In Strangers, Centenarian Finds Literary Lifeline, by Sarah Kramer

In Strangers, Centenarian Finds Literary Lifeline

Stephanie Sandleben, a yoga instructor with tattoos on each shoulder, just finished Chapter 19 of Tina Brown’s biography of Diana, Princess of Wales. Sara Nolan, a 28-year-old graduate student, is 30 pages into a Rumer Godden novel. Mark Kalinowsky, 48 and a real estate broker, has long since stopped reading; he just comes to chat.

These three disparate characters are part of a ragtag crew that cycles through the worn one-bedroom Murray Hill walk-up where Elizabeth Goodyear, who recently celebrated her 101st birthday, is confined after two knee operations. A lifelong lover of books, Ms. Goodyear lost her sight about four years ago, but in its place has acquired a roster of readers who stop by regularly, bringing with them dogs, gifts from their international travels and offerings of dark chocolate, the elixir she has savored daily since she was 3.

“Usually there’s something going on here,” Ms. Goodyear observed the other day during Ms. Sandleben’s weekly visit. “It’s strange. You’d think if you got to be 101, nothing much would happen. But it does.”

It started with a neighbor two generations younger, who once asked Ms. Goodyear to watch her bags while she ran back upstairs to fetch a bow and arrows for a trip to Maine.

As Ms. Goodyear grew more frail, the neighbor, a yoga instructor named Alison West, started stopping by to kiss her goodnight each evening. On learning that Ms. Goodyear had outlived her savings, Ms. West raised money to pay for her rent-controlled apartment and part of her home health aide’s wages. Then, about five years ago, she posted a sign seeking readers at yoga studios downtown and sent out an e-mail message that was forwarded and forwarded again.

“Liz has no family at all, and all her old friends have died, but she remains eternally positive and cheerful and loves to have people come by to read to her or talk about life, politics, travel — or anything else,” the message read. “She also loves good chocolate!”

Reading to the blind or the elderly is hardly novel. In New York City, two well-established programs, Lighthouse International and Visions/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, have hundreds of volunteers who make home visits or read to clients at their offices and in senior centers. The National Federation of the Blind provides a free telephone service through which people can hear articles from more than 200 newspapers and magazines, and the Jewish Guild for the Blind offers a similar program using special radios.

But the casual, organic way in which this particular group came together around Ms. Goodyear is a window into the way New York can be a small town, the way strangers become a community, the way books, reading and, especially, stories bind people together.

“I remember looking forward to seeing you, but also looking forward to hearing what’s happening next in the book,” Ms. Sandleben, the 30-year-old tattooed yoga instructor, told Ms. Goodyear the other day. “I was relieved when you told me that I was the only person reading the story because I didn’t want to miss out on anything.”

Rebecca Feldman was one of the first to visit Ms. Goodyear, and has since married, become a nurse and enrolled in graduate school to become a midwife. “When I first started visiting, I was afraid she’d be dead the next time I came,” said Ms. Feldman, 31, who is eight months pregnant and plans to soon bring a new baby to meet Ms. Goodyear. “When I tell people about her, I say I have this 101-year-old friend. I don’t think of it as volunteering anymore.”

Ms. Goodyear was born in 1907, a premature twin delivered at home in, as she said, “a suburb of Philadelphia whose name I cannot remember.” (Her twin, who weighed just a pound, died within an hour of birth.) On doctor’s orders, she said, she was placed in a bureau drawer with hot water bottles and fed “whiskey and cream” via medicine dropper.

She came to New York in 1928, seeking a stage career, but said that after six months at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, “they told me I had poise, personality and good looks but no acting ability.” Instead, Ms. Goodyear had a variety of jobs, including assisting the lighting director for the New York City Ballet and theater press agents. In between, she wrote or collaborated on 20 plays — including two, “Widow’s Walk” and “The Painted Wagon,” that made it to the stage — and saw many more, the titles of which she ticks off, alphabetically, in her mind to stave off loneliness and boredom.

