Use Me, Abuse Me, Make Me Test Your Web Site

Day 4 of Library Day in the Life project

Not the best day of the week – I woke up at 2am with a nose that suddenly turned into a faucet.  Not a dripping one but one that was on full force.  So not to wake hubby I took my tissue box and myself nose into the computer room.  Blow, blow, wipe, blow, wipe…..went on for about an hour.  I have no idea what caused that.  Finally took some allergy medicine but by then my nose was as red as poor ol’ Rudolph.

Did all the normal morning stuff to get ready and out the door.

Get to the library.  Checked in with Foursquare, yep still the Mayor of Central 🙂

Unlocked the office door and did my morning routine of swapping out the tapes for Horizon and Authority Works and unforwarding the phone.

Caffeine was a must today.  Went down to the vending machine in the staff lounge (on the hopes they had filled it) only to find they had not.  So over to the expensive vending machines in the lobby.

Back upstairs with 2 Diet Cokes to fortify me I booted up my Ubuntu and Windows machines.  Fired up Tweetdeck, Thunderbird and Firefox on the Ubuntu machine and Horizon on the Windows machines.

Moved a bunch of photos I had taken over to my Dropbox account.  Love me some Dropbox!

Noticed that one staff member had found the new staff Intranet and had registered for an account there.  She had recently left so I deleted her account on the new Intranet which wasn’t really up and working yet.

Decided to tackle my Inbox a bit.  Noticed I had an email that I remember entering as a helpdesk ticket.  It drove me  nuts – I couldn’t find the helpdesk ticket and I didn’t want to delete the email until I knew it was recorded somewhere.  Finally figured out that I hadn’t use the subject line I thought I had – deleted email (along with a bunch of others).  I tend to use my Inbox as my to-do list.

Sent two emails to OverDrive support regarding two helpdesk tickets that had been assigned to me.  I still find this such bad customer service – customer has problem – has to fill out form on OverDrive site – which then gets sent to someone here in MD – then they forward onto us – then staff here enter into helpdesk – I then get it assigned to me – I contact OverDrive – they write back – I write customer – usually problem is solved.  But the path it takes and the time it takes is just so wasteful.  I must admit their support team is pretty helpful but still this path is not the best way to serve our customers.

Logged into my blog and wrote post for yesterday’s fun filled day.

Our network admin came and showed me one of our old colleague’s, Mike Ricksecker, latest endeavor – Ghosts of Maryland.   He was so sweet – he named each of the IT members in his acknowledgement section.  Gotta buy me a copy and visit all the cool sites he documented.

Sadly removed my old boss’ photo from our Intranet and put it in the “Gone but Not Forgotten” section of our gallery.

Edited more of the photos I had taken with Julian in regards to the scan feature on the copiers.

Took a call from our PR dept. regarding a change on the web site.  Made the necessary change.  While on the phone we also established that I would be listed as the donor of my services so I would actually appear as a donor on the web site. I’m being auctioned off (silently at our fundraiser Evening in the Stacks) as a social web/Intranet consultant.  Hope someone takes me up on the offer and raises money for the library.

Our ILL dept. submitted a helpdesk ticket regarding an system error when trying to print the pick list in Marina.  Did a little digging and called Enoch Pratt since they are the first point of contact.

Ah the first usability test of the day – drove to our East Columbia branch.  Went very well.

Quickly grabbed some lunch.

Then downstairs to Customer Service for the second test of the day.  Again good feedback.

Came back upstairs and made a few tweaks to the new Intranet.

Then we drove over to our Miller branch for the third test of the day.  She was a ringer – got everything right off the bat and quick too!

Came back to Central.  Responded to a customer via email about their OverDrive problem.

Called Pratt again and got some more information about the problem with printing and ILL.  They will have to contact SirsiDynix.

Linked new blogger to the Contributors page on our blog, Highly Recommended.

Answered a staff member’s question about screen savers.

Started to make some changes to the MAILL (Maryland InterLibrary Loan) web site.

Played telephone tag with our HR dept. all day – tried one more time, she is now it.  (every time she called me I was on the phone – every time I called her she had stepped out of her office – maybe tomorrow?)

Home to crash – I NEED SLEEP!

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It’s a New Dawn, It’s a New Day

Don't let the sun go down on your grievances
Image by kevindooley via Flickr

…it’s a new life (or at least a new work life).

Arrived a bit early – unlocked the office.  Even though I didn’t have morning duties I still am the first person here so I unforward the helpdesk phone and swapped out the tapes from the Horizon and Authority Works severs.

Went downstairs to get my huge purple mug full of ice from the staff lounge.

The sun coming over the trees and the apartments next to the library caught my eye out the window of my ex-boss.  So I went into her empty office and snapped a shot.  Wasn’t my best but took it anyway.

