How Customer Service Matters

I have blogged this topic before, but once again I am reminded just how important customer service is for building relationships.
To keep happy customers, you must keep customers happy.

I recently switched from Verizon to T-Mobile One plan to get unlimited everything for 2 lines for $100. No additional fees or add-ons saving me about $45/month and increasing my plan to unlimited voice/text/data.  But the real difference became obvious after switching.

Here is my customer experience with Verizon…

My daughter got a new phone, but they didn’t have the case she wanted, so we went to the Verizon store close by to see their selection.  There were 5 employees wandering around with tablets and 3 other customers in the store.  “What is your phone number?” one asked me.

“Oh, I don’t need help with my phone or service.  I’m just buying a case for my phone.”
She walked away as I started searching for the case the would fit my phone.  After several minutes of searching (with no help from the employee), I found what I needed and proceeded to the cashier desk.  Employees kept walking past me with their tablets, avoiding all eye contact. I stopped one asked him to ring up my purchase.

“Did you check in?” he says.
“No, I’m just buying a case for my phone.”
“I need to add you to the waiting list.  What is your phone number?”
He takes my number down and then walks away.  After 10 more minutes someone finally came and sold me the case. Yes, I was in the store for 20 minutes to buy a phone case.  You might be asking “why didn’t you just leave?”  I stayed because I wanted closure.  Yep. I made a great choice.

Here is my customer experience with T-Mobile…

A few days earlier I switched my service to T-mobile.  My daughter got a new phone, but I’m using my Verizon-branded Galaxy S5 while I wait for my new S8 that arrives later this month.  My phone can work on both networks, but it doesn’t get a good T-Mobile signal at home.  No problem.  They sent me a signal booster. (My daughter’s phone works fine.)  Then 3 days later I got another call asking how service is and if everything is OK. This is what good customer service sounds like.

So what kind of follow up did I get from Verizon after switching?  This email:


Yes, that is an unbelievable price. $80 PLUS TAXES AND FEES for a SINGLE line.
Wondering what that little asterisk means in “When you enroll in Auto Pay*”?
Here it is at the bottom of the email:


$30 activation fee
17.4% telecom charges
$0.21 regulatory
$1.23 Administrative/line/mo
Others by area
Gov’t taxes & our surcharges add 7% – 46%

Come back today? I don’t think so.
Apparently quality customer service is not an option.
As T-Mobile CEO John Legere clearly understands from the video above,
listening to the customer makes all the difference.


Notes / Domino 10

At IBM Connect 2017, the message from IBM was “Notes/Domino 9.0 support will not end for at least 4 more years”.  Which to me sounded a bit like simply a stay of execution. Not so much a positive message as just a non-negative one.  But Ed Brill has published a blog post on the IBM Social Business blog that gives more clarity to the message and I think this helps.

In whitewater kayaking we say “look at the line, not at the rock”, meaning look where you want to go, not at what you are trying to avoid.  If you watch the rock, you’re probably going to hit it. But if you focus on the line through the rapid that you want to take, you will likely do well.

With that in mind, Ed’s blog post does a better job of looking at the line.  There is talk of should there be a Notes/Domino 10.  Currently the plan is to stick with the version format 9.0.1 FPx where FP now means Feature Pack instead of Fix Pack.  In this way we will get frequent releases that include new features as well as fixes, mirroring the cloud releases.  On the other hand, it seems to leave Notes/Domino stuck on version 9 forevermore.  Wouldn’t this be a great time to update the versioning altogether to align more with the steady stream of feature packs?  Other software does this, like Firefox, which is now on version 52.0.  N/D FP 8 was just released and FP 9 is already under development.  So perhaps it could start with FP 10 being simply Notes/Domino 10?

IBM Connect 2017 Ad that didn’t quite make the Superbowl

This was a lot of fun to produce.  I hope to see you at IBM Connect in San Francisco.  The event is just 2 weeks away!

