Where’s the customer service at?

bad-customer-service-2

Why is it that here in Ireland, in a time that everyone is struggling to gain a foothold in their market, we have stopped providing each other with little tips and help for free? If you follow any American blogs or vlogs, you will find the content creator posting advice and wisdom several times a week for free. It’s quite typical of the Irish market to not care about giving something back to their customers.

Several years ago we seemed to completely lose our sense of customer service that I feel is the most basic necessity of any business. I know the Irish laugh at the lengths an American business will go to to ensure you have had a favorable experience of their service. The reason we laugh is because it is a hugely foreign concept to us. We’re too used to dealing with the Ryanair’s and Vodafone’s of this world to understand what a pleasurable customer experience is. However, in a fiercely competitive climate that is only getting more and more competitive on a daily basis, it’s time to buck that trend.

Now I’m not saying we have to go so far the other way that it ends up being false. For a good customer service system to work it needs to at least be sincere. Simple things like greeting the customer can have a huge effect on the customer impression of your business. You also need to consider how your employees feel about their daily grind. An unhappy employee is not going to go out of their way to promote your enterprise. It also shows in their attitude in the workplace. It can be quite difficult to mask your true feelings, and in the current climate it’s truer now than ever before. With not much positives out there with all the taxation and austerity floating about we should be proactively promoting enjoyable workplaces. If you feel that pay increases are the way to go, then that’s great your employees should be delighted to hear that, but a happy workplace doesn’t have to cost the employer anything. It can be simple schemes like raising funds for a good cause by for instance wearing a silly costume to work and asking customers to make contributions, you could even offer a small prize for the best costume just as a token of appreciation. If that’s not for you just ask the workforce what would make their working week that bit more enjoyable. These simple gestures will reap many rewards down the line and you will see that a happy workforce is an extremely productive workforce.

Now as for me, I am in the process of writing a quick little guide for small businesses that want to promote their brand effectively on social media. Having ran my own business and advised others on how to promote themselves digitally; I feel it is good to share this information with others who may need it as it can be an extremely confusing topic at times. This guide of course will be free and hopefully we can get the ball rolling on a little feel good factor in our workplaces.

weekend review

So what did I get up to at the weekend? Nothing overly exciting to be honest. I had my typical geeky weekend, spent mostly playing with xbmc on my computer. I love xbmc, it’s definitely the best media player out there at the moment, in fact I’m actually contemplating binning Windows Media Player altogether and using xbmc as my sole media player. The rest of the weekend was wasted spent “researching” videos and articles around the web. I actually found a great video on Sourcefed of the most accurate commentary ever from a guy playing Battlefield 3. I never play games online, I’m not good enough & I really don’t have the patience for them, but if I knew this guy was playing I’d simply sit & watch, gloriously funny. Other than that it’s been pretty uneventful. Now that I look at it I had a pretty good weekend, pretty sad compared to some who may have had drug fueled parties with bikini clad ladies while receiving the meaning of life from Jebus and the God man. But hey, I had my fun. Until next time, you stay classy.

Don’t get lost because of criticism

I was always the guy that displayed huge amounts of enthusiasm in the beginning of any project I undertook. I mean I would go crazy researching, brainstorming and throwing myself head first into the task. That would be fine, until I hit a small bump. When I was met with a difficulty, I would immediately lose heart, give up all interest and drop the project completely. I also have a tendency to lose focus very easily and can become distracted by the… ooh a butterfly.

This then is pure and simple a recipe for disaster, unless, you actively work on an attitude change. That is why in recent months I have decided that no matter what, I am going to stick to the commitments I make. Now you may have found reading through this blog that I wouldn’t be the best writer out there, after all I don’t claim to be a journalist. I do believe though that we all have something to share and that we should be willing to embrace criticism from time to time, to push us from our comfort zones. That is why I have decided to attempt to start writing some books. My target is write 2 books and see how it goes from there. I know they won’t appeal to everyone, but if only one person enjoy, well then it’s worth all the effort.

I’m also trying to prove to myself that school teachers aren’t always right. When I was in school we had a very critical English teacher who would assign huge work loads all the time. Now, I understand that this is his teaching method and it does work with many students. But what educators seem to forget is, not all students can grasp information the same way.I believe that the education systems we have in place are actually costing us some fantastic minds capable of great achievements. Take a guy or girl who leaves school at a young age as the system has deemed them to be a “bad egg”. They leave school and haven’t got many opportunities so some decide that a career in drug dealing is the right move for them. Now people frown on these drug dealers as the scum of the earth and see them as wasters, but look beyond the badness and see the business skills needed to run their “enterprise”. They have to master all of the skills needed to run a modern business, while trying to stay under the legal radar. Don’t think for a second I am promoting selling drugs as a viable career option, I would never, ever be of that opinion. What I am saying is, if we take a second to look at the talents these young people have, maybe we could have redirected their focus to a strong career path. Who’s to say one of these members of the “lost generation” couldn’t be the next Warren Buffet or the next Steve Jobs.