Fired up by Ubuntu and Windows machines.  On Ubuntu I opened Tweetdeck, Thunderbird and Firefox.  Checked both work and Gmail – looked at the helpdesk tickets on our Staff Intranet.  Assigned them including two to myself.

Luis our network administrator called to say he was out today.  Had completely forgotten he had volunteered to chaperone his grandson’s field trip to Montpelier Mansion.  Emailed the rest of IT because invariable I was going to be asked at some point during the day, “Where’s Luis?”.  I suppose since I am mainly stationed at my desk I seem to know most people’s coming and goings.  I’ve become the unofficial IT secretary.  I joke about it being a pain and sometimes it is but I also like being reliable and knowing the answers to the whereabouts of my co-workers.

Approved a comment on my blog than updated my T is for Training Meme by including links to others that had answered the same questions I had.

Read email from Read/Write/Web and tweeted a few interesting bits.

Worked on the morning bounceback emails.  I often find these amusing since customers often hit reply instead of forward.  I wind up getting love notes meant for spouses or kids saying “Hey honey, do you still have this the library needs it back”.

Schedule another staff member for the usability testing or our new Intranet.  Think we have everyone set now.

Blogged about Monday’s Library Day in the Life.

Then the IT department met with Director of HR and our Deputy Executive Director.  They assured us that Amy’s departure would not effect our jobs, that they’d be posting her position ASAP as they knew with our new ILS migration coming we’d need someone to lead that and told us who our interim boss would be.  A familiar face – Holly Johnson who had been my boss when I was part of the Automation department.  Then Holly came and let us know she wants to make this as smooth as possible.

I went to her office and spoke with her privately about all the things that had gone on in our dept. over the past year.  It’s been a topsy-turvy one for us.  I told her she is getting a great team but maybe not at the best time.  We will recover, we will come together and get through this it’s just we are still a bit in shock at the moment.  I think she understands.

Worked on tweaking the usability tasks and survey.

Grabbed a quick lunch before the first usability test of the day.  Went quickly and if all our staff was like this person my job would be done.  She found almost everything with no problem.  However, I know that won’t be the case but she gave us good feedback.

Our web programmer and I went to our Savage branch to do the next usability test.  Results were interesting.  He also gave us good feedback.  Danny, our web programmer, and I got to talking about all the results so far (4 by then) and decided we wanted one more person before we made any changes to the site.  This would give us another round after the changes to see if the change helped or not.  So we made an unexpected stop at our East Columbia branch.  We asked the Customer Service supervisor to recommend one of her staff.  This helped to make up our minds about one change we had been waffling on.

We came back to Central Library to make the change and then it was time for me to head home.

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Friday and Payday, What’s Not To Like? – Day 5

TGIF!  End to a full, long, interesting week.  One thing I really love about my job is the variety it affords me.  I never really know what will come my way each day.  Since this is the last day for documenting I thought I’d try something a little bit different.

Day 5

  • Pulled into the parking lot and entered the building. Annotated video on YouTube
  • Unforward phones, swap out tapes in the server room, checked Twitter, email and Staff Intranet. Annotated video on YouTube
  • Went to get ice for my green tea, turned on lights for the building, checked reserves and visited my book display on 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing. Annotated video on YouTube
  • Back to the office to get down to business. Annotated video on YouTube
  • Uploaded the aforementioned videos to YouTube since they were too long to use on Flickr
  • Consulted with co-worker who was doing the morning duties.  She was getting bounced back to beginning page of her account in HIP.  Tried recreating it on my machine and she showed me on the Day End machine – still wasn’t able to recreate it.  Chalk it up to computer gremlins.
  • Typed up my blog for yesterday – Day 4
  • Got a phone call from the Glenwood branch manager regarding the email I had sent out asking them to cleanup the branch notices on Staff Intranet.
  • Since my boss was out on vacation, I assigned the IT staff to their day at our Admin office for next week and posted the notice on our Staff Intranet.
  • Uploaded my photos of my 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing display to Flickr
  • Deleted notices for Glenwood branch manager per email she sent me (after phone conversation)
  • Worked on bounceback email notices – since this is such a tedious mind numbing job I decided to blip some Robert Palmer songs on blip.fm while I did this.  Having great music to listen to helps!
  • Bounce backs make me hungry so I went and popped some 94% fat-free popcorn
  • Checked the helpdesk tickets and assigned on to fellow IT-er
  • Downloaded Adobe Flash CS3 Professional to my Windows machine
  • Got a call from our Network Administrator who is on vacation in England (visiting his wife’s family) – just checking in with us to make sure things are okay
  • Installed Adobe Flash CS3 Professional on my Windows machine
  • Emailed staff member who submitted a helpdesk ticket.  Needed more information so I could solve her issue.  Consulted with web programmer to see if he had any suggestions but agreed we needed more info before we could proceed.
  • Children’s librarian came to my desk asking questions about burning music to a CD for children’s classes.  I pointed her to the FAQ on our Staff Intranet with great instructions and screen shots.
  • Got a call from HR dept. regarding publishing an announcement on our Staff Intranet.
  • Wrote another post for my blog – not related to Library Day in the Life
  • LUNCH finally seems I’ve been eating later and later this week
  • Children’s librarian came back up for some assistance with burning cd – went down and showed her how to add songs, delete ones you don’t want and move them so you get the order you want.
  • Analyzed current navigation and started documenting what different departments use on Staff Intranet in hopes that this will help us set up better navigation for the new version.
  • Got a follow up email from the staff member in regards to her helpdesk ticket.  Solution was a simple one – she needed to log in with username/password to access forms list.  Emailed her back and closed helpdesk ticket
  • Saw a Tweet from @julie and realized I had missed T is for Training podcast.  Logged into the chat area for the last 15 mins or so of the show.
  • Got a call from hubby that severe storm had blown down 2 trees (turned out to be just very large limbs not the whole tree) onto our garage which houses his precious baby, a 1960 MGA.
  • Took personal leave to go home and document damage for any insurance claims.

