“A little birdie told me” – How social networking is changing customer – company interaction

When I signed up from twitter I never thought it would be something that could benefit me in any sort of way besides a couple retweets from friends and a chance to be a fan girl over my favourite celebrities.  Little did I know that the little white

Twitter's logo

bird would be a useful resource in me getting the changes I wanted to see from companies when a phone call to customer service has failed me.

Twitter is a social media site that allows you to say what is on your mind in 140 characters or less.  You have the option to tag someone using the @ sign which will take you directly to their profile, or you can use a hashtag (#) to tag a topic which then creates a link so you can see others who are saying the same thing.  Twitter has been around since 2006 and has done nothing but grow and making positive changes like offering a simple “verified account” blue check mark to celebrities and companies who twitters recognize as the official company and/or person.

As I was saying earlier, this little white bird seems to be solving more and more of my problems lately.  Earlier in the month I experienced a difficulty with my cellphone company (Virgin Mobile Canada) where my call display (which is a service I receive for free as per an agreement in my contract) was going to be taken away.  I called the company who told me “well that promotion is over” and immediately decided to take things to the social network.  A quick message airing my frustration and emphasizing the importance the situation was to me warranted a quick response from the company with an e-mail address to contact.  I wrote a letter explaining my previous customer care problems and received an e-mail back saying it can take up to 5 business days for a response.  I once again returned to twitter to inform the customer service twitter rep that I had sent the e-mail and within an hour and a half I had a response stating my call display was in fact going to return to my phone free of charge as previously agreed upon and would stay that was as long as I was their customer.  Now you may be thinking I lucked out with the cell phone company here – in fact I notice that other Canadian companies like Telus and Rogers wireless offer support for their customers through social networking.

Cell phone companies aren’t the only ones helping their customer base through twitter but Kobo Books is as well.  I have been running into problems with my kobo wifi e-reader for the past 3 months where I have sent it for 3 repairs and the same problem keeps happening.  Tonight when I called the company I pleaded to speak to a supervisor who could possibly give me a replacement instead of fixing this no doubt lemon of an e-reader.  The man on the other end of the phone assured me someone would contact me by e-mail as soon as possible, and no matter how many times I asked to be put on the phone I was denied.  Furious, I took to twitter once more to see if I could get some answers or a speed up in the process time to get e-mailed.  Thankfully, Kobo is another company who uses twitter to communicate with their customers both sharing the praise they receive and giving help to those who are looking for answers (such as myself).  Within 20 minutes of the first tweet being sent (and a few others back and fourth)  I had an e-mail of apology complete with an offer to be sent a free Kobo Touch (one step above my current e-reader).  Needless to say, I’m a happy customer who is just relieved to get back to reading without having to send it out for repair every month.

And while I praise these two companies for being social media gurus and helping me out in the best ways possible I can’t help but feel a little bit angry at the same time.  I feel as though my voice and concerns weren’t heard until I was on a public domain voicing my opinion for the world to see.  I understand the world is changing, but at the same time shouldn’t companies treat every customer equally with respect on the phone and provide them with answers they need? Why is it that behind a computer they can provide me more help then when they’re listening to my clearly upset tone?

Next time you find yourself in customer service hell take a deep breath and let your 140 characters do the talking.  Social networking is here to connect us so don’t be hesitant in using it to get the answers and service you deserve.


My student life.

I drown in homework on a weekly basis.  Whether it’s reading or assignments, or group work, I’m doing it.  I sit at my computer scaring at blank word documents hoping something comes to me and it rarely ever does.  I open a textbook to find the answers that a peer reviewed source is suppose to give me because hours of research has done nothing for me.   You’re right, I only have classes 3 days a week and by Wednesday I’m ready to collapse into my bed and do nothing but sleep.

But here’s the catch: I love to be involved.  I love to see people’s faces get excited when I played a part in ensuring a guest speaker has come and when we provide pizza for students saying “hey it’s rough this time of year!”.  I love spending my time with my peers planning events, socials, and other ways to keep people connected.  I get told I’m building my resume, and sure I have volunteer experience like you wouldn’t believe but honestly, do you think that’s why I do it?  Do you think the reason I’m doing something is for my CV to look nice and pretty?

I’m sick of people doing things to only benefit themselves.  Congratulations, you sign up for things you can’t commit to.  Congratulations, you got a position you’re going to put on your resume but never put 100% effort into.  I’m running an election where multiple students told me they were interested but not a single one has submitted to me the maximum 250 words stating why they should be elected.  I’m left with a decision of extending the time period or keeping my position.  I’m going through a lot of work to make sure I’ve secured blog space and time to count ballots from every single person in our program.  I’ll be doing this alone – I won’t have help from another person because I’ve done this whole position on my own.

