Fried brain potpourri

November 22, 2006 at 1:00 pm 10 comments

The past few weeks have been post-free for me for a number of reasons: A week on Caribbean cruise (unspoiled by any sun, mind you) a week of catch-up (2 days just to revive my email which was almost fatally wounded by the avalanche of spam that built up in my absence) and a week, prior to the cruise, dealing with health issues (my own and the cat’s.— we’re both much improved thank you.)

Suffice it to say that I have:
1) A bit of fried brain
2) A lot of bits and pieces of possible posts lying around in draft.

Here then, be the bits and pieces for your piecing and, uh, biting pleasure.

  1. Reading and enjoying Danny Meyer’s book, Setting the Table. I particularly like Meyer’s distinction between customer service and hospitality–something I never thought about before. Meyer writes, “ Hospitality exists when you believe the other person is on your side. The converse is just as true. Hospitality is present when something happens for you. It is absent when something happens to you. Those two simple prepositions –for and to express it all.”

  2. I love this piece from Seth’s Godin’s Blog: “Here’s the short version: If you try to teach a customer a lesson, you’ve just done two things: a. failed at teaching a lesson and b. lost a customer” Amen! If the customer receives ‘service’ but feels like it’s being given as a favor, or worse, with reluctance or a with punitive spirit, then the customer might take their bidness elsewhere.

  3. A Customer Service Shout Out to Comcast. I dumped Verizon DSL last year after years of service because my Internet went out one day and they didn’t care. And that is the mercifully short version! I promptly ordered Comcast Internet and have been enjoying their speedy connection ever since. Until my Internet slowed to near halt a few days ago and my cable tv went on the fritz at the same time.

    I called Comcast and quickly got through to a live human being (my favorite kind, mind you.) They said they could be out the next morning, but that wasn’t good for me, so we scheduled the morning after. Not only did the nice Comcast man show up 1/2 hour early, he was pleasant, professional, communicative, quick, and ended his visit by saying, “of course there will no charge today.” Of course!

    I don’t know if it’s just that my expectations have been so severely lowered by so many terrible interactions (with Verizon, with banks, with my oil company, etc., etc.) but boy did I feel good about Comcast. Even better than I did before my Internet and TV fritzed out. It’s almost a bit cliche, but how true nonetheless – every service problem is an opportunity to strengthen the connection with the customer.

  4. From “Dont Coddle Me at Work” courtesy of the Chief Happiness Officer: “Before people can be happy at work, the thinking goes, they must be shielded from all manner of ills: angry customers, unrealistic deadlines, unfair decisions, overwork, boring meetings, stress, annoying co-workers, insecurity, diffiult situations, hard choices – you name it. Wrong. The best and happiest workplaces in the world haven’t become so by shielding their people from problems, but by giving their people the skills, the energy and the freedom to deal constructively with problems.” Hey, that sounds just like Nordstrom. Don’t set rules designed to deal with every possible worst case scenario; give your employees the power to deal with problems if and when they occur. Like Robert Spector writes in Lessons From the Nordstrom Way, “Dump the Rules!” Each one is a barrier between you and your customer.
  5. Lovin the Elf! Library Elf, that is. I signed up for Library Elf last week after attending an informative presentation by Ralph Bingham of the Gloucester County Library System. GCLS has been actively promoting Library Elf to the delight of their customers. I didn’t think I would be able to participate since my library is a Triple I shop, but lo and behold the good people at Library Elf set me right up. I mentioned this to an administrator at my local library who was happy to hear the news. A recent customer survey had just revealed that “underdue” notices were greatly desired. This is the kind of simple convenient service that can have a great impact on customer satisfaction and also raise employee morale by reducing staff contacts with grumpy customers complaining about fines.
  6. Just throwing this out there… Is it time to move Library Garden from Blogger to Typepad? Blogger, oh blogger. You seduced me with your simplicity. Those come hither eyes. So easy. So cheap. You’ll still respect yourself in the morning you whispered. But you’ve changed. Were you always this freaking tempermental? And your dirty code! Oh, is it dirty… I can write a post in 10 minutes but then you ask me to spend the next four hours trying to get my font sizes right. You don’t let me spice up our posts with photos anymore. I don’t know Blogger, maybe it’s me. Maybe I’ve grown. Let’s face it, we’ve grown apart. I need a software that’s more stable, more predictable. Someone I can grow old with… (I haven’t discussed this with my fellow Gardeners, but maybe it’s time to go with something a little more professional. What do you think guys?? Do I spend my December vacation time tranferring us to Typepad?)

