Tag Archives: customer service

Even scarier than I imagined….

29 Mar

We have had the Monsters Vs Aliens release weekend on the calender since boy and baldguy first mentioned it.  Alex was so very excited and we promised him that as long as everything went smoothly we would take him to see it on Sunday.  Saturday went really well. So this morning, off we went to the 10:45 showing at AMC Merchant’s Crossing in North Fort Myers.

Despite some rather negative reviews, I was going along with the boys so the whole team could make this a pleasant experience for all involved (nameless strangers, no need to thank us, you shut off your cell phones for the entire showing, and for that I believe we may be even) and based on the assumption that no matter how horrible the movie could possibly be it wouldn’t be some of the stuff that makes me loathe trips to the video store because it’s at eye level and kid will fixate and I’m too tired for that battle (so now we use netflix and it’s a thrill & surprise for him every time and lets him focus a bit more) .   On the drive to the movie theater Alex exclaimed “Oh no! We forgot our 3D glasses” and we explained that it was ok, that we would be getting new 3D glasses at the theater.

Oddly enough, the ticket window lady told us that the theater was only half full. Which was good, because  I bring some neurotic tendencies to the table- I don’t like to go into a dark theater to find a seat and I prefer to keep the ratio of us to the people who could eventually candy ooze and popcorn us and feed us to the local gators at a much wider spread, so we can gain some distance, if necessary, for a running head start.  No, this has never happened. But having a kid with sensory differences that go hand in hand with PDD/ASD, makes us a little cautious.  I’m sure there are folks who would argue that we shouldn’t hide our child or apologize for him, and we don’t hide him, but I was single and childless long ago and as a single ticket holder on planes, trains, busses, and even the occasional theater or restaurant,  I have been frequently seated in that spare seat near the family with a bajillion kids under the age of 5, of course bajillion is an odd number in these scenarios, leaving that extra seat for yours truly.  So while I am not hiding my child, I do try to be considerate as I can pretty much guarantee that people did not pay $10+ for a ticket to the us trying to calm Alex show (or the screaming infant in an R rated movie show either…again in my childless days I know I wouldn’t have even taken a $5 matinee ticket to see that show).

Anyway, immediately upon finding our seats, J & A take off to do the necessary tour of the restroom, or else Alex will obsess the entire film.  They come back with beverages and popcorn, toward the end of the previews.  By the way: I’m so excited about Where the Wild Things Are (the preview made me weepy & gleeful it was so lovely), Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs (one of my favorite books and it looks like great fun on the big screen), and Up (clever, funny, a wild ride…at least from the preview).

On return Alex mentioned again “but I don’t have any 3D glasses” so Jeff went to investigate. Honestly, I haven’t been so up on the technological advancements of film, so I shyly assumed nobody else has them maybe we don’t need them. I was wrong. How wrong? Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. Jeff returned with the news that this theater doesn’t show movies in 3-D.

Blood Curdling...(Or maybe just milk curdling...It's citrus after all)

Blood Curdling...(Or maybe just milk curdling...It's citrus after all)

Yeah.  My thoughts exactly. We’d prepped kid for the movie experience, as usual. But we did not prep him for this. Heck, I could have used a warning.

And why didn’t we know this before deciding to come to this theater? or when buying our tickets?

I took a peek when we got home- moviefone.com specifies Monsters Vs Aliens 3D on some listings, at some theaters.  But not at our theater- it just says Monsters Vs Aliens.   I’m guessing that I’m not the only one that thought it was in 3D the way that the superbowl promos were on TV- available on every color television (theater) and viewable with 3D glasses.  I guess if we knew the finer points of the technology and equipment and specifications required to project such technological awesomeness (according to the hype) for the masses then we would have known that not all theaters will show it in 3D. If we had followed the film magazines maybe we would have been more wary. If the 8 million ads we have seen did not all say in theaters real3D -without explaining that real 3D is special equipment and not available at every theater, then we would have been prepared. So really, if the 3D is being pushed so much in the ads, and there is no voice over saying “in 3D where available” or “in 3D in participating theaters” then guess what?  I’m going to assume it’s in 3D everywhere. So when Jeff searched moviefone.com by zipcode, it didn’t stand out that there were different listings for Monsters Vs Aliens 3D and just plain two-dimensional Monsters Vs Aliens.    Really, if they are going to only promote as a 3D (at least in our market) film but then slip some 2D versions in, couldn’t they at least market it as Monsters Vs Aliens in True 3D, and Monsters Vs Alients NOT in True3D.