After a brief marriage and an ectopic pregnancy, Ms. Goodyear moved to the Murray Hill walk-up in 1961, when the rent was $69. “Everything was red,” she said, laughing at the memory of asking a co-worker to repaint for her. “The windowsills, the walls, the hall, the doors, everything.”

She has taken dance lessons from Martha Graham, had drinks with Duke Ellington, spent a couple of hours with George Balanchine and his cats, and accompanied Gypsy Rose Lee, actress and burlesque entertainer, on a game show. One visitor recalled listening to Ms. Goodyear’s stories and then racing home to Google unfamiliar characters.

“I think I only remember the amusing things; I don’t remember any depressing things,” Ms. Goodyear said in an interview. “I think I just put them out of my mind. I know everybody has things that they want to forget, but I don’t even have to forget. I just don’t remember.”

Ms. Goodyear now has an aide from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help bathe, move and feed her. Her only medications are a monthly shot of vitamin B12 and one daily Tylenol her doctor prescribed because, as she put it, “I guess I have to do something.” Because she can no longer leave her apartment without an ambulette, her doctor makes house calls — once a year.

“He says he has to worry about his younger patients,” Ms. Sandleben said.

Ms. Goodyear may have a glass eye and some teeth missing, but she can recite detailed plotlines from books she read 60 years ago.

A couple of weeks after her 101st birthday, her refrigerator contained five bottles of Champagne and dark chocolate in truffle and bar forms. Birthday cards from her 100th were strung across a wall of the living room, above the plastic-covered table holding the beloved books the volunteers-turned-friends have been reading — many are novels by Rumer Godden, a 20th-century British writer whom Ms. Goodyear adores.

Glamour photos of Ms. Goodyear from the 1920s sit on the television. Four decades of bound copies of Theatre World line the hallway shelves. In Ms. Goodyear’s bedroom are a hospital bed and a couple of stuffed dogs. A “Do Not Resuscitate” sign is posted by the front door.

Ms. Nolan, the graduate student, started visiting Ms. Goodyear two years ago, but since moving to Colorado last August to study poetry, she calls once a week and reads to her over the phone.

Mr. Kalinowsky, the real estate broker, said he also began visiting Ms. Goodyear two years ago, after both his father and his grandmother died, because he missed being close to people from other generations.

Ms. Sandleben brings Ms. Goodyear chocolates from Costa Rica, Zurich, SoHo. And when she was away in Arizona on Ms. Goodyear’s most recent birthday, she got her whole family on the phone to sing to her.

“I don’t know how I ever managed to do it,” Ms. Goodyear said of her numerous friendships.

“You hook them in,” Ms. Sandleben teased.

“They come,” Ms. Goodyear responded, “and for some reason, they always come back.”


“This article says it al,” says Kate Loving Shenk.

Published in: on August 6, 2008 at 2:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Thank you Hillary, Bill and Chelsea

Published in: on June 12, 2008 at 4:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Stop Media Bias!! Media Bias Suppresses Votes!!

Published in: on May 23, 2008 at 7:36 am  Leave a Comment  

Not Ready To Make Nice

Published in: on May 16, 2008 at 6:39 am  Leave a Comment  

Hillary For President!!!

Published in: on May 2, 2008 at 7:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Misogyny Is Alive But Never Well

Gender and race in Politics: Is it real? Is it important?

Is it a distraction? Is it a way to divide and separate
from important discourse and meaningful discussion?

Or when someone blurts out a statement that is innocent
and then is twisted and pigeon-holed into race and gender
stereotypes,  I have to wonder–are these statements
controversies out of the proverbial closet and making
look carefully at themselves?

Or instead of looking at themselves, allow buttons to be
become angry and take to making self-righteous commentary,
Keith Olbermann did the other night in response to
Farraro’s remarks that started by saying that if her name
was Gerald
instead of Geraldine, she never would have been chosen to
be Walter
Mondale’s running mate in the 1980’s.

Why does Keith Olbermann, who denies making an endorsement
either candidate, seem to be endorsing Barak Obama?

