Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dear Comcast...

Dear Comcast HR Department,

After spending approximately two months dealing with the transfer of my mom’s telephone, cable and internet service from one address to another just a few blocks away it suddenly dawned on me how highly qualified I have become in most aspects of what I would consider to be excellent job qualifications for an employee in, actually, most departments of your company! 

Having spent untold hours on the phone with your representatives in divisions like customer service, billing, technical support and now even online chat support I don’t think you could find a more capable prospect to start immediately in any of the aforementioned departments.

I would like to share with you some of my skills and attributes that I feel would make me the best candidate for your company.

First of all, I don’t have any idea what I am talking about when it comes to helping a customer who has called in with a simple request to have her (or his) phone service transferred from one address to another, a mere three blocks away.  This has stood out to me as one of the top requirements that you must use in determining whom you employ, and I can promise you that you won’t go wrong selecting me to work in any of those fields.  At this point I do feel, after spending two months on the phone with various departments, that I now know more than what I probably should about the way your company works.  I hope you will not see this as a negative when considering me for one of your job openings.

I also bring to the table the ability to pretend that I am listening and understanding what the customer is explaining.  I'm sure I can keep the customer engaged while offering hope (albeit false hope) that I will be the last person they need to speak with in order to have their phone service reinstated.  To top it off, I am not a particularly good reader, so even though there may be copious notes already in the client record about what has transpired to date, I promise I will not read any of them so the customer has the opportunity to explain it to me again (and again and again). 

I do, however, write well, so I guarantee I will do an excellent job recording what the customer is saying, and of course I will use ALL CAPS when emphasis is needed to convey anger, frustration and near hysteria on the part of the client.  

Because I also have an inordinate gift of gab I feel I will be able to keep the customer on the phone for much more than thirty minutes at a time.  I know this is critical to you as an employer because the customers have the option of taking an automated survey on the support received after the call is finished. 

If the problem is not resolved within thirty minutes I know they will receive the survey call while still on the phone with me (as I did with them) and will not be able to share their experience. What a great way to avoid negative feedback. 

I realize this is also a very coveted skill required to be considered for employment.  The teams I dealt with did an excellent job as I personally never got to answer a single automated survey call because of being on the phone for 45 to 75 minutes every time I contacted any department.  I could hear the call beeping in while chatting with a CSR, and I think I may even have that 800 number memorized now.  Unfortunately, I never got to complete a survey as I was always STILL on the phone with one of your employees.  This is probably the only area in which I will need some supplemental training.

Another skill I have that qualifies me to be an excellent employee is the fact that I speak two additional languages, French and Spanish, and I can successfully mimic accents in several Indian dialects, so whatever unintelligible accent you would like me to use when making my follow-up calls just let me know, cause I’m your girl!  If the client receives a voice mail message from me I feel certain they will have to hit the number one to replay the message no less than five times, and with any luck at all they will still be left wondering if their service has been permanently cancelled or if a technician will be arriving at their home between the hours of 6 am and 9 pm sometime within the next three days.  It has become obvious to me that as a company Comcast is doing their best to help keep people off the road during this busy holiday season by keeping them chained to their homes in anticipation of the field technician arriving.

 In fact, just yesterday my mom didn’t even walk her dog for over five hours because she was so terrified of missing the technician and quite possibly having to repeat this scenario again.  Anyway, she has tile floors so urine and feces are really quite easy to clean up.  Might I suggest that the team start asking some qualifying questions along those lines when scheduling a service call.  Like "do you have a dog, tile or carpet, do you have backup food and water in storage, and how is your penmanship, just in case you need to resort to handwritten notes again while the computer is down?"  This would probably be really helpful.
Another question that I have also thought might be valuable to ask your clients when they are on the phone with customer service is “are you self-employed, retired and on a fixed income, or gainfully employed and on a company’s payroll?"  I know those self-employed folks can get a little testy (actually downright violent – speaking from my own personal experience) as they see their own dollars flying out the window on days when they have to spend 4 – 6 hours dealing with customer service.  Those who are retired actually find the process to be rather engaging as they are in fact often looking for someone to chat with for extended lengths of time since the kids never call home anymore.  And obviously those who are on someone else's payroll are the best of the best to deal with because they WANT to stay on the phone for as long as possible so as to not have to do their own work.

In signing off I want to thank you for taking the time to read about my request for employment and why I feel I would be an asset to your company.  I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience!  Please contact me via my email address above as my phone is not working.

Kind regards,

Cynthia Adams

Monday, February 17, 2014

My best friend is town! (please sing along to the tune of' Santa Claus is Coming to Town!)

Here we are, drinking champagne of course!

Ooohh...You'd better watch out, cause we're gonna cry,
and laugh so hard that spit might fly....
My best friend is coming, to town!

She's seen me when I'm drinking,
She knows when I am fake,
I've been in all her weddings and...
she knows I hate to bake!
She worked out until giving birth,
I have no kids, just cats,
I am 6'1 she's 5'1",
We are a perfect match!

Well, I am just so darned excited to see Kim I can hardly stand it! We are so alike and at the same time so different it is one of the keys to the long term survival of our treasured friendship.

Me - talking on the phone with Kim many months ago... "OMG it has been sooo long since we've seen each other - seems like forever!  I can't even remember the last time we were together!

