At Your Service by Maggie Inge

At Your Service by Margaret Inge is a weekly column that examines a number of business issues directly related to the Central Catskills’ service economy.

At Your Service: April 22, 2009

At 8 on Monday evenings my computer’s security system runs a scan to identify and then quarantine viruses, worms, Trojan horses and other nefarious software programs. The entire operation takes about an hour. It is exactly what I programmed it to do when it was new, like the computer before it and the one before that. Nonetheless, I am regularly taken aback at about 8:15 most Mondays when I go to check my e-mail and find it running.

At Your Service: April 15, 2009

The first time we make an error, it is simply a mistake. The second time it is a big mistake and we comment, “I should have known better.” The third time we are developing a pattern, soon to be a habit that can only be broken with great effort. The potential to catch mistakes before they become bad habits is the primary value of assessing past performance.

At Your Service: April 1, 2009

Last fall I cited as an example a business owner, call him Roger, for his customer-centric approach to problem-solving. This week I learned that Roger is not the owner of his business. When I played back our conversation in my mind I realized that he had never said that he was the owner – what was remarkable, even more so in retrospect, was his attitude.

At Your Service: March 25, 2009

She smiles – that is, the corners of her mouth rise and the lips part enough to reveal the edges of her teeth. The dark light in her eyes reveals that she is anything but happy and gives the smile the appearance of a sneer. “Welcome” falls from his lips like a tooth spat out at the end of a fight. It has been a long day and more people means it is likely he will have to stay open late.

At Your Service: March 18, 2009

Trust is a critical component of service and trust is in short supply these days. The issue of trust is completely revealed in our confrontation, as individuals and as a nation, with concerns relating to health care. It is in the domains of health care that the most intimate aspects of service are expressed; lives hang in the balance and the delicate underbelly is exposed. In no other arena are we required to trust with such abandon.