Olbermann didn’t make a commentary when a woman on Obama’s
campaign staff
called Hillary a monster.

And why? Because he wasn’t angry enough. He is siding with
obvious media favoring of Barak over Hillary.

I was also guilty of not liking Hillary.

Again, this dislike was key for me to look more deeply
into who I
am as a woman.

Why wouldn’t I support a thoroughly capable, brilliant and
experienced woman
to be our next President?

She’s a woman with years and years of political experience
that spans prior
to her marriage to Bill Clinton.

Is the reason I wouldn’t support her BECAUSE she is
thoroughly capable and
brilliant, and I am afraid I am not?

When I disliked Hillary, I projected these insecurities on
to her.

Now that I love Hillary, I project my own capabilities and
outside of my self, to her.

Funny how love works.

Frank Marafiote, in the Hillary Clinton Quarterly, wrote a
great piece called:
“Women Who Hate Hillary Clinton.”

Marafiote says that professional women hate Hillary
because no matter what
they’ve accomplished, Hillary is smarter, has earned more,
and has “mashed
more men” than they have.

Professional women feel that their accomplishments pale
beside the likes
of Mrs. Clinton.

Marafiote says that feminists hate Hillary because she is
living proof
that for women to get ahead in the world, they must
subjugate themselves to
the white male power structure, use their married name,
change their hair,
clothes and values to make it in a male dominated world.

Why do country club Republican wives hate Hillary?

According to Marafiote, these are the women with expensive
degrees from Vassar,
Smith, Mount Holyoke and Wellesley who for years coasted
on their
inheritance or the support from their wealthy husbands.

And who are the people who love Hillary?

White, middle aged, middle class men. These men love
competence, as compared to the incompetence that surrounds
them and all of
us in the work place all day long.

Hillary’s the one they thought they married 20 years ago.

And she’s far less threatening than their own wives who
are statistically
more than likely to leave with their children, their homes
and their bank

So why do I love Hillary?

Because she is gutzy, beautiful, brilliant and resilient.

She will bring out those qualities for all women, if she
is our next President.

Kate Loving Shenk
Nursing Career Transformation

Published in: on March 13, 2008 at 11:31 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

I Am A Customer Service Angel

Magic Becky and Mooie Infinity, Second Life identities,
joined forces again to commemorate Becky Rhone-Nowlan’s new
Electronic book entitled: Secrets Of The Second Fortune.

This book is about Customer Service in the Internet business world
and explains that when we nurture our customers, we are perhaps doing the
greatest service of all.

MInfinity: You said recently that you were interested in the spiritual
aspects of Customer Service and that would be your next project.

MBecky: Not sure where I was going with that but am still up for going forward!!

MInfinity: So for the sake of the interview we can say that you are planning to
go in that direction.

MBecky: It may even shake a cobweb or two loose!!

MInfinity: We are all customer SERVANTS. What are your thoughts about that?
Have you ever heard of A Course In Miracle Prayer?

MBecky: I have heard of A Course in Miracles, yes.

MInfinity: This prayer–if used with reverence in the workplace
would cause all disharmony in our relationships with people to disappear.

Here’s the Prayer:

I am here only to be truly helpful
I am here to represent Him Who sent me–
I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do
Because He who sent me will direct me–
I will go wherever He sends me knowing He goes there with me–
I will be healed as He teaches me how to heal.

MBecky: Very nice!

MInfinity: Service to others is the highest form of service!!
And if we serve with a humble spirit, our motives will be pure.

MBecky: In that way anytime we have a customer, it is important to
remember that they are the reason we are in business.

MInfinity: All people will appear precious in our vision of them.
They are the most important people-how may we serve them?

MBecky: Yes, I think when dealing with people and customers  we look
at them through our own filters.
I think to rise above that we need to remove the filters.
That is how we get to the ideal that you are talking about.

MInfinity: This takes a tremendous dedication to self growth and self-discovery.

MBecky: Yes it does

MInfinity: As a nurse, my patients are my customers.

