Happy Tuesday, Internets

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Yep, that’s me. Happy Tuesday, everyone.

How having a little fun helped 1800CONTACTS.com give me fantastic customer service

Let’s get one thing straight, we live in a world where the customer is always right. Heck, most of the time even when customers aren’t right they still feel like they should be treated like they are. I guess that it only seems right to feel this way, doesn’t it? I mean, if we’re spending our hard-earned cash on a product or service then they had better go above and beyond to make sure that we, the consumer is as happy as humanly possible. Sorta makes senses, right?

With all that being said I personally think that some people can get a little too carried away with how they treat some of the customer service people who have to deal with their company’s day-to-day issues. You see these types of front-line customer-facing employees pretty much everywhere you go. It could be someone working the register at McDonald’s drive-thru, a Starbucks barista or even more common nowadays a phone or email customer service rep. No matter where you see them there’s one thing that’s true across the board, they have to put up with a lot of crazy people on a daily basis (see McDonald’s Chicken Nugget drive-thru lady on YouTube or below to see what I mean).

Unlike the women in that video I’m sure that some customer reps actually deserve to deal with some of the upset customers that they come in contact with (that’s just part of the cost in doing business), but no matter what has happened I don’t think that anyone has the right to treat them in a way that’s demeaning or disrespectful. They’re just doing their job and most of the time they had nothing to do with the reason why the customer is having a problem in the first place. They’re just at the wrong place at the wrong time, that’s all.

I bring all of this up because whenever I’m dealing with any type of customer service employee I try to make sure to not only treat them with respect, but I also try to break up some of the monotony of their day with a little bit of unexpected weirdness. A large part of my job at isocket is handling customer support so I definitely have some empathy for the types of things that customer service people deal with on a daily basis. This is why when I needed to contact the customer service peeps over at 1800CONTACTS.com I decided to have a little fun with the emails and chats I had with them.

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I didn’t really need to include this screenshot, but I LOVE that cheesy photo

Let me give you a little background. A couple of weeks ago I needed some new contacts so I shipped out a couple of boxes to my old address in San Francisco. I totally did it on accident and when I completed the order I had the bright idea that they would still probably find their way to me at my new address on their own. I mean, my mail was still being forwarded, so why wouldn’t my contacts be forwarded, too? Well I’ll tell you why — when you’re shipping something with UPS or FedEX and use the wrong address they don’t simply forward it to your new address. They have no idea where your new address even is so it’s pretty much impossible.

It took me a couple of weeks to realize this (yeah, I’m a little slow), but when I did I had a couple of thoughts go through my head. First, I felt like an idiot for thinking that my contacts would still get to me even though I used the wrong address. Second, I realized that I needed to get in touch with the 1800CONTACTS customer service people asap to see what I needed to do to get the contacts that I has already ordered.

After I realized the mistake I had made I headed on over to the 1800CONTACTS website and first sent out a quick email to their customer support team. I really wanted to make sure they knew how I felt about the situation and that I was truly concerned for the safety of my lost contacts. Here’s what I wrote:

–Original Message–
From: ryan.hupfer@gmail.com
Date: 2/25/2011 1:24:02 PM
To: info@1800contacts.com
Subject: Status of Order

Ok, so I was an idiot and ended up shipping my new contacts to my old address. Is there any way that I can see what has happened to them? I don’t want them to be walking the streets of San Francisco all lonely and depressed. Who knows what kinds of trouble is just waiting for a brand new box of contacts in this city…it’s scary when you think about it.

At least I bought two boxes so that they can look to each other for support when times get tough.

But I don’t want to think about all of the bad things that could be happening and want to try to get them home to me as soon as possible. Please help us re-unite and make everything well in the world of me and my contacts!

Thanks for your help and I hope to hear from you soon.

Ryan Hupfer

After that I noticed that they also had a live chat feature (which we also use at isocket), so I figured I should give that a shot, too. Only this time instead of getting help as myself I decided that I would chat with the customer service rep as a box of contacts. Here’s how I started the chat session:

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When the chat first started I was curious to see how the rep would react to my harmless fun and I wanted to see if she would ever refer to me as a Ryan Hupfer’s lost box of contacts instead of Ryan Hupfer the customer. Throughout the chat session I stayed true to being a box of contacts and as you can see below in the dialogue the rep who I was chatting with started to play along just a little bit. Here are some of my favorite highlights of the chat.

