Where is the Loyalty?

What happened to old fashioned loyalty? Are we really living in a world where it no longer matters?

We’ve heard about customer loyalty for decades.  But in the original context, the topic is about how to get customers to be loyal, returning, consistent, and committed supporters.

In the context of this writing, I am talking about the direct opposite.  What happened to the loyalty FOR the customer?  Let me share an example…..

I became an Apple product fanatic in 2007. I’ll save you the time of hearing about all the nights I spent sleeping outside the cell phone store’s from 2007 onward – just to get the iPhone early. I’ll save you having to hear that in my house there are four people and each of them have their own Apple watch, iPhone, iPad, and MacBook, and that every room in the house has an Apple TV.

The problem is that Apple has lost their loyalty to the customer.  Why should they care? If I leave them today, there are millions of other customers out there, that are as fanatical as me, who will keep them in business.

Frankly I’m disappointed.  I have four recent stories (a broken MacBook screen, an iPad that would not charge, an Apple Watch that was blamed on my child for the detached face, and an iPhone trade in that I was told would not power up – yet my son used it up until the day we mailed it in).

In each and every one of these situations – Apple assumes no ownership, no blame, no responsibility. If you have “Apple Care” then they will give you a DISCOUNT on the fixes for their malfunctioning and defective products.  If you do not, then you better be ready to pay near full price for the fixes or replacements.

What led me to write this today was the lack of compassion, the cold insensitive and uncaring attitude that Apple customer care, stores, and support has for their customers. In the early years, they NEEDED us.  The more happy customers they have, the better.  They built a dynasty. They entranced all of their customers to follow them on the technical evolution that would be what Apple is today.

I remember back in 2010 when I accidentally dropped my iPhone and, as you would expect, it landed in the perfect way that broke the screen into a million little pieces.  I took it to the Apple store, my face showing the signs of sadness as i walked up.  They looked at it, and my account, and realized how MANY products I had in my possession – and the support person said “This one is on the house” and gave me a new phone.

Those days are long gone folks.  Even with Apple Care, you have to pay a hefty price to get their broken or malfunctioning product fixed.  But most of all, there is no appreciation and response to loyalty.  As I stated earlier, I am sitting here with 25+ Apple products in my home, an Apple Credit card on my phone that I use heavily, and a reputation of being an “Apple Guy”.

But the recent in compassionate responses from Apple, and the coldness in their support has led me to believe that APPLE NO LONGER CARES IF I STICK WITH THEM OR NOT. If I stay…good.  If I go….we will find a replacement for you.

I’m saddened by this. I’m saddened that Apple has a lineup of products that fit my every need – and they all communicate together and work so elegantly for me. They are all connected, and it makes life so simple.  But God forbid that any of them have an issue – or else I will be left to pay for the fixes and the repairs.

Loyalty is ABOUT the customer, not FROM the customer.  Companies that realize that giving a few moments of attention, love, and support to your customers will pay dividends in the end.  Good companies never forget where they came from and who was there to support them when they were ‘growing up’.

I don’t feel the love Apple….  I’ve tried talking for literally hours with your support team.  I’ve tweeted to Tim Cook and your support twitter account – no one cares, no one responds.  In all four of the recent situations I have encounter, I never once asked for “full refund” or “full support”.  I only asked for SOMETHING.  Something to show you care for me as a customer.

It will never be the same – especially as long as you don’t see the value of keeping one customer happy.  I’ve been true to you Apple.  Since 2007, you’ve been the only one.

But that Samsung S20 is winking at me. Android may be in my future.  I wonder how Samsung would treat me as a customer? I wonder if they would hate to lose me if I began using their phone?  We may have to see…….

Loyalty – it’s about the customer, not the client.  Apple has forgotten the thing that got them where they are.  I’m just a number to them. Sad… I thought we had something….

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“Testing is Not a 9 to 5 Job”: Webinar Q&A – Part 1

Thanks to everyone that attended my webinar with AppliTools called “Testing is Not a 9 to 5 Job”.  In the next week, AppliTools will be sharing with me the questions that were not reviewed during the webinar.  I will plan to answer each of those questions here with another blog update.

