Tag Archives: Customer Service

THE TOLL ROAD TO HEAVEN

 

300px-Milky_Way_IR_Spitzer

THE TOLL ROAD TO HEAVEN

 

The Cloud is just another word for Internet.

Wha…?

Yep. Everybody knows but nobody cares. After all we’ve already been through this with our smarty – pants phones.

The Internet is being repackaged as The Cloud   and offered as security against ever losing one’s place. Yep, repackaged and given away.

Its free you are told as you buy the package that goes with your new HP Laptop. “Dang it Honey, they included The Cloud. and its free. Whaddaya think. We can store our documents on the Cloud. We’ll never run out of space.”

So Dang-it-Honey and Honey buy Windows 10. And they get Free CLOUD.

Noooo.

They’ve had Free Cloud  for thirty years but that was when it was called The Internet. Now they have  limited free use of The Internet (now called The Cloud) until they have to start paying rent (on The Cloud).

Next:

Free email?

Always had Free Email but what about The Path to our Free Email?

The Path to our Free Email has always been Invisible.

The Path has always been Free.

Microsoft wants to turn that Pathway into a Toll Road. The User will stop at The Gate, pay a fee and proceed to their Free Email.

By that time we will all be getting used to paying Cloud Rent and Gateway Tolls; we won’t even notice when the Email Folks reveal hidden charges.

But noooo Microsoft can’t charge a Toll; Microsoft owns Outlook. That’s email. That’s unethical

Wrong. They don’t own Outlook. And unethical? What’s that?

Microsoft sold Outlook in order to make jillions of dishonest bucks with The Gate. To reach your Free Email you will travel on a Toll road. You will stop at the Gate and you will pay to pass.

Free Print Shop? Same deal: The Toll Road – The Gate – The Print Shop (The Print Shop is free… for a while)

Are you starting to worry? Don’t do that…I made this up. This is what Ms. Huff and Puff (now AOL) calls Responsibly – Creative Journalism.

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THOSE KILT & TASSELED POINTY-TOED SHOES

Lee_Broom

THE NORDSTROM WAY by Robert Spencer and Patrick D. McCarthy

 Last year I read The Nordstrom Way by Robert Spencer and Patrick D. McCarthy, published in 1995  (printed on acid-free paper) by John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

From the front inside flap:  “When it comes to customer service, Nordstrom’s standards are ‘what we all shoot for’ declares David Glass, president and CEO of Wal-Mart. ‘The Nordstrom Way’marveled correspondent Morley Safer in a SIXTY MINUTES profile, is ‘not service like it used to be but service like it never was.’

And to that I would like to add a personal memoir.

From an earlier post entitled Nordstrom Shoes:

“I own a pair of shoes that occasionally draw curious glances from friends who know me to be choosy in my selection of apparel. Recently, a pal of mine, who like my long-since departed parents spent most of his career working in the garment industry, asked me. ‘Lee, where on earth did you find those pointy-toed shoes?’

During the Seventies, Nordstrom Department Stores assembled a promotional package to test the Phoenix market.  It included round-trip airfare with the newly formed Southwest Airlines, Friday and Saturday nights at the Bonaventure Hotel, two lavish breakfasts rivaling the Las Vegas buffets of the day and generous discounts. I took part in the maiden voyage which left me with wonderful memories.

Atop one of the hotel towers was a park with trees and grass and hotel staff pampering and pandering about and pigeons to distract us from the tacky looking view of older, seedier tenements less than a block away. I compared this event with similar trips I occasionally took to Las Vegas in those years which included young, attractive people of both sexes apparently hired as shills to engage us in friendly banter as we pored over the hundred-dollar shirts and theBallys and Cole Hahns in the leather footwear departments.

I smiled at the question and replied.  ‘At Nordstrom, John; I bought them at Nordstrom.’

This memoir is typical of The Nordstrom Way. In the next few years I would receive similar complimentary forays into newsworthy events on the American scene; the opening of EPCOT Center, the maiden flight of Southwest Airlines, and to many other Grand and Glorious celebrations, many of which were inspired by The Nordstrom Way.

