Archive for the ‘website reviews’ Category

Which? delivers “satisfaction”, on the phone too!

Friday, January 27th, 2012

I recently visited Which? to look up a product, and took up their offer of £1 membership. This allowed me to get into the members area where most of the articles and reviews reside. Within the week I got the latest issue of the magazine and a cover letter. After reviewing my product and looking through the website I realized that Which? is UK-centric and whilst the product reviews are still apropos much else simply doesn’t apply. I wanted to cancel my subscription before the standard monthly charges begin!

The Which? cover letter had 5 color blocks on the right with all the contact details I need, plus my details and Membership Number. All very handy & practical. So I called the Which? Helpline and met their automated phone system. I fully expected the usual hellish experience. The first thing that struck me was the calm, level male voice giving me 5 options. They were clear and unhurried. Reassuring. I chose option 2 to cancel my subscription. A brief moment of music and “Richard” came on the line: “Hello, how can I help? Do you want to cancel your subscription?” He confirmed my name and address, gave me a cancel ref code and thanked me for telling him why I didn’t want the subscription. All done.

I came off the phone thinking this is the smoothest automated phone system I’ve encountered in a long while. Everything worked. There was no rush. No barrage of options. No wrong clicks – no dead ends, wrong department, try again. It just worked. I’m sure the folks at Which? know they have a great system. I would encourage any businesses that use automated phone help and directory systems to dial up the Which? Helpline on +44 1922 822 800 and listen to how they do it. Which? has proved their goal is quality. They focus on creating satisfaction for their customers. Even the ones who are signing off. That’s class!

Which? website - which.co.uk

Which? integrates website, print and phone with customer satisfaction as priority.

EFF’s 20th Anniversary Video

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which was founded in 1990 by Mitch Kapor (of Lotus 1-2-3 fame) and John Perry Barlow (the Grateful Dead lyricist and the man who coined the term cyberspace) and other early ‘Net leaders, celebrates 20 years of battling for citizen / netizen rights with a cartoon tribute from Nina Paley – which is funny and painfully true. It fits the brief for EFF. This is what they’re about.

How much surveillance is good for us? EFF (www.eff.org) has battled in the courts and on the airwaves for individual “user rights” from the beginning… and the fight goes on. A worthy group to support too, if you have a few dollars to spare.

I saw John Perry Barlow a few years ago at the IFI, talking about how the internet was no longer free and open. In Ireland we were in the throes of the Net Boom and no one in the audience was interested. Instead they asked him how to sell things online. He must have gone away with a raw impression of uz!

On the other hand… Ken Wilber

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

A friendly critic took me to task for being “harsh” about NeoOgilvy. I trust no-one at Ogilvy took personal offense, if they read the review at all, at all. To balance the picture, I’m reminded that Flash isn’t always a no-no. There are times, places and “interactive audiences” (for want of a better term) for whom it works and fits perfectly. An excellent example is the “very flash” American philosopher Ken Wilber. This is no dry and crusty academic. Ken’s all about now, both spiritually and in contemporary-ness, and his site uses Flash to perfection – a total integration of sound and visual and interactivity. You’ll find Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, and social media channels all integrated neatly. Go see it at http://kenwilber.com. If you haven’t downloaded the latest, now bug-free, Flash browser plugin from Adobe you can get it free here.  (The new Flash plug-in finally fixes security and machine-crash issues – at long last! Bravo to Adobe. Now, maybe, Steve Jobs will let you put Flash on the iPad. But somehow I think he really likes the power of HTML5.)

Ken Wilber's integrated Flash website. All singing & all dancing. And philosophy too!

Neo Ogilvy – Alas, Nothing New!

Monday, May 31st, 2010
Neo Ogilvy Falling Man

Neo Ogilvy - The Falling Man as concept?

This morning’s New Thinking, Gerry McGovern’s e-newsletter, was titled “The reason why ad agency websites are truly awful” pointing out their lack of grasp of web fundamentals – that people like to “do” things and “interact” with websites. Most of us in the web industry are aware of the pitfalls of using Flash as the frontpage or whole site too. Doesn’t seem like Neo Ogilvy got that message.

So I wasn’t greatly surprised to find NeoOgilvy.ie is a Flash site. Visually well done. Big typeface messaging. Who We Are, What We Do. Just what you’d expect from anyone selling their talents. But there is absolutely nothing NEW or NEO about it. Instead Ogilvy rolls out the usual pitch – we do it all. This is 2010. What were they doing for the last decade?

Under “What’s Different?” it says: “Our fluid understanding of digital territories underpins our approach to the development and delivery of successful consumer engagement strategies…” That sounds fine. But there isn’t any sign that Ogilvy actually grasp what “interactivity” is about. The website is an advertisement, a one-way broadcast. This doesn’t add up to a “fluid understanding of digital…”

Ogilvy needed to “show & tell” with NeoOgilvy – big time. Alas, there’s nothing new here. Except perhaps the frontpage image of a falling man. Is this image meant to impress their clients? Who exactly is falling? Client or agency? In our current climate it is an unnerving image & reminds of those who jumped off skyscrapers in New York as the Stock Market crashed.

Why Safari Books Sucks

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

Safari Books Online 5 Stars for bad relationship managementAs part of a collaboration with a book publishing colleague I signed up for a free trial at Safari Books Online to see what it had to offer the book reading & buying community. Not much, as it turned out. Each time I visited I found it pretty useless. It looks like they have taken the Amazon Books “Peek & Read” idea and tried to make a business model with it.

But what really sucks about Safari Books is the ham-fisted, clumsy and lazy way they handle their email relationship with potential fee-paying subscribers like me. I signed up for the Free Trial many many months ago, and this morning comes their huge and dense email asking me to make 1 of many decisions. It starts with a breezy opener:

“Andrew,
How time flies! This note is just a reminder that your complimentary trial to Safari Books Online will expire in 5 days.  To ensure your access to Safari Books Online — and the thousands of technology, creative and business titles it includes — doesn’t end, sign up today to continue with the service. …”

Then follows a set of links and options – none of which I’m interested in – before it ends with this:

“Or you can do nothing and on 10/29/2009 we will begin your paid subscription at the price of $22.99 per month plus any applicable taxes.”

What?! Is this Stealth Subscribing? If I’m too busy or lazy, Safari Books will take my money? So, why did they open the email by telling me I’d lose my subscription if I don’t act?

Safari Books gets 5 Stars for bad relationship management, and the “thumbs down” for trying to get my subscription by stealth.

You’d think two major publishing companies like O’Reilly Media and Pearson Education would know better wouldn’t you?