Until then, I had promised to provide two things before Monday, March 19th, and I wanted to share them with you below:

Question #1: In the webinar, we discussed crowdsourcing and crowd testing.  Which sites would you suggest to learn more about, and participate in, crowdsourced testing?

Answer #1: I personally have used www.uTest.com for the crowd testing that I have participated in.  Two other popular sites that I have been the most familiar with have been www.99tests.com and www.passbrains.com.   I was researching this weekend and found the following link, which is a very good writeup for their opinion on the top crowd testing sites.  You can find the link here:  The Top 11+ Most Popular Crowdsourced Testing Companies in 2018.  The 11 that were discussed in the article are mentioned below (unsure why uTest is not on this list!):

  • Crowdsourced testing
  • Global App Testing
  • Crowdsprint
  • Bugfinders
  • rainforest
  • Pay4Bugs
  • Testbirds
  • Test IO
  • MyCrowd QA
  • 99tests
  • UncoverBugs
  • Bugcrowd
  • TESTBATS

Question #2: Also, in the webinar, I suggested that even if your company does not have your test team conducting Security Testing, everyone should become familiar with how it works, and some of the tools that are used to conduct security testing.  A question from the webinar was — What sites, articles, and tools would you suggest to read and learn more about Security Testing?

Answer #2: There are many leaders in the security testing realm.  I will add more to this blog as I get more folks involved.   For now, I would like to share with you a blog site from Ken De Souza, who recently did a webinar for Software Test Professionals on security testing and created a quick start list for those wanting to know the basics of security testing.   You can find the following about Ken and his site below:

I will add others that can help with security testing articles and tools.  Please stay tuned for more!

Thanks again to everyone that attended my webinar!  And if you weren’t able to make it, I will be updating everyone when the recording comes out!

Mike

My TISQA 2018 Keynote Video

On February 28, 2018, I was honored to be the keynote speaker for the TISQA 2018 Conference in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

My talk was “Testing is Not a 9 to 5 Job” and I’m happy to share with you the link to the video for all of those that are interested in hearing the keynote.

I hope you enjoy it!

Mike

 

Take my Testing Survey today!

If you are in software testing – please take my testing survey. It’s very short – just a few questions and mostly multiple choice!

I am compiling responses to this survey to share in an upcoming conference presentation in a few months.

Please share this blog/link with your friends in testing and ask them to take the survey as well.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY

My “Double Vision” Article Published!

If you work in software testing, I request you inputs on my latest article with the AppliTools blog.  You can find it at the following link below.

Even if you’re not involved in software testing, I think it’s a fun article to read.  Let me know what you think!

AppliTools – Double Vision

Thanks for reading!

Mike

9/11: Did We Forget?

15 years ago today, on September 11, 2001, the world woke up just like any other day.  Millions of people got ready for work and made their way to the office.  Thousands got on planes, expecting the same result as they had gotten hundreds of times before.  They depended things to be as they had been in the past.

But as we know, this was going to be a day that would be remembered forever.  Thousands of innocent lives would be lost.  The United States of America would be under attack.  And fear would reach new heights.

The world was glued to their televisions for days.  We wanted to understand why such acts would be undertaken, and how such evil could exist on this planet.

Whether you’re in America or another country, I’m sure you will always remember where you were when the news came that terrorism was taking place, and that lives were being lost.  You will always remember how it made you feel.  And everyone will remember the phrase that was born of this event “We will NEVER forget“.

It is now 2016.  So many things are happening everywhere we turn.  We have a political debate between two candidates in which many American’s are struggling to decide why EITHER should be the next president.  We have fighting and debates occurring in multiple circles.  We see people all over the world turning to social media to tell the whole world how they feel about EVERY situation that occurs.  Social media has become very “UN-SOCIAL”.

I’ve kept my silence as others have stood their position.  I have remained tight lipped as many friends and social media connections have gone out of their way to show their support of one side or the other of a topic of debate.  I’ve watched as the world abuses their freedom of speech by talking far too much about their stand on things.

On this day, I’m anxious to see the stand of those that make a significant influence in the world.  I’m talking about famous actors, speakers, authors, and professional athletes.  All over the world, fans are watching.  Some are emulating and supporting their favorites.  Some are embarrassed by them.  Some are unsure how to react and/or respond.