At this point she wasn’t breaking the script, so I kept trying even harder:

Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: so I’m lost
Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: and I’ve been shipped to the wrong place
Shelley : HI, Ryan. Welcome.
Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: (I’m a box of contacts from 1800contacts by the way) — I just hopped on a free connection at a library
Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: so Ryan apparently shipped me and another box to the wrong address
Shelley : I am so sorry your lenses were lost! I am happy to help correct the shipping address on your account and get a new package sent to you.
Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: any way that we can make our way back to him?
Shelley : Okay, no problem.
Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: I’m hoping that Ryan has updated his contact info
Shelley : One moment while I take a look at your account.

This is when she let me know that new contacts were going to be sent out with next day shipping (which is awesome). Of course, I was still trying to get her to acknowledge me as a Ryan’s lost box of contacts, which she finally did in the last couple of  lines below — sorta:

Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: Ok, so you’re sending a new box of contacts to Ryan then?
Shelley : Since your other package was lost, I will send this new package to you with our next business day shipping and signature required to ensure you receive your lenses.
Shelley : Yes, that is correct.
Shelley : Will someone be in the office to sign for your package?
Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: What will happen to me and the box that’s with me since we’re lost?
Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: …and yes, someone should be at his office to sign
Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: from M-F
Shelley : Perfect.
Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: I’m still scared for what’s going to happen to me. Will I end up at your warehouse? I liked that place.
Shelley : The lost package will usually come back to us as a “return to sender” package.
Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: SWEET - I hope you’re right
Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: It’s raining and I’m getting tired
Shelley : If you end up with Ryan, then we will send a prepaid shipping label with your new lenses so you can return them back to us.
Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: Wow, that’s great — you sure do know how to treat a box of contacts
Shelley : Thank you.
Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: I knew I loved you guys
Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: you’re the best
Shelley : Thank you so much.
Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: I’m sure Ryan appreciates it, too
Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: :)

I ended up closing out the chat by telling the rep just how much Ryan will appreciate their help and then I finally break character and tell her thanks for chatting with me:

Shelley : You will receive an email confirmation as soon as your new lenses ship out to let you know they are on their way. After that, you can expect them the next business day or no later than Monday, 2/28/11.
Shelley : What else may I help you with today?
Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: You mean Ryan will receive a notification? Cool.
Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: He’ll like that.
Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: Nope, that’s it — I can;t wait to be shipped back to see my other contact friends!
Shelley : Great!
Shelley : What else may I help you with today?
Ryan Hupfer’s contacts: That’s it — you rock and thanks for playing along. :)
Shelley : You’re welcome.
Shelley : Thanks for chatting with me today.

This chat was a lot of fun and just a few minutes later I also got a response from the support email that I had sent in earlier. Who says that being a good customer and having a little fun doesn’t pay off?

Hello Ryan,

Thanks for your email today, really made my day. I have replaced your order for you and you should receive it on Monday, February 28th. If you haven’t received your order by that date please give us a call and we will take care of it for you.

If there is anything else we may help you with please don’t hesitate to let us know. You may reply to this email or contact us at 1-800-266-8228.

Keep up the great attitude and have a wonderful weekend Ryan!

Shana

1-800 CONTACTS Customer Service Representative
Phone: 1-800 CONTACTS (1-800-266-8228)
E-mail: info@1800contacts.com
Address: 51 West Center St, Orem, UT 84057

I’m definitely going to remember this the next time that I need some quick help from customer service. Who would have thought that being fun could help me get my contacts quicker? I’m sure that they would have gotten back to me even if I hadn’t put in the extra effort to be goofy, but I doubt that it would have been so quick. Besides, it’s good to know that I’m helping someone else have just a little more fun doing their job which is pretty awesome, too.

Moral of the story? Take care of customer service reps and even have a little fun with them if you want to be taken care of right back. Sounds simple enough, but much harder to implement in the heat of the “I need some customer service now!” moment.

Have any other awesome customer service stories to share? Post ‘em in the comments so that we can all see!

If you’re going to do it, then go all out

story-behind-the-speedo-guy

In life, I tend to feel like if you’re going to do something then you should go all out.

Meaning, if you’re going to sing Karaoke, then go nuts and sing your freakin’ heart out. (like how Jason and I did in Vegas)

If you’re going to take engagement pictures, then make them ridiculously awesome. (like how Henry helped us do)

If you’re going to jump in a frozen lake for charity, then grab some friends, dress up all crazy and do it in style. (like how Stephanie and I did in Indiana)

If you’re going to dress up for Halloween, then take it to the next level, remember the details and make people think you’re like that year-round. (like how Stephanie and I did on Halloween last year)

If you want to do something that’s a little bit scary, then find a way to make it happen and get after it. (like how Stephanie and I are doing with out mission trip)

To be honest, sometimes life gets in the way and I feel like just doing what everyone else does and making just enough of an effort to get by will do the trick. Each time I do this I end up with a sub-par effort that usually results in me having a mediocre time or getting mediocre results at best. I’m not sure about you, but having a mediocre time or doing a mediocre job isn’t what I’m usually going for. Mediocre will get you nowhere. Mediocre is lame.

