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Archive for the ‘Customer Service’ Category

Saskatoon as a “foreign speck of dust”

In Canada, Customer Service, Government, Saskatchewan, South of the boarder, This Means WAR on August 17, 2012 at 15:15

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“This is America. This ain’t Saskatoon or Piscataway or Buddhistan or some other foreign speck of dust. This is America. We have an army. A god damn capital-A Army. A big badass American army with big ol’ guns. And that army needs soldiers. Lots of soldiers. Lots of big god damn badass American soldiers to carry some big guns and show the freaks and the geek’s what’s what. There’s Jesus in Heaven and there’s god above and he gave man dominion over all things and guess what, that man is called The You Ess God Damn Army. Now you tell me, son: where exactly do you think we should find a bunch of god damn red-blooded boys ready to kill for god and country? Should we, should we, should we look up under the couch cushions? Should we look up under the floormat? Hey, I think I left m’ god damn US Army recruits on my nightstand table! Should we look there? Hot shot? Oh, you probably think we should look up in the god damn fabric store, eh? How bout we look for one million future globe-dominating soldiers up in the La-mozz class? Is that it? Maybe we should go on down to the, to the Yankee Candle store down at the outlet mall and ask if they have any assistant managers lookin’ for a little excitement? Maybe that’s where we’ll find the future Navy SEALS of America? Maybe a bunch of posey-picking little girls will beat up the next Sad-dam? Is that it? Or do you think maybe, maybe, maybe we should, lemme just propose this to ya, maybe we should take a look down at the ol’ Nascar track? You think? Ya think that one might be a better idea, smart guy? Maybe we should go have a look at the ol’ football stadium? For some strong young fellas? Would that be alright with you, pinky? Maybe we can find a few strong young boys who know a little something about kickin’ butt down at the drag-racing spot, eh? That alright with you, Albert Einstein? Thank you so much. So if it ain’t too much trouble and all, we’re just gonna keep on spendin’ our $80 million a year sponsorin’ some stock cars and football games under the name of the God Damn Army of the United States of America, thank you very much. So stop your god damn bellyaching about it. There’s still a few good men left in Congress, thank god.”

Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.) [pictured] responded during the debate: “We have a volunteer military and they have to advertise for recruits somewhere. …. Do you think they should advertise at the philharmonic? Or maybe you think they should advertise at the ballet. We could surely get some burly, mean paratroopers if we advertised at the ballet.”

Peter McKay’s response, “This means WAR!”







One City. Has Toronto finally gone past drawing lines on paper

In Customer Service, Government, Gravy, Me Myself & I, Rob Ford, The CBC, Toronto, Transportation, TTC on June 27, 2012 at 10:56

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This morning TTC Chair Karen Stintz outlined the new transit vision on Metro Morning (Listen Here) She explained that this wasn’t a cash grab.  This is intended as a dedicated funding plan for the future of transit in Toronto.  “Subways, Subways, Subways,” said Rob Ford during the last transit debate.  I say yes to him, but also LRTs and Bus Routes and Streetcars and Go Train.  Rob Ford may have made the debate loud but Stintz has somehow, quietly rolled out a plan, that just may work in Toronto’s favor.

The $30-billion, 30-year proposal would transform the city — taking transit to all corners of the municipality. And, with provincial and federal help, the dream scenario would cost Toronto property taxpayers $45 a year for four years.

Called OneCity, the massive plan is the brainchild of Councillors Karen Stintz and Glenn DeBaeremaeker, chair and vice-chair of the transit commission. The money, roughly a 2 per cent tax hike dedicated exclusively to transit, is bound to be the source of huge conflict at city council as early as October.

Stintz has not declared her intention to run for mayor, but this proposal will put a bull’s-eye on her back. It is also expected to embolden Mayor Rob Ford, who will vigorously oppose it because it raises taxes.

But if the plan finds traction among enough politicians at city hall — and there are enough transit goodies to satisfy councillors from all quadrants of the city — it could spark a humdinger of a battle that exceeds the rhetoric of last spring’s LRT-vs.-subway debate.

At stake are many political careers, and the commuting future of Canada’s largest city.”  Read Royson James full article in the Toronto Star (Here)


Transit City.jpg

Transit City 2009’ish

One City 2012

ParticipACTION + Coca Cola Canada…I’m confused

In Canada, Customer Service, From Coast to Coast to Coast, Government, Gravy, Media, Money, YouTube on June 20, 2012 at 09:59

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Listening to the Metro Morning before heading to work and I hear that ParticipACTION is back!  I’m thinking, pretty cool.  I so remember those old ads about getting up and getting fit.

