The big news in the financial markets the other day was the lowering by Moody’s Investor Service of fifteen major banks ratings. To most of us, the news elicited a big shrug of the shoulders. After all, banks haven’t been paying out much interest to depositors for the past few years. I think the monthly interest I get on my personal checking account is at .01 (or 1/100th of a) percent. I look forward to the eight cents added to my account each month (yawn).
It’s one thing to enter an expressway on an entrance ramp from a regular road at a reduced speed limit. It’s another to get onto a highway by getting off another one, especially trying to stay with the flow of traffic. Do you hear that, copper?
Does it make me an old fogy that I don’t look forward to taking the expressway when I have to drive a long distance? It’s not the speed of the highway that intimidates me as much trying to get on and off it at those stupid cloverleafs. Legend has it that the engineer who designed the famous dangerous “S” curve on Chicago’s Outer Drive committed suicide as he was despaired by all the deaths and major lifelong injuries he caused. About ten years or so ago, someone with an ounce of brains at a Federal Agency decided to donate some money to the City of Chicago to fix the problem and straighten the swish in the road as much as possible.
Recently, I sat in on a session where an expert gave out pointers on how to make a quick, but effective introduction of oneself at a business networking confab. She then asked for several volunteers to go up to the front and make a presentation and then be willing to accept criticism.
The ham that I am, I decided to try my act in front of an audience where no one knew me or my reputation for throw-away lines. As I stood up there, I focused on a few faces going back and forth as if I was speaking only to each one at that point in time. I lead with:
Customer service in today’s world is an oxymoron. You can say that maybe I tend to overreact or expect to get satisfaction at my convenience rather than at the one providing service. It seems, though, that more and more the only time you get a helpful, glib, clearly understood, sympathetic customer service representative is when he or she asks you to rate the assistance he or she just provided.
If you agree with me, read on, otherwise you will think that I make this stuff up or over-embellish the facts. Here is a recent situation that caused me to want to get my pound of flesh in retribution:
It’s not every day that a solid business opportunity comes into the in-box of my email program. That is, one that has not already been placed into the spam folder before I have a chance to decide if it is legitimate or not. After all, it is not some influential businessman from Nigeria who is contacting me. No, this guy has it all worked out, carefully avoiding the scheme that asks me to cash his check and keep a certain percentage for doing him such a big favor.
And his salutation is so simplistic but eloquently put. Aw, what the heck- read the letter:
Are you old enough to remember watching first-run television programs in which the daddy came home from work every night wearing a suit and tie? Jim Anderson (Robert Young) of Father’s Knows Best, an insurance agent, always dressed up unless it was the weekend. He would rarely be seen in only his shirtsleeves but at least wearing a sweater. The same usually went for Mr. Cleaver (Hugh Beaumont) on Leave It To Beaver.There was also always the sartorially splendid Bentley Gregg, played by John Forsythe on Bachelor Father.