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TinotopiaLog → Customer Service Archives
  • Thursday 08 December 2005 : Sprint DSL Still Sucks

    Sprint DSL sucks, but mainly only because nearly all DSL services suck.

  • Tuesday 06 December 2005 : Sprint DSL Sucks

    Sprint’s phone-support people are knowledgeable and friendly, but the company doesn’t seem to take their DSL product very seriously.

  • Friday 02 December 2005 : McDonald’s Still Needs A Taxonomy

    Lileks encounters difficulty ordering food at McDonald’s.

  • Thursday 01 December 2005 : Why Are So Many Businesses Run By People Who Don’t Understand Them?

    Just how clueless can these people be? Every time I think they’ve hit some kind of plateau, it’s down into the abyss once more.

  • Tuesday 08 November 2005 : Customer Parity and IT at McDonald’s

    McDonald’s charges me extra for pickles, and in doing so offers up an illustration of Customer Service Rule #17 — though maybe it’s just a failure of their bad IT rather than a deliberate new policy.

  • Sunday 30 October 2005 : Anatomy of a Customer Service Failure

    Shipping sucks.

  • Tuesday 11 October 2005 : A Trip To The Mall

    Tino goes to the mall, and finds it an unrewarding experience.

  • Tuesday 04 October 2005 : Sell Your Gap Stock Now

    The Gap’s website debacle continues

  • Monday 26 September 2005 : Earthlink Wireless

    A taste of Earthlink Wireless customer service. Verdict: not bad at all, but it could be better with very little effort.

  • Thursday 08 September 2005 : Someone Else’s Customer Service Rules

    Rob Griffiths has a customer-service-rules-eque post up, concerning his recent experiences with Cingular and LaCie tech support.

  • Saturday 03 September 2005 : Back to Circuit City

    Circuit city gets the big 382-5968 from me.

  • Tuesday 16 August 2005 : News Flash
    Stop the presses! Cnet news.com.com.com reports on a University of Michigan study that indicates that companies that concentrate on meeting customers’ needs are the ones most likely to make sales and lure new devotees Who would have thunk it? Well, I would have, and did, for one. I’m amazed that a lot of large companies can stay in business at...
  • Saturday 13 August 2005 : Through the Retail Wringer Once Again

    Circuit City, if anything, seems to be getting worse. The mind boggles.

  • Sunday 03 July 2005 : Jeff Jarvis Has Problems With Dell

    Caveat venditor

  • Friday 01 July 2005 : Adventures (not) In The Cinema

    Going to the movies generally sucks these days, and the movie and exhibition businesses don’t seem to notice, much less care.

  • Friday 01 July 2005 : Adventures in Online Shopping

    Audible.com fails the customer service test by 1) not living up to its obligations, and 2) keeping its customers in the dark about that

  • Thursday 30 June 2005 : Adventures As A Retail Consumer
    So this morning, while drinking the tea and eating the croissants etc., I saw in the Wall Street Journal that the Slingbox is out, and that it’s apparently good. If you’ve never heard of the thing, the Slingbox is a device that plugs in, on one end, to your TV signal, and on the other to the Internet. You can...
  • Sunday 26 June 2005 : Westin Great Southern Hotel, Columbus, Ohio

    The Westin Great Southern Hotel in Columbus, Ohio is Not Recommended. (Update: the Westin people have refunded our money. Or something. Details of the Expedia-related C.F. in the comments.

  • Thursday 16 June 2005 : Cell Phones On Planes

    Airline crews need silence to do their work safely, it seems. Uh-oh.

  • Tuesday 14 June 2005 : The Curse Of Abundant Choices
    The lovely and talented Don Boudreaux comments on a letter that appeared in the New York Times. The letter was written by a correspondent in McLean, Virginia, one of the world’s wealthier places and a suburb of Washington, DC. It’s impossible to really tell how much irony went into the letter, but for the moment we’ll take it at face...
  • Monday 06 June 2005 : Reston Panera

    So I’m at the Panera Bread in Reston again, and guess what’s not working?

    The air conditioning. It’s over 90 degrees outside, too.

    Also the network. Luckily I gave up on the Panera network a while back and bought a Verizon BroadbandAccess card.

    Most of the staff are watching a customer-service training video of all things in the back of the place.

