Tagged: customer service

Gone Are The Good Merchants

When I first started home-brewing, I bottled my beers. There’s something almost magical about popping the cap off a cold bottle of beer that you brewed yourself, pouring it into a pint glass. I love it. But pretty quickly the hassle of putting the beer into the bottles gets old, and most brewers begin kegging. I only bottled two batches of my beer before I said eff it and bought myself some kegs. Then I went online and ordered a kit – the regulator, the hoses and attachments, and a five-pound CO2 tank.

There are smaller tanks available. You see them attached to paintball guns all the time. But when it comes to home-brewing and the like, I’m not sure you can get a smaller bottle than a five-pound. And it’s about the size of one of those large fire extinguishers you see on the wall at work. Anyway, I immediately went to the homebrew forums trying to find where I could get my tanks filled. There were a couple of places in downtown Dallas that did it – well, they swap tanks, but don’t fill your tanks. That means you have to give them your new shiny empty one and they give you one of their rusty old ones full of air. But there was nowhere real close to where I lived. And then I stumbled on a liquor store.

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Farewell to the Help Desk

For the last 18 years I’ve been working on computers in some capacity. About eight of those years were server engineering and data center operations, but the rest has been help desk. I’ve always preferred the help desk because it’s more hands-on with people. I have the great privilege to make people happy, one person at a time.

Help desk obviously doesn’t pay near as well as the server side of things, but it’s always been enough to support my family and me. And you know me – I’m not greedy. I only want to make enough to cover what I need, plus a little allowance for toys and beer. I have no desire to drive a fifty-thousand-dollar luxury automobile, or have a summer cabin in the mountains. Though that does sound quite nice now that I think about it.

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New York Diaries, Vol 1

I’m finally changing career paths. At almost forty years old. But they say it’s never too late to learn something new, right? I’m tired of fixing computers for a living. I’m pretty good at it, and I’m almost never stumped by a problem for too long anymore. I mean, there are perhaps an infinite number of things that can go wrong with a computer or a piece of software, or a printer… But a lot of them start to look alike – and certainly have the same solution. And I’ve been doing this a really long time. Yeah, it’s time for a change. So my company sent me to a three-day training course in New York City. So this is it, huh? I finally get to go to New York. Well let’s do it!

You see, all my friends have been. Well, most of my friends anyway. My red-haired wife has been. My dad has been. And everyone says you have to experience it firsthand to really get the full drift of what it’s like down on the street. Well, I’ve been here for four days now, and let me just say this about it: you have to experience it firsthand to really get the full drift of what it’s like down on the street.

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You Can’t Trust the System

I’d like to tell you that this story is true, and that you need to believe it because I’m telling the truth here. This is not a work of fiction! But how do you say that at the beginning of a column, when the entire purpose of the site upon which you write is entertainment? A lot of what I write here is fiction. Heck, everything Haycomet writes is fiction. But this, my friends, is real. This is true. And it really happened. And I have witnesses.

So I’d like to tell you the ridiculous story of how my pals and I ran into a series of events governed by Murphy’s Law, and were unable to get out from under his oppresive thumb. If I ever meet Harvey Murphy, I have a few words for him, I assure you. And alls we were doing was trying to have a little lunch.

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More Ways to Screw the Customer

I’ve long been of the opinion that companies should listen to their customers. I know you all remember my column about Coca-Cola changing their formula. Well, I highly doubt a consumer requested that. Companies that listen to their consumers though, are the ones that will last. Like Dodge, when they listened to Dodge drivers and installed a step in the tailgates of their pickups. Who doesn’t want a tailgate step? Another example would be Microsoft, when they listened to consumers and made Windows 7.

Ahem. To a lesser extent.

But what about those companies (like Coca-Cola) that don’t listen to their customers and consumers? The ones that make changes that cause all kinds of havoc and ill schlit to happen? Those are the ones I want to talk about this morning. And one of them just happens to be a company I’ve already mentioned.

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Truth in Advertising

I’d like to talk with you about radio commercials. Well, I don’t really want to, but rather, I think we need to talk about it. Specifically, I think a message needs to be sent out to these radio advertisers. And the message doesn’t need to be long or complex, or deep. I just want to say a couple of words. Namely, “I don’t give a flying AIDS-infested skunk’s ass what your damn name is!”

Wow, it feels really good to get that off my chest.

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Why SpaceBrew Was Down

Another good title for this column would be “Why You Should Never Host With HostMonster”. Or even another good one might be something like “HostMonster And The Incredible Display Of Incompetence, And How They Are So Disinterested In Their Customers That They Would Rather Cancel Their Accounts Than To Make Money, So I Don’t Know How They Even Stay In Business, But They Should Probably Be Shut Down, Bombed, Or Both”. That would be a pretty long title, but it gets the point across. So let me tell you what happened.