I guess, I have experienced IMAX to know it has special requirements and to see it we have to go to a specially outfitted theater, but with the widespread release of Monsters Vs Aliens it never occured to us that “real 3D” required a different outfitting than a regular 2D cinema.

Anyway, frustration aside, Alex didn’t freak. He did request another visit to the restrooms, so I took him so we could talk.

He was so bummed that it wasn’t in 3D, I was bummed that another movie outting would have to happen to have the 3D experience. (Can you tell I don’t get out much?  these days it’s hard to go anywhere, I really had to summon all of my strength for today, so the idea of going to see anything in the near future is bleak) Or that I would be subjected to another movie viewing today so Alex can get his 3D fix (shark boy vs lava girl is a favorite lately).

He did fidget, blow bubbles, and at one point hummed Ode to Joy rather loudly as we came back from the bathroom (where we saw a cockroach, which Alex talked about loudly enough that the other folks in the bathroom were quite hesitant to even move…As was the cockroach).  But he did ok, considering the build up to this experience and the let down.  He wasn’t more fidgety or chatty than the kids sitting behind us, so I take that as a good sign.

He did remind me that we forgot the 3D glasses, after the movie, so I think he thinks we screwed up completely. And we kind of did, but now we know, and he was fairly cool about it, which to me is a huge sign as to how much progress he has made.

I am though wondering if some of the other folks in the theater thought it was in 3D as at least in the previews the animation and the projection were so crisp that things did feel 3D-ish….

Anyway, strategy for next time:  triple check the availability of 3D.  Avoid AMC Merchant’s Crossing completely (the popcorn is always insanely salty and somewhat stale, not to be a picky freak, but I like good movie theater popcorn. Ask Jeff, we once had to drive by a movie theater just for popcorn when I was pregnant.). Bring the weighted vest and quiet fidgets for Alex to put on when he starts getting a little stir crazy and so he can keep his hands busy and enjoy the rest of the show.  Bring a plastic cup with lid from home (water bottles are not our friend). and arrive 10 minutes early for the trip to the bathroom, the snacks, and finding a good seat, far from the maddening crowd, for their sanity and ours.

As far as the movie goes- it was ok. The usual fare…Not as engrossing as some, but the characters were kind of neat and there were definitely a few laughs.  It really was a quick and not too shabby ride. Even in 2D. Not as horrible and empty as some have made it out to be, and clearly it stands on it’s own in 2D, but I did keep thinking, after certain angles and movements: gee that flying/punching/bubbling/exploding thing would have been great in 3D.

Our experience here is a perfect example of setting customer expectations appropriately and how that relates to a customer’s actual experience with a product. As my expectations were not set appropriately or accurately by the advertisements/marketing of this product, I was allowed to make my own expectations without adequate guidance. The human mind is a vast and powerful thing, we use information to guide our forming of expectations about everything, when we are misled, it leaves us feeling cheated, perhaps angry even, it sours us to repeating an experience or even a related experience.  So how are you setting customer expectations? or even non-business interpersonal ones?   I’ll discuss this further in the upcoming week.

Also, if ayone wants to share any tips for taking sensory sensitive kids, kids with ASD/PDD/Asperger’s to the movies or any other sensory intensive experience, please comment, I’m sure we can all learn something!

Expectations

23 Feb

Wink wink nudge

Originally uploaded by CleverIndie

The more I read on various message boards about customer service – from both sides of the transaction- the more I realize that the primary role of customer service is not actually the service role, but a very different one that begins the moment the customer walks through the door (brick and mortar or virtual).

Customer satisfaction and good customer service are usually a direct result of setting customer expectations and then meeting those expectations.

In my old career of providing customer service for large corporations, I discovered that the dissatisfied customers were the ones who had unreasonable expectations that could not be met or those who had reasonable expectations that had not been met. From first contact to last, all interactions with the customer are building expectation.

Companies begin building expectation by choosing a specific location for their storefront. The build expectation through their logo design, their reception area, even the ease of navigating their phone system when you call to ask a question- before the customer and company ever exchange paper, the expectations are being set.

