February 27th, 2012 § § permalink
I just finished another long frustrating chat session with Comcast. I should know better and just call them, but calling Comcast is it’s own losing proposition I guess. Today I wanted to turn on Xfinity Streampix to check it out. It seems simple enough. Here’s what happened, along with what I would have expected to happen as a reasonably savvy online shopper.
Don’t Hide The One Thing You Want
I go xfinity.com/streampix to order it, just as directed by the commercial I saw on television. One would expect a big fat “ORDER NOW” button to click. Unfortunately there was not. I had to search for it and instead of taking me directly to a page, I was returned a list of possible results.
I clicked the one that seemed likely, and it was the right one.
Ask For What You Need When You Need It
It asked for my address to see if I was eligible and after verifying it, requested a long form of information including account number, date of birth, social security number, address, phone, etc.
It seemed like that should be all populated, so I logged in to my account to see if it would be easier signed in. I got the same exact form.
I filled in all of the requested information, submitted, and up popped a chat window to “confirm” my order.
Don’t Make Me Repeat Myself
It took nearly 10 minutes before the representative showed. He asked me to verify my address. He asked me for my account number. He asked for the last four numbers of my social. He asked me to confirm what I had asked to order. He basically asked me to fill out the form I had just filled in again.
10 minutes after he came into our chat, we were done. I was finished.
It’s All Sort of Obvious, Right?
Now I am pretty sure can sign up for Netflix in less than 5 minutes from scratch. It takes me 25 minutes to make a change to my Comcast account and I’m already a customer.
For a moment, forget about my time. Think about their time multiplied by all of the other customers who decided to subscribe to Streampix. It seems like Comcast enjoys frustrating their customers, and enjoys it so much, they are willing to throw away money to do it.
I can change my AT&T account online. I can change banking services online. I can manage my 401k, do my taxes and add cars to my insurance. What is it about Cable Television that is so sensitive I need to have a chat session to confirm my changes?
We’re talking about a $4.99 per month service. I borrowed thousands from my 401k for a house down payment without a chat or phone call. I ordered half of the gear in my studio online without chat or phone confirmation.
It just doesn’t make any sense. Requiring chat in the name of security doesn’t pass the common sense test. Here I am annoyed that I wasted 30 minutes of my night while they just paid some guy for the time he spent wasting mine.
Asleep at the wheel, that’s the only logical explanation. Anyone with some common sense and fiscal responsibility would kill this process as soon as possible.
November 21st, 2010 § § permalink
I decided to start putting more time into my blog again. I updated my theme to something more pleasing for readers, I started working on new content, and then I decided to take a look at where I stand on traffic. It’s amazing to me that I had gone two months without writing something. I assumed I was left for dead, yet here I am with nearly 300 average visitors per day, 11,000+ page views in the last 30 days.
It was a lot of working building my blog up in the beginnings. It’s a testament to the work that you put in that after you get the love from the search engines, they don’t really forget you. Sure my statistics are terrible. 93.45% new visitors? That’s all search engine traffic. 25 seconds per average visit? That means they are finding the content, reading and leaving. Looks like I need to invest in some more relevant content. 89% bounce rate? Obviously I don’t present interesting content in a way compelling enough to get them to click through.
So I’ll start with adding some great new content. I’ll work on my layout a little bit to make sure that my best foot is forward so to speak. Then I’ll get back into a building mode. This blog used to get over 30,000 unique visitors a month. I can get back there, I just have to put in the work.
August 29th, 2010 § § permalink
Tonight I had a friend tell me, “Just deleted my Twitter account, feels good.” I asked why, she responded that she didn’t need it anymore.” Sound theory, but I’d like to offer a little counter advice, the same advice I gave her.
Never delete your social network accounts. In an age where digital fraud is common, and social engineering is the #1 form of hacking, deleting a social network is at best a way to give someone a free pass to impersonate you and at worst giving someone a ticket to try to attack all of your friends.
See, the thing is, when you delete your account, after a period of time, that username will be opened up again, someone can register that and then use it pretending to be you. Anyone from a crazy ex-boyfriend or wife to a Nigerian scam artist.
So what do to instead? Easy, if you can just blank out all of the personal identifying information (PII) on the account and leave it active. If you didn’t care enough to delete it, you shouldn’t care if it’s still out there and full of junk info.
If the site won’t allow you to empty it, just fill it with crap. Create a junk email address, change your primary to that, and fill it with made up information. Make up a name, etc.
The nice side effect is that if you ever decide you want that account back, you can just start using it again. No harm!
May 25th, 2010 § § permalink
In the beginning I accepted every request. When a graduation class group started, the invites started pouring in like a flood. I accepted all of them and before long I had over 300 friends on Facebook. These days I have 136, and regularly I go through the list and prune it here and there.
I get invites from people I know, and I ignore them. I don’t ignore all of them of course, but I have built criteria over time.
So, what’s the most valuable real estate on Facebook? My feed is the most valuable to me. That’s how I keep up with what the people I care about are up to, and I make sure that I don’t have to sift through things that are irrelevant to me to see it.
Maybe if I read my feed non-stop it wouldn’t matter so much, but as I only check it every little bit, having a mountain of friends will mean you miss a whole lot.
Case in point, my family owns a restaurant in North Carolina. I live in Bellevue, Washington over 3,000 miles away. Now logic would say “it’s your family so accept that request!” but I say no. Any events, specials or news they share will be of no use to me. It may be a bit militaristic, but if the individual family members I follow are on Facebook, I will see what is up in their lives, I don’t need to follow their workplace.
The same goes for vague acquaintances from high school, college and past jobs. Sure my close friends stay, but I see every person that I don’t have a close tie to as potentially erasing information from people I do care about by bumping them down the feed.
I refuse to believe that I have even 136 friends that I should be following so closely, but I have settled at that number…for now.
I guess it comes down to what do you use a social network for. If you are of the narcissistic camp and just want everyone you have ever met to see how awesome you are now, collect away. If you are in the community camp, keep your friends to people you actually engage with and you might find it to be a lot more useful, fun and relevant.
February 25th, 2010 § § permalink
I just want to let this quote sink in. This is from one of Google’s engineers talking about their email system Gmail
"Gmail was a beta app for a while in itself and that kind of let us as a company not be too afraid about getting something out that may screw up once in a while."