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November 30, 2012

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I took phone orders at a customer-service-fetishizing catalog retailer one Christmas season, and our sympathy with customers when we fucked up was not feigned. When the company sells decent stuff and drums into your head that the customers must be treated well, the customers like you. A lot. You get used to interacting with those customers in that way, and yeah, you do feel their pain to a surprising degree. It's fun to do work you believe is ethical.

Of course it may be different for a NYC hipster, but not *that* different, I bet.

[HS: I have no empathy for my company's customers. They're just dumb people who give my employer money so the CEO can take a massively high salary.]

"I'm sorry to hear that you must feel bad?" Really? Scr*w that! I want him to feel bad that his firm gave me a piece of crud... I don't want him to sit down with me to share a good cry, I want him to give me another iPad and maybe a coupon for a free iPod or something to compensate me for my time wasted by his firm! Did that genius mistake you for his no-doubt plain-faced and hairy girlfriend?

"I have no empathy"

Can't we just stop there HS?

"I have no empathy for my company's customers."

Who, if anyone, do you have empathy for?

“I’m sorry to hear about this, you must feel really bad that your new iPad has this problem.” I strongly suspect it’s fake empathy, and it’s how Apple trains its employees.

It even sounds robotic

My 2011 iphone quit working one month after the warranty expired and can't be fixed. My 1933 Western Electric telephone and 1953 Seeburg jukebox still work like new. I love technology, some more so than others.

HS: I have no empathy for my company's customers. They're just dumb people who give my employer money so the CEO can take a massively high salary.

Probably, and a good reason not to put you in a client facing position. Most customers enjoy going to someplace like Nordstrom's and the staff generally likes having them there. Thus the difference in attitudes.

Robotic or no, Apple's minions are displaying the correct way to defuse customer anger over a defective product. First apologize, acknowledge that the customer has a legitimate complaint. Then make it right by replacing it. A huge part of having people like your company is simply avoiding pissing them off, and mollifying those that you inevitably will piss off properly.

A little off topic, but "Chuck"? Highly recommended?

I watched a few episodes in the first year, and it was modern feminized television run rampant. Geeky, nebbishy guys portrayed as sexually undesirable bumbling oafs, paired with powerful, hyper-competent alpha women kicking ass all over the place.

It was everything that's wrong with modern entertainment media.

I've got an iPad too. I'm typing this on it now. I browse the web now instead of reading in bed. I got the IPad to replace my Kindle which had stopped working. I wanted to replace it with a Kindle fire but they won't sell those to people in Canada so I bought an iPad instead. Now I don't read many books because there are so many distractions on the iPad .

"HS: I have no empathy for my company's customers."
---------------------------------
HS, thats your autism spectrum disorder/borderline Aspergy personality.

I've never seen you but you do come across as a little weird, delusional and paranoid about some things.

Good blog though.

What are the chances that the Genius Bar nerd will ever be able to score with his cute girl salesperson co-worker? "Zero" sounds about right.

"Most customers enjoy going to someplace like Nordstrom's and the staff generally likes having them there."

It's especially remarkable that Nordstrom's salespeople are so pleasant given that most or all of them are on commission. They do not display the pushiness often associated with being on commission. Nordstrom's probably is quite selective in hiring, trains its people well, and most of all does not overstaff, so there aren't too many employees competing for customers.
Contrast this approach with that of life insurance companies. They hire just about anyone who applies and actually solicit applications from people who have used sites like Careerbuilder and Monster. New agents get as little training as the companies can get away with, and at any given time a company will have more agents working a particular territory than it really needs.
Of course, it also helps that Nordstrom's salespeople (and retail salespeople in general) deal with customers who have at least a minimal degree of interest - if the customers weren't interested at all they wouldn't have bothered coming to the stores. Contrast that with life insurance agents, who spend most of their time soliciting individuals and businesses who have no interest whatsoever in buying life insurance.

David Hackensack,

"Who, if anyone, do you have empathy for?"

Anyone who reads HS and believes his stuff should know that they don't have any empathy for anyone who is JUST DUMB AND A CONFORMIST. It's the same reason as to why very educated people are secretly sadistic towards any mere mortal with a modest education. Less educated people tend to be conformists and act like dumb animals, and this includes many of the SWPLs out there. College professors harbor disdain towards anyone who is not on their level. It's simple as that. This being said, if any of them were to know about HBD and its veracity, they would leave their university job immediately and start their own learning programs for a select few (High IQ and HBD aware).

re: "There goes the theory that Apple makes quality products." HS

Way back in time before chips were invented I took Circuits One. Here we learned how one could build systems precise to better than 5% with components, say resistors, with only 15% precision. Also drummed into our noggins was that ALL electronic parts are subject to failure, some more than others. Capacitors were especially fickle. I don't think much has changed in the years since. No electronic manufacturer can bat 100%.

