Matthew Petro

Coffee is my energy drink of choice.

Overcoming geographic barriers in Phoenix via Twitter

Various people around Phoenix have discussed how social media, Twitter in particular, is helping Phoenix to overcome it’s geographic vastness and develop a real sense of community. I’d felt that was happening, but something happened last week that really drove that point home.

Amy (@TheFabulousOne) tweeted that she had cleaned out her office and was getting rid of her flat-panel monitor. I’d been wanting one, so I asked how much she wanted for it. Being the awesome person she is, she gave it to me in exchange for doing some work on her computer.

A couple of days before this, my wife Tracie’s personal trainer had mentioned that his PC monitor at home had died and he now had no way of using his computer. Since we now had a perfectly good 19″ beast of a CRT monitor which we were no longer using, passed it alongĀ to him.

This kind of stuff used to only happen in more closely-knit communities such as neighborhoods. Now, it can span the entire Valley, thanks to Twitter making the entire city a closely connected neighborhood.

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Filed under: Interesting Thoughts, Life's Adventures

Phoenix 21 comes to Glendale

Image #12 from Phoenix 21

Image #12 from Phoenix 21

Today, we were the fortunate recipients of one of Tyson Crosbie’s images from his Phoenix 21 exhibition. We’re displaying the image in our home for a month as part of Tyson’s Home Exhibit social experiment (vlog posts here and here). Although we weren’t initially selected, Kevin Spidel bequeathed his image to us, since he’s in the process of moving.

This morning, Tyson and Jamie came over to with Image #12 to install. We chose to put it in our living room, where we have a wall that’s just the right size to display the image. As you can tell from the photo, we have very red walls, which contrasts nicely with the colors and textures of the image.

Both Tracie and I love the image and the way it looks in our living room. We’ve discussed how awesome it would be to purchase the image and redecorate with it as the inspiration. Unfortunately, we don’t have the budget to do that now, but it’s good to dream. šŸ™‚

After having looked at the image for a few hours now, I wish our walls were smooth instead of textured. When the daylight coming in is just right to accent the wall texture, I think it conflicts slightly with the textures of the image. But, that doesn’t happen all the time, and the wall texture isn’t all that distracting.

We’re honored to be entrusted with Tyson’s work. Much thanks and gratitude to he and Jamie for installing the piece and to Kevin for passing the image to us. More blog posts to come!

Filed under: Life's Adventures, , , , ,

The awesome customer service rolls on!

Last week, the Petro household ran out of our fantastic carpet cleaner. You’re probably thinking, “You guys don’t have kids, why do you need carpet cleaner?” Well, we have cats. Two of them. They’re great cats, but they tend to hack up hairballs at interesting locations which are almost always carpeted.

In order to combat the hairball puke, we have carpet cleaner which we got from A-1 Carpet Service, the most awesome carpet and upholstery cleaning service in the Valley. Whenever they come to clean our carpets, they leave us with some cleaner solution. Unfortunately, we ran out and we don’t have plans for them to come out anytime soon, so I headed over to their office after work on Thursday.

I arrived a little after 5:00pm, which turns out to be when they close up and go home. Luckily, one of the office ladies was standing outside. I told her that I just needed to get some more cleaner. Despite it being past the end of her day, she gladly let me into the office and sold me a full gallon of cleaner.

Not only does A-1 do a fantastic job cleaning carpets, even their office employees really go out of their way to make customers happy. This kind of customer service doesn’t happen by accident. It happens when a leader creates a great organization in which all employees care about the success of the company and feel that their contribution really matters. Even if it means staying a few extra minutes to help out a late customer.

Filed under: Customer Service

Golfing across the generations

This past week, I was golfing as part of my summer golf league. My dad and I are on the same team in the league, so we were golfing together. Rounding out our foursome were a pair of guys from another team.

One of the guys from the other team told us that he’d been golfing a few weeks ago at another course, and he’d played along with a father and son. The son was 74 and the father was 98.

When my dad is 98, I’ll be 71. I sure hope we can still go out and shoot 18 holes then. Heck, I’d even be happy with 9.

Filed under: Life's Adventures

More customer service done awesomely

Apparently I’m on a crusade to highlight good customer service. I didn’t really intend to set out on such an adventure, but I recently was on the receiving end of more awesome customer service, so I had to let it be known.

Larry is our landscaper guy. He was recommended to us by our neighbors and he’s been great. He runs his own one-man operation, so he’s busier than a one-legged guy at…you get the point. Anyway, he recently came over to trim and clean up plants in our front yard. Not only did he charge a reasonable price, he came when he said he would, did a great job trimming the plants and cleaned up so well, our yard looked better than before his visit.

To top off the awesomeness, he called up in the evening to ask if I was satisfied with the job he’d done. He didn’t need to do that…I’d already paid him and I’m sure he knew he’d done a great job. But he did. Why? Because maintaining contact with customers, even happy ones, requires very little effort but goes a long way towards cementing customer loyalty. Obviously, Larry gets that.

Filed under: Customer Service, ,

Customer service done awesomely

Lately, it seems that atrocious customer service is becoming far more commonplace than it should. Tyler Hurst’s Alaska Air phone service debacle (blog post), Tonia M. Bartz’s encounter with new levels of douchebaggery at Biddulph Mazda (blog post and Yelp review) and the terrible start to Michael J. Barber’s vacation, thanks to customer disservice by US Airways (blog post) are all recent examples of customer service agents completely failing in their jobs.

