Problem with my monitor

With current COVID-19 situation,  working from home (WFH) is new normal for me.   I use a Dell monitor instead of watching the small laptop screen for more than 10 hours everyday.

However, I started to notice that  the color near the edges became faded especially when dark colors were shown a few months ago.  Since it was still lock-down at that time,  I decided put it aside first.

here is what happened when I decided to get it solved.

First, I searched Dell website to find out how to get support.

  1.  Product model – no issue,  got it from Dell display manager installed
  2. Service Tag – what is that?  here is link from Dell , which looks simple. But when I tried to find it from my monitor, I realized that it is not so easy.  Somehow, Dell designer decided to put in the bottom middle part behind the monitor. But,  that part is perfectly blocked by the monitor stand and cables.  Alternatively,  it was mentioned that it could be detected.  But, after I downloaded and run  their SupportAssist program as suggested,  I realized that that did not work for me – I am not using a Dell PC.   So the only choice for me is to do some physical works.  Luckily,  the design of  monitor stand is excellent.  I could rotate the monitor easily and that allow me take a photo of the service tag
  3. Call – number is there
    1.  option selection was  quite smooth,  either choosing a  number or just saying it – what product.
    2. no long waiting –
    3. the first thing the service agent asked is not service tag but Express Service Code –  which was just below the service tag – luckily I took a photo.
    4. After explaining my monitor’s problem,  I was instructed to follow a few simple steps and take a photo of the monitor’s display.
    5. Once I took the photo, the agent asked to sent photo to Dell… by just replying to an email he just sent..  yes,  it reached my inbox just one or two minutes later.
    6. I thought – OK,  well, probably I have to wait for another a few days before I could get any feedback..  But, “Just hold the line” the agent told me after I sent photos by replying email’s from Dell.
    7. After a few minutes waiting,  the agent confirmed that he received photos I sent and it is product problem.  As my monitor is still under warranty, they would arrange 1 to 1 replacement the next day if the stock is available – A good news indeed.
  4. Replacement
    1.  this part went quite well
    2. I got call for the logistic team to confirm the time and address for delivery in the same day
    3. I also received email from Dell Support again to confirm the replacement arrangement
    4. In the  next day, the replacement came , not exact the same model I used, but the next generation- what a surprise.

Now, when I think the whole experience of my monitor issue,  this is probably one the best post-sale support I received (the others are from Apple), especially the first call resolution attitude.   But definitely there are rooms for improvement:

  1.  where the service tag is.    Dell positioned it in a place where it is quite difficult for people to check.  probably this is misalignment between product design and service needs.
  2. how to share  the information from customer to Dell?   You noticed that I have to send photos via email and wait (but not very long…)  or is there any alternative approach? how about a dedicated Dell support app? how about an photo upload link sent via message?

your thoughts?

Where is my coffee?

It is Saturday afternoon.  Things were moving slowly.  I just thought I need something to boost my energy.  Instead of going out, I decided to order something from Starbucks via local food delivery platform..  a bit lazy choice.

The ordering went smoothly. The app is easy to use,  you can find Starbucks easily and offering from Starbucks were presented nicely. I selected a cup of coffee,  a cup of tea as well as a small cake,  for my wife and myself.   The payment process was quite great.  No more typing of 16 or 15 digits of your credit card,  it was integrated with Apple Pay (I am using iPhone).   Once payment was confirmed, the app presented order status “preparing…”.  I received email confirmation as well.  So far so good

You can image that preparing a cup of coffee and tea is not going to take much time especially they are from Starbucks.   But,  I started to get worried what was going on as the app still showing the status preparing,  just tea and coffee… you know..

30 minutes was gone,  no change of the status – still preparing, I checked the app – only 3 standard items available for my pending order  – – basically, you can not cancel it, you can not change it.. . And I started to search whether there was  any customer support channel available – nothing in the App.   I went to their website – Great! the help center only presented standard answer, no online chat and no phone number.   And I did google search.  and then I got  email to their support – usually, that would not solve anything in a timely manner.

almost 40 minutes passed,  my order was still preparing. I decided to send an email to their support anyway.

email was sent and just after that I received a notification that my order is on the way,  finally, after more than 50 minutes from a Starbucks probably just 1km away.

