Just a Blog by Just Rhianna

Archive for June, 2011

Alienware I love you but Dell Customer Service is awful and other random stuff!

Before I get started on what is likely to be a very long diatribe against Dell’s lack of customer service I thought I would start off with some fun stuff and other odds and ends.

Girly Stuff (guys feel free to skip ahead)

A friend of mine gave me my belated christmas present yesterday, a trip to the shoe store. I went to Famous Footwear and because I do not follow the seasons like others all my footwear was in the on sale sections. Yay! I got three pairs of black shoes, spiked stiletto heels with a peek toe from Unlisted by Kenneth Cole, comfy Mary Janes by Aerosoles for everyday and comfy black flats from Naturalizer when heels just won’t work. The coolest buy of all was my new slippers which are so unGoth but too bad!

  Geeky Stuff 

Ever since I have been back from Big Sky I have been busy fixing things and cleaning up the database. In the past week I have rewritten a few widgets, fixed the navigation tabs on the support site which broke when our Internet group made some changes to the block html header they had me implement. The funny thing about that is the block html was supposed to prevent stuff from breaking when changes were made. It is not to my surprise that the culprit is the 10 million style sheets that RightNow uses for Customer Portal. In the next few months I will be working with some folks to fix the fragile nature of the css once and for all. I vote for deleting at least 9,999,999 style sheets and keeping one. I know, I know it’s a pipe dream. But a girl can fantasize.

At home I am trying to decide the best way to run Lego Universe on a Mac with OS 10.4.11 since apparently you need 10.5 or better for it to run natively. Anyone have a copy of 10.5?

Dell Customer Service

In the past 9 months I have purchased an Alienware desktop and laptop one one each credit card my husband and I hold with Dell. Both have a promotional APR of 0% which we all know if you do not pay on time you get hit with all the back interest at an astronomical 29.99%. So after coming into some funds recently I decided to pay off both cards. Through a mistake which I admit was my doing I attempted to pay them balances using the wrong account. When I logged in to my online banking I realized immediately as there were two chargeback fees from dell.

I immediately did the right thing and called up Dell customer service and spoke to a women not sure of her name (but I am sure it was an alias as Dell’s call centers are all over seas). She was being helpful or so I thought. She told me the funds did indeed bounce and I explained my faux pa. She told me not to worry as the payment would automatically reverse and no further action was required, all I need do was make a payment using the correct account. I tried to do this online while I was on the phone with her and it said I had to wait 10 days as there was already a payment outstanding. I told her about the error and she again assures me there was nothing I needed to do but yes, that’s right she forgot I will need to pay on the phone instead. (Pause here yes after looking back I realize how naive I was being to think someone on the phone actually knew what they were talking about. But hey I work very closely with the call center in the company I work for and I try to think positively.) I proceeded with being transferred to the automatic payment system and everything went through.

I then called my credit union to inform them of what happened and as a courtesy to me the refunded me one of the two chargeback fees. The representative who was very nice told me that if Dell was not sure about the payment being reversed I could put a stop payment on the check. I told him no thank you as it would cost sixty dollars to put a stop on both payments and Dell had assured me it was unnecessary. He noted our conversation and we said good day.

Two days go by and pay day comes. I log in to my credit union’s online banking so I could commence paying the week’s bills and I was horrified! Most of my paycheck was gone thanks to a payment to Dell and another charge back (there wasn’t enough money to cover the second payment). Anger, frustration, panic started to well up within me. I had bills to pay, plane tickets to Orlando to book and groceries to buy. I called Dell again. This time I spoke to “Annie” another alias. I had her look at my account and she saw two payments one from the credit union and one from the right account. I asked her to refund the money back to the credit union and she promptly replied it would take 10 business days to receive a check. I asked to speak to a Manager and she ignored me. I asked her what about the fact that the payments get automatically reversed she read from a script proclaiming yes that is what happens. I asked then why was I charged. She had no answer. I asked for a Manager a second time, again she ignored me. I told her I wanted a direct deposit via electronic funds transfer back to my account plus the cost of all the fees I had been charged. She advised me that eft takes longer as it is bank to bank (what kind of crap is this) and that if I want to be reimbursed I could submit a detailed transaction history to Dell’s payment research department. I officially lost all decorum, forgetting that I myself have been in customer service for many years, I demanded a Manager and told her I was tired of her ignoring my request for one and may have said a few negative things. She put me on hold to get a Manager and came back after a few minutes proclaiming none was available. I told her to get one and she put me on hold a second time. When she came back she advised me there was absolutely none available and she would give them a message and I should expect them to call me back in 24 hours. (I am still waiting for a phone call)

I gave her my number, asked her to issue the request for the check, hung up the phone and tried with all my might not to sob at my desk. A co-worker of mine heard some of the conversation as we share a wall and helped me figure out what to do about my bills, groceries and plane tickets. I called my credit union and put a stop on the payments because at this point I no longer believed anything the people at Dell had to say.

