Thursday, July 01, 2004

My Business Travel Blues/The Golden Rule of Customer Service

I am tired.

To preface, if this seems overly negative at first, I will delve slightly into a personal issue.

I am tired of working for an organization that gives no consideration to endless evenings spent away from home. Of late Friday night return trips with delays that turn them into Saturdays. Of Sunday afternoons spent traveling for the bright-and-early start on Monday morning. An organization where, after 11 years of experience, I have managed to work my way exactly nowhere. Where being the only person whose knowledge and capabilities cover all the available products, but remains at the equivalent status of the newest hire, the lowest entry on the org-chart, should one exist.

I mention this, partially to explain my reaction to yesterday’s trip home. In addition, while this is my problem, it may impact you slightly, as it may influence my posts in the future, should you continue to honor me with your eye-time after this diatribe…

I plan on dealing with this on my own terms.

I have posted often on Time, the most unique resource available to each of us.

To be truly happy, more needs to exist in the transaction you make with your employer than money alone.

I quoted this before, but will repeat:

"It seldom happens that a man changes his life through his habitual reasoning. No matter how fully he may sense the new plans and aims revealed to him by reason, he continues to plod along in old paths until his life becomes frustrating and unbearable - he finally makes the change only when his usual life can no longer be tolerated."

Leo Tolstoy

Thank you Leo, duly noted. I shall be moving my butt and making changes. The by-product will drag all of you who are willing along with me…

That said, I continue.

I am ALSO tired of Airline employees who didn’t seem to notice that their employer’s were having financial problems before 9/11 and that the airports are just barely getting busy again since the terrorist attacks.

Whose reaction to my presence in their busy life varies from a distinct imposition at worst to bland neglect at best.

This holds true for counter agents, stewardi, airline ticket operator/agents. It does not seem to have infected the pilots, but that may just be a mis-perception on my part, as contact with the flight deck is very limited. The pilots are still doing something that they love, or at least did at one time…

Can it be a mere co-incidence that these are all Unionized jobs? I think not.

Weather/Equipment Failure/Scheduling SNAFUs (i.e. SHIT) Happens. Some is more or less within the control of someone somewhere. It is never in my control and rarely the person I am interacting with.

What IS in their control is the amount of effort they put into fixing the problem as swiftly and effectively as possible, given available resources. Likewise, the amount of effort they make to convince me they give a FLYING F**K!

What IS in my control is my selection of airline in the future.

While these two topics of dis-content may seem, to you, distinct, I contend they have a common solution.

And SO, in order to prove I am still Mr. Gadgets and not Mr. Negativity I offer the following:

The Golden Rule of Customer Service is:

The Golden Rule!

In a previous life, I worked in the International Department of a large and after a “merger” Major software company.

I was involved with various technical issues, including managing the software translation projects. This included researching, vetting and contracting various independent translation vendors. (Keep in mind; while this job gave me my first access to the Internet, this is long before, at least in computer years, the Web. Nowadays there are ample automated translation programs/services, back then it was still all human-bein’s doing the work.)

One vendor, ironically not one I ever used, sent me a memorable ‘Holiday Card’ one December. Unlike the lefties (lower-righties) of today, this was not a token PC gesture. The customer-base of this particular concern ran the gamut of cultural/religious persuasions. This was not a case of a political agenda; it was instead respectful acknowledgement of the true variety within the community they were addressing. As true an example of NATURAL diversity as I can imagine.

How to encompass this wide target market with a common message?

The card included every religion’s version of the Golden Rule.

Were you aware this fact? Indeed, the common thread of religious faith throughout the world is this simple message.

One of the quotes:

Hillel the Elder of Babylonia. Born 30BC The greatest Torah sage of the Second Temple period and founder of Bet Hillel Torah school was asked by a student to teach the entire Torah while standing on one foot. He replied:

“What is hateful to you, do not unto your neighbor. This is the entire Torah. All the rest is commentary. Go and study it.”

Remember it. Implement it. Live it.

It will surely improve your lot in life…


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