It’s frustrating to see the empathy and excuses people have.  “Oh I’m tired.” “I can’t I have class tomorrow”.  We’re all in the same boat so instead of making excuses why don’t we do things together? I have a feeling these next few weeks are going to be exhausting for me, but I don’t have much of a choice.

There’s a lot I don’t understand about this town

I don’t understand how so many young girls are having babies.  I’m 20 and the thought of having a young life to care for is terrifying. Even if I had a boyfriend who was loving and supporting I don’t think I could do it.  Yet there are 15/16/17 year old girls in this town who are pregnant.  I wonder if they understand the seriousness of the situation they are in.  The next nine months of their life may be tough but after that comes child birth, a baby, and 18 plus years of having the child live under your roof.  Do you plan on finishing high school? How about getting a full time job so you can support the baby? You’re not even old enough to buy a lottery ticket and you’re going to be standing in line at the grocery store purchasing baby food.   Of course there are exceptions to the people who obviously unprepared but these people are few and far between.

 

Tonight I am thankful

I like to lay awake sometimes and think about things in my life that have gone great instead of counting the mistakes I’ve made in the past years.  Tonight, I’m not remorseful for poor decisions I made.  I’m not upset that I’m not an honour roll student anymore, I’m not crying because I don’t have the “one”, I’m not dwelling on things that didn’t turn out how I imagined they would.

At seventeen I moved out of my parents house to move into a college residence and started going back only on holidays.  I am thankful they forgave me for being so shallow minded when I thought I could make it without them.  They are my world and the people who provide me with the message to keep on going and don’t give up.  I’ve become the girl who looks forward to a phone call from her mom (no matter what mood) and a hug from my dad when he picks me up. I’m thankful they let me come home whenever I want for how ever long I want and remind me how great of a person I am even if it is indirectly. Hell, I even have had the joy of getting closer with my brother.  I’m thankful I have a sibling who has my back, and who let’s me cry when I need to and reminds me of when I don’t .
I’m also thankful I have the greatest grandparents in the world.  Despite our differences in the past their overwhelming support of the woman I am astounds me.  You guys are the reason I keep going some days so I can show you those two pieces of paper one day and make you proud.

I am thankful for friends.  The ones who offer to eat every dinner with me and can tell when I’m upset and just need to get something off my chest.  The ones who will notice little things and skype with me to hear me cry about how things didn’t go right, but by the end make me laugh.  The ones who understand when I need a weekend away, a cup of tea, a phone call, a funny picture, or a hug. The ones who I don’t see for months and laugh about the silliest things with while holding squeezing hand at a concert in excitement.  The ones who gave me my most prized “possession” – a ginger haired smiling girl and is pretty much my other half.  I am thankful for the people who made decisions to walk out of my life because I wasn’t good enough for them – thank you.  You’ve shown me I am an extremely valuable human being who’s life does not hold a price tag because I am priceless.

I am thankful I survived my teenage years when so many nights I thought I wasn’t going to make it (when they say it gets better they aren’t lying to you).  I am thankful I make decisions that are logical and at the same time try to live my life with as little regrets as possible.  I am thankful I have a job that has helped me grow as a person and has helped give me some of the most amazing people the world could of ever showed me.  I am thankful for shallow things too – like caffeine (lest we forget the week I was without), books, laptops, and a nice smile.  I am thankful for my freckles (or as my grandpa says angel kisses), and my curves, and my hazel eyes that aren’t quite perfect bu thank goodness for glasses.   I am thankful that I am alive, and I’m doing alright.

I know this post probably seems ridiculous to some, but for a girl who has times where all I can focus on the negatives this is a big accomplishment.

It hurts.

Y’know, it took almost no thought for me to let you back into my life.  There were many people warning me to keep my guards up and don’t let you get to close to me because of how things have been in the past.  But when you came back into my life after 2 years of being AWOL I figured nothing had really changed besides a few more piercings on my side and a couple of tattoos on you.  It made me smile, it was almost a form of comfort to have a little bit of home away from it.

But at the same time, I shouldn’t of been so stupid. You made me cry on my birthday.  You tried to make it better with a kiss but it just made it worse.  It made me feel like this would eventually, perhaps go somewhere.  We had a night of movie watching and cuddling and then a night of lazing around.  It was nice to have back what was my best friend and it was great to finally see both of us smiling again.

The thing about nothing changing is the bad part of the person is still the same.  You earned nicknames from my friends that I told them “oh he’s not like that anymore” but I realize that I lied to them.  That’s even worse than all the lies you said to me.  And y’know, I didn’t ask for you to lay your heart on the line and give me a definite yes/no commitment all I asked when you said “you can’t do it” was for you to still be my friend.  You’ve pretty much cut off contact with me.  It’s like  how it was 2 years ago again.

If there’s a lesson to be learned from this it’s not to give people the trust you think they deserve.  Judge by their actions and not what they say.  Don’t be fucking stupid.

