March 5, 2011

Buddy Taping

Posted in Business, Life tagged , , at 1:16 am by lindaslongview

Buddy taping is the act of allowing one stronger to support the weaker — a short-term aid to gain long view capability.

Buddy taping can be applied to:

  • a young sapling to help it grow
  • an injured finger/toe to allow it to heal
  • a new recruit learning the ropes
  • <your suggestion here>

This week was a buddy taping week…

As I started my new position this week, I relied heavily on others around me to educate me in the current needs, deadlines, and technology of the organization. The tasks and opportunties that have emerged energize me, but I still need the help of others until I get my bearings.  I am grateful for the generosity of my new colleagues.  🙂

To solidify the buddy taping theme for the week, I injured my baby toe in a running accident. It was wet and muddy on the trail that I regularly run and I slipped on a muddy incline slamming my foot into a rock at the bottom of the section.  My baby toe took the brunt of the force.  Poor baby toe…all black and blue and swollen.  😦  But my injured toe made it the 2.5 miles back to the car without too much complaint — then it set up!

Do you buddy tape when you need support?

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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?

March 3, 2009

Body like Business?

Posted in Business, Life tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:01 am by lindaslongview

Each of us only gets one body.  From an early age we are trained to care for ourselves — brush & floss our teeth, eat right, exercise regularly, and rest appropriately after illness or injury.  Although most of us do all of these things regularly, it is the last one that can be the most vexing. It is challenging because injury and illness are inherently unplanned, undesirable, and unintended.  Recovering from injury or illness requires expenditures of time and effort to recover that would not be required if everything had “gone to plan.”  So there is opportunity to be bitter and angry.  The reality is that there is risk in sports (one cause of injury) and being around others (one cause of illness transmission). It is the payoff: fun in sports or the creation/nurturing of a social/professional connection, that makes the risk worthwhile.

In an analogy to business, routine care is required for operations  — develop products, purchase raw materials, manufacture products, sell products, account for the flow of money and products, and take time to recover from setbacks.  As in illness or injury, setbacks require expenditures of time and effort that would not be required if everything had “gone to plan.” Similarly, there is risk in business — if it was easy, it would not be a long-term business.  It is the payoff:  money (in a for-profit business), that makes the risk worthwhile.

In both cases (body or business), routine care requires planning, precautions, and prudence.  Yet these cannot prevent all setbacks; they minimize the severity, duration, and frequency.  Thus, in order to be truly successful, we need to take the long view and be disciplined in our recovery from setbacks.  We must expect setbacks, plan to expend time and effort to recover (relative to the risk of the payoff), and not be negative or rushed in our recovery execution.  One way is to buffer projects from uncertainty by realistic planning, disciplined tracking, and adequate resource deployment for recovery using Goldratt’s Critical Chain, all the while staying, persistent, passionate, and positive!

On a personal level, I am working hard to recover an ankle sprain (a moment’s inattention to a pothole in a running trail left my ankle discolored, swollen, and sore).  Since I want to enjoy the wind in my face (from running) for as long as I live (the long view), I am in rehab (toe-raises, gentle stretches, and swimming).  Only nine (9) more days until I can run on my ankle again!  But who is counting?!