Customer Service

Bye Bye Netflix

Today was the end for Netflix. Not to worry the company still exists as far as I know. But we're through. Just over seven years ago we jumped on the movie rental service's subscription. It's been a rocky road in places. Sure they love us when we don't actually watch any movies and they get a $20 bill every month. However when we go through periods where we watch a few movies a day they quickly forget that they've gotten years worth of months where we watched nothing and start rate-limiting us and playing games.

Twitter and reputation management

The customer is always right. OK well not always but we already knew that.

Earlier today I was looking at a company's Twitter feed and shaking my head. The feed read like an organization that wanted to use Twitter but was failing miserably. I should blog that crossed my mind but there was "work" to be done. Then getting ready to take a break this afternoon I read a case study on Comcast reps on Twitter. Long post made short Comcast has some great customer service people on Twitter.

Back then to the company I was looking at this morning. Well call them X because I don't know that much about them or how good or bad their offerings are (although I am nominally a paying customer I just don't use their product much). What struck me in reading the X tweets is just how blatantly they communicated that the policy handbook, profitability and self-interest come first and the customer is a distant thought.

From bizarre to absurd

I wrote recently about the terrible G-Technology customer service experience with my G-Drive Mini Triple. After getting it off my mind I figured it would be the last I'd write on the subject. However tonight I'm convinced that there must be a time-sync or time-warp on the thing to go along with the impressive heat sync.

Picking up where the story left off I'd since sent two separate email inquiries about the status of the case. One, two and then three days passed with nary a response. In fact I still haven't gotten a response. I did, however, get a new drive so consider the issue resolved. And then tonight the event leading me to believe there is a hole in the fabric of time around this drive. I received an email from the store that sold the drive telling me my drive shipped today. At least the FedEx number was correct and correctly showed the drive arrived over a month ago.

So I'm cautiously loading the drive with some data. Hopefully it's not gone for good this time.

Communication is the key to customer support or why to avoid G-Tech

At the end of June I ordered a [amazon title B000YQWQ4I]. I've had the previous version of the drive for a couple of years and it just rocks. They are a little more expensive than other drives but it's loaded with features from a great heat sink, leather carrying case and a triple interface. The goal was to get it before the July 4th weekend and get some data loaded for the OSCON trip later in the month. Everything looked good and the drive arrived a day earlier than scheduled. Things were busy but I plugged it in a couple of times and then finally sat down to load it up. This was the third time I'd used the drive. When I came back to the computer the drive wasn't responding. After rebooting the computer didn't see the drive. Using several computers verified that the drive was in fact dead. Plug in any of the three interfaces and it wouldn't spin up. The light was on but the drive wasn't spinning for anything.

So on July 8 I went to the G-Technology website and created a ticket. Late the following day I got an email with return instructions and the following information about what to expect:

As soon as we receive the drive, we will diagnose the problem and either
repair it or send you out a replacement.
Turn around time is estimated at
a) Ok To Erase: five to ten working days after we check in your drive or
b) Save Data drives require ten to fifteen working days after we check in
your drive for service.

How business should work

A brief note about how companies should do business. While on a call this afternoon my UPS shipment arrived. A couple of cable/remote releases for the Nikon were to be inside. Unfortunately when I opened the box only one of the two items were inside. Checking the manifest it showed both should have been there. "Oh great," I said dreading the afternoon of phone calls that was about to come. Would they send an inspector to the house for this ten-dollar item, I wondered? How many hours would it take. I punched the numbers in and dreaded what would become of my day. Here's what happened then:

Amazon call center: Can I get your email or order ID?
Me: Sure... and gave her my email address.
Amazon call center: How may I help you today?
Me: Well I just got my box that was to have two items but it has just one was in the box.
Amazon call center: I'm sorry about that which item was missing?
Me: It was the wireless remote the ML-L3. I even took the box apart to make sure.
Amazon call center: OK. I can do two things I can either refund the item or send you a replacement.
Me: I'd like a replacement.

Now at this point I'm pretty happy but still a little sad. I'd ordered the remote in time to have it for the fireworks this Friday and now knew that wasn't going to happen. Would I have to wait for a new one to be manufactured and then shipped via snail?

Apple's "evil" iPhone update

A couple of disclaimers to start with. First I've already been called an Apple apologist for the analysis I'm about to present here. That argument may makes it easier to dismiss what I have to say but it isn't the case and in fact I still get much of my search traffic to this site from my criticisms of Apple which I'm derided for on Apple fan sites. Second, I'm the owner of an iPhone and at one time I may have had ringtones on it that weren't Apple sanctioned, rather weren't RIAA-sanctioned but we'll get to that in a minute.


To be certain Apple is a publicly traded company. As such it has one real motive at the end of the day. Like all companies in a capitalist society it is in the business of making money for share holders. There are companies that pursue this goal in different ways but the profit motive is what keeps the board in place and Steve Jobs in the CEO chair.


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