My almost-three-year-old daughter must have been full of resentment at best and hatred at worst. Why was her father so mean to her? She was just going to see what it felt like to touch the oven. No big deal. The dinner was almost ready, and she was hungry and impatient. But her father didn’t even let her come near the oven. Why?
Was it because I wanted to be mean to her? Most definitely not. But is prohibition a good way to make sure she is safe? Are there other means of protecting her? Most probably yes. At the time, it seemed like the best way though.
Children are curious about things they aren’t fully aware of. Especially if there are other triggers that make her reach out and touch the hot oven. My daughter wasn’t interested in drawing or leafing through a book, which she readily would be occupied with at any other time. But not then.
Adults are smarter. We’ve learned that certain activities hurt us physically, and a normal state is for us to avoid them. We would not willingly jump out in front of a car, because we know we would get run over. Children, on the other hand, don’t think in these terms. Their focus is most often on their goal, their direction, not what happens to them on the way.
But adults are dumber, too. Why? Because we think that we are smarter. We think that we’ve learned how to bypass danger and avoid undesirable results. All too often, nevertheless, we forget that we, too, are still learning to fly. We get annoyed, because our bus didn’t pick our important selves on time. We get irritated, because our date stood us up. What we aren’t usually willing to ponder is that maybe the hinders are designed to teach us, to protect us and to make us better. Just like our prohibitions are often meant to keep our children safe.
My daughter doesn’t like me all the time, because I seem mean. One day, she will understand my intentions. One day, she will know that there’s more to what happens to her than to screw up her desires and wishes. One day, she will learn.
I attend many meetings where we talk about things that aren’t easy to articulate in words without an extra effort. Recently, I’ve found myself willing to walk up to the whiteboard and explain my point in drawing or sketching.
We use whiteboards for writing down notices and walls for sticking post-it notes, too. Usually, in order to remember something. Almost one a half years ago, I was looking for a digital notice board to be used by a team of twenty customer service representatives to pin things to remember. Corkboard.me was too obvious a choice at the time, with many limitations.
I stumbled across Trello a couple of weeks after it was first released (I think). Simply put, it is a collaborative project management and organisation tool. Trello is basically a workspace for a team or an individual user of three levels – boards consisting of lists consisting of cards.
One of the things I love about this tool is that I have the freedom to define the kind of content that each level contains. One way to use a Trello board is as a Kanban board. At our citizen and customer service though, we have chosen to use a Trello board as a notice board. Each list represents an area of expertise and each card is a notice, usually of immediate or short-term relevance. When the content of a card is no longer relevant, we archive it.
– You have 160 characters. Go!
– Wait a sec. It says “Bio”, dear Twitter, “BIO-graphy”. How can I possibly tell the world all about me in under 160 characters?
– Get creative.
One of the things I love about Twitter is its niche. They contributed to define microblogging once, and continue sticking to the concept since, in everything they do.
For your bio text, for example, you get the gracious span of hundred and sixty characters to market your account. (Note it’s not “biography” or “about me page”, just a simple yet powerful “Bio”.) They challenge you to think twice about how you want to be perceived as a twitterer.
What do you want to convey with your bio – where you work, where you are from, what your interests are or what the name of your cat is? Here’s a list of entertaining Twitter biosfor your inspiration. Get creative with yours!
Have you found an impressive bio? Share them with me in the comments below, or mention @clartem on Twitter!
“Its not easy to know how too spell words, you know? Their are just to many off them two remember. It is much easier if your studying language or something, of coarse. But the rest of us don’t have the time to think about languidge day in and day out. I mean, hey, its not like I wood loose my job, if I spelt words incorrectly, is it? I know its definately not true. Weather I spell words correctly or not can’t have affect on my relationship with my boss anywho. Were buddies. I like my boss. Alot.”
Last week, I started thinking about how your customers’ choice of the channel of communication can be a helpful source of insight. For example, many enquiries on the selection of your products via telephone might be a pointer at the inadequate product description on your website. So, your customers’ behaviour bears a lot of ideas for our channel strategy.
However, your channel strategy is a tricky business. On the one hand, you want to meet your customers and provide them with the best service where they are. On the other hand, if your customers prefer meeting in person to calling you on the telephone, you might end up paying big money for little value. Now, I’m not saying meeting your customers isn’t worth it. You must nevertheless be aware of when and how you provide your customers with service.
For a local government organisation, their service to the public (the “customers”) is a perfect arena for channel management. How much does it cost for you to answer a public enquiry via e-mail? What about telephone? How short should an average telephone call be for you to not waste money? How long should it be for you to satisfy your customer?
Private sector is probably in a tougher spot compared to the public sector. The latter can claim taxes paid by their “customers” as the best grounds for limiting the public’s access to the communication channels that are too expensive. Is this the main reason for many forms of citizen self service?
While I believe you should communicate with your customers using the channels they prefer, you should understand how different channels work, be aware which channels benefit you and your customers in the long run and act according to your customer service goals. Because your goals include customer service, right?
People find life monotonous. And for very good reasons, too. There is not much to it. You study, get married, work, raise children, pay bills—all struggling through. Of course, there are others whose lives are spelled in adventures, happenings and explorations. But you just do not have the time for anything beyond what is in your pockets, right?
This is an excerpt from an article I wrote in 2011 and published on celareartem.com, which was an experiment in art directing my writings back then. In it, I discuss the monotony of life and offer six-level challenges you might want to take on daily, in order to make your life more adventurous.
Arguably, the fiercest, most acute and intense enterprise you can enter to learn selflessness, patience and justice is marriage and parenthood. It is in the interactions with my wife and daughter that I disclose what makes me happy and what makes me sad, what makes me angry and what makes me glad.
If they two taught me anything thus far, it is this. The world is scarcely a place where one’s needs, desires and intentions are met to the fullest. One must always be prepared to sacrifice.
Often sacrifice is considered to permeate the weak and cowardly. Because, one may consider, would not compromise suffice? I uphold, however, that it takes courage and strength to give up what, at the moment, seems dear. It is only natural, if the result of one’s giving up is greater than of maintaining one’s stand. On the contrary, it is far more difficult, yet far more noble, to sacrifice, when your gain is out of sight or the possibility of your recompense is minimal, if any.
Jim Elliot (1927–1956), a young missionary in Ecuador stands for one of my most favourite quotes. In his journal, Elliot once paraphrased Philip Henry (1631–1696), when he wrote, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
Ben locked the door and looked around. The shed smelled of raw autumn. Julie hated autumns. They reminded her of the coming frost.
“Last smoke,” he thought slowly. “Yeah. Why not.”
The damp match would not light. Ben was in no hurry. Julie would ignite. Matches were supposed to light at once. Old newspapers were supposed to be thrown away. Husbands were supposed to provide. She would ignite.
But she needn’t worry. Not any longer. Ben was ready. So was the rope.