Mena (Mee-na? Meh-na?) posted about great customer service and I agree that excellence should be rewarded. (And perhaps I'll write a Time Warner Broadband bashing post at some point as well, too.) My best customer service experience, by far, has been with Factset. Factset is an online financial data provider used by many large institutions to get stock prices, income statistics, etc. Sure, we do pay a lot for the service, but there are a lot of services that we pay heavily for that don't have the kind of support that Factset does. Many times, I've relied on representatives from Factset to follow up on problems, and while they can't always answer a question right away, they'll always get back to me that day with a status update. The most impressive work came from another service rep there who was guiding me through a process to build some customized groups of companies. The work was very tedious and after he showed me how to do one group, he offered to actually do the work for me! I must have had 21 customized groups of 10-15 companies each... easily would have taken me about 2-3 hours to do and he had it done by the end of the day. I'm sure he was able to do it faster, but still. Once I e-mailed him an Excel file of how I wanted the groups set up, he did all of the necessary work on Factset. I nearly fell off my chair when he offered. I've got to believe that with service like that, their retention rate is extremely high.
You can now register for my class at the Learning Annex! I'm not thrilled about the "And fatten your wallet" tagline and its not how I'd like to portray the class. Its really for serious minded professionals interested in career development, not people looking for get rich quick schemes. Alas, they're trying to bring people in and sell the program hard, so I can't knock them too hard. :)
The whole world seems to be playing the "WWGD?" game. (What Will Google Do?) From browsers to VOIP, the amount of anticipation over Google's next move is out of control... and why not? The value of Google as a platform is really immeasurable. There are markets that Google could probably dominate tomorrow if they wanted to code a new offering on their front page tonight. Google's internal five year plan is probably the single most valuable corporate espionage target out there now... Who wouldn't want to know what the Google Good Guys are planning to do with all their IPO money? I just discovered Google's book publicity tool last night. Any publisher can send a copy of their book to Google, and they'll scan it up and tie it into their index, along with a link to purchase the book. Thought Amazon couldn't be strong armed? What happens if they discover that a huge proportion of their likely to buy traffic is coming straight from a Google book search? Maybe Google might want a special discount for Googlers on Amazon. This company is just a force to be reckoned with and it probably has more flexibility in its future direction than anyone else. Kind of makes Microsoft seem like old news.
I think it will be an interesting trend to watch as search tools start trying to interface with content and products that are already located within the catalogues of other businesses. It has already started with Froogle and its only going to continue as search portals encroach into areas like real estate, travel listings, and perhaps even online dating. What if you could Google search "single brunette AND early 20's AND New York City" and come up with results from Match, Spring Street, Love(at)AOL, AND eHarmony? Throw in Friendster while you're at it. There's a level of content that isn't just floating around.... its within a lot of these databases and its only a matter of time before search engines break on through. They'll be forced to b/c they simply don't have enough content to keep up with the demand for advertising.
Jeff the Intern just came up with a great idea, but I coined the term. He and Marcy were both needing to work on two different parts of the same spreadsheet, but Marcy had to close out of it before he could just stick in the two numbers he needed to. He suggested that two people should be able to open the same file and, with two different color cursors, simultaneously add stuff to it. Brilliant! I call it "Microsoft Office 2-Player Mode." :) Now that's collaboration!
Plus, if you click "Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Select, Start" before the file opens, you get 30 lives.