MBecky: It is all about the journey and we are the ones who create that.

MInfinity: But then again, I am the customer of the hospital, as an employee.

MBecky: Yes, that makes sense

MInfinity: In other words, the Customer Service Model must be upheld all the way across the board.

MBecky: And the patient is also a customer of the hospital.

MInfinity: The CS model being that we are all someone’s customer!!!

MBecky: Customer Service and dedication to service begins at the top and trickles down.
What the top thinks of customers is what you will find most of the others
who work there think.

MInfinity: Ideally, yes.

MBecky: That goes for lack of service too. And that isn’t ideal.

MInfinity: We have one of the best CS ratings in the country where I work, at my hospital.

MBecky: If there is an issue in how patients or customers are being treated,
I submit that if you go to the top, that’s where you will find your problem and solution.
How do the people at the top feel about their customers?

MInfinity: I believe the people at the top are so totally removed from the patient
that in reality, this CS excellence has started from the dedicated
nurses who work at the patient’s bedside.

MBecky: That is unusual in my experience. Let me ask you this:
Who hires the nurses that are providing the excellent care?

MInfinity: Nurse managers who are still somewhat remotely involved with the patients.

MBecky: The reason I ask is that usually when people are hired in a company or
corporation, there are certain similarities that are looked for.
Those who are in service to their customers or patients even at the top
levels will be looking for others who display the same skills.

MInfinity: I believe they are looking for that kind of excellence, yes.

MBecky: Which is how the trickle down effect usually works.

So it must be important to them on some level, other wise they
wouldn’t recognize it when they see it.

You see what is reflected from the inner.

MInfinity: And that is how it becomes a spiritual issue.

MBecky: Yes.

MInfinity: However, I can’t say that the hospital is conscious of this. But
on some level, higher forces are at play to make this a reality.

MBecky: That’s like if we are having a particularly challenging morning, rushing around,
you get stuck behind the slowest cars, you spill your coffee or worse forget
the coffee entirely.
Then you get to work and the first customer or patient is a challenge,
and you wonder why this is happening to you.

It all comes from the thoughts you think and the feelings you feel.
As to the higher forces, it’s all from within. So it’s the higher selves
involved with the upper echelon’s of the hospital.

MInfinity: Since I have started working at the hospital, I am now a strong
believer in the angels. I remember to pray for their assistance, and
the flavor of all interactions are deeper and kinder and have a flow to them
than if I forget to do this.
The higher echelons also respond to the angelic intervention.

MBecky: Of course, it is your higher self that is connecting to the forces
and power of the angels.

MInfinity: Angelic forces are especially strong in places like a hospital or
ANY place where we remember to call them in.

MBecky: That is very true.
Customer Service Angels
I like that.
I am a Customer Service Angel.
Are you?

MInfinity: We become the angels whom we call upon. I believe that.

MBecky: Of course, there is a part of us that feels pulled to be
in service to people- you in your way as a healer,
and me in my way as a teacher, in showing people ways that they can make
their own customers feel important.

And that is in any walk of life.

MInfinity: Burn out occurs when we think we have to do it all by ourselves.

MBecky: Think about the other everyday heroes: police, fireman, doctors, mothers!
Many allow ego to convince them that it is all about them.

MInfinity: Which is the cause of all human suffering.

MBecky: They become attached to what they do and get lost to the illusion.

My friend/teacher/mentor said something very powerful.
I keep it on my profile so I can remember it.

“All definitions of self are poor attempts of the ego to justify
our existence in the world. These poor definitions are ultimately
responsible for forming our attachments in the world.

“These attachments are then empowered within the illusion of having power
over us. They are the source of all human suffering. Thus attachments
serve to validate our egos position as victims of our experiences
of reality.”

-Virginia Levy

There is more but that is the part that means the most to me.

MInfinity: We become attached through prejudice and filters.

MBecky: I believe we create the prejudice and filters
as proof to convince ourselves of the truth of the illusion.

We set up the illusion and then go about finding proof that we are correct.

