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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / Leaving Las Vegas /   Editorial List

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 Leaving Las Vegas

Last week, I went to Las Vegas and was knocked out.  No, I havenít started a new career as a sparring partner to Manny Pacquiao.  I was there to attend the Silvers Summit portion of the annual Consumer Electronics Show. It is gratifying to see that we caregivers are finally getting a lot of (and I must say) much deserved attention from the electronics industry. Look for some nifty innovations in everything from fall prevention to memory enhancement programs, and even products to help us hear better as we age. I was also at the Silvers Summit to moderate a pretty impressive panel of consumer product experts for a session on Exceptional Customer Service, and I couldnít think of a better topic to address.

In 2001, we created the annual Caregiver Friendly Awards to celebrate products, services, media and books which have the best interest of the family caregiver in mind.  One of our very first winners did not necessarily win for any advanced technology, but the judges thought their commitment to customer service was specifically outstanding.  For the first time in their industry, the seniors who used the service were actually encouraged to talk with the service agents on the other side of the big red button; and their representatives could check in with their clients on a daily basis just to see how things were going. 

For any company to succeed in supporting caregivers as we support our loved ones, exceptional customer service needs to take on even greater urgency. 
We often receive ads prepared for Todayís Caregiver magazine or that are inappropriate for our caregiver audience.  Sometimes, the copy consists of technical jargon only an engineer could understand.  Other times, the design has been created to appeal to the sensibilities of the 24-year-old graphic designer who has no problem reading the tiny text placed over the background color of almost the exact same shade of blue or green.  We always tell our clients that the answer is simpleópresent the materials to your own mothers or grandmothers and see if they can read or understand your message.

And along the same lines, I think the best way to see if any organization possesses the highest level of customer service is to have their motherís bridge club call their service line. Thatís where the rubber meets the road.

In the 1992 elections, the theme in the Clinton campaign was ďItís the Economy, Stupid.Ē At our office, it is always ďItís the Caregiver, Stupid.Ē To produce products or services for family caregivers and seniors, it must be ďItís the Customer Service, Stupid.Ē

And if any company fails to appreciate the need for exceptional customer service when supporting family caregivers, then it is they who are (shall we say) not so very bright.  


Gary Barg

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