Category Archives: DASM

Dumb-Ass Stupid Management: The Wall Street Journal

The WSJ asks me to renew my digital version. They send me an online code, which their site will not accept. The site says that the code requires a phone call, despite the fact it’s supposed to be entered on the site.

A phone call places me in the Philippines, with a guy who can’t speak English well and keeps repeating scripted questions. When I ask for a supervisor he puts me on “hold” and leaves me there.

I then try the “live” online help, where I get another guy in the Philippines. He does manage to have someone call me on my home line within 10 minutes. This person also keeps repeating himself and, when I get the promised email to click a link and verify my address, it doesn’t work!

How can this dignified newspaper—which absolutely hounds me many months early for print and digital renewals—be so screwed up in its customer service? I’ll tell you how: Dumb-Ass, Stupid Management. You can see how effective it is, for example, outsourcing customer service to the Philippines.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Dumb-Ass Stupid Management: Welcome to the 18th Century

In 1754 the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews was founded.

In 2014, they’re voting on whether or not to admit women as members. That’s only 2.5 centuries for them to get to that, perhaps.

What world are we living in?

© Alan Weiss 2014

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Spam for Brains

A real doofus named Tom Nixon sends spam about a service I don’t remotely need. I’ve never heard of him or his company. His unsubscribe doesn’t work, and he doesn’t reveal the address he’s sending this useless stuff to.

When I ask him to stop sending it and take me off his lists, he becomes abusive, winds up telling me I’m “typical of people from the northeast,” have no friends, and can’t deal with waitstaffs! Oh. He’s got me there.

This is the gutter of the internet, when you wish you WERE talking to a dog. If this guy sends you something, just delete it, he’s too dumb to stop.

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Why You Have To Love Government Work

At the post office I asked the desk clerk if there were a difference between first class letter rates for stamps and metered mail, since my Pitney Bowes meter affixes 48 cents but the official rate is 49 cents.

“There might be,” she said, “I’ve seen both.”

That’s like asking the general, “Are we at war?”

“We might be, some tanks went by this morning. I think they were ours.”


© Alan Weiss 2014

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DASM The Tonight Show: Everything Old Is New Again

My wife was with me in the audience when a “famous” speaker used material that was 20 years old in his presentation. “I recognize that as ancient,” she said, “and I’m not in the profession.”

Monday night, after enough fanfare to think we had created colder beer, Jimmy Fallon emerged from the curtain to begin a new era on the tonight show. And that’s where the problem began. He emerged from the curtain, had a band on his left, an announcer on his right, a couch and chairs, an overly- and artificially-stimulated studio audience, and a lame monologue.

Except for the “lame” part, that’s exactly what Johnny Carson did 50 years ago. And everyone since. This is a new era only in the sense that it’s a day after yesterday.

With all the money and supposed talent in the media, this weak clone is the best they could do? No thought of changing the set, or the format, or the material? The same guests trailing along, trying to be funny? (Will Smith was just dreadful, sliding from A to D list.)

Too  many of us are doing that with our clients: same old “pitch,” same tired methodology, same ancient fee structure, same emulation of other mediocre approaches. Age isn’t the issue (Fallon is young). Vision is the issue. Boldness is the issue.

If you’re going to perform to the same tired music with the same hackneyed approach, then people are going to turn the channel and prospects are going to turn to someone else.

© Alan Weiss 2014

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The Paranoid Are Welcome, But Keep Looking Behind You

Yesterday, I received this piece of spam:

Dear Consulting Society,
You should be alerted to this breaking news concerning Rick Warren:
James Sundquist
I wrote back: This is spam.
Today, I received this missive from Mr. Sundquist:
Well you can be certain I won’t write you again.  But it is astonishing to me that you would receive a reward for press coverage, yet retaliate when someone tells you the truth.