As a member of The Phoenix Press Club this type of pampering of members of the press were not new; it was the level of personal involvement of those who put on these extravagant displays of public persuasion that made them stand out. It was the Nordstrom application of intimacy that change the way the American Corporate World did business.

This kind of community outreach has pretty much been replaced in recent years by the forceful collection of personal data. As an American business man, I am committed to the continuation of The Nordstrom Way of personal involvement in my way of doing business and in maintaining friendships.

By Lee Broom From Leadership: A Love Story.

ADDENDUM: Recently  I was looking through The Nordstrom Catalogue and noticed in the men’s shoe department, dress shoes ranging from $75 to $2000; my KILT AND TASSLED POINTY TOED SHOES were displayed among them for roughly $750.

I looked down at my feet. With a bit of spit and some very, old-fashioned polishing those shoes look great once again beneath the rough and tumble blue jeans cuffs now resting above them.

 

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THOSE KILT & TASSELED POINTY-TOED SHOES

Lee_Broom

THE NORDSTROM WAY by Robert Spencer and Patrick D. McCarthy

 Last year I read The Nordstrom Way by Robert Spencer and Patrick D. McCarthy, published in 1995  (printed on acid-free paper) by John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

From the front inside flap:  “When it comes to customer service, Nordstrom’s standards are ‘what we all shoot for’ declares David Glass, president and CEO of Wal-Mart. ‘The Nordstrom Way’marveled correspondent Morley Safer in a SIXTY MINUTES profile, is ‘not service like it used to be but service like it never was.’

And to that I would like to add a personal memoir.

From an earlier post entitled Nordstrom Shoes:

“I own a pair of shoes that occasionally draw curious glances from friends who know me to be choosy in my selection of apparel. Recently, a pal of mine, who like my long-since departed parents spent most of his career working in the garment industry, asked me. ‘Lee, where on earth did you find those pointy-toed shoes?’

During the Seventies, Nordstrom Department Stores assembled a promotional package to test the Phoenix market.  It included round-trip airfare with the newly formed Southwest Airlines, Friday and Saturday nights at the Bonaventure Hotel, two lavish breakfasts rivaling the Las Vegas buffets of the day and generous discounts. I took part in the maiden voyage which left me with wonderful memories.

Atop one of the hotel towers was a park with trees and grass and hotel staff pampering and pandering about and pigeons to distract us from the tacky looking view of older, seedier tenements less than a block away. I compared this event with similar trips I occasionally took to Las Vegas in those years which included young, attractive people of both sexes apparently hired as shills to engage us in friendly banter as we pored over the hundred-dollar shirts and theBallys and Cole Hahns in the leather footwear departments.

I smiled at the question and replied.  ‘At Nordstrom, John; I bought them at Nordstrom.’

This memoir is typical of The Nordstrom Way. In the next few years I would receive similar complimentary forays into newsworthy events on the American scene; the opening of EPCOT Center, the maiden flight of Southwest Airlines, and to many other Grand and Glorious celebrations, many of which were inspired by The Nordstrom Way.

As a member of The Phoenix Press Club this type of pampering of members of the press were not new; it was the level of personal involvement of those who put on these extravagant displays of public persuasion that made them stand out. It was the Nordstrom application of intimacy that change the way the American Corporate World did business.

This kind of community outreach has pretty much been replaced in recent years by the forceful collection of personal data. As an American business man, I am committed to the continuation of The Nordstrom Way of personal involvement in my way of doing business and in maintaining friendships.

By Lee Broom From Leadership: A Love Story.

ADDENDUM: Recently  I was looking through The Nordstrom Catalogue and noticed in the men’s shoe department, dress shoes ranging from $75 to $2000; my KILT AND TASSLED POINTY TOED SHOES were displayed among them for roughly $750.

I looked down at my feet. With a bit of spit and some very, old-fashioned polishing those shoes look great once again beneath the rough and tumble blue jeans cuffs now resting above them.

