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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Different Ideas of Customer Service

I just got done with a day long "customer service training" meeting in Grand Rapids today. I dread all of these district meetings & company functions. It's not that I really have anything against anybody, but it always seems that the same things get preached to you over & over. You always hear the same old ideas as if the person that were telling them to you came up with them for the first time. Similar jokes always get told, & my boss shows the same old movie clips about the cat that gets stuck in the ceiling fan & the linebacker that tackles people who slack off at the office. Everybody laughs hysterically, but I can only find it funny so many times.

During this particular "trademark customer service" meeting, we talked about better ways to help customers, making them feel welcome. It seems to me, that if you need a meeting to teach you how to treat customers than you've got bigger problems. The title, "trademark customer service" is quite wrong in itself. If you have to advertise that you have excellent customer service (which is plastered on many company promotional items), chances are you don't have very good customer service. Otherwise, why would you have to mention it? It's like the old restaurant, The Clock, that used be on Alpine (it burned down last year) with it's pronouncement that it had "Fine Food". If you want a cheap, greasy meal, that was your place, but "Fine Food" was a bit of a stretch. Oh well.

So, since I was in Grand Rapids anyway, to regain my sanity I stopped at my favorite store in the world, Vertigo Music, located in the heartside district of Grand Rapids. Now there's a guy that has customer service. He doesn't bother you when you walk in the door, he doesn't care what "Market Segment" you're in, but he's happy to sit & chat about music with you for as long as you like. If he knows you well enough, he'll even tell you how much money he makes off a cd he sells you. I don't feel in the least bit ripped off, he's not making much. His prices are quite low, leaving you absolutely no reason to think he isn't telling you the truth. I would pay more, though, because it's the only place to buy music in town where the person selling it to you actually cares & takes an active interest in what he's selling you. If there's anybody I pattern myself after in running a store, it'd be him. All this "trademark customer service" is just a bunch of gum flapping. If you take an interest in what you are selling & an interest in the people you are selling to, the rest will fall into place. Did I just say that? That sounded good, maybe I should mention that at the next meeting.

On an unrelated note, I drove past the old house on Valley on my way back to Grand Haven. The roof still needs replacing & the yard needs to be raked. The old neighborhood apparently is surviving without me.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

When I Get Home-Elizabeth Cotten, Freight Train & Other North Carolina Folk Songs & Tunes

Elizabeth Cotten's voice sounds much like Oma's did, at least to my ears, very high pitched, almost straining, but very sweet & very distinct. She played guitar upside down. She lived a life of cleaning houses for people before she was discovered in her '40s. Maybe "Libba" & Oma are friends in heaven, I'd like to think so, I think they'd get along great. I can hear Oma singing "Oh Babe, It Ain't No Lie".

Let me know if the link works, seems I'm not the smartest when it comes to these here computin' contraptions. I'll cheerfully refund your money if it doesn't work :).

Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie-Joanna Newsom, The Milk Eyed Mendor

Newsom has everything I look for in a musician, a distinct voice (maybe like Jolie Holland's misfit sister), excellent songwriting & her band is very competent, subtle & unique. This song, which I heard for the first time today, is incredible.

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning-Frank Sinatra, Wee Small Hours

Was there ever anybody cooler than Frank? I don't think so.

So Hard to Find My Way-Jackie Greene, American Myth

My friend Mike & I don't see eye to eye on music, but we agree on Jackie. What a talent.

The Greatest-Cat Power, the Greatest

Ah, Chan's voice is so sultry. Good stuff.

Happy Wednesday, friends. I hope you get "trademark customer service", wherever you go.



Pam said...

That's what I love about you, Andy! Being nice to people because that's you, not because you're trying to sell something! Keep it up. I know you're RWYA!

Joyce said...

I'm still lovin' the five favorite songs. I heard a huge variety today starting at 5am with Barbra Streisand on an old Funny Girl tape. It was extremely poor quality, it made me laugh. I should just get a new car so I can get a CD player.

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Grand Haven, Michigan
the sun shines on a dog's ass every now & then...