From Russia With Love

Here’s something I read in the paper, sort of ‘a thing I learned while searching for the box scores.

Russian bureaucrats are mandating an improvement in customer service!  A Siberian oil town mayor has banned the use of defeatist phrases by government employees.  More than 2 dozen phrases, including "It’s not my job," and "I don’t know" are not to be uttered to citizens seeking service.

This is pretty amazing when you think about it, even if it’s only being pushed in one city.  Russian customer service has always been viewed as lacking.  Click over to this tongue-in-cheek offering.

But we’ve all had bad experiences that have affected our decisions to patronize a store, business, restaurant, school or non-profit organization.  Bad customer service hurts your brand.  Maybe it’s the cashier who continues talking on the phone with a friend, while you’re trying to check out.  Or the waiter who never seems to be available for a coffee refill.  My wife’s organization recently had some updates done to their website by a firm that specializes in convention and visitors bureau websites.  To their horror (and after nearly a year in the works) they found that some of the content on their site included links to other CVBs in the Chicago area.  Apparently the vendor told my wife’s firm that he would "fix it when he had a chance." 

Two things here:  First, the site should have been reviewed in a testbed.  The updates should never have been published before the revisions were approved.  Second, the appropriate response should have been, "Gadzooks!  We’re sorry about that.  We’ll have that fixed by the close of business TODAY."

Many people, me included, think that simple courtesies and decent customer service are going the way of the pet rock or 45 RPM records.  But good customer service is essential to winning over your prospect, not only for the first sale, engagement or donation, but for future transactions.

Besides, it’ll make you feel good inside.

— Kurt

Things I Learned While Looking Up Other Things

With all due respect to the late syndicated newspaper columnist Sidney J. Harris, I’ve decided that this blog needs a new category like, "Things I Learned While Looking Up Other Things", which was a frequent headline for Harris’ columns.  I think he even wrote a book with that title.  While I was pretty young when Harris was writing, I remember enjoying not only what he found, but also how different what he found was from what he was searching for.  Some of it was just interesting, but some of it was useful.

Which brings us to the 21st century and the endless search capabilities available on the Internet.  Maybe this new blog category should be titled, "Things I Learned While Googling Other Things?"

And it’s not just text and pictures, or even audio & video.  It’s applications and functionality, ways of communicating, learning, consuming, collaborating or networking.  For the Web Asylum audience, we’ll concentrate on information and functionality that improves your online strategies.

Hopefully, you’ll find useful information in this blog, but another point I’d really like to make is that anyone with a web browser can find virtually anything they want on the ‘Net.  You should consider being a resource. Optimize your site and present information that people can use.  It will build traffic and credibility.  But also make it easy to interact with your audience. Sites need callouts.  Offer white papers, newsletter subscriptions, email and phone contacts.  Engage your visitors.  You’ll turn them into a customers.

Back In The Saddle

Can it really be 7 months since my last blog post?  I took the time off to get married, go on a honeymoon, sell both our townhomes and move as well as stay productive with customers of Web Asylum.  It’s been a busy summer!

I intend to post frequently on a variety of subjects that deal with online success.  Your online success! And if you’d like to comment or contribute, I would welcome it. Send your stuff to kurt @

— Kurt