Blog Day Afternoon – Day 4

Little did I know when I came into work today it was going to turn into the day of blogs.

Day 4

It’s Thursday so I don’t have morning duties or bouncedback emails today.  After putting my stuff away I turned on my Ubuntu and Windows machines.  Checked my voice mail (was one regarding the email and spam settings that we had posted on the staff Intranet).

Moon Landing
Walked out into the public area after getting ice for my green tea and replenished my display celebrating the 40th anniversary of the moon landing.  Some folks might consider it wrong but I mixed adult non-fiction books with the children’s non-fiction.  Bottom shelf of the wedding cake was all children’s titles – they have actually been the hot items even though this display is upstairs in the adult non-fiction area.  My reason for adding the children’s titles to the display is often Mom or Dad have a little one in tow when they are upstairs, so why not have something for them on the same display.

Went back downstairs to Customer Service (the department formally known as Circulation) and picked up my reserves (several books on photography and a CD for hubby).  Back upstairs to my desk.

Opened Twirl and replied to a Tweet.  Checked both work and Gmail accounts.  Since revamping our Staff Intranet has been on my mind I logged into the backend of Joomla and made a few tweaks (from suggestions that staff have provided).  Then I moved over to the front end and checked to see if there were any helpdesk tickets to assign (yep a few but not many).

Emailed the Central Asst. Branch Manager regarding a tweak I made on the Staff Intranet.  It related to items she posted – combined her web guides from Enoch Pratt/SLRC into one location.

Closed a helpdesk ticket regarding a new staff member who had forgotten his email password – changed password back to default and it will prompt him to change it again.

Sent an email to all the branch managers asking them to clean up (unpublish and delete if possible).  In hopes that we can clean up lots of content that won’t need to be brought over to the new Intranet.

Now the start of the blog day —

Tweaked our main blog, Highly Recommended per the phone conversation I had with the editor on Day 2.   Moved the login on the front end to a less conspicuous location on the blog navigation area.  Then I added a new blogger to the list of contributors per the editor’s email

Wrote my blog entry for Day 3.  Sent an email to the blogger of Highly Recommended about the tweaks I had made so they are kept in the loop.

Answered the helpdesk phone line – question about accessing our Intranet remotely (from a new grandmother visiting her daughter and grandson in NC).

Then I began the afternoon of updating all our blogs which uses WordPress.  Luckily 3 of the blogs were not that old so I could just click on Update under Tools.  Open Source, This Is Your Life and Customer Service all upgraded with no problems.  I then had to upgrade Teacher Notes the hard way.  WHOO HOO, it went pretty smoothly and I didn’t mess anything up.  Okay 4 out of 6 went okay so I must be doing something right.

Call from Public Relations department asking for help with posting an article to our Choose Civility site which uses Joomla.  Walked him through a few things and corrected code that seemed to make the one video disappear even though we weren’t adding anything anywhere near the video on that page.

Got a lovely surprise, former employee Aileen Trout came in for a quick visit.  Aileen left us many years ago and moved back to her place of birth, Hawaii.  She hasn’t aged at all – I’m convinced living on the islands there is like the fountain of youth.  After that I checked the helpdesk tickets and assigned 2 to fellow IT staff.  Answered the helpdesk phone line – fellow IT staff member needed help with the printer settings for Horizon.

