Customer Service and its Conundrums

Sometimes the customer is right and sometimes they are wrong. Being kind as you are realistic about what you can do for the customer should be second nature to anyone dealing with the public.

I grew up in retail. My first job was at a grocery store then I spent over 10 years working for Pizza Hut. After that, I became a teacher where I have needed to handle customer satisfaction issues with students and parents from time to time. The first lesson of customer service is: never lose your cool. They are there for a reason and you need to take their complaints/needs 100% seriously. Without them there is no system. The measure of an argument’s success with customers is how well you kept your cool and how well you satisfied their complaint. This is simple logic that anyone in teaching or retail needs to remember. If we don’t remember this, no one is happy and that can lead to a breakdown of any company or system.

So what about when the customer is wrong? It’s been said, “The customer is always right.” That’s an illogical statement. What you can say, if you are using absolute statements like “always,” is that the customer is always “the customer.” Sometimes the customer is right and sometimes they are wrong. Being kind as you are realistic about what you can do for the customer should be second nature to anyone dealing with the public. We should never get so set in our ways that we let “gut reactions” cause us to be rude or even yell at them. Let the payoff be that you can celebrate when you’ve kept your cool. It is very gratifying also when you can get to a win/win with the customer, you feeling good because you solved the problem and them feeling good as well. If you ever get a direct complaint from a customer, return their call right away because if they want to talk, they are still open to resolving it with you. It’s not always true but sometimes when they go above your head they aren’t interested in resolution, they want blood (metaphorically). Good luck as you navigate customer service and its conundrums.

Blog Posts About Something vs Nothing

I have known for years that the most visited posts I write are those that are “pillar posts” or in other words posts about something specific. For example, I wrote a post about the brain and anger several years ago and it remains one of my most highly visited posts. At the same time, I wrote a detailed post on acronyms for personal development and it gets scant attention. Even though that post is about something, it apparently is not about a very highly searched for something. Then there are my short pithy posts that are about nothing. The “Seinfeld” posts if you will. These are my online diary, my journal. In these I just seek to complete some sort of thought in hopes of growing as a writer and person. The challenge in these is simply to be regular at writing them. I have had posts like this gather huge interest as well, but not as much.

I suppose if you are a celebrity the journal entry is the best to write because people care about the minutiae of your day. I think these posts are valuable because they keep my readers updated on what’s up with me. Most my readers who produce Adsense and other advertising dollars will come in for the pillar posts but I don’t want a blog experience that consists of simply writing pillar content. The online diarist in me seeks to reach out and hopes that over time he will produce “Seinfeld” content that entertains.

Blog Stats 2-12

What is C.A.N.? Simply put: I self-rank my blogs based on three criteria: backlinks, visitors, and dollars earned. C.A.N. breaks down specifically as: C: circulation (# of backlinks) A: analytics (# of visitors) N: net (# of dollar earnings) The higher the C and A, the higher the Net payout. Some months I make more than others depending on the effort and time I put in.

C: (via Alexa)
rileycentral.net 148
rileycentral.net 145
dynamitelessonplan.com 82
blogwithdamien.com 36

A: (via Google Analytics)
rileycentral.net 3,661 Visits
rileycentral.net 224 Visits
dynamitelessonplan.com 672 Visits
blogwithdamien.com 562 Visits

N: via Paypal/adsense check in the given month from all blogs.
Total: $165

Puppeteer Blogger vs. Puppet

This post is for bloggers who want to be different and break away from the trappings of “what everyone else does.”

This post is for bloggers who want to be different and break away from the trappings of “what everyone else does.” Every time a blogger logs on to his/her computer, he/she looks for stimulus. This can be through Facebook or Twitter or most recently, Google Plus. This can also come from emails or notifications from a service one subscribes to. All too often these external stimuli only serve to sap energy and distract from the artistry and professionalism that is blogging. What do you do when no one has replied? How about when your peers have tons more followers than you. Do you get discouraged? If the external stimuli is your motivation then definitely you do. You become downright depressed. Because external stimuli is a bad indicator of success and a poor navigator to the future, a blogger should make effort to BE external stimuli. By this I mean: Start conversations, create content of value to readers, comment on quality blogs, and add to the web in your own special way. Blogging might be compared to puppetry. If you rely on externals to motivate and guide you, you are a puppet. On the other hand, if you aim to create content that will affect people, you are running the show and you are the puppeteer.

