Don Burnside

Recipes, technology, personal stuff and a crap load of archives.

On Customer Service (again)

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A process battle that was started almost 3 weeks still isn’t completed. And that would be a security camera installation at work. Security cameras installed by ADT, since they also handle our alarm system and we were told the 2 work together quite nicely.

It all started with our sales rep and a walk-thru. A walk-thru that included a trip through our 50,000 sq/ft warehouse where we pointed out all 6 doors that we wanted to keep an eye on, hopefully with cameras mounted on the 20′ high ceiling. “Great!” he says. “No Problem!” he says. Check written, order placed, he says about a week to 10 days before the installation. Cool.

Installation day comes. I’m not notified about the date until the installers arrive. Turns out it didn’t matter since the sales rep neglicted to tell the installation department that we had a 50,000 sq/ft warehouse with 20′ ceilings. They would need a lift and cables that were longer than 60′. So, off they went to procure said items, hopefully to return the next day.

Another week passes before they returned. This time with a lift and 200′ cables. This time ready and rarin’ to go!

Except the wrong cameras were ordered. Yes, we would need the interior cameras to work in low light. Not to worry, they ordered replacements and would have them shipped “next day”. Meanwhile, they installed the cameras that were correct and ran all of the wiring.

Turns out, “next day” in the ADT world actually means 3-4 business days, if you are lucky. Also, wiring was not within the realm of expertise of my ADT installers. I have some experience with this and I can tell you that the job my guy did was pretty poor.

Continue reading “On Customer Service (again)”

Pay Attention

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More from the **easily-fixed-or-avoided-if-you-pay-attention-or-listen** files. Typos not withstanding, lets get started.

It’s really not that difficult. And, conversely, I’m actually pretty easy. Easy to please, easy to impress, easy to get along with (for the most part). Also, I’m not one to declare the sky falling often, if at all. I am one that double checks the problems before reporting them a number of ways to make sure that the problem is actually what I’m reporting, not user error.

That means that if I were to report to you that something isn’t working correctly, I would greatly appreciate it if you could listen. I would appreciate it even more if you were to act. That way, a week later when I actually need to use what I reported broken, it wouldn’t be broken and I would be able to do the things that I need to do.

This goes for your users too. After a while you learn to distinguish the ‘sky fallers’ from those that are actually telling you about actual problems. But, and this is a pretty big but, you still can’t ignore the sky fallers. Prioritize them different maybe, but never ignore. It’s the one time that you ignore their problem when there actually is a problem.

Anymore it seems there are way too many issues being ignored for anyone to actually expect to be successful. You can also replace the word ignored with not handled correctly for the same effect.

If you are going to be in business, make sure you take care of your customers. Address their concerns when they happen and report back as soon as possible. Not doing this is yet another reason why your customers are leaving and going to your competition.

Details and Consistency

Maybe it’s just me, but lately I’m noticing a lot of laziness around me. Laziness and, if I’m honest, half-assed work. Details going unnoticed, pieces missing and work not complete.

This might not be making any sense to you, so here are some pretty pictures that might help. Taken from the roof of a very swank hotel in a very swank city in Arizona. Look at the first pic closely and I’ll continue to tell you what I’m on about.

Blue, Green and Fire

Nice right? Colors match, the fire gives that feeling of warmth and comfort and the flowers help to soften the hard edges. At first glance it looks amazing. Until you notice the details.

The yellow circles show off some very not-blending-in chrome table legs that look like they came from a desk chair about the same time this particular hotel was built. Top left is a cable that is coming from the fire pit, presumably to light it, running someplace. We’ll ignore that one for now since it’s not as glaring as shiny chrome.

I’ve been told not to sweat the details in the past, but I always ignored it. I’m going to tell you why.

The details make a difference.

You see in our example above, if the table cloths were bright red, or if the fireplace wasn’t lit, then seeing the table legs would probably be perfectly a-ok. It would appear, however, that a great deal of work went into the planning and decoration of this particular space for this event. Allowing the table legs, at least to me, while a minor detail, is one that takes this otherwise great looking scene down a notch or 5.

It’s just half-assed.