  • Saturday 04 June 2005 : Martin’s Is Out Of Grape Nuts Again
    Last week I wrote about the challenges of grocery shopping in Front Royal -- particularly the challenge of actually buying something as exotic as Post Grape Nuts cereal. When I wrote that, my grocery store actually had Grape Nuts in stock. No more. That hole on the shelf there is where the Grape Nuts should be. Plenty of South...
  • Friday 03 June 2005 : How Not To Do It: Customer Service In An Age Of Fraud
    Apple’s .Mac service says they want me back, but they have a funny way of showing it. I like to consider that I’m a pretty savvy person, without being paranoid. I’ve been abused of a couple of times by sleazy online merchants, but I’ve never actually been ripped off, nor have I ever been the victim of ‘identity theft’. I...
  • Thursday 02 June 2005 : Specialization, Journalism, and Professionalism
    A few days ago, I wrote a fairly amorphous thing about professionalism, mainly to get down some things that had occurred to me as a prelude for more specific rants. The thing that initially got me thinking about this was the rise of professional town planning (as opposed to such planning being an offshoot of architecture or engineering). Unless you’ve...
  • Monday 30 May 2005 : In Praise Of Burger King Coffee and Dart Optima Lids
    The best ready-brewed coffee in America comes out of this machine: This is the C-300 from Douwe Egberts Coffee Systems. It will make up to 1,700 cups of coffee per hour, which means that it’s serious overkill for the Burger King where this particular example is deployed. Douwe Egberts, despite being owned these days by Sara Lee, is not...
  • Friday 27 May 2005 : Hazards Of Creeping Professionalism

    We over-use and over-venerate the term 'professional'. The resulting societal attitude is not helping.

  • Tuesday 24 May 2005 : Why The Grocery Store Is Always Out Of Things

    Maybe your experience is different, but I find grocery shopping pretty frustrating. Very, very rarely — if ever — can we get through a full shopping trip without at least one item on the list — usually more — being out of stock.

  • Monday 16 May 2005 : McDonald’s Needs A Taxonomy

    McDonald’s ordering process is screwy, and emblematic of a lot of bad socio-retail engineering.

  • Monday 25 April 2005 : The Customer Obstacle Course

    You are increasingly asked to jump through hoops in order to be allowed to hand over money.

  • Friday 15 April 2005 : Hotel Allegro, Chicago (Review)

    The Kimpton Hotel Allegro Chicago is found to be disappointing.

  • Thursday 24 March 2005 : Yet More Rebate Fraud

    The terms of Western Digital's rebate require the customer to send in a UPC barcode. Trouble is, there's no UPC barcode on the box. This is, of course, the customer's problem.

  • Saturday 19 March 2005 : Why I Do Not Buy Much Online

    Attempting to buy things online is unnecessarily frustrating.

  • Friday 25 February 2005 : Doing The Unthinkable

    Sears has rejiggered its 119-year-old customer satisfaction guarantee, to the at least nominal disadvantage of the customer. This does not bode particularly well.

  • Sunday 16 January 2005 : Bulk Jazz at Panera
    I was sitting in Panera Bread last night, fumbling around with proxies in an attempt to get around their ham-fisted network filtering. Now they’re blocking an art gallery’s website for ‘nudism’. The site does, indeed, feature photos of paintings and sculptures featuring people without clothes on, but I’d hardly classify this as ‘nudity’, much less ‘nudism’. I didn’t have...
  • Wednesday 05 January 2005 : Unpredictability As A Drag On The U.S. Economy and Society

    Little elements of daily American life seem to be getting more and more unpredictable. This likely exacts quite a large toll, one that we seem totally oblivious to.

  • Friday 15 October 2004 : OQO and customer service

    Tino tries to spend $2,000 and fails. How do these companies expect to stay in business?
    UPDATE: Tino eventually succeeds, but only by jumping through yet more hoops.
    UPDATE 2: Sometimes things get better if you complain.

  • Thursday 30 September 2004 : More on the hazards of ‘free’ networking

    Others have been pointing out other problems with 'free' wireless networks.

  • Monday 30 August 2004 : C-SPAN Pay Per View?!

    DirecTV thinks that C-SPAN is pay-per-view this morning.

  • Friday 20 August 2004 : A Good Customer Service Experience at McDonald’s

    A particular McDonald’s does it right. Why can’t everyplace do it right?

  • Thursday 19 August 2004 : You Don’t Know Who Your Customers Are

    T-Mobile pisses off someone with a soapbox.

  • Friday 06 August 2004 : U-Scan Till Scandal in Front Royal

    Self-Service Till Shock Horror in Front Royal

  • Friday 30 July 2004 : Customer Experience

    Customer-experience consultants have finally figured it out.

  • Sunday 27 June 2004 : The Customer Service Rules

    The Tinotopia Rules For Retailers, or Customer Service Rules. If you are in any public-facing business, you should be aware of these.

