Customer Service – A Dying Art?

An incredible amount has been written on the subject of customer service over the years, much of it unnecessarily complicating matters, when really it is nothing more than a simple equation. On the one hand we have the customer’s expectation; on the other we have the seller’s delivery against that expectation. If the delivery exceeds the expectation, we have customer satisfaction: if it falls short, we don’t!Really quite straight forward isn’t it? In fact it’s basic maths! All we need to digest is that every equation has two sides, and they are independently manageable. It is the gap between that is important. Over time, many of the larger corporates have become quite expert at exploiting that gap. Concluding that delivery of customer service is the tougher of the two options, they have become increasingly focussed on driving the customer’s expectation downwards, rather than managing their delivery upwards. Let’s take a look at some recent trends in the marketplace:We’ll start with the supermarkets. It wasn’t that long ago when the grocer was on hand to help us select the goods, pull them out of the shelves for us, and stack them neatly into environmentally-friendly brown paper bags for us. They even carried them to the car for us. These days, if we can just find one, we feel honoured to be able to push our own shopping trolley around. It seems that even the trolleys have been programmed to take any direction but ours, and when it is time to pay, we are now being told by a machine to scan everything ourselves. It is amazing to see that whoever wrote the script actually designed the machine to be ill-mannered. Certainly the ones I have used always ‘tell’ rather than ‘ask’ and the word ‘please’ is nowhere to be seen on the screen… ‘and for goodness sake swipe that card the right way round or I’ll call a person over here to deal with you’.Soon I believe we will see the widespread introduction of wireless technology which will ‘read and tally’ what you have in your trolley as you march towards the checkout. Now that’s a classic example of managing the expectation downwards. It certainly adds new meaning to the old expression ‘the customer is always right’ – right at the bottom of the food chain it seems.Even so, our supermarkets are running a distant second – what about the banks? Once upon a time there was a person called a bank teller. They greeted us like friends, and even knew our children’s names. They courteously handled our enquiries, counted out our money for us, and occasionally paid us some interest on our hard-earned savings. Now, it’s our privilege to search for an Automatic Teller Machine that works, then queue out in the rain patiently awaiting our turn to withdraw some of our own funds – money the bank is graciously minding for us, virtually interest free. We even accept a transaction charge from them for being kind enough to let us do it all ourselves… and, we haven’t even mentioned the ‘service’ stations yet, or the major airlines who, believe it or not, may soon charge extra to have a person assist us with check-in.Yes, I admit I am being more than a little facetious here, and I also have to confess that I’m not quite as na├»ve as I may appear. In reality, this denigration of customer service is no accident. It is a calculated modification of the offer to make these organisations more competitive, and is a key part of their business plans. It’s been happening at trade level for quite a while now too… from the other side of the ledger, an emerging worldwide trend in the department store sector, the move towards the branded shop-within-a-shop concession, puts yet a different slant on it.Many department stores have decided that the appeal of their real estate, measured by their all-important foot traffic, can allow them to hand back the ownership of stock to suppliers. However, shedding the financial burden of stock often breeds complacency, at the expense of customer service, not to mention active selling. This has forced many suppliers to take even greater ownership, often having to resort to implanting their own fully-trained sales staff on site to protect their brand, and to generate an appropriate return on their considerable floor-space investment. It will be interesting to monitor how far this trend will permeate beyond the existing (predominantly fashion) sectors.It is little wonder then that we are growing to accept poor service, and not only at retail level either. It shows up in my training workshops with the younger participants knowing no different, and the older ones begrudgingly accepting it, as they realise that the use of technology is not only saving costs, but reshaping the demand to fit. Sure, it could be just a sign that ‘the times they are a-changing’, and that what we are seeing is simply a ‘merchandising versus selling’ dynamic that we need to take on board as it reaches critical mass and becomes the norm.However, good old-fashioned customer service is not dead yet, and without exception, my trainees (yes, even including the GEN Y contingent) walk away from the sessions applauding this lowering of expectation, and armed with an enthusiastic plan to capitalise on the dearth of personalised service offered elsewhere. These trends should get us excited too, because the more expectations get driven down like this all around us, the easier it is for the professionals among us to stand tall, and to exceed them. Even so, it doesn’t come automatically.While customer service is primarily measured by the actions we take to satisfy the customer’s demands, we can’t overlook the fact that our style also contributes to the way they react to us. Our manner can often compensate for a mishap or shortfall in service delivery. We’re not talking about smoke and mirrors here, or some sort of masquerade in lieu of genuine customer attention, but, as with every other aspect of buying and selling, others may well create their own impressions, based on how they judge us. To offer a complete package, we need a combination of actions and style; we must be able to consistently demonstrate our personal SERVICE pack:Skill – be technically apt and up to dateEnthusiasm – be energetic, friendly, courteousReliability – be dependable… follow throughVision – be observant, intuitive… anticipate, adaptInitiative – use common sense, be innovativeCommunication Skills – be a great listenerEmpathy – be understanding, aim to pleaseOur actions will speak for themselves, but the quest to maintain this style of ours is not always that easy. It can really get put to the test when we are face-to-face with a difficult customer, particularly in the public environment of a trade expo or a retail showroom. From uncontrolled children dripping melting ice cream on our pristine displays to an unduly disgruntled customer or trading partner, our temperament will often be put under unreasonable pressure.Dealing with an aggrieved party does require some special consideration, but in the more everyday delivery of friendly customer service, it is our composure that wins the day. If we look professional, sound professional, act professionally, and simply display our impeccable manners, we will always create the assumption that good, attentive, customer service comes as part of the deal. It makes everything that follows just so much easier. The ‘Three Es’ – energy, enthusiasm, empathy – can serve as reliable prompts. Lesser competitors will often fall short of these, and technology can’t replace them, so irrespective of whether we are the buyer or the seller, a balanced serving of all three will see us home in most circumstances.In essence, I guess it’s a little like the lesson we learned as children from Robert Southey’s famous fairy tale, Goldilocks and the Three Bears – not too little, not too much, but getting it just right! First, we must carefully monitor the changing expectations to ensure we never overstay our welcome. Next, we must strike that delicate balance between how much help, attention, and information the other party wants, beyond which they will feel intimidated or patronised. Then, we must stand tall and deliver it – just as they want it!