And the illusion is that we are all separate from The Source, from God/ess.
and that what and who we are aside from source is what is important.

MInfinity: When we think we are alone and separate, all hell breaks out.

MBecky: God/ess source (whatever one wants to call it) is always there.
When we feel separate, who moved?
There are many theories and systems and ideas out there- but they all come down
1.We are responsible for everything we create in our lives (including the
customer experiences that show up)
2. we are all spiritual beings creating a human experience
3. the experience we create is meant for each of us to further us along on our own journey.
We tend to forget those things and I think that’s when we begin to get lost on our journey.

MInfinity: I think that as we carry on to developing out Portable Empires, we must
keep these thoughts in mind.

MBecky: Yes, because that will determine the sort of empire we create.

MInfinity: That we are One With Spirit, and that we are never alone–and that we are
Servants to Our Customers!!!

And to everyone else,
And to ourselves,
A balance to be sure.

Kate Loving Shenk

Nursing Career Transformation

Published in: on February 29, 2008 at 10:23 pm  Comments (2)  

Beckey Rhone-Nowlan’s E-book Launched This Week!!!

Hello friends!!

Here is Becky Rhone Nowlan’s new e-book I thought everyone here should know about!!

Here is the letter I received in the email about it!!

PS Yours truly has a bonus included in it just for you!!!



Hello kate,

This is so exciting! I have finally finished my book. I know I have been talking about it for a long time finally everything is in place! When buying online, I have found service to be marginal at best. There have been a few standouts but for the most part there hasn’t been many business owners who have done anything to differentiate themselves from the rest of the noise.

If you have been with me for any length of time, you know that my purpose is to help you show your customers how much you care about their success. In doing this, you will keep more customers long term and get them to buy from you again and again.

I have found this to be true in the over 20 years I have spent loving and learning from customers of all types. 🙂 I have learned a few things: Your customer wants to feel important. What systems do you have in place to communicate this to your customers?

That is one thing I show you in my new book :”Secrets of the Second Fortune: Discover how to tap into your customer’s heart”

A few other things I cover…

How to:

* Make your online business radiate a trusting, friendly and helpful vibe that customers will pick up on and be drawn to.

* Strengthen and straighten the true backbone of your internet business by using secrets that very few Internet marketers know (AND SOME DON’T CARE ABOUT) about saving time and maximizing profits!

* How to not only survive, but thrive online!

* The tips, tricks and methods to make your service, product, website and sales pages personalized, friendly, easy, and trust-building!

* The keys to unlock the treasure chest that is buried in every business- the one your customers are secretly hoping you will open!

If this resonates with what you are trying to accomplish with your business, go check it out *now* while you are thinking about it:

If you have any questions, email me at our special email address: and I will be happy to answer them. If there is anything else I can help with, let me know. After all that’s what I do.

Prosperity and Abundance,


Published in: on February 15, 2008 at 10:27 pm  Comments (1)  

Hidden Jewels Of Customer Service, Part 2

I interviewed Becky Rhone-Nowlan about Customer Service dynamics.

The following is Part 2 of the interview:

MagicBecky Messmer:  May I take it from an on-line

Mooie Infinity: Yes indeed.

MagicBecky Messmer:  I talk about this in my book,
“Secrets of the Second
Fortune.” When you begin the process of creating your
on-line business you
look for a problem to solve right?

Mooie Infinity: Right.

MagicBecky Messmer:  So you start researching and getting
into your
prospects head, thinking how they think, figuring out how
they feel.
Your next step is to create your product and start
communicating with them.

So you expend all this energy and time making a connection
with them.
Are you not at this point working on *serving* your
customers needs?

Mooie Infinity: Yes.

MagicBecky Messmer:  At this point you are doing customer
That’s the very interesting distinction that people don’t
seem to get.

Mooie Infinity: Customer Service is a genuine attention to
the needs of the customer.

Mooie Infinity: Customer Service is a genuine attention to
the needs of the customer.

