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Latest News and Observations

Service in a Covid World

The global pandemic has caused so much disruption in our lives. Perhaps like nothing else in our lifetimes. From quarantines, shut downs and mask mandates, to testing, CDC announcements and vaccine confusion, from the beginning, the messaging has been never been easy to know what to do. 

The service industry has been impacted too. From Karens and Kens who want to push the boundaries of the rules set in place, to employees who may not feel supported or equipped to deal with this new level of customers anymore, Covid-19 has definitely changed the way service is delivered.    (for the rest of the story, link to my blog page)

Complimentary Breakfast and Litter Box?

Whether it's a hotel, coffee shop, theme park, grocery store, health provider or other business, good service is expressed in a number of subtle ways.

A few years ago, when I was traveling a lot, I found myself in Redding California. The hotel I chose was convenient, quiet, clean and recently upgraded. On check in, it also offered this photo at the front desk.

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Jack the hotel cat. As the sign reads, Jack originally came to the hotel with a family relocating to the area. His owners were unable to keep Jack and so he stayed at the hotel, which became his adopted home. Jack now acts as the hotel's greeter and mascot.

I'm an animal lover, and have a family of fur children at home. I'm the guy who asks if I can pet your dog while you’re out walking him. So for me, Jack is a win.

(To read the rest of the story, and to add your comments please click the link to go to my blog page)

A Friendly Reminder

Now that the busy holiday shopping season is in full swing, we’ve been giving big thanks to Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and those specially tagged days that help us find great deals.

As we’re comparing all those special prices, let’s not forget about all those members of the service industry who are taking care of us. The folks who work in restaurants, airlines, retail, hospitality and online who are already busting it out and are doing their best to make the holidays easier and more efficient for us.

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Yeah, okay, maybe It’s easy to brush it off with a dismissive ‘it’s their job’ and you wouldn’t be wrong. But how about this? As we’re giving thanks for family, friends, good times to come and great deals on electronics, take a real moment to give a ‘thank you’ or some other shout out to those in the service industry.

Give it a shot. Pay it forward. See what happens.

Talk to me if you want to live

Last week, when I dialed up roadside assistance at the Automobile Club of America (AAA) and found myself talking to an automated attendant, I was reminded that artificial intelligence (AI) has been in the news again.










Maybe you’ve heard this theory: as computer systems become more and more advanced, the machines will eventually take over, and push us humans to the sidelines. With the uptick of virtual assistants like Alexa, where you can order merchandise on Amazon, robots that can pick and package items at the Amazon warehouse, drones and driverless cars that deliver packages to your home, the general public seems to be either excited or terrified.

Like the movie ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” computers of the futuristic company Skynet, became aware, took over the United States’ nuclear weapons arsenal and initiated a nuclear holocaust that wiped out all human civilization.



(To read the rest of the story, and to add your comments please click the link to go to my blog page)

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A Tale of Two Halloween Stores










In the animated classic ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,’ I always look forward to the sequence when the Peanuts gang is trick-or-treating. As Lucy, Patty and the kids compare what treats they get at each house, poor Charlie Brown always declares, ‘I got a rock.’ 

Delivering a good customer experience should always be a key component of a company’s business.  Even when you’re one of those temporary, pop-up Halloween stores that rolls into town for the weeks leading up to October 31st. These stores are the ‘go-to’ for everything you could possibly need for trick-or-treating, haunted yard decorations or a good old-fashioned masquerade party. I was in search of a pair of mad scientist gloves. I found a couple of examples online, added them to my phone and off I went. Would my experience be like ‘five pieces of candy’ or ‘a chocolate bar’? Or a rock?

(To read the rest of the story, and to add your comments please click the link to go to my blog page)

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Back at Merced College’s Customer Service Academy, led a Team Building session today for small but mighty group UCMerced.  We ended with the classic, hopefully not cliche, marshmallow challenge. This team was very engaged, planned their strategy and built their tower. 


Through Merced College’s Customer Service Academy, led a customer service training today for the UCMerced Library team. Leadership here believes in providing a great experience for students, faculty, management and the general public. This was my third year with this group.


Began a customer service training yesterday with the great volunteers of Candle Lighter’s Ghost House in Fremont, California. Very dedicated, passionate group. Venue was the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, which was an actual silent movie studio from 1912-1914. If those wall could talk! Well, maybe they wouldn't because....silent movies. 

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When I'm not working on Customer Service endeavors, I am sometimes called upon to host a variety of special events. Central Valley Squares (top left), Merced Christmas Parade (top right), Merced Feast (middle left) and Playhouse Merced Gala (bottom left). Need a host? Contact me.


Through Merced College's Customer Service Academy, facilitated a Team Building training for Merced City School District. At the end of the four-hour session, we ended with the classic 'Marshmallow Challenge.' Using 20 pieces of hard spaghetti, a yard of blue tape and one marshmallow, teams were instructed to create the tallest tower, with the marshmallow on top. Always fun and informative  to see how teams interact with each other to get the job done.


Through Merced College's Customer Service Academy, facilitated a training for University of California Dining Services. We ended the day with a variation of the 'Marshmallow Challenge' using just spaghetti and marshmallows. They all dug in and enjoyed the process. 

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