I’m not here to judge anyone who takes EITHER side of a debate, a discussion, a political party, or a problem that we face.  I’m looking at the facts at face value.  My challenge to the NFL Quarterback that feels he will sit through the American National Anthem to show his protest for all the wrong in the world is this – “Sir, you are symbolizing your take on the events that are ruining this country and the world.  YOU are SITTING DOWN and not taking a STAND”.  Honestly, it needs to be said.  I don’t make tens of millions of dollars in salary.  I don’t have a platform to stand on to address millions.  My challenge to this arrogant athlete would be that I don’t see him spending one penny of his extravagant salary to teach awareness to the next generation.  I don’t see him spending one penny to fund activities that could bring change in the world.  This is because he is SITTING DOWN.  He’s out to make a scene for something he has much more power and ability to influence.  I don’t buy it, and I never will.   I’m embarrassed for him.  I’m embarrassed for the National Football League, and I’m embarrassed for the media and for America to let someone with such a tiny percent of compassion have so much power and authority.

Let us go back to our promise and commitment in 2001.  Let us “Never Forget” what we have gone through as a country, and as a WORLD.  Let us never forget that there is almost ALWAYS something more that we can do to create change for any situation we do not like.

Sitting down is not the answer.

My NEW BOOK is coming soon!! The website is up NOW!

Anyone that knows me has surely heard me say “I want to write a book someday”.

I’ve been compiling notes, experiences, and events in journals and documents since at least 2002.

I’m happy to announce that I am nearing the end.  The updates to my notes and the compilation of my book chapters is taking place right this moment.  And I plan to move to publishing very soon.

The book is entitled: “The Drive-Thru Is Not Always Faster“.  It will be a leadership/motivational book, and will have experiences from my life, and a collection of chapters that share many insights, acknowledgements, and suggestions for enjoying your life!

I have created a website for the book, which can be found at:  http://www.TheDriveThruBook.com

Please check out my site and stay tuned for more updates!

How Do You Want To Be Remembered?

Cam Newton Peyton Manning

How many of you watched Super Bowl 50 this year?  For those that know me, I am a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, so I didn’t have a favorite team. To me, I was just watching the game for the love of the sport.

When the day started on Superbowl Sunday, I did not expect to learn a valuable leadership lesson from the whole event. But I did.

Two things happened on this day. And both involved interviews with the QB from each of the two teams that were playing in the Superbowl. If you’re not a football fan, the QB is the leader of the team on the field. They understand the plan for the game, and they work with the coaches to define the plays that they are going to execute in the attempt to win the game.

The first thing that I encountered was a pre-game interview with the Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning.

If you don’t know this great QB, he has the most records in football than any other in that position – just a few of the records he holds are:

  • Most TD = 539
  • Single season TD record: 55
  • Most passing yards – season:  5,477
  • Most games 300+ yds:  86
  • Most passing TD in a single game:  7
  • Most games with a passing rating higher than 105:    92
  • Most games with a perfect passer rating of 158.3:    5
  • Most seasons with 350+ completions: 9
  • Most games completing 80-percent passing: 16
  • Highest completion percentage in a postseason game with 450+ yards: 81.8
  • Highest yards-per-game, season: 342.31
  • Most seasons passing for 4,000+ yards: 14
  • Most consecutive seasons with 25+ touchdowns: 16
  • One of two quarterbacks to ever beat all 32 teams
  • First quarterback to beat 31 franchises: 2007
  • Most Games Won by a QB: tied going into the Super Bowl and got it with the win

When you see someone like this be so successful, it’s hard to believe that a person with this much success could be humble and respectful. But in this case, Peyton is one of those great players that fans of other teams hated to love. Football fans like me show their support for their team by despising the great players and star players from the other teams. But in the case of Peyton, he’s one of those players that everyone respects, regardless of their selection of a favorite team.

PeytonInterviewIn a pre-game interview, Peyton was asked the following::

What would be the legacy that Peyton Manning wants to leave behind?

His answer was inspirational:

Two of the most important things to me would be that my teammates said that I was a great teammate. That’s important to me. And, I think, the coaches that I played with and I played against would say that they respected me. That would be important to me.

