Life’s Playlist… Abraham, Martin and John by Dion

On this date in 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered.

I don’t remember MLK, but I believe his mission was one that we can still learn from today.  Unfortunately as with many things in today’s society we have bastardized the original intent, putting a stain on the words of Mr. King.

Mr. King fought against racism and inequality, I believe that 99% of our country deplores racism of any kind and inequality.  HOWEVER, some of those who MLK fought for lead the racism charge at every turn.

Many of those who have made a career of “carrying on the dream of King,” are some of the most racist members of our society.  These professional “victims” are as dangerous as a man dressed in a sheet.

Until we ALL start to embrace the dream King preached for everyone in our society we will not find a nation free of bigotry.

To gain this equal justice for all, a cornerstone of responsibility and lifting oneself up has to be in the hearts of every citizen.

When we all honor our society, our nation and our fellow-man, we can reach the dream, but the dream cannot be achieved until all sides come together and accept responsibility for the injustices we still find ourselves trapped in.

 

 

Life’s Playlist… Stand By You by Rachel Platten

What ever happened to customer service?

From the beginning of my life in the business world I have always be taught the customer pays my salary.  They may not always be right, but it is my job to make them feel as though they are heard and responded to.

The best boss I ever had told me “always find a way to say yes,” makes sense doesn’t it.

At my store we strive daily to provide good customer service for the customers who give us the honor of doing business with us.  We don’t always get it right, but at least 95% of the time we do.

We work diligently to provide meet and exceed each customers expectations.

A few months ago I added a new piece of equipment to my store that allows us to provide an even better product for our guests.

For the most part I have been happy with the equipment.  It has its shortcomings but my team has worked diligently to overcome the obstacles.

None of the problems we have had are major and with a bit of help we can get it fixed, but getting the customer service from the company we purchased from has been frustrating at best, infuriating more often than not.

When looking to add the piece of equipment one of the things the company we bought from touted was their customer service.  On line and phone technical EXPERTS who were always available to help us.

Within days of our training, from a rep who traveled to us from Atlanta, who was more worried about missing rush hour traffic then ensuring we knew all the inner workings of our machine, we had reason to contact the manufacturers customer service line.

We have now contacted the CSR line multiple times with some of the same issues that keep popping up.  The answers are rarely the same and the CSR personnel seem to have one goal… get us on and off the phone as quickly as possible.

A few weeks ago, one of the ladies who works in the store found a Facebook page for owners of the type of product we own, we all joined the group and have found other professionals in the industry have been incredibly helpful in solving our problems.  Not anyone who works for the company, but mom and pop owners like myself who have nothing to gain by helping us, just good people who want to see our industry succeed.

Last Thursday I was fed up.  It had been a bad week and I was over the problems, I wanted something resolved or else I was ready to send the piece of equipment back.

I emailed the Sales Rep who sold me the equipment and voiced all of my concerns.  He responded that he had elevated my concerns to the DIRECTOR of Customer Service for the company.

I had asked specifically for a trainer to visit my store and work with us again.  Now that we had been using the equipment for a few months we knew the questions to ask and felt they would be helpful.

Below is the email I originally sent to my sales rep….

Ray, 

In October of 2017 ___________ company for an __________.  The machine arrived in early November and a tech from your company came here for about 5 hours for training.
We received the bare basic information on how to operate the machine.  Over the past months we have worked on programs and designs and continue to have issues with the machine.  We have called NUMEROUS times to the CSR line to ask questions, we have sent photos, we have emailed, we have done everything asked of us and quite frankly I am NOT happy with the machine and ESPECIALLY not happy with the “service.”  
I feel as though we have done everything on our end to make the machine work for us, but also feel as though we have been hung out to dry by your training and service departments.  I need some help here.  If I am going to keep the machine, I need to see it work for my company.  Having something that is not making me money is not helpful for a small business.
I am requesting a technician (who knows what they are doing, not someone who tells me I haven’t done very many of these) come and work with my team for a full day a FULL day (my team is here on Tuesday and Thursday, so this would be the time we would need someone to assist.)  Now that we have had the equipment and seen multiple failures, we know the questions to ask and if provided a tech who actually is familiar with the workings of the machine, I feel we can make this a successful element of our business. If this is not an opportunity that can be afforded us, I am afraid we may need to reevaluate the piece of equipment and having it as part of our company.
I look forward to hearing from you, I am not trying to be a jerk, but for a small business like ours, the ________ is costing me more at this point than it is helping me.  
Thank you!
My sales rep responded with the news that he had elevated my concerns to the DIRECTOR of the Department and I should be hearing from him shortly.
TODAY…. Monday, I received the following email from the DIRECTOR…..