Consulted with our web programmer about navigation and design for our new Intranet.  We looked at Google Analytics to get a feel of what people used the most on our Intranet (that combined with actual feedback from staff should help).

Consulted with fellow IT staff member about helpdesk ticket regarding a broken link in Aquabrowser (the information page in AB had never been updated to reflect the RSS feed page on our new web site which went live over a year ago – GULP!).  Need a better way to keep track of all our links out there.

LUNCH!! finally

Assigned another helpdesk ticket.  Got a call from the editor of our Highly Recommended blog about linking a contributor’s name.

Guess my confidence from earlier was a bit premature.  I updated our TeenZine (which isn’t a true blog but does use WordPress).  This time things did not go well. Not sure if I missed some files in the update or what.  Was seeing strange results even though I did get the right messages during the upgrade process.  Cleared cache and refreshed browser and still had odd displays.  Asked web programmer for help – he watched me do the upgrade for the 4th time – something about him standing there must have done the trick.  But even he saw the odd display and seems like things took several minutes to display correctly.  It’s all good in the end.

Called the Information Services Supervisor regarding the voice mail she had left me that morning – left her a voice mail.

Emailed username/password for our Staff Intranet to staff member so they could add content.

Assigned to myself and closed helpdesk ticket regarding an email from a customer letting us know that the wording on one of our PACs screen savers was wrong.  We had already fixed this so I contacted the customer via email thanking her for catching this and letting her know we fixed it.

Cleaned up a bounce of AOL accounts that had marked us as spam.  Trying to get the message out there that when you sign up for a library card and give us your email account you will receive notices via email.  Do not mark us as a spammer – you agreed to receive notices from us.  Some reason the AOL users don’t remember this more than any other email user.

Went ahead and updated our last blog (our main one and the one that I was most scared about) to the latest version of WordPress.  It was my biggest worry but things went smoothly.  WHEW!

Past time for me to go home.  Off to get my son, walk dogs, take some photos, fix dinner and possibly get a little Lost season 2 watching done.

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Home Away From Home – Day 2

Ah, day two and it should have started off better.  Knew I had to leave a bit early from home to drop my son off at his Dad’s new house.  Still trying to figure out best routes to and from his house.  This morning with the hazy fog it didn’t help and I was a few minutes late getting to work.

EntranceFirst one in the office this morning.  Dropped my stuff at my work space and scurried to get to the morning duties (I had switched days with a co-worker).  Unforwarded the helpdesk phone and then proceeded to swap the tapes on both the Horizon and Authority Works servers.

This was to be my IT @ Admin day so I needed to focus on the morning duties and get them out of the way.  Once logged into my Ubuntu and Windows machines I did a quick cursory check of email (no dire messages).  I then proceeded to do the morning duties (just like yesterday).

Once they were out of the way I checked the helpdesk tickets and assigned them accordingly to my co-workers (seems some days I get a lot and others I don’t – it all evens out in the end).  Opened Twirl so I can peruse Twitter (both my personal account – @mlibrarianus and the library’s official account @HoCo_Library).  Then I queued up a Tweet for the library’s account using TweetFunnel.

Our Network Administrator came into the office and had mentioned that we had a power outage (clock in the workroom before ours was behind).   PACs were showing red on PACMON (our own montioring system that our web programmer wrote) but luckily the Day End computer finished running Day End before the power outage (having to run day end in the morning before people start logging into Horizon is not a fun thing to coordinate).

I proceeded to work on the email bouncebacks.  I’m still amazed at how many we get.  Are that many people really changing their email addresses and not updating them with us or what?  Still trying to figure out the best way to ensure our customers get notified without this having to deal with bouncebacks.  It is a labor intensive process that should not be handled by IT.  Haven’t come up with the answer as I know that there isn’t a “one size fits all” solution.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a tweet that made me chuckle.  I don’t normally follow the trends on Twitter but this one caught my eye #verydullbands.  Some were pretty good.  tumour seemed to be on a roll.  Time to head to our Administrative office in the East Columbia Branch and be the IT guru of the day (each of us takes turns spending a day at Admin helping with computer/software related issues that arise).

Home away from homeAfter getting my lunch in the fridge and things settled into the IT cubicle, I logged into the Ubuntu machine we have set aside for us.  Last time I was there I used Good OS – as if Google and Mac had a love child this would be it.  I really liked the operating system and having the Google gadgets.  Alas I was back to our staff desktop version of Ubuntu which is nice too.

Queued up another tweet for the library’s official account (which is approved by our Public Relations dept. and released to the Twitterverse).   Talked to a colleague who had heard I’d been recently to Spain recently and was thinking of going.  So I sent her a link to my photos from Espana on Flickr.

