Tag Archives: customer service

Contempt of Customer

Recently I ordered from an up-and-coming online food delivery service. It was the first time using their service, and although doubtful about their value prop, I thought “Let’s see how it goes.”

Well, to put is nicely, the food sucked. It was cold and unappealing.

I contacted their customer service and expected a prompt refund and a note saying, “Sorry you didn’t like it. Please give us another chance.”

But no. They said, “No, you can’t have a refund.” So they would rather have my $26 than a happy customer.

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Review of our New Web Hosting

After struggling with our last host for about 6 months, I finally decided to switch to a new host for our site and blog. I guess you probably have noticed, but the blog has been S-L-O-W. It seems that the problem was that we are approaching 1,000 posts and it was too much for the shared hosting plan that we were on.

Another problem was that the admin section was so slow that it was becoming impossible to write new posts. I had to click and then go and do something else for a while. It was not fun.

Even worse was that the blog got infected by a virus 4 times in the last 6 months. I got to learn how to fix every php file on the site. Having quite a bit of experience with computers I understand that this kind of thing happens. But the attitude of the tech support people was not OK. They blamed me for the infection, even though thousands of other customers had their blogs hacked at the exact same time.

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Tony Hsieh and Zappos

After writing about Zappos yesterday, I remembered a few interesting things that I didn’t mention in the post about the company. I had heard about the wonderful customer service and company culture about 3 years ago. So I decided to do a little experiment. I called the customer service line to talk with whoever answered, to find out what it was like to work at Zappos.

Tony Hsieh, Co-founder of Zappos

I had heard about what a great company Zappos was, but I was a bit surprised when I actually talked to the customer service representative. Before I tell you what happened when I called Zappos, let’s think back about what a “normal” customer service call is like.

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Delivering Happiness – What about Money?

Now I am reading Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. Tony is a co-founder  of Zappos, the online shoe company that was recently sold to Amazon for $1 billion. I highly recommend this book because it is entertaining and fun to read.

Yet it is also filled with some deep meaning. Tony shares his story about how he sold his first company, Link Exchange, to Microsoft for $265 million. His own share was $40 million. But here’s the interesting part. He would be paid $8 million for staying with the company for one year.

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More Good News in a Bad Economy

It seems that the economy is the number one topic of discussion these days. Most people are blaming it for all of their financial problems. The news is full of stories about the negative effects of the terrible economy such as foreclosures and layoffs.

Maybe we are just die hard are optimists, but I noticed that my previous post entitled Falling Prices are the Bright Side of a Bad Economy was quite popular. So here are more reasons why the bad economy is actually good for us.

One reason that I touched upon in the previous post is the falling price of oil and gasoline. Not only does it make life easy for us at the pump, but it has a cascading effect throughout the economy. Most of the things that we consume are physical, and therefore require energy to be delivered to us. When oil prices are high, it costs more money to ship everything. And these cost increases can be seen in every physical product that we consume. It includes drinks, food, books, computers, and even cars. The good news is that as the cost of crude oil falls, the price of most of the other items in the economy falls as well.

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A Different Way of Thinking: Richard Branson

Have you heard of Richard Branson? You’ve probably heard of him, but don’t really know too much about him. That’s how I was before I read his book, Losing My Virginity
Losing My Virginity CoverThis is one of the funniest, most entertaining and refreshing books that I’ve read in quite a while. It’s full of stories about how he built his businesses, and how he grew and developed himself into a billionaire. So far, he has started over 350 businesses.

What is really fascinating about the book is that it shows how he thinks. He is not afraid to share his failures and problems, right along with his successes. He also shows how his higher level of thinking is manifest into a business.

Virgin wireless is a good example. Have you ever felt ripped off and annoyed at your cell phone provider? If so, there’s a good reason. Most cell phone companies give you a “free” phone, and a two-year contract. People inevitably feel like a free phone is a great deal, and sign up. The net result is a booming cell phone business throughout the world.

But Richard noticed something. He noticed that most people are pretty dissatisfied with their cell phone carrier. He noticed that they’re tired of waiting forever to talk to customer service, and that they’re constantly being overcharged and mistreated.

So, he said, “I am going to start a cell phone carrier that does not have any contracts!” What a concept! Everyone around him told him that it’s impossible and that it won’t work. However, Richard did not let the nonbelievers sway him.

Virgin Mobile is the fastest cell phone provider right now. In fact, they just acquired Helio, which failed.

So the moral of the story is that Richard decided to change the rules and instead of just trying to make money at the expense of customers, he actually found a way to create value and serve them! His thinking and ways of doing business allow him to stand out far from the crowd.

What if every business, instead of trying to take as much money as possible from the customer, instead found ways of creating value for the customer? Would that change the world?