Superhero Supplies by jameskadamson

Superhero Supplies by jameskadamson

A former boss of mine would disappear every day for 15 or 30 minutes and take a walk around the neighborhood.  Working in a recording studio without windows or clocks on the walls, you can really forget that there is a real world outside.  I’ve co-0pted that idea here in New York.  Sometimes on days when I’m working from home and can forget that I haven’t left the house in three days.  Sometimes on weekends with Erin.

This weekend, Erin and I tried to go see the Big Wheel Race in Central Park.  Which, as it turns out, was not where all the reference material said it would be.  Same problem as two years ago.  We did eventually find a group of about 20 people, one of whom had a big wheel.  The other three “big wheels” were homemade alternatives, including a six wheeled bobsled.  Big Wheel Race fail.

Undaunted, we kept walking.  Hiking down Madison Ave. from about 90th, we got to see a part of NYC that we rarely take part in.  Boutique stores (more kid’s clothing places than you can shake a stick at), restaurants, streets fairs in the process of being dismantled, the J.Crew Men’s store (the grey wool jacket looked great, as well it should for the nice sum of $995), discovered where to get my Superhero Supplies, a “quick” side trip to Dylan’s candy store, and, ultimately, dinner at Hill Country Chicken down on 25th and Broadway.

We probably should have cabbed some of that.  Or taken the subway.  But we walked.  A lot.  I haven’t mapped it out, but we did 5 miles, easy.  At times, it was trying and I was grumpy.  But in retrospect, I got to share new parts of the city with Erin.  And this city is too big to not find new parts to enjoy every chance you get.

I’m looking forward to our next walkabout.

Calling for good customer service

This one’s gonna be a little Godin-esque.

Reading the headlines this morning, an article about actions the FCC was taking caught my eye:

The Federal Communication Commission will propose rules on Thursday requiring mobile phone companies to alert customers by voice or text message when they are have reached monthly usage limits and are about to incur extra charges, the commission’s chairman said Tuesday.

This, of course, is not in response to customers who might use an extra $10/mo because they have a low txt plan.  It is in response to bills that are 10x the regular amount.  Apparently a Boston customer received a bill for $18,000.  That would shock the hell out of me.

Since cell phones have existed, customers have surpassed their usage limits and received huge invoices in surprise.  This trend is accelerating with smart phones and data downloads that are difficult to gauge during regular usage.

Since cell phones have existed, customers have had to call customer service and beg for their invoices to be awarded a credit.  This is a cost to the telecoms regardless of whether or not they collect that revenue or not.

The cell phone providers will, of course, talk about how they offer tools for the customer to check their balances.  These are light years ahead of where we were ten years ago in almost all measures, except one.  They still require the customer to act.  Regularly, so they catch an overage early and don’t continue to add to the tab.

So why not kill two birds with one stone, now that the technology to provide this service is reasonably priced.

Voluntarily give your customers a heads up.  Then it’s their choice to continue their behavior.  You’ve acted responsibly, winning additional customer good will.  You have a record of notification to refer to during the inevitable customer rant if they ignore their warning.  And maybe, just maybe, you’ve tipped the scales enough to avoid government regulation because of actual customer service being performed.