Friday, June 30, 2017

Zappos customer service is all that it is hyped up to be

I just got off the phone with Zappos returning several pair of shoes that I bought to try out. Tara, the customer service person, was incredible.  She really made it feel like she was a friend as she spoke to me. Sure, the service was great, but Tara was really relaxed and happy.  She was happy to chat but not too chatty.

She asked what I needed to exchange and what I needed to return.  She took care of it all quickly while asking questions to ensure I was getting what I wanted.  She offered either USPS or UPS for the return.  She kindly handled the need to return the exchange within 2 weeks to avoid a charge but that all the others shoes I had plenty of time.  The return label is emailed to me and my exchange will be here Monday.

Why in the world would I shop anywhere else for shoes?  I won't except for brands they don't carry.

The service is incredible and the prices are great.  

I've read the book, I've met Tony Hsieh after hearing him speak, and now I've experienced the reality first hand.   Read the book, buy their products:, enjoy their service, and learn from them.

Be like Zappos when you work with your clients.

Friday, April 14, 2017

A bad experience but I am back with Frontier

I canceled Frontier in January and they did not make it easy at all. I was paying a little over $200 a month for cable, internet, and phone.    First, I will share the bad experience and then get to why I came back and how the experience is.

When I called to cancel, I said I wanted to keep internet if they could come close to $50 a month (Spectrum offers $40).  They told me no, so I canceled TV and phone immediately with a plan to cancel internet as soon as I had spectrum.  3 days later, I had spectrum installed (it was a great experience) and called to cancel my internet immediately.

The agents both assured me there was no problem and that I would get my boxes soon. I got boxes for my cable boxes but not the modem. I shipped the cable boxes back immediately and waited for the modem.  After 2 weeks, I called again and was told I never canceled anything.  What?  I assured them I did. They then agreed to cancel all services AND backdate to my first and second call.  Ok, thanks.

Nope.  I get my final bill and it shows my cancelation was the last call which resulted in almost another $200.  I called but kept getting the runaround so I tweeted about it.  The social media team reached out to me and offered to help.  It was at least someone consistent but they once again told me I didn't cancel until the 3rd call.  I assured them I did and to listen to their recording of the first 2 calls.  It was not until I threatened to take them to small claims court that they finally gave me the credit.

My suggestion to anyone canceling frontier or other cable products, tell them you are recording the call as well and record it to play back if something happens.

My experience with Spectrum was good but not great. They gave me a good modem, installed on time and were pretty friendly during the install. Speeds were great.  I was happy with my $40 a month expense saving $180 a month using HULU, Netflix, and my HD antenna for local channels (along with Tablo to record shows especially on CBS which is not available on HULU).

I was happy.  My wife was less happy but was happy to be saving money.  She mentioned that she missed a few channels but felt it was worth it.  The next day frontier sent me an offer for $55 a month for TV and internet ( which goes up to $75 after 6 months.  This includes the cost of the modem, DVR, as well as HBO free for 2 years.  I figured for a few bucks more a month, making Kim happy was worth it.

Frontier installed the modem and DVR today. I was not expecting much but the installer who came but was exceptionally good.  He went out of his way to do things right and I realized how little Spectrum did when they installed the modem.  He really made spectrum look bad from the installation side of things (but Spectrum customer service has been much better).  I had moved some cables in the attic and he went up there and reconnected them without complaint. He added wall plates where I needed them and also added a remote extender without my asking as my cable box is behind my wall.   He did not leave until everything was tested and working.

Service matters and I really struggled with going back to Frontier based on their customer service.  Price also matters and Spectrum would not come close to Frontiers offering so I canceled.  If they had come closer, I would have stayed with Spectrum for the better service even at a few dollars.

I am hopeful that Frontier will improve their customer service. They clearly have done a good job with their installers or at least the one I got today.