As you create your task list, pay attention to how much you are channeling external stimuli as opposed to creating your own, meant to affect people. Anyone can set up a blog these days. Many can make it look good. But that is only a shell. The rubber meets the road when you can sit down comfortably and write something of value for someone else. If you can do that, you should do it. Then, translate that “creative” energy into your social networks. I can guarantee you if you are thinking about adding value, your work will be better than 90% of what’s out there. The social networks and “free” services want you to give them traffic. If you visit Facebook and other social media more than twice a day, you are padding their pockets. Not only that but you’ll probably log out somewhat discouraged. The chances are not in your favor you’ll become a hit there.

In short, try to avoid being a puppet blogger who hopes for a high email and comment count. Instead, you’ll have a better chance getting these things and more if you pull the strings and act more as a puppeteer blogger.

I Didn't Realize Google Gave Free Images to Bloggers!

Just ran across this on Twitter. This looks like a cool feature for getting fair use photos for free through Google. Google rocks, I must bow down. This is an excerpt and then a link to the original article below that.

I like to use images in most of my blog posts. Whether it’s for my own blog or a client’s, the use of the right image can enhance the post and compliment it perfectly.

Whilst in some instances it does require for a stock image to be purchased, more often than not there are suitable royalty free images available to use online – it’s just finding them that’s often the problem.

Fortunately, Google Images makes the process so simple that you can be presented with a screen of suitable images in a matter of seconds and all you have to do is go to the ‘Images’ section of Google’s search engine, click on the ‘Advanced Image Search’ link and then choose ‘labeled for reuse’ from the ‘Usage Rights’ dropdown box.

via 5 Reasons Why Google Rocks My Freelance Writing World | Get Paid to Write Online.

How to Monitor the Analytics of Your Blog

This is a quick way to check the daily visits, or analytics, to your blog and how you’re doing compared to your monthly average.

Nowadays, a lot of people have blogs. At the same time, not as many know how to check and monitor their stats in a productive way. This is a quick way to check the daily visits, or analytics, to your blog and how you’re doing compared to your monthly average. Just like custom address labels are there when you need them, so a few tools can help you check your analytics quickly on demand.

What you need (materials):
A Google Analytics account for each if you have multiple blogs.
Optional: Mozilla Firefox (for ease of shortcuts)

Steps:
1) Make a new folder on your shortcut bar entitled Analytics (or whatever you choose).

2) Go to your blogs “Overview” page in Google Analytics.

3) Drag that url into your new Analytics folder on the toolbar.

4) Repeat steps 2 and 3 with any other blogs you wish to monitor.

5) Click on the folder. When all GA shortcuts drop down. click “Open all in tabs.”

6) Start on the left tab. Look at your graph. Note yesterday’s number of visits by scrolling over the point. (ie; 151 etc.)

7) Now find the monthly number of visits on the bottom left of the graph (ie; 4,846 visits etc.) Click on that.

8) In the same area you will now see a visits / day number. That is your daily average for the past 30 days. (ie; 156.32 etc.)

So, if you had 151 visits yesterday, you were about 6 visits lower than your monthly average.

9) Go back to step moving one tab to the right and repeat the rest of the steps until you’ve monitored all your blog analytics.

10) Note the changes or lack thereof. Make tasks for the week that will help you raise your analytics or keep them high.

This is an excellent way to monitor the “A” in my acronym CAN. CAN is a method I created of improving blog stats through setting strategic goals.

my Can Blog Stats July 2010

I listed my blog earnings for July 2010 as well as some things I learned about making money blogging.

C – circulation, inlinks: 108 Links in, Alexa Rank: 346,523

A – analytics, traffic: 4,526 Visits, 146 Visits / Day Average and 291 Feed subscribers (per Feedburner)

N – net: $80 in-text-links / $4.63 Adsense / $0 Amazon Associates

I had the Summer to think about my blog quite a bit with an un-distracted mind. I decided to make changes to the way I was presenting ads. I am hopeful this will pay off down the road. I am trying out the Amazon Associates banners at the foot of my index and single pages. These changes along with better keyword research and good seo picked titles will hopefully increase my net. The inlinks and traffic are up up up. I see that as a good step in the right direction. If you have any questions let me know. I hope you find these CAN blog stats posts on making money online interesting and helpful. If not, kindly let them pass by. Thanks!

