No Response

13 November 2013 Categories: Gerry's Corner

The 2 generations after me seem to be glued to their communication gadgets. Call these a number of names but essentially the younger generations cannot function without a hand held device. You see them everywhere with heads down, receiving, sending, reading, looking at things in these miniature TV/Computers. One day this summer I was walking the sidewalk to get to my destination and seen a young girl walking towards me looking at her device. I instantly knew we were on a collision course so I stop in the middle of the sidewalk and sure enough she bump into me. She excused herself and kept walking and I am assuming texting. I have been to Family gatherings where cousins sat across from each other and texted each other opposed to talking.

I have 3-4 Family gatherings per year and of course some do drop by to say hello. Every time they are visiting their phones never stop making noises. What really irritates me is they feel obligated to answer immediately all their calls or texts.

My question is, if everyone feels pressured in responding to a constant barrage of texts and messages, WHY can’t I get a reply to anything I send to them? I just can’t understand why everyone else is more important than me.

Sound familiar?

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Rewards/Penalties

12 November 2013 Categories: Gerry's Corner

Have you noticed that the world has gone crazy with rewards? There are rewards for buying at certain retail stores, credit card usage, Hotels, Air flights and on and on. The concept behind this is simple: “Use us or buy from us and we will give you something back” OR it is a form of a minor “Thank You”. Simple concept and for those who offer rewards it works. There are also discounts for multiple purchases, high volume purchases, large purchases, frequent purchasing, etc. In the U.S. you can get monthly reward cheques for good driving. In Business, employees can be rewarded for good performance by getting bonuses, salary increases, promotions, bigger commissions, days off, trips, etc. All of this aside from the original concept is a way of recognizing loyalty and saying thank you. For the most part it is a great idea for some recipients.

Why can this not be applied to other areas? I have 2 areas in particular that could learn something from this concept. The first is Banks. The Canadian Banks are some of the most profitable organizations in the world. Why do they not share this profit with their loyal customers? Fees continue to increase and service keeps deteriorating. For some who have dealt with these Banks for as long as 50 years and never was late on a loan payment, always had some money saved up, open kids accounts and followed all the rules, should they not be entitled to rewards? Recently the Banks have started to take away from seniors the only reward that was available, the “no service charge account”. Do the Banks not recognize that it was these people trying to save money that made them as large as they are today? I say the Banks should start rewarding their loyal customers but not with travel points or other such useless rewards but based on track record and longevity, rewards should be cold hard cash in the accounts or at the very least better interest rates.

The Utility companies, and there are many, could also learn something about reward programs. How many years have we been paying for utilities? For most of our adult lives is the answer. Is there any difference between those of us that have faithfully paid our utilities on time all the time and those people who are constantly late? The penalties for a late payment are the same whether you miss a payment or many payments. Shouldn’t one’s track record over decades be considered before hammering down the penalty? Just asking.

My fury today is with Hydro One. After years of expenditures on a real time system, the system still does not work. This past summer I was back on estimating my usage and of course when everything is all said and done (almost 4 months later), they were over estimating. I am even more p___ off that we were pushed into upgrading appliances and being more energy efficient in our homes so that we would pay less for Electricity but that has not happened because rates are going up faster than we can conserve energy. More importantly, we were pushed into believing if we use electricity in off peak times there would be a savings so we change our habits and routines to get the reward.(I wrote about these changes 2 years ago)  Now Hydro decides to penalize the off peak users with higher increased rates than on peak usage. This is no different than the Banks setting us up for increase fees and service charges when ATMs were introduced. The banks said it was free at the time. What is with our Hydro explanations on our monthly bills? The actual Hydro usage is approximately 40% of our total bill. The rest of the bill of 60% is made up of add on charges like Regulatory charges, debt retirement charges, the dreaded HST and the largest amount is Delivery charges which is a catch all for other charges we do not know about. What is going on? Is it just me that is confused, frustrated and feeling the pinch?

I know nothing will change short of a miracle but it really does not seem fair. In today’s world of rewards and recognition, the Utility Companies and others could learn something about rewarding or taking better care of the majority of customers who follow the rules whether they like it or not.