Kim - "It has been eight years, four months and,,,three, no wait, four days since our last visit". 

She has a very organized brain, and I don't.  Not to say I don't have some sense about me, but I see things loosely in colour and shape and she is like a Swiss clock.

She is a fashion maven, always accessorized, flawless make-up and yet totally natural.  I have worn the same pair of earrings for the last two years and I don't own any close-toed shoes.

We share a mutual love of champagne, brie cheese, laughing so hard until you cry and snort, travel, roasted vegetables, ...finding the perfect chips and salsa ( a lifelong mission).  We also share a love of cooking, and even more so a love of drinking while cooking.  No doubt the majority of our time together next week will be spent talking about food, planning our meals, shopping for the food, cooking the food while Latin music blares in the background, drinking wine, and eventually sitting outside on the lanai to enjoy our dinner on a warm Florida evening.
Hmmm, I wonder what Steve is going to be doing next week, seeing as I have big plans!

To do list before Kim arrives:

Find my waist
Lose 10, if not 30, pounds
Locate stabilizers for arm flab
Order a case of Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noir Champagne (ok, two cases)
Brie cheese - buy lots of it
Find Chi Omega senior class composite picture so we can talk about everyone
Bring out photo album from the summer of 1980 when we went to school together in Spain
De-fur entire house of cat hair dust bunnies
Remember to get food for the refrigerator
Change out all dead plants
Boxes of Kleenex strategically placed at all points around house where crying or extreme laughter may occur.

What a grand week this will be!  

Saturday, February 1, 2014

More tales of some not so exotic travels...

As last mentioned in my January newsletter "The Mixed Media Chronicles" I promised to entertain you this month with a little redneck incident involving Steve while in Sarasota last November. 

Now Steve generally comes across as pretty laid back and a happy guy most of the time.  But when the Alabama in him surfaces I usually hide in another room, or at least pretend I have no idea who he is.  Almost 25 years of marriage now and this strategy continues to work well for me.  Seems like I rely on this approach more often now than , oh say 10-15 years ago in the earlier days of wedded bliss, but we'll save that for a future blog.

A laid back Steve during happier times!  With Veronique Stalmans, Rabat, Morocco!
After a nice weekend exhibiting our art at St. Armand's Circle in Sarasota we ended up with a delivery on Monday morning out on Longboat Key (hi Jo Ann, hi Ed!).  A morning spent hanging two of our paintings in this very pretty home was a great way to wrap up our art show weekend.  Finishing that, we headed to the Columbia Restaurant for a fabulous Cuban lunch, then off to the art store with plans of heading back to Naples soon after..

That's not what happened.

Leaving from the art store with our cargo trailer attached to the jeep we pulled out into three lanes of busy Sarasota traffic, only to have the car quit running while it was in lanes one and two, and the trailer still in the parking lot.  It wasn't a mere three seconds later before cars started honking, yelling at us to move our car.  We would love to have obliged them, but it's not possible when THE CAR IS NOT RUNNING!  I know it appeared that we had just decided to park perpendicularly in the middle of three lanes of traffic and get out of our car and stand there on the curb to have a little chat on the phone.  Really, doesn't everyone do that once in awhile?

Although the engine was in fact still running (we found out later the shifter cable snapped so we could not put it in gear in order to move) there was nothing we could do until AAA arrived and had to configure some very tricky towing due to the fully loaded trailer still attached.

Lots of people were quite helpful driving by, suggesting very loudly with their windows rolled down that we get the &%$#@%* car moved out of the way.  I don't know why we didn't think of that! 

Steve was getting madder by the minute.  Not only frustrated at the predicament that we were in, but also that people were so rudely yelling at us.  He was getting very testy, and soon was yelling back at anyone kind enough to make those comments to us.  And he was using the same kind of language too, just so they could all, you know, relate and be on the same page.

Finally I had to start yelling too - partly to defend Steve, and partly at Steve trying to get him to calm down.  Which of course had him snapping back at me.  It was quite the fun afternoon if I do say so myself!

Knowing that AAA was on their way gave Steve some peace of mind and a little extra redneck bravado, knowing that if he really let loose we would be saved soon and out of there shortly.  Unfortunately, the last person to experience his full-fledged rage (and I'm on Steve's side - she deserved it!), was a well-dressed, bouffant haired, manner-less woman in her seventies driving by in her convertible BMW.  She decided to let loose a barrage of scathing commentary about how we were parked and Steve lost it.  He went running towards her, yelling loudly and angrily, and gave the appearance that he was going to jump in her car and give her "what fer!".  This scared the bajeebers out of her as this crazed lunatic headed her way, arms waving in the air as if he was suddenly Italian.  She floored her car, bouffant flattening in the wind like a dog riding with it's head out the window, and she was out of there. 

It was one moment later when AAA showed up which was good for all of us, and Sarasota in general.  We got to spend another night there waiting on our part to be delivered the next day.  And we were forced to rent a minivan which in Steve's world was kin to living in the suburbs with a white picket fence, 2.4 kids, a dog and an empty revolver.  I thought he was going to cry.

So, it's not Morocco, but it was an adventure!  Bravely we went back to Sarasota again at the end of January for another show and I am happy to report we had sales and were incident free!  I guess all's well that ends well!