Sunday, October 28, 2012

3 Things Sunday Edition Week 5

Welcome to the fifth edition of The Three Things, brought to you by Michael Schechter, Howie Goldfarb, and me.  Please let us know if there is anything you'd like to see in here that we aren't covering. 

Execute: A Book by Drew Wilson & Josh Long  

Michael on Creativity. Tomorrow, Drew and Josh will finish writing Execute. While that may not pique your interest, the fact that they started it on Monday should. Why do this? Why write a book in a week? Well, their goal is to prove you can execute on ideas “immediately when inspired rather than following the normal rules.” As a life-long procrastinator and as someone who tends to want to wait until just the time is just right (and just in case you were curious, there’s never a “right time”), I’m fascinated and can’t wait to see how this project pans out. While it may not be worth the $29 to pre-order a hard copy sight unseen, I’ve been enjoying following the project and look forward to seeing the end result of a weeks worth of channeled creativity.  

Italy Scientists Guilty of Manslaughter  

Howie on Ridiculousness. I took geology in college. I learned in China, they can evacuate a city of five million if they knew an earthquake is coming. But if they did evacuate and there was no quake the next time, the people wouldn't believe them and not leave. In Italy, sis scientists and an ex-government official have been sentenced to six years in prison because of the 2009 deadly earthquake in L'Aquila. So now you have to cry wolf everyday to ensure they don't get in trouble (wouldn't you predict a quake everyday?) or they won't work in the field. This is bad for science and bad for Italy.  

Bond Ambition  

Gini on James Bond. You can't help but see James Bond-related articles, videos, and news right now. Their publicity machine is very well-oiled in advance of the movie's release on November 8. While Daniel Craig is not on my top five list (I know, I know...he just doesn't do it for me), this is a fascinating article about taking over the James Bond reins, his thoughts on bloopers, whether or not there is a secret "I played James Bond" club, and what he does when people buy him a martini at 11 a.m. Plus, the photos by Annie Leibovitz are amazing (as always). They almost make me want to put Craig on the top five list. Almost. Your turn. What do you think we should listen to, read, or watch this week?

The title photo isn't us but we want to hear the Tres Amigos play! 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

3 Things 4th Sunday Edition

Welcome to the fourth edition of The Three Things, brought to you by Michael Schechter, Howie Goldfarb, and me. What do you think of this series so far? Do you like it? Are you getting new and different content you wouldn't otherwise see/listen to/read? Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Customer Experience Saga

Mr. Customer Experience Adam Toporek was just highlighted by Gini Dietrich last Friday as someone to follow on the Twitter and read his blog Customers That Stick. I fully concur! So this just happened to me and I figured good blog fodder.

I bought the Motorola Droid Razr specifically because it has Gorilla Glass from Corning and is touted as durable and rugged in billboards and commercials. It is Kevlar strong! I got the phone in April. In August the screen cracked from a drop onto a dirt road when jogging. It slowly got worse and I reluctantly replaced it via Asurion Insurance 2 weeks ago. It was simple. 5 mins online got the phone the next day. Was TOTALLY HAPPY! In fact this was probably my 6th happy experience over the last 8 years with them. But the problem was where I was going to be wasn't in their computer for the address. So had to set up shipping where I wasn't going to be. And had to wait to get my phone a few days.

One week after activation of the new phone a drop on a hard wood floor broke the screen dead. I tried to use the insurance again (I am allowed two replacements per year at $99 deductible). Because it was so soon I was asked to print an affidavit, scan or fax and send with ID. This was easy but I didn't get a response that the documents were rejected until after 5pm Monday too late to fix to get the phone out that day.

Why was my claim rejected? I chose the wrong model on the drop down menu in the system. It didn't match the model I hand wrote in the affidavit. I said I have your shipper this is what it says what is the problem? 'The model is different on the form and computer they need to match'. 'You sent me this phone. Don't know you exactly what phone I have?' 'Sorry Sir you can get that info from Verizon'

So Yesterday it took 2 phone calls and redoing the claim online 2 times before I got to shipping. Again won't take the address. I figured place it and call to change the address I am going to be at today. Sorry Sir once the file is processed can't change shipping. WHAT?! 'Well to be honest if you get the email that a shipper is printed there is someone we can call and get it changed' Total 4 phone calls.

3 hrs later. Get the shipper call Asurion. Sorry Sir, it is too late the shipper printed. I explain what I was told. Sorry Sir that is not our policy you can call UPS. I call UPS who was helpful but to get to a person was traumatic with their phone system. They failed to give the 'talk to a person option'. There was no option for 'Change a shipping location' or anything related. Their answer? 'Our contract with this client prohibits us for changing the delivery address.

Today I am here waiting for my phone so I can then drive to Vermont costing me more money in babysitting. And I am not happy with Asurion who until this time was great (also on previous claims). But the moral of my saga is first how a horrible customer experience will have a lasting impression even if there have been many positive experiences prior. Second is it is wonderful to nail down processes that handle 99% of your business effortlessly. But you need to have flexible procedures for out of the ordinary circumstances. When the 'System' rejected the address because we have no official USPS address, we have a PO box for mail, but UPS and FedX deliver direct to the house address. Would of been nice to have an option to call for help vs no instructions. Or allowed me to have the shipping changed in their system.