Three Things to Look For When Buying Camera Lanyards

While most people don’t pay much attention to them, a camera lanyard can be one of the most important parts of your camera equipment. I makes sure that the camera doesn’t accidentally fall when you’re using it, makes the camera easier to carry, and even can prevent it from being stolen while you’re traveling in different cities and countries snapping photos. Here are a few things that you should look for when you’re buying your camera lanyards.

First, always make sure that the lanyard can support the camera. Don’t opt for thin or flimsy straps. Instead find a strap that can take a lot of abuse and hours wrapped around your neck and shoulder. Pay particular attention to the snaps and how it connects to your camera. While the strap itself most likely won’t break, the stress put on cheap buckles may cause them to bend and break with time and wear.Next, make sure that the strap is comfortable enough for you to wear for hours on end. Even the best straps aren’t worth much if you won’t be wearing them because they’re uncomfortable. If it’s possible, try the strap on in the store or find user reviews of straps that you find online. If you find ones that come with a shoulder pad, it will make carrying the camera much easier and make sure that the strap doesn’t dig into your shoulder.

Finally, you should try to find a strap that you like and that matches your style. You’ll most likely be wearing the strap a lot, especially if you’re traveling or taking lots of pictures, so you might as well look good doing it. Lanyards come in a wide variety of materials, styles, colors, and patterns so find one that matches your personality and style, since lots of people are going to be seeing you with it.

