Friday, October 9, 2009

#heweb09 Disaster Fun!

I was lucky enough to be following someone on Twitter who was actually attending #heweb09, and consequently putting out some of the best tweets too!

I first noticed a bunch of snarky tweets, which are always intriguing, and then I noticed the hashtag and decided to check it out. I was very amused to find, in real time, a conversation going on about a really shitty ass keynote speaker! The comments painted a picture of him in my mind, despite the fact I couldn't see him, but then someone streamed it live! I got a few chuckles and was amazed at how this new phenomenon was happening. It wasn't just people tweeting about live shit on TV, or some lame crap like that, nor a stadium of tweeters, it was a conference type room with a bunch of intelligent people meeting to learn, and a majority of them were all feeling the same things and the ability to share it quietly with others there.

Akin to passing notes in class, people would discuss how they'd love to leave, but opposed to notes, anyone in the world could read them! The talk started to pick up more and more, and then the bigwigs noticed, showed up and left comments about lynch mobs and how social media doesn't give us the right to heckle others, blah blah, but all in all if someone wants to put themselves out there, they have to be prepared for the consequences, if it wasn't on twitter, it would have been on everyone's blogs the next day anyways!

I did find a follow up blog here, and it actually mentions something I did to have fun after seeing the following tweet:
I saw this and thought damn, wouldn't this be a fun real time social experiment! I rushed to the nearest website I could remember,, made a store, and booted up paint.NET and make a picture, uploaded it onto a shirt, and put it on sale!

The ability to add to a real time joke from thousands of miles away intrigued me! I was watching the fun anyways, so why not try and participate and see what happens?

I was initially scared people would think I'm some sort of scammer/spammer/opportunist, but I wasn't doing this trying to sell shirts, I just wanted to see some people laugh, and show the power of how quickly some joke of a Keynote at a Higher Education Web conference can turn into a global joke where people can already buy merchandise world wide!

I shared the link with bitly, and you can actually see the stats by going here.
The stats are as follows:
187 Total clicks (at time of writing, 170 were on first day)
8 Tweets (2 were from me, and no one actually retweeted me, but made their own tweets linking to the shirt)
and about 150 of those tweets were in the first hour, and 75ish in the first 5 minutes form what I remember!

Anyways, it was pretty fun to add to something from miles away with only about 5 minutes of input, and it's also pretty cool to see quickly rising click counts in seconds and minutes!

The blog I linked to above had a lot of good points and things learned from the conference. I also like that the comments were all pretty smart, well read, and not the general crap you usually see. I lol at the anonymous comment saying how it was bad, and people were mean and idiots and he's glad to be home, I wonder who wrote that? haha!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Why do large retailers actively try and avoid helping those who want to give them business?

They just never do learn do they? These big companies that try as hard as fucking hell to make it impossible for you to ever complain or get justice done for you? They make it their business to make sure they cannot get your business, and they do it with style.

Who am I talking about today? I'm talking about Dell!
I've originally hated Dell with a passion for years, ever since they sold us a 10lb pile of crap laptop that I have to fix every time I come home and visit my parents. A system so crappy and made with such garbage components, it's mind boggling!

Throughout my entire 5 years at University, people would always ask me for their opinions on computers and laptops, like which to buy, and without a doubt the first thing I'd rant about is how to NEVER EVER buy a Dell computer! They are the bane of families, they sit there, going slower and slower and slower, even after clean installs, which now you can't even do because they don't give you cds and they hide the partitions. I can't even get into how much I despised Dell, as I've tried to wipe them from my memory.

Recently, since I've started my current job, I've grown a bit more of a liking for Dell, due to my boss's love for them, and for the fact that they sell almost every electronic device for cheap with free shipping! I agreed this seemed great, low prices, free shipping, I even bought a number of items from them!

So here I am sitting somewhat happy with Dell, perhaps not their computers, which I still don't trust, and their superscam patented 500 step "milk-you-for-all-you-got" buy a computer online process, not to mention the uberscam Dell Swarm, where they reduce the price of an item to the same price it would be on sale anyways, but only after 1200+ people legally agree to pay for it. The twitter deals were cool when they came out, but after the first month, they were the exact same deals every day and week, it wasn't a deal anymore, it was the normal price, and it wasn't even that great! Dell is great at doing this, and while the Dell Days of Deals has some good stuff, much of it is the leftovers of yesteryear, or the products that actually had horrible reviews and were already overpriced on their site.

