Triage just got a call from an agent, asking for clarification of what classifies as stolen meds.
The agent had a member on the phone who said she lives on a house boat in Illinois, and that a Mermaid or fish got on the boat, and stole her meds.
John dialed in to listen to the call as it progressed, with a whole bunch of us clustered around his cube.
After a few minutes the agent found out that the caller was just trying to be cute, but only after specifically asking if the meds had been lost.
The caller mentioned the Mermaid again while we were all listening.
UM says he’s going to contact Client Services to see if we can have Mermaids listed as a criterian for replacing a med, and that they’ll probably get that done faster than they’ll fix the DB_interface.
All and all, it was great.
Thanks to Third World County, Gribbit’s Word, Dianne’s Stuff, Stuck On Stupid, Rempelia Prime, |

I just looked at my paycheck.
$589.74 isn’t bad.
I’ll pay all my bills, and maybe have a little left over to put in the Paypal account.
I’m saving up to take a trip as soon as I can.
I’ve managed to get through today with very little sleepiness.
I don’t know if that’s good or bad.
I’m glad tomorrow’s Friday, but I’ll be even more glad when they let me know whether or not I got the admin position.
I’d like to come home at the end of the day knowing I put in a full day’s work.
I’ve forgotten what that’s like.
I mean, work always has its disadvantages, but at least when you’ve worked, you know you’ve done your part.
I’ll probably need some couch time when this is all over.

I talked to Ray earlier this evening, and he told me that he had asked the advice of an acquaintance of ours more knowledgeable in the law than either of us.
Basically, it comes down to this.
As long as the company pays me, and doesn’t say anything derogatory, then they can dally as much as they like regarding my work situation, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
Angry isn’t the right word to describe how I feel right now.
What few teeth I thought I had in this situation really never existed, and I’m completely at the whim of a group of people who for the most part don’t give a damn about anyone but themselves.
It’s a good thing there’s no alcohol in the house.
I’d be in no condition to go to work tomorrow if there were.

I have a post that’s appearing on the front page at least seven times.
It seems as though the email went out several times.
But every time I try to delete the duplicates, Jaws locks up, and I have to restart the system.
Hopefully I can get this sorted.

I’ve searched through the Freedomscientific technical support bulletins, and there’s no info for my current problem.
This is infuriating.

I’m just about to head to bed, but figured I’d take care of any site
maintenance that might need attention, like moderating comments and such.
I just deleted an avalanche of spam from my inbox.
I think I’ll have to disable the comment form.
It’s generating too much junk, and as far as I know, there’s no way to
moderate it.
I really do believe that spamming should be at least a corporal crime, if
not a capital one.
It’s off to bed for me now.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

I just realized that the extention that allows me to post to the LJ has been deactivated since January 22nd.
If you’re interested in reading what’s been posted since then, Go to the site and read backwards.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

They’ve gotten new machines in the break room, and the microwaves have Braille on them!
Bobby’s also working on getting overlays for the vending machines, as well as lists of the contents.
I’m glad to see someone actually manages to get something done around here.
Still no word on my working situation.
Apparently Mr. Frodo’s been conducting interviews for the Admin position, and just decided not to let me know.
Loser just isn’t an appropriate epithet.
I can’t seem to think of a better one though.
There was a rumor going around last week that he had planned to hire out for the position all along, and when I asked him about it, I got some dribble about how there’s value in hiring in and value in hiring out.
This was along with the little excerpts from the Jaws help file coming from the client.
We’ll be at 2.5 months February 24th.
God, please, don’t let this go on any longer.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

Mr. Frodo just came back here, and asked if I had used a certain piece of software created by the company, and I said no.
He says we need to test that out.
Fair enough.
But then, when I asked him about the Admin assistant position, and whether or not he’s conducted interviews, he says he hasn’t interviewed for it at all.
I can pretty much guess that Bobby wouldn’t like to be called a liar, and he definitely wouldn’t want it implied either.
Today’s theme has been the lack of professionalism on the floor.
Mr. Frodo apparently harped on it in the staff meeting.
He should start by incorporating a little honestly in his daily regimen.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

It’s been a couple of days since I’ve posted.
Lately there just hasn’t been much going on here, except the same stuff, different day.
I started playing a RPG Friday called Legend of the Green Dragon.
It seems to pass the time.
It’s basically one of those medieval games, in which you have to kill things and people, build stuff, and such.
Today’s been bad in that arena.
I’ve managed to get myself killed more times than I care to admit.
Good thing it’s only a game.
We’ve had some winterry weather today.
Some snow accumulation, along with ice and sleet.
It’s supposed to clear off tonight.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

