Trust in Business April 29, 2013Posted by wooddickinson in Life Coach.
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There are many ways to look at a business’s success. An analyst may derive a set of indices from the income of a business. But what is at the heart of all these measurements? The ability to build relationships may be the most critical aspect of the survival of a business, and I believe that this may be an aspect that budding entrepreneurs may struggle with.
Oh Adobe March 25, 2013Posted by wooddickinson in service, Tom Peters.
Tags: Adobe, Business, Company, CS6, Professional, Shantanu Narayen, Think, Wood Dickinson
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Oh Adobe. Listen, Tom Peters says that the two most important points of contact that strongly influence a customer’s opinion about your business is shaped in their coming in and their going out. I use to run movie theatres and that stuck with me. A simple, “Thank you for coming,” from an usher as they were leaving or better yet from a floor manager could and probably would leave the customer with a good feeling about your establishment.
This idea doesn’t end with movie theatres. My wife and I went to eat at Capital Grille one evening. The food and service were 5 stars. We were set IN a side room with a large table of guests in it as well. We enjoyed our dinner and were trying to talk over coffee and the other table was becoming very loud. I don’t mind others having a good time but when their good time starts to diminish mine a bargain must be struck. My wife asked our waitress if there was any way to ask the other table to hold it down a bit. The waitress left and after a few minutes returned with our check and apologized for the other tables behavior and thanked us for coming in.
When I looked at the check, Capitol Grille had completely comped the entire meal plus drinks. I was dumbstruck. They did this without making even the littlest deal out of it. I left a tip guessing the check should have been around $90 and we left. As we left the manager thanked us for coming. Ask me if I was impressed. This was WOW customer service and put Capitol Grille on my favorites list at OpenTable.com. This is how lifetime customers are made.
Compare this to a recent problem I had with Adobe. I’m a subscriber to the new Adobe Cloud service. It’s a great idea. I pay a monthly fee, get access to all Creative Suite software and updates that aren’t available to people buying a boxed version of CS6. I like the idea of paying a little every month and not wondering when the next update will come out and how much it will cost me. I have also downloaded parts of the CS suites that I didn’t have before and used them.
To make this all work Adobe created the Software Manager. You use for updating, installing and keeping everything running at 100%. One day when I ran this program it came up in Japanese. I went to the change language option and set it back to English but nothing happened. It was stuck in Japanese. Worse yet, this corrupted program started deleting CS6 software from my computer. I fought with this for about three weeks, reloading software, uninstalling the Program Manager and installing again and I couldn’t get things back to normal.
So, with great trepidation I called Adobe support. I won’t bore you with an account of all that happened just trust me when I say I spent better that 8 hours on the phone (mostly on hold) until I finally found a support person who knew enough to help me truly fix the problem. I’d had two other support staff tell me it was all fixed only to find out they we’re wrong. The last support fellow seemed to be more than a tech reading from a book. All except the last fellow I talked with was in India. On my second call I asked if he would transfer me to an American because I was just having too much difficulty understanding what he was saying. I was told all support is in India so he couldn’t.
Now I have nothing against India or their people but the accent can be very difficult to navigate and I’m good at it. This is an issue in itself. A huge one but not the one I want to talk about now. After weeks of using a faulty product (work doesn’t stop), I ended spending better than 8 hours on the phone with Adobe, I felt they owed me something. So, I wrote a letter to the CEO and mailed it off. You heard me right. I looked up his name, street address, then typed it up, printed it on stationary, signed it and put a stamp on. Then I even found a mailbox and mailed it. My thinking was if he received a letter from a customer not just an email he would take notice.
Here’s the letter:
“Dear Shantanu Narayen:
I want to inform you that I had an extremely upsetting failure of your Adobe Cloud. The “application manager” decided to only run in Japanese and started randomly deleting applications. I made a call to support and after their claim that “it’s fixed,” the problem persisted. Another call to support elicited the same claim and again the problem persisted. A third call, using a trick to obtain support without the two-hour hold time yielded a fellow who finally understood my plight and with his help the problem was resolved. At least for now. That call took two hours by itself.