I can give you a $100 discount code for IBM Connect 2017

As an IBM Champion I can provide you with a discount code for $100 off the full registration to IBM Connect 2017.  All you have to do is ask for it.  Just post a comment here.  When you do, it will prompt you for an email address that won’t be visible to anyone. I will connect with you and get you the discount code.  See you in San Francisco!



Verse On Premises is now available!

Verse is the new way to work with email communications.  It was first made available in IBM Connections Cloud and is now available for your Domino mail server on premises.  To save you some time searching at Passport Advantage for the download, the part number is CNGD8ML

More later when I have a chance to install it.

Must-have list of IBM ICS User Community Resources

There are many online resources for connecting with administrators, developers, and IBMers to get your questions answered, find resources for hire, discover integrated products to extend your software environment, and learn about what new software or the next version will bring.  IBM customers tend to be very collaborative, so you can find them in just about any social media forum.  Being connected to them is invaluable.  Knowing where to find them is the hard part.  Here is a list of top resources.  There are many more out there. Start with the aggregators.  Please post your own contributions in the comments and I will add them to this list.

Blog aggregators & RSS Readers & Search Widgets
Chris Miller’s RSS
Chris Miller’s search widget

List of ICS User Groups from around the worldBleedingBlue (Pacific Northwest IBM user group)

Linkedin Groups
Lotus Notes and Domino
IBM Messaging & Collaboration Professionals

Facebook Groups & Pages
IBM Collaboration Solutions Support Page

Exceptional websites

Watson Workspaces (under development. Soon will replace Skype chats)

Skype chats:
(to make Skype URIs work, copy the link and paste it in your browser address bar. It will then prompt to open Skype)

IBM Notes & Domino (pending getting the group open)
IBM Linux (pending getting the group open)

IBM Connections Cloud Community: skype:?chat&blob=9a8owk7xhR_Sp0aIiXWhGKH_zPVztRPIEgXmCVkqiatYXR9-_-8MO4WYvLSp2MpSqw_dnzqGmM0CpCNoMZCq3QigAvVJgpUALOld4V60nFENf6DF_8kSXgrScDLBmhLUEsdcRJQVQxfhAhARjb9cG8fP0LqFPA

IBM Sametime Community:

IBM Connections Community:

Docker and ICS:

Slack chats: (register here)

2017 IBM Champions for ICS Just Announced

IBM just announced the list of people who have earned the title of 2017 IBM Champion for ICS (IBM Collaborative Solutions).


What is an IBM Champion?  To quote the champion of the Champions, Amanda Bauman:

These individuals are non-IBMers who evangelize IBM solutions, share their knowledge and help grow the community of professionals who are focused on social business and IBM’s Social Solutions. IBM Champions spend a considerable amount of their own time, energy and resources on community efforts — organizing and leading user group events, answering questions in forums, contributing wiki articles and applications, publishing podcasts, sharing instructional videos and more!


Congratulations to all of you IBM Champions on your achievements.  I am honored and humbled to be included again this year in such great company.  I believe your achievements as IBM Champions is just an indicator of the kind of leaders and top performing individuals you are.  You all set a very high standard to live by!  I also want to make a shout out to my friend and neighbor to the North (Vancouver, BC), Graham Acres of Brytek Systems who as also been recognized as an IBM Champion for ICS 2017.

Here is the complete list:

Adam Brown
*Adam Hunt
*Adrian Randall
*Alan Forbes
Andre Horak
Andrea Fontana
Andreas Ponte
*Andrew Magerman
Anett  Hammerschmidt
Benedek Menesi
Bill Malchisky
*Bjoern Duengefeld
*Brad Grissom
*Carl Fravel
Chris Miller
Christian Güdemann
Christoph Adler
Christoph Stöttner
*Colin Breckles
*Csaba Kiss
Daniel Lieber
Daniel Nashed
Daniel Reichelt
Daniele Grillo
*Daniele Vistsalli
David Hablewitz
David Leedy
Detlev Pöttgen
Devin Olsen
*Doug Morrison
Ellen Feaheny
Eric McCormick
Felix Binsack
Femke  Goedhart
Francie Tanner
Frank Gullo
*Frank Van der Linden
Fredrik Norling
Gabriella Davis
Giuseppe Grasso
*Go Kawakami



