customer service retail
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Getting the cold shoulder on Twitter

Imagine for a moment that you’re looking for a specific item.

You approach the salesperson in your favourite store or boutique and ask, “Do you have any navy pencil skirts?”

The salesperson responds: “All of our skirts are on the second floor. Just go up those stairs.”

That doesn’t feel very helpful, does it? You were probably hoping she might lead you to the correct spot and even say “Can I help you find something in your size?”

The helpful reaction isn’t just what I might expect while out shopping. It’s a reaction I have gotten, which made me happy to spend hard-earned money in that store.

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Roaming around

I had to learn my lesson the hard way.

The first time I came to Spokane (yes, I’m here right now), I racked up $1,000 in roaming data charges. I was with Bell, lo, those (almost) three years ago. Bell called me on Monday and said ‘um, hey, do you know what you did?’

My stomach lurched, my heart fell and I may have started crying. Bell said, fear not, we’ll reduce it to a one-time charge of $100 but learn your damn lesson. I did. Every time I went to the States thereafter, I bought their $10 per month data roaming plan, under which you pay $1 for every megabyte used.

Yeah, it’s still a ripoff but a bargain compared to the $6/MB I’d pay if it wasn’t for the plan.

Bell has since changed that plan and it’s one of the reasons I ditched them and went with Virgin last spring (yeah, yeah, I know, Virgin is owned by Bell but at least they have the cheapest data roaming plan).

Even with the deal, I’ve been capable of racking up $150 in charges over a few days. Hey, come on, Twitpicking apparently sucks some major data. And Facebook, too.

But wouldn’t you feel a little lost if you weren’t along on my adventures with me and Shep? I mean, after all, I do this for you!

Now enter Roam Mobility. I read the first story about them on Android Central.

For Canadians traveling into the US sometimes the most expensive part of the trip isn’t the airfare or the hotel but instead the roaming fees associated with their data plans. Gone are the days of ridiculous roaming fees on your current carrier, or trying to find a pre-paid data plan to use for the short time you are in the US, and here is Roam Mobility. The idea behind Roam Mobility is quite simple — they want to provide a painless solution for roaming Canadians that gives them access to a fast, reliable network while in the US.

 

Since I spend a lot of time in the States with My American, I was intrigued. I went to their website. They weren’t quite ready for launch, so I signed up for their notification.

It didn’t take long for them to reach the end of labour and give birth. And boy howdy, did they! Anyone who signed up for the notifications got a free SIM card.

That’s right. It pays to be an early adopter.

So there my free SIM card sat for a couple of months. A new job has somewhat hampered my travelling abilities but now it’s Easter weekend and I have a couple of extra days to relax.

And who the heck wants to put anymore money into the Bell/Virgin bank account? Not this sister.

I’ll go with the upstart startup.

I set up an account and ordered my plan in advance. You can choose from talk+text, talk+text+data, or just data. For three days, it cost me $21.22 on my Visa.

Each day — a single day of talk+text+data costs $7.95 and you get bargains for multiple-day purchases — unlimited talk and text within the U.S. and back to Canada, plus 100 MB of data.

Let’s compare that to the Virgin plan for $10 for a month-long charge, you get to pay an additional $1 MB per megabyte. So for a day, that’s 110 bucks right there. Then add on the roaming charges you’ll have to pay for a text ($.60 per if you don’t buy an additional $10/month plan) and for a phone call ($.95 a minute for a local call, $1.45 for long distance, even back to Canada).

I think we have ourselves a winner, folks.

I crossed the border last night and inserted my Roam Mobility SIM card. I had some issues getting started with data but I used their website chat service and reached the lovely Virginia, who walked me through fixing my APN settings, whatever the heck that means.

I won’t have to wait until I find a WiFi hotspot now. Spokane isn’t quite the point yet where everyone has wireless.

It will probably annoy the hell out of My American because he doesn’t much care for me being engaged while we’re together. I try to respect that as much as I can but, for heaven’s sake, sometimes you guys just gotta see what I’m up to.

And since I’m unleashing myself unto the shopping world tomorrow for the first time since October, you might want to follow along for shits and giggles.

You never know what might happen.

Let no good deed …

Go unrecognized.

Unless you consider getting your name on these pages punishment. Then we can go with the original saying.

Some people think all I do is complain. That’s just not true. I also don’t consider it complaining when I’m standing up for myself and the hard-earned money I spend.