The total time spent on these calls, failures, on hold, failure in your call back system, over eight hours. Can you believe that? An entire work day was waisted trying to correct a problem that was obviously one created by your software. You say how do I know it was your software? It wasn’t until ALL things Adobe were sanitized from my disk and a fresh start taken to load and run the application manager did it start working correctly. No changes were needed on my system settings.
More that the eight hours was lost with this fiasco. I lost almost a weeks worth of work that I had to make up with some very late nights. Some of us do try to make a living using your software and these kinds of incidents are unacceptable. I am a subscriber to Adobe Cloud and what I want in return for the lost productivity, possibly a lost job and time spent with your support failing to correct the problem is one year of Adobe Cloud services added to my account at no charge. My account user ID IS XXXX. The order number is …….5339DT. I’m currently paying $32.70 per month (tax included) so I don’t feel $392.40 will break your company. That seems like an extremely fair amount of compensation for all the aggravation, lost productivity, late hours and hardship caused by the failure of your software, and support team. Please contact me with verification of this ASAP. Email me at the above address or call my cell.
Well, I was wrong. I received an email from Shivangi Moitra of Adobe Global Customer Service Escalation Team. What ever that is. In my letter I’d asked for a year free of the cloud service to compensate for my time, aggravation and their repeated failures at fixing the problem. Shivangi informed me they were sorry for my problems and they would credit me 60 days not the 365 I’d asked for. Now do you think they just rubbed salt in the wound? You bet. I email Ms Moitra:
My name is Shivangi Moitra from Adobe Global Customer Service Escalation Team and I am contacting you in response to your letter addressed to Mr Narayen dated 8th March 2013.
Kindly accept my apologies on behalf of Adobe Systems for the inconvenience you have experienced with the Creative Cloud subscription. We will certainly use this as an opportunity to improve the quality of service we provide to our customers and the appropriate people in management have been notified of your concerns.
Since you were not able to use the subscription for certain days due to technical glitche (SIC), please note that the subscription account under Adobe order # …5668198 has been credited with 60 days and the next bill date for the subscription is updated as 16th June 2013.
Please let me know if you have further queries and I shall be happy to assist.”
Well I did have further queries!
Of course I will gladly take the 60 day extension to my account but I asked for 365 days. I also wrote to Mr. Narayen. I’m saddened he’s too busy for one of his customers. Remember we lowly customers are the only reason there is an Adobe, I’m just sayin’.
Look, I took the time to craft a real letter on paper and everything then mailed it. Who does that? Me I guess. I’m a writer but for the effort I expended writing a real letter then mailing it to him I was hoping he would see just how upset I was. I mean really, who uses real paper letters anymore?
Maybe I did a poor job in my effort to transfer my experience to him. I mean I spent well over an entire workday in the effort to get a problem fixed that I didn’t create. By the way, get rid of your music while on hold. I about went crazy listening to it and that’s no joke. It’s just one more piece of grief I suffered trying to get your software to work.
What does it cost for you to give me a year of free Adobe Cloud service? Really. I think not much for the goodwill that it would have created toward your company.
In my perfect world what I would have received is a letter from Mr Narayen expressing his sorrow at Adobe’s failure to meet my needs. Then he would have said, sure a year on me is only fair in trying to build trust and a lifetime customer.
See that would have been something and you bet everyone I could get to listen would have heard about how well Adobe responded.”
She called me and said 90 days was the max she could do even after explaining to her twice why I was unhappy with this outcome. Why didn’t she do the 90 days from the start? Why did the CEO respond? Why doesn’t Adobe care about customer service?
Her final email:
“Further to our telephone conversation today, please be advised that I have credited the suibscription (sic) with additional 30 days and the next bill date for the subscription is updated as 16th July 2013.
We certainly understand the inconvenience caused due to the subscription not working for you. We have noted this situation strongly and your feedback will help Adobe guide ongoing efforts to improve our services.