Damn Swedes

Lazy Bones

Way To Go Canada!

Do It! Do It! Do It!

Raw Deal

Nice that the government is getting this program out to the people.  However it turns out that this is not completely a public funded initiative.  Turns out Coca Cola Canada, with their “Live Positively” social media effort is footing a large amount of cash for the programs relaunch.  Hmm Sugar Water and getting fit.  Probably not the best way to promote an active, healthy lifestyle.  Honourable Bal Gosal Minister of State (Sport) and Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health what is going on under your watch?


I do love my Coke, but this is a stretch, do you think?

IS the CBC worth saving…

In Customer Service, Government, Media, The CBC on June 7, 2012 at 10:45

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Beyond my love for the CBC, I just love my Toronto Public Library system.  Public access to public discussion.  After finding and posting Malcom Gladwell’s interviews I searched to see if this discussion was captured because I had missed getting out to see it live.  Happy it was.  Next, I’d like to see a discussion about the present and future of CBC Music.


The Toronto Star Talks: Whither the CBC
On April 30, 2012 Torontonians discussed the future of CBC with former CBC Vice President Richard Stursberg, fifth estate host Linden MacIntyre, Ryerson University Journalism professor Suanne Kelman, and Air Farce writer/director Percy Rosemond. Moderated by Star’s Martin Knelman

Part One

Part Two

Part Three


Hockey Night in Canada sans the #CBC

In Business, Canada, Customer Service, Have to Laugh, Hockey, Sports, The CBC, YouTube on May 29, 2012 at 16:24

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“Rogers Media is broadly hinting for the first time Tuesday that it would be keen to win the television rights that the CBC has held for six decades.

Broadcasters pay the National Hockey League for these lucrative rights, whose costs have been rising substantially.

In 2007, when HNIC’s rights were last on the auction block — the price the CBC paid was not revealed, but media reports suggested it ranged from $90 million to $100 million for the six-year contract, up $20 million from the previous deal.” via CBC

Loose our 2nd national anthem to TSN then loose the only reason to watch hockey in Canada to Sportsnet.  Thank goodness I’ve got CBCRadio3 (no pun)


Canadian Tire money is the real Canadian currency

In Canada, Customer Service, Money on May 26, 2012 at 08:11

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“Customers receive the brightly colored coupons, equivalent to a fraction of their shopping bill, at the checkout… Each bill features the face of fictional character Sandy McTire.  Over the years, the coupons—printed on counterfeit-resistant paper in denominations ranging from five Canadian cents (about five U.S. cents) to two dollars… Many small businesses across Canada accept the bills at face value, alongside Canadian dollars. Speculators buy and sell the paper.  About one billion bills are in circulation across Canada, worth an estimated 100 million Canadian dollars, the company estimates. Fresh bills are stored in high-security vaults…” via WSJ

It just sucks that Canadian Tire is planning to move to a plastic card in the next little.  I saved up my CT money when I was a kid and it paid for many a Father’s day gifts.


When a Leaf says it’s sorry.

In Business, Customer Service, Hockey, Me Myself & I, Toronto on April 10, 2012 at 11:26

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I’m not sure this is enough…but I’m listening.  The Ten Commandments of Customer Service

Know who is boss. You are in business to service customer needs, and you can only do that if you know what it
is your customers want. When you truly listen to your customers, they let you know what they want and how you
can provide good service. Never forget that the customer pays our salary and makes your job possible.

Be a good listener. Take the time to identify customer needs by asking questions and concentrating on what the
customer is really saying. Listen to their words, tone of voice, body language, and most importantly, how they
feel. Beware of making assumptions – thinking you intuitively know what the customer wants. Do you know what
three things are most important to your customer? Effective listening and undivided attention are particularly
important on the show floor where there is a great danger of preoccupation – looking around to see to whom else
we could be selling to.

Identify and anticipate needs. Customers don’t buy products or services. They buy good feelings and solutions to
problems. Most customer needs are emotional rather than logical. The more you know your customers, the better
you become at anticipating their needs. Communicate regularly so that you are aware of problems or upcoming

Make customers feel important and appreciated. Treat them as individuals. Always use their name and find ways
to compliment them, but be sincere. People value sincerity. It creates good feeling and trust. Think about ways to
generate good feelings about doing business with you. Customers are very sensitive and know whether or not you
really care about them. Thank them every time you get a chance. On the show floor be sure that your body
language conveys sincerity. Your words and actions should be congruent.

