A Comment on the Library’s Value

A person left a great comment on a neighborhood board expressing her feelings for the library where I used to work.

This is outrageous! Have any of you reading this spent any significant time in the Northfield Library??? Well I have and so have my husband and four children. The mostly female staff was outstanding – especially Kristen Carlson. If you know the library – then you know that it is very small – so everything can be heard. This is what I heard from the amazing folks who worked there – How can I help you? What came after that was amazing. As babies and children with their mothers, the elderly, adults with special needs & mental health issues and folks inbetween like me – came in for help, a chat or just plain human contact. Every need was answered and those ladies bent over backwards to listen, to care, to be present and to dispense books, magazines, CD’s, help with computers/copiers and everything you can imagine. There were times I left with a tear in my eye because they developed such kind and caring relationships with lonely and vulnerable residents who just needed a place to be. One particular day – the last day they closed before Christmas – I watched as many young children came in bringing little cards and gifts for the librarians – and they all left with a little gift in return. What is a small town library for if not a place to get a little something to read and some kindness. Wow this is a complete breakdown of the goals of our small town. We don’t need any corporate takeovers – leave us one vestige of humanity.

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Incredible Customer Service

I just read this set of slides for a marketing course I’m starting for my Library Science program. I’m stunned and gladdened to see such devotion to customers. I’m going to start shopping with Zappos.com.

Do you know of other companies with exemplary service? What do they do that’s a cut above the norm?

Talk about Luxury

Check this video on flying in the suite, known as “The Residence” on Etihad Airlines. I’d be tickled pink just to get the luxury of not standing in line forever for security (see below), never mind the champagne, though I wouldn’t pass up Dom Perignon.

If you want to see whether the service is consistent, check out the second, longer video.

Problem with WordPress

Ugh!

For a week I’ve been having problems with WordPress. On Sunday I reached my limit for stored images so I upgraded from 3GB to 6GB. Afterwards there was no change in my storage space. I figured I should wait a day or two. On Tuesday and Wednesday there was no change.

I tweeted @WordPress and was first told that the website was up. I knew that.

After my second tweet I was asked for an image of the message. Then I was told to clear my cache. I did and now the problem it is is that my new message says that I’ve used 100% of 6GB’s which would be impossible since zero new images were uploaded.

Now I’ve posted my problem to the support page of WordPress. Funny that there isn’t a menu button prominently presented for help.

Fingers crossed that this problem, which has gone on too long, is resolved.

Good Customer Service, Apple

I had time to go to the Old Orchard Apple Store today with my Mac Mini. My problem is I set this up in China and then when I brought it in I just expected to set up an appointment as I figure they’re quite busy. (I had trouble signing up for an appointment online, which is a long, dull story.)

The genius who helped me cordially asked if I could just wait 20 minutes. Sure since driving back and forth would take longer.

After 15 minutes I was helped by a knowledgeable, friendly genius. The problem was simple. I wanted to sync a Bluetooth™ keyboard to my Mac Mini, but couldn’t get past the window that wanted me to input a password to move forward. It was all worked out fairly quickly, which was delightful.

Bravo, Apple.

Ctrip Review

I’ll never buy train tickets online from Ctrip.com. I thought it would make getting tickets a lot easier, but boy have I been proven wrong.

First I signed up for an account, as I would for any website. Then I selected my tickets. Again this was typical and I didn’t have any problems, but it took longer than most sites. I then selected my tickets and the page loading was slow and I had to start over three times. After investing an hour in this process I found I would have to pay a $10 fee for each ticket. The usual fee is 50 rmb (around 90¢). I went ahead and bought just one ticket planning to get my return ticket at my hotel.

Ctrip’s site says consumers can pick up their tickets at any kiosk. That was key for me.

I went to a conveniently located kiosk and was told that the only place to pick up the Ctrip ticket is at the train station. Yikes! Chinese train stations are known for slow service and long lines.

I wound up having to go to the station where I had to wait 50 minutes to pick up my tickets. Ctrip is a horrible way to go for train tickets. If I’d just gone to the station and bought mine there I’d have to wait in line for 50 minutes, I’d still have saved an hour and $9.10.

Good Customer Service

Alas, it’s easy to come across bad customer service in the US. I abhor the automated phone (“Press 1 if you want our address, Press 2 if you want your balance,” etc.) service. I dread calling about problems. When I can, I’ve gone back to writing actual letters to companies. More and more, that’s not even allowed. O, mores! O, tempora!

Today, I called to ask American Express if they’d remove a late charge I incurred because I didn’t get home and see a bill till the day after it was due. Although the service could be better by eliminating the raft of “choices” callers are given and the request for a “security code” which isn’t a password or digits from your social security number so I don’t think I have one so that results in a loop that’s low grade frustrating.

Yet once I got a real live operator the conversation was almost ridiculously positive. Since I was an “outstanding” customer with an “amazing record for paying on time,”   they would wipe away the late fee. The operator could not praise me more for my excellence. It was over the top, but it made the call pleasant rather than a fight.


Another satisfying customer service was with Apple’s telephone service.  I chose the option to have them call me. There was a bit of a fail there as someone else answered the phone and though I hurried, by the time I got to the phone, the robot operator decided no one was there and  didn’t hear me so it hung up. Then I called them back rather than wait 10 minutes.

Apple makes you call them back when they call you, which is somewhat odd. I had to wait for assistance, but Apple gives you a choice of three types of music to listen to as you wait. That’s fairly good. (Though why did you call me, but not have a technician ready?)

The guy who helped me did a stellar job. His communication skills were top notch as he was knowledgeable, patient and sympathetic. We went through some processes with the Disk Utility feature and found out that the El Capitan operating system I’d recently downloaded was corrupted. Before fixing the problem, I had to back up all my files so I had to get a new external hard drive. (My current one had gone kaput.)

Saturday I called Apple back again and the customer service was mediocre. This clerk didn’t have the same communication skills and didn’t listen well so she had me do some of the same time consuming procedures I’d already done. She was reluctant to trust the first guy. She just wound up making a reservation at a Genius Bar where they did fix my computer by uploading El Capitan again.  The “Genius” I spoke with today was as good as good as the first Apple employee I spoke with. They all get extensive training, but the second person didn’t take it to heart the same way.

If you communicate clearly, treat me with respect and do what you say you’ll do, you’re well on your way to good customer service.