posts tagged with the keyword ‘service’

2009.08.15

Many, many years ago… when I played in bands, and all my friends played in bands, we’d go to a few different music stores… Lincoln Music was on the south side, and Record Head was a pawn shop where you could get a cheap guitar, but one of the coolest places was Cascio. It was huge, and they never seemed to mind that we’d want to play every instrument in the store.

Since I had to get a trumpet for my daughter recently, and I’ve been dissatisfied with a previous instrument rental with The White House of Music (which took over Beihoff Music) I ended up asking a question on Twitter:

Any recommendations for school band instrument rental? people tell me @interstatemusic is good... comments?

…and with a few people telling me Interstate was good, I went there… and I remembered how much I liked it!

And yes, Interstate Music is on Twitter, and I do follow them, and about a week ago, they held a little contest on Twitter, and I happened to win it. (Though I was worried @Pezzettino might beat me to it!) They let me know that I won a Josh Rouse CD, and when I talked to them on the phone, they also mentioned a gift card they would throw in. (Good way to get me into the store, eh?) When my package arrived, there was also an Archer hat in the box. Nice!

Josh Rouse CD / Archer Hat / Cascio Gift Card

This is a good lesson in how companies can use Twitter (or any social media) to interact with it’s customers, or potential customers. I know it may seem like a small and simple thing, but it’s a conversation instead of a broadcast, it’s a company getting involved in a dialog with people, and not just blatant promotion of a brand, which some companies tend to do. Striking a balance is the sweet spot.

2008.04.18

Our friend to the north, Marcus Nelson (the guy behind such things as hyperlocal site Citizen Wausau, and co-working space Citizen Desk) is involved in the launch of a new product/site, it’s called UserVoice.

UserVoice The idea behind UserVoice is that trying to talk to your customers and users to find out what they want is too difficult to manage using things like email and forums, so why not leverage the idea of a collaborative site where users vote, similar to Digg, so that the common and popular issues float to the top.

They have an example site at example.uservoice.com you can look at to get an idea how it works, or even better, take a look at uservoice.uservoice.com and see how they are eating their own dog food.

If you’re dealing with user feedback right now using a forum, or trying to manage email requests, this thing looks like an ideal replacement that would be 10 times better for all parties involved.

See Also: Mashable had a good writeup a few weeks back: UserVoice: Vote for Features You Wanna See

2008.03.15

I’ve been thinking about the effects of blogging, specifically on business. There’s a reason for this…

Last year we went camping at Bark River Campground. It sucked. I wanted to let people know this, because I didn’t want other people to have the experience I did, so I did what any self respecting blogger would do… I blogged about it.

The result was: Bark River Campground: Worst Campground Ever, which described my experience. I sort of knew where things were headed. Their site sucks and within a few days, my post was the second result in a search for “Bark River Campground” I was slightly pleased.

Fast forward 9 months, and I get a phone call. It took me a number of “I’m sorry, can you repeat that?” to get to the part where I heard “internet” and “post” and “worst campground ever” and I then realized who I was talking to. Yup, they called.

I talked to the folks at Bark River Campgrounds. The man I talked to said he understood that I had the right to say what I wanted, but he also said they try very hard to make things nice at the campground. I wasn’t convinced of that, but I did thank him for opening a dialog about the issue. I did get the idea that he didn’t actually read the post because he asked me questions that would have been answered if he had read it. But then again, bloggers tend to think everyone reads their posts…

So, what is the responsibility of a blogger? What is the effect of what we write? On businesses? On people? Like I said, I knew what I was doing, and I had some clue what the effect would be. I honestly did not expect to hear from them, but was pleasantly surprised by them saying that I had every right to say it, and they didn’t expect me to take it down.

2007.07.17

Disclaimer: This was written after a bad experience at the Bark River Campground in July 2007. I’ve actually gotten attacked by people for sharing my experience. The campground may have improved by now, I really hope it has.

In July 2007 we went camping at Bark River Campground and it sucked.

I suppose I should elaborate. First, a disclaimer: I do not operate a campground, or know how to, but I do have common sense, respect for the land, and for others, and have been camping before.

With that said, I will say that we did have fun. It was the first camping trip for the kids, and they had fun, despite some harsh conditions. With that out of the way, I’ll get into why the campground sucked.

When we arrived, we pulled up to a camp site, and after surveying the area for a few minutes, one of the jerkwads at the next site says very loudly “It’s gonna get loud! It’s gonna get wild!” which I guess was his way of warning us they planned to be jerkwads and we shouldn’t camp there. So we moved on, but it was difficult trying to find a spot that was far enough away from them.

Eventually we settled just over the top of a hill, where we hoped we wouldn’t be able to hear them too much. (Oh, little did we know…) On the sites near the top of the hill we managed to find plenty of empty beer bottles, a diaper, dog poop, and part of a tent someone decided to burn and leave there. Get it straight, I ain’t no hippie, but I have some respect for the land, and as I remember, you’re supposed to leave nothing but footprints, and take nothing but photographs, right?

Bad Campers Camp Trash

Anyway, we had a good time, even though many of the clientele seemed a bit, uh, “questionable” at best. This was the first time camping for the girls, and we spent a lot of time trying to explain how “real” camping works, as opposed to the “outdoor drunkfest party camping” we were witnessing. They’re excited to try it again at a better location.

Camp Pancake Two Tents

So many other “campers” were just plain inconsiderate, it was incredible. At one point, 3 guys in golf carts drove up the hill and parked 20 feet from our tents and just sat there for 20 minutes. Oh, and a woman drove up in a golf cart, got out with her dog, and then let it poop about 20 feet from our tent. When Dana asked if she brought a bag along, she looked at us like we were crazy, so I asked if her dog pooped, and she said “yes” and I asked if she could at least tell us where so we could avoid stepping in it. I ended up burying it, and two others we found, right after I placed the diaper in the nearest outhouse.

Oh, and the jerkwads who warned us? We couldn’t even hear them, because at about 9PM two large pickup trucks pulled up, drove right past us, and then ended up camping down the hill, and spent all night long blasting their stereo, drinking, and swearing. Fun time for all! Seriously, this was the worst-case definition of what anarchy could be, a small group wrecking it for everyone else. I considered getting their license plate and reporting them to the management, but I doubt they even registered, and if they did, would anything be done? I also didn’t care because I wasn’t returning and I already saw the “NO REFUNDS!” sign when I first arrived.

While the “campers” sucked, the management of this place seems to be in need of improvement as well, or maybe they just didn’t care. Maybe they just like being handed $20 to rent an “anything goes” party space for the night.

My recommendation to you is to avoid this campground. Instead, try one of the many state parks that offers camping. While I’m not always fan of the government, at least they know how to run a campground.

Update: Please see the follow-up post: The Blogging Effect

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