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  • 1. Iris  |  November 22, 2006 at 3:24 pm

    Well, I’m having a pretty awful day, but your last point broke through it all. Now I’m giggling away in the library. Good thing there aren’t any students around. 🙂

  • 2. Janie L. Hermann  |  November 22, 2006 at 3:40 pm

    I say we go for it!!!! Especially since you have already volunteered yourself to do all the work 😉

    Thanks for a great post to send me on my way to a 4 day weekend.

  • 3. steven  |  November 22, 2006 at 6:53 pm

    Hey Peter – I heartily recommend typepad for your blog. I use it for Kept-Up and my library’s blog. It’s easy, the support is tremendous, and it’s not that expensive. The stats are good too (not great). If you are into, they are making loads of widgets available. I say run, don’t walk, for your typepad account.
    S. Bell

  • 4. pkchrist  |  November 23, 2006 at 9:39 am

    Library Elf is another company that gives excellent customer service. When we tested it with employees, the two major cell phone companies in my area were not on their list. A couple days after emailing the company, they had the service set up. Our customers love Library Elf!

  • 5. Peter Bromberg  |  November 23, 2006 at 9:58 am

    Thanks for mentioning Library Elf’s great customer service. In Ralph’s presentation he also noted how responsive Library Elf had been to his requests for statistics, promotional graphics, and other tweaks.
    On another note, I enjoy reading
    and although it’s in my personal aggregator I just realized that I
    didn’t have it on the Garden blogroll, so I just added it. . -Pete

  • 6. Sophie Brookover  |  November 24, 2006 at 10:34 am

    Wow! As an employee of your library, I didn’t realize that Library Elf supported our Triple I catalogue! I just signed up for an account. We should totally promote the Elf to our patrons!

    As for TypePad, I join the chorus of those saying “go for it”. If I weren’t so entrenched in Blogger, I would make the switch for Pop.

  • 7. Liz B  |  November 27, 2006 at 6:50 pm

    I LOVE Library Elf. Love, love, love. And the Library Elf people are very responsive. And to do a little self promotion, my Net Connect article at includes some suggestions on protecting patron privacy.

  • 8. Val  |  November 29, 2006 at 3:47 am

    Hallo Guys from Dorset in the UK. Can you help me here, what does Triple I mean? Does it refer to the library management system from Innovative Interfaces?

    If so, you can set it up easily to send out “underdue” notices.We send them out by email and also text message on your cell phone. No need for the “screen scraping” of Library Elf. The patron’s information is still secure.

    And yes, our patrons and staff all love it!

  • 9. Peter Bromberg  |  November 29, 2006 at 9:23 am

    Hi Val,

    Thanks for your comments! Yes “Triple I” refers to Innovative. I’m happy to hear that they do offer “underdue notices” and notices which can be sent by email and text, and thrilled to hear that your library is actively offering these options to your customers.

    But since many (most?) III libraries aren’t implementing these features I’d say Library Elf IS necessary, at least for now. (Wondering: are these features available on all III systems? Are they easy to implement? Do they cost extra $$$? Are libraries even aware that they are available?)

    I look forward to the day when Elf-like features are built-in to all systems, but until that happens I’ll take it where I can get it 🙂

  • 10. jislsnhd  |  February 11, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    It is the 2moons dil which make me very happy these days, my brother says 2moons gold is his favorite games gold he likes

    , he usually buy some 2moon dil to start his game and most of the time he will win the buy 2moons dil back and give me some cheap 2moons gold to play the game.

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