MonthFebruary 2016

Service Smiles – Share What You Know

Share What You Know!

This is the biggest lesson I was reminded of this week. Despite being new to my team, I was able to step in and share some things I had learned.

Using Partial playback to crop a WebEx recording

First, did you know you can edit a WebEx recording straight from the server before downloading it? It only works if you need to crop out the front of back of a recording, but it works.

Access the My Files then My Recordings tab
Once you’re logged into WebEx:
1. Click on My WebEx on the top navigation bar.
2. Click on My Files on the left-side.
3. Click the My Recordings tab.
4. Click the meeting name under Topic you wish to edit.

Click the Modify button
5. Click the Modify button on the lower left under the meeting links.

Select the Partial playback option and select the time codes.
6. Scroll down and select the Partial playback option.
7. Select the Start and End time codes.

Note: This works best if you download the original file before making changes and make a note of how much you want to crop off the front and back of the file. You cannot edit in the middle of the file using this method. You can only crop time from the front and/or back of the recording.

WebEx has a 250MB upload limit on files

Second, WebEx has a 250MB limit on the file size which can be uploaded to the server. This is not documented anywhere in the site’s settings. Nor is it available in the manuals. I learned this the hard way when I downloaded a recording, converted it to .mp4 and tried to upload it again. Instead of a helpful error message, I was met with this:

Unhelpful error message

I tried many times with different browsers before I gave up and called support. Even then it took them some time to find an answer and get back to me. But at least they were able to verify the limit so I could look for other ways to deliver larger files to my customers.

In both instances, I found this information from asking our vendor about the exact problems I was having. First, I needed to edit a native .arf file from WebEx and Cisco provides no tool for this. Second, I was trying to upload a large recorded meeting I had converted to .mp4 back to the WebEx server. If I had not run into these situations, I may not have ever learned this. But I did and was able to share them with my team.

Share what you know. It makes you a better technician. It empowers your team to offer better answers and delights your customers.

Special Bonus Tip

Make your customer laugh by deviating from what they expect. There’s a lot of way to deliver the same message. Your account is unlocked. Your password is… Here is what I’ve done for you. You say the same phrases over and over until you get tired of saying them. So switch it up. No one’s forcing you to be a broken record.

Today, I told a customer: “Your old password is Green123 and your new password is whatever your heart desires.”
She giggled and said she hadn’t heard that one before. I smiled. Another small win for the day.

Service Smiles – Smile in Service

Have a little fun. Support is not always serious troubleshooting. Technical jargon and nonsense-sounding language fills the day.

There are places to sneak in bits of fun among the monotony. This week alone, I’ve said the following to customers:

  • WebEx gets grumpy if you set too many alternate hosts so…
  • There’s an unholy alliance between Outlook and WebEx…
  • Internet Explorer and Java are fighting so…
  • Firefox is friendly with WebEx and…

When people call support they’ve expecting help and they’re expecting rote memorization and reciting of steps. Each moment of fun is unexpected. And it makes my customers laugh.

A little laughter feels great in customer support where it’s so often empty of any joy. So looking for small ways to add joy to your interactions will make your customer happier and make you happier.

Hands off my Apple

Yesterday, Apple posted a letter to its customers. This letter talks about the current San Bernardino terror case and what it means for all of us. The U.S. Government is asking Apple to build a backdoor into the operating system. Currently, there are parts of the devices even Apple is unable to get access to. The government wants to change that so only they can get into them. But that’s not how back doors work.

The backdoor into your phone is like the door on your house. You can walk in the door. You can lock the door. You can add another door to it but it’s still a door anyone can use. This is a hugely important issue. Encryption gives us privacy. In this age where every last private detail is up for sale, I appreciate Apple taking a stand.

For many years, we have used encryption to protect our customers’ personal data because we believe it’s the only way to keep their information safe. We have even put that data out of our own reach, because we believe the contents of your iPhone are none of our business.

Apple doesn’t need to know the contents of my iPhone.

The FBI is requesting a backdoor be built into the iPhone/iPad operating system. This would allow anyone to bypass all the security features on those devices.

Specifically, the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation. In the wrong hands, this software — which does not exist today — would have the potential to unlock any iPhone in someone’s physical possession.

The U.S. Government wants access to iPhones. Now you may not think that sounds so bad. But once a backdoor is opened, you can’t close it.

The U.S. Government will have a backdoor to get access to iPhones and bypass all security features of the device. Does that sound good to you? Law Enforcement should have this access to fight terror and apprehend criminals, right? That’s great! I’m all for catching criminals and fighting terrorists. But what about this?