Consulted with fellow IT co-worker about iTouch and our collaborative software, DeskNow.  He had a Blackberry and wasn’t familiar with the iTouch.  Went around the Admin office asking staff if they had an iPhone or iTouch.  Found someone in Public Relations that had an iTouch who was able to help with the question another staff member had asked me.  I won’t mention my extreme jealousy of those with the iPhone or Blackberry (I soooo miss my Blackberry).

Helped another colleague with a PrintNow problem.  Think the delay was due to her Java update message wanting attention.  Once I clicked on that PrintNow printed the screen shot she needed.  Stopped by the cubicle of our Training Coordinator to discuss a request that had come up in my visits to the branches regarding our Staff Intranet.  She was open to the suggestion that the less formal “Lunch and Learns” be part of the training calendar as well as a notice on the Staff Intranet.

ITBack to my cubicle.  Checked on the Merlin site since I was playing admin while Nini Beegan was on vacation.  Cleaned up a bunch of registered users that were clearly spammers.

Consulted with web programmer and network administrator about the best way to get a new image onto our PAC screensavers.  The library’s unofficial (yet very professional and wonderfully talented) photography, Fritzi Newton, had taken shots of each of our 6 branches along with iconic views of our county and mixed them with photos she was able to obtain from Enoch Pratt.  She put these altogether as a screensaver for our public computers.  There was wording on each saying where the photo was taken.  After 2 years of these being out there for the public someone had realized that one of the slides had Maryland misspelled.  Fritzi corrected this and gave us the new image (with correctly spelled state) to use.

Realized I hadn’t really talked to our staff at Admin about the revamping the Staff Intranet.  I had been to all the branches to get feedback so I wondered around the office and talked to different staff.  Along the way I helped with a couple browser settings.  The one feature that I love on our Intranet was one that I pointed out to several folks.  Our web programmer had created a staff directory – the staff search box searches that directory.  So if you don’t know what branch, the phone number, the exact spelling of their email, what title they have, etc you can search for a person (last name or first name or full name) and see all of that plus a picture.  I convinced several people that using the staff directory search was 100 times easier than scrolling through the phone list.  This made me realize that this well used by many but missed by some box needed a more prominent spot on our Intranet.  So I moved that up further on the left hand side along with moving the Quick Links further to the top as well.  These are just temporary stop gaps until we revamp the whole Intranet.

LUNCH!

Assigned to myself and closed helpdesk ticket regarding receiving spam from old email address.  *sigh* The only 100% sure fire way to not receive spam is to not use email.

Played telephone tag with the editor of our reader’s advisory blog, Highly Recommended, regarding a few tweaks and a new idea that had come up in a meeting.  Then I went about interviewing more of the Admin staff about our Intranet and what ideas they might have.

Dealt with calendar settings for two people in Public Relations.  They didn’t have a box checked so the calendar invites were not showing up on their calendars the way they should.

Debunked an Urban Legend that was sent via email to IT.  I love Snopes.com.  I used to hang out on their bulletin board and I do miss the folks from there.

Discussed ideas with the Events & Seminars Manager about the use of voice recorders regarding local authors.  Getting them to read excerpts from their books or interviews with them as part of a podcast.

Answered an email from staff about the spam filtering option setting in our email.  Explained that we use Barracuda, spam filter, on the main email server so there is no need to use the one provided by DeskNow (if you do it actually creates more work).

Decided to make another change to the current Staff Intranet (that was brought up by staff at the branch) and managed to not screw it up.  Deleted code and things still worked properly.  Then I got a little too confident and removed some more – this time I did screw it up.  THANKFULLY, our web programmer who has the patience of a saint with me was able to figure out what I did wrong and fix it.

Way past time for me to go, so I turned off my machine and headed home.  I had to pack and drive to PA that night since I going with my parents the next morning to the hospital.  My Mother was having a biopsy of her lung done.  Here’s hoping it all goes well and the results are good.

Seriously? In This Economy You Can Afford To Offer Bad Customer Service?

I think  most people who know me would say I’m pretty fair.  I don’t immediately fly off the handle at a drop of a hat.  I am someone who will give you 3 strikes before calling you out.  So it is fair to say I gave VPI Pet Insurance more than their fair share of strikes.  I’m just utterly blown away by the experience I had today with VPI.  All because I wanted to cancel my policy.  I will say that at the beginning I wanted only to cancel my policies for now and had all hopes of reinstating them at a later point.  That point is now NEVER going to come.  VPI blew it big time.

Below is the email I sent to their customercare@petinsurance.com.  First part about canceling the policies and the numbers have been left off.  I’m still realing after this interaction.  I would never in good consceience recommend this place to ANYONE because of the bad customer experience I had today.  Sad to say one really bad experience can negate previous good ones.  Worst part is if the supervisor had taken a different route with me a lot of my frustration could have dissapated – she just added to it.

