What does this checkbox mean?

I get to the bottom of the form and see this checkbox.

Update_Customer_Record_BJs

Did I just create a new ‘Customer Record‘ on my account OR did I just update all of my account information with the form information I just submitted OR yet some other nefarious scenario I haven’t considered?

So frustrating.  Advice to small business ecommerce sites, eliminating confusing interactions will really help reduce the abandon rates and improve the completed transactions.

Love the service, not the bills.

Spent hours over the last couple of days trying to decipher my second bill from magenta. Had no idea anything could be so convoluted! Finally figured it out after spending hours looking at it online. Saddest part? In order to download a pdf version for my personal files, I had to text with support. Now that I know how and where to get it done, I have documented it for future reference.
I will give credit where credit is due – the chat was positive. The agent on the other end knew what to do, we were just hindered by technology. The configuration of the online chat session wouldn’t allow me to move around on the website. Every time I tried to follow the directions from the chat agent, I would be redirected back to the support page that I had used to access chat support. I understand why this was happening, but think it is kind of a lame configuration on the part of the website owners.
No worries. As my father used to say, ‘that didn’t stop old Cisco.’ I was undeterred. Once I realized what was happening with the chat client session, I opened up a second, alternative browser that I could use to follow along with the instructions from the chat agent.
Positives – we were able to get to the core of my issue.
Negatives – maintaining multiple browsers in view in the itty bitty screen of my laptop made viewing everything difficult.
After solving the downloading of my bill issue, I spent some time deciphering what was really in this obnoxiously long and confusing bill. I think I was a bit spoiled from being a yellow customer for so very long. The reason I never had to deal with their no-service organization until after I left, their bills were clear and concise. It was easy to find and interpret the information provided on their bills.
This is not the case with the new provider. There are charges on my bill that are rightfully there, but not easily understood.
The main purpose for the switch was to save money on service when we upgraded our devices. Based on the analysis done before the switch, this should be a no brainer.
Reviewing the convoluted bills after the switch, I am not seeing any savings, actually it appears to be costing.
After spending hours surfing the community for explanations about all of the things on my bills, I finally figured it out. For the record, the information that I needed is not on the bill. There are charges on the pdf version of the bill that have absolutely no direct link to the line items in the details.
The web view provided me the information that I needed to see so I could understand what was being charged. The old school accountant deep in my soul is having a difficult time with the reconciliation. It just bothers me when there are ‘other charges’ on my bill that don’t add up from the line items in the details section.
When all is said and done, the math works, but not by using the bill itself. This makes me long for the good old days of the obf when they regulated how the bills were formatted and mandated that all of the information be clearly and accurately calculated.
I don’t know if there are any current regulations mandating accuracy in billing statement or not, but it sure seems there ought to be.
Bottom line –
In order for the online billing system to reconcile the payments that I have made, entries are made in the billing summary section of the pdf bill. Because I took advantage of their interest free installment plans for the purchase of the new devices and the installment plan charges are not included as separate line items on the pdf bill, there is a serious discrepancy when I tried to reconcile all of the summary items. The ‘other charges’ as listed on the detailed bill will never reconcile. As the consumer, I have to be aware of this and keep track of what I have paid on my own. Knowing this, I am able to reconcile the bill using the data available online. Seems like a lot of work with little to know benefit.
The easiest fix is to pay off the installment plans that I didn’t really want in the first place. My next bill will have similar issues. We had two separate installment plans. I paid the smaller of the 2 in full as part of my activities doing this billing reconciliation. After the next bill cuts, here in the next few days, I will pay the other installment plan in full. Hopefully, we will finally see the savings promised by changing carriers. Right now, the switch has been costing us. Here’s hoping!

Customer Relationships

I have so been on a roll with the whole customer service thing, that I thought it might be a nice idea to include an anecdote that has stuck with me for years.

Years ago I was hired to do some business process engineering for an incredibly unique company.  My role was to identify, map and diagram their processes to help them transform into a new type of business.  It was a great opportunity.  I was way outside of my comfort zone in an industry that I knew very little about, save curiosity.  I started with the basics.  Diagrams of the processes, identification of the requirements, the interaction of the processes across the organization, a gap analysis and the suggestions for improvement.  (little did I know that about a year later those suggestions would ultimately cost me my job as I had a role that I had identified as expendable, when I was consulting!)

To get to the deliverables, I interviewed users.  A lot of users.  To find the best practices, I interviewed those identified as top producers.   To understand what made the top producers, I also interviewed those considered to be sub-par and to make it fair, I met with many of the mediocre.  It was fascinating.  To make a buck, everyone had to do the same ‘thing’ and it wasn’t really that the premium producers did anything different, it was the way they paid attention to their customers that set them apart, in the end.

It was during these interviews that I experienced the difference.  This one superior producer didn’t treat any customer any different than she did anyone else.  Quite frankly, she treated everyone the same.  I witnessed her make a couple of deals in the days I spent with her.  One sale was more than I make in a year, while most of the others were less than I typically spend on handbags in a year.  It didn’t matter.  She treated them all the same and her burgeoning book of business is a testament to the success of that approach.

It was all about the relationship she built with the customer.  She knew everything she could about each customer.  She built the relationships over time and came away from each interaction she had with each customer with another detail that she could find useful in future interactions.  It is brilliant!   From these details, she was able to foresee needs and fill them, sometimes even before the customer knew they needed something.   She was amazing!  It is her approach to customer relationships I am looking to emulate as I go forward.  There is an opportunity every day to observe and capture details that can be used to build the foundation of every relationship.  I use it in my personal life, why not apply it to my professional one?

Customer relationships – the difference is in the details!

Excellent Customer Service

So I tend to go on an on about customer service, it is important to me. No doubt about it we are going to need it at one point or another in our lives.
Well, I ordered some hairspray. What can I say? There is a particular brand of hairspray that I really like, but it is hard to find, so I have to order it. Since I was placing an order anyway, I went ahead and order a couple of other items. Total items in the order 3.
Well the order arrived today. The pick list said all 3 items were included in the package. Alas, only 2 of them were there. Of course, the item that didn’t make it into the package was the item that I really wanted.
So I looked online to see if I could find an easy answer. No. I did find their customer service number and gave it a ring.
Wow! Was I ever impressed. I didn’t have to hold forever. I was put through to the nicest customer service agent I have ever encountered. I was ready to argue for what was right.
He was phenomenal! He asked me what the issue was and I explained how the order had arrived today sans the hairspray. He was great. Instead of pushing back and arguing with me, he was ever so kind and went out of his way to explain how these things can happen and immediately set me up to receive a replacement, no charge. No pushback. No discussion. Just pleasant customer service.
A big shout out to Mike, wherever he may be. You have made me into a believer. I will shop from you again.