The Chinese Government will have a backdoor to get access to iPhones and bypass all security features of the device.
ISIS will have a backdoor to get access to iPhones and bypass all security features of the device.
Hackers will have a backdoor to get access to iPhones and bypass all security features of the device.

There is nothing to prevent others from using this same backdoor to get access to your phone. Once the U.S. Government can walk in, so can China, or Iran or ISIS or Anonymous. Anyone with the technical ability can find and access the backdoor and all of your private information is now public.

Once you make a door, that door is open to anyone. Right now, that door is a steel-enforced concrete wall. Don’t smash a hole into it and install a door.

Nine Inch Nails Covers

I love Nine Inch Nails. I don’t hide this fact. I remember listening to The Downward Spiral as my anthem of teenage angst and anger. I grew up in a tiny town (2,000 people) in a high school of 550. I felt like a freak and a weirdo. Nine Inch Nails was the music I lived on. I’ve had the privilege of seeing Trent Reznor perform live five times. This music is the soundtrack to my life and today I fell into a hole of cover songs so I thought I’d share a few of them with you. There are many, many more online but these all stood out to me.

Going to see Nine Inch Nails live is as close to a religious experience as I’ve felt. The crowd and the emotions and the music washing over me is one of the best feelings in the world. I always come home hoarse, sweaty and exhausted. But feeling so energized and amazing.

NIN Live, hands raised

Nine Inch Nails and David Bowie performing Hurt

This song gives me chills. Bowie and Reznor’s voice are amazing together.

Johnny Cash covering Hurt

The Best Cover Song Of All Time. Cash takes Reznor’s words and comes to them from a vulnerable place and gives the song a whole new, incredible meaning.

Sevendust covering Hurt

Hurt is an incredible song and it’s nice to see another version of it. This one by stripped down and live on stage.

Linkin Park covering Wish

Wish is a great, if not forgotten song. This is a fun, live cover.

Flyleaf covering Something I Can Never Have

I remember Reznor saying years ago he wanted to work with a female vocalist. It finally came to fruition with How To Destroy Angels. I love Reznor’s music with a female vocalist. This is a great cover of a beautiful song.

Corey Taylor covering Something I Can Never Have

The lead singer of Slipknot’s acoustic take on a haunting track was meant to be performed acoustically. Taylor has an amazing voice.

AFI covering Head Like A Hole

Early NIN sounds like electronic punk. AFI’s cover of this old NIN track fits perfectly.

Kawehi covering Closer

Closer is a song I don’t listen to much because it got so much play when it blew up in the 90s and I got tired of it. It became a party anthem for it’s “I want to fuck you like an animal.” But Kawehi’s cover is a rare and unique take on the track so I included it. The best part of Closer remains the piano at the end.

Event Planning Rule 6 – Organize Yourself

Rule 6. Organize yourself.

Event organizer is a misleading name. It’s their event and they should have it together and be the expert on their own event. But, they often offload that work on to the person supporting them.

This means you have to be organized, whether the people you’re working for are or not. It’s your job to make everything work. It’s your job to assure success as much as possible. It doesn’t matter if you’re planned and scheduled if you don’t have the information you need.

If you write down the information but leave it behind, it can’t help you. If you need a specific link and don’t have it, it’s as good as never scheduling it.

A practice I adopted early on in event planning was coming up with a list of questions. My first reply when was this list. It gave me everything I need to know to be successful. Some of them were basic. What is this event? Where is it? What time? How many people are you anticipating attending in the room and online?

Are we recording this session? Do you need Closed Captioning? Will there be a sign language interpreter present? What about a photographer?

And others were just for me. Is this date and time firm? Do you have a slide deck? If not, when will it be available?

Asking questions finds weakness in plans. Once we find the weakness in the plans, we can plan around them and be successful.

Organizational Notes

Time

Rushing leads to disorganization which leads to forgetting which leads to failure. Always arrive early. The quiet time before an event starts is for you to prepare yourself and organize your space. Organization is about making time to be successful.

I was always the first person to an event. I had time to get my computer and camera setup. I verify the links I need and content (slides, videos, audio) were available and working. The extra time is for troubleshooting. Links break and computers crash. Time is the different between success and failure.

I open the slides and go through them all one last time. I open the video and play it straight through. I listen to the audio over the sound system in the room. I had already done all this before. But everyday is a new day and failure always possible.

Space

Setup what you need where you can get to it. I setup my notebook and post-it notes so I could see everything without flipping pages. I like using a notebook because it gave me space for new notes or updating what I thought I knew.

If I was in a conference room in front of a laptop, I kept it all on my lap but still had it open and available if I needed it.

Having the information does you no good if you can’t find it when you need it.