I'm still all for cutting the cord. I have a lifetime subscription to Tablo (DVR for antenna) and my antenna still works.  I am hopeful by the time my special price ends in 2 years that the options like Slingtv (I tried and did not like) are better.  Yes, I know about KODI but that is just too much for me even though I know how to set it up. I am happy to pay for a service that adds value as long as it is a reasonable charge.

My technician was Daniel A from Carrollwood.  He deserves at least a pat on the back from his boss at Frontier for doing such a great job and starting my new Frontier relationship off on the right foot.

I can communicate with my son again thanks to SnapChat

Last week I took my 2 sons on a field trip to NASA with their school.  We had a good time and it was fun to see them interact with their friends even if I didn't love everything about the interactions.

My oldest son discovered snapchat during the trip and had a blast with his friends.  He was on it constantly.  He loves the silliness and ease of communications.  He was instantly addicted.

I have not been a snapchat fan installing it only to understand it.  Prior to last week, I think I sent 5 snaps total and still haven't built a story.  That all changed last week.

My son is 14 and rarely if ever replies to me on skype, text, or via phone.  I cannot stress how hard it is to get my son to reply to me on anything.  It was nearly impossible.

So this week, I started sending him simple messages via snapchat.  I get instant responses. I can once again communicate with my son when he is not right next to me.

I still do not get the snapchat business model overall nor do I agree with the valuation. However, for reaching the under 30 crowd (and I guess some of the hipster "olds"), it's pretty effective.  I hope it does not become a primary tool for me outside of my kids, but I guess time will tell.


Monday, April 3, 2017

Tampa Orlando Technology Speaker

An expert on the business of technology, Dale Denham engages local audiences as well as those around the globe on delivering value to the business through the innovative use of technology.  Dale was named Computerworld's premier 100 CIO for his exceptional technology leadership and innovative approaches to business challenges.

Dale speaks locally in Tampa and Orlando Florida, as well as nationally and internationally.  Rather than deliver an off the shelf presentation on technology, Dale works with event organizers to craft a presentation that meets event objectives.  Combined with his engaging presentation style, Dale leaves audiences and event organizers wanting more.

Dale has many standard presentations that offer value without customization including:

  • The Business of Technology
  • Business and Digital Transformation
  • How to Succeed with E Commerce
  • Growing Your Business with Online Advertising 
  • Selling in the Zero Moment of Truth

Dale also delivers presentations on general business topics based on his 20+ years in leading businesses but is best known for his mixing of business and technology.  

If you are looking for a technology speaker in the Tampa / Orlando area that focuses on business outcomes, Dale is the best choice.  With many great technology speakers nationally, Dale stands out from other speakers because of his highly engaging style.  In addition, whether your event is in Tampa or a global event, Dale will customize any presentation to support your overall event theme.

To reach Dale, connect with him at  A graduate of the USF College of Business in Tampa, Dale lives in Tampa, Florida with his wife and 4 children.

As a side note, while all of the above is correct and true, this blog was written to show the power of blogging.  Blogging is another topic Dale is happy to present at your event.

Monday, February 27, 2017

It's How You Choose to Look at Your Situation

I had a good morning.  I took the later flight out which meant I did not have to get up at 3:30am.  I was able to kiss my kids and wife and get them off to school and work.  I was able to walk the dog.   I was able to get some work done and still get to the airport with plenty of time.   I was upgraded.  It was going to be a good day.

Then, the flight was delayed. Only 30 minutes but with a tight connection, I felt confident I could make it.  As the 30 minutes passed and we still had not boarded, I called the Delta Platinum line and was told I could stay in Tampa until 6:42 and catch a flight to Detroit (It was almost 2pm). I decided to take my chance and get on the plan to Cincinnati. I arrived at 4:08. I made it to my gate by 4:10 (it was only a few gates down but I ran).  The door was closed but the plane was still sitting there.

The gate agent assured me in Tampa they would likely hold the flight if it was close.  Nope.  Not even for a Platinum (I wonder if I was still diamond...?).  I had made it on time but they close the gate 10 minutes early and I know this. So I wasn't too upset except that I had my expectations raised by the gate agent (not her fault).

