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Monday, July 23, 2012

What happened to the service in customer service?

My friend Debby Fortune had a customer service experience Friday that reminded me of one of the first scenes in The Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Debby: "It's broken and I need a replacement."
Them: "I'm sorry, please troubleshoot with me."
Debby: "I already did that. It's broken."
Them: "In order to replace it, you need to troubleshoot with us."
Debby: "I did that. It's broken. Don't they break sometimes."
Them: "Yes. They do. We'll replace it. But I need you to troubleshoot on the phone with us again."
Debby: "I'm going to hang up now before I scream."

Screaming seemed like a good idea a day later when I tried to order new replacement ink cartridges for our Epson printer. I called Epson Customer Service, which is probably located in some exotic place, to place the order in real time because the Epson website didn't seem to be working. The website would not recognize my email address or my password even though I had ordered ink cartridges several months ago.

I was assured that the website was working, which isn't very helpful when I had tried for 10 minutes to place an order that didn't go through. 

"You need to sign in to your account," explained the customer service rep.

"I tried and it didn't work."

He told me that the email address on record was our old email address and all I had to do was go online and sign in.

"We haven't used that address for years me and I don't remember the password."

He replied, "To change your password go into your old account and we will send you a new password."

I asked how was I supposed to do that when I no longer have that email address and don't remember the old password to get into the account. Very calmly (I thought) I added that sending me a new password to the old email account would not be helpful if I couldn't retrieve it.

Undaunted -- or not listening -- he repeated his advice. Several times.

The conversation went downhill from there.

What happened to the service in customer service?

~ Paula

Friday, July 6, 2012

Extra-Large Sugary Drinks = Extra-Large Americans

According to Beverage Digest, each American drank 714 8-ounce servings of carbonated soft drinks last year. That’s a lot of soda, especially when you take into account that many of us have sworn off drinking soda.

It’s no wonder that the waistlines of Americans have expanded over the years in direct relation to the amount of soda we drink. I read in an online Yahoo! Health article that in the 1920s a serving of Coca-Cola was 6.5 ounces (85 calories). Today, 7-Eleven has a Super Big Gulp that weighs in at 64 ounces and has 850 calories. Does it really make sense to consume that much in both volume and calories?

Evidently humans have a hard time comprehending the amount of calories we get from beverages versus those from food because liquid calories don’t seem as filling. To help the students in her nutrition classes understand more about what they’re consuming, Andrea Giancoli, a dietician from Los Angeles, asks them to bring in containers of what they regularly drink. She goes over the labels with them, pointing out portion size, calories and sugar content. Then she stacks sugar cubes beside each drink so they can visualize how many calories they are taking in.

I think it would be a good idea for schools to require that teachers at all levels discuss the obesity epidemic and the part sugary drinks play in it. As Ms. Giancoli does in her nutrition classes, they could have students bring in their favorite beverages and review the labels for portion size, calories and sugar content. The teacher could demonstrate with sugar cubes how many calories they are ingesting. Afterward, the class could discuss the obesity epidemic and the part sugary drinks play in it. Hopefully, students would bring the discussion home to their parents.

With more awareness about what we’re consuming, just maybe we can start to get a handle on the obesity epidemic.

 ~ Sharron

What are you looking at?

Zoe Fox of Mashable recently reported on how we view online advertisements. I for one have certainly trained myself to ignore most ads while browsing the web, but there are a few ways to break through even the avid ad evaders like myself.

If you want your ad seen, study’s have found that the best ad placement is on the left side of the screen, above the fold (about half way up the screen). The worst is the right side below the fold (bottom right corner). 

But now you can take it a step further in figuring out where to place your ad. A great service out there called EyeTrackShop is using technology called Real CPM to help determine the best placements for advertisements. By using testers from around the world, EyeTrackShop is using webcams to track the participants eyes in order to create a report that shows whether or not the ad was seen, the average time spent looking at it and how long it takes them to notice the ad.

The report will also show the number of people who remember the brand and the ad after leaving the site.

By combining scientific data with creative advertising, the future of online ads are surely bright.

Take a look at how the EyeTrackShop’s webcam eye tracking works below. -Matt