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ATTITUDE=SUCCESS

02 November 2013 Categories: Gerry's Corner

Here is a true story I hope you will appreciate. There is this person in my life that I have known for years. She has been as close as family. Because of this relationship at different times in her life she would ask for my opinion on work matters and her many careers. In May of this year, she called me for one of our talks revolving around were she is at in her life and her dissatisfaction with her careers. Her dissatisfaction was mainly not doing enough of what she enjoys and a lack of appreciation for her efforts. She felt there had to be something more satisfying in a job than what she had been doing. Her life was comprised of being a dedicated Mother and wife, geographic relocations and the need to contribute financially to the household income. Her time was always busy with all these responsibilities. Her career to date was filled with sometimes full time but mainly part time work and working odd hours on weekends and evenings which had its challenges. One job she could always get was that of a waitress or server in various restaurants. Inasmuch as this was not fulfilling and did not pay well, she did excel at it. When she would quit a job usually because of poor management, bickering amongst staff or cut back in her hours, she did leave many sad customers. These customers at times would follow her to her next job. She came to the point where she felt she would have to leap into a new career to be able to leave her past careers. She kept saying I don’t know what want to do and what I would be good at.

She then did something very mature and astute. On her own she took a hard look at her skills and what she enjoyed about her past mundane jobs. Then she matched these to job ads that she felt would require these set of skills. She coldly ignored the technically requirements of the job ads ( example: experience in a specific field ) The very first job she considered, she decided to call me and get my opinion. I have to admit that I was not very optimistic because it was what I thought a very long shot but I did not want to damper her enthusiasm. I cautioned her on what might be the results. I also advised her, how employers may perceive her past work history because this job posting was nothing like she had done before. Her performance would be judged on results only and with no previous training this would be hard to achieve. It could be a short new career which would be devastating to her. She decided to go for it with determination that I had seen before. She wrote a cover letter describing her skill sets and how these skills would make her successful in spite of her perceived shortcomings. She submitted her cover letter and resume in person and followed up with a phone call. She was granted an interview 2 days after her submission with another interview a week later. She again was determined to get this position and she did.

 

In early July she started her new job as a Salesperson in the largest new car Dealership in the area. She was hired with 4-5 other new people. Everyone had sales experience except for her. July was to be a training month. She also had to complete an exam to get her car sales license. The arrangement was, she would be entitled to a draw every month for up to 3 months till her commissions exceeded the draws. The draws had to be paid back eventually. By the end of August her commissions exceeded her draws. Since then she has been increasing her commissions month after month. This Dealership has some 14 sales people. At the end of October she was the top salesperson (21 cars sold) above sales people with 15 years of experience in car sales. She loves her new found career and is earning 10x more than any other job she has had. She works somewhat long hours and works very hard but her need to work at satisfying her customers the way she believes they should, with a management that supports her, a quality product and recognition for effort and results, she is a very happy individual. Congratulations you did it.

The point of sharing this story is: With a positive attitude, confidence and determination does equal SUCCESS.

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Email/Voicemail Communications

01 November 2013 Categories: Gerry's Corner

Emails are great however I have found a distinct pattern as of late. People do not read the whole email. Probably influenced by the likes of Twitter, people now read only the first sentence in an email. It is indeed unfortunate when you have multiple items to discuss. I have one particular client that is notorious for not reading beyond the first line. Now a have to send him multiple emails of one line only to get my messages across. Emails are a quick means of communication and should be read in its entirety to get all the details of the message.

 

Voicemail has a similar problem to emails. People listen to a voicemail and either redial without listening to the message or listen to get the phone number and dial without listening to the whole message. What I do now is leave my whole message and only at the end give my number. I think this is working. A good example of this is with family members. You call them to tell them something and also tell them you are going out for a spell. They call you back and say “ I just got your message, where are you “ If you would have listened to the whole message you would know where I am and when would be to best time to call back.

 

The speed of communications today is great but I think we need some training on how to use it properly and maximizing on its use.

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