Poem for WABB

Update 2/29/2012: Thank you to the WABB family for the numerous retweets, @ replies, and follows. This poem is now #3 all-time out of the 10 posts I’ve written on this blog, having gained the most number of views in the shortest period of time. I’ve been listening to WABB for 17 years — the dedication of the onair personalities and WABB as a whole to the community has remained unquestioned the entire time. All of you — Blondie, Nick Fox, Q-Tip, Producer Heather, and Intern Alyssa will be greatly missed. Your passion for radio and positive energy has permeated everything you’ve done, and has more than once lifted my spirits during difficult moments. Last but not least, the webmaster, Stephanie Winans, although behind the scenes, has also shown a true passion for keeping the website updated and ensuring content gets up quickly.

You can follow Blondie (@RachelBlondie), Nick Fox (@NickWFox), Q-Tip (@qtipqtip), Producer Heather (@alwaysbebright), Intern Alyssa (@Honeaa), and Stephanie Winans (@StephanieWinans) on twitter for updates.

The gulf coast heard the news that WABB will go off the air at the end of the month, on Friday (February 17). One listener has made a video, but I chose a poem.

WABB, What can I say?
You’ve been on my radio each and every day
Listening to Nick Fox, Q-Tip, Intern Alyssa, and Producer Heather.
Blondie, don’t worry — I haven’t forgotten you either!

All of you, putting the interests of the community first
Providing necessary information during an emergency alert.
But through it all, having fun — even with the sad news.

Choosing to go out not silently but with one final Hoorah..
A final chance for listeners to connect and say good bye.

A fixture on the Gulf Coast since before I came in
I can’t believe my mornings will soon not be the same.
Unsure who, if anyone, can match your enthusiasm.

Who can forget Screwy News, the Buzz, or even “As Heard On”
WABB, in the memories of your listeners and stars you’ve launched will live on.

Take care, all of you — I wish you nothing but the best!

Michael Viron
President & CEO
General Education Online

An Open Letter to Pizza Hut – Round II

Update: I apparently forgot to update this post after I managed to talk to customer service at the highest levels, where the ongoing customer service issues were finally addressed. What would have been a $2 gesture of good will ended up generating over $60 in expenses for Pizza Hut between the 2 coupons for free pizzas and the $40 in gift cards corporate sent my way.

As some of you may have seen, I posted an “open letter” to Pizza Hut a week ago (see the original post here). Although the initial issue has been addressed, there are several other issues that have not been addressed, nor has anyone connected with Pizza Hut Executive Customer Relations reached out to me.

It all started with the $10 per pizza special that Pizza Hut is running. On the coupon I found on Pizza Hut’s own website, it does not mention any exclusions except for double cheese on the up to 5 toppings that are included. In fact now, the offer is even better — $10 any pizza any size any toppings (see http://www.pizzahut.com/deals.html if you don’t believe me). Although the original issue that started the complaint process has been addressed, the continuing issues with the customer satisfaction hotline have not been addressed by anyone, including the internal escalation line and whoever responds to emails on the customermaniac email address and the twitter account.

What it boils down to is that on January 5, 2012, I called the Customer Satisfaction Hotline for Pizza Hut to ask why my original complaint of December 30 had not been addressed (since they specify a 3 business day or less response time). Imagine my surprise when the best they could do was mark it as “urgent” that the individual respond and re-send it via email. As I was not satisfied with the response, this is where the fun began — the initial call was a grand total of 2 hours and 14 minutes long — 4 minutes of that was actually talking to a person, with the other 2 hours and 10 minutes being the on hold time. At no time that night, despite trying to get to a supervisor from 5:30 pm until 9:06 pm did a single supervisor take the call, nor was the original call ever picked up. In fact, several agents told me that there were people that had been holding for a supervisor longer than me.

I did finally manage to get what one of the agents called an “internal escalation hotline” and the corporate office phone number after making numerous calls (I counted a total of close to 30 calls that night). Also that night, after numerous live tweets of my experience on the customer satisfaction hotline, the @pizzahut folks replied more than 2 hours later.

