How to Pick the Fastest Line at the Supermarket [The New York Times] “You dash into the supermarket for a few necessities. You figure it will be 10 minutes — tops — before you are done and on your way home. Then you get to the checkout lanes and they are brimming with shoppers. Your plan for a quick exit begins to evaporate. But all is not lost. For anyone who has ever had to stand in line (or if you are a New Yorker, you stand on line) at a supermarket, retailer, bank or anywhere else, here are some tips from experts for picking the line that will move the fastest.” [more inside]
"Brands can't be as honest as they might like in dealing with haters on Facebook. But sometimes others can do it for them. That dynamic played out in particularly rogue fashion on Target's Facebook page this week. As the retailer received a steady stream of nasty comments from people upset about its move toward gender-neutral labeling of children's products in its stores, Mike Melgaard came to Target's defense—in a most provocative way."
The British Museum's artifacts include this Babylonian customer service complaint from 1750 B.C., expressing sentiments we can all sympathize with nearly four millenia later. [more inside]
JetBlue is adding luggage charges and packing more seats on its planes, and customers are freaking out. Is contemporary airline service so bad because the airlines are colluding to make you suffer, as Tim Wu writes in the New Yorker? Or because low-price, a la carte service is what fliers actually want, as Alison Griswold writes in Slate? For a data-rich deep dive into what passengers really hate about air travel, see "The Unfriendly Skies" (.pdf), a report on five years worth of air travelers' complaints to the US Department of Transportation.
Remember when Dan Savage started a campaign to convince LGBT teens that "it gets better"? It's a noble cause, but sadly there's still a huge subset of the population out there for whom it will only get worse...
United Airlines holds plane so passenger can say goodbye to his dying mother. Kerry Drake broke down when it seemed he would miss the last flight to Lubbock, Texas, where his mother lay dying. Then something that an airline watchdog says "almost never happens," happened. Also on CNN.
Waitress whose co-worker scanned uncharitable receipt from Applebee's customer is fired after story goes viral. [more inside]
According to Yelp reviews, a Chicago-area Taco Bell is one of the best dining experience in the city people on r/Chicago over at reddit call it "magical.
Banks to Make Customers Pay Fee for Using Debit Cards. 'Bank of America, the nation’s biggest bank, said on Thursday that it planned to start charging customers a $5 monthly fee when they used their debit cards. It was just one of several new charges expected to hit consumers as new regulations crimp banks’ profits.' [more inside]
Eugene Mirman has unleashed his absurdist wrath upon an unsuspecting telecom (Time Warner Cable) for their lack of customer service, taking out a paid advertisement in the New York Press to do so. This is not the first time (referenced here previously, the mp3s can be found here) this high school commencement speaker has used his bizarre powers to fight the (strange but) good fight against a telecom.
A fine way to remove unwanted hair is to wrench it violently from your scalp. To facilitate this, try reading Dell Hell (Part 2), in which a sad soul descends into madness at the virtual hands of Dell's customer service. It's a companion piece to a 2005 series of Dell Hell deranged scribblings.
"We don't answer questions." The owner of Jansen Medical Supply is quite possibly the worst customer service representative of all time. [more inside]
But I will defend them to the end. I would NEVER do this for any other product. I defend them like I would a crap friend.
Ever wondered what makes people complain about the media? An Apple ad was recently banned by the ASA as it was felt that the ad exaggerated the speed of internet services. Could the complainants have been genuinely mislead about the phone's services? In the case of one complainant, a man who had queued on release for the first iPhones to arrive in the UK, it seemed an ideal way to fight back against poor customer service. "We arent a cult, we are just a brand..."
Seemingly, customer service isn't what it used to be, if you can even find them. Well, no more hiding. Enter Hard to Find 800 Numbers, an alphabetic list that eliminates the scramble for contact information. Waiting on hold for customer service or tech support is painful enough.
He wanted his espresso iced, but the coffee shop wouldn't let him. "Hey man. What you're about to do … that’s really, really Not Okay." [more inside]
In the same vein as gethuman [previously.previously.], Bringo! is a
nice free little service that helps bypass the (decreasingly) minor annoyance of automated phone answering systems (aka IVRs). Only it does all the work for you. [more inside]
"Dear Continental Airlines" Disgruntled airline passenger writes to customer service. Complete with hand-drawn diagrams.
"Three dollars a minute for technical assistance for my computer? If I'm going to spend that kind of F--KING money, I'd just as soon have phone sex." Lewis Black on customer service.
Wanna talk to a person? Gethuman.com lists cheat codes for hundreds of customer service numbers. Sweet.
The customer is always stinky (some swearing and references to genitalia)
Frustrated by web sites that don't offer a customer service number? Slate magazine discovers Amazon.com's. (Of course, they'll probably change it after it gets around...)
What is the value of good customer service? An oft asked question indeed, but one that is being answered as wee speak. The abject failure of Dixons, a UK retailer, to repair a TV set may cost them $475,000 of lost sales in less than a week (start from the bottom and work up....). [Via The Register.]
SBC Customer Service staffed by bots? The bots themselves don't bother me too much, I think its pretty cool if SBC Yahoo has bots advanced enough that they can use them for online customer service and the bots turn out to be actually helpful (I don't know, since I never have problems with my DSL and have never used them). What is disturbing, though, is the apparent deceit involved by having that the bots insist on being human. Anyone know anything more?
So much for customer servise A website chronicling one guys journey though tech support hell. I laughed my head off at what the guy had to go through and also that he would go so far to document it like he has. Not a lot of fun (but funny because it wasn't me)
Nice or not. It looks like Verizon manages to get kudos on their service while getting relatively little exposure while they are trying to lock-in their customers. What do you think? Does it make sense to go to 3G with Verizon or should one go with competitive content providers who are willing to let you keep your phone numbers when we leave them? Which is more important?
Stanley Marcus Dies at 96 We've all heard corporate propaganda about "customer service." He really practiced it. Neiman's has really been expanding their online shopping services. Can Web retailers in the 21st century learn anything from such old-skool customer service? (NYT password link obituary is here)
fast company on customer service The thing I loved about this article was the associated forum filled with customer service horror stories. Air travel, cable tv companies, and customer service seem to be things people love to complain about.
This is, of course, intended as humor, albeit rather coarse humor, but it's all too depressingly accurate. Why does customer service suck so badly these days? [Spotted at Joel on Software, whom I haven't disagreed with much lately... probably because he hasn't said much lately. :-)]