Assuring you best products and services in future.
Adobe has technically superior products. That’s what they’re counting on. Kind of reminds me of Microsoft and IBM. A “Be happy we’re around. All other products stink and no matter the hassle; you need us.”
So, this is the state of customer service at Adobe. If there was an equal alternative I’d be gone. They aren’t interested in lifetime customers but I already knew that based on the price of upgrades over the years. This was just another confirmation of my feelings.
Folks, we have to do better. Adobe has to do better. Take a cue from Capitol Grille. What did it cost them to comp my dinner? Knowing their grade of product is in the top 5% of beef in the nation I’d say a lot. Now what would it have cost Adobe to comp a year of cloud service. Next to nothing. The goodwill from the gift of a year extension would have way out weighed any cost.
That’s it. Wake up Adobe. Nothing’s forever.
Where do ideas come from? June 7, 2012Posted by wooddickinson in 7 Habits, Change, consulting, executive coaching, executive leadership, family coaching, Family Crisis Group, FCG, Hope, Life Coach, Neurobiology, shared vision, Systems Thinking.
Tags: Apple Store, Business, Business plan, change, Compactor, Consulting, Creativity, Dickinson Theatres, executive coaching, Feedback, Frustration, hope, IPad, KitchenAid, life coach, neurobiology, Philosophy, Professional, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Startup company, Think, Wood Dickinson, YouTube
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I was watching a YouTube video of Tony Faddall addressing the question, “Where do ideas come from?” For Tony the answer was FRUSTRATION. I think that’s a great source for someone involved in engineering. My daughter was in the Apple Store a couple of weeks ago with her new iPad. What she wanted to do is create a document and have it be on a cloud so she can update that document from any computer where the file resides. I’m a writer so this seemed elemental. But currently it can’t be done in a transparent fashion. The tec helping her said that he understood her concept and it was a good idea. Well Duh. We all live with frustration in our daily lives and it is getting worse.
I’ve noticed over the last year a disturbing trend in large corporations. For instance, our KitchenAid trash compactor has been broken most of time while my maintenance contract was ticking away. The rest of the time we just sat thinking about calling the repairman. So when I got the renewal contract in the mail I called KitchenAid service and told them the situation and suggested they should give me another year on my contract for free. Now what I just did was ask the person on the other end of the phone to walk to the moon. So, the answer I got was “Impossible.” No way. We don’t do that. Ever.
So with the challenge set, I went on a mission to get the “impossible” done. I called supervisors and got the same Impossible. Now my wife had been around with them before so she had a number for someone in the corporate office. I called her and suddenly the impossible became possible.
This super negative ‘there’s no way in hell’ attitude seems to be permeating business. When I ran Dickinson Theatres I’d ask the receptionist to direct all complaint calls to me the President/CEO. I had fun solving their problems and keeping a happy customer. I guess that’s old fashioned.
Frustration? Yes it breeds ideas and sometimes a smart person may solve the problem if he/she doesn’t get fired for doing so. Now I’m a creative guy. I write movies, short stories, books and do photography. These ideas come from a bit different place. What I say is, the day dreamers in the room will probable have an idea and do something great. Those who couldn’t daydream if they tried need not apply.
I find my ideas come from a convergence of information that at first may not look related. I also love the “what if…” game. The point is creativity is not just the property of a few but the property of all no matter if it’s computer design or programming or painting or writing a novel. Here is a good LINK to start.
For you writers out there a fun tool is The Observation Deck.
The number one biggest helper in the creative department is curiosity. My computer defines curiosity as a” strong desire to know or learn something.” Curiosity may have killed the cat but it truly is the well from which ideas flow.
Best of Mission 2011 December 25, 2011Posted by wooddickinson in Life Coach.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Think! LLC Receives 2011 Best of Mission Award
U.S. Commerce Association’s Award Plaque Honors the Achievement
NEW YORK, NY, December 17, 2011 — Think! LLC has been selected for the 2011 Best of Mission Award in the Business Management Consultants category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA).