MagicBecky Messmer:  Problem resolution on the other hand-
is solving
(or resolving) a very specific problem they are having.

MagicBecky Messmer:  Yes, Mooie! I love that statement,
Genuine attention to the needs of your customer.

Mooie Infinity: Yes you can use that somehow–it has a
certain ring to it.

MagicBecky Messmer:  Sounds like the title to an article.

Mooie Infinity: I want to address the lack of
communication skills.

MagicBecky Messmer:  So, back to what I was saying.

Mooie Infinity: People need to altruistically learn how to

MagicBecky Messmer:  After someone plunks down there
money, most people on-line
want to automate the rest of it.
So they are basically automating their customers right out
of their
business which does one thing. It alienates the customer
which ruins
all the time and energy the business owner has spent in
with them in the first place.

Mooie Infinity: Yes.

MagicBecky Messmer:  I agree about the communication.

Mooie Infinity: Communication is key, and largely

MagicBecky Messmer:  Yes it is but then that goes back to
the whole
taking responsibility issue.

Have you listened to how we as adults communicate with
each other
and our children?

Mooie Infinity: Yes, we all can fall prey to negative

Also–people tend to allow their emotional hot buttons to
be pushed
as opposed to learning the art of detachment in talking to

MagicBecky Messmer: Glad you brought that up Mooie.
This is one of my favorite parts of service.

Mooie Infinity: As I said in Ho’oponopono and Stellar CS
(a bonus to your
forthcoming electronic book). Love is all you need.

MagicBecky Messmer:  We are emotional creatures.  We have
2 sides of our brain,
the emotional side and the thinking side.

Mooie Infinity: Yes–creative and rational, spiritual and

MagicBecky Messmer:  When you are upset, the emotional
side takes over.
That is why its so important for someone doing problem
resolution (or CS)
to learn how to let a customer rant while supporting them
in their right to be upset.

Once they get done ranting their brain equalizes itself
out and they
can then *hear* what I or any CS person has to say.

When a customer is really angry, you could say, I am going
to give you a million
dollars and they wouldn’t hear you.

Mooie Infinity: Are CS people trained in communication?

MagicBecky Messmer:  Whether they are trained in
communication, depends on the company.

Where I worked we took CS classes all the time- including
one called Communication 101.

Mooie Infinity: You could write an ebook about that very
problem: Lack of
communication skills and the solution for CS workers.

MagicBecky Messmer:  I did want to speak on one more issue
if that’s ok.

Mooie Infinity: oh please, do.

MagicBecky Messmer:  The idea that customer service is not
a revenue producing activity.

Mooie Infinity: Ah, yes.

MagicBecky Messmer:  Many believe that because it doesn’t
immediately put
a check in your bank account that it doesn’t make you
money and therefore
not such an important part of business.

Mooie Infinity: How wrong “they” are.

Everyone in an organization needs to be CS minded

MagicBecky Messmer:  My thoughts on the matter are if you
don’t take care
of your customer they won’t stick around.

Mooie Infinity: Every one must be a CS person in any

MagicBecky Messmer:   Everyone in an organization should
be treated like a customer,
whether they are internal customer or an external customer.

Mooie Infinity: Now there’s a good point! As an employee,
I recently wrote
to the Vice President of my hospital about a very serious
problem–and got absolutely no response.

A few weeks later I sent the letter back, saying I
expected the nursing staff
to be empowered and not blown off.

MagicBecky Messmer:  Are you not HIS customer?

Mooie Infinity: I am. And that’s why I sent it back, and
got an answer then.

MagicBecky Messmer:  But see that’s another reason why CS
is not done
correctly in many cases. Everything trickles down from the
If the people at the top don’t value service, then who is
teaching the employees?

Mooie Infinity: Good point.

MagicBecky Messmer:  It all works together. If a marketer
on-line doesn’t
think customer service is important, how well do you think
his or her staff
is going to take care of the customer?

Mooie Infinity: I believe whole organizations could learn
from this, from several
hundred or more to the lone marketer, like us.