If you are going to do something half-assed, don’t be half-assed about it. Be consistent. Rip a table cloth, break some glass, forget to sweep. Consistency is key.

If you are going to spend the time, effort and money on making something truly kick ass, then make sure it is, in fact, truly kick ass. **Mind the details**. Cover those crappy looking table legs. Give the glass a final polish to make sure there aren’t any spots. Sweep the floor.

When the details are missed is usually when it is the most noticeable. Go for perfection or go for half-assed, just don’t do them both at the same time. It makes you look bad.

Dear HP Printer Division

I’m having a pretty good week so far if I can be so bold. Nice and busy, but not crazy busy. Just about perfect. Perfect except for 1 thing. It may seem minor to some of you, but it is making me absolutely batshit crazy.

Everyone one of my customers this week have had printer problems. Every one of the printers was an HP. And every one of them took me no less than 2 hours to complete if it would even complete at all.

Whiskey tango foxtrot, over?

Let’s start with the size of the **basic driver** download for a PC (Windows, all versions, all bits). For most of these downloads the file size was a compressed 205MB or larger. I had 2 of these drivers, uncompressed, that weighed in at 1.5GB. **Gigabytes** people. For **basic** drivers.

Next up was the installation. On a brand new and fairly buff Windows 7 machine, one of those drivers took almost 8 minutes to install and required a reboot. The longest of the printer driver installs was 45 minutes. Yes, you read that correctly. Almost 1 hour to install a printer. Sure it was XP. Sure it was a Celeron processor. Sure it only had 1GB of shared RAM. Is that an excuse? When I can install video drivers on that same machine in less than 5 minutes? No, it’s not.

Maybe I’m too old school in my thinking. I remember when a driver was nothing more than a few .inf files, maybe a .dll or two. Fit on a floppy disk and installed in just a few minutes. I guess that is no longer the case. Or, probably more like it, HP is getting lazy and/or Microsoft is making them include a but of crap that isn’t even needed but they think it is.

If you are looking for what the problem with Windows is gang, just look at the printer division of HP. Bloated software that performs poorly and clogs the system with files and features that aren’t needed or required.

I know I am repeating myself, but printers are nothing but a waste of time, energy and money. I went paperless a few years ago on **everything** that doesn’t require my signature, perhaps you should encourage your users to start doing the same thing.

Dear Everyone

This one is dedicated to every HR person, every over thinker, every person that fancied themselves, at one time or another, a designer.

Or to the web developers that have never heard of a Mac, a browser other than Internet Explorer and still think Front page is a cool thing to use.

Or to the architects. Wherever you are.

Please take a minute the next time you create something that one of your customers, potential employees or anyone in the general public could possibly interact with and let someone else look at it before you pull the trigger making it live.


You HR people. I understand there are rules and that you need a ton of information when an applicant applies for a job. I do. How about making the process _make sense_? How about paying a designer with some idea of user experience planning to design the forms for you? How about a little beta testing to make sure that the forms work?

You that build large corporate websites used for support and to serve customers other important information (, I’m looking directly at you). Why not follow the links you create to make sure they go somewhere? Again, beta test that cool new feature of the site to make sure it works before rolling it out to the general public. And, hey? Why not take a few minutes to add a little consistency to your entire web presence?

Finally, you architects. I realize that you don’t always get to see your projects to completion. Still, why not visit a property you designed to make sure ‘it works’ correctly and things are easy to get to and find. Essentially, test the navigation. See how fucked up it is and take **that** back to your drawing table to make things better. Make sure to account for trees and parking structures if they aren’t already in place.

Through the course of each and every one of my days I’m constantly coming across things that could have be fantastically awesome if only someone would have taken a little bit of extra time and planning to make sure it worked correctly. To make sure the navigation was consistent. To ensure that it looked cool, no matter how it was viewed.

I’m less than a genius. I’m also the first person to admit that I’m not always the smartest person in the room. But I do know how stuff should work. Sometimes I can even do something about the stuff that _you_ made to make it work the way it should.

Anyway, I would really appreciate it and owe you a solid if you could do something to help me out here. Just stop making things that suck.

You rule, as always!