I’ve attached 2 screen shots to explain the problems I was having with your web site.  The first one shows you that I have all the information filled in and all the boxes dealt with correctly.  The 2nd screen shot is the message I got after clicking on submit.  I called to make sure there was no changes pending (as I have not submitted any claims or made any changes for 6 months) – there were no changes to my account that anyone could find.

As someone who has not only worked in customer service but also in Information Technology for over 25 years this was the worst experience I’ve had dealing with both a web site and people via the phone.  If you want your customers to be able to manage their accounts (make claims, cancel, etc.) you need to make your web site is web standards complaint (any browser, any operating system and interoperability/accessibility for all no matter what their situation might be).  At first I tried your web site in latest version of Firefox on Ubuntu (Linux) and was unable to do so.  At first I thought perhaps you were down or having problems with the site so I decided to try later.  2 weeks later (today) I try again – after filling out all the info and checking boxes (see 1st screenshot) I see a small box flash quickly (something about searching a database) and then I get the same page I was on.  I felt as if things didn’t go through correctly.  So I called the first time to verify.  I explain to that person (sorry he didn’t give me his name) and I explained in a calm voice that I was frustrated but trying to cancel my policies.  I told him about my experience.  He was (out of the 3 people I talked to) the best.  He explained that I should see another screen, he was patient with me and I with him.  I asked him if the site didn’t work with Firefox and he put me on hold to check.  Someone (don’t know who) told him the only problem they were aware of was Safari (which means you are limiting your whole MacIntosh user base).  I told him I’d try again on my WindowsXP machine.

Tried Firefox again but on WindowsXP and experienced the same problem.  I then decided to try Internet Explorer – I was able to get further than I had but was presented with a box saying that changes were still pending on one of my accounts and you couldn’t cancel my policies.  (see screen shot 2)  At this point I again called your company.  Amy helped me this time.  Although she was nice I don’t think she understood the problems I was having and after more than 30 mins of trying to cancel my policies I needed this escalated to someone who understood web browsers as well as your policies.  I asked to speak to a supervisor or possibly someone on the web team.  After several mins have gone by I finally get to speak to Jeanette.  No offense but if you have a customer who up until that point had been kind, calm and understanding but extremely frustrated and asking for a supervisor – that is not the time to try and sell me on your policies or lowering my coverage.  At that point you need to see to my frustration and needs by doing that you may have retained me as a customer.  She asked to hear my story (and I wanted to give her the details of what happened) before I had finished she cut me off and didn’t want to hear anymore.  That was just plain rude.  I lost it.  I could understand if I was being rude or if I had been yelling at her but I was not.  There was no excuse for cutting me off.  She didn’t even hear all of the problem before she just jumped in.  She was curt and rude with me for the rest of the call.  At one point I wanted to let her know that I was not happy with my customer experience and I was letting others know this.  I told her I was Twittering this.  She assumed I was trying to cancel via Twitter (NO I’m not stupid but I do have a fair following on my social networks and many of them are pet lovers like me).  She curtly asked me if I had sent the email only moments after I wrote down the information.  HUH?  Come now you need information from me, I need to log into my account – how on earth did she expect me to send an email within seconds.  She informed me that the calls are monitored.  If that is so I certainly hope as a supervisor she is given better training on dealing with customers.  Interrupting, being insulting and rude are not values we instill in my work place with our customer service staff.

I expect my policies to be canceled effective today. I don’t expect anything more than to make sure your web portal is web standards compliant and will actually ALLOW your customers to use it and to educate your customer service staff in how to best give GOOD customer service.

This is really a shame because up until today I had been a loyal customer.  In the past my phone calls have only resulted in the best customer service interaction (especially one kind lady who even called me back and walked me through a procedure to ensure I got all that was due).  But after frustration with the web site, dealing with a supervisor who doesn’t know how to deal with customer service I don’t have the same high opinion of your company as I once did.

My Tweets:

  1. @AAHAHelpingPets I’d have to say #unfollowfriday to VPI after the experience I had today. Bad customer service and poor web portal.

  2. I sense another blog post coming on – must be record bad customer service week.

  3. @rachelrapp Funny thing is one woman I spoke to (3 people total) was named Amy – my Amy knows customer service

  4. Even told the woman Jeanette I believe she said that I was Twittering about this. So VPI Pet Insurance I recommend you clean up your act.

  5. Condescending supervisor asked for my story then doesn’t want to hear it all. BAD customer service rep. VPI Pet Insur. major fail.