Human Evolution Timeline: Bible Quote and Science

The human evolution timeline is found recorded in Bible quotes (Book of Genesis). Adam’s rib symbolizes the chromosome and is the key to the man ape evolution. In discussing evolution vs creation, many convergences like this one are found.Someone who holds to the theory of evolution and denies creationism might ask why such an important matter as the creation of human beings would be in a symbolic message rather than in explicit language. And, after all, the Holy Scriptures don`t talk about chromosomes. That is a valid question, which shall be pursued below. First off, the main interest is to see the points of confluence between evolution and creation regarding the appearance of the human being.Parallelism Between Adam’s Rib and ScienceThere is an amazing coincidence between the numbers in the Book of Genesis involving creationism and numbers in science regarding man’s evolution from the ape. The parallelism begins on the Bible quotes according to which God took out one of Adam’s ribs and made the woman, Eve, with it.And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.The number of ribs – Men have 24 ribs – 12 on each thoracic side. The same number is found in women. The text says that God removed one rib and not one pair of ribs. Had He indeed removed only one rib, man would have different numbers of this bone on each side of his chest. Not only that, but there would also remain a doubt about the number of ribs in a female.These contradictions disappear if the text is examined from the standpoint of information conveyed by Jesus Christ to His disciples: To God nothing is impossible. God may have removed one of Adam’s ribs but He did it in such a way that the woman and all her descendants would have the same number of ribs. However, it is assumed that the rib’s removal is symbolic language and explained it cannot be regarded as direct language.A look at it now from the standpoint of science. The chimpanzee, from which science now admits that man has evolved, has 24 chromosomes in its sexual cells, i. e., 24 chromosomes in each spermatozoon and 24 chromosomes in each ovulum. This is referred to gametes, those sex cells capable of reproducing the species. Therefore, the number of ribs in a man and of chromosomes in a chimpanzee are identical. The other cells in a chimp, as in a human, are diployd, that is, they have the chromosomes in pairs – therefore, they have 48 chromosomes.Confluence of Book of Genesis and Human Evolution TimelineWere we to admit that the rib symbolizes the chromosome, the implicit and explicit Bible numbers say that God removed a chromosome from a chimpanzee and made a woman out of it. In other words, the “man”, a chimp, lost a sex-cell chromosome and thus a woman was formed.Indeed, the woman, just like the man, has one chromosome less than a chimp in the sex cells. The human spermatozoon has 23 chromosomes and the human ovulum also has 23 chromosomes. It makes sense. The other cells in the human being are diployd, i. e., they have 46 chromosomes. But it is needed to see what science says regarding the man ape evolution, that is, man’s evolution from the chimpanzee.Man’s evolution from the ape – It is admitted that, in the evolution of the species, through some unknown phenomenon, two chimp chromosomes were fused and thus, primitive man, a hominid, came about. Some theories claim that the female came first, which, if true, would give further consistency to the symbolic version of Adam and Eve’s story.In a nutshell, this is what the matter has:
Number of ribs in the human being: 24.

Number of chromosomes in the chimp’s gametes: 24.

Creation: removal of one rib.

Evolution: fusion of two chromosomes.
Rib symbolizes chromosome.

Removal of one rib = fusion of two chromosomes.

