July Boing the boing

My Friend Kerry: Sometimes when I go to a different Starbucks they ask for a name to write on the cup. Sometimes I just give them my last name. They usually spell that right. Never know how they’ll spell my first name!

Me: I have an entire Seinfeld-ian premise based on this. I mean try ordering coffee with a name like “Aaron.” The soft vowel at the start, the soft consonant at the end. The myriad of names you could mistake it for. Eric. Derek. Erin. Darin. My Aaron always gives the name “Eddie” when he orders sandwiches in a deli. But his friends always goof it up by calling him Aaron. So he starts insisting that his friends call him Eddie when they’re in the deli. This problem compounds when his friends start calling him Eddie outside of the deli. This pisses him off to no end, so his friends start upping the ante by calling him “Deli Eddie.”

Unbeknownst to any of them, there is a local crime family called the “Deliedies.” One day, one of their mobster rivals overhears them calling him “Deli Eddie.”

Hilarity ensues.


And now, some Poops from the CS188 Archive:


The Swingle Singers

It’s not every day you get to add to a Wikipedia article.

In Popular Culture
Mentioned in season 3, episode 23 of The West Wing, “Posse Comitatus.” As Deborah Fiderer, played by Lily Tomlin, exits a disastrous job interview with President Jed Bartlet, she is heard to wonder: “Whatever happened to the Swingle Singers?”

Wish I could prove a new theory that Scissor Sisters were inspired by this combo.

In other news:

With A Shiver In My Bones

It’s a strange world when the predicted snowpocalypse under-delivers and people are all like WTF, snow? WTF? But that’s Rochester, New York. We were expecting a foot. We got four inches. School was canceled anyway. And everyone’s all shaking their fists at the sky goin’ “Zat all you got? Huh? You ain’t so bad! C’mon!”

I negotiated the snow like a champ. I should. I learned how to drive in Kent, Ohio. If you don’t know how to drive in it there you will spend a significant amount of your driving life upside down in a ditch. Funny. A few years ago when I was leaving here for there, following a fierce all-night snowstorm, I saw this dude who had overturned his Jeep. He was standing beside his car with the most befuddled look on his face. I mean, he had managed to leave the vehicle. But it was upside-down. It was beautiful.

I was asked before the storm hit (by my dear Mom) if we had plenty of provisions for the storm. Mom. This house has a chest freezer full of deer meat and a bottle of bourbon. What else could we need?

Anyway. So here’s the article I’m crowing about this morning:

According to research firm Gartner, 65 percent of self-service interactions currently escalate beyond the Web to an agent. In other words, a customer has come to your website and is unable to complete his or her transaction, and thus needs to call your organization for help.

At my previous job, I’d estimate the rate was more like 85 percent. Or worse. And this was true of pretty much every interactive portal we provided—the membership directory, the online store, the authentication. Everything. I considered it my primary professional mission to solve this problem. Had a little trouble getting the rest of the place on board with that, unfortunately. But, I really appreciated this blog post because it does an excellent job at identifying the problem, at providing it a nomenclature. The “interaction escalates beyond the Web to an agent.” I like that.

Interactive pages that require that the user make a follow-up phone call = epic fail. Such pages should work flawlessly and provide a seamless customer service experience or said organization should throw away that system with the coffee grounds and start over, and it should make said renewal its top priority.