Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Press 2 for Spanish

Hooray for real live customer service people at the other end of the phone line! I can't tell you how many calls I had to make yesterday. There was the credit card dispute -- someone has hijacked my number and is making web phone calls daily and charging it to me. The credit card people were so helpful and nice, and reassuring to boot. It's all handled. Then about 4 different calls to Verizon to see if I could figure out whether it is just an accounting mistake or an actual identity theft. All of them were so understanding, helpful and personable. Not automated, or cold, or disinterested. Such a revelation -- although we haven't figured out what's going on yet. And the folks at 3 different supply companies -- about late orders, back orders, order confirmations, making sure that I get the supplies I've ordered for this week in time for the coming show. I can't sell lavender sachets without the sachet bags or the lavender -- and I practically sold out of them in Bellevue. All of them were efficient and helpful. No pushing endless option buttons, listening to crappy tunes, waiting on hold for the time it takes to boil an egg. Just a friendly voice on the first ring, and a real person to help me with my issues.

Usually I'm an online person. So after dropping my jar of fabulous face cream for the umpteenth time, and cleaning up a big gob off the floor, I decided I needed to jot off a little note to the cosmetic company about how lousy their packaging is. Sure it's eye-catching and classy looking, but the lids suck and the huge-o jars don't fit on my shelf. I've never seen a more impractical jar in my life. They don't have an address or "contact" button on the web site. They have a phone number. While still on my customer service high, I decided to call. And was answered immediately by a very pleasant gal who listened to my rant, made sympathetic noises, wrote it all down and promised to share it with the marketing team. I mean she actually said a number of times that she "really promised" to pass it all on. I believe her. And again, I'm amazed. When did all this personal customer service thing happen? Hasn't it been automated phones and Muzak forever? Or little "comment" boxes on web pages that only allow 40 words, and produce a meaningless auto response, leading you to believe it all goes into the round file unnoticed? This is brand new, or more like what's old is new again. Somebody finally bought a clue, it seems. People like to have their problems handled by actual people. A voice that hears what they say and responds. And not a robot that responds, "I'm sorry that is not a valid response. Please hang up and try again."

Whee! Who else can I call and solve all the problems of the world? Do they take calls at the White House?

P.S. I think I've finally hit the Big Time -- anonymous advertisers are posting links to their shizz in my comments section. I've contemplated turning off the comments capability, since nobody seems to be interested in chatting back anyway. I could also "moderate" the comments, but that feels like baby-sitting and more time than I want to invest. But I feel a little squicky about having advertisers dumping there under stealth headings which everyone is going to click on due to natural curiosity. If you guys want to leave an occassional shout out, I'm a little giddy that anybody would want to talk back to me, so I'm going to leave it as is for now. What to do. Suggestions? Anyone? tap tap tap Hello? Is this thing on?

P.P.S. My sister tells me that the "Big Time" is really much bigger than a couple of anonymous linkers. Sigh. I'm still officially "Small Potatoes." But still. Bigger than "No Man's Land." So there. I guess I'm going to just keep an eye on the ads dealie. Please don't spoil the party by posting your massive linkage to advertising lah-de-lah in the comments section. We're just hanging out around the water cooler here. But if you want to comment on the chatter, just say hi, tell us about your own similar site or blog, that's totally cool. Make sense? Personal stuff always welcome.