A lesson in customer service

SeaWorld

Back at the beginning of March, SeaWorld sent me a gift, which was a free $39 Dine With Shamu meal. It could be redeemed only online. Unfortunately, online redemption has been giving me an error for the past two weeks when I have tried to redeem my gift.

Since the gift expires at the end of my birthday month, which is in just a few days, I printed out the error message and my birthday gift email and went to Guest Relations at SeaWorld.

First person couldn’t resolve the issue and called his supervisor over.

Supervisor couldn’t resolve the issue and called his supervisor over.

Supervisor II couldn’t resolve the issue but commented, “I think I now know why Dine With Shamu hasn’t been selling out.”

Supervisor II didn’t resolve the issue while I was there, but what he did do was practice customer service of the highest order. He simply made reservations for Saturday (that’s today!) at 6:00 p.m. for Jim and me, and then comped both tickets! So Jim and I are Dining With Shamu. Free! An $78 value!

Jim and I dined with Shamu two years ago, and it was awesome, not to mention that the food was far superior to what I was expecting for a theme park event. Following is a picture of Shamu from when we dined with him in May 2012, up close and personal:

Dining with Shamu at SeaWorld

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

P.S. I’m not impressed with the new picture editing functions that WordPress instituted a couple of days ago, and I’m still having problems when I visit the blogs of other people, those problems being most noticeable when I try to comment or LIKE blogs whose URL ends with wordpress.com. About half the time I cannot comment, and LIKE buttons never load, so I can never LIKE!

The WordPress crowd in their Forums ignore me. Thus, I’m pretty sure that when my WordPress.com upgrade expires, I won’t be renewing. I’ll be taking my money to my own server.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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35 thoughts on “A lesson in customer service

  1. ytaba36

    I have to agree with you about WordPress, it started out so well, but seems to be going downhill, for some reason. I especially dislike not being able to contact anyone when I have problems!

    On a happier note, what a brilliant example of good customer relations, you must have walked away with a glow in your heart. elated birthday greetings to you, enjoy your dinner.

    Yvonne

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  2. wisemonkeysabroad

    What great customer service you received. What a lovely story to share 🙂
    Amazing how such a small act can leave such a huge impression – something we don’t understand is why more organisations can’t seem to get that.

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      I would have been happy just to get my reservations, one of which already was free, but to go above and beyond and give me both reservations free….. yep, that did leave a huge impression.

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    1. narami

      And reblog, but I can’t share something through twitter for example.
      I thought it was me when I needed theme support and couldn’t get to the help forums! Spent two days searching for them.

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    2. M-R

      @Narami: Forget the Reader ! – why don’t you try ACTUALLY VISITING THE SITES ??? WordPress has done that (I hope !) in response to many, many complaints. Don’t you actually follow any sites? You receive emails when they post, you know: you can do without the Reader entirely.

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      1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

        I have never used the Reader although I look at it once a quarter to see if it’s been improved.

        I found early on that email notifications were not reliable, either.

        Thus, all the people I follow are in an Excel spreadsheet, all 3,667 of them. I used to go through 120 blogs a day, liking and commenting. That took about 1½ hours. With the problems I’m having now, though, with blogs not loading, LIKE buttons not loading, and not being able to comment, I spend so much time waiting and trying that I might make it through 30 blogs on a good day. It’s so frustrating because I really like to visit the world, and I have not been able to do that from this blog since January 2, 2014.

        Interestingly, I have three other WordPress blogs: russelray.com, missionvalleyliving.com, and alzconnectlamesa.com. I don’t have problems at any of them. Just this one.

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        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          Nope. The Reader won’t load. A few other problems I have is that my site stats won’t load, I can’t even get to my blog unless I come here and then refresh the screen. Sometimes when I’m trying to compose a blog post, the screen disappears. Fortunately, the WordPress backup function works, so I have never lost anything that I was working on, but having to quit, come back, and refresh the screen to start working again is annoying and time-consuming. I’d much rather be reading, liking, and commenting on the blogs of others.

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        2. M-R

          Russel ! – good GRIEF !!! 3,667 ???????
          I have (hang on, I’ll check …) 171. It takes me my entire day to get through them. Of course, that includes all manner of other things undertaken … but the reading of the latest posts and the commenting thereon is such as to require MANY hours of my time. How you manage to get through even twice that many, let alone 21 times … I have no words.
          As to WordPress … Its current activities are a major source of grief for all of us, I believe. The worst part is th way no-one there will pay attention to any of us.