A couple of days later and the second payments I made still had not been debited from the correct account so I called Dell for the third time (still hadn’t had a call from a Manager). I spoke to a gentleman by the name of “Roger” I believe. I ran through the story with him again and he put me on a short hold. He came back on the line and said he needed two more minutes and put me on hold again. He came back and said yes the payments from the second account were rejected. I asked why he couldn’t tell me. I asked if it had to do with the 10 day error I got previously, he didn’t know. I asked about my refund check he said none was issue because only one payment will be going through. Here we go again…I thought. I got off the phone with him called my husband and told him I am sorry I love Alienware but I am never dealing with Dell again when this is over.

I called my bank the one that the payments are supposed to come from they didn’t know why the payment was rejected so they helped me submit a new one for the account that hadn’t actually been paid yet. I have been checking daily all four accounts, both Dells, my credit union and the other bank to make sure nothing weird happens like a new form of life sprouting or charges for triple the amount. The Dell accounts still do not have correct information. I submitted the detailed transaction paperwork requesting reimbursement for all the fees and I still have not heard back.

Dell if you are listening your process are not working, your agents are not properly trained and I will be cutting up my credit cards as soon as I submit this blog post.

So long for now all. I ‘ll keep you updated.


RDC wrap up – Good Food and New Friends!

I am writing this on the plane home to NY. I wanted to live blog more yesterday but there was so much I needed to really pay attention to and quite frankly my brain was on code overload. The second half of yesterday was very useful to say the least. It covered topics I mentioned earlier but in more detailed and advanced ways. The day ended with some CP framework stuff from Monique and Ernie that I can apply to some tasks I have been putting off doing.

After the conference a few of us had decided to go to the Rainbow Ranch it turned into a big todo with a caravan of like 5 or 6 cars heading off for some good eats.

So delicious I took a bite of the mushroom bread pudding before I took a picture.

The appetizer was an assortment of sausages and prosciutto made from wild boar, duck and huckleberries. For dinner, I had the elk with mushroom bread pudding and grilled asparagus paired with a glass of Syrah. (I’ll post pictures later as I can’t access my email while using GOGO inflight for some reason. Extremely unhappy about that!)

Dessert was an amazingly sinful and refreshing lemon concoction with more huckleberries and vanilla creme.

Look at what big hands I have…Actually thanks to Willie who took these pictures.

After we headed over to Whiskey Jacks with a smaller group. When they had last call a few more left and the rest of us headed over to the Carabiner. By then we were four tow Right Now guys Chris and JP, Stuart from the UK and myself. We had some great conversation about product, pain points, likes and dislikes of the conference and all in all I felt my voice was heard. We cracked jokes and blew off some steam all of us were pretty fried in our own right and it was a great way to unwind and get ready to leave Montana.

Funny things that happened while I was at the RDC:

1. I jumped out of my seat because my name wasn’t listed on the screen of people who had been to all 3 dev cons.

2. According to Larry the movie Antichrist is a -4 on a scale of 1 to 10 because it is so depraived no one should watch it. But don’t listen to Larry he also gives Avatar an 8 (yuck)!

3. It snowed in June. This might be normal for people in Montana but to us New Yorkers that is just damn odd!

4. The conversation in the van:

Willie: Hey what’s his name? (pointing to Shiloh)

Rhianna: Who? Him?! Shiloh, it’s Shiloh.

Willie: SHILOH, what’d you call him, FISH GUY?

Shiloh: Dead Fish Guy!

VAN: Bursts out laughing.

(if you don’t know what this was about you can ask one of the people who were in the man and maybe they will explain.)

5. I tried to have a top 5 list but There are so many more that I thought I would just use #5 to say Thank you ALL!

RDC Day 2 so far and who uses Radio Buttons?

Had a quick breakfast and then took off for my 8am appointment with Ernie over at Ask the Experts. To my surprise the appointment was actually at 8:30 so I had a little time to get caught up on emails and search for an inexpensive flight for my family and I to Orlando where we will be taking the boys to Disney World.

Ernie arrived right on time and we dug in to my problem with a custom widget I created in order to circumvent the Right Now “feature” where yes/no data types display only as radio buttons.


Come on Right Now we need a standard widget attribute for this. (Ernie has already kindly submitted an enhancement request for me.) My problem ultimately was that radio buttons as we know have three states yes, no and null and checkboxes only have two, yes or no. After we identified the lines of problematic code in contained in the logic.js, view.php and controller.php files we added some echo statements to print the actual values to the browser and were able to fix it to work perfectly. NO MORE need to go back to using RADIO BUTTONS.

