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Good Customer Service / Help Desk Operations Wed 29 Jul 09

Yahoo! Small Business Demonstrates Help Desk Customer Service Can Be Done Well

Yahoo_Small_Business_logoMany bloggers, myself included, write about the various happenings in their life and use these events to demonstrate a point. In many cases the happenings are used as a bad example.  This time instead I have a good example of customer service. The unique thing about the example of good customer service is its rarity.

I use Yahoo! Small Business for my email and domain (mwschaffner.com) hosting and have been very pleased with it.  I've been using the older, i.e. classic, email version and until recently it worked fine.  A few weeks ago I started having problems switching between my yahoo.com account and my mwschaffner.com account.  When I would click on the link for mwschaffner.com I would get a Page Not Found error.

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A True Error, Not a Glitch Tue 28 Jul 09

Baytown Mayor Admits Error In Release Of Banking Info

I've written recently about The Real Problem With Computer Glitches.  Computer glitches are when something goes wrong but we don't talk abut someone making a mistake or a bad process being used.  Something just happened without human intervention (yeh, right).  I followed that up with a comment an Another Glitch regarding Goveronor Scharzenegger and a computer glitch that kept a law student from taking the bar exam.

Red light camera warning fringehog Although I don't want to beat this subject to death I just have to comment about an article I saw in today's Houston Chronicle, Baytown releases banking info for 10,000 by mistake.  It seems that some how banking information about 10,000 people that paid tickets after being caught by a red light camera.  What was interesting was how this was portrayed. 

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Another Glitch Sun 26 Jul 09

Schwarzenegger: Overlook glitch, let paralyzed grad take bar exam

California governor by thomas hawk My last post, The Real Problem With Computer Glitches, dealt with the mis-direction calling failures merely "glitches" causes.  This morning I ran across a story on CNN, Schwarzenegger: Overlook glitch, let paralyzed grad take bar exam.  It seems that a glitch or technical error was keeping law student, Sara Granda, from taking the bar exam because she paid for the test with a check instead of the usual method of using a credit card.  Fortunately, it appears that Schwarzenegger is coming to the rescue.

As heart-warming as the story is, it is missing a couple of key elements. First, what really caused the problem, and second, what is being done to prevent it from happening again.

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The Real Problem With Computer Glitches Wed 22 Jul 09

Calling system failures ''glitches'' only masks the problem.

Steve looks shocked neil crosby

Visa prepaid debit cards recently suffered a rather public and embarrassing problem. It seems that a "small" number of users made normal purchases only to be charged $23,148,855,308,184,500-- basically, $23 quadrillion and change. Visa later indicated that fewer than 13,000 transactions were affected. The credit card company subsequently removed the charges and magnanimously waived the overdraft fee.

This was, as is quite common in these situations, described as a computer glitch. But the term "computer glitch" really frustrates me. People have been conditioned to think of a computer glitch as something that just happens when the computer goes haywire and that there is nothing that can be done to prevent it. 

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United Breaks Guitars Mon 20 Jul 09

Leadership Is More Important Than Ever In Tough Times

Broken guitar paul j sI've been out of touch for much of the past 2 weeks dealing with a family emergency and then a strategy meeting at work so I know this is old news but I couldn't help but comment.  It seems that Canadian musician Dave Carroll was traveling from Halifax to Nebraska on United Airlines and observed baggage handlers throwing his guitar around and ended up with a broken guitar.  

United being United basically didn't seem to care and wouldn't do anything about it.  However,  Carroll not willing to take apathy for an answer put his musical talents to work and wrote a song about it and made a music video on YouTube.  The song is really quite good and the video has had over 3.2 million views so far.   Here is the video:

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Step Away From The Computer Wed 08 Jul 09

Don't Let Technology Inhibit Communication

Avatars brtsergio E-mail, instant messaging and social media tools such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter have dramatically changed the way we communicate. While technology has made communication easier, it hasn't necessarily improved the quality of our communication.

The reason: We can hide behind technology and avoid the human interaction that is essential for good communication. But this doesn't mean we should abandon our technology. Rather, we need to strike a moderated balance in our use of technology.

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Saying Why Is A Powerful Tool Wed 01 Jul 09

Adding An Explanation For Our Policies Can Improve Their Effectiveness

Ten commandments robeena Most IT policies are written like the Ten Commandments.  Thou Shalt Not…  Thou Shalt Not…  Thou Shalt Not…  When you read them you almost expect them to be accompanied by a roll of thunder and a flash of lightning as the rules are laid down by the IT god.

Sometimes a more enlightened IT department will write policies in a more positive fashion.  Instead of Thou Shalt Not… they write it as Thou Shall… 

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