Jeff the Great outlaws Realtors!

I had another "wholy shit, are you kidding me" moment the other night. I was working my sales job and had the opportunity to pitch the Treo 700w to a customer. The Treo is made by Palm and probably the most powerful PDA/cell phone on the market. It runs on the Windows Mobile operating system (so it acts just like your laptop), has a full QWERTY keyboard, 1.3 megapixel camera, email/contacts/calendar, etc, etc, etc.
My customer wasn't sure if she needed such a device. I asked what business she was in and she told me that she's a realestate broker. Since I am such an amazing sales person, I went into my pitch: "Here's an example of how you'll use this divice in your job," I said. "Say you're driving around and you find a home that is perfect for one of your clients. You take a picture of it with the phones 1.3 mp camera, email it to your client while standing in the driveway, call them to arainge for a showing, then use your phone to unlock the lockbox on the front door." Pretty impressive example if I don't say so myself.
Her response: "I'd NEVER do that for a client. They find homes on their own, I just consult them through the process."
Are you kidding me? Does she really think she deserves her share of the 6% commission most agents charge? Realtors must be the most overrated professionals in modern time. I have yet to meet one that does work equivilent to the amount they charge. To make things work, they are baisically a union that controls their market like a comunist government.
I beleive the internet has started a revolution in the realestate businesses. It is not a quick processes, but we are in the midst of change. Give it 10 years and I'd guess realtors go the way of the travel agent. I read recently that the Portland Oregon metro area (my hometown) has more realestate brokers per capita than any time in history. At one point last summer, there was 0.8 listings per realtor. For all you brokers out that that translates to LESS THAN 1 LISTING EACH!
So I ask the question, when was the last time you booked a trip through a travel agent?
-Jeff the Great


Jeff the Great 'punches in' for work

Working my new part-time retail sales jobs has really opened my eyes to the virtues of good customer service. I've seen it from the eyes of a consumer for years, now I get the view from behind the counter.
Last night while working I witnessed a very poor act of customer service that I fear is all too common. I was working with a coworker who was scheduled off at 5:30pm, leaving me on my own for the last 3.5 hours of business. He stayed late to finish a big, complicated sale and was ready to go by 7pm. By that time the store had gotten busy and I found myself helping 3 customers at once.
As my coworker finished his sale and prepared to leave, I asked if he could help a waiting customer by making one routine task on his account. My simple request was met with this comment: "I normally would but I already clocked out." Then, he turned and walked out of the store.
I was shocked, not only as his coworker but as a consumer as well. This little act said a lot about what his priorities are....and I can tell you that good customer service isn't one of them. I couldn't imagine doing what he did, if only for the simple concept of brand image.
If you were a customer in our store at the time, what would have gone through your mind?
-Jeff the Great


Jeff the Great says "The Customer's not always right!"

So is the customer always right? Don't even get me started on that one. But I do wonder if there should be a balance between kissing the customers but and saying "your business isn't that valuable to me" and moving on.

Great article from StartupJournal.com: http://www.startupjournal.com/howto/management/20061211-memos.html

-Jeff the Great


Jeff the Great condemns a lazy nation

If you haven't guessed by now, America has a lazy society! I see it every day whether it's the person that rides the MAX 1 block instead of walking or they out of shape mom and kids in the fast food drive through.

What suprise's me is the extent some people take it, especially when it comes to work and their income. I recently started doing some part time, commission based work in retail. In that environment customers rule and customer service is everything. My co-workers blow me away with one little thing they do that can have a silent but deadly impact (okay, so I exaggerate).

I drove past the front of the store the other day, on my way to park in the back of the lot, and noticed 3 employee's parked side-by-side in the spots most near the front door to our store. Furthermore, no other parking was available anywhere close by.

Am I the only one that thinks saving the most convenient parking for customers is common sense? Are we too lazy to walk a few extra yards so your [paying] customers don't have to? What if a potential customer drives by, doesn't find a spot, and moves on to the next strip mall?

We dress nice, we say thank you, we provide knock-out service....then we make our customers park far away so we don't have to walk in the rain. Are you kidding me?

