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Archive for March 2016

Spring Has Sprung And Summer Is On My Radar

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This is better than snow

This is better than snow

Spring arrived just after midnight at 12:30 A.M. last Sunday. I hope you have enjoyed the first week. It was the second week of daylights savings time and we are rapidly hurtling towards the first day of summer – I can’t wait. Since we are heading towards warmer weather I thought I would break out a favorite topic – things to do as the temperature rises. Read what I wrote in previous years here, here and here.

This year I will have my list of usual things but will try to add a few more challenging items to my list. Before I begin let me tell you that harvesting veggies from my garden will appear on the list again. I have changed my strategy a little bit after a few years of misguided planting. I am going to plant few, if any, tomato plants since they have not grown well the past couple of years and they don’t last very long after picking. I am going to ramp up my hot pepper production because they always seem to grow well and I can pickle them and they will last a long time. I canned about 9 quarts last summer and I am still enjoying them on sandwiches.

I will start with my list of challenges:

  • Go on a vacation that encompasses at least 4 business days
  • Cut down 6 trees that do not belong near my house – this will involve a chain saw
  • Go to a cultural event for my wife’s sake (let’s keep that a secret between you, me and the internet)
  • Be more adventurous when picking restaurants for our weekend dinners
  • Ride my bike once per week with my wife to help her improve and for more quality time together

My “usual suspects”

  • Go to a major league and minor league baseball game
  • Cook lunch on the grill on Saturday afternoons while listening to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 on Satellite radio
  • Ride my bike on the Silver Comet Trail as often as possible
  • Plant and harvest a bumper crop of hot peppers
  • Take Jimmy Sad Eyes to the dog park so he can romp with reckless abandon

I hope I can accomplish all that is on my list and more. I will keep you posted on how things are going. Have a great week.

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Written by pacelinebiz

March 27, 2016 at 8:01 am

Good Customer Service Still Exists

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Thumbs Up To Good Customer Service

Thumbs Up To Good Customer Service

In today’s world, customer service is not very good on average. There are exceptions but typically you can expect the minimum effort from most businesses. I have a good experience that I want to tell you about. I had to get a prescription filled recently and I went to pick it up at my pharmacy of choice – Rite Aid. To be honest the reason why they are my choice is that they are the closest pharmacy to me. I have always had average or better service from them but this incident really shows an above average effort.

This is the story. I picked up the prescription and as it was being rung up on the cash register the pharmacist stopped and asked me if I wanted to call the Doctor for an alternative to what was being prescribed.  She asked me since it was extremely expensive and there were other suitable alternatives that were less costly. I agreed the price was outrageous and agreed that calling the Doctor was a good idea. She said she would call and that when it was resolved she would call me back.

I left the pharmacy a little befuddled and frustrated since it was Friday afternoon and I didn’t want to wait over the weekend to fill the prescription. As it turned out I had good reason to be concerned, it was now 4:30 and I had not heard anything. I decided to call Rite Aid and they told me that they had called my Doctor’s office twice already and left voice mails with no response. The pharmacist said she would call a third time and maybe that would get someone’s attention. I thanked her and waited to hear back.

The third time was a charm and I received a call from Rite Aid and the pharmacist said that she able to get them to write a different prescription. It was $183 cheaper than the first one! “Wow”, I exclaimed, as I thanked her for working so diligently to save me money. That is what I call good customer service. Now, my doctor might need to take notice about this and think before prescribing and making a little better effort to help out a customer late on a Friday afternoon.

The lesson for all of us is to make an effort for our customers beyond the minimum. Also, when someone does go out of their way tell them that you appreciate what they did. This creates a positive feedback loop that we all can benefit from. Have a great week.

2016 Madness

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Why Not March Mayhem?

Why Not March Mayhem?

I have an annual tradition much like the annual tradition of the NCAA basketball tournament. It is blogging about the tournament. The best thing for me about the tournament is that it provides ample fodder to blog about. This year is no exception.

Let’s cut to the chase. This is what you need to know. The first tip-off will be March 15th – a mere 2 days from now. This is the first play in game which will be contested in Dayton, Ohio. Other dates to note are the “Sweet 16” and “Elite 8” rounds which will be played on March 24-27 to get down to the final four round which will be played on April 2nd and the championship game will be played on Monday April 4th.

Now it is time for my insightful analysis and predictions. There will be countless blocking fouls called that appear to be offensive charging to me and there will be a slew of camera shots of cheerleaders and people with painted faces. My prediction is that I will manage to watch parts of 3 games and will consume junk food that is beyond the daily recommended amount of zero. Another prediction: I will be thankful that the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball season opens on the 3rd and takes Championship Monday off.

For all of you with a rooting interest; good luck. I will be watching with passionate disinterest. Have a great week.

Newspapers In The Digital Age

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Marietta Daily Journal 2-3-16

Copyright 2016 – Marietta Daily Journal 2-3-16

The column above comes from my local newspaper, The Marietta Daily Journal.  I am a subscriber and have had issues in the past with how they price their product.  You can read about that by clicking here.  While I have some problems with the games they play with pricing subscriptions, Mr. Murphy is correct when he states that the local newspaper is alive and well.  I am happy to see that he understands what value he can deliver – good local reporting that you can get nowhere else.

I have said for several years now that the local newspaper should not bother with any national or international news. We can get that from thousands of places as Mr. Murphy states in his column.  If any space is devoted to national or international news; please present it with a more thorough analysis.   Provide the kind of analysis that we can’t get on the evening news that only presents the headline and not much else.  Invest the time to scouring the local coverage area – and go deep into details that the reader needs to know.  Be the eyes and ears at the commissioner meeting or at the school board meeting.  Oh, and by the way, do it without revealing a bias.

What can we learn from this column about the business side of the newspaper? One thing we can learn is to meet criticism head on with good reasons for your actions.  The strongest point he makes is to be willing to stand behind his product and let customers walk if they don’t think there is value.  The fact is the Marietta Daily Journal is the only daily newspaper in Cobb County so if you want the local news they are the only game in town.  Another thing is to not be satisfied with the status quo.  They have a monopoly but he states in the article they are experimenting and improving their online content and are going to roll out a new iteration in March.   This does not sound like satisfaction with the status quo to me.

There is no such thing as a free lunch and the internet generation needs to learn the lesson just like “deadheads” back in 1891. Apparently “deadheads” were people who read the paper by borrowing it from a neighbor.  I guess even back in 1891 people were looking for a free lunch.  Mr. Murphy uses the same logic as they did back in 1891.  If it is good enough to want to borrow/read it online you should “be a man” and pay for it.

Believe in what your business offers and be ready to defend it on the value it provides. Have a great week.