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Archive for April, 2014

Heartbleed update

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No bleeding hearts here...

Heartbleed vulnerabilities and ensuing updates seem pretty pandemic right now. Just so you know, we were among the few web services not affected.

However, that does not mean other web services you use have not been compromised. If your Relenta password matches passwords you use for services who had to patch their servers, you should definitely change it. Make sure you pass this information on to all your Relenta users.

Monday. How typical. 🙂

Hopefully, the rest of the week remains pretty stable.

Written by Brent Miller

April 14th, 2014 at 2:59 pm

Posted in uncategorized

How not to write a customer support email

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We use an online meeting software service who sent this terse reply when we complained about problems we had with a call the other day.

“Thank you for contacting [Company’s Name].

We have never received any complaints about the sound quality. I would try to use a different microphone, or maybe update your computer’s sound card’s driver.

If you need further assistance, call us at 8XX-XXX-XXXX to explore additional options.  Alternately, we have online resources available, so feel free to utilize the links below.  Otherwise, a ticket close notification and short survey will be sent to you in a few days.”

Whether this is true or not, why is this a bad customer-service email?

  1. No customer name was used. It’s not like they don’t know it. This email’s salutation actually says “Thank you for contacting [CompanyName].” As if this was an achievement that needed to be recognized. Dumb.
  2. The first solution was to blame the customer. While it may be the customer, a better response is to try to replicate his/her problem and make sure it isn’t you first.
  3. They forgot that the customer is the boss. (Kings are so two centuries ago.) Make sure to show respect for people who basically sign your paycheck. Do not belittle their problems. In the above example, what may been a well-intentioned plug for their company’s service, really seems like a put-down. The solutions were half-hearted and not specific. (The links were to the support area, not to specific support articles.)

A better reply?

“Dear Relenta,

Thank you for letting us know about the problems you had with the sound quality of yesterday’s call. While these problems are rare, they do occasionally happen. It could be a lot of different issues and we’d be happy to help you when you have time for a quick phone call.

In the meantime, here are links to some specific support articles that may help you troubleshoot the problem.

Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done and leaves me feeling much better about the service.

Written by Brent Miller

April 14th, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Posted in uncategorized

How to de-funk

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Doldrums? The best time for swimming. #booyah

Remember learning about the doldrums, those low-pressure spots in the ocean noted for calm periods when the winds disappear altogether, trapping sail-powered boats for days or weeks?

Life can be like that, a serious funk. Ugh.

Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for the winds of life to change to put wind back in our sails. Here are some things we can do:

  1. Rest. When our mental and physical energy is depleted, it can cause a vicious cycle of negative thinking and error-prone actions. Instead of powering through, stop what you’re doing and sleep. If you’re worried that you’re not going to have enough time to get what you need done, think about the fact that fixing mistakes makes the job twice as long as doing it right the first time. No one will complain if you get the job done right.
  2. Pick your battles. The old saying goes, “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” Focus on the things you can change, often not your circumstances. In the doldrums, a captain could not will the wind to blow. However, it’s often our outlook on a situation that is the easiest to change. Realizing that some circumstances are beyond our control can motivate us to work out better coping strategies. So be courageous, make a list, and get busy. (If you’re not ready to do this, see point #1.)
  3. Rally the troops. No captain ever manned a ship through a storm on his own. So look for mates to get you through the rough times. Friends or family, maybe an online support group or forum. Whatever the case, don’t go it alone. (If you feel completely alone, refer to point #1.)
  4. Tomorrow is another day. Every day, life changes. Be on the outlook for positive changes ahead and be ready to hoist the sails when you spot them. (If this sounds too rosy, see point #1.)

Unlike most advertising slogans, life is not simple, easy or affordable. We have to invest time and energy and a crap-load of guts to get anything out of it. So get some rest, make sure your fights mean something, find a support network, and prepare for the best.

Written by Brent Miller

April 9th, 2014 at 11:15 am

Posted in uncategorized

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