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          1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

            Back when I was visiting 120 blogs a day, it took about 1½ hours, and to get through 3667 blogs at 120 blogs a day would take 30 days. I find that acceptable since I usually left up to 20 LIKES or 20 comments. I leave LIKEs to let people know I was there. After all, on a pure photography blog, you can only say “Nice picture” so many times before it just gets boring for both the writer and the reader.

            I also will say that in the blogging world, it helps to have taken Evelyn Woods’ Speed Reading course back in 1973, and to have been using Dragon Naturally Speaking for the past 12 years. I certainly could not type all of this stuff in my own blog much less visit everyone else, too!

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            1. M-R

              My little sister gave me her now unused copy of DNS, but I was unable to learn it. I’ve reached an age where I just don’t have the energy to take in a whole new interface like that. Wish I’d started, like you, years ago.

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              1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

                There really is not much of an interface because it works in the background. So when I’m in Word, or Excel, or WordPress, I just talk and Word, Excel, WordPress, etc., do what I tell them to do.

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      2. narami

        Well, the reader is my primary tool for following sites, which yes, I do. I think we should be able to use every blog feature that WordPress provides given that its their reader. I

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        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          Stay tuned for my next post. I now know why I could not comment or LIKE on blogs whose URL ended with wordpress.com. Problem fixed, but it took a few hours of reading through hundreds of threads in the wordpress.com help forums.

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  3. M-R

    Russel, delightful story ! – Always good to hear such: restores one’s faith in the universe.
    Unhappily, even though you are one of VERY MANY who is disgusted with the change to the image editor, it looks as though WordPress is behaving tyrannically on the matter. They simply don’t reply to criticism. Very poor.

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      They don’t respond to anything. One of the people who roams the Forums to help said that he couldn’t help me because “you obviously are using wordpress.org on a self-hosted site.” Uh, no. I’m right here at wordpress.com with an upgraded site for which I pay $99 a year for! No help.

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  4. MicheleMariePoetry

    It could actually be your computer. Right now I’m using my daughter’s computer and on this one I can “like’ “share’ and “Comment” to my hearts content. My computer won’t load any of the “likes” etc… And i can’t ‘see’ everything like I can on my daughters computer…

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      It’s not. I have two other computers and a laptop. Same thing on them. I have also access this blog from FedEx Office computers and from San Diego Library computers. Same Thing.

      In late February I got the bright idea that it might be my theme. So I changed themes. Nope. Same thing.

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  5. robert87004

    If I weren’t doing WP for free, I’d have to do the same. I’ve had the same problem with likes on pages so I mostly “like” from the reader, which works most of the time.

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  6. laurie27wsmith

    Nice pic of Shamu Russel, did you let him pay the tip? -) I have trouble on a lot of sites where everything except the like button loads. So, I put my mouse pointer over the share buttons and move the mouse back and forth quickly. After a few seconds the like button shows up. Don’t click anything while you do it, just move the pointer.

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      Oh the number of things I have tried to resolve the issue………..

      However, after spending several hours reading through several hundreds of threads in the WordPress help forums, I finally found a clue. I used that clue to do some things and voila! WordPress is working again!

      I’ll have a post up in about an hour explaining what the problem was.

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  7. Photos With Finesse

    I love hearing good customer service stories. I struggle to find it these days – and having come from 30+ years in a service background, it drives me batty! (Best – or worst – is when you call somebody and they tell you to go to their website. Umm no. I’m on the phone, let’s solve it now!) I’m glad I’m not alone in my struggles with the Like on my own website blog. It’s beginning to really annoy me. At least people can still comment!

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      1. Photos With Finesse

        Really, great! Because for a lot of people it’s not loading. Just sits and hangs. Even for me, I see it grayed out, it says it’s loading, and then just sits there. (I’m on IE10, but it does it to me in Chrome too.) Then some people can, and others can’t.

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        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          It does it to you on Chrome and will in Firefox, too. And any other browsers you choose to try. That’s because IE10 is the master and all the others are slaves, even when you’re using another browser. Same thing happened to me, which had me convinced that it was not the browser but was, instead, WordPress. Upgrade to IE11, which is far superior to IE10 anyway, and all your problems will go away.

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            1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

              If you’re using Windows 8 right now, you’ll be okay. If you’re upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8, it might be a culture shock. Let me know if you need help with Windows 8/8.1.

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