Number of chromosomes resulting in the gametes: 23 – New species: man, hominid. Without wandering too far from these basic issues, it should be asked why there are so many differences between human and chimp, given the “simple” fusion of two chromosomes. Furthermore, those in favor of creationism would argue that, since the similarity between a chimp’s DNA and that of a human being is above 98%, humans and chimpanzees ought to be more alike. These are pertinent questions which must be carefully examined.Starting with the numbers: the difference between human and chimp DNA is less than 2%. For three reasons, this percentage can be very meaningful:the science is just barely beginning to understand the human genome, that is, the DNA map, that of genes and each one’s role. On the other hand, we know also little about the chimp genome. Thus, it is perfectly acceptable that this percentage, though small, means much in terms of anatomical and physiological differences between the species;the differences may be situated in fundamental parts of the DNA, enough to cause the differences between the species;the amount of DNA in the cells is not always proportional to their complexity. Therefore, the arrangement of DNA components in humans may be more important than the quantity.Thus, the slightly less than 2% difference between chimps and humans may become more meaningful. The “simple” fusion of one species’ two chromosomes may cause many differences in the resulting species.Why is the Bible not explicit? – In other words, why, since the issue was raised in the beginning of this article, does the Biblical message not speak directly about chromosomes? At least two answers are possible.The first has to do with Christian and Jewish dogma: this is a sacred text, dictated or inspired by God, and there is no questioning how God speaks. The second has to do with the Biblical writers: they would be human beings possessing a deep knowledge of evolution timeline and humans nature. They knew that it would not be possible to write what men would not understand at that time (existence of chromosomes, genes, DNA). They further knew that, in a patriarchal society such as the one they lived in, women should remain in a secondary role, in the written version, to make the acceptance of God’s word easier.The faithful cling to the first answer, the dogma.But those who are not faithful may properly ask how those writers, barely out of a semi-nomadic life, could possess such knowledge about the evolution of the species.Examined as a book and without any preconceived position, the Bible is a singular book and its writers differed from common mortals. However, as intelligent as they might have been, there was no way they could have held such knowledge. Thus the answer is: this is a mystery.Book of Genesis & Science: More convergenceIn the pleasant study of Biblical numbers involving creation vs. evolution, there are other convergent points. Example: part of the sacred text reproduced at the beginning of this article and science’s version of the differences in man/ape. The Genesis expression “closed up the flesh in its place” conveys a special meaning and suggests more parallelisms between religion and science. It could be read as “closed up the frontal lobe in its place”.In the monkeys the frontal lobe is 9% of the brain. In the man it is 30%. The frontal lobe is a tissue (“flesh”), a nervous tissue. The frontal lobe integrates most of the brain functions. Its prefrontal portion is related to the initiation of planned actions, i.e., thinking, idealizing, acting in orderly fashion, and letting out emotional expressions. In the difference is the “closed up the flesh in its place.”Subsequent ProcreationThe appearance of the human being raises the issue of procreation. In the history of creation, this problem does not exist: once created, Adam and Eve started to reproduce. However, in evolution, ONE individual, from the fusion of the two chromosomes, would not give origin to the human species.To illustrate,suppose that the fusion of the two chromosomes took place in a female, resulting in 23 chromosomes in the gametes, living with males bearing 24 chromosomes in the gametes. Procreation would be impossible. Even if they copulated, no ovulum would be formed due to the lack of symmetry in the DNA. How, then, would the human being have procreated in evolution?More likely the phenomenon – physical, chemical or physical-chemical – had by then reached several individual chimps, causing chromosome fusion in many of them, both males and females. In the history of evolution, there is still another peculiarity: the bonobos have more elements than the chimpanzees to be man’s ancestors.Chimpanzees vs BonobosPreference for the chimpanzees over the bonobos – In the evolutionary scale, science shows preference for the chimpanzees over the bonobos, even though the latter are more similar to human beings.See some ones:the similarity percentage between bonobos’ DNA and humans’ is greater than that of chimpanzees;their genitals are more protuding and face forward, as with humans;except for humans, they are the only primates who copulate from the front;they engage in homosexual and heterosexual relations;upon reaching adolescence, the females abandon their group and join another one. In their new group they submit themselves to the female – including sexually – and then copulate with the males;the females keep together in groups and the male respects them because, together, they will fight him for food;they stand on two legs more frequently than chimps do and their laughter is more expressive. They are also more cordial in the group.Despite all this, it is believed that man has evolved from chimps, due to the fact that they are found in many African regions, in wide-open areas, which would have favored their territorial dispersion. Bonobos, on the other hand, live in closed-in woods, in some regions in Africa. However, from the genetic, anatomic, emotional and behavioral standpoints, more likely the human species has come from the bonobos. Perhaps, after their community was hard-hit by a cataclysm, they took refuge in closed-in woods.Man’s Ancestor: Neither Chimpanzee nor Bonobos and Adam`s RibAnother theory admits that chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutangs, gibbons, all belong to the primate family known as Pongid, just like the Hominid family, whose sole representative is man, all belonging to the Hominoids super family, and would have come from individuals known as Old World Monkeys.It is possible that some violent environmental change hit Africa and Asia, altering the genetic structure of many Old World Monkeys (Cercopitecoids) sometime between six million and twenty-five million years ago. Different Pongids came into being.Why would not different hominids have appeared? Present day human must have featured differences among individuals from the very beginning. For instance, there must have appeared at the same time individuals with white skin and with black skin in Africa and in Asia. Weather conditions and the fight for survival would have made easier for white-skinned individuals to disappear from Africa and for black-skinned individuals to disappear from ice-cold regions.The theory of a common trunk for all Hominoids does not change the parallel with Adam’s rib. The whole Hominoid super family would have come from individuals with 24 chromosomes in the gametes. One family (Pongid) continued with 24 chromosomes in the gametes while another (Hominid) appeared with 23 chromosomes.