  6. FAIL – your site doesn’t work in Firefox or Safari and only on Windows?!! VPI pet insurance no wonder I’m canceling my policies.

Day in the Life – Better Late Than Never

Day in the Life

Day 5 of week of keeping track of what librarians or library workers do so we can see the diversity of the jobs we do.

Friday January 30, 2009

7:25 – arrived at work – unlocked elevator and office

7:29 – swapped out tapes on Horizon and Authority works servers and unforwarded the helpline phone

7:35 – logged on both Windows and Linux machines – logged into email and did a cursory scan since I was out yesterday

7:41 – logged into Horizon and returned my DVDs (hubby is watching Wire in the Blood) and checked to see what reserves had come in for me

7:43 – went downstairs to put returned DVDs in correct delivery boxes, get mega cup of ice for Diet Coke habit and to retrieve my 13 holds

7:48 – checked out my 13 holds including David Lee King’s “Designing the Digital Experience”

7:53 – logged into Staff Intranet, iGoogle, Friendfeed, Facebook and Meebo

8:10 – updated co-worker on husband’s condition after yesterday’s test

8:15 – reading/responding to emails from yesterday

8:31 – posted day 3 of DitL blog post because I was out yesterday

8:32 – caught up with co-worker about Wednesday’s Lost episode

8:37 – tested Sailor link to our Marina page – is working now that they have the correct one

8:47 – updated boss on hubby’s test results from yesterday

8:50 – back to emails

9:00 – bounceback emails are calling me

9:05 – to help with a helpdesk ticket installing Filezilla client on Mac laptop – while waiting I “Dugg” some article from my RSS feed

9:14 – installed and correctly setup FileZilla on Mac laptop and was able to connect – easy install

9:15 – back to bouncebacks more have come in

9:30 – called Public Relations office about their helpdesk ticket

9:44 – uploading PDF’s to ChooseCivility site

9:55 – called Public Relations back and discussed uploading to Joomla’s media manager instead – turns out will probably just wait until the new Choose Civility site is up and running for this

10:03 – more bouncebacks….guess ILL finally generated all the notices

10:10 – discussed with Sys Admin about some errors and concerns over day end process a couple of days ago. Sadly neither of us is 100% sure who messed up what or did the system fail to finish a process.

10:30 – closed helpdesk ticket from Public Relations – will wait for new site to add pdfs

10:40 – emailed class about Picasa3 training and some issues that have arisen around timing and schedule

10:50 – called staff member to follow up on helpdesk ticket follow up that they didn’t follow up on 😉

11:00 – worked on CIL09 slides

11:40 – created collection/set in library’s Flickr account for our new This Is Your Life program so they can start uploading images

11:45 – wrote up instructions so This is Your Life folks can upload to Flickr

12:10 – Lunch

12:45 – spoke with Network Admin about why my synaptic package manager was giving me error message – taught me how to run the command in terminal because an update didn’t get finish – running full updates now – installed FileZilla on Ubuntu machine

12:54 – back to CIL09 slides

2:00 – Called into podcast T is for Training

3:00 – back to CIL09 slides

3:30 – end of day, end of week

Facebook Users Beware

Interestingly enough a friend of mine who is new to Facebook got hit by this virus. It then sent an email to my husband but not me (thankfully). Unfortunately, hubby not only opened the email he clicked on the link 3 times before realizing that something wasn’t just right (virus says you need to update Flash to view video). Then to my horror I find that not only is he not using a firewall on his Windows machine he doesn’t have any anti-virus software. So at 11 pm last night I was downloading Bit Defender and running it (it caught 5 infected files but luckily they were low risk and were disposed of properly).

Thankfully even if I had gotten the email and if I had clicked on the link and if I had downloaded it I would have still been okay. Beauty of using Ubuntu (on desktop as well as laptop) – .exe files don’t work there.

So if you use Facebook keep an eye out for an email that looks legit but actually contains a virus. If you have already opened it – here is how to remove the infection. Or better yet – switch to Linux. 😉


Digg!

Windows? I Ain’t Got No Windows!

I don’t need no windows! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ windows!” to continue to parody what I learned is the one of the most misquoted movie lines from the movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Over the last 3 months or so I’ve been a dual operating system kind of gal.  Not a dual boot but 2 CPU’s with 2 different OS on them.  Considering that we are an open source shop you’d be surprised to learn that I used Windows OS at all.  Because I had to use a client based ILS that only ran on Windows I was stuck.  But with our upcoming migration to Koha, an open source web-based ILS, I’ve been able to switch over to using Ubuntu (like the rest of my co-workers).

At first I found myself swiveling my chair between the Windows PC on my right and the Ubuntu machine in front of me.  Then I realized more and more I wasn’t moving from the machine in front of me.  Other than the times I need to look something up in the ILS client (e.g. customer account) or if I have to use PhotoShop (sorry, haven’t taken time to learn GIMP yet) most of the day my Windows machine stays unused.

