I signed up to produce ‘TPS Reports’ – really

I was recruited.  Actively pursued to take on the responsibility to deliver the onboarding factory for this communications company.

They needed me.  I needed them.  The timing was right, the environment was wrong.

There was a team in place, they needed some organization and leadership.  As a team, we were able to clear the backed-up pipeline in less than ninety days.

What we didn’t know is that we were picking up the wreckage from the previous attempts.  We wound up dissecting the processes and redesigning the delivery directly to the architect of the nightmare, the creator of the out-of-control-pipeline.  This taught me to ask a few more questions before jumping in with both feet.  Test the waters.  Do your homework.  Unless this is a greenfield project there are people attached and somewhere someone is connected to this chaos. Be careful.

This happened so long ago that it is truly a distant memory but the emotions that came running back when I started thinking about what happened were disconcerting.

I really think it is those damages that led me to stay in my next position so long.  Far beyond the expiration date for the role, so it is time to be moving on.

This is the place where I literally produced TPS Reports.  I tried to make jokes about ‘flair’ and ‘red swingline staplers’ but my humor was lost on my fellow cube dwellers.

When you whine, I listen

Set the stage – for the last year the most uncooperative, self-important person I have ever encountered  has been talking about how awful the new  infrastructure is and how painful the process has been.

Every time she whined, I paid attention.  The negativity is annoying, but there are nuggets in those statements.  The way I see it?  Listening to tales of woe are invaluable when you are doing a task or designing a task.  If I can avoid encountering those issues by preparing on my side, the whole painful process will be less disruptive to productivity.   In days of yore, we called this pre-processing.  I think one of the buzzwords is operational excellence.

The little task I was bragging about yesterday?  She started that process last February!  I think she completed it in January.  I forgot.  I don’t really care.  The only reason I know about is frequent audits of her historical artifacts identifies missing responses from my teams.

I started the task on January 26, 2016.  I negotiated to minimize the impact on team operations.  The development team made my site read-only last Thursday – St. Patrick’s Day 2016.  Cool.  This is a system, infrastructure migration, a little maintenance time is necessary.  We didn’t decide to do this.  TPTB did.  We are merely complying.

I am proud to say that I was able to complete the mirrored migration in less than a week.  It isn’t a brand, new, beautiful, fully-functional site, but it is enough to keep us working in a brave new world.  I am readying myself for the adoption complaints, but that is when I see opportunities for improvement!!

Here’s a little insight into me, when you whine, I listen and learn….

 

What does this checkbox mean?

I get to the bottom of the form and see this checkbox.

Update_Customer_Record_BJs

Did I just create a new ‘Customer Record‘ on my account OR did I just update all of my account information with the form information I just submitted OR yet some other nefarious scenario I haven’t considered?

So frustrating.  Advice to small business ecommerce sites, eliminating confusing interactions will really help reduce the abandon rates and improve the completed transactions.

My secret sauce?

I have an onboarding process that works.  It is valuable because it gets everyone productive in a very short time frame.  So what is the one way to set me up to fail?  Drop the ball.

I gave them my checklist.  I have been defining, writing, revising, producing the right steps for years.  When I have the time, I use it to keep it updated.  Well, of late, I haven’t had any time to do that because I am already trying to complete an 80 hour per week job in 40 hours as it is, so there isn’t a lot of lull in my schedule that allows me to produce updated tools in one of the most evolutionary environments I have ever experienced!

The interesting part is that even with my checklists, they can’t execute.  The reason my process works is because I do it.  I personalize every encounter.

Why does this have to be done this way and in this order?  Well because I understand the cadence necessary to optimize the transaction.  Maybe it is my old school database theories rising up from deep in my soul, but ultimately I am trying to optimize the employe eXperience for the newest team member.

I need to work in a ‘trusted’ environment again.  When I look back on my career, I realize I was the happiest when I was deep in the belly of the beast and optimizing transactions.  In some way, this has tainted my view of the world.  I see everything I am doing as a transaction to be optimized; so if I can remove roadblocks to completing that transaction, shouldn’t I do everything in my power to do so?

But it is more than that.  In my effort to be effective and efficient, I try to never forget that these are not just messages I am sending about, these are people!  At every step of the way to get the job done it is all about the people and the relationships.  I think I am one step closer to defining my own personal secret sauce!

 

 

I Hate Phishing Scams

Dear cybercriminals – stop it now!  You are making life miserable for everyone.

Upon arriving home, I was greeted with 2 voicemails from some bogus number threatening me with legal action if I ignore the phone call.  The words tossed into the sentences didn’t even make sense together, so I know it was a scam.

My husband and I chatted briefly about him receiving a call on his cell phone supposedly from Microsoft to talk to him about a virus on his computer.  Really?  Give me a break!

Ironically? About a half an hour later we got a call on our home phone with the same spiel.

Excellent Customer Service

So I tend to go on an on about customer service, it is important to me. No doubt about it we are going to need it at one point or another in our lives.
Well, I ordered some hairspray. What can I say? There is a particular brand of hairspray that I really like, but it is hard to find, so I have to order it. Since I was placing an order anyway, I went ahead and order a couple of other items. Total items in the order 3.
Well the order arrived today. The pick list said all 3 items were included in the package. Alas, only 2 of them were there. Of course, the item that didn’t make it into the package was the item that I really wanted.
So I looked online to see if I could find an easy answer. No. I did find their customer service number and gave it a ring.
Wow! Was I ever impressed. I didn’t have to hold forever. I was put through to the nicest customer service agent I have ever encountered. I was ready to argue for what was right.
He was phenomenal! He asked me what the issue was and I explained how the order had arrived today sans the hairspray. He was great. Instead of pushing back and arguing with me, he was ever so kind and went out of his way to explain how these things can happen and immediately set me up to receive a replacement, no charge. No pushback. No discussion. Just pleasant customer service.
A big shout out to Mike, wherever he may be. You have made me into a believer. I will shop from you again.

Now they Notice

So I have been departing from BofA for months.  I even sent them a break-up email in December.  December 2012.  I told them that I was leaving.  I have slowly and methodically been disentangling myself from their clutches.  Kind of like a long-term ex – every day you find something else that needs to be removed.

I moved all of my automatic payments.  I moved all of my cds.  This is important.  I am a consultant.  I don’t make a lot of money, nor do I have a lot of long term promises in my career, so I set up a system of rolling cds when I went into this field and it has saved my fat from the fire more times than I can count.  Now I have to set up that nifty little system again, elsewhere.   It is not a big deal, it is just annoying.

I didn’t realize all of the transactions I had going in and out of the megalithic institution, until I went to remove them.  Even though I kept them updated, every step of the way.  I would send them a note letting them know I was one step closer to departure, they never responded.   They didn’t even notice until my account balances fell below $25.  I have received multiple notices that my account balance has fallen below $25.  That is just sad.  They only care, when they legally have to care.  What a shame.

Let’s get real.  I am a very small fry in a much bigger pond.  My numbers aren’t high enough that they are going to tip the balance sheet one way or the other, I know that.  What I am is a long-time customer.  BofA and I had a relationship for a very long time.  Another metric of stability is churn.  Everyone who is talking about customer service mentions churn.  Sad part is additions are the only things rewarded.  No one give a rat’s ass about the existing customer.  It isn’t until the existing customer becomes a past customer and part of churn that the machine even notices them.  This is sad.

In some ways, I think this passion to break off with BofA has influenced other parts of my life.  I had been a long time customer of Sprint  and I am not there anymore either.  Customer service is a huge differentiator in this world of service providers.  I can get the good elsewhere – how I am treated along the way is what is valuable to me.