IMHO Apple does a good job unlike DELL and HP.

Dan Kurt

"They do not display the pushiness often associated with being on commission. Nordstrom's probably is quite selective in hiring, trains its people well, and most of all does not overstaff, so there aren't too many employees competing for customers".

Nordstrom has a repuation for discriminating NAMs from their workforce. I'm sure they're one of those HBD aware companies like Apple. An Apple store here in NYC was accused of not hiring Black men, something that Best Buy (a Prolish-NAMish retailer) would never do because their customer base is the same people who serve them.

they have loosened their return policy to 14 days full refund no questions asked.

"Nordstrom has a repuation for discriminating NAMs from their workforce. I'm sure they're one of those HBD aware companies like Apple."

Not in my experience. The Nordstrom's at Roosevelt Field Mall seems to have a high proportion of minorities in its workforce, I wouldn't be surprised if they account for over 50%.
Apple stores also seem to have a non-token percentage of minority workers.

"Did that genius mistake you for his no-doubt plain-faced and hairy girlfriend?"

What's this about a hairy girlfriend?

"My 1933 Western Electric telephone and 1953 Seeburg jukebox still work like new. I love technology, some more so than others."

The Japanese (plus rich Chinese and Koreans) also love any antique audio equipment made by Western Electric. Western Electric was the hardware division of the Bell System, and they invented modern quality control (their QC guru Demming is responsible for the advent of high quality manufacturing in Japan).

Anyway, Western Electric made the sound systems for movie theaters in the 30s and 40s. Huge horn speakers and vacuum tube amplification. Stuff that was made to last forever (costs were not a concern because the AT&T monopoly leased equipment to theaters). The Japanese recognized this stuff for what it was: some of the finest audio ever made (while it was literally being thrown into dumpsters here), and imported nearly all of it to Asia.

Check the ebay values for Western Electric hardware: a pair of vacuum tubes can bring over $10k and a driver for a horn speaker is similar, while amps easily might hit $50k. A complete W.E. system is well into the six figures now.

Here is a collection amassed by a Korean collector: http://www.silbatoneacoustics.com/collection.html (The stuff in these pictures would be valued in the millions of dollars).

This equipment is nearly 100 years old, and still performs up to spec - a feat stuff from our disposable generation will never replicate.

Peter,

"It's especially remarkable that Nordstrom's salespeople are so pleasant given that most or all of them are on commission. They do not display the pushiness often associated with being on commission."

I'm not sure why you find this remarkable. Are you more likely to buy from a pushy salesman? Neither are most other people. Good salesmen tend not to be pushy, and Nordstrom hires good salesmen. Also, they aren't just in sales, but in customer service, and Norsdstrom prides itself on its customer service. Something else Nordstrom does is hire people who are a cultural fit for the place. Nordstrom was one of the companies Jim Collins profiled in one of his books on great companies and he noted that something they all have in common is that they are "cult-like places to work". People either believe in the company and fit in, or they don't stick around.

Comparing their hiring process to that of life insurance sales companies is silly. As I've explained to you (and as I think you figured out on your own), life insurance sales companies hire people with the main goal of getting them to turn their friends & family into customers. If new agents sign up a few friends and family and then washout, it's still a win for the insurance company, since they have made so little investment in the new agent.

(corrected copy)

Dan Kurt

re: "Nordstrom's salespeople are so pleasant."

Case in point. Was in Seattle for Thanksgiving. My son flew in and we drove over hundreds of miles on clement roads to get there for the family visit. On Black Friday I accompanied my son downtown on a quest for a new wallet. He wanted one with an internal spring loaded money clip as the one in his current wallet had failed. First we checked Bergman Luggage where we found that one could "special order one." Next the Bon, er Macy's, where we learned they had one somewhere but the salesman couldn't find it as he ( appeared to me ) to be all shook up after an experience with a bunch of Black Gang Bangers one of whom purchased a wool sweater. The thug paid in cash from a money roll big enough to choke a horse that he carried under a sock on his ankle. The problem arose when after the sale the thug asked for a bag to carry the item. The salesman had to charge him a nickel. ( Seattle's government outlawed plastic bags recently and has forced businesses to charge for large paper bags with the money going to Seattle so as to force people, I presume, to use their own filthy cloth bags.) The thug didn't have a nickel and neither did his "associates" so he retrieved his money roll from is ankle and gave the salesman a $20.00 bill. Five minutes later during which the salesman appeared to be stumbling around with the computer driven cash register the Gang Banger got his shopping bag and change.