I have my beloved Firefox, Thunderbird, Flock, and OpenOffice on the Ubuntu machine.  I have Meebo, Staff Intranet (using Joomla), DeskNow (collaborative email/file sharing/calendar software), FriendFeed, Facebook, Flickr, other Web 2.0 sites and our soon to be new ILS all in the browser of my choice.  I have TwitterFox, web developer toolbar, Stumbleupon toolbar and colorful tabs as some of my Firefox addons.  I’m in heaven on my Ubuntu machine.  Only thing I miss about my Windows machine is I had dual monitors hooked up to it.  Just need to find another monitor and I’ll be set.

What is really amazing is how quickly one can adapt if one has to or wants to.  I honestly could not help someone with an Word/PowerPoint/Excel question if I tried.  I can’t remember the last time I used them.  Ask me how to do it OpenOffice and I can pretty much answer them or at least find out how by going to Solveig Haugland’s great blog, OpenOffice.org Training, Tips and Ideas.  I had a staff member ask me about her home pc which is running on Windows XP and she uses Internet Explorer as her browser.  I haven’t used IE in years!  I was struggling to remember just where something was located on the menu bar.  I could easily tell her how to do it on Firefox.  It is amazing – you get used to what you use.  If I had remained on Windows I would have seen Linux as being a hard thing to convert to – now that I’ve been converted it wasn’t that hard at all to switch.

Do I miss Windows?  No, because the operating system shouldn’t be what’s important.  With more and more being about web-based solutions to issues the concern should be with the browser.  Do I miss Internet Explorer?  Heck No!  Matter of fact I think you do yourself and your customers/users a huge disservice to tie yourself with one operarting system, one browser.  People love choice.  If you are writing for the web you need to adhere to web standards so that your site can work in the browser of my choice (or anyone’s choice).

I can’t wait for the day that I can cut the cord to my Windows machine completely.

No Woman is an Island

Forgive me John Donne (1572-1631) for taking poetic license.

I’ve been training staff members over the last 3-4 years (maybe more my memory ain’t what it used to be). It was something I stumbled into and found that I not only enjoyed but actually good at (or at least according to comments and evaluations). With each class that I taught, I’ve gained some insight. I love the give and take of training, the flow of not only energy but information. I believe that training should be a two-way street. It isn’t all about ME passing on information. I can learn a lot as well. I can learn what does or doesn’t work for a particular curriculum or for a particular learning style. I can sometimes learn a new way or shortcut of doing something even thought I thought I knew them all. To me it’s important to keep on learning as I help others to learn.

Recently I gave my first training for the public. What a great unknown that was for me. How computer savvy would they be? How do you create a training not knowing the skill level of your auidence? It was a good thing because I had gotten comfortable with training the staff and sometimes comfort can equate to being stale. The last thing I want to be is stale.

Most importantly this series of Web 2.0 classes wasn’t all about me. I wasn’t alone. No woman is an island or at least this woman wasn’t. So far the series has been pretty much a big success. I’ve been encouraged to offer this to staff and again to the public since we had such good turn out. But I could not have done this alone. So taking a nod from the Oscars….

I’d like to thank the academy:

  • Luis Salazar for diligently working to get me a viewsonic that gave a clear picture and worked with our Ubuntu laptop (at one point we had tried Ubuntu, Windows and Mac before we realized it was the viewsonic not the laptop)
  • Donna Metcalf for her support (attending a class) and helping Luis w/viewsonic issue.
  • Dennis Wood for being my AV man. He not only got me setup correctly on the sound portion but also tried to get the viewsonic working for another instructor in the Web 2.0 series.
  • Amy de Groff for allowing and encouraging me to do this. Also for her flexibility with my schedule (being boss and all).
  • Ruth Vargas and Danny Bouman for also being flexible and allowing me to switch my morning duties so I could present these classes at night.
  • Kim Ha for willing taking on a class on wikis (her passion) by herself.
  • Katie George for an outstanding job during our social networking class. I honestly couldn’t have done a better job and she was a hard act to follow.
  • Brian Auger for being willing to share our mutual passion of music and help me with tonight’s class on music social networking.
  • Fritzi Newton, photographer extraordinaire, for sharing her passion of photography and allowing me to sneak in a few moments about YouTube and Veho during Tuesday’s class.
  • my hubby for dealing with the dogs and dinner without me there – yes, dear we are a team
  • and most importantly the public for embracing this series so far

If I left anyone out it is not intentional.  I thank you all for helping me with this endeavor and I’ve learned a lot from each one of you.