Monthly Archives: March 2016

Your home is not an investment

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Many middle-class people insist that their home is an investment, or perhaps their best investment. Indian ladies insist that their husband buy a house for security. The truth is that your home does not make payments to you every month, and might not even go up in value, making it not an investment.

To become financially stable, you need assets that produce revenue.
Stable stocks that pay dividends, investment properties that make systematic profits, and businesses are good investments. Of course your business requires your time and effort and does not guarantee exact income. But, supposedly you understand your business well, and that superior knowledge provides security to your investment that someone else who was a beginner wouldn’t have.

Your house goes up and down in value with the market.
If your neighborhood goes downhill, so does your house’s value. If your area becomes more affluent, so will your house value. Houses also need repairs. Your water heater, paint, roof, and other components of your house need to be fixed from time to time. In actuality, your house is a money drain. You will never become rich if you invest in a money drain. You need assets that produce income.

To preach to Hindustani ladies:
I’ll add that your life doesn’t become any more stable by your husband owning a house. If you put your life savings into a down payment on the house, and the house loses value, you just lost all of your equity. Where is your stability now? You would have been better off putting the money in a bank. Additionally, if your husband loses his job, you’ll have no way to continue the house payments. Stability is having superior work skills and having a certain amount of financial liquidity. If all of your funds are tied up in a hard to sell asset, you are actually in a lot of danger, and the myth of security might deceive you.

On the other hand, if you purchase a multi-unit building and rent out the other units, you might find that your cash flow is excellent. Sure, you might have to call the plumber a lot and deal with nitwits, but the cash will come in, and you’ll be happy assuming you pick decent tenants (and decent plumbers.)

Compilation of best Management & Success blog entries Part 2

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Here are some more of our most popular management and success blog entries from over the years.

A corporation has a board of directors, why shouldn’t you?

6 ways to be more in control in your business!

Putting clients on hold in a call center is a big problem

Does your downtime make you a better business person?

Do you see yourself as an entrepreneur or a CEO?

The right sized company to outsource to

Is it better to hire your own top-notch employee or outsource your task?

Does your team function as a team?

Is it better to have a woman do your phone calls?

24 tech workers for each manager

Handling stress in a call center office

Long range effects of business decisions — a mistake that got turned around

A coffee house guy gets hired by corporate America

5 tips for rewriting your outsourcing contract

Working in an office vs. at home

Having a foundation in business for long term growth

How to make sure outsourcing companies follow directions

How different cultures handle time

Are outsourcing contracts just another trap?

Bathe and meditate before making business decisions

Only 1% of customers feel they get the service they deserve

Half company; half school

3 ways for startups to save on office space

Small software companies lose a client as fast as they gain one

International contracts to watch out for


America invented & forgot about customer service

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America invented customer service, and then forgot about it The irony of customer service is that America invented the concept of customer service on a corporate level. The reason this is so ironic, is that these days, corporations are in a huge hurry to save as much money on customer service as possible while sacrificing quality. I would say that these days, America is very unreliable in customer service on all levels from restaurants, stores, banks to large corporations.

What about other countries?
Traditionally Europe never had good customer service according to a friend of mine who is from Austria. I cannot confirm her claim, but after my brief visit to Europe, I was appauled at how I was treated as
a customer. Indians have good customer service if you go to a hotel or restaurant in person. But, the minute you are dealing with a phone company, or dealing over the phone with anyone, the quality of service degrades to a horrible level.

Hospitality in Ethiopia
I spent three hours talking to a local Ethiopian girl who told me that
in their country they learn hospitality from age three. When they come
to America they excel in any business involving hospitality including
restaurants, hotels, cafes, etc. It comes naturally to them as that is
part of their culture. They know how to interact well, make you feel
at home, and take care of all of your needs. In short, with
Ethiopians, you will be treated like a king. What a nice change from
being treated like “whatever.”

Customer service is cultural.
However, cultures change over time, and America has gone from a place where customers are cared for to a place where saving money is key. India is a place where customer service involves having someone who can barely communicate in any language answer the phone and then put you on hold without even asking permission which is the height of rudeness — then, the phone disconnects and you get hung up on.

What can we learn?
We learn from others. Unfortunately, if you are in an environment where people are unkind, you will learn to be unkind. If you start off nice, the moral erosion might take a few years or decades, but those bad guys around you will rub off on you. On the other hand, if we want to learn how to give the best customer service, we can learn from those who do it best. We can learn what they are doing, and what it is about them that makes them so good.

My favorite restaurant has three Italian waiters.
These are not run of the mill guys. They have all traveled and had a lot of life experiences. Additionally, they are warm, inviting, friendly, talkative, and they love food. At other restaurants they have people who are just there because it is a job. Having people who bring personality, warmth, and spice to a job makes the customer service experience a lot better.

It pays to travel the world
If you go to different countries and see how they interact and see how they serve people, you will learn something. Of course you’ll see the “how not to” more than anything else. But, you might also see how nice Indians can be if they are in person (opposed to behind a phone) and how Ethiopians interact with guests. You might see how Wells Fargo handles its affairs in a professional way, and how efficient the Japanese are handling basic business transactions. I don’t believe you can provide good customer service unless you soak in some experiences with good role models and make service a priority.