This morning, when I got into work, I turned the system on, only to find that the master boot record had been corrupted.
One of the technoshepherds got it back up and running, and I played around with the new apps for the new project that’s supposed to start Monday.
I don’t have any log-in information, so I couldn’t go very far with it.
Everything seemed to be accessible though, at least as far as the log-in screens were concerned.
Work? Maybe?
I’d much rather the permanent positon be off the phones, but at this point, if the new project seems to be accessible, I’ll take that too.
It’ll increase the writing done for this site, and should make the days a little less dull.
I’m not fooling myself though.
Customers will be just as rude on the new project as they have been on the last two, and they’ll piss me off just as much.
But, at least then I’ll be able to say I’m earning my keep.
I think I’m going to walk down to HR to see about exempt status concerning the taxes that get taken out of my paycheck, what needs to be in place for me to qualify, ETC.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

We just got userids and pwds for the apps, and the first impression isn’t favorable.
There’s a combo box or something you’re supposed to use to select options in the main ap that does literally nothing.
Jaws is completely silent.
There’s another app that seems to be some sort of alert page, but since none of the tables are labeled, you have to arrow down the entire page.
The combo boxes on that page are hovertext boxes, that take you automatically to a selection when you arrow to it, and the links are moseover as well.
Using the mouseover command doesn’t allow them to click.
Not good for accessibility purposes.
John says he has some more work for me to do, more entering of information in to the scheduling client.
I’m glad for that.
It makes me feel like I’m coming into work and making some sort of an impact, however small.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

By WILLIAM C. TAYLOR
NY Times

www.nytimes.com/2006/02/26/business/yourmoney/26mgmt.html?pagewanted=print

PAUL M. ENGLISH never imagined that a pet peeve would become such a
cause
célèbre. For more than four years, Mr. English, a veteran technologist
and
serial entrepreneur, has maintained a blog on which he shares
everything
from his favorite chocolate cake recipe to the best management advice
he’s
received.

But last summer, fed up with too many aggravating run-ins with awful
customer service, Mr. English posted a blog entry that reverberated
around
the world: a “cheat sheet” that explained how to break through
automated
interactive voice-response systems at a handful of companies and speak
to a
human being. He named the companies and published their codes for
reaching
an operator – codes that they did not share with the public.

The reaction was overwhelming. Visitors to the blog began contributing
their own code-breaking secrets and spreading the word. The consumer
affairs specialist for The Boston Globe wrote about Mr. English, who
is now
the chief technical officer of Kayak.com, a travel search engine he
helped
to found, and gave his online cheat sheet mainstream attention. That
led to
appearances on MSNBC, NPR and the BBC, an article in People magazine –
and
more than one million visitors to the blog in January alone.

So, this month, Mr. English transformed his righteous indignation into
a
full-blown crusade. He started Get Human, which he calls a grass-roots
movement to “change the face of customer service.” The accompanying
Web
site, www.gethuman.com, sets out principles for the right ways for
companies to interact with customers, encourages visitors to rate
their
experiences (the site is to issue a monthly best-and-worst list), and
publishes many more secret codes unearthed by members of the movement.
As
of last week, the ever-expanding cheat sheet offered
cut-through-the-automation tips for nearly 400 companies.

“I’m not anticomputer,” Mr. English explained over lunch near his
office in
suburban Boston. “I’ve been a programmer for more than 20 years. I’m
not
anticapitalist. I’m on my fifth start-up. But I am anti-arrogance. Why
do
the executives who run these call centers think they can decide when I
deserve to speak to a human being and when I don’t?”

The Get Human cheat sheet makes for entertaining – and mystifying –
reading. Want to reach an operator at a certain major bank? Just press
0#0#0#0#0#0#. Want to reach an agent at a big dental insurance
company?
Press 00000, wait through a message, select language, 4, 0. Want to
reach a
human at a leading consumer electronics retailer? Press 111## and wait
through three prompts asking for your home phone number.

It would be funny if it weren’t so depressing – and such bad business.
Countless chief executives pledge to improve their company’s products
and
services by listening to the “voice of the customer.” Memo to the
corner
office: Answer the phone! How can companies listen to their customers
if
those customers have such a hard time reaching a human being when they
call?

The obvious defense is that it’s prohibitively expensive to offer the
personal touch to millions of curious, confused, angry (or even
enthusiastic) callers. The trouble is, companies tend to be better at
cutting costs than at identifying missed opportunities.

Richard Shapiro is president of the Center for Client Retention in
Springfield, N.J., a business that dials out to customers who have
dialed
in to toll-free call centers and asks them to evaluate their
experiences.
He argues that customers who interact with human beings are more
likely
than other callers to volunteer useful information, try out a new
product
and come away with a strong sense of loyalty – positive outcomes that
are
eliminated by excessive automation.