And notice UPS and Corning responded to me but Asurion did not. While often these outreaches don't get me to respond I did write UPS and was pleased they both asked.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

3 Things Third Edition October 14

Look at that! The third edition of three things you should read/listen to/watch to start your week out right by the three of us.  We do this Sunday's so you have some extra time to spend perusing the obscure content we've curated for you (and one another) before your week begins and deadlines, meetings, and work takes over.

What Doesn't Kill You  

Michael on NPR. I’m torn. Two things stand out and I can’t decide. So, as Yogi Berra says, "When you come to a fork in the road, cheat” (or at least I think that’s what he said, I wasn’t really listening). Radiolab and This American Life were both exceptional this week. Because I can’t choose between Tig Notaro’s story on the “What Doesn’t Kill You” episode of TAL (although you really should buy her whole set on Louis CK’s site… darn it… that’s another thing!) and Dave Wolf’s near death experience on the “Dark Side of the Earth” episode of Radiolab (Jad Abumrad’s gift for sound design is nothing short of exceptional), I’m just going to pretend like they are one thing, but you really should listen to both.

Robbie and Ruthie Talk About Pickles.  

Howie on Advertising. This isn't new. But you will think it is new. Football season always has advertising on my mind. I am a big fan of Bob Hoffman who writes Ad Contrarian. When I made a career change from direct B2B sales of high tech industrial parts to advertising/marketing mid-career so much stuff did not make sense. Things I would read about advertising confounded me. And I would think, "People buy impressions? How does Nielsen know you are watching TV? If only the ads were better we would really love them?" I thought advertising was about trying to sell a product or service showing how good it is. This is the best blog post I ever read regarding advertising. Two to three times a year I go back and read it, which I did yesterday. It will always be current. You will see.

The Mogul Who Made Justin Bieber  

Gini on Entrepreneurship. This article in the New Yorker is about Scooter Braun (who, by-the-way, is only 31), the manager of Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen, and PSY (Gangnam Style). In other words, a manager of rock stars. What's interesting about Scooter is he created his own business out of nothing. It's a story of working hard, networking, dropping names, brown-nosing, greasing some palms, and putting everything on the line (including your credit cards) because of someone you believe not only will make you rich, but will take the world by storm. And boy was he right! The underlying theme is how he uses his now-famous clients and their social networks to build a brand and awareness for up-and-coming stars. Now we leave it to you. In the comments, tell us which stories, podcasts, or videos you think should be on our radar.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Three Things - October 7th

Welcome to the second edition of The Three Things!

We had a fairly decent first edition last week so we're moving on to week two. Our goal is to bring you three interesting articles from a wide range of topics. Yes mine is Facebook which I have blogged quite a bit about, but this new tactic is a winner I mean a wiener.....but first to my esteemed gang members....

Michael on Macs. I apologize in advance, but this week’s “thing” is going to cost you. That said, if you’re a fellow Mac user, it’s money well spent. David Sparks, author of Mac At Work and iPad at Work, and Brett Terpstra, the creator of Marked, just released 60 Mountain Lion Tips. The book is useful for novices and weathered Mac geek alike and it does a wonderful job of showing off the potential of the new iBooks author platform (you can also get it in PDF if you’re not an iTunes or iPad user).
The first few tips saved me enough time this week alone to rationalize the $6.99. The book runs the gamut from easy to attempt keyboard shortcuts, to tool suggestions, and even offers some serious terminal geekery towards the end. If you want get more out of your Mac and are curious as to the future of books, you’ll want to give this a shot.

Gini on Restaurants. This is a great story about how to get a table without a reservation in some of New York's most popular restaurants for as little as $20.  From Gourmet (an oldie, but goodie), one man's journey to tip his way into the best restaurants in New York City. He discusses what works, what doesn't work, and how to manage the same for yourself. He details the days and times he tried different tactics, who was offended and who took the cash, and how to present it as a tip for outstanding service instead of a bribe.
If you're a foodie and love to go to the newest restaurants, but hate the long line or endless reservation game (like me), it's worth a shot!

Howie on Facebook. My friend Chris Baccus shared this with me. Chris used to be the head of digital and social media at AT&T, and I have had a long running discussion on the marketing effectiveness and stock value at Facebook. If anyone remembers Beacon this is kind of a private B2B version. With Beacon you bought something and it would be shared with all your friends. Now somehow there will be a connection between you seeing a Facebook ad, you then buying that brand, and Facebook telling the advertiser they helped sell product for you. 
Being a huge privacy advocate  I am curious how they make this connection, but also how they can take credit for a national brand's sale of a product or service that also has advertising, direct, email, PR, and more.

Same time same place next Sunday and we promise to make your day more exciting than having biscuits and grits for breakfast. Or even Eggo's!