So last week I visited a client I have near King of Prussia, PA and then went to SQL Saturday.
This particular client I’ve worked with for over 5 years now and it’s been quite an interesting time. What started out as a 3-6 month project turned into a multi-year, basically full-time engagement and now it’s down to some piecemeal work. But that too is unfortunately slowly ending as they bring their new in-house DBA up to speed. I spent about 1/2 my time there doing a data-dump to him and my manager.
But, I’m not here to talk about that, I’m here to talk about SQL Saturday, customer service and a bit more.
But first, a joke:
“How many DBAs does it take to solve a hardware problem?”
By the count of it, at least a 1/2 dozen.
I got there and for my first session decided to attend Kathi (aka Aunt Kathi) Kellenberger’s session on windowing functions. Fortunately she showed up early because it turns out she could not get her laptop to talk to the monitor. We tried one fix using an existing cable until we realized we had the wrong end plugged in (basically the monitor end we stole from a monitor). This is one of the big fears of any presenter, showing up and not being able to project ones screen! So, over the next 30 minutes several of us tried to help with a bit of everything including the “reboot the projector advice”.
Finally after one of the organizers (with permission of the hosting organization) pried off the back of the podium was I able to realize “oh, THIS cable will work”. I handed it up to Kathi and she plugged in her laptop and was able to project. And it was, as I expected a great, informative presentation. I definitely learned a few things.
I have Kathi to thank (or to blame!) for inspiring me to write my book. So I was more than glad to help her out.
My talk on presenting was well received with a good turnout and a number of questions from audience members. This was in contrast to when I gave it in DC where I had only had a few audience members. And it was in definite contrast to my experience in Colorado Springs where I had no one show up for my presentation. I’ll admit, it was nice to get back on the horse and have such a successful presentation.
Later, I made a point of attending a session by Sarah Hutchins on how to Ace your Job Interview. It was her first time presenting at SQL Saturday and besides being interested in the topic, wanted to support her. She did great. It did turn out that she needed help with her clicker for PowerPoint so I loaned her mine. I in fact have a slide in my presentation about clickers and helping out fellow speakers, etc.
So, it was with a bit of a laugh that I saw Grant Fritchey’s blog post this week on Presentation Tools. Grant was one of the first speakers I ever saw at a SQL Saturday, back in Boston, I believe 4 years ago. Besides being a great speaker, I’ve appreciated he’s felt a need to “give back” to the community and in part he does that by supporting and encouraging up and coming speakers and writing informative posts like his most recent one cited here.
So a lot of this weekend was about how #SQLFamily helps each other. Kathi encouraged me to write a book, I was able to help her and Sarah with their hardware issues, Grant funny enough this week follows up on advice on hardware for speakers and so the circle continues.
Contrast that to my stay at Extended Stay America. There’s an adage in business:
It takes months to find a customer and only seconds to lose one.
ESA certainly lost one this weekend. After arriving at SQL Saturday, I realized I had left my shoes in my room at the hotel. As soon as I got an opportunity I emailed them. I didn’t hear back right away, so I later called. The response was less than stellar. First, they’d have to check with the housekeeper in question and they’d call me back. But additionally their policy was not to mail items to customers and in the event they did, they expected the customer to pay for shipping. Not the most customer friendly response, but I could deal with the shipping if they did in fact find my shoes.
No more response that day and I wasn’t about to drive 20 minutes in the opposite direction on the off-chance they had found my shoes because it wasn’t even clear the front desk would have access to them (since they couldn’t confirm anything until they spoke to the housekeeper in question.)
Sunday morning I woke up to an email which I will quote in its entirety:
We are unable to send these to you as our mail delivery does not pick up packages unless it is addressed for ESA business.
So, now at least the way I read this, it still doesn’t answer my question if they had even found them.
Finally last evening I spoke on the phone with the manager who kept reiterating their policy, but never said they had actually found them. I finally had to stop her and ask, “Do you even have them? You’ve never actually said that.” “Oh yes we do, but we can’t ship them to you.” “What if I pay for the shipping.” “We don’t do that.” Meanwhile she says repeatedly, “I’m doing everything I can help you.”
I’m still not sure how, “I can’t ship them to you” and “I’m doing everything I can to help you” jives.
But let’s just say, this whole experience has left a sour taste in my mouth.
Again a little effort can go a long way.
So, that’s my experience this weekend. Some great people who will help each other and others who are willing to write off paying customers.
But, despite not being a very code heavy blog, I’m going to toss out this tidbit for future reference:
$sourceserver = ‘Myserver\sqlexpress’
$sourcedb = ‘Adventurework2014’
$outputdirectory = ‘c:\temp\’
$tables = invoke-sqlcmd -server $sourceserver -Database $sourcedb ‘select ss.name as schema_name, so.name as table_name, ss.name+”.”+so.name as full_name from sysobjects so inner join sys.schemas ss on ss.schema_id=so.uid where type=”u”’
ForEach ($table in $tables)
$bcpstring=”bcp $($sourcedb).$($table.full_name) out $outputdirectory[$($table.schema_name)].[$($table.table_name)].bcp -S $sourceserver -T -E -n”
It’s not much, but I had a recent need to dump out every table of a particular database for a client. So I wrote this. BTW, by including the  in the filenames, when I go to load this data, the QUOTENAME version of the schema.table is automatically used.