Let the record reflect your position which I am happy to make public so they can now be alerted about you.
You attitude is what most of the press now has…(it is not true and I don’t care).  There once was a time when truth did matter to the press…their entire integrity hinged on it.
If you are saying that I am a liar, then you had better prove it!
So you are an expert consultant, is one of your tactics to teach people to use ad hominem attacks as you have by assaulting my character, without evidence?
Furthermore, I note that you are a psychologist.  I produced a film documentary exposing psychotherapy entitled: MAKING MERCHANDISE OF MEN’S SOULS, Part II Psychotherapy vs. Scripture
I only wish I had know (sic) about you before it was released and I would have included you in the expose.  But is not too late to sound the alarm about you to my own media database and various national radio shows I appear on.

 Apart from the fact that I am neither a psychologist nor a journalist, it’s fascinating how outrageous claims are supported by clearly disturbed outbursts. If this is how the author approves the publicity around his books and the reactions to pointing out that unsolicited promotions are spam, then you have to wonder just who is buying all those books.

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DASM: Marriott II

Marriott has not contacted me even though I posted on Twitter and here, but Embassy Suites and Hilton both called this afternoon pursuing the business. Both will have quotes to me shortly.

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DASM: Marriott at LA Airport

I’ve held major events at the LA Airport Marriott over the years. I called today, twice, was automatically placed on hold, and NO ONE answered within 10 minutes. When I called a separate reservations number, the recording says, “We cannot connect you to the hotel itself.” Apparently, they’re tired of people trying to circumvent their own inept procedures.

How stupid is hotel management? They are awarded my dumb-ass stupid management award of the month, maybe of the year. When an existing customer wants to give you business with zero cost of acquisition, and no one can answer the main switchboard phones, you might as well be responsible for health on Carnival Cruise Lines.

This, by the way, is why I stay at the Peninsula in Beverly Hills. It’s a lot more money, but they answer their phones.

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DASM: Sour Apple

I’m crazy about Apple, but they’re starting to make others crazy.

When many of us downloaded Maverick, iPhoto no longer worked and demanded an update. Why didn’t it update automatically, the customer asks?

It’s not all that easy to find the update, but when you do, it required not just the Apple password but the Apple ID, which many people don’t have handy. (There are complaints and questions on public forums all over the Internet). If you put in both of these correctly, as I just did on my laptop, it takes about two hours to update iPhoto, during which it can’t be used and the “preview” function won’t work for any photos.

Can’t technological geniuses make this easier for their customers, or is a certain amount of hubris in place here? I don’t mind higher prices, but I do mind wasting my time.

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DASM: Sirius Needs To Get Serious

On the cars we tend to buy, satellite radio is included. My wife’s 2007 has lifetime Sirius as part of the original purchase, for example. I was driving my 2014 yesterday, with Sirius installed and activated by the dealer before I picked it up, when suddenly Sirius simply quit, and when I hit my presets, they all said “unsubscribed.”

Later that day, I called Sirius customer service, and after four menus and shouting “Agent!” I was connected to a guy who barely spoke intelligible English. He had a very thick accent, and while extremely polite, he clearly couldn’t even find which of my cars was having the trouble. (I told him to stop calling me “Alan” because we weren’t buddies, I’m a customer. I hate that pseudo-friend stuff.)

When I asked for a supervisor, I had another wait, but this second guy knew what he was doing. He found the right car immediately, told me that it now came with a year’s subscription, not lifetime, but we were only two months into it and something had gone wrong. While the first guy was asking me in fractured English to get in my car, pull it out, and find the vin number or radio registration, this guy said, “I’ll send a signal and whenever your drive the system should update.” He apologized and said he’d give me a full year from this date.

Sure enough, on the way to dinner the radio kicked back in.

Everything that occurred before the supervisor was futile. The supervisor’s work was “failure work”—work done because the first person couldn’t do what was readily possible. That first experience is what drives customers away.

I don’t know why any company would put an employee on customer phone lines who isn’t completely educated in their own systems and practices, and who cannot speak fluent English. I’m not talking about accents—I have a New York accent myself—I’m talking about an inability to make yourself understood.

But, I guess that’s why I earn the big bucks. I wonder if Sirius needs a consultants’ station?

© Alan Weiss 2013

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