Help customers understand your systems. Your organization may have the world’s best systems for getting things
done, but if customers don’t understand them, they can get confused, impatient and angry. Take time to explain
how your systems work and how they simplify transactions. Be careful that your systems don’t reduce the human
element of your organization.

Appreciate the power of “Yes”. Always look for ways to help your customers. When they have a request (as long
as it is reasonable) tell them that you can do it. Figure out how afterwards. Look for ways to make doing business
with you easy. Always do what you say you are going to do.

Know how to apologize. When something goes wrong, apologize. It’s easy and customers like it. The customer
may not always be right, but the customer must always win. Deal with problems immediately and let customers
know what you have done. Make it simple for customers to complain. Value their complaints. As much as we
dislike it, it gives us an opportunity to improve. Even if customers are having a bad day, go out of your way to
make them feel comfortable.

Give more than expected. Since the future of all companies lies in keeping customers happy, think of ways to
elevate yourself above the competition. Consider the following:
◦    What can you give customers that they cannot get elsewhere?
◦    What can you do to follow-up and thank people even when they don’t buy?
◦    What can you give customers that is totally unexpected?

Get regular feedback. Encourage and welcome suggestions about how you could improve. There are several ways
in which you can find out what customers think and feel about your services.
◦    Listen carefully to what they say.
◦    Check back regularly to see how things are going.
◦    Provide a method that invites constructive criticism, comments and suggestions.

Treat employees well. Employees are your internal customers and need a regular dose of appreciation. Thank them
and find ways to let them know how important they are. Treat your employees with respect and chances are they
will have a higher regard for customers. Appreciation stems from the top. Treating customers and employees well
is equally important.


A 24 to 19 loss isn’t losing by 2 votes

In Customer Service, Government, Gravy, Rob Ford, Toronto, Transportation, TTC on March 23, 2012 at 10:46

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Doug Ford: “Yes there was money. Both sides were fighting for the same chunk of money. This decision was won by 2 votes. Mammoliti was away today. Two votes.”

I actually got to watch all 30+ hours of the Toronto City Council debate on LRT’s vs Subways.  It started on Wednesday, March 21st, 2011

Beyond all of the cat call, and lack of any understanding by Doug and Co., I’m happy with the result, but still amazed by the lack of understand from the Mayor and his inner circle.   There was no plan to pay for subways.  “A pie graph would be nice. Just something that would show where the sources of funding would come from.” from Councillor Josh Colle.  That was the single largest reason why he lost the vote.  The last minute plan to create a parking tax to bring $100 million was a start but in the end, wasn’t even supported by the mayor.  Councillor Jaye Robinson, a member of the Mayor’s executive said it best during the debate yesterday,

“To me it’s a very disappointing day for Toronto if this indeed goes through, because most international cities that have revered best practice transit system have a grid that’s looped so that you can get around your city in a seamless manner.

The connectivity I think is very important to Torontonians, because people have to get across the city to work, live and play. And if you can’t do that without getting on and off different systems and have to go through complicated transfer points, that is not an effective system. I did vote for the LRT on Eglinton, and I stand by that vote, because it was seamless, you don’t have to transfer when the LRT becomes at grade or below grade.

I would like to see a subway on an incremental basis go across Sheppard. Councillor [Mike] Del Grande put forward a great motion because it proposes a revenue tool. I’m disappointed that the Mayor didn’t rally behind that motion. I think that’s very disappointing. I want to work with the Mayor, I want to work with all members of council, but I think it’s unfortunate that he didn’t back that very critical motion. We definitely have to [build Sheppard] on an incremental basis but that’s not a bad thing.

Residents have been saying to me for years, why haven’t we for decades been building one subway station at a time? And we haven’t done that and now we’re in this place where we have to have a knee jerk reaction and move forward, but is that truly what’s right for the city of Toronto?”

The second reason is the continued barking that the LRT is a Streetcar.  Councillor Raymond Cho tries to explain it Doug Ford.

His brother, mayor Ford has already stated that he’ll be rallying the troops for his re-election in 2014. “Obviously the campaign starts now and I’m willing to take anyone on to fight streetcars against subways in the next election and I can’t wait for that,” he said.  It’s over Rob…deal with it.