I know I have slightly gone away from what I was originally talking about, but it is still related. We should never assume anything of anyone. We may make errors along the way, but as James Joyce said , “mistakes are the portholes to education”.

Necessary Reads: Grant Cardone The 10X Rule

Grant-Cardone-The-10X-Rule-Review

So lately I have begun following the work of Grant Cardone. For those of you who don’t know who Grant is, he is known as the turnaround king, the guy many Fortune 500 companies turn to when their business needs that kick in the arse to get it in shape. He is also a New York Times bestselling author of many straight talking, no bullshit books.

His philosophy is simple, in life, the one skill everyone needs, is the ability to sell. It’s when you take a step back and review the interactions you have on a daily basis that you find that this is 100% true. Regardless of what situations you are in, if you are meeting a friend for a coffee or meeting an employer or customer for the first time, at some point or another in the ensuing conversation you will be trying to sell the other party your viewpoint or idea. It was amazing to think that this idea that Grant communicates with ease, is such a difficulty for 99% of the population. It sounds so basic and elementary that we all seem to overlook it. So if it’s so basic, why do we find it so hard to implement the changes needed when we realize our oversight? Well, if you read Grant’s book, The 10X Rule, you’ll find that it is the fact that we are simply not doing enough to make the changes necessary. I don’t want to talk about the book too much here as I simply feel it doesn’t do it justice. All I need to say is that for everyone regardless if you are looking for advice regarding your sales career or not, you need to check out Grant’s work.

Even if you are not 100% sure this is for you, Grant has a YouTube channel with over 2000 videos offering advice and guidance to those who need it. I think for the simple fact that all this information is free, it’s crazy not to have a look and see what it’s all about.

For more information make sure to check out Grant’s website http://www.grantcardone.com/ and follow him on twitter @GrantCardone

Champions League Roundup

Fantastic results for Arsenal & Chelsea who both scored wins over German opposition. Those victories all but guarantee their places in the last 16. Celtic weren’t as fortunate, going down 1-0 to Ajax in Amsterdam in what was really a must win game for the bhoys.

Elsewhere, Barcelona & Atletico booked their places in the last 16 ensuring there will be some tasty ties to look forward to.

Last night there were wins for Man City, Munich & Copenhagen in a night that was dominated by draws from big sides including Man United and Real Madrid. After this weeks results there is still a lot to play for in all groups.

Matchday 5 on the 25-26 November will go a long way to finalizing the last 16 places.

Forget Uncle Sam, JOAT want’s YOU!

Group

Have you an interest in ANY topic? Would you like to share your views to begin a discussion with a wider audience? Are you interested in building an information centre for those not concerned by what the traditional media centre’s deem important?

Well, here is the place for you, young squire. The aim with JOAT is simple; it is to promote a happy, talkative community that promotes discussion, banter but no judgement or bullying. There is no such thing as a wrong answer, just a differing point of view. If you have an opinion or idea, get it out there. Don’t sit there waiting for the opportunity to fall in your lap just to see somebody else move forward and take it to the next level. Join the JOAT revolution and let’s create something great together.

We are looking for contributors, artists, writers, sponsors basically anyone who can help produce great content that will get us all talking but above all, keep us all entertained.

Contact us by email joat123@gmail.com or find us on twitter @jackofalltrad19

Do I have an alternative to an Apple product?

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It seems like only a couple months ago we were peeling the plastic off our new super duper deluxe iPhone, iPad or for the traditionalists out there iMac but now the Apple machine has churned out a new ultra spec, can’t live without this, life necessity. Now that may sound bitter, but, it’s just because I have a basket on the Apple store waiting to be cashed in and as is the case for many of us, is just slightly out of reach for the moment. The reason I have chosen this generation in the life cycle to go Apple crazy is the advancement’s in the products. New processors and chips across the board mean that we now have macbooks that are capable of a full days use on a single charge and ios devices twice as fast as the previous generation. The advancements made by Apple have been impressive in my eyes whereas to some in the tech world they were extremely unimpressed with Apple’s offerings this time around. At the end of the day it all comes back to personal opinion and preference, and I, for one, is in full support for the current Apple crop.

Now as with all things Apple that comes at a cost, and as always it’s one of those moments you should really be sitting down for. When I filled out my basket with basically one of everything Apple had to offer (the full list is included for those interested in what I chose) the total cost came to a heart attack inducing €5,680.95. I could hardly believe that such a number would actually exist when buying tech products. Even though I will eventually end up handing out that amount (and much more), it got me thinking about the alternatives available. So I did a little digging, and here’s what I came up with.

