Little Things that Make Life Simple

This is a story about customer service in the digital age.

Here’s the issue: I have a charge on my credit card, which I don’t understand. I want a simple explanation.

In the customer service section of the credit-card company’s website, there are plenty of options: to do this click here, to do that click there, … None of them apply to my issue.

I can fill out a form or use their WhatsApp service. After some digging around I find a phone number. Hallelujah!

First, I get an announcement that the number currently can’t be reached. Huh? Can’t be.

On my third attempt, I get through, type in my ID no., the last digits of my credit card, and everything the friendly lady-voice tells me.

Then, again, the friendly lady-voice requests to identify me. She announces that a code was sent to my mobile phone. I thought I had identified myself with the ID number? Whatever!

No code arrives at my phone, and the friendly lady-voice keeps reminding me to type the code again and again and again. Then suddenly she offers to pass me to a rep. Yey!! That’s what I wanted in the first place. Good thing I didn’t do as I was told.

So I wait, and wait, and wait, and wait. After  20 minutes I hang up. 

I call again, go through the whole identification procedure with the lady-voice – including the code to my mobile (it arrives) – but this time I’ll have them call me back. So, I listen carefully to what the lady-voice announces at every stage. She says I have the possibility to leave my details and a rep will contact me by the end of the day. O.k. that’ll have to do.

Next, she gives me two options: To speak to a rep, press 1, to get a link to our WhatsApp press 2. Excuse me, where do I leave my details?

I press 1 and wait again. …

Wrong choice, start from the beginning.

This time – after a few attempts, because again the number is not reachable and the code doesn’t arrive – I choose the WhatsApp option. The voice (is she starting to sound impatient?) notifies me they’re sending a link to my mobile and asks me for my mobile no. Wait, you have my mobile no, you use it to identify me with a code, so….? Never mind. Just do it.

Sure enough, on my mobile, a link. It leads me to the credit-card company’s website. How swell! Couldn’t have done that on my own.

I click on where it says WhatsApp service just to be informed that the service is not available at the moment…….

Seriously?

Like, I am back at square one!? Searching for the best option to contact customer service on the company website? And all roads lead to either endless waiting or a WhatsApp service that doesn’t work?

I need to calm down! A glass of water and a walk through the garden. Should I try again and wait on the phone?

Maybe I should send a formal letter by regular mail. I best use a dove to deliver it.

Here’s how the story ends: I wait on the line for at least another half hour and then get a very nice young lady who patiently listens while I pour out my frustration. Poor girl, it’s not her fault. I apologize and explain my issue. 

She has no answer. After another few minutes, she returns to the call, thanks me for my patience, and starts explaining. The entire conversation takes no longer than three minutes. I understand what happened; she makes the necessary amendments so that it won’t happen again. That’s it. End of story.

I cannot help but wonder what kind of world we are creating with all the digital technologies. They are said to make our lives simpler and processes more efficient. Do they?
Whose lives are simpler, and which processes are more efficient?

Frohe Weihnachten aus Israel

Weihnachten am Strand von Tel Aviv. Diese Weihnachtsmännchen und -frauchen brauchen keine Masken, der Bart bereitet genügend Schutz.

Wie Ihr seht, lässt der Winter auf sich warten. Vielleicht hofft auch er, dass das kommende Jahr gesünder wird.

Aber 2020 brachte für Israel auch positive Entwicklungen. Normalisierungsvereinbarungen mit vier arabischen Staaten – die Arabischen Emirate, Sudan, Bahrain, Marokko – das hätte vor einem Jahr niemand erwartet.

Derweil in Deutschland:

(auf Facebook gefunden – ein bisschen Spaß muss sein).

Frohe Weihnachten also, und einen gesunden Rutsch in ein gesundes, neues Jahr!

Jerusalem Taxi

Ich bin Jüdin.
Der Fahrer ist Araber.

Auf der Fahrt nach Hause ist der Himmel ein wirbelndes Wunder aus Schatten und Licht. Die Steine Jerusalems leuchten wie Perlmutt. Ich bitte ihn einen Umweg zu machen, damit ich ein Bild von der Stadt machen kann – der Heiligen Stadt. Die Stadt, die wir so lieben, dass es uns manchmal verrückt macht und uns gegeneinander aufhetzt.

Er macht den Umweg und als wir zum Aussichtspunkt auf dem Ölberg kommen, leuchtet sein Gesicht auf. Er steigt aus dem Auto. Während die Sonne hinter der Stadt untergeht, machen wir beide minutenlang Fotos.

Er macht sogar ein Videochat mit seiner Frau, damit auch sie es sehen kann.

Als wir bei mir zu Hause ankommen, zucke ich mein Portemonnaie, um zu bezahlen. Er nimmt mein Geld nicht an. Diese Fahrt sei kostenfrei, sagt er.

