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December 27, 2004

December 20, 2004

Servicing the Customer or Providing Customer Service?

I'm in the process of buying a car. Being a good boy, I went through the process at my bank first to ensure I had the financing. I had already done the research and settled on the car I wanted. As my bank is closed on the weekend, and I bought the car on Saturday, today was the first day I could contact the bank and set up the loan closing appointment with them.

I had been speaking with a pleasant woman named Martha whose uncertainty about certain things made me think she was a little new to the process. However, this is not a problem with me as I'm generally a pretty amiable fellow and I am rarely in a rush. I've spoken with Martha three seperate times concerning the issue and she has been helpful each time.

Today I set up a meeting with her for 1 pm (my lunch hour) at which time I would present her with the paperwork, she would go over them, and type up the final papers from the bank for my signature. About 20 minutes later I get a rather abrupt phone call back from one Abigail (who I learn later is the assistant branch manager).

Abigail is telling me a very different story. She says I cannot come in without first faxing the paperwork to the office for them to go over and do some preliminary work on. When I explain that I do not have access to a fax, she asks me if I can go somewhere that does. I politely explain that I am at work, and I will be going to their office during my lunch hour, so, no, I cannot go somewhere and get them faxed early. Abigail continues to be a "negative nancy" about every comment I make. I offer solutions, like stopping by today to turn in the paperwork and waiting while they do the paperwork. No, you can't do that! It'll take us 2 hours to do this! How about I drop off the paperwork today and schedule an appointment for tomorrow? No! We need it now! Everything was no, no, no. She refuses to work with me on a solution.

I then politely ask if there is someone else at the bank with whom I can discuss this issue. She hesitates, then says that the bank manager is there. I again very politely ask to speak with him.

Adam comes on the phone a little while later. I explain that I have had three very nice conversations with Martha and she has explained what I need to do, that it may be a wait if I go in today for everything, and that I do not have ready access to a fax machine. I then further explain that from the moment Abigail called me, she was impeding this process and was a hinderance to me completing this transaction by blocking every attempt at a solution I provided.

Adam explained that Martha was new, that she was still training on this process, and that she may have miss-spoken the time needed and needs of the bank during our conversations. He then apologized to me for Abigail's poor customer service and answered a further question from me by explaining that she is actually one of the assistant managers of the branch. I then offer to him the same solutions I gave to Abigail and he not only says that any one of those is perfectly acceptable, but also goes on to suggest two other alternatives that I may use in order to finalize this process.

I thank him for his time, explain that I will be in at 1 pm to see either him or Martha, and that I did not want to have further dealings with Abigail on this matter due to what I felt was poor customer service. He apologized again and said that he would make sure that Martha was available to me at 1 pm this afternoon and that we could then make a new appointment to finalize the paperwork once she had everything she needed.

Now, why couldn't Abigail be as helpful and understanding as either Martha (the person in training who doesn't have the experience that she has) or Adam (who you would think would only promote someone who was customer-service oriented to be an assistant manager)?

December 13, 2004

I Think I Think

  • If I am going at or under the speed limit, if I’ve engaged the clutch and am coasting up hill, and if I am still catching up to you, you may be traveling too slowly for the road.
  • Don’t women know that size matters to men, too? (And I’m not referring to breast size, ladies.)
  • The way people act toward each other, what they want, and the struggles of the sexes, has really changed little over the centuries. Mary of Nazarene and Mary of Magdelene would have had a lasting influence, a reactive relationship, and a profound effect on Jesus and on the founding of Christianity. Of course the threatened males of the time wanted to minimize the women’s role and maximize their own—just like men today try to do with smart, driven, opinionated, influential women.
  • Love and Hate are not opposites. They are different aspects of the same coin. Apathy is the opposite of any of the passionate feelings like Love and Hate.
  • Fear is the one thing that holds humanity (as a whole and as individuals) back more than any other single influence.
  • “Lost” will ultimately fail because it is too convoluted. It should have been a television maxi series where the creator, writers, directors, and actors had a definite beginning, middle, and end in mind. It will devolve into melodrama sooner rather than later, with progressively more absurd plot devices to keep the “tension” and “mystery” high.
  • Back when there were only three networks, you got the three best ideas on the air for any one hour of television from each of the networks. Those three ideas had to beat out the hundreds of others that other people came up with. Now that there are 500 channels, of course there is a dilution of the talent and quality of what you can watch. With that dilution viewer migration is inevitable (to channels with items that interest them and to other outlets for their time).
  • Women want someone who is tall, dark, handsome, funny, smart, who will act like a bad-boy and the dangerous type they are attracted to, yet will be really sensitive and treat them well. Ladies, he doesn’t exist. A bad-boy will always stay a bad boy—if he treats you like dirt now, he will always treat you that way.
  • In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Nicola Tesla foresaw and helped to realize much of the modern world in which we live today.
  • Why is it that, as our vision blurs with age, our perception clarifies?
  • Unless America finds a way to keep jobs here and make them worthwhile, it will kill itself slowly from within. We are already hemorrhaging.
  • When I see certain actors in movies, like Morgan Freeman and Philip Seymour Hoffman, I expect a certain level of quality. Conversely, when I see certain actors in television products, like Dean Cain or Lorenzo Lamas in a Sci-Fi pictures original, I expect a certain level of quality.
  • There are glaring holes in both the theory of Creationism and the theory of evolution/big bang theory. Yet neither is mutually exclusive. Why must we fight over this? If you believe in God, why must you discount that He may have created the universe in such a way that it could then perpetuate itself (while also having inherent tests of faith)? If you believe in science, how can you ignore the nearly impossible leaps and subtle design that are found in all branches of all sciences?
  • Human beings are generalists. Anything that pushes us to an extreme is likely bad for us. This is true in every aspect and facet of our lives.
  • If you slow down for every green light, you fulfill your own prophecy that one of the next green lights will turn yellow and you will have to stop. Drive with the flow of traffic.
  • Western medicine ignores the patient in order to solve the problem. Force your doctor to talk with you, not at you, and take an active roll in your own health. It will make your doctor pay attention and learn even as you are learning from him. If your doctor refuses you this, you need a new doctor. If you can make yourself a human being to your doctor, instead of a social security number and an HMO paycheck, you will get great care.