Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thinking Big


When I was a kid in about kindergarten or first grade, cliques were already forming and established. I went to a small school, and had about 15 or 20 kids in the classroom. For some reason to prove that everyone was in some sort of group, we decided to form clubs. Each person who was interested in being a club leader wrote their Mission Statement on a piece of paper. Here was mine:



There was a small one story house-like building within the bounds of our recess area. As you can see in the picture, I wanted to get the whole class together to build a giant slide make a giant slide out of snow. Then we could spend all of recess playing on our creation. I was very excited about my idea. How all the kids would love it too!

Well, as it turns out, I wasn't able to get anyone to join my group. Instead I joined this other more popular girl's 'sticker club'. We went to her house once, and she gave us a sticker. That was OK. But definitely not as cool as my giant snow slide!

Now that I think about it, every kid on earth should think that a giant snow slide would be the coolest thing ever. Why did people not join my club? Maybe by the age of 6 they already started thinking smaller, more 'realistic'. Well, if everyone thought so small and 'realistic', we wouldn't have any of the cool stuff we have today, and would live in huts and be farmers. So, be realistic, think BIG.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Wall of Shame- My Growing List of Product Reviews and Customer Service Experiences



AT&T


I renewed my 2-year service with AT&T by upgrading my phone at a RadioShack in Delawarec. Normally I would not have gotten a phone so quickly without doing research on it, but the salesman said that I could easily return the phone to RadioShack within 30 days if I was not happy. RadioShack is located near me in Cali, so I went for it. I purchased the...

LG Vu- Which was an ok phone, lots of bells and whistles, which I like the option of having if I ever decide to upgrade packages. But there is one fundamental flaw of the LG VU. The battery life is horrible. One can possibly acheive 180 minutes of talk time if they maybe put it on the lowest volume and talk straight through one conversation. All I know is every two days I need to charge my phone, and I am a pretty casual talker. And if I have to charge the phone that frequently now, what will happen 2 years from now when the battery starts losing life?

So, I went to a RadioShack in Cali and asked about returning the phone. The man said that he could not return the phone, and that I would not even be able to get another phone even if I wanted to, because I was outside the 'region'. Apparently even though AT&T is nationwide, and RadioShack is nationwide...somehow AT&T does not allow the sale and return of phones outside of your specified region. Every other carrier allows this. And the region is determined by the area code of the phone, nothing else. So, if you moved but wanted to keep your cell number you would encounter many-a-problems.

I called AT&T, and they too said there was nothing they could do. I mentioned the fact that I could ship it to the Delaware RadioShack, and then return it, and thus get myself out of the upgrade, canceling my contract... but that didn't seem to phase him either. What is wrong with customer services these days?


LG Customer Service

I was pleasantly pleased at how fast my call was answered, and the woman on the phone was very pleasant. I asked what kind of a microSD card would fit with my phone. She told me to wait a second while she looked it up, and came back with the response of a 8 gb card. So, I did my research and purchased an 8 gb card. I put it in my phone, and it is not recognized. I call customer service. He says the max space it can hold is 4gb. I ask if that is written anywhere in the product manual. He says no. Money for card and time spent researching...wasted. Customer service = frustrating.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Barack Obama


Today is the Inauguration of Barack Obama into the presidency of the United States of America. A historical day, as this is the end of Bush's 8 years of presidency, and Obama's first. As I type this, Obama is climbing the stairs to give his first speech as president.

An interesting thing that you may not know about Obama is that he is thought to have the personality type of an ENFP. Here is an interesting article about the different politicians and personality types. http://www.slate.com/id/2184696 Obama is an idealist. Many entrepreneurs are idealists. I am an idealist.

So, hopefully this will be the age for entrepreneurs to surface back and repair our fallen economy. With so many people losing their jobs, it is thought that the entrepreneurial types will take it as an opportunity to start their own businesses. Let the upcoming years be of growth, innovation, and sustainability. Let's fix the problems of the past and look to the bright future of tomorrow. Yes, we can! :-)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Understanding the Medical Industry- Bills, Bills, Bills


The Health Industry makes no sense, and I question why.

The health industry is one of the only industries that make the most money when they misdiagnose, causing the patient more and more useless tests. With most other industries we award efficiency, paying for the end result, and not the waste in between.

The health industry is one of the costliest, the price tags extremely high, but at the same time, a mystery. When was the last time you understood your last medical and insurance bill?