 

c

THOSE KILT & TASSELED POINTY-TOED SHOES

Lee_Broom

THE NORDSTROM WAY by Robert Spencer and Patrick D. McCarthy

 Last year I read The Nordstrom Way by Robert Spencer and Patrick D. McCarthy, published in 1995  (printed on acid-free paper) by John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

From the front inside flap:  “When it comes to customer service, Nordstrom’s standards are ‘what we all shoot for’ declares David Glass, president and CEO of Wal-Mart. ‘The Nordstrom Way’marveled correspondent Morley Safer in a SIXTY MINUTES profile, is ‘not service like it used to be but service like it never was.’

And to that I would like to add a personal memoir.

From an earlier post entitled Nordstrom Shoes:

“I own a pair of shoes that occasionally draw curious glances from friends who know me to be choosy in my selection of apparel. Recently, a pal of mine, who like my long-since departed parents spent most of his career working in the garment industry, asked me. ‘Lee, where on earth did you find those pointy-toed shoes?’

During the Seventies, Nordstrom Department Stores assembled a promotional package to test the Phoenix market.  It included round-trip airfare with the newly formed Southwest Airlines, Friday and Saturday nights at the Bonaventure Hotel, two lavish breakfasts rivaling the Las Vegas buffets of the day and generous discounts. I took part in the maiden voyage which left me with wonderful memories.

Atop one of the hotel towers was a park with trees and grass and hotel staff pampering and pandering about and pigeons to distract us from the tacky looking view of older, seedier tenements less than a block away. I compared this event with similar trips I occasionally took to Las Vegas in those years which included young, attractive people of both sexes apparently hired as shills to engage us in friendly banter as we pored over the hundred-dollar shirts and theBallys and Cole Hahns in the leather footwear departments.

I smiled at the question and replied.  ‘At Nordstrom, John; I bought them at Nordstrom.’

This memoir is typical of The Nordstrom Way. In the next few years I would receive similar complimentary forays into newsworthy events on the American scene; the opening of EPCOT Center, the maiden flight of Southwest Airlines, and to many other Grand and Glorious celebrations, many of which were inspired by The Nordstrom Way.

As a member of The Phoenix Press Club this type of pampering of members of the press were not new; it was the level of personal involvement of those who put on these extravagant displays of public persuasion that made them stand out. It was the Nordstrom application of intimacy that change the way the American Corporate World did business.

This kind of community outreach has pretty much been replaced in recent years by the forceful collection of personal data. As an American business man, I am committed to the continuation of The Nordstrom Way of personal involvement in my way of doing business and in maintaining friendships.

By Lee Broom From Leadership: A Love Story.

ADDENDUM: Recently  I was looking through The Nordstrom Catalogue and noticed in the men’s shoe department, dress shoes ranging from $75 to $2000; my KILT AND TASSLED POINTY TOED SHOES were displayed among them for roughly $750.

I looked down at my feet. With a bit of spit and some very, old-fashioned polishing those shoes look great once again beneath the rough and tumble blue jeans cuffs now resting above them.

 

c

A Candy Apple-ish, Sparkly-Gold Rolls Royce

Lee_Broom

“The biggest mistake that you can make is to believe that you are working for somebody else. Job security is gone. The driving force of a career must come from the individual. Remember: Jobs are owned by the company, you own your career!” Earl Nightingale

I was in the workroom of Lee Broom Picture Framing Company. It was a beautiful spring day in Scottsdale Arizona. The stereo was tuned to the classical music station and I was listening to Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30. The recording was of the composer himself at the piano. The year was 1929, years before the year of my birth, probably at New York City Music Hall. (I am listening as I write, to this same piece as performed by Olga Kern.) As I listened and locked in the last brad in the frame I was building, reaching as I did so for the Kraft paper I had already prepared to be used as a dust cover, I saw through the window, a Candy Appleish, Sparkly Gold  Rolls Royce pulling up to the curb.