But enough about me.

This is a page reserved for people who’ve done a great job lately.

Calgary Shawarma

I’ve twice dropped into this joint on the corner of Eighth Avenue and 9 Street SW. Twice have I been beyond pleased, not only with the food but the service.

I’ve been on the search for anything close to the Halifax donair for several years. This is the best I’ve found in Calgary.

Spicy meat sliced thinly to perfection (I commented on the guy’s knife skills and he beamed) and garlicky sweet sauce.

“Regular beef donair with onions, tomatoes, banana peppers and lots of sweet sauce,” I say when I order.

Without fail, he responds “oh-ho, you must be from the east.”

And I smile.

Oh and, of course, baklava for dessert.

It was delicious. Beyond delicious.

Thank you, Calgary Shawarma, for being awesome.

Master Tune

*Warning: this section contains a touch of negativity but not against Master Tune.

I’ve been taking my wee truck to Master Tune for a few years. They never fail me.

I get drawn away occasionally with a deal or a coupon or whatever. Last spring, Fountain Tire did an oil change and hit me with ‘oh hey, we did an inspection and you need brakes, a new sway bar, struts and shocks and it will come to about $1,600 and if you don’t get it done, you’re driving a death trap, can we book you in right away?’

No.

I got a friend to check and repair my brakes at the time.

Last weekend, I took the wee truck to Fountain Tire to repair two flats (two, I know! what luck) on warranty. ‘Oh hey, your brakes, struts and shocks need to be replaced, can we book you in right away?’

No.

I knew my brakes were due. I took the wee truck to Master Tune on 32 Avenue NE this morning and got my brakes fixed (and an oil change) for less than I would pay almost anywhere else.

“Oh hey, while you’re in there, would you mind checking my rear struts and shocks because Fountain Tire says they need replacing?”

“Sure thing.”

Dum dee dum dee dum dee doo …

A few minutes later …

“Your shocks and struts are fine. You don’t need to replace them.”

And like my Twitter friend Jud says:

 

Walmart — Deerfoot Mall

Walmart, you say? I know, right? Bet you never saw that coming!

I was toodling through the aisles in search of any gadget to buy. This is the first time in forever I’ve actually had money to spend. Woot!

I spy a stack of Bissell Steam & Sweep floor cleaners. It’s better than my Dirt Devil steam mop because it sucks up the dirt and dog hair in addition to wiping the muddy paw prints off the hardwood.

The sign over the stack said $19 and I thought ‘oh hell yeah.’

I got rung through the till and thought my total seemed a little high. Whatever, I thought, I bought a lot of stupid stuff (for some reason, I’m obsessed with collecting different kinds of body wash. I guess I just like variety). But when I got to the door, I checked the receipt and saw that I had been charged $98.

I turned around and went to the customer service desk to ask. Sure enough, they should have been marked $98. I asked to return the item. The gal ensured the issue would be corrected and got on the phone to the department manager.

And he was pissed. At his overnight stock staff.

Pissed.

Enough to tell the gals to thank me for finding the error and let me have the item for $19.

Now I’m sure a guy or two on the overnight stock staff are going to have hell to pay when they get to work tonight and I’m not sure I’m happy about that.

But a one-hundred dollar steam mop for 20 bucks?

Score.

Thanks, Matt the department manager and the gals at the customer service desk for being cool about it all.

Costco — Sunridge

It isn’t easy shopping for big items on your own. But when your big, strong man is eight hours away, you make due with what you have … yourself.

I went shopping for a mountain bike this morning. I had already spied the one I wanted at Costco.

I know … I’m still not convinced it was a good idea but I did it anyway.

I also bought a helmet and a bike rack for the wee truck.

Now … how do I get this cart and that bike up to checkout and out to the truck all by little ole self?

Cindy came along and happily wheeled my new bike up to the front for me. She was even stopped by another customer and responded “I’m actually busy right now” but the customer insisted she answer her question RIGHT NOW. Cindy smiled, helped her out and then continued on her way with my bike.

(I just laughed and rolled my eyes at the other customer. See? Sometimes I know how to keep my mouth shut.)

So thanks, Cindy, for being awesome.

Wrapup

It was a good day. I got home and realized I still need a part or two to get my bike rack onto the wee truck.

But hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Besides I’m exhausted. And I need a nap.

