November 23, 2009

Avert Your Eyes

Posted in Life tagged , , , , , , , , , at 7:49 pm by lindaslongview

At what point is stuff on the net (public domain) none of our business?  When should we avert our eyes and not read a little more?  What is the threshold from curious to stalking?

Recently, I met an interesting fellow at an alumni-networking event.  After an engaging conversation of shared interests, we exchanged email addresses. Later, I wanted to suggest an appropriate meeting place but could not recall where he had said that he lived, so I turned to the Internet to do a quick address search.

In about 10 minutes of searching, I did not find his address, but I learned more than I expected.  I found his age, his faith, his cousin’s family tree, and his wife’s blog.

Intrigued by my new friend’s wife’s blog, I read on.  It turns out, the stories (blog posts) were every bit as interesting and engaging as his conversation had been.  However, immediately following this confirmation, I felt unsettled.  Just how would I let on what I knew and how I knew it?  Had I usurped his privilege of introducing me to his wife’s blog?  Had I devalued the connection by barging in myself? Is this part and parcel of 21st century networking that I am not yet used to?

My experience was confirmed in Wired Magazine’s headline article this month, Vanish: “…ordinary people – really can gather an incredible dossier of facts about you.”  It is because of the combination of powerful search engines and extensive amounts of publicly available information.  It behooves us be aware of what information is defining us and to be thoughtful about what is defining others.

In old cultures where privacy was hard to come by, people learned to avert their eyes to allow for privacy and were admonished to mind their own business.  In addition, we were encouraged to live an honorable life because of public scrutiny.  Those old (long view) rules are evolving to deal with the connectivity and information richness of our lives today, yet still apply:

  • Live your life impeccably.  Doing so, will mean never having to be ashamed, embarrassed, or held accountable for wrongdoing.
  • Out of respect and kindness, engage the positive and disregard the negative.

Embracing the new:

  • Take what you learn on the Internet with a grain of salt.
  • Be judicious in how you apply Internet “knowledge.”
  • Follow your instincts, yet pay attention to the evolution – norms are changing.

Bloggers expect that others will be informed, transformed, and educated through connection to our blogs.  Participating constructively is welcome and my new friend was fine with it. 🙂

Are you living life impeccably and engaging the positive?

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May 31, 2009

Rocking Customer Service

Posted in Business, Life, Technology tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:48 pm by lindaslongview

iSH3_Interval_H20AudioI had a rocking customer service experience yesterday with H20 Audio that reinforces why I am a raving fan for them…

Even though swimming is a second-string pursuit (I’d rather be rock climbing, running, biking, etc.), I swim regularly because it “rehabs” everything I injure in my other athletic pursuits. The downside of swimming is the boredom.  So, about six (6) years ago, I started a down and up affair with music while I swim…

I started with waterproof earphones coupled to a waterproof “bag” that held a 1st generation iPod.  I stuffed the bag in my swimsuit and swam happily to tunes for a few weeks.  Unfortunately, the “bag” sprung a leak and that iPod is now a doorstop (husband was very unhappy).

A year or so later, I found and purchased a SwiMP3.  The sound quality of the bone conduction speakers was awesome, but it was terminally painful to update my music because it was iTunes incompatible.  As I became more and more iTunes exclusive, it became more and more obsolete.

When I found the iSH2 from H2O Audio, which holds an iPod Shuffle, I was delighted.   Unfortunately, those early waterproof earphones had inconsistent performance and I still pined for the sound quality of my SwiMP3, but with the ease of iTunes.  I began sending notes (to both companies) asking for sound quality AND iTunes compatibility.  I was elated when H20 Audio told me that they were about to come out with the iSH3 (aka Interval) incorporating their Surge headphones to the iPod Shuffle casing.  I was so delighted that I ordered two as soon as they were available in Feburary 2009 (one for me and one for my friend’s birthday in May).  I was so early in my purchase that I had to work with customer service to register – the warranty website had yet to list the iSH3!  That’s how I met Richard at customer service.

I have been rocking my splashes very happily ever since.  I love my iSH3 and whenever anyone at the pool asks me about it, I encourage him or her to purchase an iPod Shuffle ($50) and the iSH3 ($80) – great deal!  I provide the H2O Audio website info and tell them that they will not regret it.

Imagine how distressed I was when I found out that my friend’s gift had a broken latch!  Considering that I had purchased it in February and I desired to make it right when I saw her next weekend, I was glad to have a relationship with Richard.  I typed up an email to Richard, explained situation and he made it right!  I have a new iSH3 on the way so that I can swap with my friend when I see her next weekend and then I’ll send the broken one back. With this gesture, H2O Audio amplified my raving fandom. ☺  Their customer service exemplifies my three favorite (long view) customer service mantras:

  • Build relationships with your users. Get to know each other – exchange full names and try to know something about the other person that allows you to connect. For a customer, nothing is more frustrating than either not knowing whom to call or not having comfort to call when a problem arises.  Creating connection encourages honest, timely communication.
  • If your customer calls you to complain or seek advice, THANK them, encourage narratives, and listen for information in the details.  No matter how hard it is to say “Thank you” to someone who is complaining, be sincere.  The provided information is a gift that will help you to make products better – you will learn how the product is actually being used.
  • Fix what isn’t right without excuse and be grateful for the opportunity.

This advice applies equally to technology development (internal customers) as to consumer products (external customers).

Are you building relationships with your users?  Thanking them? Fixing what isn’t right?  Staying grateful for the opportunity?

Are you rocking your splashes with an iSH3?