*Graham Acres
*Guillaume Gesnel
*Hogne Bø Pettersen
Howard Greenberg
*James Anderson
*Jamie Magee
Jan  Valdman
Jan F. Zeuthen
*Jan Krejcárek
*Jared Roberts
Jens Overgaard Dinesen
Jesse Gallagher
*Joao Vendruscolo
*Joerg Rafflenbeul
John Head
John Jardin
*John Stockbridge
Johnny Oldenburger
Julian Robichaux
Karen Hooper

Karl-Henry Martinsson
Kathy Brown
Kazunori Tatsuki
Keith Brooks
*Kenio Carvalho
Kim Greene
Klaus Bild
*Kris De Bisschop
Lars Samuelsson
*Leonardo Costa

*Makoto Ono
Maria Enderstam
Mark Myers
Martin Jinoch
Masahiko Miyo
Matteo Bisi
Michael McGarel
Mike Smith
Minesh Manilal
Mitsuru Katoh
Nathan Freeman

*Nico Meisenzahl
Oliver Busse
*Patrick Li
*Patrick Spedding
Paul Withers
Per Henrik Lausten
*Peter Cardon
Philippe Riand
*Remco Angioni
René Winkelmeyer
Richard Moy
Rob Novak
Robert van den Breemen
Roberto Boccadoro
Roberto Mazzoni
*Rodolphe Magnin-Feysot
*Ronald Dekkers
Rudi Knegt
*Sabrina Pick
Sandra Bühler
Serdar Basegmez
Sharon James
Siggi Meyer
Simon Vaughan
*Söhnke Grams
Stefan Gebhardt
Stefan Sucker
Stefano Benassi
Stephen McDonagh
Takeshi Yoshida
*Terry Boyd
*Terry Cartwright
Theo Heselmans
Thomas Lindberg
*Thomas Rickert
Tim  Clark
Tim Malone
Tony Holder
*Tony McPahil
Victor Toal
Wannes Rams




* = New IBM Champions for 2017

You can find links to many of their blogs at  You can view more details about the Champion program at the IBM Social Business User Community.  And if you aren’t a member, consider joining the conversations in this user group community.  Also, we have a local user group for IBM technology here in the Pacific Northwest.
Visit our meetup page for more information.  See you at IBM Connect 2017!

Behind the scenes: Cascade Youth Symphony Orchestra rehearsal with Amazing TSMA Gospel Choir

A raw footage, behind-the-scene glimpse into what is in store when CYSO hosts the TSMA in concert November 19, 2016, 2pm at Benaroya Hall, Seattle.  This is what happens when dedicated young musicians intersect with gifted Gospel vocalists.  The recording on my phone does not do it justice by any means. You’ve got to experience this in person.  The voices of the Townsend School of Music and Arts Choir were so powerful, I felt they almost drowned out the orchestra. And in concert they will be mic’ed!  The impact of this combination is going to bring tears of joy to your eyes.

OK, I might be a bit bias because my daughter is playing cello, but this orchestra is the real deal.  While she is first chair in her high school orchestra, there are 5 cellists ahead of her in this orchestra.  Talent runs deep in this group!

This concert will be performed in one of the most amazing music auditoriums in the world: Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony.  If you live around the Seattle area, please come and support these young musicians. Nothing would please them more than to get to play to a sold out crowd.  Tickets are only $22 at   If you reach out to me, I can connect you with one of the students who can sell the tickets at a discount and it helps them out.

For more about these two organizations, visit

Thanks for listening to this public service announcement.
–The Notes Guy in Seattle

First ever Cross Canada Collaboration User Group and other events in November


There is plenty going on this month including:
Nov 10 -11 – SUTOL Technical Conference in Prague (wish I could be there!)
Nov 17 – Cross Canada Collaboration User Group event with – you guessed it – multiple sites across Canada as well as live streaming.
Nov 17 – The usual monthly online meeting of IBM Social Business User Community (log into developerWorks)
Nov 24 – DNUG “Domino Day”in Dusseldorf
Nov 30 – ISBG in Oslo

Support your user group communities and see how they can empower you and your organization.  Collaboration is what makes us so successful!

