Posts tagged #Apple

A Lesson In Customer Service: One Phone Ring To Rule Them All

So yesterday I purchase (eagerly) William Gibson's Necromancer from iTunes. I do so knowing I can fill my cranium full of great sci-fi and interesting concepts for the future, some of which he's already eerily predicted. I jump in the Hyundai and I'm off to the tune of a German narrator. No, I mean like 'IN GERMAN' narrator! Now, color me red, but I don't have a babelfish nor do I intend to buy Rosetta Stone to listen to my book! Thus begins my journey into the customer service abyss.

It should be known before we go to far down the rabbit hole that I'm a total Apple fan boy. It's hidious curse but it's true. So this is not a brand-bashing session as much as it is a disapointment. You know PC fans, like the Zune!

I call Apple's 800 number with the intent of getting it taken off of my credit card for reimbursement because I'm such an idiot that I didn't read it was not in English. That's the cross I must bare, I suppose.

PLEASE NOTE: Everyone that I spoke with at Apple's customer service was friendly and top-notch, so I didn't have one of those experiences making you wish you had the Vader-like ability of strangulation through digital means.

What happens next predicates the motivation for this post. By me calling the 800 number, I get advised that the only way to attend to iTunes issues is by email and online chat.

So if I buy something at Best Buy there are different ways for me to get satisfaction external to calling. But I'm calling now! This is silly. This 800 number is the umbrella for all that is Apple (I know that's rediculous but I'm speaking for the people). Why can't I get someone to think in their heads that I'm retarded for buying the wrong book and simply credit me and LOL about it later in the breakroom? So I did what any douchebag would do and I asked to talk to management.

The long and the short of this rant is that it was resolved by a manger having to chat for me by the same means that I would have had to do if I were not in the car at the time -- which is moronic on yet another level that Apple does not empower their own customer service reps the right tools to resolve simple issues on products they sell. Furthermore, it took this kind woman almost thirty minutes to get someone on the chat system, and fifteen more minutes to resolve this.

I will say, in all honesty, that Apple has very good hold music. But I digress.

All I'm saying is this: would your mother have been able to dart around chat systems and email to resolve this? Would you have the time as an executive, given that it had been a critical part of your business needs? Apple, you must take some of that incredible revenue that you've obtained and sink it into customer service processes. Because something as easy to use as your product is failing on the backside where your loyalty can be threatened more easily then a competitive product.

Posted on July 27, 2010 and filed under Business, Management, Process.

What's In My iPhone -- Part One: Child's Play

I'm of course not going to go through the iPhone OS preloaded applications. Needless to say most of them are simply, very effective and world class.

Items NOT in a folder:

App: Dragon Dictate
Rating: ✩✩✩✩ (out of 5)
What is it?: Voice recognition, speech to text application.
Cost: Free
Comments: It's a little tricky at first but once you get the hang of it you'll never txt while driving again.

App: Camera Genius
Rating: ✩✩✩✩✩ (out of 5)
What is it?: Multi-tool set to add functionality to your iPhone image capture ability.
Cost: $1.99
Comments: You'll see later that I own a ton of photographic applications for my iPhone, and this is the only one (short of the default "Camera" app) that's not in a folder.

The "Sydney Folder" (for those new to this blog that's my two and half year old daughter) -- This is a tab bit misleading as she barely plays with these anymore going straight to the youtube icon to watch her shows.

App: Animal Sounds
Rating: ✩ (out of 5)
What is it?: Animal pictures and correlating sounds.
Cost: $0.99
Comments: When you have the 'four-up' option open and begin to mash all of the animals together it sounds like people being tortured in hell. Or so I would assume.

App: City Sounds
Rating: ✩ (out of 5)
What is it?:  Car and city pictures and correlating sounds.
Cost: $0.99
Comments: See above.

App: Pet Sounds
Rating: ✩ (out of 5)
What is it?: Pets and basic domesticated animals pictures and correlating sounds.
Cost: $0.99
Comments: See above.

App: Zoo Sounds
Rating: ✩ (out of 5)
What is it?: Zoo and exotic animals pictures and correlating sounds.
Cost: $0.99
Comments: See above.

I give those apps some crap but for parent I would advise it really seemed to get her wits about her when we where in public places and parks. Good learning tool.

App: Word Cub
Rating: ✩✩✩ (out of 5)
What is it?: A phonics based applications that allows learning of letters and sounds.
Cost: $1.99
Comments: Well worth the money, it's power is in it's simplicity and it manages to hold her attention from time-to-time.

App: Old MacDonald
Rating: ✩✩✩ (out of 5)
What is it?: A fun-filled animal to farm matching game.
Cost: $0.99
Comments: This has a little game-play aspect to it that will initially take some figuring out for your little one.