Diese kleine Geschichte habe ich gestern auf Facebook in einer Gruppe namens Taxi Driver Stories gefunden.

Hier der Link zum Original https://www.facebook.com/taxidriversaid/photos/a.103004094917328/135729348311469/

Fleischalternativen gewünscht? Schaut nach Israel!

Warum ist Laborfleisch gerade jetzt so beliebt und wie kommt es, dass globale Lebensmittelkonzerne ausgerechnet in israelische Entwicklungen investieren?

Diese Fragen habe ich in meinem jüngsten Artikel im Israel Magazin Re:Levant untersucht.

Lese meinen Artikel hier:

Multi-Kulti am Strand von Tel Aviv

An den Stränden von Israel sieht man oft interessante Bilder. Vor vier Jahren erzählte ich hier in ‚Burkini und Schwimmflügel‘ über einen kleinen Strand, etwas außerhalb von Eilat.

Kürzlich beschrieb der Fotograph Dan Lazar die Vielfalt des Charles Core Strandes südlich von Tel Aviv in dem kurzen Artikel ‚Stadt-Oase‘.

Weiterlesen Multi-Kulti am Strand von Tel Aviv

Wie ist das Hundeleben in Israel?

Wußtet Ihr, daß Israelis große Hundeliebhaber sind?

Es soll in Israel mehr Hunde geben als in Österreich oder in der Schweiz.

Tel-Aviv soll laut Statistiken die Stadt mit den meisten Hunden in der Welt sein. Und sie haben sogar ein recht gutes Leben.

Sogar in unserem kleinen Ort gibt es zwei Hundeparks, wie den im Bild.

Hier noch einige interessante Fakten zum israelischen „Hundeleben“

What I Learned About Medical Marketing Writing 2

„We need more compassion in our writing,“ said Dr. Shuldiner, low vision optometrist and founder of the IALVS (International Academy of Low Vision Specialists). „Our texts are too cold and theoretical; there’s not enough empathy in them!“

I listened as he explained how most patients arrive at his practice only after having been told they are going blind, and there’s nothing that can be done.

So, here I was. I had researched the medical conditions leading to low vision for the past two weeks but suddenly felt that it was all for nothing.

How do I address readers who have just been told they’re going blind? What do I tell them?

That’s when I began to understand what it means to write medical marketing content.

Read my second article about the challenges of writing marketing content for doctors.

Schon mal was von Bee-Tech gehört?

Auch in der Landwirtschaft hat Hightech festen Fuß gefasst. Immer neue Innovationen sollen – und müssen – die Erträge verbessern und die Arbeit vereinfachen.

Letzte Woche hatte ich die Möglichkeit einen Gastbeitrag auf Re:Levant, einem deutschsprachigen Israel Magazin zu veröffentlichen. Das Thema konnte ich mir selbst aussuchen.

Der Artikel stellt sieben israelische Bee-Tech Firmen vor, die sich zum Ziel gesetzt haben, das Problem des Bienensterbens zu lösen. Dabei gehen sie die Sache von vollkommen verschiedenen Richtungen an, die alle interessant und erfolgversprechend sind.

Hier könnt Ihr meinen Artikel lesen.

What I learned about medical marketing writing

How do you promote a service that’s necessary, but people never want to need? Like cataract surgery.

Out of the many industries in which I’ve worked, writing medical marketing content for doctors was the most challenging and also the most rewarding.

Creating communication that will bridge the gaps between the practitioner’s world and the patient’s world can be fiercely complex.

The reasons may not be what you think.

Read now on my professional blog.

Caring Is Paying Attention Is Caring

“I want something special for my birthday!”

He looked at me with a frown, “but we never give each other presents.”

“Not a present, just something, a flower, even.”

“But I bring flowers every Friday.”

“So, bring an extra one. I don’t know, just something to feel it’s my birthday.”

On Friday morning, I got up to this:

A handful of delicate roses, 

three balloons over the kitchen table, 

One set from my favorite dishes – the ones I only take out on special occasions,

and my usual peanut butter and honey. 

A note said, “Happy Birthday 🙂 !”

I stood there with a smile and watery eyes! He nailed it. 

He succeeded in making my day with so very little. And you know why? Because he knows my routine and what matters to me. He paid attention to how I treat occasions to make them feel special to me.   

By showing me that he pays attention, he made me feel that he cares.

So, why am I telling you all this? Not because I want to show off my awesome partner (well that, too) but the main reason is that there’s a simple lesson that I want to share:

If you want someone to feel that you care, pay attention to them! 

Pay attention to what they do and how they do it, listen to what they say and how they say it.

It’s true for your family but also goes for customers, clients, and readers. Don’t try to impress or tease them into thinking you care. Just get to know them. Give them what they need, not what you think they want.

The real beauty in this is that you end up genuinely caring once you start paying attention, whether you want to or not. It just happens.