-Jeff the Great

Jeff the Great goes to the movies

I had the displeasure of going out to a movie the other night. The company was great (my amazing wife), the seats were comfortable, and the movie was okay.

The displeasure came from two things. First, the food and beverage prices! It's been a while since I've been out to the movies, thanks to technology, and I was shocked at how expensive things have gotten! Theaters have always been over priced, but $4 for a medium soda.....are you kidding me?

To make matters worse, my wife and I were forced to wait in line for a good 5 minutes even though the place was darn near empty. Would it kill them to at least serve me my $4 diet coke in a speedy manner? I counted 16 registers at the concession stand, but only 1 person working.

So they don't only do they bring in bundles of cash from snacks, they save a ton of money by making some poor 16 year old minimum-wage-earning girl work all by herself when 3 or 4 people would have been appropriate.

Regal, UA, AMC, you better wake up to the real world. With technology advancing like it is, you can't afford to piss off customers like you did me.

-Jeff the Great


Jeff the Great takes control of Charles Schwab!

You gotta love the instant gratification the internet provides. One minute you're being ticked off by a company you were thinking of doing business with, then 2 minutes later you are writing about your bad experience on your blog for all to read!

I was jumping around the internet today, doing some research on a new firm to invest my retirement savings with. I'd seen the ad's on T.V. for Charles Schwab and thought I'd check them out. After clicking through 8-10 pages on their site over a 5 minute period, a pop-up window (that wasn't blocked by my Google toolbar for some reason) asked me if I'd be interested in chatting with a Charles Schwab customer service professional. I had a few questions, so what the heck...might as well. What a great use of technology! They noticed I was on the site for a while, probably a prime target as a new customer.

Well, Schwab does it all wrong. After clicking the button to accept the chat I was put in que waiting for someone to help me out. Wait a minute, they asked ME to chat...not the other way around. The chat window said I was next in line. Little did I know that next in line meant a 12 MINUTE WAIT! After the first few minutes the only reason I kept waiting was to see what the final time would be.

To make matters worse, once a customer service person finally came online to help me out, he closed our chat after my first line of text which expressed my frustration with the process. You call that customer service? I mean these people's slogan is "Talk to Chuck" yet I found that nearly impossible.

What a perfect example of a poor use of technology. They had the capability to target me for a chat, but failed to follow through with proper customer service. While some businesses use the internet to gain customers, Schwab is using it to turn them away.

Charles Schwab, you failed to get my business. Congratulations.

-Jeff the Great


Jeff the Great ousts Oprah!

For some reason I have never really gotten why so many people love Oprah. They don't just LIKE Oprah, they LOVE Oprah. So much different than your average celebrity...or any celebrity for that matter.

With the extra time on my hands I've tuned in to see what the big deal is. I've watched about 5 episodes in the last 3 weeks am more confused than every.

Frankly, I hate the lady. Watching the show the past few weeks has done nothing but fuel my feelings. I guess it's just because she tries so hard to let everyone know she's not average...not like the rest of the world. Seems weird, since most celebrities work hard to do the opposite.

One scene I couldn't believe was this last Tuesday. The show was something about Oprah and Gayle's road trip. Apparently Gayle loves the movie "Wedding Crashers" and thought it would be fun to do some crashing of their own on the trip.

So in Tulsa, Oklahoma they check into their hotel and invite themselves to 2 weddings being held in the building. Oprah walked right in, camera crew and all, up to the bride and says "Hi, I'm Oprah." The wedding instantly became a circus with the focus 100% on Oprah rather than the bride. Then they did it again at another couples wedding.

Who does she think she is? Why does she think that any stranger would welcome her in their wedding? More importantly, why does she think she's that important? Heaven forbid she goes somewhere and the spotlight isn't on her. And don't get me started on her failure to marry her longtime boyfriend.

It gets worse when they next day they drive to a small town and attend Sunday morning church. It's not that she attended church, but her attitude while there. Just about every sentence started and ended with thank you Jesus/praise the Lord/God is good. Have you ever heard her talk that way? I haven't. So what, it just comes out when she goes to church with the cameras rolling? Talk about being a Sunday morning Christian. If that is truly how she feels, I challenge her to say those things all the time...on every show.