Friends off

Dear Naughty Monkey,

I’m afraid this is the end of the road for us.

It’s been quite a ride, really. I first learned of you several years ago when my friend Jill extolled your virtues on the internet discussion board where we met. I bought a pair of Live Wires off ebay. I was especially drawn to them because Live Wire is also the name of my all-time favourite Motley Crue song.

Every time a pair of shoes or boots was delivered to my door, I let out a little squeal and shared my joy by posting pictures of my new prizes to Facebook and Twitter. Several friends were turned over to your brand as a result.

Your style was fun, colourful and yet wearable for the everyday professional.

Over the last few years, I have amassed quite the collection of Naughty Monkey footwear, even drifting over to your sister brand Not Rated for a couple of times.

Engaging with your social media accounts was enjoyable. I even won a pair of red Emerald City pumps during a Valentine’s Day promotion in 2011.

That ended this week.

Sadly.

I sent the following email to your brand director and marketing director earlier this week:

First, let me introduce myself by saying I have been a loyal customer of Naughty Monkey shoes for several years. I have been a brand advocate, turning several of my friends onto the name and ensuring they engaged with your social media accounts.

I was a bit taken aback this afternoon when your social media representative posted on your Facebook timeline what I thought was a whiny post about the new Facebook timeline. She found it ‘soooooo confusing.’ I posted a couple of links to help her out.

I have been involved with social media for several years. I was the social media strategist for a national telecommunications company in Canada. I kind of know a thing or two about Facebook and the timeline, especially that the timeline for brands has been known since last September. This timeline thing should not be taking anyone by surprise or confusing them.

I posted to my Twitter account that I found it funny Naughty Monkey would be ‘whining’ about the Facebook timeline publicly when it’s likely the reason the person has a job. Harsh? Maybe so. But I like to expect bigger things from people in my own industry of marketing and communications. A conversation with your social media representative ensued. She has since deleted not only the Facebook post but her Twitter replies to me as well.

You can see her replies to me here:

You can see my end of the conversation here:

One of the first rules of social media marketing and engagement is to be yourself. The message I received from Naughty Monkey today is that it is snarky and flippant. And while I — of all people — respect the ability to be snarky and flippant, I sure don’t expect it from the brands I follow. Instead, I expect a level of professionalism and an ability to be ahead of the trends, not to be so confused by them.

You may not agree with my perspective on the matter. That’s OK. That’s what opinions are all about. For now, however, Naughty Monkey has lost one of its biggest champions in Canada. 

I received a reply this afternoon.

Dear Angela,

I thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. Your email to Jay was probably not answered in a timely manner because  a group of us were traveling overseas and our internet access was inconsistent.

Now for the issue at hand, I will bring it up to our social media person. It is not our intention to insult our fans who have helped us get to where we are. The continued support of our fans whether they be big or small matters to us and losing a brand supporters like yourself hurts no less.

Regards,
Ismael “Mike” Cortez
Marketing Director
Naughty Monkey

I think Mike gets it. I thanked him and let him know I thought it should be of great concern that his social media person deletes her comments in an attempt to cover her tracks.

Many of of my friends know this goes against the very grain of the authenticity and transparency that social media represents.

Oddly enough, in a completely unrelated incident, my friend Chelsea — whom I’m assuming knew nothing of my interactions on Tuesday — addressed the Naughty Monkey Twitter account with a language error in one of her Tweets.

Chelsea — smart, beautiful, creative, ambitious and destined to rule the world — received this Tweet in response:

When Chelsea, another professional trained and experienced in corporate use of social media, called the account out for being snide, the Tweet was deleted.

Now some of you may see this as a whole lot of nothing, but it does speak to the importance of ensuring the tone and voice a company wants to express to its followers and fans.

I will always take issue with corporate accounts that designate the content to someone who has a tenuous grasp on the English language.

And I will always take issue with corporate accounts handled by people who see everything as a big haha, no matter how flippant or snarky I can be on my personal feeds.

Companies need to aim higher, no matter how small or large they are.

And they sure as heck need to be better prepared (and trained) to handle negative feedback.

That being said, I’ve looked at the new spring line for Naughty Monkey. I’ve realized I’m no longer your target demographic. That has nothing to do with my age but more with my fashion sense.

If anyone is a Snooki wannabe, however, I do suggest checking out the new styles.

And yeah … meow.

Yours in footwear,

Angela