I Was Wondering What Ever Happened to Chart Reading?

When I started in the trading business (back in the olden days, as my grown children delight in reminding me) I was told that I would not be worth a pinned nickel until I spent 10,000 hours reading charts. Being an obedient youngster on Wall Street, I did what I was told and sketched charts with trend lines, regression channels that expanded and regression channels that were narrowing, support and resistance, and a dozen other suggested chart notations until I thought I was going to lose my one-cell brain. I learned to trade through reading and trading charts.

Chart reading is still an essential skill in learning to trade, yet it seems that, as time goes by, fewer and fewer traders value this skill. Very few of the struggling intermediate traders that I work with have even the most rudimentary chart reading skills and the suggestion that acquiring these skills for success is seldom met with much enthusiasm.

What has happened to chart reading?

I have never seen a study of this topic, so my answer is subjective in nature. My opinion is chart reading began to lose favor when J. Wells Wilder published his classic, “New Strategies in Technical Trading Systems” in 1978. With some of the tools that Mr. Wilder introduced chart reading could be reduced to a couple of studies at the bottom of the page. These price studies gave traders the illusion that entries and exits could be gleaned by reading these technical studies and trading could be mastered.

In subsequent years a whole crop of technical studies has come into existence and many of the struggling intermediate traders that come to me are often completely dependent on reading oscillators and indicators that reside below the main chart where the actual price action is printed. Therein lies the terminal trap that many traders find themselves; they don’t know chart reading.

I have claimed in many of my articles that it is my belief that the astonishing rate of failure of novice traders can be directly attributed to the trading methodology currently being taught as the “gold standard.” My thesis is as follows: Many of the popular trading education programs develop the “indicator of the day” and teach traders to trade off of these indicators. Further, they don’t emphasize chart reading as an essential skill. It is often passed over as something “you can do if you feel it will help you.” Nothing could be farther from the truth.

If you are an e-mini scalper, trading lagging indicators and oscillators (which all lag, despite what their authors may claim) is pernicious to successful e-mini scalping because they lag the actual price action by as many as 10 ticks, depending on which indicator or oscillator you choose to employ. This is akin to starting a 100-meter dash 10 meters behind the other competitors.

On the other hand, chart reading is done in real-time and decisions are made in real time. The function of indicators and oscillators in my trading world are as secondary confirming indicators. I seldom, if ever, initiate a trade based on on a study that I know lags the price action by a considerable number of bars. For example, if you have a target of 20 ticks and start 7-8 ticks behind the price action it is very difficult to scalp the e-minis’ because you are a day late and a dollar short.

In summary, I encourage your to put some real effort into simply reading charts. I often practice trading on Market Replay using only volume and price action and chart reading tools like trend lines and support/resistance. I don’t know that you have to spend 10,000 hours pouring over charts like the old timers believed, but I do know that if you can’t read a chart your chances of becoming a successful trader is greatly reduced.

What Ever Happened To Customer Service?

Does the newspaper delivery person throw your newspaper into a puddle of water?

Does the grocery store clerk smash your bread into a shopping bag?

Does the fast-food person give you cold fries with your order?

Does the retail clerk chat on her cell phone instead of offering assistance?

Does the repair man make you wait weeks to fix a household problem?

Does the auto mechanic charge you an outrageous price for an oil change?

Does the airline representative shrug their shoulders when your luggage is missing?

Does the eBay seller get annoyed when you ask a question about their auction item?

Does Anyone Care???

If you’ve experienced any of these unfortunate situations, then you know the frustration that poor customer service creates for a customer.

Unfortunately, good old-fashion customer service is slowly becoming extinct in our day to day lives, and customers long for the days when they were appreciated for their business.

So, what can a small business owner do?

Whether you have a brick-n-mortar store, online business, or eBay auction business…providing Superior Customer Service is the single most cost effective way to make your business stand apart from the competition.

Good customer service is the lifeblood of any business, and turning customers into repeat customers is the ultimate business goal. As many of us are aware, it costs 5 times as much to bring in a new customer, than to keep an existing one.

So, what is the big secret to turning customers into repeat customers?

There is no real secret to getting customers to come back. All you need to do is provide customer service that exceeds your customers expectations and outperforms your competitors service.

Good Customer Service is really quite simple, let’s review some important tips on how to make your valued customers feel truly special so that they keep coming back for more.

1. Start by always having a cheerful, helpful, courteous, and positive attitude.

2. Take a good look at your business and the products that you offer, and determine what makes you special and different. Use that unique edge or knowledge to inform and educate your customers about your products.

3. Study your competition. Take a close look at their services and find ways to make yours better.

4. Stop Customer complaints before they start. Provide as much information about your business, your products, your sales and return policies, your shipping and delivery
policies, etc., to avoid any confusion, questions, or misunderstandings right from the start.

5. Treat customers the way that you would like to be treated. Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness, fairness, honesty, and respect.

6. Provide a warm, friendly, and inviting atmosphere. For Online businesses, since they cannot see your friendly face, convey your personality by creating an inviting web site or auction listing, and cheerfully welcome your guests to your site.

7. Address your customers questions and concerns as quickly as possible.

8. Always tell your customer what you CAN do for them, don’t start the conversation by telling them what you CAN’T do.

9. Listen attentively to your customers. Pay attention to what they have to say, and respect their opinions. Consider doing a survey by asking them relevant questions to
help improve your business.

10. Ship or deliver your products as quickly as possible. Customers love instant gratification.

11. Keep your customers informed of any unusual problems or troubles as soon as possible. Each situation is different, so use your best judgement.

12. Use correct grammar, and avoid slang words or abbreviations when emailing a customer. Use spell check or a dictionary for help.

13. Allow irate customers to vent, stay calm, offer an apology, and an acceptable solution to a problem. Avoid using nasty, derogatory, obscene, or false statements, this conduct can insight potential law suits against you.

14. Don’t make promises unless you can keep them.

15. Make sure that your customers can easily contact you by providing them with a business card, business magnet, etc. with your telephone number, or email address conveniently included.

16. Under-sell and Over-Deliver. Everyone likes a surprise. Include a little something, such as a small gift, a discount coupon, free shipping or delivery, free report, etc.
to put a smile on their face.

17. Remember your customer’s name, and follow up on every transactions. Contact them to make sure that everything has been handled in a satisfactory manner, and they are pleased with the outcome.

18. Always show your appreciation for their business by sincerely thanking them, sending a thank you card, or personal note.

19. Build an opt-in list with your customer’s names and email addresses, and periodically send an email or newsletter to notify them of current products, or specials available. (Due to Spam (unsolicited email) regulations you must follow the federal spam rules and regulations, and make sure that your customers allow you permission to send them future emails).

20. Invite your customers, their friends, and family to visit again.

Dealing with customers can be an interesting experience. Each customer has their own personality and style of doing business. But, simple acts of kindness, fairness, honesty, and respect towards people can build long-term business relationships, and loyalty for years to come.