The Customer is Always Wrong …

April 30, 2012

by Heather Keroes


That’s the impression I had recently when looking into ordering my contact lenses online.  Usually I order contact lenses directly from my optometrist at Target Optical, but with the hopes of saving a few dollars this time around, I decided to research online options – and there are many.  Surprisingly, most of the online suppliers quoted my contacts at more or less the same rate as Target, with the exception of one company.  However, while I am not fearful of online ordering (I am a frequent online shopper), I always do my homework to see how other consumers have rated their experiences.

I had an easy time finding reviews for the company I researched, and while on average it was ranked favorably, I noticed a common and disturbing thread amongst the negative reviews.  The company was responding publicly to some of its negative comments, not necessarily a bad thing, but in their replies the customer was always in the wrong.  The company even went so far as to claim that one of the reviews was a hoax by another disgruntled customer using a false screen name.

While I daresay there are cases in which a customer may be making an unwarranted or unfair claim, any customer complaint should be addressed in a polite, professional manner, providing next steps for sideline follow-up and resolution.  Through overtly defensive tactics going against the most basic rule of customer service – “the customer is always right” – this company lost my business before it had it.  I guess I’m going back to Target.

Another Take on the Online Commenting System

April 27, 2012

by Kim Taylor

My business partner and agency CEO Roger Pynn recently gave kudos to the Orlando Sentinel’s Mark Russell for how the paper is continuing to evolve their online commenting system.  Like many sites, the Sentinel requires users to register before commenting, which presumably helps prevent those who use anonymity as a shield to fill the pages with often toxic comments.

Gawker Media, the parent to hugely popular sites like Gawker, Jezebel, Lifehacker, has taken a different approach entirely … giving the power to the people … whether they reveal their identity or not.

Commenters who prefer to identify themselves can use the site’s “Burner” tool, which lets users enter a pseudonym to begin commenting.  The pseudonym is then linked to your device along with a key that’s generated randomly (in case you want to comment from different devices).  Burner doesn’t require a name, email address or password.

Additionally, Gawker’s letting users moderate users, essentially giving the power to the first person to comment on a particular story.

It certainly does “fly in the face of conventional media wisdom” as said by Nick Denton, founder of Gawker Media.  His reasoning:

“We’ll accept some disorder if that’s the price of freedom in one’s personal life, in politics and the press.”

What do you think?  Which approach do you prefer?

The Danger of “Contributing Writers”

April 26, 2012

by Kerry Martin 

Everyone has an opinion.  And since the advent of social media, those opinions have been easier and easier to broadcast throughout the world (like on this blog, for instance).

For the print and online news media, those opinions have started to mix with traditional, fact-based journalism.  Content from the opinion pages has leaked into other sections, and writers who usually covered standard beats can now express their views as “columnists.”  As this practice has become the norm, most readers have adjusted, learning the writing style and standpoints of their favorite reporters-turned-personalities.

But for outlets hosting content from subject matter experts or just other voices, readers oftentimes can’t distinguish the difference between real on-staff reporters and these so-called “contributing writers.”  The danger therein is twofold:  these bloggers don’t always have the same fact-checking editors that other trained journalists have, and their opinion is given more credibility behind the banner of esteemed news publications.

Take for example Steven Salzberg, a professor of medicine and biostatistics in the Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins University who writes for  He wrote a post earlier this week criticizing the University of Florida (UF) for eliminating its computer science department due to budget cuts while also commenting on the budget increase for its athletic program.  Salzberg had to make two corrections to the article about incorrect numbers quoted in the article and his insinuation that the University Athletic Association (which maintains a separate budget from the academic budget) could use its budget surplus to cover the cost of the program.  The most flagrant of errors in the article, however, was the fact that nowhere had he written that the changes to the computer science department were proposed … planned … not enacted.

More than 350,000 views later, the damage had been done.  Salzberg’s article was referenced in dozens of other posts locally and nationally (by other bloggers and actual journalists alike) further adding to the credibility of his false presumptions.

The University Relations team at the University of Florida quickly responded to the article with a response posted on the College of Engineering’s website about his incorrect claims, as well, UF President Bernie Machen addressed the situation and how the university is continuing to evaluate proposals for mitigating the budget.

Salzberg even wrote a follow-up piece about it—the view count is already up to a whopping 8,500.  And who said the corrections section doesn’t work?

(It should be noted that as one of the three members of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, the University of Florida is a Curley & Pynn client, that fellow C&P employees earned their degrees from UF, and … well, this is just my opinion.)

You Mean You Forgot the Conversation We Never Had?

April 26, 2012

by Dan Ward

Email marketers (OK, spammers) are becoming more and more sophisticated, but this one takes the cake.

Not only is it personalized, it also includes an email that I supposedly sent to the spammer, requesting that he follow up with me! It obviously is meant to reach busy people who might say, “gee, I normally wouldn’t give this guy the time of day, but apparently we’ve already talked and I asked him to follow up. He must be legit.” It also is meant to skate through spam filters, and on this point it was successful.

What made it a little less successful is the fact that “Steve Smith” sent the exact same message to my partner, Kim Taylor, suggesting that she made the exact same “follow up” request to him at the exact same time on the exact same day.

Memo to “Steve Smith at Tri-Cities Financial:” Since you have the power of putting words in my mouth, I wonder if you can guess the words I’m thinking of right now.

Escape app, please.

April 25, 2012

by Roger Pynn



Location-based technology is following me.  I can’t get away from it.  Now, even the news is following me.

Is it just me, or do we need an escape app?  I realize I can turn things off, but the urge to respond to every notification is driving me crazy.

And we wonder why people are texting while driving.

There is a Crisis Among Us

April 25, 2012

by Vianka McConville

In the last few days, Facebook has been targeted as a sexist company.  Ultraviolet, an online group with a mission to combat “sexism everywhere,” feels it is wrong that a woman does not sit on Facebook’s board and encourages the company to invite women to do so before it goes public in a few months.

As I write these words, Facebook may have already been presented with a petition of 58,000 people in support of Ultraviolet’s view.  There is a planned protest outside of Facebook’s headquarters in New York City Wednesday afternoon.  Facebook has not issued a response on their company website.

Mashable notes Facebook’s COO is Sheryl Sandberg, and she has some clout.  To me, Ultraviolet’s logical leap in accusations seems a bit stretched.  Their reasoning for Facebook to add women to the board is even less sound.  Comments on this article are few and mostly in question of the group’s intentions.  I’m sure Facebook (a large company that should know better) has a crisis plan for times like these (I hope).  Fifty-eight thousand people cannot go ignored.  Facebook has a unique opportunity to extinguish a flame before it goes viral. Addressing an issue is always easier than reigning in a backlash.

A YouTube Tip You Can Use

April 25, 2012

by Kim Taylor

Ever share a video and find yourself saying something like, “hey, this is a great video, but the important part is at the 2:23 mark.”  And then the person watching the video has to master the art of dragging that little status bar to exactly the right spot … awkward!

Save yourself that awkward moment with this handy tip.

Add #t= and the number of minutes/seconds (m s) to the end of the YouTube URL, create the new link and voila! Awkward crisis averted.

Let’s see this in action …

Original YouTube link:

We love Eric Qualman’s stuff, but I really love this part at the 1:59 mark where he includes the Darth Vader Volkswagen commercial.

Edited YouTube link:

Cool, right?  Now, that’s a tip you can use!

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