Why does this woman think she is so special? Why do other women believe this too? Is it just that normal American women want to be her? Rich, worshiped, and unattached? Please, wives/mothers/daughters, don't become her.

Try crashing my wedding, Oprah. Try taking over my church on Sunday morning.

-Jeff the Great


Jeff the Great says "Customer Service is King!"

On Monday I witnessed one of the best examples of true customer service. Being an independent consultant and working out of the home, I had some free time to accompany my wife to the salon for a cut and color this last Monday. While waiting in the lobby area reading my book I overheard a conversation with a customer and the receptionist.

The customer had come in for what she said was her 10am appointment. I could see the confusion on the receptionist face as she searched the appointment book on her computer screen. She then excused herself and came back shortly with another employee. The next employee warmly greeted the customer, offered her some coffee, and took her back to get her hair washed in prep for color.

What amazed me is was what I found out next. The woman was a customer, but didn't have an appointment for that day. Despite a full house and the obvious mistake, the salon employee's greeted this customer just as if she was the queen of the world and promptly began to service her just like anyone with an appointment.

Most employee's I deal with in my day to day activities would have been quick to say "no, you don't have an appointment" which would likely embarrass the client and cause an argument. Futher more, most would have said they just didn't have time that day.

These people went above an beyond by making the client feel welcome and cared for. There first class service is an example to the rest of 'em that just aren't doing it right. If only everyone did things like the Justin Hickox Studio, the world would be a much more friendly place.

-Jeff the Great


Jeff the Great says "Think like me!"

I was at the post office yesterday and overheard a comment that sums up the United States Postal Service in a nut shell. It's things like this that are fueling the success of FedEx and UPS.

While waiting in line at the Hillsboro central post office, I heard a postal worker say this to a customer:

"You have two options, the less expensive one sends the letter up to Olympia Washington, then back to Portland, then to the recipient in 3 days. The more expensive option sends the letter to Portland, then delivered to the recipient in 2 days." (I deduced that the letter was going to another Portland area recipient)

What?!? Are you Kidding me!?! So let me get this straight, the letter travels farther, with more stops, over a longer period of time, and it costs less? Then the more direct and simple route costs more? It's like they go out of their way to make sure the less expensive option takes longer. Even worse, they actually transport the letter to make sure of it!

Here's a thought. Keep clients happy by saying "It's your lucky day, ma'am. Since this letter is staying in the metro area, we can deliver it in 2 days for a low, low price."

Or, just say you don't offer the less expensive shipping in-town...It's 2 day only.

At the very least, don't bother with actually transporting the item! If they must have a ridiculous set up like this, just let the letter sit in a Portland warehouse. What do they accomplish by transporting an envelope up and down I-5?

The USPS provides an amazing opportunity for Supply Chain, Customer Service, and HR consultants. In fact, I think the BA101 class at the local community college could probably redesign the organization to operate better in no more than a few class sessions.

If only everyone thought like me. The world would be a great place.

-Jeff the Great


Jeff the Great names Mark Cuban 'Under Boss'.

I've always liked Mark Cuban, I think he is great for the NBA. If the league had more owners like him, they probably wouldn't be in the trouble they are. If only the Blazers could get someone like him....hum.

Cuban has a great blog, in fact one of the best I've read. He tackles a lot of business issues and in a recent post he explored the Oklahoma/Oregon football game that we all know so well. He makes some great points about management and is one of the few people that truly understands the implications of the blown calls in the now famous Saturday afternoon football game.

I'll let him do the talking, check out the post here: Blog Maverick

-Jeff the Great


Jeff the Great outlaws 'intelligent footwear'!

As many of you know, on Monday I left my employer of the last 5 1/2 years. I've got a few things in the works and if I haven't spoken with you already, I will soon.

But I have a lot of time on my hands now, as you can imagine. I took my dog on a walk today down to the post office to mail some thank you notes. I'm a little over a mile away from home when the rear air bag of my Nike Air Max 360's pops! Now this is no ordinary shoe...the first ever to completely eliminate the mid-sole. For those of you who are footwear rookies...the midsole provides about all of the support in a traditional shoe. So I finish my walk....another 1.5 miles with a left shoe that collapses down the the pavement in the heal. My entire leg is still killing me!