Some expectations are assumed, they are ingrained in our culture- whether that culture is our specific location in the world, our language, or the type of business we engage in. But beyond the cultural expectations, everything else should be set by the company, and expressed effectively.

When this doesn’t happen, people get mad. People share their anger with their friends, neighbors, co-workers, and with the blooming of the internet and it’s blogs and message boards, masses of strangers and near-strangers. The sharing of information has made company reputation somewhat precarious. There is the old scenario of someone having a bad meal at a restaurant and telling a friend, who then tells a friend, who tells a friend… Today that one person may mention the terrible meal on their blog, and instantly that information is open to everyone- that one person they told, could be 30 people in that first day – who tell 30 more people…Or it could be tens of thousands of people, who remember the negative review while making small talk with tens of thousands of their friends. Bad news is viral.
There is the argument that any publicity is good publicity, but still bad news is viral.

You want people to take the chance with your company, with your product, with you, as a small business you may be less likely to afford to lose potential customers based on one person’s negative experience.

What uses more energy? Putting out fires or preventing them?

Preventing the fires (from negative customer experience to bad press) is difficult, it’s a multifaceted, never-ending process, but once the process of identifying, setting, and meeting expectations is put into place, the results can be quite spectacular.

My first suggestion is to start a small notebook to brainstorm.

Be mindful of your start to finish experience when engaging as a customer with similar businesses. In my case, I took note of my experiences with companies such as Amazon.com and my experiences purchasing goods from sellers on ebay and on Etsy…it doesn’t have to be the same type of goods…Actually, I find that an assortment of experiences work best- a broader range of expectations and goods, and in these difficult financial times, it’s something you can study without breaking the bank, while purchasing necessities for your family and business.

If you take an experience from start (realizing you need to buy a specific widget to having the widget in your hands) to finish and really dissect the experience- from why you chose to buy the widget from that particular place to what you expected from the experience before it even began, and how any expectations changed and why during the experience, and how your expectations were met and not met and how things could have been done differently to have met all of your expectations.

Many people consider customer service to be an entity, something that comes into play only after a negative product or service experience. The more time I spend on both sides of all transactions, I realize that the most important responsibility of customer service runs throughout the customer experience. In a time of job cuts, and corporate customer service having a negative association (people almost expect bad customer service from most companies these days, regardless of their actual experience with the specific company), we really do need to examine why customer service has earned this association, and ultimately I keep coming back to the concept of expectations.

The best way to understand the areas you need to address, as far as setting, expressing, and meeting them in your own business, is to take a very close, and very focused look at your experiences as a consumer, and as a provider of goods and/or services in regards to expectations throughout the customer experience.

In the coming weeks I will be taking a closer look at my experiences with expectations, I would love to hear some of yours as well…

Best wishes!
Bek

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HOW TO: Offer Multiple Shipping Options on Etsy.com

21 Dec

UPDATE:  5/4/2012… Apparently this no longer works.  I will keep this post up on the blog but it has been reported to me that this method no longer works as Etsy has rolled out and is continually rolling out new seller/checkout/shipping features…This was from way back when, in the very early days of Etsy…. I guess I’ll keep it here for historical reference…

UPDATE: 1/27/2011…  Not sure that this works with the newer Etsy checkout… Anyone want to try it?  Report your results in the comments section please!  Merci!

(UPDATED with international info…It’s at the end of the post)

Here is how I am offering multiple shipping options without the whole “convo me” and paypal invoice thing…

I read the article in the storque about setting up paypal so that transaction shipping info would be taken from the etsy transaction and brought to paypal…

I thought, “hey ,why can’t I do the reverse to use paypal’s shipping features when the customers are in the paypal portion of checking out”…

So…Here’s how I did it.
I went into paypal and clicked profile(under “my account”)

Under “selling preferences” I clicked “shipping calculations”

Here you can add methods…Each method gets a line, so you can customize what is charged.

For example, for my goods, and in my Etsy shop I have the base shipping (on domestic US) as:
$2.75 ($0.50 if shipped with another item)…
So for each entry in my standard shipping profile in PayPal I would put items 1-1 $2.75, 2-2 $3.25, 3-3 $3.75 4-4 $4.25 and 5+ $4.75….