Great. This could mean a big sale. I continued working, observing the driver emerging from a  beautiful if somewhat vulgar looking almost-a-limo; he walked around to the trunk which appeared to be opening itself, removed a large cardboard box and start toward my front door.  As he approached the showroom I was holding the door open for my visitor.  He entered the room moving deliberately toward the 4′x8′ glass table which served as a sales counter and also as my desk. The gentleman did not look around at my beautifully designed showroom as did others when entering for the first time. Nor did he hesitate when entering the room; he seemed to have been here before. Today, I was the only staff member on the premises. My two framers were absent without leave.

The music reached its conclusion. I looked at the welcome intruder, listened as he asked what I thought to be a perfectly ridiculous question, “Do you offer senior discounts.” Music returned. It was now my favorite composition of all time, the Rach’s first movement from his second piano concerto, this time being performed by Van Clyburn. Instantly inspired and at the same time recognizing my visitor, I helped him remove the contents of the box ignoring for the moment his question and pausing to admire a Piranesi print .  “I know you. I couldn’t place your face but the minute I heard your voice I knew you.”

“Well”, He dragged it out a bit, watching me as though he were deliberately and easily reading my mind. “So…..tell me please,” the serious look on his face was a mask for an impish side to his personality, that particular trait being suddenly revealed by a bit of a twinkle in one eye or another, “Who am I?”.

“You Sir are Sky King.”

The gravel in my visitor’s deep baritone voice added an unusually comedic air, filling the small show room as he began to laugh, and laugh and laugh. I chuckled as he quieted down and offered me his hand. “Earl Nightingales” he explained.

“Lee Broom.” I accepted his handshake. “I’m very happy to meet you Mister Nightingale.”

”Thank you” he replied. I wish you’d call me Earl. May I call you Lee?”

“You may do that Earl. I apologize for not answering your question about senior discounts. No. I don’t do that. But I’ll tell you what I will do. If you’ll watch the shop for twenty minutes, I’ll go fetch some sandwiches. You can play with samples. Look at artwork. Just make yourself at home. When I return – I assume since it is 11:45 that you haven’t had lunch?” I paused.  “When I return I’ll give you a ten percent discount on all framing and artwork that you might be inclined to buy and I’ll deliver all completed work to your home free of charge. I’ll even install it for free if you will allow me to bring a photographer.”

A big smile lit Earl’s larger than life, face. “Where’s the sandwich shop, Lee?”

“Scottsdale and Shea.”

“Scottsdale and Shea? That’s two blocks from here. I don’t see another car out front. It’ll take twenty minutes just to walk there and back. Another 15 minutes for the food to be prepared. Is your car in the rear of the store?”

“It’s at the garage having the brakes  re-lined.”

“Well, just how did you plan on getting there?”

“I plan to drive your car.” His face now had that same look that I’d interpreted earlier as his ESP face. He reached in his pocket and removed his keys.

“I’m trusting you with my Rolls Royce, Lee.”

“I’m trusting you with my shop, Earl.” I suddenly had an idea and told him to hold his thought while I retrieved something from the back room. I returned with a well-worn copy of THE STRANGEST SECRET by Earl Nightingale. “I made some notes in this book. Maybe while I’m gone you’d like to flip through the pages.” That look again. And, then a smile.

“Okay”.

And thus began a friendship with a man who would with no more than a dozen meetings in as many years, be remembered as one of the most stimulating friendships I had ever known. We talked a lot about “Success” over the years. He learned that day, the day he loaned me his Candy Appleish, Sparkly Gold Rolls Royce, the day that I left him with my well-worn copy of his book, The Strangest Secret; he knew that I did not agree with everything that he had written. Whenever I had felt a critique rising to the surface I’d left written evidence in the margins of those thoughts. Some were a bit caustic. I’m not certain why I took a chance like that. I ran the risk of sabotaging a friendship not yet realized and on a more practical note, I needed his business. But, I felt that I knew Earl the minute I let him in my front door. And, as time would demonstrate, my sense of a connection had been accurate. It could be said that the concert pianist playing in the background as Earl and I met, was only a skilled craftsman compared to the Composer who was one with the Universe as he wrote the original composition. One could say that but I believe that would be a  mistake in judgment.

