Re: Microsoft XNA

I posted a while back about Microsoft’s XNA game development platform. No one at the time had any idea what it was, but I ran into this really interesting interview that really sheds some light on things. It sounds like this technology will be one of the next big things IF they can pull it off. I’m not so sure that this is something MS can handle though. I really like the idea of my games playing on anything (not just game consoles…on cell phones, PocketPCs, etc.) without having to program specifically for each one. I’m really interested to see how MS tries to do this…

Long Time No Blog

I know I’ve been gone for a couple of weeks now, and I’m hoping I can get back into the swing of things. I finally got accepted into the MBA program here at Alabama, quit my old job, started two new jobs (both where I’m project manager 🙂 and they pay much better than my old job), moved to a new apartment, upgraded my two computers, started talking to a new friend online (one that I met on the internet…eHarmony is quite cool), and now I’m just trying to get my FAFSA forms filed so the MBA program will be able to double my pay and all of that good stuff. 😉 Anyway, lots of good stuff happening, but it resulted in my having to be absent from theSpoke for a while, but the good news is that I think all of the hectic stuff is overwith for now. I have a job in the afternoons where I can probably make a little “Spoke Time” each day to read up on blogs, post a few myself, and get the C# Hub going again. (BTW, if you have any suggestions for C# Poll questions, please message or tack it on to this blog post) Well, better get to filling out the FAFSA forms (or at least get started). 🙂

Customer Service?

This little rant was setoff Ogman’s post about buying a laptop. I had a very similar experience about 6 months ago when I went to Best Buy with my mom to get her a new PC for her home business. Now we both had some bad experiences with Best Buy in the past, but usually the huge mail in rebates would make up for it, plus you get reward points now which makes everything a little bit better too. Anyway, we looked around for about 25 minutes at the different PCs available. During this time we were staring directly at the PCs and obviously we were very interested in purchasing a PC or at least hearing what specials they had. The funny thing was that during this time, we were never once approached by a Best Buy rep. Eventually, I helped my mom decide on a PC and when we were ready to purchase the unit, we had to hunt around the store to find a sales rep. Once we found one, he was too busy talking to the other 4 sales reps that he couldn’t help us and pointed us to a sales rep that was off in the corner just standing there. Ok, fine, I can deal with that. I would appreciate help form the guys that were close to us since they didn’t have anything else better to do, but you know it’s not like they are getting paid to help the customer or anything. So we go off and talk to the sales rep. Well, guess what…this guy was an idiot. I won’t say something like that about many people, but I’m sorry. This guy was just an idiot.

When we first approached the guy, he looked normal enough, but once he opened his mouth, it started. First, we approached him and said we want X computer. You’d think that would be all the instructions someone would need to get a computer and take it to the checkout for us…uh, no, apparently not. He responded by talking to both of us like we were children asking “Is this your first computer?” Now I don’t have a problem with the question, since it is a valid point, but we already told him what we want and by this point we were getting ready to leave. We told him it was not the first and we knew this was what we wanted. He then asked “What computer do you have now?” and then “Well why are you buying a new one?” By now I was starting to get a little ticked because this guy was determined to try and waste as much time as he could for some reason. We played along, but my mom clearly indicated that she was getting angry that he wasn’t getting the computer like she asked. He then proceeded to tell her she needs a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply). I explained to her what that was and what the use for it was and she determined that it wasn’t an issue she cared to address at the moment and we indicated this to the sales rep. Well, surely he would go ahead and get our PC now right? Well, he started walking over (as slowly as possible) to the area where the boxed PCs are stored. Once he got there, he turned to us again and set in with the whole extended warranty talk. Now my mom wanted a warranty just because the price we paid for it would be the minimum it would cost me to fix anything that broke on the machine and I’m usually out of town so she could probably get it fixed quicker by bringing it back to the Best Buy store. But this guy wouldn’t shut up and she was mad about it so she told him she didn’t want a warranty. At this point, the sales rep went ballistic. He had tried so hard to sell us something and he decided we WERE going to buy something or we would regret it. The next words out of his mouth were (and I kid you not): “Ok, well fine. Next time a thunderstorm comes lightning is going to hit your power line and blow up your computer and you’re going to have to come back here and spend another $1400 to fix it and you’ll be sorry.” My mom had it at that point and told the guy to get the computer right that moment and he actually did. Good thing too, because I think she was about to make him very unhappy if he didn’t do it right that second… Anyway, we finally get up to the checkout and I’m looking over the parts the guy brought up there. Turns out, the jerk put a monitor on our cart that cost $500 more than the one we asked for, but I caught it before it was rung up. We had the cashier (a different guy) correct the problem and then we asked if we could get a warranty. We explained the situation to the cashier that basically we wanted the warranty, but did not want the sales rep to get any benefit from it whatsoever. He understood and took out an uninitialed warranty sheet and filled it out for us. Well while he finished ringing up the order, the jerk sales rep came up and initialed the warranty sheet! As soon as he left, the cashier pulled out a new one and filled it out again so we finally did get the PC we wanted and the warranty we wanted without the sales rep getting the credit, but that day really put me off to Best Buy. That rep would have suckered in someone that didn’t know anything about computers and would have had them spend at least $500 in crap they didn’t need.

The point of this is that customer service needs to change just like Ogman pointed out. I personally shop online (usually at Amazon) if I can because I don’t have to deal with sales reps like this. I think that any customer service agent should have to follow the following three rules in order to maintain employment in any capacity dealing directly with customers in a retail setting:

1.) Know what you are selling
You should at least be familiar with the products that you are trying to sell. There is nothing worse than asking a sales rep a question about a product he/she is trying to sell and getting some crap they made up that has nothing to do with the answer to the question. If you don’t know the answer, point the customer to someone who does know the answer and then learn the answer yourself so you can handle it next time.

2.) Be polite
NEVER…EVER…talk down to a customer. Don’t follow the customer around the store unless he/she asked to be stalked. DO ask the customer if he/she needs any help when you can clearly see he/she is expressing an interest in a particular product and may need help with something. Always stay positive while talking to the customer, no matter what the customer’s attitude may be.

3.) Serve the customer
This is my biggest complaint. Remember that you were hired to serve the customer. If you’re busy talking to a friend or anyone other than a manager or another customer and someone asks for your help or looks like they need help…then STOP TALKING TO THE OTHER PERSON AND SERVE THE CUSTOMER RIGHT THEN! You are paid to do this and if you don’t, then you should be fired. I’m sorry, if that’s too tough, then you’re going to have some problems later in life.
Ok, time to study for my philosophy exam that happens in 8 hours.