Archive for December, 2007

Timely Communications in Customer Service

5:15 PM – All reports are that flight 1166 is on-time
5:30 PM – Gate agents notify us that we will be departing on-time and explain boarding procedures
5:35 PM – Southwest gate agents announce delay (45 minutes)
5:55 PM – Scheduled departure time has come and gone
6:10 PM – Posting this to my blog for the world to see

Just 20 minutes before our scheduled departure time of 5:55 PM (with a plane sitting at the gate), Southwest Airlines announced a 45 minute delay.  Seems the plane that arrived at our gate on-time was flight 42 from Houston (originating out of Orlando).  But we are waiting on a flight crew that is coming on a flight from Amarillo.  That flight, which should have arrived at 5:20 as well, is 1 hour behind.  They won’t arrive until 6:20 PM.

So here is my gripe.  What caused the delay out of Amarillo?  It wasn’t the weather.  And surely your logistics team had some understanding that the Amarillo flight would be delayed.  So why do you wait until 20 minutes before the flight to announce the delay?  Were you hoping for a Christmas miracle?  It is not the delay that I mind – I’m in no particular hurry today.  It’s your failure to communicate honestly, openly, and in a TIMELY manner.  Be respectful of your customers and their time.

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Blizzard Entertainment – Poor User Support

An Open Letter to Blizzard Entertainment’s Director of Customer Support:

As much as I have become addicted to World of Warcraft (WoW), Blizzard’s online support forums leave a lot to be desired.  If you hop from one support question to another, you will find an underlying theme that says, “We don’t really know what we’re doing, and we don’t really know how to solve these problems so other customers won’t experience them in the future.”  Why do I think this?  Read on.

I have been running WoW (2.3) on my XP machine for several months now (no issues of any kind).  This is AFTER I backed off Vista to XP because of all the hellish problems I had with WoW and Vista (like the downloader and screen captures just to name two).  So tonight I hit level 60 in the game.  This means it is time to install the Burning Crusade’s expansion that I purchased in late October.  No problem (or so you would think).  Disk 1, Disk 2, … uh oh …, Disk 3 just freezes at 16% and never goes anywhere.  This happens 3 times (with reboots in between).

So I hop on to the support forums where several posts suggest ruling out “bad CD’s” by copying all the install files to your local hard drive and running the install from there.  Okay – can do.  But wait.  Now I’m getting an error that says I am missing the “localization.xml” file.  No problem.  I’ll just uninstall and reinstall everything from scratch.  Backup my user data, uninstall, reboot.  Install the base WoW game again.  But wait.  Now the installer tells me it can’t start because I “might be low on disk space.”  I suppose only 910GB is a little low (haha).  So I clean up my temp files, manually clean up all the garbage their installer left behind in the registry and reboot again.  Same problem.  Other people in the forums with the same issue.  No answer posted from tech support that has worked for anyone.  Is asking people to start with selective startup or in safe mode really the best idea?

This was a perfectly working XP machine earlier tonight.  Due to your crappy proprietary installer programs, MPQ files, or whatever – I have no idea what to do now.  I guess I should just reload the entire operating system from the ground up so I can keep playing WoW.  Get it together Blizzard.  You are a World Class company that is offering piss poor support to your loyal customers.  And don’t even get me started about your maintenance windows and change control procedures (have you heard of ITIL???).  You all do more maintenance (on a whim) than any IT organization I have ever been affiliated with.  I’d lose my job if I behaved the way you do.  Please get it together.  Follow the industry standards and best practices.  Would it kill you to offer an MSI installer?  Any could we maybe release on DVD instead of CD?  Thanks for listening.

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Music Rediscovered

Well it is Sunday night.  My cold is still hanging on, so I may break down and go see a doctor tomorrow in search of a stronger decongestant.  I am flying down to see my family at the end of this week, and I really don’t want my ears clogged during my travels.  The good news is that I have the entire week off.  This will give me time to do things like see a doctor, last minute Christmas shopping, and rediscovering old music.  No, I have not gone all loopy from the cold – keep reading.

No matter what generation you grew up in, you have music that defines you … songs and artists you grew up listening to.  It’s like comfort food for the ears.  That’s not to say that those songs were necessarily from your generation.  I’m talking about music that is personal to you – songs that spark memories (both good and bad).  I have been on board with the MP3 digital music wagon for years, but I still have a box of CD’s that I never converted to digital format.  I opened it up this evening, and it was almost like opening a time capsule.  I have not listened to some of this music in 10 or 15 years.

What artists were in my time capsule?  Too many to name them all here, but here are a few of my favorites that I am rediscovering tonight as I put them into digital format …

  • Simon & Garfunkel
  • They Might Be Giants
  • Counting Crows
  • Boston
  • The Eagles
  • Beth Nielsen Chapman

And there are other gems in the collection.  I ran across a CD authored by my friend Ian Dees called “Flying Spider – Language of the Clouds”.  I don’t know how many people have copies of this one, but I bet it isn’t many.  By the way, I need to talk to you about the track names for this CD.  The jacket shows 10 songs, but there are actually 11 songs.  What is the title to Track 5?

So what music defines you?  Have a favorite song or favorite artist?  Share it here.  I’ve found some of the best music in life on the recommendations of my friends.

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Feeling a little better

Spent another day at home trying to recover from this cold. I slept until about noon. Most of the afternoon was spent letting my head drain (what fun). I finally had to venture out this evening in the cold and rain so I could go buy more drugs and tissues at the store. I’m all stocked up on supplies again. At this particular moment, I’m not feeling too bad. Hopefully things won’t regress overnight.

You’ll know I’m bored because I have read the Wikipedia entry for the common cold.  Did you know that symptoms of a cold usually resolve after about one week?  I hope it doesn’t take me that long.  Here is to hoping you and your loved ones all stay healthy this holiday season.

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Holiday Theme Again

It’s that time a year – just have to switch things up on you (my loyal readers).  I’m home from work today – sick.  I hate the common cold because there isn’t really much you can do for it.  Sleep and drink fluids – that’s about it.  I had a fever Monday night, but that has passed.  Now it’s all in my head / throat.  Still sleeping a lot.  I’m sure I’ll be back to my normal self in a few more days.

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