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.
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:
- 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?
- 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,
- 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.
- 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!
My Dearest Santa Claus,
Merry Christmas! How was your year? Thank you for the presents you brought me last year. I hope you had a good rest from last Christmas and that you, Mrs. Claus, the reindeer, and all the elves are doing well up in the North Pole.
Well Santa, since I am on your “Nice” list, I guess you already know that I’ve been pretty good this year. I have been so very happy that it has been easy to be good and being happy is all I really want. But I do love making a list for you every year and I guess maybe it does help you out, so in a very particular order, here is what I want for Christmas this year:
- A big house …with a stone, wood burning fireplace…with a beautiful view of the mountains… with a lake or stream… and room for a pony. Oh, and high-speed internet.
- A horse…and a place to keep it. Santa, dear, I have asked you for this for the last 29 Christmases and you keep forgetting. If there’s not room on your sleigh, maybe you can just sprinkle some magic dust on him and he can help deliver gifts with your reindeer! I’m sure they won’t mind the additional assistance.
- A puppy! Maybe a little wirehaired dachshund or Irish setter that needs a home.
- A Jeep Grand Wagoneer… with a wreath on the front…. 80’s-90’s, 4WD, 4 doors, power locks- windows- and seats, heat and ac, leather seats, and a roof rack.
- A bluetooth speaker so I can listen to music from my iPhone while I am using it. I like the Soundfreaq Sound Spot.
- A record player turntable that can play vinyl, CD’s and/or cassette tapes AND record to MP3
- Perfume like L’air du Temps, Sexy Little Things Noir, Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille, Demeter Mistletoe, Fancy Love, or Chanel Coco Mademoiselle.
- Some fancy makeup things like Christian Dior Creme de la Rose lip salve, Guerlain Meteorites Perles du paradis w/ brush, and anything Burberry
- A beautiful, old upright or grand piano. Now, Santa, if you can get me that house, I figure the piano might be hard to move, so if you’d rather just wait to deliver it to the new house, I’d understand.
To make it easy on you, I made a Pinterest Board so you can see exactly what I’m wanting.
If the list seems a little long, it’s only to give you variety. If the things on my list seem a little expensive, it’s because these are the things I wish for most of all and that I would not be able to get for myself. I am sure you will pick out something very special for me and I will be very happy with anything you bring me.
With Christmas in my heart,
*This is just a lighthearted little post from me but in the spirit of Christmas and Goodwill, I encourage everyone reading this blog to give to a charity of their choice. If everyone who could, gave a dollar, the coming year would be so much brighter for so many. A lot of companies match employees’ charitable donations! Check your company to see if they match gifts HERE. If you don’t know what charity to support, a good place to start is DonorsChoose.org which is a site that aggregates different charities and allows you to research and donate to the one you prefer. Alternatively, you could give to someone you know personally who is in need. If it might be embarrassing, you could give anonymously. Please don’t think that the smallest amount you can give is not enough!
Is it just me, or are seasonal snack flavors taking over the candy aisle?
I don’t buy many pre-packaged candies and snacks, I enjoy making them myself, but I have noticed that the selection of standard candies and snacks has grown exponentially in the last decade. Candies that are commonplace like Snickers, Milky Way, Twix, Hershey Kisses, etc. are now joined by seasonal editions. Now there are holiday-flavored versions of almost all standard candies. What used to be a mainly Easter and Halloween marketing strategy, has become a full-blown, year-round seasonal flavor cash-grab.
Egg-shaped Snickers, and little yellow peeps are now joined by Christmas-tree shapes, Peeps shaped like jack-o-lanterns and gingerbread men, Orange-colored Twix, and Caramel Apple Milky Way bars. Peeps alone has 37 (37!) Peep products on their website covering Valentine’s, Easter, Summer, Halloween, and Christmas. Even snacks like Oreo’s and Pepperidge Farms Goldfish crackers have succumbed. The last time I was shopping at Target, I saw about six different varieties of Oreo’s, one of which was Candy Corn flavored Oreo’s that I ended up buying to do a review!
I guess the products are out there in overwhelming numbers of varieties because people buy them and I will admit to trying a few out of curiosity, but honestly, I have actually enjoyed almost none of them. I enjoy a Cadbury Egg at Easter but it would be much less special if I were to be able to have them all year (yes, now there are Halloween and Christmas Cadbury Eggs), and Marshmallow Peeps are fun but do we really need several iterations for every holiday? They’re just flavored marshmallow!
What do you think?
I didn’t know how I was going to fill the balloons, but I knew I’d figure it out. I bought everything I thought I’d need and proceeded to get crafty.
- A seltzer water bottle (it was what I had on hand, but something with a wider mouth might be easier)
- Confetti that can fit into the balloon neck
- Streamers (I used mylar and crinkle paper)
- Something to push the filler into the balloon. Nothing too skinny. It needs to be almost as big as the neck of the bottle you use. (I used a large metal Slurpee straw)
- Someone to blow the balloons or a helium tank if you want them to float
- Curling Ribbon to tie on to the end
- Cut the top off of a 1 Liter bottle (2 liter bottles will have too wide of a cup). Leave a few inches up from the neck so that you’ll have room for the filler to sit before you stuff it into the balloon.
- You can blow up the balloons before you fill them to help stretch them a bit and make them easier to fill.
- Stretch the entire neck of the balloon over the mouth of your fill-cup. If you don’t get the whole neck over, it will be very difficult to fill. It’s like gathering the top of a sock helps you put your foot in the sock.
- Put the streamers in the fill-cup and shove down with your push-tool (the wide metal straw in my case). Don’t try to fit more in than the uninflated balloon can hold. I found it helpful to add the confetti after almost all of the streamers were inside as it helped the straggling bits of streamer get pushed inside.
- Add confetti to the fill-cup and push inside.
- Remove the balloon from your fill-cup and blow it up!
- Tie off the balloon and add curling ribbon to the tail. I very lightly curled the ribbon with the scissors because I didn’t want it to be too curly or girly since this was for a dude’s birthday.
- Store the balloons in a staging area until you are ready to decorate. I did mine the night before and put them in the bathtub with the shower curtain shut to hold them in. If you use helium, be ready to tie them to something or weight them each individually.
Some Optional things you could do:
- Make them fit your theme by coordinating the balloon colors, ribbon color, confetti, and streamer fill
- You can fill them with candies or other goodies like money or small toys but remember that everything in them will have inevitable spittle on it if you blow them up by mouth, and will end up on the floor, so make sure edibles are all wrapped. You can also use a mechanical hand pump to avoid the spittle if you like 😛
- If you don’t want to buy or rent a helium tank (I found small ones in the $30 range), you can hang them from the ceiling in large groups or entirely covering it for a beautiful effect. If you hang them at different heights and use different sizes, it can look like bubbles! I gathered a group of about 8 balloons, wrapped a piece of strong tape around the ribbon ties somewhat close the the base of the balloons and then taped that to the corners of the room.. If you try to just stick the tape flat on top of the ribbon, it’s likely to slip out. Leave the ribbons hanging to make them look like the balloons are floating!
*A word of caution: Don’t wait until the last minute to do these. The work goes quickly, but it’s easy to get light-headed and pass out if you blow them too quickly or too hard! Leave time for you to take some breaks!
Look at the rest of the Party!