Archive for July, 2005

Customer Is Always Wrong

Tuesday, July 12th, 2005

In November, I went to a local ScanSoft authorized dealer because I was considering buying the Dragon NaturallySpeaking dictation software. My hands are shot from so much typing, and I thought it would help. The people there spent about an hour with me letting me test it and assessing my needs.

When it came down to the purchase, they said they had versions 7 and 8, with 8 having just come out. I asked the difference, and they said that they were nearly the same. 8 had a tiny fraction of a percent improvement in speech recognition and some minor bug fixes. 7 would be fine for my needs, and they’d give me $40 off. Well, OK! I bought 7.

Two months ago, the software stopped working. It no longer corrected mistakes, which it is supposed to do. I posted to a message board about my experience (in detail), and found out that 8 corrected bugs (from version 7) that were causing my problem. Evidently, there were bugs in 7 having to do with dictating into MS Word, which is most of the reason most of us buy software like this! I dictate into Outlook, which uses Word as its email editor. This means that the company I spent time with KNEW that I would be likely to run into that bug (as I had told them HOW I would use the software), but told me to buy 7 anyway.

I found out from another authorized dealer on the message board that version 8’s release was the first time that ScanSoft didn’t accept back copies of older versions for a credit. That means that dealers were stuck with unsold 7’s unless they could unload them. Well guess what. They unloaded one on me.

Once I understood all this, I emailed the people from whom I purchased (Next Wave in East Meadow, NY), and told them what had happened, that they hadn’t provided the right advice, and I should get 8 for $40… the extra money I SHOULD have spent in the first place to get 8. Nope, they wanted $100 to sell me 8, and tried to tell me that picking 7 was totally my decision. Yes, I decided that BASED ON INFORMATION THEY PROVIDED. If they had told me that in 7, I would be likely to run into a major bug when dictating into Word, I would have not decided to save $40 and walk into that fire. They stopped emailing me back.

The dealer I met in the message forums appealed to ScanSoft on my behalf. He thought they would understand how I got taken, and give me a copy of version 8. This dealer wrote me back today to say that ScanSoft doesn’t want to help me because I chose 7 when the dealer had both, and it didn’t matter WHY I chose 7. So it didn’t matter that their dealer lied to me to sell me old stock they couldn’t get rid of or send back.

You should all know about this experience because this can happen to anybody in any situation. I will certainly be more wary of anybody trying to sell me an older version of software when a newer one is available. I hope you will look out for that also, even if they offer a discount. ScanSoft and Next Wave should be embarrassed. They are probably glad that they got one over on me and sold something they otherwise couldn’t sell. But at what cost?

I need version 8 because my hands are killing me again. They’re seriously damaged from this typing, but aren’t ScanSoft and Next Wave happy that they made money off me. I will probably look for 8 on eBay, and I hope it’ll be a pirated copy with a working serial number. :)

Very bad marketing for two companies I will not trust again. It’s a shame that ScanSoft has no competitors for this level of dictation software.


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Compounding Bad Service with Bad Service

Monday, July 11th, 2005

I just sent a LONG email to my sales guy at my hosting company. They’ve botched so much of my stuff lately… emails are gone, websites aren’t working, websites got moved but with OLD files… don’t ask.

I emailed him to ask who I can talk to about getting a credit on my bill for all this trouble AND who can give me better support. I have a lot of unresolved problems and can’t seem to reach anybody by phone or email.

I quickly got an autoresponder back from him. This is it in its entirety.

    I terminated my employment with Interland/Hostcentric on Friday, July 8.
    Your email will not be answered.
    Thanks,Lowell

So not only did my sales guy quit the day that I’m emailing him, but nobody thought to have his emails forwarded to another account manager who could help. My emails just go to NOBODY.

Engineers botched the server migrations. Support can’t help me in some cases or didn’t get back to me for 14+ hours. Thousands of my emails are gone. Websites aren’t working properly. Clients are upset. And my "sales guy" puts together an autoresponder that might as well say "f*** you."