MagicBecky Messmer:  I agree, because it is such an
integral part of business.

Mooie Infinity: Respect, cooperation, compassion,
kindness, humanity.

MagicBecky Messmer:  Whether it be a huge corporation or a
small online business,
the one thing everyone seems to forget is the reason we
are *in* business is
for the customer. Is that not who we create products and
services for?

Mooie Infinity: Yes.

MagicBecky Messmer:  So let’s not forget them in the

Mooie Infinity: Building relationships and trust, loyalty–

MagicBecky Messmer:  Trust me they will remember it and
thank you for it
by spending with you again and again. As I like to say,
A customer will never remember what you do for them but
They will ALWAYS
remember how you made them feel.

Mooie Infinity: True. That’s what I always remember, as a

MagicBecky Messmer:  Me too!

Mooie Infinity: Thank you Becky! This has been enlightening.

MagicBecky Messmer:  And of course that goes right back to
your idea about love your customers.

Mooie Infinity: Love is all you need.
MagicBecky Messmer:  My pleasure Mooie. You got me to talk
a lot.

Shhh– It’s a secret.

It’s the Secret of the Second Fortune!

Mooie Infinity: Yes it is.

MagicBecky Messmer:  Definitely. How to tap into your customer’s heart.

Mooie Infinity: Our conversation today will help people
see the mportance of nurturing Customer Service in their

Thank you for coming!!

Kate Loving Shenk is a writer, healer, musician and the creator
of the e-book called “Transform Your Nursing Career and Discover
Your Calling and Destiny.” The book is designed to stimulate
nurses to love their work and to prevent on-the-job-burnout.
Click here to find out how to order the e-book:
Check out Kate’s Blog:
And the Lenses:

Sign Up HERE For Your *FREE* Newsletter For Nurses And Healers
Your e-mail address is safe with me–see privacy notice on my website!

Published in: on February 14, 2008 at 5:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hidden Jewels Of Customer Service, Part 1

Portable Empire island at Second Life, was the scene of a
so formal interview between the avatars of Mooie Infinity
(Kate Loving Shenk)
and Magic Becky Messmer (Becky Rhone-Nowlan), fellow
Second Life pal
and Customer Service expert.

Becky’s first e-book, “Secrets of the Second Fortune” will
be released
in the next several weeks.

Mooie Infinity: Great place to do an interview, (sitting
by the
beautiful lavender fountain, overlooking Portable Empire

MagicBecky Messmer: I agree 🙂

Mooie Infinity: So I would start out by saying: that
Service is one of the most overlooked treasures business
be engaging in. But they sadly shirk it.

Since you have been in the CS (Customer Service) field and
great reverence for it, I think you are one of the best
to ask some serious Customer Service questions to.

Why do you think businesses shirk intelligent Customer

MagicBecky Messmer: In many cases I think it’s because
most people
perceive it as difficult.

It means they have to actually take the time to
communicate with the customer.

How many people today really know how to listen?

Mooie Infinity: Do you think the problem is that
communication skills are lacking?
Listening being a big one there?

MagicBecky Messmer: In many cases, yes. I think we have become a me/me
society and that plays a lot into it.
For whatever reason, we have stopped taking responsibility-
and taking responsibility seriously.
I had an issue with a well known marketer and his CS guys
whole communication was about how it wasn’t his fault I had this problem.

At that point I didn’t care. I just wanted it solved.

He finally said he was done with me because i was
uncooperative and sent it to the marketer.

Mooie Infinity: So when businesses refuse to take
responsibility and blame the
customer, then that’s when the whole thing falls apart?

MagicBecky Messmer: Of course. It takes so little to
really make
your customers your fan.

With the guy I was having a problem with, up until he said
he was done
with me, he still could have won me over.
All he would have had to do was say, I understand why you
angry and this is what i am going to do.

In fact, I had a customer call today because she hadn’t
received her records
and one of the other reps said that I was going to have to
do a little
song and dance when explaining why we hadn’t shipped them.

