Friday, July 16, 2010

A "Disney" World, No Tab Aftertaste

When Ignatius was 5, we went on our first family trip to DisneyWorld in Orlando.  It was such a good time.  Every person with whom we had contact had the same demeanor: it was ALL about the customer.  The customer was, truly, always right. 

We came to find that we were being charged mini-bar charges for our room, yet we were not using the mini-bar.  We went to the consierge and explained the situation.  He did not have to believe us.  The person who checked the mini-bar each day could have been called and questioned to be sure we were on the up-and-up.

His response was, "I am so sorry, ma'am. We will take these charges off your bill immediately."  From that point on, for the last 8 years, we have shared this story.  Talk about handling things well on the business end.

Now I know that Disney is a large enough company that they can take the hit for dishonest customers.  And I know people might be able to share some, not so fuzzy, stories about Disney.  But, firsthand, I witnessed what it felt like to be on the other end of great customer service.

For many years, I had jobs where I was trained along the "company line" in customer service.  Never was I trained to deflect the issue back onto the customer.  Even when I had customers who "bought" expensive dresses, wore them for an occasion, and returned them, I was trained to take the items back and make the customer happy.  I did as I was trained.  The customer is always right.

So, there are those who might be wondering why this iPhone4 issue is working my last nerve.  Yes, there are pitfalls to all cell phones.  I am an AT&T customer, I get that.  And yes, the iPhone4 is a delightful, smart phone.  The display is crystal clear.  It takes wonderful photos and video.  I appreciate having 3G.  Face Time is cool (with my husband), though I don't see me using it too regularly.  It's amazing technology.

A big thing was amiss, however.  When presented with this big thing, the 3 million people who bought the phone were not greeted with, "I'm sorry, ma'am.  We will fix the issue right away."  We were made to believe that:
-we were holding the phone "incorrectly"
-we needed a software upgrade
-calls weren't REALLY dropping; we just were not aware of our reception at the time
-there is a fix, but it will cost you $29
-there's not a problem
-if there is an issue, put some tape over the antenna--that will solve the non-problem

Then, finally, 4 weeks later, in an orchestrated "press" conference I hear:
-Apple's not the only one; all cell phones have antenna issues (oh, now there's an antenna issue?)
-less than 1% of the buyers called to complain (that amounts to about 15,000 complaints; I did not call to complain, as I figured I would be greeted with the same party line that the company mouthpiece was giving the press)
-but, my goodness, data shows that calls ARE dropping
-OK, we don't really believe there's an issue (we're victims of "Antenna-gate"; feel sorry for us), but we just want our customers happy (to shut up)
-so, everyone is getting a case

My issue is not with my iPhone.  No way.  Too many people went in to making a really great idea.  I daresay, my problem isn't even really with "Apple."

Yes, Steve Jobs, my problem is with you.  This entire thing could have been diffused by you.  You would have looked like a superhero by simply saying, "Woe, there's an issue here.  Let's do right by our customers."  In fact, I would have lauded you from this lowly blog for doing just that.

Instead, you acted like a tired parent, so weary from his toddler's persistent whining, that he gives in.  Your customers are some of the smartest people in the world, sir.  Don't treat us like village idiots.

Thanks for the case.  I appreciate that the company is making good.  It's kind of like the experience of drinking a Tab, though.  At first, bubbly and seemingly sweet and familiar, but leaves a terrible after taste.

Now I am sure some devout Apple-lover is going to argue with me about Tab, right?  Bring it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010


July 4th is awesome. Our country celebrates its birthday and its freedom. It's mid-summer--some is behind us, some is in front of us. Usually it's warm weather. I love the 4th of July.

This weekend has been filled with quite a few interesting happenings.

On Thursday, we visited with Miss April from PLAY Project. We watched some interesting video from our last visit, she did some modeling, and we set up some additional suggestions for the month:
1. Play dumb. Make him show you or tell you what he wants. Make him work to show you what he wants. Use playful obstruction in play. This is a goal that I find interesting, as we have become so accustomed to "reading" Max that we really haven't done too much in allowing him to tell us what he wants.
2. Use rewarding/reinforcement. When he initiates a response (called "opening a circle"), reward him with a tickle, rub, or rough housing. Give immediate reward or sensory motor play. April pointed out the proprioceptive need he has relating to pounding his feet. After we PLAYed a great deal, he did a lot of jumping on the concrete (made me cringe) over and over, fulfilling a sensory need for pressure on his feet.
3. Use simple pretend play. Give things feelings or personalities (talk through the toys). Use slapstick humor. Use theme and variation in play. This was interesting, as during her visit he started to play on the PC. I thought for sure he was "done--" focused on his game and the rest of the world was shut off. She initiated play with a stuffed animal, as if it was playing the game, too. He engaged in this play. I guess I underestimated how much he could be drawn from his game time.

On Thursday, I also made a trip to the dentist, as, while flossing, I broke off part of my tooth. A crown will come on Monday, alas.

On Friday, after Zumba, I finally went to the podiatrist. I needed to be fitted for custom orthodics for my feet. No fracture. But the way I walk messes with the tendons on my feet (I have now messed with tendons on both of my feet due to exercise), and he felt the orthodics were necessary so I could avoid tearing a tendon, which would require surgery to fix (no thanks).

After that appointment, we headed to Rochelle, IL, to the Rochelle Railroad Park. This is a crossroads for many railroad tracks and is one of the busiest crossings in the country. Man, was it noisy, too! We then stayed in a hotel (Hilton Garden) with a very cool pool in Rockford. On Saturday, we visited the Illinois Railroad Museum in Union, IL. Great time, although way too much for Max in one 24-hour period.

Today, we started the day off with church. The whole family went, and Max was extremely well-behaved. He knew we planned to head to the car wash, one of his favorite things in the world at the moment, and that brings out the inner angel in him for sure. After the car wash, we had a series of storms, and I completely sacked out. What else do you do when it rains, right? We barbecued some tasty marinated pork chops, had some couscous, and corn on the cob, and the all-American strawberry shortcake desert. Now, we are patiently awaiting heading to the fireworks (yeah, I forgot to get sparklers this year... bummer). It's all good. :)

There are many other photos and videos on Facebook, for the ever-so-curious. My personal favorite is the car wash video... a must see!