Now this is pretty high-tech stuff, and I have to admit, I wouldn’t understand it if I hadn’t been in IT for fifteen years, and spent four years as an Internet Systems Engineer. So I don’t expect you to get it all, but I’ll try to use some awesome analogies. But I absolutely must write about this, because they pissed me off so bad I almost went postal on them. Through Live Chat. Yeah. It was that bad. Read on, dear friends, loved ones and enemies. Come with me on a little journey of customer disservice, ridiculous policy and guarantees of dissatisfaction.

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It’s a scam and I’ve got proof.

DirecTV is my satellite service provider. But when I say ‘service’ I use the term loosely. And I’m talking loose like a two-dollar whore. You know, like throwing a hot dog down a hallway loose. They don’t actually provide a ‘service’ in any respect, if you want to get technical. What you have is them flipping a switch which allows you to receive certain channels on the box you pay for. So you pay for a box and they allow programming to be sent to your dish. Right? I mean they don’t really have to do anything after the install of your equipment is finished.

And that’s the thing. They don’t actually install anything. Well, at least not properly. You see, there are different crews when it comes to installing and repairing. Example, an install crew comes out, does a shitty ass piece of mothercobbler shit ass job of installing your shit, and leaves as fast as possible. They get paid per job. Not per hour. So then what happens is your shit doesn’t work. So you have to call the company. Who then dispatches repair crews out to your place. Not the original install crew. Not any install crew, for that matter. And for that matter, how about another matter – they aren’t even the same company. The repair crews work for a different company who is contracted out by DirecTV.

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Calling the Call Center

I hate having to call customer service. Mortgage company, bank, cell phone company, whatever. I hate having to call them. If I can’t handle whatever problem I’m having on the website, I’d rather just cancel my service than have to call and sit through all the bullshit. Alas, that’s not very realistic though, as I’d be changing providers and canceling shit about every month. So I have to deal with calling in and talking to someone – hopefully – a lot more often than I would in a perfect world.

The first thing that pisses me off is the menus. Forget the fact that I have to push a certain number to hear it in English. I don’t mind the “Para Espanol prima el numero dos” or whatever, so the Mexican folk have to press two to continue in Spanish. That’s fine. Just don’t make me push something to continue in the national language. But the menus are just silly and time wasting. Now what they’re trying to do here is keep you from talking to someone. If they can take care of your problems with an automated system, they much prefer that. Keeps their call volume down. Store hours, available balance, directions, whatever – they can all be taken care of without having to talk to a human. But most of the time I already know all that shit. And I need to talk to a person. Enter my next complaint.

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Finally, I’ve something positive to say.

I’m always on here ranting about shitty customer service and how people suck so badly. So I figured you’d probably like to hear about a good experience I had as a customer. Wednesday afternoon, present tense.

I just got back from the barber. Actually it’s a salon. I was on my way driving to the Sport Clips when I passed by a shopping center that had a little salon in it. So I said, “What the hey.” I knew it probably wouldn’t be as busy as Sports Clip during lunch hour, and you really can’t mess my hair up. Even if you do, no one will ever know, because of the way I wear it. So the point being that I really have no preference when it comes to where I get my hair did, because I deliberately mess it up anyway, as a rule. That’s how I roll.

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Rights? What rights?

Why are people so willing and ready to give up their personal freedoms so easily, and with so little objection? Read ahead and you’ll see what I’m referring to. You might not think this is a big deal, or that I’m nitpicking about trivial shit. But I’m not. And I’m not willing to bend on little shit like this, because the more you give them, the more they will take from you. And you have to draw the line somewhere!

When I’m leaving Wal-Mart, I don’t expect to have to show you my receipt. Big deal, you say? Yes, it is a big deal. Number one, I’ve already paid for the shit. It’s mine now. The receipt is also mine. It’s proof that I purchased my stuff in case I need to return it. It’s not yours to see, and you have no legal right to ask for it. If I refuse to show it to the old woman at the door, there is nothing they can do about it, and they certainly cannot detain me over it. Most people just assume they have to show their receipts at the door, when asked for it. No! You don’t!

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I’m not a patient patient.

Have you ever noticed that no matter what time they tell you your medicine will be ready (at the pharmacy) you will still end up waiting at least fifteen minutes? I’m curious, why the hell is it that Chili’s is able to tell me exactly what time my meal will be ready for pickup – and they’re always right on time – and they’ve only been doing this guaranteed time thing for like two weeks, yet pharmacies, who have been overcharging people for medicine for almost a hundred years still can’t get my mother freaking prescription ready on time? Wow, that was a long sentence.

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The Epitome of Abandonment

I’d like to talk about something that has bothered me for quite some time. Twenty-three years, to be precise. On the 23rd of April in 1985, Coca-Cola made their big announcement that they would be changing their formula. Remember that? Well, Katy, you’re excused from this since you weren’t born until a couple of years later. But the rest of you, do you remember that? Let me remind you – or enlighten you – whichever is appropriate.

Pepsi had such a great market share of the soda pop drinkers that it really started threatening Coca-Cola’s business model. So Coke decided they needed to change their formula to taste more like Pepsi. Ahem. Let me repeat that in case you didn’t hear me properly. Coca-Cola decided that the best way to get back in the taste race was to change their formula to taste more like Pepsi. Wait. What?