Hello,  (I love how he used my name… not, I mean really?)

I was asked to reach out in regards to the email you had sent Ray. We can certainly look into the option of sending a tech to your location for further training and assistance. However, we currently will not have that option for at least another two to three weeks. Please continue to work with phone support with any questions or concerns you may have in the meantime.

REALLY?  Am I crazy here or is this response more infuriating than just telling me to go stick it?  I responded back and advised the DIRECTOR that if I told a customer I would not be able to respond to their questions for two or three weeks that I would lose the customer.  I also advised him that the very people he insists I keep calling were the problem.  I haven’t heard back from him yet.

However, I did report back to the group of owners and industry professionals what his response was.  Like me they couldn’t believe the response and I was soon connected with a retired gentleman who works closely as an Ambassador for the company I am having issues with.

Within minutes this gentleman was messaging me offering to help.  BTW, he was on an airplane while helping me!  He told me he was close with the upper management of the company and he would get to the bottom of the issue.

A few minutes later he told me he had received an email from the CEO and he had been asked to change his plans of attending a trade show in Orlando on Wednesday and come to our shop.  As we talked back and forth we realized those logistics would not be possible, but he sent a few tests for us to do with the equipment.

We are working on a resolution and hopefully on our way to getting the issues resolved.  My complaint is, wouldn’t it have been so much easier for the people who are actually hired to do this job to have taken care of the customer in the first place?

Customer Service is lacking in all aspects of our society…. let’s all work on that, shall we!?!?!?!?

Life’s Playlist….. Glass House by Jaci Velasquez

One of the things I like most about social media is staying in contact with friends and family.  It is a good way to know what is going on with those I love and what is going on in the world.

When I wake up in the mornings, I turn on the news and I open my Facebook.  For the next 30 – 40 minutes I study them both.

I guess I am nosey, but I really enjoy knowing what is going on in the lives of my friends.  Social Media has allowed me to reconnect with people from my childhood, I like that.

Something I hate about social media is how divisive it can be.  Sometimes simple comments can be misunderstood and blown out of proportion.

Sometimes our own inner prejudices come out and hypocrisies go on full display.

I made a decision a couple of years ago that I no longer discuss politics on social media, it is simply too much of a powder keg to hang your hat on a meme or put your feelings out in 280 characters.

Additionally, I decided I wouldn’t be discussing religion, I have my faith, you have yours, I don’t judge yours and expect you not to judge mine…. that is what Jesus would do after all, right?

One of the things I hate most about social media is when we put out a persona that simply isn’t true, or when we try to create a judgement on others when the windows of our own glass house has major cracks.

In my humble opinion, there is nothing worse than a religious bigot.  People who speak for a religion instead of a relationship with God are destructive, it took me a long time to realize that, but I did and have no apologies for that statement.

This weekend one of those situations arose on Facebook and to put it bluntly, it really pissed me off.  Someone I have known since childhood, someone I consider a friend today and forever, put a completely bigoted meme on their Facebook feed that slapped me in the face.

I don’t know if it was meant for me or not, I don’t care.  It was spiteful, it was rude, it was bigoted and it was NOT something that Christ would teach.

Without going into much detail, the meme reported that some people could not be Christians.  REALLY?  The Christ I serve teaches that all who come to him are forgiven, loved and saved.  It doesn’t say, everyone but a certain group of people can be saved.

I wish I could laugh about these types of posts, but I can’t, because, I know you.  I know your life, I know your past and I know your heart, when you try to lessen the faith of others because you may have an issue with a segment of their lives, it weakens your argument and just makes you look like a fool.

And the people who “like” the memes, yes I check those out too…. you are in the same boat.

Faith is something that is personal, it is for the individual and their walk with Christ, it is NOT for you to judge!

And now, I step off my soap-box, and you may return to your regularly scheduled programming.

 

 

 

Life’s Playlist…. Stand Tall by Burton Cummings

Day 20 of the Jeff Goins – 500 Words, 31 Days Writing Challenge…. Write about Justice.

Dr. Seuss put it succinctly, Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

I often ponder on how we as a society have gotten to the point we are.  It seems as though our compassion for our fellow-man often falls behind political debate and the party lines that used to help us find compromise, today only hardens our convictions.

At what point did we get to the strident beliefs that our fellow-man is not of value, when did we get to the point where we believed that our convictions are move important than that of our neighbor and at what point did we decided it is going to be “my way, or no way?”

