Monthly Archives: January 2014

Who Has an Awesome Jew-fro? This Guy!

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Top Chef Restaurant Wars Season 11 ep 9 afro jew fro hair style curly

Likes rotini like he likes his hair.  Curly and al dente.

This awesome hair style was spotted while watching Top Chef Season 11 Ep.9 (Restaurant Wars in New Orleans.  This dude knows how to rock a ‘fro! (and he likes his pasta al dente – classy!)
I’m a fan.

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How To Get Good Customer Service Online

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As a frequent online shopper, I have a had several occasions when I needed to contact a customer service department.  I have almost always received a more-than-satisfactory conclusion and I think it is partly due to the way I communicate with the service individuals.

I recently purchased a gaming keyboard for my PC to help me optimize my gameplay.  It had been difficult to find one that I thought would suit my needs and I shopped for about six months. Reviews, blogs, gaming forums, and word-of-mouth were my tools and I finally selected a keyboard that seemed it would fit my needs best.  I had done my research and it paid off. Only a few unimportant features were not available in the product I had bought, but it was the best fit and was on sale for about half of the original retail price.  Free shipping, too!  I was pleased….

until I noticed one of the buttons would stick, and another didn’t function as quickly as it should.   
As the host of the TV show Gearz, Stacey David, would say: “noo! dis-appoin-ted!” (2:51 mark…love that show)
All of the things I had done to be a conscientious consumer amounted to nothing because of a manufacturing flaw.  It happens. I wasn’t mad, but I still needed something I could use and I didn’t want to be stuck with a keyboard I couldn’t use and be out of pocket for the money I had paid for it.  Time to contact customer support.

This is where your efforts and actions to getting a satisfactory result is the most crucial:

  1. YOUR INITIAL TICKET REQUEST
    Most online retailers have a customer service link on their main page to handle questions, concerns, and service tickets.  Clicking on the Customer Service link will usually bring you to a search bar where you can search for commonly asked questions and find the answer to what you need to know, but if you know you have a damaged product, there is usually a link specifically for that or just an email/ticket form to be filled out and submitted.
    Getting  prompt, courteous, and helpful service often (but shouldn’t) depends on how concise, accurate, and factual your initial ticket request for service is.  Keep emotions about the product and the service out of the conversation completely. Don’t exaggerate  the problem; be honest and concise when describing the problem. Letting the service agent know you are angry will not change the outcome and using profanity will also not be conducive to a happy ending.  Some tickets allow the product to be selected from a drop-down menu, others don’t so be sure to specify the make/model of the item in question.  Reference the purchase date and any other dates that might be helpful such as shipping dates if that was a concern.
    Here is an example of my initial ticket request to the manufacturer for my keyboard:

    I bought this keyboard September 3, 2013. The day I received it I noticed that the Jump/Space button on the left keypad would stick when depressed, but I thought it might just be because it was new and I was otherwise happy with the keyboard. I’ve had the keyboard a little over a month and I am still experiencing a “sticky” Jump/space button and this morning the space bar wasn’t inputting at all. I am using it now and as you can see, it is working again. I don’t see any reason for it to physically not have worked as the keyboard is clean and I wasn’t using it unusually. Is this something I can get addressed by SteelSeries or do I need to go through the retailer?

  2. ACTIVELY AWAIT A RESPONSE
    Make a note to continue checking for a reply so it doesn’t get lost in your email shuffle.  Most companies send out a generic auto-response that cannot be replied to but serves as documentation that their server did indeed receive your ticket and a ticket or reference number is usually included.  If your reply does not promptly arrive, be sure to check your Spam Folder in your email program.  It generally also lets you know when to expect a response; update your note so you can be sure to check back if you haven’t seen a reply in that time-frame.
    The reply from the company I contacted on this occasion was not auto-generated (which I appreciated). I have omitted identifying ticketing information.
    “Hey Sarah,I’ve transferred this ticket to Brendan. He should get back to you shortly, but definitely within the next 1-2 business days.Please keep in mind that the 1-2 days does not include Saturday and Sunday, although we do make an effort to respond on the weekends, we cannot guarantee we always will!Thanks for your patience.Regards,
    SteelSeries Support”
  3. STAY IN CONTACT UNTIL YOU ARE HAPPY
    When the company responds to your request they may require additional information such as a model number if it wasn’t already supplied or your address so they can send you a replacement item.  Double check the info you send to keep the transaction speedy and error-free.  Realize that the service agent probably has a lot of complaints to work through daily (I sure don’t envy their job) and most have to submit all transactions to a boss for quality control so replies may not be personal.  Sometimes it takes several communique to work out the problem to a satisfactory solution but staying in contact and replying promptly is key to getting a resolution.  If the proposed solution does not satisfy you, don’t be afraid to graciously ask for what you want. In my case, one service agent proposed to send me a replacement keyboard, but because the keyboard I had purchased was no longer in stock they were going to send me something else in their product line of equal or better value.  That’s fine but I needed some very specific features that weren’t available on all of their keyboards so I asked him to tell me which keyboard I would specifically get.  The next email I got was auto-generated saying that my exchange ticket was being processed. I replied that I hadn’t yet asked for an exchange, that I had only requested further information.  I was told I’d have to ship my keyboard back and they would then send out a new one (of a different model) and ship at their expense.  It sounded fair except for the fact that I’d be keyboard-less for however many weeks that took, and I really did need to know what keyboard I’d be getting. I explained all of that and another service agent took over, apologized for the lack of service, and said I was not going to have to send my keyboard back at all and I’d be getting a new keyboard shipped at their expense.  A resolution I could be happy with.
  4. LEAVE FEEDBACK
    Most customer service departments are constantly trying to improve their quality of service and provide a link to an area of the site where you can leave feedback about the service you received.  Just as I recommended that the communication should be emotion and profanity-free, so should the feedback be also.  Using specific individual’s names, dates, and an honest and descriptive detail of the transaction can go a long way to make the company’s service better in the future.

I hope this was helpful to you as navigating online experiences without a manual can sometimes be dizzying and frustrating. Share some of your triumphs (or pitfalls) in the Comments!