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Not a Happy Customer

If there’s one thing I hate more than slamming my finger in a rusty door, or stepping on a squeaky nail, it’s got to be incompetence in customer service. When I’m in a store inquiring about a product, your sales staff should know the answers to all my questions. Whatever happened to training the employees on the merchandise they are selling? When I worked in the Wal Mart Photo Lab, I took time every day to stand there reading the boxes of all the cameras. I learned what the best features were on every one of them, and was able to effectively compare and discuss intelligibly the best options for the customer. So if I go into Best Buy or Circuit City, why can I not expect someone working in the television department to do the same thing?

There’s nothing I hate more than asking someone a very specific question and having them look at the damn tag. Dude, I can do that myself. And already have. For instance, yesterday, I was in Micro Center, picking up an IDE/SATA I/O controller board for my home PC. I’ve troubleshot the problem down and determined that the root cause must be a bad IDE controller on my mother board. And since the computer I built is around three years old now, it’s a little outdated. It’s still a bad ass machine. I have a Pentium 4, and a good amount of RAM. But you know how quickly technology upgrades and supersedes itself. So my point is that it’s hard to find a socket 775 mother board that still supports the type of memory sticks I have. DDR2 is the new thing.

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Things That Make Me Go Boom

You know what I hate worse than – well, than almost anything? I hate going to the cobbling farmacy. Seriously. You pull up to drop off your prescription, or – if you’re like me and actually get off your lazy ass – go inside and wait at the counter. You wait while someone says, “Someone will be right with you.” Then you stand there watching them act like they’re doing something really important. More important than you, the customer. Which is the whole reason for their existence.

So after standing there for a pre-determined amount of time that only they can deem appropriate, someone finally decides to walk over and take your scrip. So you stand there while they key it in, then ask you when you’d like to pick it up. Wait. What? Mother cobbler, if it’s gonna be ready in ten minutes, you tell me to come back in ten minutes. Don’t ask me so I might say twenty which gives you a ten-minute break! Cock! Tell me the soonest possible time I can return and pick it up. That fries me, seriously. Then they tell you it will be ready in an hour (after you’ve requested a ten-minute return time). So you return in an hour only to stand there and wait another twenty minutes while they get ready to serve you. Then they finally come to the counter, get your name – as if they don’t remember it – and then say, “Oh he’s filling it right now. It will be ready in just a moment, please have a seat.”

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Customer Freaking Service

I’ve something to say today about something that’s very near and dear to me. Well let’s not mince words here, I’m going to rant. I’m going to use very strong language. Language I never use on the site. But I’m so full of rage I can’t see straight, and I think to shave off the language would be to strip the column of its spirit. I’m madder than a mean bull in a – what are those bullfighting things called? In one of those things. This issue about which I want to write is Customer Freaking Service. And yes, those words should always be capitalized. I will attempt to outline the reasons why.

One: Because of the first word, Customer. If I’m a Customer, that means I’m either buying a service or a product from you. I’m not one who is automatically of the opinion that the Customer is always right, but I’m definitely one who believes that the service side of the counter should try to make the Customer happy.

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The New Rules of Tipping

Seriously. Where did we get these rules of ettiquette for tipping anyway? It’s all a bunch of hogwash if you ask me. We’re told that fifteen percent of the total cost of the meal is a good standard. Twenty is better. Some people tip only the taxable amount, some people tip on the entire ticket, blah blah blah. All hogwash. Let me tell you my rules of tipping. Feel free to print this out and replace your tipping calculator with it. It will save you a lot of money.

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Lines, lines, lines…

I’ve got something on my mind that’s been pissing me off lately. It’s about waiting in lines. I was standing at the grocery store the other night, waiting patiently to give them my money. The cashier two lanes over opens up and the dude behind me bolts over there like he’s running for his life. Then that checker steps out and says, “Sir, you can come down here.” So I walked on over there. This dude is all looking at me like he’s nervous, but at the same time, he wasn’t about to give me his place in line.

Now. My gripe is this: What in the hell makes him think he should be in front of me? I was in front of him in this line over here, and granted, he ran to the other one first. But my theory is that if a new checkstand opens, it should serve the people who have been waiting the longest. At the fronts of the lines. Not from the backs. I’ve been waiting ten minutes longer than this lunger, but he gets to be in front of me in the new line?

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Not In Your Area

Check this out: I called Pizza Hut last night and asked for some pizza. The stuffed crust, which they got the monopoly on. The lady asks what the nearest cross street is to my house, and I tell her. She says, “Oh, well you have to call this number.” Click. So she shunned her responsibility.

A little perturbed, because I had waited on hold a few minutes – and every minute counts when you’re hungry – I called the other number. They took my order, then said, “but wait… Where do you live?” I said “off such and such.” He says, “east or west of it?” I said, “East, but right off it. Like five feet east.” Well, that didn’t matter. He told me I had to call this other place.

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