Desktop: HP B170 All in One Desktop Computer €649 harveynorman.ie

HP all in one

It may not be as pretty as an iMac, but at that price how can you argue. For your money you get 8gb of ram and 2tb of storage, enough for any average household to get through their day to day tasks. With it being a HP the build quality should be good enough to withstand the average household. It is running the dreaded Windows 8 but remember you will get a free upgrade to the new Windows 8.1 format that is supposed to have worked out some of the teething problems with 8

Laptop: HP Touchsmart Laptop D8Q27EA €649 harveynorman.ie

HP touchsmart

I personally love HP computers. I decided to choose a Sony Vaio over a HP the last time I upgraded and I feel I made a poor choice. The Vaio isn’t bad but it just lacks that extra something I always felt I got with the HP. This laptop is what I’ve chosen for this experiment. It has plenty of power, looks rather nice and most importantly has the touchscreen that will keep the techy in your life entertained for hours. As mentioned above it should have good build quality and gets the Windows 8.1 upgrade.

Tablet: Google Nexus 10 16gb €334.99 expansys.ie

Nexus 10

The sworn enemy of the iPad, the spawn of the all knowing Google. Having used last year’s Nexus 7, I would have no hesitation in recommending Google’s wonderful line of tablets. Sufficiently specced at a very reasonable price point, it’s hard to ignore this offering when looking to purchase your next tablet. Unfortunately Google Ireland don’t sell them from the Irish play store but thankfully they are available from a wide range of retailers.

Phone: Google Nexus 5 16gb £299 UK Google Play Store

Nexus 5

Forget touch i.d and other fancy features that the average user will never find use for, this is the smartphone for the masses. Similarly specced to all the main players in the smartphone market but has the ace up its sleeve that it is half the price. I like this phone so much I am actually going to purchase it and use instead of my iPhone 5 for a while. Who knows I may never buy an iPhone again. Unfortunately, like the Nexus tablet, the Nexus phone is not available from the Irish Google Play store. Your options for buying this phone are by purchasing from an ebay retailer at an inflated price or purchase through the UK Play Store. Whatever you decide, you will not be disappointed by what you receive.

MP3 player: Tablet or phone

phone mp3

I thought about this for quite some time and felt that realistically there isn’t any real need to go out and purchase a separate music player. That’s my personal opinion, but if you feel you need one I can safely say it can be left to your own personal choice as the technology has been around so long now that all companies seem to have it at a sufficient level to please the general audience like you and me.

So for a fraction of the cost it is possible to purchase some outstanding products to rival the Apple machine. Although it may be hard to convince some to try new things, with a little gentle persuasion it may be possible to change their mind. A top tip would be to bring them to a retailer and let them try out a couple of options. After all, how do you know it will be a good fit without trying it on.

Here is the famous Apple cart

Cart ID: SC876638448
iPod touch 32GB Space Grey
Part Number: ME978BT/A
€ 267.48
1
€ 267.48
iPod touch loop – Space Grey
Part Number: MF631ZM/A
€ 7.32
1
€ 7.32
Incase Mini Car Charger with Lightning Cable
Part Number: HB254ZM/A
€ 24.35
1
€ 24.35
iPhone 5s 32GB Space Grey
Part Number: ME435B/A
€ 649.59
1
€ 649.59
Lightning to 30-pin Adapter
Part Number: MD823ZM/A
€ 23.58
2
€ 47.16
iPhone 5s Dock
Part Number: MF030ZM/A
€ 23.58
1
€ 23.58
21.5-inch iMac
Part Number: Z0PD
€ 1,501.63
1
€ 1,501.63
Configuration
2.7GHz Quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz
16GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM – 2X8GB
1TB Fusion Drive
Intel Iris Pro Graphics
Apple Magic Mouse + Magic Trackpad
Apple Wireless Keyboard (British) & User’s Guide (English)
Apple Battery Charger
Accessory Kit
Apple USB SuperDrive
Part Number: MD564ZM/A
€ 64.23
2
€ 128.46
Apple Thunderbolt Cable (0.5m) – White
Part Number: MD862ZM/A
€ 23.58
3
€ 70.74
13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Part Number: Z0QA
€ 1,259.35
1
€ 1,259.35
Configuration
2.6GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz
8GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
128GB PCIe-based Flash Storage
Backlit Keyboard (British) & User’s Guide (English)
Accessory Kit
Apple TV
Part Number: MD199B/A
€ 88.62
1
€ 88.62
iPad Air Wi-Fi 32GB – Space Grey
Part Number: MD786B/A
€ 470.73
1
€ 470.73
Lightning to VGA Adapter
Part Number: MD825ZM/A
€ 39.84
1
€ 39.84
Lightning Digital AV Adapter
Part Number: MD826ZM/A
€ 39.84
1
€ 39.84

*Please note all prices and information correct at time of going to press