The gate agent told me not to worry, I was rebooked through Atlanta 2 gates down and they were boarding.  OK, I headed off.  I got to the gate and they were oversold and I was not going to get a seat.  I didn't pitch a fit but I was annoyed.  I just smiled and asked him to make sure I got to PWM tonight or give me the vouchers they were giving everyone else (I somewhat hoped for the voucher).

10 minutes later he had me booked through Detroit to Portland.  I wasn't sure if I was happy or not. I had become a fan of the idea of getting a free ticket for my trouble.  I determined I was disappointed when I realized I lost my first class upgrade.

I stopped and looked at the situation realizing I was getting in about the same time (I had a long layover anyhow) that I had originally planned.  So why did it matter?  It mattered because I had elevated expectations and that was my own doing. I quickly reframed the situation. I was getting to my destination at the right time. I was not stuck in middle seats even if they weren't first class.  I had the sky club to sit in while waiting.

When things aren't going right, ask yourself if your perspective changed if things would be ok?  If so, attempt to reframe your expectation.  It made my night much better.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Simplicity Wins

I just tried to use Cortana to add an appointment to my outlook calendar.  Yuk.  It was clunky and worse it didn't get the date or subject right.

Compare that to my google phone which gets it right 99% of the time and is easier to use.  Microsoft Cortana is way behind, but they will catch up.

Although Google is the best at voice recognition and understanding what I want, I still talk to Alexa more. The reason?  I don't have to press anything.  Yes, I have "OK GOOGLE" on my phone but the phone still has to be awake (screen on) for that to work. I suspect they'll fix that at some point but for now Alexa wins the simplicity battle.

I use Alexa a lot.  I was starting to regret buying the Tap last year after buying the DOT this Christmas.  The always listening feature is really simple and has me adopting more interaction with Amazon.  I've even started buying supplies via Alexa.  I was in the kitchen realizing we were almost out of dog food when I thought, "I'll try Alexa" and told her to reorder.  5 seconds later I was done.  Then I re-ordered 2 more things I might have run to the store for instead of buying from Amazon.

Whatever you are building, you have to keep it simple to build momentum.  Once people use  a tool, they'll ask for more.  It still has to work well (Siri is still very flawed) to be useful which is another reason Alexa kept their features limited at first.

As they've taught for years, Keep It Simple Stupid works now more than ever.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Speed of Amazon shipments slowing down?

Have you noticed that 2 day shipping with Amazon is now 3 days most days?  It seems that depending on the day, my 2 day shipment is promised in 3 days instead of 2.  For example, I just ordered some items from Amazon at 3:56pm.  The shipment option during checkout was FREE 2 DAY shipping to arrive Friday (today is Tuesday Sept 27).  In the past, 2 day shipping would have arrived Thursday September 29.

Last week, I ordered a few things and the same thing occurred.  I thought it was a fluke until I saw what happened today.

Last week's order contained an item that while it promised 2 days, it turned out to be 4 days for some reason (stock perhaps?).  I was able to cancel the item because I needed it in 2 days.  Another item I ordered over the weekend qualified for PRIME (not free shipping, actually PRIME) and when I received the confirmation, it wasn't scheduled to arrive until next Monday (all other items were on time).  I was again able to cancel the order and choose a different product from a different vendor.

Amazon remains my favorite place to shop despite this.  Yet, it is something to watch as we get accustomed to getting things in 2 days.   Amazon Prime is a great value and I will keep using it even with the new 3 day shipping (that is supposed to be 2 days).  Their service and return policies are awesome. Pricing is usually very close to the lowest for everything I've ordered and that keeps me from wanting to price shop them too much.

Shipping is going to be a big issue for Amazon and they will have to figure out a way to reduce their shipping costs while keeping us loyal shoppers.  It will be interesting to see if the slower shipping begins to have an impact as their competitors start improving their operations.