He also helped me with a similar issue with checkboxes that we both thought was going to be much harder to solve but after some careful looking and a little explanation from me on how the widget was designed to work, he identified the pesky line of code that was breaking the whole thing. One little line that was it. Isn’t it nice when there is and

From the logic.js file:  this._onParentChange();

The next session I attended was on the topic of Natural Language search and unfortunately I do not have much to say about it because I had a little difficulty with hearing
everything that was said and found the material to be very dry. 60 minutes later I was ready for the short break before listening to the innovation panel.

The panel consisted of folks from Right Now, Motorola, Level 10 and Pervasive. While I did find it interesting and asked a question of my own I felt it needed to be a little more technical in nature.
That aside it was good to hear what others do internlly in their organizations to handle ideas from customers and employees as well as how they foster that type of creativity. Kudos to Moto for having
an internal social network and adopting Google’s gmail as their mail client.

Lunch was the typical conference fair of sandwhiches, soups and dessert. The soup was the best of the three.

More later on the afternoon breakouts.

RDC Breakout 4 – Advanced AAQ and SA

You can design a form that is too confusing for a customer and that will drive them to the next level of interaction, costing more money and creating an aggitated customer.

Adding a button to smart assistance increased email deflections by 30%.

For the meat of this presentation you can go to the developer community.

When I asked a question about the trouble we have with relevancy of suggested answers for smart assistant I was told that tuning it helps but that improvements are coming based on natural language searching vs. the current keyword search.

Usability studies

1. inline SA complete failure people are blind to everything but the form.

2. accordian – where you click an arrow to view the answer inline. 60% defelction.

3. multi-step – wizard method resulted in 100% deflection but users were confused about if their question was submitted.

AAQ workflows

require login, email only, open login and email check.

If not ready to use an SSO solution like open login the best bet would in my opinion be to implement the email check method because it allows the customer if they are new to create an account and submit a question without ever navigating to another page. Unfortunately this little widget is not available unless you have upgraded to February 2011 or later.

Smart Assistant

Instead of having a finish submitting and back button there are now three buttons my question is answered, submit my question, edit my question.

This was a really good presentation with lots of audience interaction and questions and they have agreed to post the new SA widget on the community for us folks are older versions to use.

RDC Breakout 3 – CP Framework

The presentation started with a high level overview and some demos of sites that have gone the extra mile in customizing their support sites using the customer portal framework. For a copy of the presentation I sat in on go here.

What’s New

Staging environment added in between dev and production.

Single file deployment (This one is very desirable to me can’t wait to upgrade!)

Open login – SSO capabilities supporting facebook, Samul 2.0, open id wordpress, etc…According to RNT this will open the gates to customer interactions.

Web intent guide – This is a natural language search engine that RNT aquired not sure if it is out of the box or an added feauture.

CX for facebook – Definately on my top picks list.

Roadmap – Disclaimer nothing is set in stone. Thanks Chris!

CX for facebook enhancements – no specifics

Smart Assistant Algorithm improvements ( Huzzah!)

Customer portal Dynamic upgrades – Oh how I have been waiting for you. When will you become available. Pick and choose what to pull i.e. – widgets, empower customer to handle upgrades on their own.

Overarching goals – Make upgrade process easier, 0 hours upgrade wait time?, reduction of size and rigidness of customizations.

After they went nto some specifics about programming in cp, developer and cookbook docs and sample code.

Overall this was a very engaging presentation.

RDC – Breakout 2

Started to attend the desktop Add-in talk but was informed it was mainly introductory so I stepped out and into the Chat and consumer Interface API presentation.

This will enable the ability to put chat ANYWHERE!  A copy of the presentation is on the Right Now Developer community here!

Got to see some sample code and a demo of the chat request coming across in the console. The sample had no authentication enabled however there is the option to require the use of a valid login id. Customer information parameters such as email, last and first name are passed to the agent  when the chat is initiated.

The content was good but overall I felt it could have had a little excitement added to the presentation.

RDC – Breakout 1

End of Breakout session one and WordPress is acting buggy on me in visual mode so I am playing with THE HTML.

Just listened to Shiloh and Joe from Motorola Mobility discuss recent ventures into customizing RNT mobile 
pages as well as implementing a customer RMA for built on incidents. Pretty good stuff. Looks like their 
mobile pages will be debuting soon. So anyone who owns a Motorola phone (not me sorry guys) can go to their 
support site and have it display in a clean sexy way.

Next up - Desktop Add-in framework after a short break with more diet coke and maybe some cookies…

If any one at the RDC is reading this please take pity on me if you have some tylenol I am getting a 
serious migraine from the altitude.