That’s something that my dad always told me to strive for. Earn the respect of your teammates. Earn the respect of the coaches that you played for and that you played against. So that would be the most important thing to me from a football standpoint. I’ve worked hard for that and I hope that I can maintain that and keep that in tact.

CamInterviewOn the other team was our star Carolina QB, Cam Newton. He’s young, he’s fresh, he’s excited about football, and he has been quoted as saying that football has always been his life. While some players saw football as something they did, Cam saw football as something he ‘was’.

After the Superbowl, the media flocked to both teams. They wanted to cover the responses by both the winning and losing teams. As Cam sat in the interview, he was visibly sad, depressed, and low. When asked questions about the game he responded with:

 

  • We got out played
  • They just played better than us
  • They made better plays than us – and that’s what it came down to
  • We had opportunities – and we gave the game up
  • It wasn’t anything special that the other team did
  • They scored more points than us

His interview lasted only a little more than 2 minutes. Many were upset at him for how he behaved. Many were angry that he would not sit there and take the questions and give the fans (his customers) what they wanted.

I’ll be honest, my first reaction was disappointment in his behavior. How many of us get to walk out of our job when things are not going well? Have you been in a meeting where you are the center of the discussion, things were not going well that day, and you stand up, walk out without saying anything, and go home? Probably not. Yet this is the job of the players in football, and one of their stars did this very thing.

I then began to look back to the other QB, Peyton. I recalled many big games in which he lost, where he would give the media and his fans as much time as they wanted in the interviews after a game in which he lost. A few years ago, Peyton was in the Superbowl and he lost to another team, and this very thing happened.

But the story behind all of this is as follows – it took maturity and learning for a veteran like Petyon to handle the pressure, disappointment, and impact of losing a big game. Cam will learn from this loss. And hopefully he will be prepared for the interviews in the event he loses another big game.

How can we apply this to our own lives as leaders in our professional and personal lives? What is the lesson to be learned here?

The FIRST lesson is simple…

Great leaders are not defined by how they behave when things are going great. They are defined by how they handle situations when they are NOT so great.

Cam was well known for his celebrations during the game and the leadership he exhibited with a team that seemed unstoppable throughout this past year. He was always smiling, driving, motivating and giving direction to his teammates.

But when facing a team that came prepared with a strong defense that would shut down the aggressive attack of the Panthers, Cam was unable to handle it.

How many of you have had a ‘bad day’ at work in the last month? If you’re a leader, it’s so hard to keep your head up, and to motivate your team, your peers, and to keep pressing forward. But I challenge you today to keep going. There will be times when you are the only thing that will motivate someone else on your team. And being a leader is a big responsibility. But you can do it!

The SECOND lesson is about servant-leadership….

Servant leadership is an unselfish approach to leading others, giving direction, and being part of their success.

If you look at the statistics of this Superbowl, you will find that Peyton Manning did not have one of his STELLAR performances. While he holds almost every record you can imagine for a QB, it was not his performance that won the game.

It was the performance of his team as a whole. The performance of the defense that broke down the attack of the Panthers. And the performance of the players around Peyton that supported him and took his direction with unconditional trust.

You don’t have to be the star of the team. You don’t have to be the one making all of the big plays and doing all of the great work. But if you want to be a strong leader, you will find a way to drive your team with MOTIVATION, ENCOURAGEMENT, MENTORING, SUPPORT, and RESPECT.

It’s amazing how we can learn something about leadership in almost everything we do, everywhere we go, and everything we see or hear in the world. My challenge to each of you is to let LIFE teach you how to grow and become a great leader. Look around you, enjoy the times you have, and seek to find a story, an example, and a lesson from what you are experiencing.

And if you do that…you just might get that interview at the end of your career…where you can say “I am respected by my peers, my teammates, my manager, and managers on other teams”.

I wish you the best!

Questions for Keynote Panel: I Need Your Inputs!

Calling all software testing and IT professionals.  I need your inputs and questions that I will ask at the next STPCon software testing conference in San Francisco, CA from April 4 to 7, 2016.

I am going to be moderating a keynote panel with three well known names in software testing, and we will be taking questions from this blog, other social networks, and the audience at the conference.