The USCA “Best of Local Business” Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2011 USCA Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USCA and data provided by third parties.
About U.S. Commerce Association (USCA)
U.S. Commerce Association (USCA) is a New York City based organization funded by local businesses operating in towns, large and small, across America. The purpose of USCA is to promote local business through public relations, marketing and advertising.
The USCA was established to recognize the best of local businesses in their community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, chambers of commerce and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to be an advocate for small and medium size businesses and business entrepreneurs across America.
SOURCE: U.S. Commerce Association CONTACT: U.S. Commerce Association Email: PublicRelations@uscaaward.com URL: http://www.uscaaward.com
A New Initiative July 11, 2011Posted by wooddickinson in Change, consulting, family coaching, Family Crisis Group, FCG, Hope.
Tags: 7 Habits, Advisory board, change, Education, fear, Homelessness, hope, intervention, Lone Scouts, Parent-Teacher Association, Residential treatment center, Scouting, Wood Dickinson
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Patti and I have been helping other families for a very long time. We have 30+ years of experience in parenting (and we aren’t done yet) and in that time we have experienced some bumps and a lot of joy. We increased our knowledge by taking parenting programs, continuing education, keeping current with the literature and being involved in our community.
Currently I serve on the Advisory Board at Ozanam Home (a residential treatment facility) and I’ve worked with families and boys through the Boy Scouts for over 20 years. I have worked with Lone Scouts and as a Scoutmaster. Patti has spent years involved with the PTA. She worked with schools raising awareness of the homeless and has written an introspective book entitled Four Ordinary Women. She is a licensed educator and has taught K through 8th grade. Some of that time was spent teaching in schools in ethnic neighborhoods learning as much as she was teaching. Patti and I co-authored No Windows No Doors – On the Threshold of Homelessness. The book was created for the 20th anniversary of Uplift. We have spent many evenings riding in the back of a truck bringing meals to the homeless where they live. Currently Patti volunteers her time at the Kansas City Free Health Clinic.
I have an MA from TCU in Communications. Communication seems to be an issue that’s at the heart of family problems as well as a challenge for kids of this current generation. I have taught The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People since 1994 and worked with individual schools and school districts in implementation of this program. I’m developing a new workshop called HOPE based on a foundation developed by Dr. C. R. Snyder who was the leading expert on hope theory.
Experience is one of the best teachers. I think that’s why people “practice” law and medicine not just “work” in those fields. Society is in rapid change, destabilizing business, science, economics, politics and families. After helping other families I mentioned to Patti that we should formalize things. We have made contact with so many excellent resources (also called people!) and been a guide to so many families that it seems very natural to create what we now call The Family Crisis Group or FCG.
We had our first client family before we even announced this initiative. This family had a teen who was spiraling out of control. We walked them through the predictable feelings of grief, shame and heartache. We wanted them to know that a family can heal, marriages can be repaired and relationships restored. We can help you walk that road. FCG is composed of professionals from psychiatrists to addiction specialists and educational consultants.
Patti and I will stay with you as the point people in your effort to regain control. We will coach, teach, listen, recommend action then be there through the action so you know you can pick up the phone 24/7 and we will be there to help. As a matter of fact, you can call us now. We are non-judgmental, supportive, and objective. There’s no blame, no shame — only advocacy for parents and families. The out of control teen causing this maelstrom is a person crying for help.
We try very hard to bring an intensive therapeutic environment with us so residential treatment can be avoided. We can facilitate addiction intervention, and represent your plan to help your child in court. If residential treatment is the only option we work with an excellent educational consultant who will guide you through that maze and try to leave you with some money in your bank account.
The teen may not like us but that doesn’t matter. We have a great team that’s got our back so we can have yours. Parents are so often the forgotten piece in all this and if you are involved with the social services or juvenile justice system you know what I mean. You need an advocate for you with the goal being to repair your broken family.
Family is the most important thing we have. Call and we’ll talk. Together we can take steps toward better days. Until then, God be with you.