Online services should work: A rant about Staples Online

Today I spent the day in the library collecting resources for my research. I saved everything to my jump drive and thought I’d go to an office store after the library to get the articles printed (the library cost $.15 a page and the office store is $.05). I looked at the websites for Office Max and Staples and chose Staples because it looked like it was cheaper and it was on my way home from the library. I registered for an account and the site crashed. I tried again a few times and go no where so I thought I’d do it when I got home and pick it up on my way back to the library tomorrow.

I was able to log in when I got home and I started to upload my files (one at a time because I’m on a Mac with Firefox – they have a tool for Windows users which I assume allows for multiple uploads). So I uploaded my 30+ files one at a time only to have the site crash on me 1/2 way through. The second time around I used the ‘Save My Job’ button (which only worked sometimes). Let’s jump ahead 1.5 hours. I’m ready to go on to the next option (yes it took that long because of site crashes, slowness and stupid design). Now it’s time for me to pick my print options.

I choose B&W and Duplex and the site says – fat chance and crashes again – and again – and again – and again this time in Safari – and again – this time on hubby’s computer in IE. I come back to my computer and Firefox and try again – no luck. I go back into Safari and low and behold I got the site to accept my selection of B&W and duplex only to find out that it takes 24 hours for an online printing request to be completed!!!!! If I want it by 12pm tomorrow 15 hours from now I have to order it Rush – but 12pm is no use to me – I need it tomorrow morning so I can read it at the library instead of waiting a whole extra day.

The moral of the story is this – do not offer your patrons/customers and online service that does not work – and always show the terms up front so that they know what they’re getting into before they dedicate 3+ hours to making your stupid tool work!!!!

My review of Staples Online Copy & Print Center – Zero Stars. And tomorrow I’ll be heading to Office Max to get my pages printed in person.

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Yelp Makes it to the Big Time

But when can you truly say that a company has “made it?”

It’s when people start hating you, of course.

Sites like Yelp-Sucks and IHateYelp have been popping up, with the general theme being an angry business owner who was Yelped. Those business owners that think they must use Yelp for competitive reasons are getting frustrated over some of Yelp’s policies, and are starting to complain about it. Loudly.

The good news for Yelp is that when businesses are afraid of you, it’s only because they realize how much power you really have. See, for example, Paypal and Ebay, two of the most reviled and profitable businesses on the Internet.

Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said recently in the NY Times, “We put the community first, the consumer second and businesses third.” Their goal is clearly to make businesses need Yelp, but not to expect a lot of help when it comes to disputes. Complain all you want, you’re just proving that you need Yelp more than they need you.

This from TechCrunch.

I’ve been a member of Yelp since soon after my wedding when I had a big complaint to post about my photographer! I then sort of forgot about the site until I started working for LibLime. I am traveling so much that Yelping has become a hobby for me. I review every place I go while traveling and have been going back to review places I have been in the past. Unlike the implications above, I actually have mostly positive reviews on my account with only a few below 3 stars.

This is a great tool and over my vacation I invited something like 50 people to join Yelp and share their reviews. Now I’m inviting all of you! Join in the fun!

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I mentioned a little while back that I was using Yelp more often recently – and that I was Yelping about libraries I had visited. This past week while I was in training, I made sure to review every place we visited and was thinking – wouldn’t it be great if more librarians were using this service to review places around their libraries and common conference locations. I’d like to see a link to Yelp reviews on conference wikis in the future. I’ll be Yelping about places I visit during the conference season – will you?

For now you can sign up and add me as a friend. My profile is here.

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