rooCASE 5n1 Nylon Hard Shell (Black) Case with Memory Foam / Fuji NP-45 740mAh Li-Ion Battery / AC DC Charger / Tripod / LCD Cleaning Kit for Fujifilm FinePix Z70 12 MP Digital Camera Blue

rooCASE Limited Lifetime Warranty. Exterior Dimension 5.2″ L x 3.6″ W x 2.1 D”. Interior Dimension 4.15″ L x 2.5″ W x 1.1″ D. Like a kangaroo safely carries her young in her pouch, rooCASE offers protective solutions for your precious electronic possessions. rooCASE designers work with your needs in mind, ensuring that cases have not only sturdy exteriors, but also the right-size pockets for smaller accessories. From this starting point of practicality, our designers then consider what”s hip now. Choose from an array of functional yet fashionable cases for your laptop, netbook, or handheld or other electronic device. With rooCASE, quality and craftsmanship meets cutting-edge design.
Gifts for Anyone

Deflecto Adjustable Air Deflector Baseboard, 15

Made for central forced air heating and air conditioning, this adjustable wall air deflector baseboard designed by Deflecto saves energy and redirects air for additional comfort. The product is constructed with clear polycarbonate material including attached magnets which firmly hold the deflector in place. You have the option to add an extension sleeve for an additional 12″ width. With a cover that extends and adjusts from 15 inches to 25 inches, it allows more options for your convenience. Comes in a modern clear and white combo color that is trendy and appealing to the eye. This Deflecto product is ideal for those who wish to experience the comfort of circulated air flow in their living space.
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HD Movie Maker Software

Advancements in technology have literally changed the way we live our lives today. Besides the numerous functional (and remarkable) changes to our business or profession, these advancements have especially enhanced the world of entertainment. Invention of High Definition (HD) media (audio and video) is one of the greatest leaps in the history of entertainment technology. HD video format is by far the best format available today in the movie industry. The trendy HD movies are becoming more popular and available to the consumers all around the world.Recording or making your own HD movie could be a troublesome affair unless you have proper hardware and software support. While there are good number of HD recording devices available in the consumer market, unfortunately the number of software that allows you to make your own HD movie are comparatively less.

As a home user, you would probably prefer recording your own movie in the popular Blue-ray HD format. You may also wish to make your movies in a multi-format environment for sharing them with more people. Whatever format you decide, you need a HD movie maker software. Finding the suitable software application which will satisfy all your requirements could be tricky. The software must be easy to use and should deliver good quality HD video output. It should also support maximum popular video formats like Blue-ray, DVCPRO HD, HDCAM, HDV, HDCAM-SR, XDCAM HD, D5 HD, and AVCHD. Another desirable feature should be the ability to convert videos in other Standard Definition (SD) video formats. You should also look for other additional features that the software promises.Two such popular and highly functional software products you may consider are Sothink HD Movie Maker from SourceTec Software and PowerDirector 8 Deluxe from CyberLink Corp. Both the software are rich in features and yields high quality HD video in making a home movie.Sothink HD Movie Maker supports almost all HD and SD formats. Included HD camera support (*.m2ts, *.m2t and *.mts) makes it ideal for recording movies direct from HD cameras/camcorders. Video resolutions supported are 1280x720p, 1440x1080p and 1920x1080p. You can also make your movies in PAL or NTSC system. Recording can be made with 5.1 surround sound. The software supports multi-core and multiple CPUs.

PowerDirector 8 Deluxe is also a HD movie maker that supports almost all video input/output formats. Its standard and advanced editing features together with a number of special effects tools make it a perfect choice for HD movie authoring at home. As capture sources, the tool supports HDV, DV, DSLR cameras, Digital and Analog TV. Although costlier than Sothink HD Movie Maker, PowerDirector 8 Deluxe has many features that make it worth choosing between the two.