good customer service – two examples

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good customer service – two examples

May 19th, 2015 by Jeanne Boyarsky

I’ve blogged a couple times about poor customer service (Verizon/Time Warner.) I had two nice experiences with customer service today.


I had booked a flight on Southwest Airlines for a trip and the date of the trip changed. Southwest has a policy that you can change your flight without penalty – and just pay any increase in fare. I had paid $25 for Early Boarding roundtrip. I assumed this was tied to the flight and I’d have to pay again when I changed the flight.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had the same confirmation # for the new flight and the Early Boarding remained intact.


MicroCenter has a “ordered online; pick up in store” option. This is nice because you don’t waste a trip to the store only to find out they are out of something. I ordered a “kit” that consisted of two pieces. The kit sold for $8. I got an email from the manager that the inventory system was wrong and they couldn’t locate the kit. However, equivalents existed to the two pieces in the kit. One for $3 and one for $15. He said I they would honor the price of the kit and sell it to me for $8. Half price!

handling mistakes in presenting

May 3rd, 2015 by Jeanne Boyarsky

Yesterday, I gave a presentation to about 30 teenagers about the upcoming FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge) transition from Robot-C to Java. I agreed to do it a week ago while on vacation. This meant I didn’t have any weekend days to actually write up the deck. I wound up doing it the night before. The concepts were fine, but I figured I’d have at least one mistake in the deck.

I proofread the deck in the morning and corrected some errors. But I still felt rushed and like I missed something. I wound up announcing at the beginning that I had two prizes for the first two students who found an error in the presentation. One kid did. (I had a redundant keyword in a method. It wasn’t wrong per se, in that the program still worked. It was non-standard and not what I wanted to show.) This student got a FIRST flashlight in exchange for his finding. Nobody else found an error.

I liked this technique, because I was that kid who saw errors when I was younger (and still do). I was left wondering what I should do with the info. Does the presenter want to know? Should I keep quiet? Will the presentation be given again? By stating that I wanted it brought up early on, there was no doubt. I think it also helped foster a culture of other questions during my presentation because I made it known that I wanted the audience to speak up when a doubt crossed their mind.

I’ve rarely use this technique at Toastmasters because most presentations are shorter and questions aren’t welcome. And when I’m giving a workshop for adults, I feel like they will speak up as needed. It went well though and I’m thinking I might try the “prize” idea again with adults in the future.

Last week, I met the CEO of Communication for Geeks at the NY SPIN where we were both giving 10 minute talks. While none of the above is specific to geeks, it is a nice coincidence that I had an interesting “communication” experience shortly thereafter.

Another interesting thing that happened was that this is the first time I spoke with an ASL interpreter. I only noticed two differences:

  1. The interpreter wanted to see the deck in advance to prepare. (Luckily she only wanted to see it 10 minutes before and not days in advance!)
  2. For the first few minutes, I was worried about talking too fast. I often speak faster than I should when presenting and was worried if I was going to fast for her. The answer was that I wasn’t. I quickly forgot about it. When asking afterwards, she said the pace was fine. I’m impressed with her buffering because she was always a few words (or more) behind where I was! Luckily, I do pause when speaking so there was time to catch up.


griping about a “password” system

April 28th, 2015 by Jeanne Boyarsky

I emailed a company today asking for my account to be linked. I did NOT ask for a password reset. What I got was an email with plain text copy of my password. Aghhhhh! That’s just asking for someone to hack my account (or all the accounts.) Passwords should be stored using a one way hash at least.

Problem 1 – username

My user id is not my last name, email or anything I have any shot of remembering. And I didn’t get to pick it. Which means it is written down.

Problem 2 – storing the password in plain text

This company shouldn’t be storing passwords in plain text or any “encoding” where they can get the original password. And the only thing I can think of to make that worse is to email the password.

Problem 3 – password requirements

Since my password was sent in the clear, I went to change it. I wanted to make it a sentence about not emailing the password. That way if someone does it again, he/she at least has to read my note. I changed the letter s to $ in my sentence as one might expect. Guess what? Only letters and numbers are allowed.

Really guys? It’s 2015.