Please take a look at the members of our panel, think of your question(s), and please submit your questions as comments to this blog post.  I appreciate, in advance, any questions you submit, and I promise to try to ask them to our panel when we are live on Thursday, April 7, 2016.

One last note before I introduce you to the panelists.  I hope that you not only submit a question, but you also plan to attend.  You can see all of the conference sessions, workshops, and keynotes at the official site for STPCon at this link:  STPCon Official Site .

Now let’s meet the panelists.  I will give you their biography and then share with you some additional information that I know about each of them:

Panelist #1:  Smita Mishra

Smita Mishra
Smita Mishra

Bio: Smita Mishra is the Founder of PoolWallet – an online expense sharing app and is the CEO and Chief Test Consultant at QAzone Infosystems, which is a software testing organization. She enjoys problem solving.  She supports her customers in identifying the risks their applications are carrying and / or passing on further to their end customers, through carefully crafted skills of product development and software testing. She also engages with different forums to assist growth for women in her field and otherwise too.

Smita will speak to the advances in the testing practice, where we are going with outsourcing and services, the changes for women in testing, and how organizations must realize the need for setting the context for strategic growth.

Additional Information: Smita is a well known testing professional across the globe.  She has a great following.  She has led multiple testing meetups, and recently held a major conference in India, called ThinkTest, where the conference sold out and was overbooked, and included James Bach as the headliner speaker.  She was honored with an invite to be part of an expert panel for a Sheroes conference (Sheroes Website) where she spoke about her new product (PoolWallet – PoolWallet Website), women in technology, and work-life balance.

 

Panelist #2: Dave Haeffner

Dave Haeffner
Dave Haeffner

Bio: Dave Haeffner is the writer of Elemental Selenium (elementalselenium.com), a free, weekly Selenium tip newsletter read by thousands of testing professionals. Dave is also is the creator and maintainer of ChemistryKit (https://github.com/chemistrykit/chemistrykit) an open-source Selenium framework, and the-internet (https://github.com/tourdedave/the-internet) an open-source web application that’s used to help teach test automation. He’s also the author of The Selenium Guidebook (seleniumguidebook.com) — a concise guide that will teach you how to use Selenium successfully. He’s helped numerous companies implement automated acceptance testing including The Motley Fool, ManTech International, Sittercity, and Animoto. He’s also a founder/co-organizer of the Selenium Hangout (an entirely online Selenium meetup), Selenium Conf (the annual conference put on by the Selenium project), and frequently speaks about automated acceptance testing at conferences and meet-ups around the world.

Dave will speak to the advances in tools used for testing, how we have grown in the testing practice, our constraints and our opportunities, and how testing is complemented by the complex growth in tools to support the testing practice.

Additional Information: Dave has established his name to be synonymous with Selenium for several years now.  His expert trainings and books have changed the way Selenium is used across the globe.  He consistently looks for new ways to leverage the tool and to use automation to increase the success of organizations.

Panelist #3: Damian Synadinos

Damian Synadinos
Damian Synadinos

Bio: Damian Synadinos started testing software—on purpose and for money—in 1993. Since then, he has helped build better software and build software better using various methods and tools in numerous roles at many companies in diverse industries. During the past ten years, Damian has focused primarily on teaching and leading testers and improving processes. Currently, he is the enterprise quality lead of metrics and reporting at a large Midwestern bank, helping to answer questions and tell stories about quality with data. In addition to testing, Damian enjoys improv, golf, poker, gaming, acting, cartooning, and spending time with his family.

Damian will speak to leadership and mentoring of testers in today’s world, how we define measurement and metrics to accurately represent our progress and success, and how to work collaboratively with our stakeholders and partners.

Additional Information: Damian will surprise you with his acting and improvisational experience.  When you hear him talk, its like watching a performance.  He is engaging with the audience, and it is his belief that this is how you engage not only with audiences, but with your team.  He has extensive knowledge in leading teams, and coaching others and his experience with metrics and measurement is extremely exciting to learn.

Thank you so much for your participation and I look forward to seeing your questions for this great team!

PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR QUESTIONS AS COMMENTS BELOW…