“You create more value through a dialogue with a live agent,” Mr.
Shapiro
said. “A call is an opportunity to build a relationship, to encourage
customers to stay with the brand. There can be a real return on this
investment.”

It’s a point that too many cost-conscious companies seem willing to
overlook. In an era of fierce competition, when customers have more
choices
than ever, the toughest business challenge isn’t to keep expenses
down.
It’s to keep loyalty high. Anything that a company does to make its
products and services a little more engaging, a little less ordinary,
can
pay big dividends. Anything like, say, answering the phone.

Commerce Bancorp, the service-crazed retail bank based in Cherry Hill,
N.J., has generated big returns by injecting a playful spirit into a
notoriously bland business. Its 375 branches, including 47 in New York
City, organize street fairs and celebrations to promote an
entertaining
mood. The locations also feature colorful change-counting machines and
upbeat employees, who every Friday are decked out in red, often to
hilarious effect. The company calls its strategy “retailtainment” –
and it
applies as much to its call center as it does to its branches in
Chinatown
or on Broadway.

“Traditional banking is low cost, low service, low growth,” said
Dennis M.
DiFlorio, president for retail banking and operations at Commerce.
“It’s
like the electric company; everybody needs one and they’re all
terrible.
We’ve built a brand on service, convenience and fun. Our call center
is not
a necessary evil. It’s an integral part of the brand. Every call is an
opportunity to reinforce to the customer that they made a good
decision by
banking with us.”

Forget automation or outsourcing to India. At the Commerce call center
in
Mount Laurel, N.J., 630 employees abide by a strict code of neatness –
“no
sweat pants, no slippers, no junk on the desks,” Mr. DiFlorio
cracked – and
they, too, wear red on Friday, even though customers can’t see them.

Incoming calls are routed easily and directly to agents, who are
encouraged
not just to inform but also to maintain the same friendly and informal
spirit of the branches. “We try to create as much buzz as we can in
our
call center,” Mr. DiFlorio said, “so we can create smiles on the
customers
who call.”

To be sure, few companies can summon the everyday exuberance of
Commerce
Bank. But there is another cost-effective strategy for enhancing the
human
element: make the company so easy to do business with that fewer
customers
call with problems, which frees resources to meet the needs of those
who do
call.

“The reason people are dialing the 1-800 number is that they’re having
a
bad experience in some other channel,” said Mark Hurst, founder and
president of Creative Good, a consulting firm that advises companies
on how
to improve the customer experience. He is amazed, he said, at how
difficult
it remains on most Web sites for customers to do little things like
revise
an order or track a shipment. “If e-commerce were much, much simpler,”
he
said, “a huge percentage of these calls would never be made.”

JIM KELLY, chief customer service officer at ING Direct, the online
bank
with 3.5 million customers and deposits of nearly $40 billion, takes
the
case for simplicity a step further. ING Direct keeps its entire
product
line simple. It offers a small number of easy-to-understand products
such
as savings accounts, certificates of deposit and no-frills mortgages.
The
savings programs entail no annual fees or account minimums.

As a result, the average ING Direct customer calls the bank only 1.6
times
a year. The calls that do come in are answered by full-time employees
who
don’t rely on scripted answers and don’t work under strict time
limits.

“The key word for us is simplicity,” Mr. Kelly said. “If you eliminate
service charges and hidden fees, you eliminate most of the problems
and
complaints. Then the only reason for people to call is to do business.
And
those are calls you’re eager to take.”

That sort of thinking is music to Paul English’s ears – although most
days,
his ears are ringing with outrage from aspiring consumer activists
eager to
join Get Human. “There’s a little ‘rage against the machine’ to this,
but
there’s a business message as well,” Mr. English said. “I want
companies to
wake up and ask themselves, ‘How did we ever let it get this bad?’ ”

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

It looks as though the PTO I put in for two weeks ago, and had OK’ed by my operations manager, was never put into the system.
Consequently my check will be $71.44 short.
If he was going to screw me like that, he could have at least taken me to dinner.
I invoiced him.
Let’s see what happens.

Originally published at customerservant.com. You can comment here or there.

An email came down the line today, saying that the DB_Interface and Jaws issues will be solved in version 9.5, (we’re in 9.3), and that this should happen by the end of March.
I’m not holding my breath, or rather, I shouldn’t hold my breath, but I can’t help but hope a little.
I really shouldn’t do this, because, so far, every time I have, I’ve been let down.
I’ve really got to perfect the jaded thing.
No reply to my invoice.
In fact, John mentioned it to the operations manager, and his response was basically “That’s nice,” if not in those exact words.
In other words, he’ll admit he messed up and submit for the pay discrepancy, but won’t take financial responsibility.
What a jerk.
I just hope I can manage to find a way to juggle everything so that my rent gets paid, and get through what is going to prove a very tight next two weeks.
God that sucks.