I believe that those who create, especially those who create music are often indeed, One with the Universe, regardless of which role they happen to be playing at the time. I believe that on this particular day that Earl and I were every bit as connected as Van Cliburn to Rachmaninov, on that spring day in 1981. Or was it 1982. (As you can see I have more faith in my connectedness than in my memory.)

When I returned, Earl was visiting with my friend and business neighbor, Herb Drinkwater. It was to Drinkwater Liquor and Cheese that I had gone for sandwiches. Silly me. It was right across the street. Earl was telling Herb about his new home. It was near the crest of Mummy Mountain. It had a fully equipped radio station, a 100 foot mast and he was already doing his radio show every morning from the comfort of his own home.

I was very familiar with the building in which he lived and after he left that day I wondered for a moment what it must be like for him to be earning his living doing the work that he loved. It took only a moment to realize that this is what sparked the flame of recognition between us for it was that drive to live one’s dream that Earl and I shared.

I reached across the table and picked up THE STRANGEST SECRET by Earl Nightingale and opened the cover.

“To my new friend Lee, who loaned me his store and welcomed me to Scottsdale Arizona. Earl Nightingale.”

An episode of Sky King:     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZm7KwQCQGw

 

“How do you know my address?”

lafayette compound 009

HOW DO YOU KNOW MY ADDRESS

The Casa as it was called was my second home, at the time, known to all who drove past as The Franciscan Renewal Center. Though I was not a particularly religious person, I had friends there, most of whom were friars. I would even meet my wife there, a few years later. I ate most of my meals in the Casa dining room; I even went to early morning Mass, not that I bought The Story that went with the rituals, but the rituals helped me with my own story.

The desire for and the expectations that had given whatever meaning had sustained me in the life I had just left, ebbed slowly away.  Gradually, I was beginning to feel like a fairly normal person; normal in most every way but one.

On a Saturday afternoon as I was writing an order for a new customer-we were standing at a counter in the small showroom up front-the lady said to me “How do you know my address?” Without thinking, I had written her complete address (I remember it still) on the sales ticket. Gratefully, an explanation left my lips as quickly as it arrived in my thoughts, “I’m a neighbor of yours, and I saw you pulling into your driveway one afternoon.” This led abruptly into the need for supporting lies but fortunately we were interrupted by one of my employees who needed assistance.

I broke away for a moment and the matter never came up again. After she left, I removed myself from the store and went for a walk around the shopping center, thinking about what had just happened. I was not that woman’s neighbor. Never had I driven on any of those streets in the El Rancho sub-division on McCormick Ranch in the neighborhood that she called home.

That showroom would present many such occasions for the mysterious discovery of similarly, surprising bits of information in the next year or so. It would take a few years before I would begin learning how to assimilate this new part of my life, though I would not have to wait very long for the memories of similar incidents from my childhood.

I rarely notice these days, when such leaps in awareness take place. But combined with my rituals of consciously expressed thoughts of gratitude I have become much more inclined toward affection for the simple surprises of daily living.

Lee_Broom
Lee Brooom

Curiosity

lee_broom
I get a lot of questions from readers about photography. Today it was about using titles to sell images. We know a lot about selling but not everything. We start with what we know and then seek answers for what we don’t. We experiment. We learn. We apply what we learn.
When conducting an experiment one must focus on the process rather than the result. Experimenting is about forgetting the obvious and seeking the unknown.
Discovering a good title has to do with guarding against  telling  the viewer the results  and encouraging them to make some discoveries on their own?
If instead of telling a story with a picture, I did that by writing a book, would I  tell the reader the ending or would I tease her and coax her to take part in The Process.
When you read a whodunnit, don’t you try to at least guess at what’s coming up in the next paragraph and after a few correct guesses don’t you guess at whether the killer was the butler or the victim’s childhood sweetheart?

A title that is a perfect fit will soon be forgotten. Subtlety inspires curiosity. Curiosity produces ideas.

Ideas produce sales.