At 9:33 pm on January 5, I sent an email to the email address they provided (and let me tell you, I’m underwelmed by the lack of “personal” attention the email response provides, as it does not provide a name or phone number, being simply signed as the “Pizza Hut Cares Team”). By the next morning, after several wrong starts to the 800 number (as the customer satisfaction hotline has no idea when their own corporate office is open), and to the customer satisfaction hotline (which apparently doesn’t open until 1 pm), I was finally able to reach someone via the internal customer satisfaction hotline. That person assured me that my concerns would be addressed, and that someone would get back with me.

By this time, the original complaint has been addressed, but it’s amazing how easily Pizza Hut overlooks issues with its own mechanism for customer satisfaction and the failure to respond in a timely fashion.

I received a response from the Pizza Hut Cares team on Monday, January 9 at about 10:15 am — it’s pretty clear that they didn’t bother to read the email I sent, and that it was a form response. I replied back, again requesting that someone higher up in customer service contact me to discuss my experience with the Customer Satisfaction Hotline — as of tonight, there has still been no movement and no response to that email.

I’ve forwarded along the email, due to lack of response, this time cc’ing the CEO of Yum, Pizza Hut’s parent corporation. We’ll see if and when I receive a response to my email.

An Open Letter to Pizza Hut

Update: 1/6/2012, 7:24 am – The customer satisfaction hotline doesn’t open back up again until 1 pm, and the corporate office is in Texas which is CST, not EST, so no response on either the escalation hotline or the corporate office number. Amazing how customer satisfaction doesn’t even know the timezone of their own corporate office.
Update: 1/5/2012, 9:06 pm – I’ve tried, unsucessfully, to get a hold of a supervisor in the customer satisfaction department for over 3 hours! No one ever came on the line. My original feedback has now been escalated to the area manager for failure to respond in a timely fashion. After more calls than I care to think about tonight (probably in the 20 range), I finally got an internal escalation line and the corporate office number — we’ll see what happens when I call those tomorrow. At no point has anyone taken any ownership of the excessive hold times or the lack of response in the last 4 business days. @pizzahut has now also taken notice of my tweets and my open letter.

Dear Mr. Scott O. Bergren,

I have to say that while Backify had poor customer service by the lack of it, Pizza Hut is now providing poor customer service by not abiding by your own turnaround times on customer feedback. Per my discussion with your customer satisfaction team on Monday (1/2), I was told to expect a 3 business day turnaround. It’s now Thursday night, with no call from the district manager as promised to me on Friday (12/30), when I originally submitted my feedback.

Additionally, the lack of prompt attention to this issue from your customer satisfaction team (after all, how much of a “hotline” is it when the wait time is an excessive 20 minutes?) has only made me even more frustrated. After 5 minutes talking to an actual rep, the individual who took my call told me that the best they could do was send an email directly to the district manager and ask them to respond ASAP. As I was not satisfied with the lack of response for the last 4 days, I asked to speak to a supervisor. After promising me that I would be on hold for a “few minutes”, I was placed on hold.

So far, this call has lasted for over 70 minutes, all but 5 minutes of it on hold. I’ve tried nearly every avenue I can to get this issue the proper attention it deserves, without success.

Although I hate to refer something like this to the CEO of Pizza Hut, I’ve tried every avenue I can to get the feedback to the right person so it can be addressed promptly. As I write this, it’s been 4 business days without a response and I’ve racked up more than two hours on the phone since my original report Friday (12/30) night.

This is not the level of customer service I expect from any business I frequent — regardless of whether it is retail, restaurant, specialty store, or service oriented. If this issue continues to remain un-addressed, I will have no choice but to take my business elsewhere. I will not frequent a business that fails to provide adequate avenues to address concerns and fails to address concerns in a timely fashion.

Please help restore my faith in Pizza Hut’s commitment to its’ customers.

An Open Letter to Backify

Update September 23, 2012: For those of you who previously noticed the post from BeeCloud.eu, it appears that they are no longer offering free 512 GB backup accounts and have gone the way of Backify.

Update November 17, 2011: Backify has apparently closed their Facebook page, and is no longer a livedrive re-seller. It appears that all accounts have been closed at this time.

