Happy customers

Lori Newton twittered or tweeted about having iPhone craving as being irrational. I can understand the craving but it is not irrational.

When the iPhone appeared last July in Canada it was a foregone conclusion that I was going to get one. It was getting painful carrying the iPod Touch and the Motorola cell phone at all times and having to use the two devices to do some simple things. The question that loomed is how would this device help the credit union I worked for? We are a Mac credit union and it was pretty clear that it would fit in well with what we were already doing.  So all of the staff, that means everyone, got an iPhone. I didn’t realize then that it would be an exceptional fit. It was one of the better decisions we have made. As part of the compensation for working for the credit union the only charge would be to pay for those services that you use outside of work i.e. data roaming when in Europe, ouch.

What have we learnt? Well first of all anyone that has left the credit union wants to keep the iPhone and have the service transferred to themselves personally. When I have asked the person what they wanted to do there was no hesitation in stating they were keeping the iPhone. People really like this device and have found so many pragmatic uses for it. It is addicting. Secondly this device has given us an unbelievable opportunity for communication amongst ourselves 24/7. We have the ability to easily, and that point must be stressed, easily, call or email or SMS each other. No one finds a simple SMS an intrusion to get an update on some pending manner. A telephone call can be viewed very differently. Sometimes a call is just a plain pain in the neck. The synching of your contact information with your desktop adds another easy solution of finding the number to call and knowing who has called you. Having something this small and connected to the Internet either by wifi or 3G is another huge plus. By the way our plans included data transfer maximums. No one has come close to their data limits. Why? A lot of the time you can connect via wifi, much more than you think. But watch out when traveling, it gets unbelievably expensive to use American or European networks. There seems to be more apps than one can imagine so if there is something specific you probably will be able to find it in the App Store. 

One hears about Apple fanboys and the zealous cult following this company has. I wouldn’t put my view of Apple in those terms. It would be summed up in something simple like ‘a happy customer’. In today’s marketplace with so much lipservice for product and service it feels pretty good to just be happy about something you use all the time. Try the poll.


Chapters sucks

I don’t usually get upset with bad service but today it was worse than bad.

I was at Chapters in Metrotown Burnaby BC to buy a book on baking. I had taken 4 books from the shelves and was looking for a place to sit to review the books. Every seat was taken. Every person in a seat had a single book that was being read. It didn’t look like they were going to give up their seat anytime soon. There was a lot of space on the side by the shelves so I sat down on the floor and began to look at the books. If I am buying a book on a subject I want to review it to get the right one. Within a minute an employee came up to me and said I couldn’t sit there, company policy, and I had to go to the far end of the shop to sit. I was about to tell him there was no space but he walked away. I picked up the books and wandered through the shop, once again no place to sit. I came back to the bookshelf area and put the books back. No luck in finding the person who originally told me I approached another person stating my problem. All that I was cited was it was company policy and sorry. I left the store not buying anything.

Chapters really didn’t want my business. No one that spoke to me wanted to help or discuss the problem. It was like a take it or leave it attitude. Sorry but with that type of service you couldn’t give me the book for free. You really need a few lessons on customer service. No way I am going back there. 

When economic times get tough business is going to have to get better in so many ways to survive. It will probably be difficult to a large business like Chapters to key into this given their size. It will take a lot of work to change such a haphazard attitude towards service. Gook luck Chapters. Time to get better acquainted with someone else.


There is an excellent post on TechCrunch about a site for retweeting. I hadn’t really thought about this because using Twitter in a browser doesn’t have this function. TweetDeck does (and if you aren’t using this program as your desktop browser you are loosing some extremely valuable tools and processes) and the wonderful iPhone app Tweetie. The program Retweetist purports that retweeting indicates authority or popularity and the program lists those tweets that have had numerous retweets (enough with the tweets…)

What seems to be happening here is that Twitter, since it seemingly is or is close to mainstream now, is beginning the “authority” or “popularity” or whatever you want to call it game, like past discussions on blogging and Technorati.  Benedict Spinoza said something about vain people “It may easily come to pass that a vain man may become proud and imagine himself pleasing to all when he is in reality a universal nuisance.” That sums up the popularity discussion  for me.

 Those that I have followed who have used Twitter for over a year (and that is a generalization) don’t appear to be playing this game. Those that one follows or are following are part of a network. That network is built up over time and it becomes a valued network. To me it is a very simple criteria to follow someone – I have either met them personally or would like to meet them someday. The popularity that others may speak of is not important because what people state on twitter is for my ears. The authority that is being discussed is moot. Numerous times this network of fellow Twitterers have shared valuable thoughts and insights that have always made my day much more colourful. The stimulus of a single sentence is extremely positive. It is one’s own Bartlett’s – Familiar Quotations. There is humour, sadness, wisdom, political irony, joy and many more emotions attached to these 140 character blurts. I have rarely quit following anyone. That action takes place when people begin to twitter numerous times in a row, numerous days in a row. That isn’t twittering, that is Soapboxing. 

Twittering is growing because people are finding new ways to challenge it’s limitations. Allowing saved searches in Tweetie gives you a very valuable tool to keep track of memes you want to follow. Being able to save linked URLs in Instapaper is just plain neat as you can quickly garner the days reading. Tweetdeck’s additional columns for 12 seconds and TwitScoop help tie in tweets to the Internet in a quick and easy fashion. This functionality will only grow. I just wish I could establish different groups to tweet to, like Jaiku (whoops). If everyone you followed, and you followed them for the right reasons, tweeted their most interesting URL once in awhile, that would be better than any search I could create in Google.



Saturday and its raining

Woke up this morning with a very bad cold. Thought I could get to work but didn’t even make it to the bathroom. With ample medication I am now mobile to some point.

Jen Lowther has written an interesting post on 10 things that will not make me follow you on Twitter. They are all pretty good but I had to disagree with #8. I think protecting your Tweets allows you a greater degree of choice in who follows you. I have had numerous requests for someone to be a follower but when I quickly glance at the home Twitter site or their blog most get turned down. Why? There doesn’t seem to be anything in common between us. Why would someone in Serbia who is 20 years old and looking for a husband follow me or a used car salesman in North Carolina? Both had thousands of followers so what is their real purpose in amassing this many followers? It just seems to be somewhat prudent to have this function setup rather than spending time gleaning your followers list every few months.

First day back

I was off for a few weeks with the family at Christmas. Got to work early to get things and order and that was the first mistake. You never really learn do you. Those 2 weeks or so mean that when you arrive you actually have 2 weeks or so of stuff that needs to get caught up. It doesn’t matter when you come in there is enough there for more than those 2 extra hours. The really neat part of coming back is all the people that need to see you right now and after you talk to them a bit you wonder why they have come to this conclusion. There are so many adept people here you really didn’t need to talk to me. Is it a gender thing or what?

The snow is melting which is a real blessing to my back, arms and legs. The neighbour next door had to start using our snow shovel as he broke his. That is what happens when you have to shovel every single falling snow flake. Great guy but his sidewalks and driveway were just too clean. On the other side this neighbour did the easiest thing, minimal snow removal as they headed south for the holidays. He maybe shoveled 3 times. Toro used to sell small electric snowblowers years ago. If there is a Father’s day present in sight it will be something like that.

Next up seeing if there is something coming out of Macworld that will make life simpler. Doesn’t seem like anything important except the myriad of upgrades. It would be much better to sometimes just fix certain things so they work instead of giving us upgrades. But then I could be using a PC.