Breakthrough

As Gomer Pyle used to say, “Surprise, surprise, surprise!” You could also throw in his “Shazam!” or “Golly!”

There was a breakthrough. I am holding my breath, but at least there may be a payoff to my concerted effort and persistence.

Goal Zero finally responded to my customer service inquiry – only nine days after submission. Not with an answer I liked, but at least it was an answer.

And Ryobi, finally, after two hours on hold yesterday and then resorting to the “call back” (yeah, don’t fall for that ever…) option for no response. I called again this morning and after 20 minutes on hold, someone actually picked up!! They were very nice and got the process started for tool replacement via the warranty. Mind you, this was just the first step so there are still things on their end that they need to do, but I am hopeful. Hopeful that at least the process will now go the way it should have at the start.

Persistence. Patience. Bargain with the devil? Nah, I didn’t have to go that far, but I was contemplating the next step…a witch’s curse? Pentagram on the garage floor? Flaming sacrificial alter for burning the tools? There are a lot of options when you think about it.

Hopefully none of you out there are doing customer support. If so, know that you may not be safe from the dark world. As a matter of fact, maybe that is why I have had strange happenings in my home office…perhaps I have been cursed in my role for customer service…that might explain the strange goose-pimples at odd times of the day…

I’m out! I gotta go get my protection on.

man wearing gray and red armour standing on the streets

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A tool story

Technology in today’s day and age allows companies and customers to better interact.

That could mean that customers have better access to product information and new offerings from a company. It could mean that companies provide better support and customer care when issues arise with it’s products. It could mean that customers are able to communicate with the company their needs for tools and features they need.

Regardless of what could happen, customers should have a good experience with the product and the company. It’s what keeps them coming back to the company and it’s what also has them recommend the company’s products to people they know.

A little over a year ago, I decided it was time to update my power tools so I decided that having something with lots of tools and one battery system would be the best since they are all interchangeable. The answer was…

Ryobi.

In general, I like the tools. They 18v One+ system is a great idea because of the variety of tools that will work off one battery system. No need to have a bunch of different battery sizes and no need to have to buy new and newer tools since other companies keep changing their batteries all the time.

So, I invested. I bought a multiple tool set and over the last year I have added several more tools and a new set of extra batteries with a quick charger (30 minutes to be exact). It’s been a little less than a year since I did this and everything has worked as expected until now.

That 30 minute charger just up and died…used it two weeks ago and it work and then went to use it last week and it didn’t. Nothing. No power.

So, I wanted to find out what now. It is less than a year old and is probably under warranty. I logged into their website, ryobitools.com, and navigation is PAINFULLY SLOW! It takes minutes just to get their page to load, let alone navigate from one place to another once you actually get there.

All I could think as I wait and wait and wait is, “Really?” With a company this large with that kind of budget, they can’t get a website that is zippity-do-dah fast? Kind of not really great customer service, ya know?

When I finally get to the “Contact” page I called the Power Tools phone number for support, 800-525-2579, and their navigation system is garbled and hard to understand…and the number they say to push for help sounds like “8” but when you push that number is says it is invalid. I called several times and finally pushed “2” (sounds nothing like “8”) and got through. WTH? Seriously. I am not joking. Call it yourself.

So, besides having a painfully slow website, they also have a call system that is garbled and hard to understand. Makes total sense for a company trying to get and keep customers, right?

Oh, and after I talked with someone I have to call another department (East coast times, mind you) to get warranty help. I’ll let you know how that goes…

Expenses and new adulthood

man sitting on sofa reading book

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Here’s a TOUGH question for you?

At what point do you have your adult children fend for themselves?

Specifically, a child has graduated from high school almost a year ago and is now 19. Oh, and I’ll add that the child is not currently living in your home. Said child has college expenses covered already (tuition and housing), but has no job.

What do you think?

What do you continue to support/provide and what do you not? What would you consider “extra” versus necessary?

There are some difficult discussions coming up and I am curious how you see this topic. I realize this is a bit of an open ended question and can be taken in a lot of different directions, so I am open to any and all responses.

fitbit – one last chance

This is a love/hate story. I can’t think of anything else to say about what you are going to read. I love the idea of the product, but the execution of said product hasn’t been great, nor good. Thus, I find myself loving the product and hating it at the same time.

Bear with me here. This is a long, complicated story with lots of history. I’ll do my best to condense it to a cohesive, frustratingly loud, “Aarg!” and head shake.