Now this couldn't of happened when I was still with said employer, oh no! No free replacement or employee store discount for me. Full price if I want a new pair. Do you know when the last time was that I paid full price for a pair of shoes? I don't know either.

I swear Mr. PHK must order the placement of some fancy computer chip in the heal of every employee's shoe. That way when you leave the company, they screw you! All I can picture is Knight, in the voice of the Soup Nazi from Sienfeld, saying "No Shoes For You!" and flipping the secret switch that blows my air bag!

In the meantime, I am excited to buy my first pair of shoes from another brand in more than 5 years. I've been wanting a pair of Keen's and will buy them the minute I get my first pay check from a new job! This company is hot and if they keep doing things right, they'll dominate both the outdoor and brown shoe markets in a matter of years. Here is a pic of one of their most popular styles:

-Jeff the Great


Jeff the Great says "What were they thinking?"

I just found the blog of a friend of mine, and read a hilarious post. Could have copied the text here, but want to give him credit for it.

Unintentionally Worst Company URL's


-Jeff the Great


Jeff the Great takes over Starbucks!

I am up at 1am blogging tonight because I had a venti coffee at around 9:30pm. You might be saying, "dude, you could have gotten a decaf!" Well, I'll get to that in a minute.

I am blown away by how poorly Starbucks seems to be managed these days. They have the world in their hands but are pulling a Munson (if you've seen King Pin, you know what I am talking about).

I used to walk into a Starbucks and the friendly employees behind the counter knew my name and my drink.....I never waited more than 30 seconds. Now days it's so much different. The status quo is to first wait in line for 2,3, even 4 minutes. On a good day, when I get to the counter I am greeted with a "hi..." then a long pause. Most days it's just the long pause and a stare. No, "what can I make for you today" or "good morning sir, what drink would you like?" Just a look of entitlement, like I'll give them my order regardless so why bother with the pleasantries? They are lucky that their coffee is so damn good that I still suffer through the bullshit described above.

Tonight, on my way to help out with the high school youth group at church, I decide I needed some caffeine to help keep me awake until midnight. I stopped by the Starbucks on the way, as this summer they advertised "now open 24 hours!" Of course, I got there and they weren't open. Would it kill them to give it a few months before throwing in the towel?

I travel a few miles out of the way to a Starbucks I know is open. I wait in line, and am greeted with the same blank stare and sense of entitlement that I described earlier. I order my half decaf, half regular drip coffee and am told that they hadn't changed out the old pot of decaf as they are required to do every hour. "Did I still want it," she asked. Well, no, not after what you just told me! She reluctantly tells me she can sell me a half caf americano for the same price, but after my smart ass comment she tells me it's on the house.

Now, do you think they made my half caf americano correctly? Of course not, the put a decaf on the bar, and when I questioned if it was correct the friendly barista just about bit my head off for questioning him! After it sat unclaimed for nearly 5 minutes, he asked what I ordered so he could make it up. I wanted my half caffeine for god sake....That's why I was there!

Well, to make a long story not so long, I asked if I could just have my original drink as they surely had brewed a new pot of coffee while I was waiting for my free americano. He stared at the timer for an unusually long amount of time, then proceeded to poor my drink. When he handed it to me I asked if it was the same old pot of coffee from nearly 1o minutes ago when I had ordered and indeed I was. "So what do you want then" he asked. "I JUST WANT A HALF DECAF SOMETHING, IS THAT TOO HARD TO UNDERSTAND?!" I asked.

Since then I've been wired all night. I think the asshole made me a quadzillion, regular caffeine americano. Son of a bitch....I hate that place (until tomorrow morning when I want the best cup of coffee this side of Paris). O well....nite.

-Jeff the Great


Jeff the Great says "You are the company you keep"

They say that people look like their dogs. People select dogs that remind them of themselves. Tonight, while at an HOA meeting, I had the pleasure of being described as a pit bull. Not in a bad way, as a compliment, I guess. I just never thought of myself that way.

