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Showing posts from 2015
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Phone Review: Motorola Moto G (Second Generation)

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After over three years with my Samsung Galaxy Note 1 - or may I call it "TIM"? - I have finally moved on to a new phone. The Note was a good phone, for the first year, before things started to go awry. Some of the problems were my fault (such as upgrading the operating system to various versions, none of which worked well on the hardware), some of the problems were Samsung's fault (such as low-quality hardware), and some of the problems were Android's fault (darn Google for releasing so many versions, leaving my Note in the dust!)

Despite the good times I shared with the Note, it finally gave up the ghost when the charging port refused to accept the cable. I was going to send it for repair (again) but when I realized my 3-year-old daughter had learned the phrase "stupid phone" from me, I knew that enough was enough.

The Note cost a pretty penny, and a pretty penny I don't have to replace it with something of equal standing in the current phone rankings.…

Short Story: To Get to the Other Side

Miles looked up from his phone in just enough time to see the car that was going to kill him. He gripped the phone tightly—he was standing in the middle of the road and needed something to hold on to. Also, he paid a lot of money for that phone and wanted to protect it. It was a gift to himself from his annual bonus. He worked hard; he deserved it, but he couldn’t afford another one.
If I die, then Emily can use my phone. Hers is so old. I’ve asked her a million times to get herself a new one but she hasn’t. She’s always so stubborn about it. If I can just protect the screen from shattering, then she can use it. Do you think she will? Probably not. It will remind her of me, and she’ll refuse to turn it on. She’s so sentimental. What a waste of a phone. I’ve only had it for a few weeks.
The car’s fender inverted his knee and Miles doubled over. The three protective shields of the Buick logo plowed into his groin.
At least it’s American. I’d hate to get run over by a Japanese car. They’re…

4 Things I Would do to Improve Retail Customer Service

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I went to a sports store today to buy soccer shoes for my son. After about ten minutes of perusing the footwear, we decided to go to a different store to compare prices. Not once during that ten minutes did a store employee approach us - they were too busy talking in the corner about something obviously more important than making sales.

As it turns out, the competition wasn't much better in terms of service, and their merchandise was more expensive. Upon returning to the first store, I hoped that the sales staff would notice that we had come back and help us choose the right pair of shoes. Instead, they continued to stand off to the side and chat among themselves.

We asked for a pair of shoes to try on and it was my turn to stand off to the side and chat. I whispered to my wife that if I was the store manager, I wouldn't have been pleased with their apathetic attitude. She replied that they probably don't feel that they get paid enough to be helpful.

It was then that I rem…

You've Been Targeted

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If you've ever used Google to search for something, odds are that you've been targeted. Web sites and services feed advertising to you based on your searches - and in some cases, based on the content of your email or social media messages. This sounds intrusive, but it could actually be a win-win situation. From your perspective, if you are searching for a romantic Parisian hotel for your second honeymoon, advertisements for holiday deals in the French capital might be interesting to you - as a consumer, you win! From another perspective, you are more likely to click on "Romantic hotels in Paris" than you would on "$200 diesel lawnmowers" - advertisers win!
Shall we sit around the browser, hold hands, and sing Kumbaya? Not quite. This cozy consumer/advertiser arrangement does have a few flaws. For starters, targeted advertising is based on search history. Most often, the advertised products and services are those I have already considered. What I really wa…

Five Ways to End Procrastination

I wanted to procrastinate today, but I'll push it off until tomorrow.

There are many reasons why we purposefully delay doing the things we know should be done. Here are five ways to beat the procrastination blues.

1) Break it down
If the task is too big and you don't know where to start, break it down into lots of smaller tasks. For example, don't tell yourself that you need to edit a 250-page manual. Instead, tell yourself that you need to edit chapter 1. When that is done, edit chapter 2. Similarly, when you need to clean a room, mentally divide it into sections and concentrate on cleaning area 1. When that is done, focus on area 2. In effect, you create small, achievable goals, which give you a sense of accomplishment as you cross each one off your list.

2) Start strong
This is an interesting one because you could look at it in two opposite ways, both of which work, depending on your personality. Either start with the easy tasks, so that you get a bunch of things out of t…

Welcome to the Service Economy

During the last few years, almost every single industry in the world has undergone a quiet revolution. The service economy is here, and if you run a business and don't know what that is, you'd better start paying attention.

It used to be that "service industries", such as hotels, needed to focus on providing excellent customer service. It is their business to give you a positive experience that you'll remember the next time you are looking for a service provider. "Product industries", such as car manufacturers, needed to focus on providing quality goods so that you'll return to that brand when you need to buy that product again.

While quality is still very important, consumers today are looking for a great experience. In other words, quality matters less than service. Consumers will just as easily buy from the next business if their customer experience at yours is sub-standard.

Though important, quality, features, and even price are no longer the ke…
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