C and A are way up. Net is lagging a bit. I’ve made template ad changes I think will help. Until next time, make the most of your blogging time. And remember this, the best fat burners are activities that earn you money.

my CAN Blog Stats – June 2010

Sometimes I wonder if these come across as bragging. If that’s the case, please trust me that is not why I do them. Most all my blogging friends do better than I do these days in stats. I do it because it helps me clarify what is going on with my blog. I think blogs themselves can help people make sense of what’s going on in their lives if they give them a try.

June marked my leap into Twitter head-first. I don’t know how much it will help my blog traffic and income long-term, but I am networking like crazy and meeting a lot of new online friends. My daily traffic was up. I think interacting on Twitter in a tasteful way where you are saying cool interesting things and posting cool interesting links in between promotion of your blog, it really can increase your traffic.

I actually got another vice this past month, namely Tumblr. It’s weird because I tried to downsize when I took my three blogs down to this one but now I have that entrepeneurial spirit of growth once again. In July I will be rebuilding Dynamite Lesson Plan and I’ll explain more on that next month when everything is sorted and back in place. But I digress, here are my results for June 2010:

Circulation: 81 Links in, Alexa Rank: 256,725

Analytics: 3,726 visits, Average: 124 visits/day

Net:  $165 Source: PayU2Blog

I’ve taken two steps to try and increase income in July. I’ve already mentioned Dynamite Lesson Plan. The other one is: I am trying a few different adsense layouts to see how they fare.

my CAN Blog Stats May 2010

My goals were high in May and the fact that my hosting company crashed a disk losing all my data and keeping me offline for over a week didn’t help. Having said that, it was a great month for rearranging things and adjusting the way I do my blogroll. I’ve focused more on following people I can learn from and whom I enjoy. I no longer do reciprocal blogrolling just to keep friends. This has been a habit in the past and it really isn’t a win for anyone. Here’s my blog stats for May 2010!

Inbound Links (total): 6,459 Continue reading “my CAN Blog Stats May 2010”

Blog Stats for March 2010

March 2010

Circulation
Yahoo inlinks: 6695

Analytics
Absolute Unique Visitors: 7,024
Average Visits/Day: 248
Feed Subscribers: 463

Net
PayU2Blog:$ 75.00
Adsense: $ 23.64

Total: $ 98.64

Reflection: While the month’s payout isn’t even my usual minimum of $200, I feel more successful than ever. I found 2 good companies to work with that I can rely on and who I think have staying power. I used to get so many nickels and dimes from a variety of sources and it wears on you after a while. I have hope that my “one” blog now will eventually get the traffic and inlinks it needs to get larger offers from advertisers. I want to say thank you to my feed subscribers, I hope you guys are enjoying the content. I should get some write some good articles in the next 10 days while I am on Spring Break. In addition, my 3 months off for Summer are right around the corner. I hope to “modernize” my blog a bit during that time. I also really like the “Announcements” category and top subheading section. It’s a way to keep people up with “Damien at the Speed of Life.”

How I do WordPress Blog Backups

Restoring your blog’s files or database after a crash or something else is something you hope you’ll never have to do. Still, it is something you probably will have to do at some point. You need to know your method to get it done.I currently run 8 valuable blogs so I can’t afford to just say, “Oh well.”

After years of trial and error backing up databses (mostly error) I have finally arrived to a method I feel is superior to any I’ve yet run across. It involves no plugins and I use it for my WordPress self-hosted blogs.

1) Login to Cpanel (this assumes you have a Cpanel interface).

2) Go to File Manager

3) Select the Worpress blog folders you want to backup and click “compress”

4) Click to reorder the files by type so you see all the compressed folders at top.

5) Select the wordpress blog folders you want to download for backup, download them to your computer.

6) Now for the databases … go to the backup wizard selecting sql files. My path to it looks like this:

http://www.rileycentral.net:2082/frontend/rvblue/backup/wizard-backup-type.html?type=mysql

7) One by one, click and download zipped files of each.

8) Organize all zipped files according to blog. hint: You find out the name of the database for each blog in the wp-config file of a blog.

There is a lot of help on the web restoring these files but there is no help in the universe that can get files back you don’t have. Something to remember.