I got on the phone and said Pat, I am very sorry. For some
the records haven’t shipped. Let me send an email and see
what I can
do to get you an answer and get them shipped to you asap.

My number is (and i gave her my number). I will personally
make sure this
gets taken care of. If you don’t have them by Monday at
noon call me.
She was ecstatic! No muss no fuss.

The other rep said, Wow! Just straight forward truth! Cool!

Mooie Infinity: That is going the extra mile–the buck
stops here sort of
philosophy–and we need more of that.

MagicBecky Messmer: It’s all about intention, which goes
back to responsibility.

As long as you tell them “what you are going to do to
solve the problem”
and then make sure you do it, of course.

I think it’s because you are showing trust in them.

Most people will pick up on that

Mooie Infinity: Yes–so CS service is outsourced routinely
these days.
Why is this such a trend?

MagicBecky Messmer: Real quick point and then to your
The CEO I learned service from, had a real liberal return
and we paid for return freight.

Someone asked him once, Aren’t you worried that the
customers will abuse the policy?

His answer was, Yes, some will.

Mooie Infinity: Most won’t

MagicBecky Messmer: But more will appreciate that we are
taking care
of them and those are the customers that are important to

Mooie Infinity: Creating friends and relationships, not

MagicBecky Messmer: Exactly! And it works.

Mooie Infinity: Fans as you say.

MagicBecky Messmer: As for the outsourcing? That’s an
easy answer with multiple layers.

It’s about money, the almighty dollar.

Mooie Infinity: When you outsource, you barely pay them
anything to do the job?

MagicBecky Messmer: Companies here in the US don’t have to
pay them much,
a few dollars an hour- you don’t have to pay benefits and
you don’t
have workman’s comp insurance.

In addition you don’t have a building to pay upkeep and
monthly bills on.

Mooie Infinity: I have had experience talking to these
outsourced CS
people and it’s been a nightmare–communication at its
worst. And I got the feeling that the language barrier was
at the heart of the problem.

MagicBecky Messmer: The sad thing is, the people who lose
out is the customer,
and of course ultimately the company when customers stop
doing business cause they are angry.

Mooie Infinity: Yes–in the end you go out of business.

MagicBecky Messmer: The company I work for has a group of
people we
“affectionately” call the I team.

Can you guess what the I stands for?

Mooie Infinity: Intelligent?

MagicBecky Messmer: Yeah. It’s a constant struggle trying
to read the notes.
And then the things they interpret as what I have asked
gets ludicrous.

I had one location that had never
returned a call
and this was after months of our I team leaving messages.
So I called and left a message and got a return call the
next day. She
said the reason she called me back is she could understand

She said she would rewind the message over and over and
just had no clue
what was being said.

You are right. It’s a quick fix that will come back to
bite them.
I think what you said earlier is really right on.

People are getting sick and tired of trying to communicate
with people who
don’t speak the language fluently or even well.

Mooie Infinity: Computer services routinely outsource
their customer
service. Apple does not and they have wonderful CS.

Comcast has good customer service. Credit card companies
make it
almost impossible to get any help.

We had a computer system
at our
hospital called Iprob.

One of the major reasons we had to abandon the system was
very poor customer service. Again, a language slash communication

All the CS people were in Israel were very difficult to
understand. Also
were not always available.

MagicBecky Messmer: When a customer is irritated because
something has
gone wrong, the last thing they want to do is to try to
explain it
to someone who flat doesn’t understand.

The whole point of problem resolution is to calm the
customer down so
they can hear what you have to say.

Which by the way brings up the difference between customer
service and
problem resolution.

Mooie Infinity: Customer service and problem resolution?

To be continued…..

Kate Loving Shenk is a writer, healer, musician and the creator
of the e-book called “Transform Your Nursing Career and Discover
Your Calling and Destiny.” The book is designed to stimulate
nurses to love their work and to prevent on-the-job-burnout.
Click here to find out how to order the e-book:

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Published in: on November 6, 2007 at 2:14 pm  Comments (1)