You just have to laugh out loud

Rob Ford writes for the Globe & Mail

In Customer Service, Government, Gravy, Have to Laugh, Rob Ford, Toronto, Transportation, TTC on February 23, 2012 at 15:29

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Try to enjoy it.  Please visit the original page here in the Globe & Mail.  The comments alone are worth it.


A better way to retool Toronto’s ailing TTC

Toronto is one of the most congested cities in North America, something that costs our economy $6-billion every year, according to the Toronto Board of Trade. The impact on families is just as bad. The average Toronto commute is 24 minutes longer than in Los Angeles: That’s 100 hours a year better spent playing with children, exercising or even working a little longer to save for vacation. This is a quality of life issue, not just an economic one.


Major transit systems in Toronto are built and managed by the Toronto Transit Commission, an organization that came into its own in the 1940s with the construction of its first subway. Today, the TTC is a designated essential service moving more than 1.5 million customers every day.

The TTC is a jewel in Toronto’s crown – but it has lost its shine. It has become a large, inefficient organization. Just over a year ago, I told the TTC it needed to make serious improvements. I wanted to see cleaner vehicles, subway stations and better customer service over all. While the TTC has made some changes, real improvement requires top-down leadership. It’s not just another project.

The TTC’s core business model was developed at a time when federal and provincial governments provided major operating subsidies. Rightly or wrongly, that time is over. It’s time for the organization to undertake a complete rethink of its mission, vision and fundamental business model. The TTC needs to reduce its cost base while maximizing the value of its real-estate assets, its retail opportunities and its licensing opportunities. In short, a new leader is required to reshape the TTC and move it forward with a vision that will serve Toronto to the end of this century.

The TTC must become a sustainable, world-class transit system that connects people with jobs, homes, families and recreation. It must be rapid and reliable. Operational excellence should produce superior customer satisfaction and outstanding efficiency. This will attract new riders out of their cars, reducing congestion and commuting times.

I passionately believe a world-class city builds world-class rapid transit. Toronto’s old “Transit City” plan, with projected vehicle speeds only slightly faster than buses, was never planned to be rapid. Subways will make Toronto a world-leading 21st-century city.

A hundred years from now, Toronto will have more subway lines providing reliable high-speed transportation for millions more people. The only real question is whether we will start building those subways now, or wait another 20 years and build them at 10 times the cost. Inevitably, though, we will have subways.

I believe we should start building subways now. And we shouldn’t stop.

We can afford subways. Gordon Chong’s recent report on the Sheppard subway identifies a number of revenue sources, including development charges and tax increment financing. His estimates are conservative and many industry sources say these can produce more revenue than he projects. Dr. Chong also identifies a number of additional revenue tools that can fill in any funding gap that may exist.

According to KPMG, a modest parking levy could generate more than $90-million annually. That would fund a public-private partnership model to build the Sheppard subway and generate ongoing revenue for future subway expansion. Some partnership models don’t require any taxpayer funding in the first few years. Parking revenue during those years could fund early implementation of a bus rapid transit solution in the Finch corridor. With such funding available, Toronto should move forward with a Sheppard subway plan.

With a revitalized, modernized TTC and a commitment to start building subways now and keep on building them, Toronto will continue as Canada’s economic engine. In fact, Toronto can become the world’s preferred city for raising a family, building a business and enjoying an urban vacation. The time to start is now.


In BlackBerry, Canada, Customer Service, Have to Laugh, RIM on December 2, 2011 at 09:53

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It’s just about sums up this wonky story. Thanks to Julius No, Ph.D. from the CBC comment page, ” This kind of Bold behaviour should not be in the Playbook! They should Torch these guy’s passports for this! @ those RIM guys, here’s a Pearl of wisdom: your company has hit a Curve in the road but when you’re in the sky you need to play it straight. Sorry, best I can come up without my first Java….”


From the Canadian Press

Drunk RIM workers fined $70K for disrupting flight

“Two Ontario employees of Blackberry maker Research in Motion are facing a big fine after their drunken rowdiness forced an Air Canada flight from Toronto to Beijing to be diverted to Vancouver on Monday.

Forty-five-year-old George Campbell of Conestogo and 38-year-old Paul Alexander Wilson of Kitchener have been ordered to pay restitution of $71,757 after pleading guilty to mischief.

They were also given suspended sentences and probation for a year.”