The Worst of Everything

14 February 2005

An email from the Wall Street Journal this morning produced this:

Verizon agreed to acquire MCI for $6.75 billion in cash, shares and dividends, marking the end of the nation’s last independent long-distance giant.

The worst investments I ever made involved the telecommunications industry. The worst treatment as a customer I ever received involved the telecommunications industry.

Unfortunately, the call center which sits behind so many organizations is actually a creation of the telecommunications industry. Consequently, we have the worst providers of service in the entire world shaping the practices of countless other companies.

The telecommunications industry proves conclusively that the size of the organization doesn’t equate to knowing what they’re doing!


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Where Sprint Means Saunter

12 February 2005

What experience are cellular companies trying to provide in their retail stores? Do they want you to feel as though you’re at Circuit City or Best Buy? Are they imitating grocery stores? Do they really want to behave like a car dealer? Are they trying to act like the private banker?

At some point they treat you like they are the FBI, and they have the right to dig into everything about you. I’ve got news for them—you sell cellular telephones. That’s it. Quit acting as if you hold launch codes behind your counters.

I use Sprint. For national travel, I’ve been happy with Sprint. However, happiness equates to not thinking about Sprint. When I have to think about dealing with a cellular company, I get rashes. Yesterday, I went to three different Sprint stores. I got three different interpretations of whether I was eligible—as an existing customer—for certain promotions that are being run.

In every case I had a sales rep from “the floor” who needed to check with his manager to determine whether or not I was eligible. If I use the six opinions I got, I conclude the cellular companies have no clue about the old adage that it’s far cheaper to sell to an existing customer than to get a new one.

At one location I pre-registered at the front door where my name was typed into a computer and then appeared on a public monitor that was four feet across. “Now serving number 54,”—just like the tire dealer. It’s Saturday and I’ve yet to be served.


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Minimizing Manipulation

27 July 2004

Sales manipulation is notoriously bad in the automobile business. There are ways to minimize it and win in the end. Shirley Kaiser uses her own experience to help others.

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Passengers Are Customers, Too

22 July 2004

Delta Airlines announced this week that they had lost $1.96 billion during the quarter ended June 30, 2004. After 75 years in business, this is a company that is in dire straits.

About 4:00a.m. this morning, I saw one of the reasons why. Just because you call them students, passengers or patients, it doesn’t mean they are not customers!

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Design For Quality

13 July 2004

Jeffrey Veen has written an entry titled Learning From the Apple Store. He uses it to introduce an essay by his partner, Jesse James Garrett. That essay is called Six Design Lessons From the Apple Store.

If you know anything about trying to drive variation out of a business process or customer experience, you’ll see signs of how Apple accomplishes this using design. You cannot inspect quality into a product, service or experience. It must be designed in from the very beginning.

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