Then I can also add a profile for Overnight and 2 day…

But for those it’s flat rate regardless of quantity (you can also do all of this by weight or dollar amount, but you need to stay consistent with your etsy listings, so doing it by quantity makes sense for most sellers…

Remember, your etsy listing is your agreement with your customer, you cannot go charging some bizarro number in paypal shipping….

To handle this I have explained in my listings what the listed shipping price is for (usps first class) and that other options are available when completing their payment in paypal…I also list those methods and their charges in my listing so nobody is confused and thinks everything ships fedex upgraded for free….

My etsy shipping charge does equal the “standard” shipping charge in my paypal profile.

Now, when setting this up, there is an important box in each little shipping method/profile that you set up…

It says:
Use the shipping fee in the transaction instead of my calculator’s settings:

If you click this, it will use the amount you specified in Etsy.  If you leave it blank, your customer should be able to choose their shipping method (if you have multiple methods…if you only have one method, and do not want to offer speedier shipping then you probably should just disregard this post as you don’t need to do this…

( Here’s the article that got me moving in this direction:
http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/customer-care-how-to-for-sellers-shipping-costs-and-paypal-399/ )

I do think it is important to explain to the customer what your listed shipping is for and that they have choices once they are in paypal…

Also, if you are shipping fedex, you will need your customer’s phone number for the airbill… I chose “optional” for the phone number request in “Website Payment Preferences” under paypal/profile for the time being…

I really hope this helps someone!

I wish I had figured this out sooner!

I do have to update my listings (take out the date specific/holiday stuff) but I think it gives a good picture of how I am managing this idea for my own shop….You can see it here: CleverGirl.Etsy.com

Hugs!

xo

Bek

NOTE:  This is for domestic US shipping.  I believe the international shipping could be tweaked the same way but the parameters of shipping various goods to international destination is quite varied.  The method outlined here is how I am doing it. Your Mileage May Vary.  No guarantees, warrantees implied.  Not responsible if problems occur. Etc… Basically: here’s what I did, you can try it to, if you want to, but if it doesn’t work for you then I am not responsible.  Everyone has very different needs, requirements, goods which may make this method ineffective or impractical… I may have skipped steps. I tried not to, but things happen….   I will answer questions if I can, but I am swamped.  The best teacher is experience…It’s worth investigating all of the details before commiting to anything…  (and I am not tech support…I am a silversmith…) Sorry if this sounds harsh…. Hugs! Peace! Love all around!

INTERNATIONAL: For international orders I have two shipping profiles in Etsy, one for goods that are priced above $50 and one for those that are below $50,  due to importation requirements for most countries… So in this case, I chose to use the information from the etsy.com transaction to override shipping options in paypal.  PayPal allows different options for domestic and international- including which info is used… hope this helps…

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MULTIPLE SHOPS:  I have not tried this for multiple shops… If you try it and have success(or failure, as long as we can learn from it) with multiple shops let me know and I’ll post an update here , or blog about it and I’ll post the link… I cannot even wrap my head around the basic logistics of two shops right now, so in the interest of my sanity and accurate information, I’m taking  hands off approach to that one…

Ooops.

11 Sep

Ooops.

Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek

Ok. So the new label printer showed up today and within 30 minutes I managed to destroy it.

I called Dymo directly and they told me that my printer probably didn’t need the firmware update and that could have busted it…They also said I needed to contact the reseller/retailer to exchange it..

Called Labelcity.com (I rarely make phone calls these days, most everything is by email due to scheduling around kiddo and rest) and told them that I called Dymo and they said “Did you tell them that you bought it from Labelcity?” It appears they have a contract with them…

Called Dymo back and the nice gentleman on the phone knew exactly what I was talking about- all I had to say was “I bought this from Labelcity” (I was worried and jaded from past experiences with other companies that I was going to become a ping pong ball) and he shipped out a replacement after taking down some information. He even sounded concerned that as Fedex had already picked up for the day that they wouldn’t pick up my package until tomorrow but it would be shipping with overnight service so Monday I will have the replacement…

Bummed it wasn’t something I could fix on this end but I did manage to print my one label for the day before I fried the machine so I’m happy.
But more than that I am thrilled by my experiences with both Labelcity.com and Dymo – I was never put on hold and received straight answers and prompt and stellar service. That, my friends, is what will earn them repeat business and referrals from yours truly.

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