Guess I just thought of myself as more of a German Shepard. You know, big, strong, smart, loyal, hairy, etc. But the pit bull is thought of as the most terrifying and deadliest bread. Known to kill other dogs and animals, not to mention the occasional kid. The only trait I can think of that we have in common is a constant desire to eat!

So what are you? Do you think others describe you the same as you think of yourself? Is there even a dog that encompasses who you are? I'm looking forward to what others have to say.

If you're not sure what kind of dog you are, take this online test.

-Jeff the Great


Jeff the Great authorizes new media!

Some of you already know that I love to read news on the internet. I've even been known to send link after link when I see something I think you'll like. So, thought I'd share with you the various sources I get my news from. Hopefully you'll find some of these as interesting and informative as I have:

News Sites
NY Times Technology page
KGW- local television news

Commentary & Informative
Startup Journal
Realestate Journal
College Journal
Career Journal

Playbooks & Profits
Mike Jones
Blog Maverick
Nau Thought Kitchen

-Jeff the Great


Jeff the Great single handedly fixes Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Company recently announced that they've hired Alan Mulally away from Boeing to become their new CEO. Along with his $18.5 million signing bonus, he'll be looking to cut over 10,000 jobs (much like he did at Boeing).

In light of these recent announcements, I've been thinking this is the perfect opportunity for this American icon to re-shape their image and regain dominance.

Ford should take this opportunity to be an industry leader and announce that they will become a hybrid only manufacturer. That's right, nearly every Ford vehicle would be a hybrid with the exception of the Mustang, F-Series trucks, and the Expedition. From 2008 on, every Explorer, every Focus, every Ranger, every Escape, every Fusion, every Freestyle, and...well... You get the point.

Just imagine the change in public image. Most consumers would happily buy a hybrid if a) they didn't cost more and b) were more available. Ford would quickly be known as THE hybrid car company. Often all it takes is one company to step out and take a stand. Additionally, if Ford made this move many other car makers would be pressured to follow suit. Cost would come down, availability would increase, and demand would be both met and created. Your main economic forces are taken care of.

So what if? If you needed a new SUV and the Ford Explorer came standard as a hybrid for little to no extra cost, would you go for a test drive? With over 10,000 people being laid off, bonds rated as junk, sales tumbling, and profit non-existent, what do they have to loose? It's now or never.

-Jeff the Great

Jeff the Great hands Oregon a win on silver platter.

They did it! My Ducks beat Oklahoma in the biggest game of the last 2 decades! Now the bad part: fans, players, and coaches will have to hear about the controversy for years to come. At least for the next 3 1/2 months, that is.

If you haven't heard already, the national media and Sooner fans everywhere are claiming the official's blew a call on the late 4th quarter on-side kick by the ducks. Most, if not all, of these people think they know more than the officials. They think they saw something the official's didn't. They think they had camera angles that the officials didn't, and anything else that makes them feel better. Most importantly, they think that the chaotic image paused and shown over and over again shows an Oregon Ducks hand touching the ball. Because only 1 player on the field was wearing black gloves, right? Only one player on the field has black skin, right? Of course it was a Duck, he's the only one that fits the description.

If it is so obvious that a Duck touched the ball, why did the official choose these exact words:

"After further review, there is conclusive evidence the receiving team touched the ball . . ."

If you disagree, jump to this blog , read it & weep.

-Jeff the Great

UPDATE: The Pac-10 commissioner responded to demands from the OU president. The officiating staff has been suspended for 1 game and a formal apology has been made. Too bad the Pac-10 commissioner HAS NO BALLS! Doesn't he realize bad calls are made in almost any game? He failed to mention the bad calls (one inparticular) that went the way of OU. No apology about that. If you want to let the Pac-10 commissioner know what you think, email him at thansen@pac-10.org (If he's changed it, try t_hansen@pac-10.org).


Jeff the Great starts the worlds greatest blog!

Everyone's doing it, right? Figured I'd try the whole 'blog' thing. I can't promise it'll be exciting but at least it will entertain me.

I welcome all....family, friends, strangers, colleagues, etc. Thanks for stopping by.

-Jeff the Great