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.
What I Think April 22, 2011Posted by wooddickinson in 7 Habits, Change, consulting, executive coaching, executive leadership, Hope, Life Coach, Neurobiology, shared vision, Systems Thinking.
Tags: 7 Habits, Business, change, Covey, executive coaching, fear, Feedback, FranklinCovey, hope, Jesus, life coach, neurobiology, Proactivity, Professional, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey, systems thinking, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Think, Wood Dickinson
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I’m a communications guy but I also feel over the years I’ve become somewhat a philosopher. One thing I love is a lively debate. In essence to create a truly interpersonal relationship you need to construct a dialectic. Now I’m sure I’ve lost you so hang on. A dialectic is simply a framework where two (or more) people come together with the idea of learning what the other person thinks and feels. It is based on the idea of a dialog. The word discussion is percussive and doesn’t really address talking at all. If I grab one of my kids for a discussion they hear lecture. In dialectic relationships I always want to be in you and you in me. That way we can understand the underlying reason for your action and you might understand the source and reason of my fear.
With this we learn and change. This is why I feel habit 4 doesn’t go far enough and it comes too late. Thinking win/win is all fine and everything but it’s just words. If I have worked on myself to the point where winning is meaningless then I will live for establishing a dialectic with you so I can soak in who you are and give you who I am. I think Jesus said it best and with a lot fewer words, “Love one another as you would love yourself.”
Now for my answer to John:
I think you have the wrong idea about “Be Proactive” as Covey explains it. I’ve taught this habit to a lot of people and the reactions I get is what drove me to look deeper. Covey states clearly that between a stimulus and a response is a space. This space is our place to chose the response we want to give. Covey thinks if you work on your 4 human endowments (self-awareness, Imagination, conscience and Independent Will) you can strengthen your proactive muscle and widen that space between stimulus and response so you are truly choosing your response not just reacting. This is the information I’m asked to teach on page 128 of the facilitator’s manual. Look at that section in the book if you have a copy.
I agree there is nothing new in the 7 Habits and Covey as much as says so. It’s common sense organized. Elements I feel are good is the see do get model. This is a rudimentary approach to using systems thinking (which includes feedback loops) and people understand it right away. It shows how you can be your own worst enemy. These constant actions that validate a point of view that isn’t right builds strong wiring in the brain.
There is no doubt in my mind that the 7 Habits contains a lot of truthful and useful information. I grew from my contact with it. What I’m saying is in the last 10 years a lot has changed. Neuroscience has shown us that there are remarkable connections in the brain but still we don’t know where the mind is. We understand much better the role of cognition in a person’s life and that’s good.
7 Habits challenges us to look deep inside, into that deep interpersonal life and bring about alignment and discover what it is I want to create. Mission, vision, values. Empathic listening is vital but really empathic relationships is what we are looking for. That creates the true interpersonal. I like the inside out approach and the idea the private victory precedes the public victory. I think all these ideas help us place those somatic markers that guide our thinking.
Dr. Siegel posits that in the infant mother relationship there is a mutual “tuning” of psychobiological states between mother and child. It seems that this early bonding is central to the creating of secure attachments later in life. As a matter of fact Siegel points out that biological, psychological and social domains begin to lose meaning and might disappear completely in reference to developmental and cognitive neuroscience. I’ll leave it there for now and blog a bit more in depth about these issues.
Systems Questions February 18, 2011Posted by wooddickinson in Change, consulting, Systems Thinking.
Tags: Business, change, Climate, Company, Consulting, Feedback, Harley Davidson, Isaac Newton, Positive feedback, Professional, systems thinking, Think, Wood Dickinson, Work
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|COMMENT FROM BLOG POST: System is often sensitive to events around itself and people handling it. To build a system, the future needs to be presumed or projected with all sorts of possible trajectories, I would like to ask you some questions regarding the same:
a) Is it possible to anticipate such trajectories?
Some time back I received this comment and I’d like to explore it a bit. To be clear systems are part of the natural order of things. The solar system, the life cycle of organisms, atomic structure and so on. All these things and really everything is comprised of some sort of systemic force.
There are times we are fully aware of this. Say the gravitational system as described by Sir Isaac Newton. This system was used to get us to and from the moon. Now man made organizations are structures that we put together and the truth is, we may not do a very good job. If we don’t acknowledge systems then we are working blind and can’t even begin to guess the outcome. But we try.
Even simple things like a teenager starting a lawn mowing venture to make money for college contains systems. One of the primary drivers behind systems is the feedback loop. If the boy cuts the grass well but never trims around the trees, he may look at the grass and think, “Job well done.” The client on the other hand looks at the whole yard and notices right away the grass around the trees hans’t been trimmed. He thinks, “Sloppy and lazy. I need a new boy to cut the grass.” What we now have is a closed system.
One good explanation of this idea is:
“A system, then, is a set of things that affect one another within an environment and form a larger pattern that is different from any of the parts. The fundamental systems-interactive paradigm of organizational analysis features the continual stages of input, throughput (processing), and output, which demonstrate the concept of openness/closedness. A closed system does not interact with its environment. It does not take in information and therefore is likely to atrophy, that is to vanish. An open system receives information, which it uses to interact dynamically with its environment. Openness increases its likelihood to survive and prosper. Several system characteristics are: wholeness and interdependence (the whole is more than the sum of all parts), correlations, perceiving causes, chain of influence, hierarchy, supra-systems and subsystems, self-regulation and control, goal-oriented, interchange with the environment, inputs/outputs, the need for balance/homeostasis, change and adaptability (morphogenesis) and equifinality: there are various ways to achieve goals. Different types of networks are: line, commune, hierarchy and dictator networks. Communication in this perspective can be seen as an integrated process – not as an isolated event.” - cited from UNIVERSITY OF TWENTE (http://www.utwente.nl/en)
Simply if the boy doesn’t open up his lawn mowing system to include a feedback loop that he can access entropy will claim his business and he will be looking for another way to make money. This would be a rather simple system, something like this:
This is a closed system that doesn’t allow any feedback so after time the homeowner will get tiered of the bad job and fire the boy. The boy’s business collapses.
Now to ignore that this system exists is fatal so one element needs to be added to save it
With the feedback element added the boy asks for feedback from the client before he goes home. The owner says the trimming needs to be done and the boy makes adjustments to the system and the systems grows and stays alive.
Now this is a simple example but it is a starting point. This theory is useful in business to family relationships. Map the system and you can see where problems are then add the proper feedback loops to allow correction to the system.
So to answer the first question about predictability, yes you can gauge the result of certain process by mapping the system BEFORE you start and check it constantly for errors and keep correcting so the feedback remains useful. Harley Davidson has a very specific process for chroming it’s parts. This process must be mapped out so feedback can come at the critical time to avoid putting faulty parks on a bike. It can also indicate changes that need to be made to the process so it expands and becomes more effective and cost efficient.
As to the second question, yes complex systems may have many various subsystems. Each part must add back to the whole so if a certain subsystem seems to be failing one possibility is to end that part of the process or redesign the system to incorporate that subsystem somewhere else. You can’t just let a subsystem fail and ignore it. One of the primary reason to use systems thinking is so you have feedback loops in place to help guide the people working the system and allow a natural change process to take place.