If you want to see someone who goes all out when given the opportunity check out the video below of the Duke University student who’s now simply known as “Speedo Man”. If he would have have half-assed his one chance to distract Jackie Manual, the free throw shooter from the University of North Carolina, then he probably would have only got the standard few laughs and some high fives. But, since he decided to go all out he’s now turned his 15 seconds of fame into something that only legends are made of. Check out the video to see what I mean.

So, next time you’re planning on doing something — go all out and see what happens. It might feel a little crazy at the time, but I think you’ll like the results.

UPDATE: My homie Mitch just left an awesome comment on Facebook with a link to another video that he thought was relevant to this post. Check it out below — it’s pretty sweet. Mitch’s simple advice: Never be afraid to be the crazy one.

The holidays are for storytelling

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me and two of my favorite friends and storytellers

Whenever I come home for the holidays there are a few things that I focus on doing:

1. Getting some rest (which usually means that I sleep in most days)
2. Catching up with family (Christmas with the Hupfer’s is always an adventure)
3. Eating lots of good food that I never get to eat anymore (hello home cooking!)
4. Getting some good workouts in (this is to help balance out #3)
5. Hanging out with friends that I never get to see anymore (it’s like an awesome Indiana reunion)

For this post I’m going to focus on reason #5 and give you a taste of why I always look forward to catching up with my friends so much. I really should post more about my friends from Indiana as they’re some of the most unique and interesting people I’ve ever met, but for some stupid reason I never do. They’re crazy as hell and are fantastic at telling stories, which is one of my favorite byproducts of spending time with them over the holidays. I’m not sure if I can even do them justice when it comes to telling you about the stories that they can rattle off and I’m usually included in most of them.

Whenever me and my friends meet up there’s always lots of stuff to catch up on and lots of past stories to tell all over again like they just happened for the first time. It’s kinda funny — before I moved away from these guys I took these types of stories for granted, but now that I don’t get to see them very often I have realized just how important and unique they really are. I think that the only person who loves them more than me is Stephanie. She loves hearing all about all of the stupid things that me and my friends used to do before she knew me and just like me she also loves hearing about all of the new stories we’ve missed being a part of since moving away.

Now that me and most of my friends have fantastic women in our lives the stories tend tend to be told with the female gender present more and more which usually produces comments like “I don’t think that girls ever do this stuff.” and “Why do guys do all of this stupid stuff? Me and my girls never even came close to doing something like this.” I guess that we never really thought about it from a guy/girl standpoint, but the more women who hear our stories the more it reinforces the point that when growing up girls just don’t do nearly as crazy stuff as boys do, which leaves them with WAY less stories to talk about. This is why they enjoy listening to ours so much as they shake their heads due to a mix of disbelief and embarrassment.

I’m not sure why girls don’t do these types of things when growing up, maybe they’re too busy thinking about other stuff? Maybe they’re too busy shopping, talking about what all of the boys are doing or putting up posters for their favorite boy band? Even if they did spend a majority of their time on these types of things there still had to be room for some good old-fashioned mischief and nonsense. I mean, me and the rest of my friends had video games, computers, sports and other things and can still tell stories about our mindless and sensless adventures for days. I guess we’ll just mark it up to the fact that boys and girls are built differently — you know, the men are from Mars and women are from Venus type of thing.

The more I think about these stories the more I want to write up a collection so that none of us will ever forget any of them. As we get older they’re not getting any easier to remember and I would think that one of these days some will get left out and forgotten about never to be heard of again. This makes me sad because I feel like the stories that we create with the important people of our lives are what keep us connected and keep us remembering why we became such amazing friends in the first place. If we forget these stories and stop talking about them then we’ll start to forget what first brought us together and our friendship will get downgraded to the “people who used to hang out” level. Ewww.

What does all of this mean? Heck if I know. I guess all I’m saying is the next time you’re with your friends and you can’t believe that so and so is telling the same story that he always tells when you’re all together you should shut your mouth and just enjoy it. These stories are more important than you know.

Hupfer home remodeling, how may we help you?