The issue here is me,as customer does not have any means to address their needs to find out what was going on and whether they could do anything – change the order, cancel the order or …   This in turn, I believe, would impact their decision when they need to select the delivery platform next time.

I checked “help” again after my order was delivered,  I noticed that the items available were related delivery  (anything missing, any problem, wrong order), payment, feedback about delivery person, and late delivery (was it a bit too late to ask whether the delivery was late? ) Actually, I noticed that there were chat function under certain questions, for example, missing item,  order marked as delivered but not received yet. ..  It seems that the platform adopted smarter approach to deploy their support resource:

  1. no generic helpline
  2. only target those that requires human intervention
  3. no support if that is beyond their control.  Probably delay in food preparation is not something they could change immediately as it is under the control of restaurant. hopefully,  there will be follow up actions with the respective restaurant if there were always complaints about the delay .

I received their email response within the 30 minutes after i clicked send button.  I was surprised. At least, someone was working on the customer support email and addressing the concern form customer.

I would say the missing piece here is how to deal customer frustration when there is delay in food preparation which is not under their direct control.  But that is also one of key pain point their customer is facing I believe.  I really do not want wait for my coffee for 50 minutes.

have a good cup of coffee!

New Normal

it has been a while that I have not updated anything here.

COVID-19 – a term that did not exist in 2019, changes the world completely:

  1. what we have been take for granted is no longer possible or at least not easy as it used to be such as enjoying an oversea trip,  watching a movie in a cinema.. and even enjoying a tasteful meal in a restaurant..
  2. what we have been considered as impossible or at least not potentially feasible is  becoming reality,  meeting virtually, signing contract without physical presence,  working from home – conference call becomes new normal..

The epidemic has forced people to think and act differently in order to continue the basic activities..   This impacts not only to everyone’s personal life but also how each business should be conducted.  many business activities stalled – airline, hotel, …  and some are

From customer interaction perspective, one big challenge limited physical face to face interactions and people movement,  – physical shop,  customer interfaces…  Many of these have to be transferred to the digital platforms..  that does not means the one to one copy..  this requires changes of complete mindset, thinking and process of business delivery..   Digitization – a term is becoming popular in recent years, will be one of key elements to determine the survival a company, whether you like it or not.    and the CX (customer experience ) in digital only should be one of key elements in “new normal” world.


Online ordering – challenges during the difficult time

with the spread of Covid-19 virus around world, I, as many of people around, try to cut my grocery shopping trips and switch to online platforms.

I believe the demands are surging drastically:

  1. certain stuffs are missing  –  mask – for sure, hand sanitizer , toilet paper (not sure why people want to buy them in huge quantity..)
  2. long waiting and delivery time…
  3. ……

the first thing frustrated me the most is last minutes cancellation by on-line shop.  I assumed that when I ordered something and completed the payment, the stuff should be “reserved” in their system and the stocks are actually available as indicated online. however, quite often, certain items were cancelled by the online shop just on the day before scheduled delivery day.  could this be their system problem? they could cope with the demands?  Usually, what is missing is “hot” stuff, like hand sanitizer, hand wash, ..  or is this just their trick to attract more traffic/visits?

second, it is very very difficult to secure a delivery slot.   One online shop just tell you no slot available,  another one, provide a list of slots, but non could be booked…  And, there is no clear update on how slots are allocated, released.  I tried a few days continuously at different time, the result? always the same.   I could understand the high demands for deliveries services,  but I am also expecting a bit clearer update..

third,  some online shops still present out-of-stock items in their web sites and apps without clear indication at very beginning.  you only know that the item is not available when you click the item and try to order…

I believe the key here is how to reduce customers’ frustration during current difficult time.   could it be better if the online portal or app could

  1. avoid last minutes cancellation by enhance stock management and its integration with online portal/app
  2. prompt customer that there is no delivery slot before they start the ordering or even browsing,
  3. remove out-of-stock from display or at least provide a filter that allow visitor to decide?

those might not be issue under normal circumstance,   but, there are always new challenges…   covid-19 could be probably today, there could be something completely new after Covid-19

take care and stay safe

Where is my parcel? (part 2)

it was usually quite busy in December,  to rush to close tasks before year end, to celebrate holiday with family….

anyway, first, let us continue my story…

finally, the shop sent my order, the delivery went well, at least according the tracking info available from Taobao app.  it reached the forwarder service provider’s warehouse in China. Usually, it would take about one or two days for the service provider to collect, sort the delivery and update the status via  their web site..  I waited, but, after a few days wait, the only thing I could get from the service provider web site was none… I started to wonder where was my parcel?