I guess it’s safe to say that’s bad marketing. After I get problems fixed, I’m likely to leave this company with as many of my sites as I can… or just never bring new business there again.


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TV Helps the Bad Guys

Friday, July 8th, 2005

The news goes into detail about how two train stations in New York City are "good targets" for terrorists.

The news details some of the sneaky ways prisoners can sneak meth in.

Crime shows go on about the near-genius criminals, and what they did that made their crimes so hard (or impossible) to solve.

More and more, TV seems like a handbook on how to do things most of us don’t want done. We don’t want criminals who learned better way to beat forensics. We don’t want to announce to terrorists which are our easier targets. We don’t wany anybody to have more access to horribly deadly and addictive, illegal drugs.

This is bad marketing for society and safety.


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How’s My Drivig?

Thursday, July 7th, 2005

Seen on a truck recently:

"How’s my drivig?"

Better than your spelling!


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WILD Noodles!

Wednesday, July 6th, 2005

Here’s an email I just sent to the contact email address at wildnoodles.com.

    I just got back from my first trip ever to one of your locations (Foothills Mall in Tucson, AZ). I ordered a dish to go and I asked for a cup of water, tap water will do. I was given a receipt (after paying) and a plastic cup, the kind that restaurants give to patrons who are dining in. I said, "That’s your to go cup?" No, I was told that I can only drink beverages there. If I want to take some water to go, they’d have to charge me for a take-out cup. So I said to the guy behind the counter, "This is my first time here, and I guess I’ll decide if I’m coming back." He said, "Yup!"

    Let me see if I have this right.

    You’re charging me $7 for $2 of food and labour, and you need reimbursement for a cup that might cost you ten cents on a bad day? You don’t have enough profit built in to the dishes so that people who dine in are paying for my to go cup… or we’re all paying for my to go cup?

    Thanks for the wild experience.


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Keep Your Clothes ON!

Tuesday, July 5th, 2005

It’s Day Three of fun posts from our local weekly independent newspaper. The ads, in some cases, are quite funny. This one is under HELP WANTED in the service/adult section.

MAKE $200 PER
DAY AND KEEP
YOUR CLOTHES ON!

This ad appears under an ad from the Bunny Ranch, who can’t quite promise the same thing. So if you’re reading this section and you’d like a job where you can keep your clothes on, this one should grab you! They are looking for "Go-Go/Bikini Dancers and waitresses," and according to the ad, they are very close to our town’s university and community college.

The ad could just say, "Attention College Girls," but I guess it’s shooting for subtle with its current headline.


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The Church Runs Ads

Monday, July 4th, 2005

Churches around here have weird advertising (plenty to blog down the road). Today’s comes from the back cover of our weekly independent newspaper.

I think I want to be…
CATHOLIC!
2000 years and all those saints!
Catholic Discovery
starts Aug. 3rd
St. Cyril’s 795-1633
www.stcyril.com

I thought this might be fake or a joke considering it’s next to ads for HIV tests, swing dance classes, and massage services that may or may not be from a licensed therapist. But no, I followed the URL, and it’s real.

This doesn’t seem like very strong marketing. Are the best things you can say about Catholicism that it’s been around a long time and there are many saints? What about people enjoying the religion or finding solace in it? Maybe someone could run an ad for acupuncture saying, "5000+ years and all those points!"

What is the most compelling thing you could say about your service or company?


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More Than A Garage Sale

Sunday, July 3rd, 2005

The back page of our local weekly independent paper has some interesting ads (as you might imagine).  This week, we have this one as an example of good marketing. It’s fun and funny.

Patriotic Yard Sale
Sat/Sun, July 2-3, 6am-Noon
(No Earlybirds Please)
Celebrate Your Financial Freedom
by Helping Me Get Out Of Debt-
Come Buy Something!

Earlybirds at garage sales come earlier than 6am! Man oh man. So celebrate your financial freedom by giving your money to someone else who needs it!


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