Sunday, February 22, 2009

What Was I Thinking!!!

I've owned a Soundbridge M500 for the last few years and used it to stream content from my computer to my stereo. Think Rhapsody, iTunes, etc. Well, the other day it died and went to Soundbridge heaven, which led me to research what would be the best replacement. I finally decided to take the plunge and order a Squeezebox Classic. Those of you who know me know that I don't take these steps lightly! Well folks, it is one of the best decisions I've ever made. What was I thinking in not getting this device before!?

If you're looking to stream music to your sound system from a subscription service or from your computer (iTunes), the Squeezebox Classic is awesome. The first advantage is that it is totally controlled from a variety of sources. You can use the remote that comes with the Classic, you can use your computer or you can use your iPhone. The Classic doesn't use Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) to stream Rhapsody, it is a receiver itself and has wireless built in. Once it is set up, it logs into Rhapsody itself. You can control what it streams to your sound system from any of the devices I mentioned above. The second major advantage is that the free software supplied by Logitech, who now owns Squeezebox, allows you to do whatever you need from a web browser on your computer, and it is works like a champ.

Rather than my going on and on about this device, I would urge you to go to the Squeezebox site to read what this thing can do. The only choice you have is whether to buy the Classic or the Duet. Every day I own it I am blown away by what it can do. I am absolutely going to get another one so I can control music separately in another room.

So for the third time, what was I thinking by not doing this before!!

Friday, February 20, 2009

A follow-up to SkyGolf

A friend of mine asked what the outcome was of the SkyGolf story I posted on February 9th. They finally answered the phone after being on hold for an hour and they were able to resolve my problem. The agent was extremely contrite and apologized profusely for my inconvenience He said that because of the launch of their redesigned website—which they had thought would be a relatively inconsequential upgrade—they got bombarded with calls.

I submitted the URL to the original blog via their website and I was subsequently contacted by the Manager of Support via email. He also explained the situation and avowed that this definitely wasn't the norm for their company. He offered me an accessory for my SkyCaddie as an apology. I turned it down, but thought it was a nice gesture.

As for moving forward, my advice is that if you're buying an expensive piece of technology like a SkyCaddie, call their support number before you make the purchase and see how long it takes them to answer the phone. Ditto for email if that's your preferred method of communication. It is definitely part of my pre-sales routine. For top-notch technical support, check out Canon and Panasonic. They both set the bar for customer-facing help desks.

For what it's worth, I like the Sky Caddie and think it does what it's supposed to. (Now if only my game was improved!) I just live in hope that I don't have to call anyone back!

Monday, February 09, 2009

SkyGolf-another terrible customer service experience

Here's another vendor who is proving that a customer comes dead last in their list of priorities. Here's my experience in trying to get help with one of their products.

I recently decided to invest in a Skycaddie SG5, a top of the line GPS for golf. I've had a problem with the unit since I purchased it, and today finally decided that there must be a problem with the unit and not the user. As I write this, I've tried to get through to the tech support number 3 times today.

The first time the recording informed me that the queue was so full that they wouldn't even put me in the wait queue and promptly hung up. Hung UP! On a customer! Bet you don't do that in your business!

The second time, I was on hold for 30 minutes, listening to a recording telling me that they'd just launched a new web site and that call volume was higher than normal. They thanked me for my "... commitment and loyalty to SkyGolf." Are they kidding?? After this experience!

The third time I've been on hold for 45 minutes and am writing this as I listen to this unbelievably annoying recording repeat every 30 seconds. Has it not occurred to this vendor that if you've just launched a new web site, and that your abandon rate and average time to answer are through the roof that you need more agents!

This is another example of a company deciding that customer service is just an expense and that the customer will just have to suffer through it. How about management pitching in and answering the phones? How about taking a message and offering to schedule a call-back? Both of those methods would greatly increase customer satisfaction at virtually no cost.

So, the takeaway is that if you're considering purchasing any SkyGolf product, consider a Garmin instead. If you encounter a problem with your SkyCaddie, you'll never be able to get through to them, and you'll be out over $350 for a product you can't even use.

As for me, it's getting late, and I'm afraid they'll close their Help Desk on me after my waiting on the phone for one hour. That would send me over the deep end, so I think I'll just waste some more of my time tomorrow.