The health industry is one of the only places where you go in, and sign documents that you agree to pay everything they charge you, without having any idea how much the cost will actually be.

Now, what happens if a person without health insurance enters this institution of unforeseen costs, receives unneeded treatments for diagnosis that are inaccurate, and then keeps receiving bills for this? How is this even legal in the U.S.? Shouldn't there be a system where we award efficiency and accuracy instead of misdiagnosis and hardship? I say there should be a better system in place, and the prices should be on the wall. Yelp the process! Reward the good...get rid of the bad. Where are the review systems for the medical industry? Put the prices on the wall like a McDonalds... and people will make better decisions of the treatments and tests they need, and the ones they don't.

And don't send multiple bills months apart. This is America, lets do something about it.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

US Airways- Short term vs Long term decisions


I went home for winter vacation, flying back to the east for winter vacation. I bought my roundtrip ticket from sfo to phl for $400. US Airways now charge $15 for one checked back, and $25 for the second checked back. I decided to save some money and just carry on my luggage. Through security you are not allowed to bring any liquids, so carrying any kind of drink through to the airport or plane, is out of the question. We had a 6 hour flight, to go coast to coast. Now, I did hear of US Airway's new policy of charging for soft drinks on the plane, which was dissapointing, but I did not realize their full policy. US Airways now also charges for WATER. For the 6 hour flight the airliner had also taken off their video equipment to save weight. So for 6 hours no entertainment, being squished in economy class, with not a drop of water to drink...lovely. It used to be that planes would carry large jugs of water and just fill each person who requested a glass. Now that they have switched to their policy of charging for water, they have switched to costlier and more wasteful individual bottles of water in which they sell for $2 on board. They do not even provide the tiny bags of pretzels anymore. So, what is left to do but for everyone aboard the plane to talk of the fact that the airliners now charge people for WATER?

Obviously, this was a decision by somewhere up on the US Air food chain to cut costs. But, in my perspective a move like this is deadly. When you could give customers water for no more than 25 cents additional per passenger, and calm their negative talk for 6 hours, wouldn't you? Even if those extra pennies were added to the ticket, it would make more sense. Instead, flying has turned from a luxury to an inconvenience, where you are no longer 'guests' of an airline, but flying dollars.

I wrote to the airline to hear their opinion on the matter:

I have been flying usair for years, and each time I fly I almost always question why I have chosen this carrier.

Most recently, I am extremely frustrated by the fact that the airline now charges for WATER. I had a 6 hour flight, you are not allowed to bring water through security, each passenger pays good money for their ticket, and still we need to pay for water? So, for the whole flight, every one on the plane has a great conversation piece, how upset they are by the fact that we are on a long flight, with no more movies, paying for a window or aisle seat, the price of tickets, and now we are not even being given water to drink. Even if 25 cents were added on to the beginning fare, that would make more sense then charging 2 dollars per bottle on the plane. If someone becomes dehydrated and decides to sue, or drinks from the bathroom water and gets sick, it'll be an even more negative financial impact.

I've already been hearing of people that will not be flying usair again because of their lack of concern for their customers.

This is in no way a smart move for the future of the company. Short term it may help the books, but long term it will only hurt. I hope usair will consider changing this policy.

Ryan Air may charge for everything, and have ads on their planes (just as you are now doing)..but at least their ticket prices are a true reflection of the cost savings that work for the company AND consumer.

Ryan Air may charge for everything, and have ads on their planes (just as you are now doing)..but at least their ticket prices are a true reflection of the cost savings that work for the company AND consumer.
Here is US Airway's response:

Thank you for caring enough to take the time to write regarding our
beverage fee. As you are aware, airlines are now finding it necessary
to charge for services and items that were previously considered a part
of the ticketing fee. Our per passenger average round trip fuel cost
alone is nearly $300. In order to keep our fares reasonably priced, we
have opted to charge for services, such as food, drinks, and bag fees.
Thus passengers have a choice in what they want to receive. Water is
given in emergency situations, such as the need to take medication, etc.


As we are always interested in the opinions of our passengers, your
comments and concerns have been documented and will be shared in a
written report to our executive management team. This report is a
capsulated record of all passengers' concerns regarding our policies and
procedures.

We appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns and hope you
continue to choose US Airways as your preferred carrier.

Sincerely,

Marilyn Williams
US Airways Customer Relations
Corporate Office
It'll be interesting to see the long and short term effects of this policy. I predict a short term financial increase, long term financial decrease and customer satisfaction decrease.