Category Archives: Huh?

Some communication attempts that have me scratching my head.

I Just Quit FourSquare

foursquareI was a FourSquare addict – checking in everywhere, collecting badges and mayorships as a cheap thrill. I posted photos and tips. That all ended last week.

I got an email from FourSquare that I had to read a few times to understand. Apparently the check in is no longer wanted there – that’s now happening at a new app called Swarm. The message said this transition was going on for some time, but I am a pretty avid FourSquare user (read addict) and it was news to me.

Anyway, what got really confusing is that although my ability to check in on FourSquare was being shut off, the new FourSquare isn’t yet ready to be used. Even today, at the website it says:

A brand new Foursquare, with a brand new logo and look, is almost ready for you.

My response? I deleted the app from my phone. Bye-bye mayorships and badges.

For what its worth, here’s my list of the communication mistakes made:

  • Sending an active user a message that was pretty complicated and that did not give much warning of a major change.
  • Cutting off functionality with nothing to replace it and offering no value proposition. If I can’t check in why use a basically disabled app?
  • Sending a message that made me feel that I was not the power-user I thought I was — it told me that I was way behind the (Swarm) curve. I didn’t like the feeling of suddenly being behind the times.

So, while I take some time to wallow in a little FourSquare pity, please share your FourSquare/Swarm experiences here.

Customer Service Fail: There’s No Value in an Answer that Doesn’t Address the Question

Sorry, Safeway, I love shopping in your stores, but I just have to call you out on this too-classic example of poor customer service wrapped up in a friendly email.

This past weekend, I was not able to find any variety of Tide HE detergent in my local store. This has been an on-again, off again frustrating problem, so I went to the website and used the contact form to send this message:

I shop at the store on Burke Centre Pkwy. Does the store not carry Tide HE any longer? I have always had a problem reliably purchasing Tide HE at this store, and this weekend I was only able to find one small bottle. I wonder if whoever stocks this area is not aware of HE versus regular? I know the labeling is not very obvious. But, people like me with HE washing machines cannot use the regular detergent.

A few days later, I got thus uber-friendly but basically irrelevant response:

Thank you for writing to us regarding a request for your local Safeway store to carry ‘Tide HE’.

Upon receiving your inquiry, we have researched the item, and found our research indicates that though ‘Tide liquid he 2x w/ tod April fresh 72-loads – size: 138FZ’ may not be currently stocked at your store, it is designated as a valid item for stocking. Please speak with a manager about ordering this product back into your store along with the UPC and order number: UPC: 0-37000-87474 – Order #: 36 01753. We will also forward your request to our buyers of Tide products for your store so they know this item has been requested. We apologize if this in any way inconveniences you. We realize how important one-stop shopping is to our customers. Thank you for taking the time to submit your product request. We do track these requests and they are reviewed often to help us determine which items to stock.

First, I wasn’t asking about “Tide liquid he 2x w/ tod April fresh 72-loads – size: 138FZ,” and, second, is it really my job to ask the manager to place an order? I appreciate the raise in my standing from customer to buyer, but that’s not what I was looking for here.

This case illustrates that good customer service goes beyond being responsive. This response doesn’t address my question so it is only slightly more helpful than no response at all. At least I know they got my message.

Communicators, be sure to not get lost in the process of customer service, and keep a focus on meaningful customer service. After all, irrelevant communication isn’t helpful; it is just noise.

As for me, after work today I am headed to Target to see if I can find some Tide HE.


Smarter Way to Search on LinkedIn? Perhaps Not.

linkedinLast week I got an email from LinkedIn with the subject “Introducing a Smarter Way to Search on LinkedIn. The body didn’t say much, just “LinkedIn Search just got smarter” with a clickable button to “take the tour.”

I clicked the button and took the tour, if you can call it that. It was a series of pop up text bubbles. (See below.)

I use LinkedIn all the time and couldn’t see what was improved. I decided to give it a few days and see if in the course of my regular use I could see a change. I didn’t.

Sorry LinkedIn, but your search capabilities still generally suck.

Here’s what you get when you take the tour:

  1. Check out the more powerful LinkedIn search. Find people, jobs, companies, and groups with a single click, right from this search box. (My thought: yeah, that’s not new.)
  2. Find what you need. We’ll show you matches for your search in the most relevant order, personalized for you. (My thought: ditto above.)
  3. Explore related content. We’ll also show related categories you might find interesting. (My thought: This may be new, but not really valuable to me. When I am looking for people or companies, I rarely want to see related content.)
  4. Refine your results. You can click on a category to search instantly within your results, too. Ready to see the really powerful stuff? (My thought: This could be exciting, if it works. My findings: it doesn’t. My recommendation to LinkedIn: Get rid of all the check boxes and allow a free text search of profile content. That would be much more helpful.)
  5. Dig deeper. For added power, try an Advanced Search. See these categories? You can expand them to make your search even more specific. (My thought: Maybe this will help me find people easier. My findings: Not really.)
  6. Give it a try! Enter your search and see what it can do for you. (Did that–several times over the last several days–and it didn’t do much for me.)