachers in traffic and the drama that comes with that – horrible bus drivers, persons walking on the streets etc. If you take public transportation you can appreciate it but more so Jamaican public transportation. The piece was hilarious, it included the struggles teachers go through with administration issues and student lackadaisical attitudes to education.

I could not end without telling you about my favourite Jamaican dancer, Neila Ebanks. She danced in many pieces at the concert but the two I enjoyed her in were entitled “The Edging of Sister Mitzie Margeret” and “Their work song…a moving musical soundtrack for making it through”. The Edging of Sister Mitzie Margeret was an excellent piece in terms of its production and execution. It began with Neila Ebanks on a video presentation and her obsessive compulsive behaviour to edgings/lines. The video presentation showed her entering the dance studio which was cut to show her continue her compulsive behaviour on stage. This piece showed some thought went on into its production. Leaving the stage the video presentation continued with her leaving the studio and Sister Mitzie Margeret continuing her behaviour on the outside (on video).

Based on the attendee’s reactions the concert was well received. The concert ran for the full weekend. I was their on the final night – Sunday and it was almost full house. Only some seats were empty (limited) which I think the organizers can take some compliments. I will be attending more Dance Concerts here – the quality is good.

However, I think the dancers here should take care of themselves. Jamaica has a culture where we think fat is attractive and in terms of dancing, the shapes and lines are so important that leading a healthy lifestyle is imperative to the visual senses. As I mentioned before I was not there for the beginning of the show and was aware of any states rules. I took my camera to take pictures. During the show I noticed no one was taking photos apart from the official media team. I did not want to be reprimanded so I did not.  However, I snapped a private camera phone shot and after that I noticed the persons beside me started to tape the show. This was at the end. After that, I took out my digital camera to snap the photos you see below. I am happy I did. The teachers gave a good show. I am happy the students have good role models to follow.

Faculty Members

From Jingle

This award is from Amy over at http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/

Check her out. You will find her blog so interesting you keep returning.

Seven tidbits you may have never known. This will be very hard.

1. I want to be a Social Media Consultant

2. I have a cat. I also have fishes in an aquarium.

3. I like eating healthy foods.

4. I am working on a New Business Venture – huge project.

5. You may know I love blogging but I am seeing a whole new trend of Guest Blogging. I hope to be apart of it.

6. I love school and the whole education process.  I want to start French and Spanish classes soon.

7. My favorite sport – Tennis.

The Seven Nominees for this award goes to:

1. Bearman Cartoons http://beartoons.com/

2. The Friggin Loon http://frigginloon.wordpress.com/

3. De La Style http://www.delastyle.blogspot.com/

4. Williams Poetry Blog http://www.delastyle.blogspot.com/

5. INK Box Illustrations http://alonsohenry.wordpress.com/

6. Pied Type http://piedtype.com/

7. Doan Mind Me http://jdidthoughts.blogspot.com/

The good thing about this is that you can add your blog name to this list by leaving a comment below. It was hard to come up with seven – you can imagine. I think I did a good job. Good blogs from different perspectives.

Thanks.

Blog today!

Thank you!

This blog has officially received 40,000 hits from YOU, and YOU and YOU.

That song is dedicated to all the new viewers to this blog and all the lovely bloggers that visit this site on a regular basis. Welcome to the blog!

This blog is growing and I am excited about that. Moving on, I will be Guest Blogging on other sites officially. My first post on Young Brothas will be on March 1, 2010. We have agreed for me to officially write for that blog, once I submit entries. I am happy for the opportunity and do not worry whatever is on that site will be provided here.

Can someone say Celebration!

The final song is from The Oprah Show which featured Celine Dion and The Canadian Tenors. A little background. Both are from Canada and The Canadian Tenors have not met Celine Dion. So Oprah ‘surprise style’ she invited the male group and invited them under the premise that they were there because they were rising talents (although they are). The big surprise, watch and see. I love this.

Each time you click on this blog and some bloggers may leave a comment – I am surprised. The expression on their faces when Celine Dion walks out is the same moment I share, even now.

Thanks a million.

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.

And The Award Goes to –

I have been awarded two more awards for which I am grateful for. Blogging colleagues William and Jingle awarded me the following blogs.