“I just need a bit more time”

I find myself saying these words all the time with reasons why I never have tasks finished.  I actually have never handed an assignment in late (high school and university) but when it comes to gathering information up and prepping it, I’m slow.  I hate the thoughts of the pile that keeps growing of work to be done and the amount of trees I’m bound to kill in the month of February with assignments.

This semester is strange for me.  While I do have the advantage of having three days of classes it is exhausting to me.  I don’t know if I’d ever do it again.  I’m a girl who is not a morning person yet I’m up before 9 on all three of those days.  I’ve added a job into the mix and debated applying for a second but honestly, I can safely say it’d just be too much.  I need the money.  I know I’m wasting money on stupid “pointless” things but at the same time I can’t just live a depressing life as a student where I’m sitting in my room or running around campus.  I did that for two years.  It’s time I start doing somethings for me.

But no matter what happens, there’s never enough time in a day.  I haven’t seen my niece since before Christmas (or my best friend for that matter).  I go home on weekends because something seems to come up and I’m missing opportunities to keep good friendships going.  I want 20 minutes a day to go to the gym but during the hour long breaks I have I’ve been napping so I can be on my A game all the time.  I’ve been using my breaks to make sure I eat lunch, or to make sure I eat breakfast because honestly I realize how much more important it is for me to eat than it is for me to hit up a treadmill.

Winter semester always seems to go so fast.  I’m already starting week 4 this week, with my first midterm coming up on Wednesday after a Tuesday night concert with my good friend.  I just need to make a calendar and put dates on it so I don’t forget anything.  I’m a stickler for every grade I can possibly get.   I decided I was going to give myself a break this weekend and visit my one friend in a nearby city, but as it turns out our Saturday is being filled with previous commitments (homework for me and a club meeting for her).  It’s not a bad thing and I’m not complaining about it (because it needs to get done), but I’m dying to just have a weekend to breathe.

In the words of Dory from Finding Nemo, I’ll just keep swimming and in the words of Jack’s Mannequin I’ll just keep my head above.

 

Reasons I love my e-reader

As an avid bookworm it probably doesn’t come to a shock to a lot of my friends that my room is filled with piles upon piles of books.  I have books on my dresser, on shelves, in cardboard boxes under my dressers, in stacks by my bed, and in my closet.  I wish I lived in a big enough room that could accommodate a gorgeous and tall bookshelf with a comfortable reading chair fairly close by.  Sadly, my room barely has enough room for the bed and and nightstand I have in it.

This summer I made the decision that with my first pay cheque from my job I was going to buy something I really needed.  I decided on an e-reader despite my love for paper books.  It honestly just got to a point where I had two decisions: to stop buying books or to start buying them electronically.  The first was never an option to me really, and so I went on a hunt to figure out which model, and brand I’d like best.   After a journey to Chapters (a bookstore …clearly) with my A1 I came to determine I wanted the Kobo Wifi Reader. Which looks a little something like this: 

Here are the main reasons I love this little guy:
1.  It is so light and portable! Instead of having to decide one book with me to take on a trip I can take multiple books.

2.  IT’S NOT A TOUCH SCREEN.  Okay, I know a lot of people probably disagree with me on this one but it’s really hard to misflip on this bad boy.  I am able to control which page I’m going to and what speed.

3. I’ve stopped ruining the endings of books for myself.  I am notorious for flipping to the last page of books but with my Kobo I can not be bothered to figure out how to.

4.  I read faster on my kobo than I do with paper back.  I know a lot of people say this isn’t possible but I truly feel I’m able to finish a book quicker, and understand it just the same.

5. I don’t have to worry about a bookstore being closed when I want to the read the next in the series.  I turn on the wifi, I go to the store, do a quick search and WHAM within minutes I have my tale!  Also, the book sizes are REALLY small so for even something as slow as my home wifi (which believe me I could run faster than it somedays)  I really don’t have to wait.

6. I love the fact the books tend to be MUCH cheaper on an e-reader with over 36, 000 free books you’re also bound to run into something you’ll enjoy without having to pay a cent.

So what I’m basically saying is, despite all the hate e-readers get I really do love them.  I don’t understand why people are so concerned with them “ruining bookstores” and such, I am still guilty of heading into stores and buying books and other odds and ends.  Plus, with Kobo being linked to Chapters I can’t help but feel good buying from them.  If you are unfortunate enough to have a mishap with your e-reader Kobo is GREAT for customer service!  While Future Shop refused to touch my e-reader claiming I pressure cracked my screen, Kobo agreed to look at it (under warranty) and if they could see it was not my fault they would fix it free of charge.  Within 10 days I had a refurbished e-reader sitting on my doorstep AND because Kobo backs up your library, I was able to get all my purchases back (even though I had a new computer by this time too).   Do not feel like you are the “death to paperback” if you decide it’s something you want.  Remember, you can always buy another copy of the book later on in life to pass onto the next generation.