I wanted to counter all of this with a post that highlights not only good customer service, but awesome customer service. The target of my anti-rant: Tony Sibley at Centennial Leasing & Sales. Centennial is an auto buying service and Tony is one of their sales agents. I’ve bought both of my family’s cars through him, as have my parents. I’ve recommended him to every single friend and relative who’s looking to buy a car, and I wouldn’t buy a car from anyone else.

Why am I so devoted to Tony and his skills? Awesome customer service, that’s why. Tony treats every single customer as he would like to be treated. He and his staff do everything they can to make something which most of us consider to be an unpleasant chore into a painless and easy event.

The brilliance with which Tony serves his customers is difficult if not impossible to capture in words, but the results speak for themselves. He’s built a career on providing awesome customer service.

No matter your profession or industry, follow Tony’s example and take care of customers the best you can. They’re the most important part of your job.

Filed under: Customer Service, Interesting Thoughts, , , , ,

Windows 7 RC: good!

I installed Windows 7 RC tonight and my first impressions are very favorable. The installation was the easiest of any OS I’ve done, including some of the “friendly” Linux distros. I even set up a dual boot with my existing XP and the Win 7 installer handled it without missing a beat.

The installation process required as little human input as possible. It asked which language and locale I wanted to use,Ā  which time zone I was in and which partition to install on. After that, it did everything on its own. I was even worried that I’d accidentally overwritten my XP partition, because nothing asked me how I wanted to format the free partition, etc, etc. Once the installation was complete, Win 7 was happily installed on my second partition and it had even set up a boot loader menu which defaulted to Win 7, but had an entry for my previous XP instance.

The initial experience with Win 7 is pretty good. There were no device driver issues…everything just worked. It played nice with SAMBA shares on my network and IE 8 let me browse away. I’ve already installed AVG antivirus and iTunes, and my iPod is syncing as I type this.

So far, Microsoft gets a big thumbs up from me!

Filed under: Life's Adventures, , ,

Solo Cafe thrives, economy be damned!

I visited Solo Cafe in Tempe this morning with my awesome friend Tonia; they’d just completed a redesign of the store and we wanted to check it out. The place looked great and the new furniture layout helped to open up the space. On the back wall they’ve added a large mural, which really adds to the upscale eclectic vibe of the place.

Solo Cafe's snazzy new mural

Solo Cafe's snazzy new mural

We chatted with Chad, one of the owners about the facelift and upcoming plans…they’re adding a kitchen in anticipation of offering a food menu. All of this is happening because business has been great for them.

Solo Cafe has been open since the beginning of 2008. In the time since then, the economy has gone down the drain, people have complained about the damage done to small business when consumers quit spending and the government has spent billions to bail out big companies while doing very little for small independents. Yet Solo has thrived through all of this. Why? Because their product is great and they’ve made smart decisions; two foundations on which all successful businesses are based.

The lesson here is that more people should quit whining about how much things suck right now and start paying attention to the basics. Be smart and do whatever it is you do well.

Filed under: Life's Adventures

Cable “news” shows

Last weekend, Tracie and I spent our time in Flagstaff with her grandmother. While her grandmother is a fabulous person and fun to spend time with, she has a habit of leaving the TV on, tuned to Fox News all the time. This often drives us crazy. Is there really that much of an audience that wants to hear the same “news” regurgitated hundreds of times a day and hear hype-mongering rants from ratings-seeking personalities?

After listening to this a while, I can’t see how any of it is constructive. None of what is said is meant to achive a meaningful dialog amongstĀ  people with differing viewpoints. My thoughts on this subject were really summed up by something Obama mentioned on the “Inside the Obama White House” special which NBC aired this week. He said that the cable news channels are like WWE wrestling. All of the personalities have their predictible roles to play, and all of the discussion really doesn’t shed any new light on an issue or educate the viewer in any way.

This is one reason I don’t miss having satellite TV at all.

Filed under: Life's Adventures

Going to Flagstaff

Yesterday I headed up to Flagstaff to meet up with Tracie and spend time with her and her grandma. Since Tracie was already up there, I decided to take a US Airways Express flight, instead of driving our other car up. I’ve lived in Arizona for many years and spent 5 years going to school at Northern Arizona University, but I had never flown to Flagstaff until this. Strange but true, right?

The 3:10 to Flagstaff

The 3:10 to Flagstaff

The flight left Phoenix at 3:10, giving me ample opportunity to laugh about it being the 3:10 to Flagstaff and comparing it to the Russell Crowe/Christian Bale flick “3:10 to Yuma”. The plane was a little 37 seat Bombardier Dash 8. These are twin-prop puddlejumpers that find all possible turbulence.

The flight left a couple of minutes late, but got in the air quickly. I was happy I wasn’t a nervous or nauseous flyer, as hot afternoon air above Phoenix is pretty bumpy. I was sitting next to a really nice guy named Joe, who was a little unhappy with the turbulence. He did well on the flight though, and we chatted through most of it, which I think helped keep his mind off of things.

I was totally surprised at how fast we got to Flagstaff. I’m used to a 2+ hour drive, even from my house on the north side of town. We were in the air no more than 35 minutes before we landed. The flight was scheduled for an hour, but I was off the plane by 4:00. It was almost disorienting to go from the frying pan of Phoenix to the cool mountain air of Flagstaff that quickly, but it felt so good.

Filed under: Life's Adventures, , ,

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