So what prodded me to write all this? Well somehow I ended up signing up for paper mail from Dell, brilliant I know, but a few weeks ago I got a coupon with the flyer that said "Save 25% *", and it was valid from September 25 to October 8th 2009. So I checked the site every day and there was a lot I could buy with it, despite the fact that it said small & medium business electronics when clearly half the items there didn't seem business at all (Video Games). I was waiting for them to finally get the camera I want on their site, which they never did, so I decided 25% off is pretty good, I'll find something to buy today, even though there is nothing I really want to buy. I hate to say that, but 25% off with free shipping is a good enough deal that I'd spend money when I don't even immediately need to! Yet good ol' Dell still managed to fuck it up!

You see, I could never actually find where they explained the *, it said nowhere on the tear away coupon where to go to find the information on it. The rest of the flyer looked bare as well. I went to the site they listed for where I could use the coupon, and I could not find mention of it there either. I think it was actually just a vanityURL. So today I try to use the coupon, it's on the last day, or what I assume would be based on every other coupon I've used, and BAM! It doesn't work! So I say, shit, and try it on a few products that have no deals on them just in case. Still get the same answer! So I go to buy a laptop, because unless I'm spending a lot of money on something common, I can't find the instant chat option. I write the long description in of what happened to me to try and initiate the chat, but they must not have liked it and just refreshed the page and cleared the fields. Ok WTF is that? So I write something shorter, and then I get in. I tell them what happened, they ask for my coupon code, I give, they check and say sorry, it expired today at 4am.

Well Shit, that would have been good to know before I waited until the last day to use it. Why didn't that * help me?! I say I was going to spend money, but I won't now without the coupon code, can you give me a new one, or I will spend my money elsewhere. I get a crappy response with no help, and so I give them feedback and leave.

If anyone from Dell ever reads this, here is the conversation trail info:
2:36:09 PM Agent CA Sales Sastry 1286
Session ID: 30975226


So what is the bigger point apart from me wanting to spend money and getting denied because they hid the info from me?

It seems that all too many companies make it so goddamn hard for a customer to complain about shitty service, or little things that just went wrong and that prevented us from giving them money that we WANTED to give them! When you try to complain, and cannot find an avenue, you get twice as mad. When you finally find a pseudo way of submitting via a web form, and then when you hit submit and it says, sorry, you didn't fill in all the required fields, when clearly you did, it makes you 10 times as mad! I have a feeling I wrote too long a rant, but it never gave me a message saying shorten my message.

Companies should really post a big red button saying: "If you are mad and want justice, click here to email us!". Yes I know it makes sense to capture the right error into the right email box, but it doesn't mean you are catching everything and usually it means you are turning off a lot of frustrated consumers. What the hell is the point of a coupon if not to attract business, and then for a rep to say sorry, we don't want your business any more?
Thank god there are sites like GetSatisfaction who want to help people easily complain, and a lot of smaller companies and web 2.0 sites use it! But the big ones who really need it are the ones who actively avoid it. Victory to them through obfuscation.

And to those who noticed that if you try to get sales support, it only gives you the telephone option, that doesn't work for everyone, I hate using phones when I can use email, and why the fuck would I want to speak with some sleazy sales person with no power, or some ass fuck from the other side of the world who doesn't really give a shit (no offense to the people on the other side of the world)? I want to write out in text form how I'm feeling and what was done wrong, so there is no confusion, there is no disputing or games, and the beauty of an email is that it can be passed up in it's purest form to upper management who can fix things. You cannot do this with a conversation, you cannot properly capture the passion of the person speaking, and what they truly wanted to say.

If they believe or truly have people on the other end of the phone who can help me then they made the mistake of not telling me, because in all my experience, there is NEVER anyone on the other end of the phone who can really help you without a ton of complaining, cajoling, and calling back until you get someone helpful or unless you continue to ask for management. Or you have to ask to be sent to the cancellations department. They should know better in today's world.

Anyways, to end this rant, I really hope that companies will start opening up to their customers and actually give an attempt to listen to them, instead of blindly losing business, left, right and center!