Join Me on IBM Watson Workspace


The IBM Champions for Social Business have been included in the beta (alpha?) of IBM Watson Workspace.  I am able to invite friends to join too.  I just need your IBM ID.  It should be an email address.  If you still have the old-school ID that was whatever username you wanted, you need to create one that is an email address.

Once logged in, you can follow the new features that are getting added here.
Looking forward to exploring the new technology driven by Watson.  I will share more about features after I get familiar with it.

The future of transportation with IBM Watson

As both an IBM business partner and a transportation technology enthusiast, it is exciting to see #IBMWatson getting into the transportation game. Transportation is a huge industry and everyone wants to innovate to capture that revenue. Google, IBM, Detroit and countless startups are racing in. Transportation is about to change in ways unimagined.

When it comes to transportation technology, we have passed an inflection point. Innovation in transportation and the adoption rate of that technology are suddenly growing exponentially. Other technologies, like the smartphone have prepared us to become accustomed to a very rapid adoption rate. In fact, it has laid the groundwork for that adaptability to even be possible. The Waze adaptive navigation app has been downloaded by 50 million drivers, 40 million of those in just the last 4 years. Uber did not exist 7 years ago. It took just 6 years to reach 1 Billion rides and then just 6 months later they reached their second Billion.

How exactly is transportation technology changing?

– Alternative energy vehicles to consume less energy and produce less pollution
– Autonomous vehicles to improve safety and allow us to use travel time more effectively
– Trip-combining solutions to reduce vehicles on the road
– Apps that guide us to avoid traffic and find the fastest route
– even technology that brings us together without leaving home (my specialty).

So where is it taking us?

That is a great question. Cell phones, search engines, 3D printers and the connectivity of the Internet have all surpassed the imaginations of science fiction classics like Star Trek. How long before we are using Transporters to beam around? OK, maybe that’s a stretch. But maybe not. Just be wary of how you spend your money, knowing that what you buy will likely become obsolete long before it wears out.

Upcoming IBM webcasts for October 2016

Here is a list of webcast events for the IBM Collaboration Software community. If you aren’t a member of this community on developerWorks, create an account while you’re there so you can participate in the discussions and keep your knowledge sharp.

(Note time zones are listed in Pacific Time Zone, because that’s where I live.)
18 Oct, 8:00 AM PDT (GMT -7) Open Mic Webcast: Common Issues on IBM Traveler Push Notifications

20 Oct, 7:00 AM PDT GMT(-7) Monthly Community Meeting – Every 3rd Thursday

If you are lucky enough to live in Brussels, here is a meeting at IBM Oct 27th on the future of Verse and Toscana Get the latest news!

Nov 10, 11: If you are anywhere near Prague, don’t miss SUTOL Technical Conference with IBM Champion Jan Valdman

Nov 17 1:00PM – 5:00PM PDT My friends just north of me are hosting Cross Canada Collaboration User Group with Champion-worthy Graham Acres.  This is a combination webcast/in-person session that will be broadcasting live from multiple locations in the Great White North.

And if you missed these from last month, go watch the recordings:

(Note time zones)
7 Sep, 8:00 AM PDT (GMT -7) Tips and Tricks for Managing Communities Effectively

14 Sep, 8:00 AM PDT GMT(-7) IBM Client Application Access (ICAA)

21 Sep, 8:00 AM PDT GMT(-7) Rename best practices for SmartCloud Notes hybrid administrators

22 Sep, 7:00 AM PDT GMT(-7) IBM mail support for Microsoft Outlook

Remember that you can overlay the Social Business User Community calendar onto your calendar to have all these dates automatically added to your calendar. Just visit the community calendar on DeveloperWorks and click the button below the calendar to Add to Personal Calendar.


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