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Sorry, it’s a work thing… or a family thing

When you are completely focused on your job every day of the work week, you start to develop certain processes that might even follow in other areas of your life.

For me, those areas are marketing and customer service. Marketing and customer service are everywhere.

What happened to me, during Patrick and Severine wedding.
During their wedding, a photograph was walking around and taking pictures of everyone.
Up to now, nothing surprizing. That’s what he was paid for…
Then he started to hand out business cards which also had passwords and logins to connect to his website to get the pictures. Nice functionality. Never seen that before.
We started dicussing about why he put so much much information on the business card and how we could improve the design.
He started sharing tips on giving the business cards to get recurring revenue… He used to leave business cards on the table but nobody would take it. Then he gave it to everyone personally, but only the women kept it…
I said ”
- Hey! Do you custom print your business cards?
- Yes.
- How many do you distribute per wedding?
- more than 100, or so…
- … What if you put the pictures of the groom and the bride on the business card? Makes for an extra service, a bit of personalization, a lot of differentiation and in the end a nice souvenir of the wedding for everyone. Nobody will dare putting it with the trash, and your contact is on it. BAM!!”
He thoroughly agreed and said it was a great idea. Of course, I am great. It’s a work thing.
He now does custom business cards, and I feel I contributed.

But it’s not always to be pleasant.
I think it’s a work thing to deliver on the promises, but it is also a family thing to have expectations for the services we have paid for with our hard earned money.

What happens when Sanh, my brother, plays the mystery guest .
I was at the Pullman hotel in Bercy and I had the luck to be in a Junior executive suit.
The view was superb and the service was top-notch. And a free minibar.
It was so great that I had to invite Sanh to come around, have a look at the hotel, and show how I was living the life.

He came around and was really impressed, took out his iphone and started filming.
“And you even have a Nespresso machine!!!”
He jumped up and down and asked for a coffee.
I said “of course”. But I could not find the capsules…
Sanh immediately called the room service and politely said
“I don’t find the capsules for the nespresso machine, is that normal?
-They’ll be coming immediately, sir”.
We waited 20 minutes and had to leave for the restaurant.
“That’s outrageous, said my brother.
- Well, Sanh, I don’t really pay for that service, so I don’t feel I have the right to complain
- Your company paid for that service expecting you have a certain standards. It’s not there. You have every right to complain.”
BAM! Spot on.

He said he was quite surprised I did not reacted, as he was remembering us being a lot younger and me sending drinks back to where they came from because the cans were dented.
I had no recollection of that, but Sanh told me he thought I was trying to show him the example.
Could be.

But to understand how this is a family thing, you have to go one step up.

What happens when my mother and I play doll
The story I am about to relate has not been approved by my mom, and she always denied it ever happened.
But I can see the scene bright as day, and this actually matches so much her character, that I chose to tell that story.

I was a young boy playing “restaurant” with my mom. I think I as quite young, 6 or 7.
So I took the playmobil and pretended to sit at the miniature table. So my mom was animating the other playmobil. So I chose from the menu, and – oh, what fun times! – it was a great opportunity to train for adding numbers. After correctly adding the numbers – phew- I chose to pay in advance before the meal, so that I’d be done with the calculation.
Mom said “ok” and animated the playmobil back to the kitchen. So the waiter/playmobil/mom came back pretending to have a dish in the hands.
“Here is your dish, and by the way, we took the liberty of spitting in it”.

What does that mean? Never pay in advance.
Mom has always been here to tell us to be careful about big bad wolves. They are everywhere.
And once again, mom, that DID happen.
And YES, we know, it’s for our own good and we (Sanh and I) thank you for that.

What happens hen Dad goes to the supermarket
Dad has always been looking for deals to make or save some euros. Not because he wants money. But because he likes the fact he has found loopholes in the system.
Just one example:
In Auchan and Leclerc, there was a machine that was automatically making bread slices from the whole piece.
But one company was making people pay 10 cents and the other was not. Just can’t remember which one otherise I would have said.
Immediately, my father sent a mail to the customer service.
It wasn’t the money, it was the fact that a service as free in one company and chargeable in another one.

The day after, the said company reacted and gave that service for free and asked my father to go collect a small present for his dedication. He did not want that. He just did not want people to think he was stupid and that he would pay for a service that is free in another company.

That’s how we are.
As a family, the possible nightmare of generations of customer services.
I will devote myself to get more and more challenging.
Just today, at Air France Airport lounge, I complained about the 15cL coke cans that were to small, create too much work for me to have the equivalent of one normal can, and generate so much waste.

Complaining is caring.

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3 Comments to "Sorry, it’s a work thing… or a family thing"

  1. Samuel LEVY's Gravatar Samuel LEVY
    August 1, 2011 - 5:33 pm | Permalink

    About the 15cl coke cans, BA provide this cans since 90’s and i use it like pencil holder … so not too mutch waste sometimes ;) ! A normal is better than half size can … :) Pipa is like kate but better :D

  2. August 1, 2011 - 6:58 pm | Permalink

    It is outrageous Vinh.
    Do you realize how people are going to see me, after reading your blog entry?
    It seems that you persistently try to bring shame on me, to dirty my hands and to spit on my face. And you always manage to find an indirect way to mock me, like here, through your blog.
    Really. I’m hurt, so i’ll tell you this for the last time.
    I have an Android. Not an Iphone.

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