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One of the things that Stephanie and I talk about a lot is how great it would be to start a business that we could run together. We don’t really know what that business would be exactly, but I’m sure that it would be pretty awesome. I mean, if our friends Holly and Ryan can do it with wedding photography I’m sure that we can do it too, right?

As with most things it’s easier said than done, but thanks to Bart (Steph’s dad) and Shannon (Steph’s step-mom) we had the chance to get a taste of some home remodeling today, which might just end up being something we could really go after from a business perspective. You never know until you try and today was an opportunity to do just that. You see, Bart and Shannon just moved to the Los Angeles area and have bought a house that’s about to get a serious makeover thanks to Bart’s remodeling skills.

Since Bart already has a good idea of the walls he’s going to be knocking out, we all thought that it would be a fantastic idea if we went ahead and got some of the demolition started by kicking a hole in one of them. I know what you’re thinking — kicking a hole in one of their walls might not be that helpful in the long run, but to be honest who cares? Even if we didn’t help out that much it sounded like it could be really fun to try.

So, is home remodeling going to be Hup and Steph’s next big thing? I highly doubt it, but feel free to take a look at the video below and make your own conclusion.

This video begins with our friend Adrienne kicking the wall a few times with no success. Then Stephanie gives it a couple of shots that don’t even make a dent. Finally, Adrienne gives it a couple more kicks that eventually make it through and then Bart follows her up with a few more kicks that end up going all the way through the wall.

After the wall had the hole in it, I thought that it would be fun to get a few shots of me getting thrown though the wall, head first by Bart. Needless to say, I think he had some fun taking these.

Being a turkey on Thanksgiving isn’t easy

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Stephanie and I are down in Los Angeles visiting her dad and step-mom for Thanksgiving weekend and as usual they had something planned for us once we got into town. We ended up getting to their place right around midnight (it took us about 7 hours to drive down from San Francisco) and within minutes Stephanie’s step-mom Shannon started getting all excited and telling us about her big plan for Thanksgiving.

You see, Shannon now works for a large software company and when you are supporting millions of customers who use your product, then there’s always a need to have someone around to help out — even on Thanksgiving. Even though no one is too excited about having to go into work on Thanksgiving (they were doing shorter, 4-hour shifts) Shannon thought that it would be a great idea to go into the office and thank them in her own, special way.

“Ok Ryan, you’re going to dress up like a turkey and then me, Stephanie, Bart (Stephanie’s dad) and another co-worker of mine and her husband are going to dress up like pilgrims so that we can chase you around the office. I thought that it would be a great way to show that we’re thankful for the fact that they are working on Thanksgiving and it will be hilarious, don’t you think?”

Of course Stephanie and I were definitely up for a little turkey and pilgrim action (it’s not our first time doing it), so the next day we woke up, put on the costumes and drove over to the Intuit offices so that we could run around like a bunch of crazy people.

Now that it’s over I would say that it was a fantastic way to kick off Thanksgiving — we had a lot of fun running around and telling everyone happy Thanksgiving. All of the workers really appreciated it and most of them were dying laughing as we circled the cubicles in our costumes and all of the running helped us all work up a nice appetite for our Thanksgiving feast.

Here’s a quick video of how it all went down.

What I have learned from not having my cell phone for 3 days

MICHAEL DUNLEAWhoa! You haven’t had a cell phone for 3 whole days? OH MAH GOOOOHDNESS!

How are you keeping up with Facebook? How are you taking pics of everything that you think is amazing and sharing them with all of your friends, family and whoever else is following you online?

Holy freakin’ guacamole how are you updating Twitter? And last but not least, how are you possibly keeping up with all of the emails that people have been sending you? How are you possibly keeping up?

Easy answer to this is: I’m not. (and it’s been kinda nice)

And you know what? I’ll tell you a few other things that I haven’t been doing.

I haven’t been looking down at my phone whenever I have some free white space during my day.

I haven’t been looking to see what everyone else has been talking about and what photos they have posted since the last time I checked my phone 15 short minutes ago.

I haven’t been feeling like I always have to be catching up with this email or that other thing that can’t possibly wait until the next time I open up my laptop.

I haven’t been wondering why I don’t have a job that flies me to Paris or why I can’t run as fast as that other guy who always seems to be working out more than me.

I haven’t been worried about what everyone else has doing for once, which made me feel a little bit better about being me.

Yeah, it’s been nice.

Oh, and let’s not forget what I have been doing now that I’m not attached to my phone.

I have been talking more with my wife during the 60+ minutes that we’re lucky enough to spend with one another in the car everyday.

I have been on time to pick up my wife from work every, single day since I didn’t have the ability to text her “I’m on my way!” when I knew I was going to be at least 10 minutes late.