App: Old MacDonald - by Duck Duck Moose
Rating: ✩✩✩ (out of 5)
What is it?: Interactive cause and effect touch app based on the childhood song.
Cost: $1.99
Comments: This is a must-have app for the age group. Funny and interactive, you might even find yourself playing with it.

App: Wheels On The Bus
Rating: ✩✩✩✩ (out of 5)
What is it?: Interactive cause and effect touch app based on the childhood song.
Cost: $0.99
Comments: Another knock-out app from app developer Duck Duck Moose.

Seeing as we're on a kid theme this post I'd also reco' this site parents: The Playgrounder

Posted on July 20, 2010 and filed under Gaming, Mobile, Soapbox.

...Advertising Really Sucks – Introducing The iAd

From Apple's Site:
iAd is a breakthrough mobile advertising platform from Apple. With it, apps can feature rich media ads that combine the emotion of TV with the interactivity of the web. For developers, it means a new, easy-to-implement source of revenue. For advertisers, it creates a new media outlet that offers consumers highly targeted information.

So many of you are asking me my thoughts on the iAd. As and advertiser, gadget freak and creative dick, I'm as excited as a larper with a new set of crystal dice! Of course you cannot make too much fuss over the new advertising platform that will be built into the new iPhone OS Version four. Given that you did you'd be explaining to the world that not only do you hold the magic ticket to the future of 'interactive advertising' (which I'm dying to coin some stupid mash-up for like "adverteractive" or something equally as moronic) but that the potential money made the platform will be insane. You would also be telling the world that the snake oil that we sell in advertising will not only be more engaging but it might give the advertising brand more than a nanosecond to capture you're attention. It's a slippery slope, people don't want to sold on anything anymore. Word-of-Mouth, ratings and reviews are the trusted sensei of the selling world. Everyone now rebells against being hit-up on my marketing. But that could change.

Jesse Schell goes on a nightmarish tale of how the neo-world is a complex matrix of gaming and data capture. While somewhat far fetched, I don't (much to the chagrin of some of my readers) think the guy's a crackpot. Besides the fact that Jesse might want to consider decaf as an option, he does outline ad nauseam our obsession with rewards and competition.

What does this mean Justice? Get to the point!

The point is that iAds put people in an engagement arena that doesn't feel like traditional forms of marketing. There's movement, animation, game-play, data-capture, incentivizing and potentially... rewards and competition. Why should advertisers care? Simple – the iAd mobile platform, which Steve Jobs said had the opportunity to make 1 billion ad impressions a day on tens of millions of Apple mobile device users – including the iPhone and the iPad. Like it or not it's the most complete way to advertise within one space ever assembled.

Steve Jobs says of Apple new service:

“Well, we’ve got a lot of free apps — we like that, users like that, but these developers have to find a way to make some money, and we’d like to help them...What some of them are starting to do is put mobile ads in their apps… and most of this advertising sucks. We want to help developers make money with ads so they can keep their free apps free.

On a mobile device, search is not where it’s at, not like on the desktop. They’re spending all their time on these apps — they’re using apps to get to data on the internet, not generalized search...

The average user spends over 30 minutes using apps on their phone. If we said we wanted to put an ad up every 3 minutes, that’d be 10 ads per device per day — about the same as a TV show. We’re going to soon have 100m devices. That’s a billion ad opportunities per day!

...This is a pretty serious opportunity, and it’s an incredible demographic. But we want to do more than that. We want to change the quality of the advertising. We’re all familiar with interactive ads on the web. They’re interactive, but they’re not capable of delivering emotion."

Other Important items of note:

  • Apple will offer developers 60% of ad revenue, and will sell, host, and deliver ads itself.
  • This comes on the heels of Google purchase (well $750,000,000 shares) of their ad network previously called "AdMob".
  • Advertising is completely new revenue model for Apple.
  • iAd platform will not have as broad a base limiting itself to Apple products (running the iPhone OS) the iPAd, iPod Touch and iPhone.
  • iAd requires HTML5 for animation as Apples refusal to adopt Adobe Flash will seemingly never end.
  • Targeting and measurement systems remain to be seen.
  • While speculation on my part, the iPad apps right now are somewhat expensive in comparison to what we've seen in the iPhone app world. Therefore, it's reasonable to assume that the iAd model will also be costly for the advertiser at least until normality sets in – say a year.
  • What does this mean for the Apple OS?

Lastly, I leave with a question I will ponder for some time. What does it mean when you pour the advertising world into the hands of developers? Like it or not we will see!

Great related article since this post:

"Apple Introduces iAd: All iPhone 4.0 Roads Lead to Advertising"

Posted on April 9, 2010 and filed under Advertising, Interactive, Technology.