I am happy to receive these awards. I normally visit blogs (and that’s a lot) and I see some of these awards established to the side of the page. I normally look on and ponder on when I would receive them. I will accept these blog awards with a grateful heart and this is for all the readers who click on this blog and enjoy it. You have made it what it is.

Ten things that make me happy:

1. Watching Beyonce Videos

2. Gospel Music

3. Inspirational Music

4. Blogging, reading blogs

5. Watching Movies

6. Having fun time with Friends

7. Fashion – window shopping, shopping

8. Politics

9. Marketing and Advertising

10. Making people feel happy.

Stay tuned to this blog. Subscribe to the blog and watch out for many more posts.

Friendships are important to our own growth and development. In our personal lives I am sure we can list all the friends we could not live without. It is the same in the blogging sphere I could not be inspired if it were not for some of the viewers who continue to share with this blog and I enjoy returning the favour to see what you are thinking and posting.

Growing up I always wanted to attend boarding school. To do so, I had to pass the Common Entrance Examination (National Test) which I did and I was able to attend the top boys’ school in Jamaica for high school – Munro College. There is a certain level of independence that you develop in such an environment. I am grateful for the many lessons I learnt because of that period in my life. My first semester back in 1998 I remember it vividly, it was horrible. Although I had always wanted to be there nothing could prepare me for it. I went from chasing the car when they were leaving in first form to being comfortable with them leaving me behind. By the end of the first year I was running them off the campus. Leave!

What made the experience unforgettable was that I had friends who I could count on. I was not the popular student but I was indeed a great friend. I can recall people would feel secure in sharing their deepest concerns with me. In the earlier years I became my class representative on the Students’ Council – which I enjoyed. Today, some of those friendships continue.

What I have found interesting about myself is that I find it hard to revisit the places in my life that have impacted me. I struggle to visit my high school and other places. It is not like I don’t want to be there or I am ungrateful in anyway; I love these places so much that I prefer to reminisce on all the memories than to walk up the long drive way and remember all the buildings I called home. I remember distinctly years ago returning for a graduation ceremony and because it is a traditional school everything was the same. The buildings had their antique look and the boards still creek.

I watched a movie a few days ago by the name of Hachiko: A Dog’s Story and it is one of the most tear dropping movie I have ever seen. I have watched movies with animals before but this dog deserves an award. The cinematography and the way the camera captures the dog’s emotions is very captivating and it makes the viewer connect with the movie on a level that makes this movie memorable.

It has become cliché to say a dog is man’s best friend – this movie proved more than that. I do not think we understand the relationship and influence we have on our pets. I pick up the cat I live with at home and hear her purr and wish animals could talk or we could interpret in some way what they are thinking because they have their own personalities that make them unique.

Hachiko: A Dog’s Story is a true story of a Japanese dog named Hachiko and his master, a professor. The movie is an American adaptation of a legendary Japanese tale.

The movie begins with the college professor heading home from school and sees this puppy on its own by the train station. Because it was so late he picked up the cute Japanese Akita and brought it home for the night with the intention of taking to the pound or to find its rightful owner. His wife Cate Wilson (Joan Allen) is not happy that he brought the dog home and later agreed that the dog will be there for the night. One night turns into weeks, months and years. Everyday the dog would follow Parker Wilson (Richard Gere) to the train station, walk home and then return to welcome him off the train. The movie sets you up for a huge disappointment because it chronicles for years where this would be the routine of the dog and the college professor.

So you’re expecting something and it happens!

Parker Wilson (Richard Gere) suffers a heart attack while at school and dies at hospital. Back at the train station Hachiko waits and waits and waits, no Parker Wilson. Hachiko repeats this routine for more than nine years until his own death. This dog’s unwavering loyalty to its master makes you emotional – might make you sob watching this movie.

I love drams, but this movie takes it to another level. I remember right after the movie I couldn’t do anything else but rush to my bed to lie down, my head was just giddy – not to say that will happen to you, but this movie will have an impact on you. Normally I returned to my blogging or to watch something else on television but not that night. The movie was directed by Lasse Hallstrom who has worked with animals before on other projects.

Each one of us expresses their loyalty in different ways. Certainly Hachiko’s expression of his loyalty and devotion to his lifelong friend can teach us all a lesson or two. I do not think I will forget this movie. It has made an indelible mark in my mind.

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