I decided to reach them and find out what was going on.  First,  it was quite standard process, I should provide tracking information from China and they would check whether they have received the delivery.

here was what happened:

  1. the first answer was that they could not find it….
  2. I insisted that they should received it based on the tracking information
  3. the next request was – could you try to contact the seller or local courier to find out more details
  4. OK, I decided to give it try, but there is a problem:
    1. the order was not sent to me directly, it was sent to the service provider’s warehouse in China, with their address and contact number
    2. when I tried to reach them, they could not provide much details as I was not receipt of the goods
  5. so, I went back to service provider and tried to explained the situation and requested them to contact local courier.
  6. at first, it seemed that they understood situation, but, a few days later, they still told me that they could not locate the delivery..
  7. I tried again to explain what they should do.. and provide them the tracking info (in Chinese ) to them and suggested them reaching to their local (in China) team who should understand delivery info.
  8. again.. a manager called me and still mentioned that they could not find it……
  9. I have to explained the same again…

so, at this point of time, in my mind, I was almost sure that the chance to find it was very very slim….

but a notification email reached me suddenly, informing me that there was an item pending for delivery in service provider’s warehouse in China…   what was that?

funny enough, I received another email – stating that they could not find my delivery…. 😉

What I was happy about:

  1. for sure, finally, I received my order
  2. efforts to keep me updated ..

what I was not happy about:

  1. no outcome / progress during the process even the
  2. confusing update..


so, what could be improved? how?


Where is my parcel? (part 1)

As the year end is approaching, discount, sales, shopping are everywhere..

Like Black Friday in America, double 11 or 11.11 (11th / Nov) is arguably the larget online sales event, and it is from China. many things on sales with great discount.. looks very attractive!
But, I am not in China, and many sellers do not deliver the purchases to my places directly from China. luckily , there is so called forwarder service provider who, provides you a domestic address in China so that your order could be processed and delivered to forwarder service provider’s warehouse in China and then they will send goods to you, of course with a fee. As long as the total sum is still cheaper than buying directly from your own country or something you could not get.. it is quite good option.

So, I signed up the service, got my unique domestic address in China, set up account in Taobao (under Alibaba) and found a way to setup payment via Alipay (that is another long story ;-). All set, I started to browse the website, compare, check….. and finally put two items in the cart.. and wait for the right time the 12:00am of 11/11
when the time came…. I quickly checked out the items in the cart in order to secure the discounts .. and now, it was waiting time…
Luckily, Taobao does offer quite good delivery tracking via its app. I could easily find out the status of my orders and where they are. As there would be huge surge in delivery demands, I assumed that it would much longer time…

Yes, indeed, even one item I ordered was on the road almost the next day, there has been no news for another one for a few days… what is happening?

more to come in my next post..

CX (Customer Experience) and UX (User Experience)

CX and UX are commonly used terms when we describe experience.   are they the same?

they are not.

typically, UX describes the users’ perception, gain, emotional feeling when they interact with certain products (either digital or not, most of the time, it refers to digital products, such as Web site, Apps on the phone….)

but, the scope of CX is much wider, it is not just about the interaction with a specific product but the journey with a specific corporation, company or another individual person who offers certain products.  it starts with advertisement, sales, service/goods consumption, billing, support/customer care….  and along the way, there could be many many touch points where UX is critical.

however, to achieve Good CX, a Good UX is not enough..  as mentioned, CX is about journey, about relationship.  A good UX, for example, a fantastic user feedback interface will not improve customer satisfaction if there is no follow up after user’s complaints…

this is a good reference :, I like their idea of different level of interaction – Single-interaction, journey and relationship.   but, I believe we should still draw a line between user experience and customer experience.  A user of a product may not be necessarily the customer of the company.  User experience design and Customer experience should focus on different topics.


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