Day after day we see the debates that confront us all, divide us.  I once heard a pastor say, if we would concentrate on the 90% that we agree on, the other 10% could fall into place.

I’m not Pollyanna enough to believe that we will ever come to a point where we all agree on everything, our differences are what has made us great as a nation.  But those differences used to be celebrated, today the division that is created threatens our society in ways that outside threats cannot.

As American’s we are good at coming together when life’s challenges threaten us.  We help our fellow-man when floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, tragedy strikes, but within days we let our differences harden our actions and go back to the win at all costs mentality that has gotten us to where we are.

Here are a few truths that I stand by with conviction and resolve:

  • We are stronger together than we are separately.
  • America is the greatest nation ever to grace the planet.
  • Only America can destroy America.
  • We are all Americans, there is no place in America for hyphenated Americans.
  • I am not guilty for the sins of my forefathers, nor is your life affected by those same sins.
  • We have all had leaders we didn’t vote for, however those same leaders were elected and the OFFICE they represent always deserves respect.
  • If my leaders lie to me once, they will lie again and again.
  • America is a guiding light, we have our problems, but together there is nothing we cannot overcome.
  • Leaders must hold a higher standard morally and ethically and their actions must always represent that higher calling.

I believe in the melting pot of America that has served us well for over 200 years, we have our problems, but we are a resilient nation.  The only way to cure the ills that affect us today and into our future is to start acting like Americans.

I fear, for many of us, the standards we were built upon have been forgotten.  You are entitled to help when you need it, you aren’t entitled to anything if you don’t give 100% towards the betterment of our society.

Unless your Ancestry.com report says you are 100% native American, you and your ancestors were immigrants.  Immigrants built this nation and walls, fences and waters should never keep them out.  However, immigrants must assimilate to our nation’s ideals and cultures, and you must follow the rules to be here.

No one is entitled to be an American and if you don’t like the way our nation is headed, then change it, lawfully with ideals that can help make us stronger, not tear us apart.

I pray for our nation and hope that we will once again start acting like Americans, the land of the free, the home of the brave.

Whether you are black, white, straight, gay, old, young or any other subset of the American dream, it is your responsibility to help move us forward in ways that honor the forefathers who built this shining city on a hill.

Life’s Playlist… Bugler’s Dream by John Williams

Today is my Day 17 of the Jeff Goins — 31 Day, 500 Word Writing Challenge.

The assignment for today is to “make a point and fight for it.”

Every two years the Olympics roll around, on a rotating basis we skip between the summer and winter Games.

The Olympics have always been one of those pivotal times in life where I stop what I am doing and invest in the days of worldwide competition.

I contend that the Olympic movement should be the governance for our planet.

As the Winter Olympic Games get underway this weekend in PyeongChang, South Korea, I challenge you to consider the possibilities.

Years in advance of the Games taking place in a City, multiple communities around the world compete for the opportunity to be named the host city.

Selections are made for the hosts by who provides the best presentation, offers the world the best “meeting place,” and can provide the infrastructure and support to welcome the athletes of the world into their backyard.

You don’t hear back-biting from the cities that lost, sure there is disappointment, but in the spirit of Olympism the communities celebrate the newly selected host and work harder in the next opportunity to score their chance at victory.

Where I think our world leadership could learn the most from the Olympic movement is on the field of competition.

When the athletes of the world gather together on the field of competition, they do their best to succeed.  You rarely see poor sportsmanship or fights.  They work hard for victory and when a competition is over, the participants shake hands and celebrate the victor.

In the world we live in, where leaders no longer lead, and we are so dug-in to our own philosophy and mind-set, isn’t it refreshing to see the youth of the world gather, compete and accept the outcome.

Certainly there are those who try to skirt the rules to give themselves an advantage.  Some get by with it, but most often, the Olympic movement uncovers those who don’t play by the rules and handle those who cheat by singling them out, expelling them and handling the issues with dignity.

Finally, the Olympics are all about excellence.  Everyone who qualifies through hard-work and dedication to their chosen endeavor are allowed to participate.  However, everyone is not entitled a win.  In the Olympic Games, there are no participation trophies, there are winners and others who compete.

I think if we found the world operating more like the Olympic Games we would find the world a better place to live.  People doing their best, competing fairly for the opportunity at victory and being awarded the top prize by being superior to the competition.

As you enjoy the Games of the Winter Olympics over the next days, imagine what the world would be like if these were the ideals of the governments, leaders and people of our world.  It could provide a way towards a much-needed acceptance, honor and celebration of what is possible, the joy of competition and the flame that would light a brighter future for us all.