I have been talking to more people while standing in lines and while waiting at crosswalks.

I have been paying more and better attention to people.

I’m not saying that cell phones are all bad — they’re great at making us more productive and for keeping us entertained. But, now that I’ve gone without mine for a few days it’s made me realize when I should and more importantly when I shouldn’t push that power button and unlock the screen to see what everyone else has been doing and what I’ve been missing.

Hey, it’s a start.

p.s. I’m guessing that you might want to know why I haven’t had a phone for the past 3 days? Well, without going into too much detail let’s just say that it involves Stephanie, Frank’s water full bowl and an accident (so she says).

Why we only have 65 cents in our bank account

The big news from the Hupfers today is the fact that our bank account has been totally wiped out by some people who somehow stole a bunch of credit card numbers, created counterfeit credit cards and went on a Target gift certificate shopping spree. This means that a majority of my day today was spent calling my bank to see what the dealio was and what all I needed to do as far as due diligence goes to make sure that the money that was taken out is eventually returned.

To my surprise, this is what I saw in my pending transactions when I logged into my Union Bank account this morning after getting an email alert that my balance had dropped below $1,000 (which I set up in my alert settings — I would highly suggest doing the same if you can).

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If you’re not great at spotting patterns let me help you out — there are multiple $275 transactions that are just sitting there, waiting to hit my checking account. They’re practically laughing in my face. I have to admit that these transactions freaked me out a bit when I first saw them, but after talking to the people at Union Bank (who were super awesome) and the people at Target (who I think were outsourced and weren’t so awesome) it sounds like everything will be A-OK. They told me that stuff like this happens all of the time, but this time it somehow decided to happen to yours truly. How awesome is that?

Now that I have talked to my bank about it I have a pretty good idea of what’s going on as far as how this happened and what the next steps with be with taking care of this whole credit card fraud bizznass. Here’s what the dealio is as far as I can tell:

So, hopefully all of this works out and all of the money gets sent back into our account where it belongs, but if not I guess we’ll deal with it. The timing of this whole thing is kind of funny considering that we’ve been talking about Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in church over the past few weeks, which includes passages about how storing up treasures on Earth is foolish as they will eventually decay or will be stolen by thieves. Instead, we should be storing up treasures in heaven by loving others and living the way that Jesus lived.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Matthew 6:19-24

Seems pretty relevant, don’t you think? :)

Has anything like this ever happened to you? If it has, feel free to let me know how it all turned out in the comments below.

This used to be there

The result of an interesting Saturday night. See this video for how it happened.

bye-byehair

I don’t know anything about sports

In case you don’t keep up with baseball, San Francisco has a pretty killer team this year. Stephanie and I have been to a few of their games, but I wouldn’t really consider either one of us fans. Coming from Indiana where we love the Colts, kind of like the Pacers and like the Indians only because they have an awesome field we don’t really have a whole lot of baseball blood flowing through our bodies.

But, that’s not going to stop us from jumping on the bandwagon, which we’re doing tonight for the second game of the playoffs where the San Francisco Giants are taking on the Atlanta Braves. The Giants won last night’s game and I actually listened to the last couple of innings of it on the radio, which was pretty sweet. There are some hard core Giants fans here in the bay area and they’re all going nuts for their home team.

Right now I’m riding up to the game on a Caltrain that’s full of orange and black Giants fans, incuding the 4-5 people who are sitting way too close to me. I asked a few questions about the Giants to an older guy accross the aisle and he said that he’s been a Giants fan for over 20 years. He also told me that the Giants were in the playoffs in 1989 where they got waxed by the Oakland A’s (and had an earthquake during one of the games) and went to the World Series in 2002, where they lost to the Anaheim Angels in 7 games.

A couple of other guys sitting by me who were also sporting Giants jerseys jumped into the conversation and started spatting off stats about different players, who would be pitching tonight and what the game plan should be. They knew a lot about baseball and they especially knew a lot about the Giants. At this point I pretty much got squeezed out of the conversation due to the fact that I don’t know anything about the Giants, baseball and pretty much any type of professional sports in general.

You would think that since I played sports all the way through college (basketball, believe it or not) that I would have more interest in sports than I do now. But, honestly I really don’t. At all.

Heck, I don’t even own a Colts jersey, which is practically a crime in Indianapolis.

Anyways, all of this to say that I don’t know anything about sports.

But, that doesn’t mean that I can’t pretend, so off to the bar I go! (don’t worry, I’ll drink a beer for you, too)

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