July 22

Customer Service That Works!

I was reading this post, Akismet Gives Me A Lesson In Customer Service, at Blogs With Wings this morning and it made me smile. I, too, had a great experience with customer service yesterday and it was an excellent reminder of how important it is to respond quickly to the needs and wants of your customers, big and small.

I use a couple different hosting companies for the various websites I own, but my primary hosting provider and the one that this site is hosted on is Total Choice Hosting. I’ve been with this company since 2004 and will probably continue to stay with them for a long, long time. Why?

Well, for one, they provide good hosting services at reasonable prices and, two, they provide great customer service.

Are they perfect? No, not always. My experience with them yesterday proved that. Early in the day, their company dropped the ball. In a BIG way. I was experiencing some serious issues with connecting to their web server and uploading files, even being completely locked out of connecting at one point. I opened a support ticket to get the issue resolved and their low-level support techs basically responded with “There’s nothing wrong on our end. It’s your problem.” and closed the ticket, issue unresolved.

I wasn’t having the problem with any of my other hosts and extensive testing of everything on my end made it clear to me that the problem wasn’t on my end, so I reopened the ticket, only to get the same response. Your problem, ticket closed, issue unresolved. I went back and forth with them on this several times, reopening the ticket only to have them close it again. Things came to an explosive point when yet another problem occurred.

I opened another ticket for the second problem only to get the same response as the first ticket. Problem on your end, ticket closed.

At that point, my redheaded, Irish temper took over and I exploded. I reopened both tickets, not to get resolution, but to rant at them for being completely unconcerned that I couldn’t use their service anymore. If I can’t connect to them, there’s no point in keeping an account with them.

Within minutes, I received a response. Not from the tech department but from the President the company. He asked me to contact him directly through instant messenger so we could chat. I did and we spent the next 30 minutes working together to get all my problems solved. He fixed the problems occurring on their end AND he helped me find and fix a few things that were contributing to the problem on my end. By the end of our chat, my service was working perfectly and I was a HAPPY customer.

Then, to top off my great experience, he made sure I knew how important my business was to him and he gave me his personal cell phone number and told me if the problem happened again, I could contact him directly and bypass the ticket system. THAT is good customer service and when I think of that day, it’s that experience I will remember. Not the frustration that led up to it.

Akismet Gives Me A Lesson In Customer Service

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June 7

Review: Crowne Plaza Hotel, Philadelphia

While attending a Darkness Radio Paranormal Convention in Philadelphia, I stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Market Street. Although I wouldn’t classify my experience there as completely unpleasant, I was not impressed by the hotel. Below are the pros and cons of my experience with the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Philadelphia.


  • Air conditioning in room worked very well and kept the room cool and comfortable in spite of the hot weather.
  • Room was cleaned reasonably well by the cleaning staff.
  • Food and service in the hotel restaurant was pretty good.
  • The bed was comfortable and felt clean. The pillows were a little soft for my taste but there were plenty of them and I was able to arrange them in order to sleep comfortably.
  • Starbucks located directly across the street (a definite plus for me).


  • Room was extremely small for the price. Barely able to move comfortably between the bed and the desk and there was no seating other than on the bed or in the desk chair.
  • Bathroom was even smaller and did not have enough room to use comfortably. Banged my elbow repeatedly while reaching for toilet paper, which was awkwardly placed in relation to the toilet.
  • Clock radio was not plugged in and plug was tucked under the bedside table. Had to move furniture to retrieve plug and set up the clock.
  • Free coffee provided in room tasted horrible.
  • Wireless internet access not available in most rooms, contrary to what I was told when making my reservation, and the wired internet access was slow and unreliable.
  • Had issues with toilet running continuously and not wanting to flush. Had to jiggle the handle repeatedly to get it to shut off before I could flush and then would have to jiggle the handle again to get it to shut off or be stuck listening to it run.
  • Room service and restaurant meals were over-priced.
  • Parking prices were ridiculous and should have been included in the room charge, or at least significantly discounted for hotel guests.
  • Did not receive several things that were mentioned during the reservation process. When I advised the hotel staff of the missing items, they apologized but did not remedy the situation by providing those items.
  • Was given a room directly across from the elevator and heard the “Ding” and people talking frequently during my stay. Fortunately, ghost hunting late into the night left me tired enough to fall asleep in spite of the noise.

Overall, I would say that this is an okay hotel as long as you aren’t expecting luxury and don’t plan to be staying long. I’m glad I was given a discounted rate through the convention, since it was being held in the same hotel. I would have been very upset with the quality if I had paid their usual rates.

Ven's Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

I would love to hear about your hotel experiences, either at the Crowne Plaza or other hotels. What types of services do you expect from the hotels you visit? Please add a comment and tell me about it. I would love to hear your story.

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May 10

Betty White on SNL

I’ve never been much of a fan of Saturday Night Live but when I heard about Betty White‘s recent appearance as host of SNL, I had to go and watch it for myself. I’ve been a big fan of Betty White since her Golden Girl days and I admit I still watch Golden Girls reruns several times a week. No matter how many times I’ve seen each and every episode, her Rose character still cracks me up with that goofy personality. I’m glad to see that, at 88 years old, Betty White is still as funny and entertaining as ever. She’s a joy to watch and more than capable of cracking me up.

Watch it on Hulu!

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Ven's Rating: ★★★★★ 

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May 6

Holiday Inn – Louisville, KY

This past weekend I traveled to Louisville, Kentucky for a paranormal convention and I stayed at the Holiday Inn on Farmington Avenue, near the airport. I was very impressed with the rooms. They were clean and comfortable and very well maintained. The staff was also very pleasant and went out of their way to make my stay a pleasant one, in spite of being extremely busy and a bit overwhelmed by the huge amount of guests they had for the convention. Best of all, the shower had incredible water pressure. I’ve stayed at many hotels over the years and the one thing that I’ve always found annoying was the showers that felt more like trying to stand in a water fountain. Not the Louisville Holiday Inn. They had excellent water pressure and a massaging shower head that took perfect advantage of it.

The only disappointment was the food and service in the hotel restaurant. For the price they charged, I expected a much better breakfast buffet and the service in the restaurant was a bit slow, even when they weren’t very busy. The restaurant is definitely a convenience option and not meant to be a fine dining experience.

Overall, the Louisville Holiday Inn is an excellent hotel and I would gladly recommend them to anyone needing to stay in the area.

Ven's Rating: ★★★★☆ 

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