Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rethinking Customer Service

I've read several  posts about customer service lately that were very good, and addressed the issue of customer handling in a tasteful way. But I still had an itch that wasn't scratched, and I finally figured out why! They all focus on how an employee treats the customer and that is only the tip of the iceberg.

The business owners' first customer is the very first employee that is hired. Everything trickles down from there. Just as you cannot build a home with contented children without contented parents, you can't give great customer service without treating your employees as if you value them first!

No matter how hard you try to beat into your workers that the customer is right and should be treated with the utmost respect and deference, if you aren't finding and meeting the needs of your most valued asset, the employee, it will never really trickle down.

Think of a fountain. If there is no water coming from the top, none of it will fall on the bottom layers.

My mother, who teaches the best customer service class in town!
Of course, you can beat and cajole and trick your workers into doing their best at satisfying the customer, but over time the morale will erode, and sooner or later it will come back to bite you. I've seen this happen in the best of companies. During the current economic challenges, the time is ripe for all business owners to do what it takes to care for and feed their employees. This will pay off, and will not be wasted energy. Sometimes people are treated like machines, albeit valuable machines. Machines need oil and maintenance every once in a while, but they can be replaced when they wear down.  Perhaps because we are so far from the agrarian society of yesteryear we have forgotten that if you don't feed and water your crop, you will not have a good, healthy one.

The human factor is the make or break issue in any business. The greatest companies take care of their assets, and not only  because they want to make more money, but because they value people. Take away the human element and what have you got? A lot of green stuff changing hands. But not much else.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Full Moon

It's about the hottest its been all summer, a reall winderupper of a California summer, and the moon is fat and beautiful.

What if the moon decided it didn't like the cycle it was on, that the monotony of waxing and waning was just too much, too tedious, and certainly not in the interest of its own creativity. so, it gave up and morphed into a different shape altogether.  The entire ecosystem would be in peril, and so would human life as we know it. Love could no longer be nutured under the full moon, or excuses made for crazy behavior. But the moon would be happy.

Well, that's the feeling I have every morning when its time to make my bed, like all this monotony saps my 'creativity' but then I talk myself out of the feeling and my bed gets made, and life as I know it goes on. And I am a different kind of happy than I would have been if I'd just gone with 'how I felt'.

There really must be a full moon...I'm going outside to look at it and wonder. Then I'll get under the covers of my neatly made bed and give thanks, to myself, and to the one who made the moon wax and wane, regularly, predictably and miraculously.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Wonder of Reading

You know the feeling at the end of the day, when you're all done with work, or at least you decide it's time to quit? The house is quieting down, the TV is off, the crickets are starting up outside, and the moon begins it's climb high into the azure sky, accompanied by it's entourage of millions of stars.

The book you've been waiting to dig into is sitting, full of unknown promise, on your bedside table. Your most comfortable clothes are on and your favorite drink is at your elbow. You crack it open to the place reluctantly marked the night before, and continue a journey into someone else's mind. You may never have met them, but someone is taking you to places you've never been, introducing you to people, places, happenings, imaginary, yet so real that when the book is over, you feel you know them. And the magical act of deciphering black symbols on white pages bound together in one book has made all this possible.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


My writer's censor says, "Don't write that! Don't put that down! Don't tell them that!"

And my writer's soul says, "Go ahead. At least someone is in your shoes somewhere, and you must write for them..."

There is a burner on under me, heating up, simmering, and boiling over. The fuel is: everyone else I read on Twitter who is touting their published work, their speaking engagements, their rave reviews, their works in progress, their...everything I haven't done...yet.

I'm not mad at them. I'm mad at me. To get this far in life and not do what I really want to do fully must mean I'm not really listening to myself.

So now I'm in a pickle, because I've surrounded myself with successful people and they are my cloud of witnesses, but I can't quite see through my own fog.

I cut myself some slack. After all it is the beginning of the school year and we are in transition at my home.

But then again, no more slack, because slack is what got me here in the first place. I fritter away time like a bowl of nuts you didn't intend to eat, but there it is...the empty bowl staring at you.

Pardon the spit which must be raining down on you front row readers, but it's time to give myself a talking to, and I needed some company. -Enough!

I'm writing...first thing tomorrow morning!