  • Monday 26 April 2004 : Means and Ends in Retail

    It’s easy for employees in chain retail establishments to lose sight of the real reason they’re there.

  • Monday 29 March 2004 : Customer Disservice

    Customer service still stinks, according to an article in the Washington Post. With examples.

  • Sunday 18 January 2004 : Why We Love The Airlines, Part CXVII

    Flight-attendant attitudes are dangerous in the War On Terrorism

  • Monday 05 January 2004 : Intellectual Property, Control, and Profit

    There's an opportunity cost to keeping your intellectual property locked up, something that Time-Life illustrates with the handling of their photographic archive.

  • Tuesday 25 November 2003 : Outsourcing and Quality

    The problem isn't that jobs are being sent overseas; it's that they're being sent to overseas idiots.

  • Wednesday 19 November 2003 : SkyHigh Airlines

    SkyHigh Airlines, where a flight from Tulsa to Austin in 'bench' class takes 27 hours and 49 minutes, three connections, and $3,636,40.

  • Tuesday 18 November 2003 : Service and Defensiveness

    A scene from an Adam Sandler movie, of all things, illustrates some common Tino complaints

  • Monday 17 November 2003 : The NY Times’ View Of The World

    The NYT identifies another problem of automated tills: they don't allow employees to tell off customers. That's right, they consider this a problem, not a benefit.

  • Tuesday 28 October 2003 : Bad User Interface Bites Back

    THe K-Mart here has decommissioned their terrible self-service tills

  • Thursday 25 September 2003 : Universal Pictures to Customers: Fuck You

    Universal Pictures forces buyers of some of its DVDs to sit through ads before being able to use the product they've paid for. This practice has cost them much of Tino's business for the foreseeable future.

  • Sunday 21 September 2003 : Phones Out

    The phones are out here, and the phone company doesn't want to hear about it.

  • Tuesday 09 September 2003 : Customer Service Still In The Toilet

    A Washington Post article outlines some bad customer-service experiences

  • Friday 05 September 2003 : Every Marine A Rifleman

    Retailers could stand to learn something from the U.S. Marine Corps.

  • Wednesday 11 June 2003 : Netflix and the Customer Service Rules
    One of my regular booze-addled correspondents recently forwarded along a message he'd got from customer service at Netflix. For those of you not in the know, Netflix offers flat-rate movie rentals through the mail. You pay your monthly subscription fee, and for that you can have x DVDs out at a time. x varies depending on how much you pay....
  • Sunday 11 May 2003 : More Customer Service Rules

    Two more rules to follow when making customer-service decisions.

  • Friday 18 April 2003 : Customer Service Report

    Companies adopt the facade of interpersonal relationships to plaster over their customer-service failures.

  • Tuesday 07 January 2003 : Baja Fresh and the Customer Service Rules

    The Mexican-food chain's employees take care of their own needs first, and only then worry about customers.

  • Monday 16 December 2002 : Old Country Buffet Customer Service

    Complain about constant balloon explosions, get told to not come on balloon night. Brilliant customer service.

  • Thursday 07 November 2002 : Rules For Retailers

    A number of rules for people and companies in direct and frequent contact with their customers.

  • Tuesday 28 May 2002 : My Bank Hates Me
    Recently, Nicole and I have noticed that there are a number of bank branches going up in Front Royal. Like three. There are three bank branches under construction at the moment in Front Royal; these supplement the two that have been constructed since last fall, which in turn support the eight bank branches (and one credit union) that formerly met...
  • Monday 04 March 2002 : Blaming the Customer
    The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required — the WSJ is well worth it) that Toyota has changed its warranty policy to cover engines that seem to have problems with oil sludging. Formerly, dealers have refused to repair the engines under warranty unless customers could produce receipts proving that they’d changed the oil at the right intervals for “severs operating...
  • Friday 18 January 2002 : Philips and Copy-Protected CDs
    This article at The Register looks at Philips’ current position on copy-protected CDs. (Philips owns the “Compact Disc” standard, and licenses the use of the term and logo for products that comply with it.) It concludes rightly that Philips is not necessarily fighting on the side of piracy against the Evil Recording-Industry Megalith, but rather just balking at the incredibly...
  • Saturday 15 December 2001 : To The Movies

    We made one of our rare ventures out of the house tonight, and saw Ocean’s Eleven. The movie was good, but the overall experience was, well, not.

  • Wednesday 23 May 2001 : Dynamic Pricing at Burger King

    Vintage Tino!

  • Wednesday 11 April 2001 : Fuddruckers, Again

    Vintage Tino! Why you should never eat at Fuddrucker's: one of a few restaurant reviews.