Next we headed to Nordstrom's where we had to cross a picket line of PETA protesters demanding the world abandon the use of Fur. Every protestor that I saw was white, most were women, and none I am sure realize that their very existence was possible because their not too distant ancestors were kept alive mainly by the use of fur garments to fight the cold of the Northern European winters.

Once in Nordstrom's we found the department we needed and a saleslady showed my son two wallets with the internal money clips. One was $200.00 and the other $35.00. She made the sale. She also was stunning in appearance, personality and manner. I can see why people, if they can afford it, love to shop at Nordstrom's. I feel the same way about Brooks Brothers where I buy my business garments.

Dan Kurt

Just Speculating,

"Anyone who reads HS and believes his stuff should know that they don't have any empathy for anyone who is JUST DUMB AND A CONFORMIST."

If "they" "believe his stuff" they would understand that "anyone who is JUST DUMB" is that way because of genetics, so it's not their fault. Why, then, should "they" lack empathy for the genetically "DUMB"?

"The Nordstrom's at Roosevelt Field Mall seems to have a high proportion of minorities in its workforce, I wouldn't be surprised if they account for over 50%.

Apple stores also seem to have a non-token percentage of minority workers".

It could be because of the discrimination lawsuits that Nordstrom had to fight in the past. High end businesses usually don't want NAMs behind their counters. Apple was never known to be PC (no pun intended). Their NAM workforce is very small compared that to other retailers like Best Buy and Walmart.

I'll give you a good example how even small businesses may not even want to employ NAMs anymore, after being left with a bad aftertaste due to their laziness and low intelligence. There's a expensive foreign language bookstore based here in NYC where they used to have NAMs employees and now, not anymore. The Hispanic guy whom they employed as one of their bookbuyer was an unmotivated individual who have gotten complaints by their customers with deep pockets of being lazy and unresponsive. Worse, he isn't a guy whose ancestry is from Spain, but a lower tier mestizo from Latin America, who probably resented the fact he had to deal with White Spaniards with higher IQs than him. He was a poor example of someone who should have been given the title to represent European or High White culture.

"Are you more likely to buy from a pushy salesman? Neither are most other people. Good salesmen tend not to be pushy, and Nordstrom hires good salesmen."

Unless the entire industry is full of pushy salesmen. Car dealerships are the prime case in point, especially since they have a legal monopoly on new-car sales. Consumer electronics used to be that way to some extent, but that's changed now that people can buy online from Amazon or New Egg or similar outfits.

"Comparing their hiring process to that of life insurance sales companies is silly. As I've explained to you (and as I think you figured out on your own), life insurance sales companies hire people with the main goal of getting them to turn their friends & family into customers. If new agents sign up a few friends and family and then washout, it's still a win for the insurance company, since they have made so little investment in the new agent."

That indeed is true for most life insurance companies, though there are a few exceptions. It's why room-temperature-I.Q. sales managers harangue new agents for lists of people they know.
There's actually an extra benefit for the life insurance company. At many companies, new agents are on a probationary status until they sell a specific number (generally five to ten) life policies, and any commissions earned on these initial sales get paid only after the agents reach the quotas and come off probation. If a new agent sells, say, three or four family-and-friends policies, but then runs out of contacts and quits - this happens ALL THE TIME - the insurance company never pays any commissions on these policies.


@ Dave

"If "they" "believe his stuff" they would understand that "anyone who is JUST DUMB" is that way because of genetics, so it's not their fault. Why, then, should "they" lack empathy for the genetically "DUMB"?"

Because America isn't about empathy anymore. It's all about status. No one really wants to know about the underdogs and their suffering. Most women today would rather choose singledom than to settle with an underachiever.

Do you think SWPLs geninuely care about anyone else? They are the most ruthless and selfish group out there to destabilize anyone whom they see fit. The growing trend of many Prole, Asian and some NAM women exclusively seeking SWPL men will definitely cause angst to those men with inferior genetics. I don't think HS is one of them, but what the Liberals have done to everyone is infectious, and his reaction and the others here is to develop immunity, which is apathy for their stupid victims. An idiot who crosses the red light and gets hit by a vehicle doesn't deserve any empathy.

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