It all started with the fitbit Charge. It was small enough to wear comfortably but large enough to be helpful and readable. It had features I liked and it was convenient enough to wear. Then the troubles started…

The bands on the Charge were not holding to the molded plastic inside and the rubber started peeling away from the unit. Eventually the band would just wear out and would need to be replaced. I wore it as long as I could. Luckily the warranty from the store it was purchased from hadn’t expired yet. They replaced it free of charge. But, it didn’t last long and they were again going to have to replace it because of the same issue. This time I decided to pay the difference and upgrade to the Charge HR.

This time the band on the unit seemed to be much better and lasted longer. But, after about a year, the display screen started having issues and it got hard to read. I made it last as long as I could until is just up and died (at least the screen did).

I missed having it on my wrist and they had a new version of the Charge out, the Charge 3, so I bought it off of Amazon. I was happy with it. Bands were good. It had more functions than I had previously. All was going good until…about eight months into it the display screen started to do strange things. At first, it started loosing lines of pixels. As more and more started to drop off, then the screen turned almost a light white color – like someone had turned the contrast up and it no longer had much.

I contacted customer support after doing some research and seeing that other users were having similar issues. I took pictures (sorry don’t have those any longer) and they walked me through some reset functions and finally determined the screen was bad and since it was under warranty they sent me a new unit. I got the replacement, put the bands from the old one on it and off I went.

Less than four months later, I am contacting customer service, again. This replacement unit, which I highly suspect was a refurbished Charge 3, was beginning to display the same issues as the one it had replaced (see top of photo below). There were lines forming in the display again and it was losing pixels. We of course go through the whole process of “Did you try this? Or this? How about that?”

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Now, I am starting to get irritated. Look, you have a bad product, parts, design, something. I want my money back. I don’t want another replacement of this product. The best they will do for me is replace it or give me a 50% discount on another product. As if my confidence isn’t already worn down, “OK, whatever. I’ll give you one more shot.”

So, I took my 50% discount to their products page and purchased the fitbit Versa 2. With the discount it was actually less expensive to buy it now than with any of the Black Friday specials the stores were offering. So, I’ll jump in cautiously.

Product arrives and I open it up to set it up. Immediately I am met with this thought as I go to charge the unit, “Who was the designer of the charger and how did this idiot get it approved for production?” Seriously, my confidence is already not real high on your product and then you send me this?

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fitbit, you’re really gonna have a large faced product that will sit sideways on a surface so that it can’t be seen or used while it is charging? REALLY? 

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I was a little wary of getting a large faced product since that is the reason I don’t really like wearing watches, but so far the larger screen isn’t the issue. Design. Design is the issue, at least for the charger. Not a good start, or first impression. My confidence isn’t high in this product but we’ll see where it goes. This may be the final product I ever purchase from them.

I was already eyeing the Apple Watch, so it may not be far off in my future.

Survival mode

man looking in binoculars during sunset

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One day. Just make it through the day.

Friday before a long weekend. Will it be busy? The hope is that it won’t be because district employees will be taking advantage of their last long weekend of the summer. Alas, the hope had died on the vine…

We are already running and I don’t think we have hit the ground yet.

The flood of support tickets continues. At one point yesterday, I had six open support tickets and trying to support them all at the same time. Today, I already have two to start with. Hope this isn’t a sign of things to come.

Watch out people! The weekend is nearly upon us. Keep your head down today, enter survival mode, and make it through the day. Just one last push to weekend freedom!

Work Email Syndrome

email blocks on gray surface

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I bet after describing this you’ll know you have it too. It should be a real affliction, if it isn’t already. I don’t know. I didn’t look. All I know is that I have it.

I don’t know about your place of employment, but mine uses all sorts of forms of communication. Skype, Zoom, Outlook, video chat, messenger, paper, notes, etc etc. But one thing that I really dislike is going back to work…wait, I almost stopped there. Because, I mean, really, who likes going to work?

But I digress. Anyway, going back to work because of all the email that has filled up my inbox. I mean really!! Do we need to send this much email in ONE DAY? I don’t like being sick because I get back to work and have 300 emails to wade through. It takes me days to catch up!

So, I fear going back to work simply because of email. That’s a syndrome, right? It has to be. I probably need a counselor for this. Maybe I need a doctor’s note to take more time off. Maybe I’ll sue my managers and the company for emotional distress related to email. It’s overwhelming.

I think I better start a support group.

“Hi, my name is _______________ and I suffer from WES.”

Hmmm, why don’t I feel better yet? Oh wait, because I have to work and have 314 emails to go through. DANG IT! If I close my eyes and wait a few seconds, will they be gone?

If you could read the directions

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Meme via Winkgo

The directions are right there! READ them. Follow them. Stop asking questions!

It’s Friday the 13th and apparently basic functions of the human brain have stopped working as we are inundated with people who don’t/won’t read the directions.

Don’t have a great day…