Dear Backify Team,

I have to say I was unsatisfied with the email that was sent out tonight regarding free backup accounts. In previous emails, you mentioned that your team was happy to welcome people to Backify and that you looked forward to providing backup services “for life”. Imagine my surprise when a month later (to the day) you come back to me, asking for money for me to continue my account.

To me, I have to say that this is poor customer service. Your organization has not posted to the blog since October 14, to your twitter account since October 13, and in fact, just posted to your facebook account today for the first time since October 13. When I called the 800 number, which is supposed to provide support from 9 am – 6 pm PST, M-F (which is 8 pm CST), I was unceremoniously dumped into someone’s voicemail (I have no way of knowing for sure, since it came back with just white noise for the name).

I have to say that based on what your organization just did to the free account holders, I have a very hard time believing that you will keep the pricing stable at $1.50 per month for 512 GB. In fact, your lack of communication with your clients (free or otherwise) in any forum on any regular basis is bound to generate a hugely negative response.

I will not do business with an organization that cannot even staff the 800 customer service number during hours posted on its website, and who has a significant amount to learn when it comes to providing quality customer care to its clients. As such, you have lost me as a customer (free or otherwise) indefinitely. I will not recommend you to other individuals, companies, or organizations I do business with, and, I can honestly say, that if someone asks me about your company, I will not be providing positive feedback regarding my experience.

Sincerely,

Michael Viron
President & CEO
General Education Online

Location Secured for 2012 NWFSEAS

The 2012 Northwest Florida Software and Enterprise Architecture Summit (NWF SEAS) continues to make progress.  On October 26, we selected the Hampton Inn on Airport Blvd in Pensacola, FL to host the event scheduled for March 10, 2012 after an extended search.

We’ll be handling registration a little bit differently this year to help get better attendance counts, and will have vendor tables available.

Stay tuned for further updates — it promises to be an exciting journey towards NWFSEAS 2012.

NWFSEAS moves to Spring 2012 / New Career Services Event in October

Due to some unexpected organizational changes, we’ve had to postpone the next Northwest Florida Software & Enterprise Architecture Summit to Spring 2012.  We anticipate that we will have closure soon on the last items needed to move forward in the Spring.  Stay tuned for further details as they become available.  In the meantime, I continue to work with Career Services at the University of West Florida for an October, 2011 event.  I will be posting / tweeting further details as things settle down.

Free Twitter Apps

In addition to the “official” twitter client, there’s a lot of other free twitter clients out there.  So far, I’ve been able to find (in no particular order):

  1. Echofon for Twitter (the Free version, not the pro version)
  2. Twitbird Free
  3. HootSuite for Twitter
  4. Twitterrific for Twitter
  5. Tweetcaster for Twitter
  6. Twittelator Free
  7. Teewee for Twitter
  8. SimplyTweet 3 free
  9. Tweetdeck
  10. Twittervision
  11. Tweeterena 2
  12. Ubersocial (formerly Ubertwitter)

Do you have other (free) twitter clients that you use to get your tweet fix?  Let me know via mviron@findaschool.net, and I’ll review them in an upcoming post.

Twitter App vs Tweetdeck

I had hoped to post one of my first reviews on the official twitter app vs tweetdeck by now, but the new tweetdeck was just submitted on April 14 to the Apple app-store, so I’ll have to wait just a bit longer until it gets released.

I will say that at this point, I’m not that impressed with the version of tweetdeck (1.4.x) currently available on the app store.  I’ve installed / uninstalled it several times to try to get the facebook posting portion working, but without any success.  It’ll work once or twice, and then will just start generating errors whenever you try to post.

With just the twitter app, you can still have the posts feed Facebook & Google Buzz (more on how to do that later), so I’ve been able to work around the issue for now.  We’ll see how well the new tweetdeck app works once it’s on the app store.

Welcome to Michael’s Blog

Hello and welcome to my new personal blog.  Over time, I plan to use this blog to pass along useful information on various technologies and software, to provide more in-depth posts than I’m able to provide via Twitter or Facebook, and to provide information on when and where I’ll be speaking or presenting next, along with information on the various events I’m involved with organizing or starting in the Northwest FL area.

It promises to be an exciting ride for 2011.  Stay tuned.