Customer Service at Its Finest—Griffin Technology

I’ve categorized this post under “branding” as I feel strongly that customer service is the best way to build brand loyalty.

Today I received a brand new—free—Griffin Navigate (remote control/FM receiver) for my iPhone! Three business days ago I logged on to the Griffin website and started a Live Chat with a customer service rep. It had been a couple years since I bought the Navigate and I only paid about $50 so I didn’t really have high hopes but figured I’d give it a shot. Here’s how it went:

Photo return of my Griffin NavigateRussell: [15:58] Welcome to our real-time support chat. How can I help you today?

Steve: [15:58] I have a Navigate. Had it for quite awhile but it only worked for a few weeks. Then I just forgot to do anything about it. Found it in a drawer yesterday and would love to exchange it for one that works.

Russell: [15:59] Sorry to hear it isn’t working! What seems to be the problem with it?

Steve: [15:59] No sign of life.

Russell: [16:00] Got it. Was that after any iOS update, or did it just seem to randomly stop working?

Steve: [16:00] Just stopped working.

Russell: [16:01] That’s too bad. Where and (approximately) when did you purchase it?

Steve: [16:02] Best Buy in Fairfax, VA. A couple years ago.

Russell: [16:03] The product only has a one-year warranty, but you said it stopped working after just a few weeks?

Steve: [16:03] Was such a cool device while it worked. Yeah—I used it for a few weeks, then it was dead.

Russell: [16:04] I understand. Typically we can’t exchange it after about a year (maybe 15 months), but since it only worked for a few weeks, I’ll make an exception and do a one-time replacement for you.

Whoa! Who does that anymore?

I was impressed. The chat continues . . .

Russell: [16:09] I’ve created what we call a “photo return” for you.

Steve: [16:10] haha I love it!

Russell: [16:10] You’ll receive detailed instructions by email shortly, but basically, we’ll ask you to destroy the Navigate (cutting the cord is the simplest way to destroy it), take a photo, and reply back to that email with the photo.

Steve: [16:11] Seems horrible. But fair enough.

Russell: [16:12] Yeah, it seems pretty strange, but it’s basically an accounting measure for our records. Normally we have defective products sent back to us, but in certain situations, we can do the photo return instead.

Steve: [16:13] I might use an axe. Would that be over-the-top?

Russell: [16:13] Haha, as long as you’re safe, that’s fine by us! We’ve had some pretty creative photos/destruction methods.

Steve: [16:14] So, I just snip the wire, take a photo, and send it back as an attachment in a reply email?

Russell: [16:15] That will work fine!

Steve: [16:16] Awesome. So glad I decided to pursue this. Thanks very much.

Russell: [16:16] No problem! Let me know if you have any questions, and if not, have a great weekend!

Customer service like this is motivating. I’ll use this as my new personal/business model for delivering satisfaction to my own clients!


Top 20 iPhone Apps

Sprint’s new TV ad says there are now half a million iPhone apps out there. It took awhile, but I tested them all. (By the way, turns out 350,000 of them are flashlights.) What amazes me most about the whole smart-phone phenomenon that Apple started, is the quantity and quality of free apps available. I’m finally getting around to publishing my desert-island iPhone apps—in no particular order. All are free unless otherwise ($) noted . . .

iPhone homescreen photo taken at Buck Island National Monument, St. CroixTravel

  • TripIt
  • Kayak
  • Cards

Money Matters

  • Jot
  • ING Direct
  • Square

Money Makers

  • FieldAgent

Health & Fitness

  • Nike +GPS ($)
  • Lose It!


  • Redbox
  • Verizon FIOS DVR Manager
  • Verizon FiOS Remote


  • Words With Friends

Food & Drink

  • Starbucks
  • Chipotle
  • Tip

Killing Time

  • Paper Toss
  • Pocket Pond


  • Sudoku
  • Labyrinth 3D


  • You Version Bible (with Robert Roberts’ reading plan)
  • ESV Bible


  • Wolfram Alpha ($)
  • IMDb
  • Peterson Birds


  • Mobile Mouse
  • Convertbot ($)
  • Evernote
  • FTP On the Go ($)


  • Wunderlist

Speaking of desert islands . . . the photo was made at the underwater Buck Island National Monument off St. Croix, USVI. No, I didn’t count the apps before creating the title. And yes, I realize that once the battery dies, none of these apps serves a purpose on a desert island!


Never Email, Never Lose Another File

Have you ever emailed a file to yourself to work on later from a different computer? Have you ever delivered files on CD or DVD because they were too big to email? Yeah. Me too. It can be most frustrating trying to get a massive file to finally leave your outbox. With clients, I find one of the biggest challenges to working off-site is sharing large files.

We have 3 solutions in place for clients to send files to us, and one solution for 2-way file sharing. So here are some solutions that work for me:
Dropbox - Sync your files

  • FTP access
  • Custom PHP forms for client uploads
  • Dropbox.

FTP works really well for 1-way file transfer but it is sometimes hard to predict just what a user’s experience will be. Each browser seems to have its own way of handling FTP transactions. To simplify, we developed an online file-submission form.

We have 3 basic forms for file submission: for new clients, for existing clients with new projects, and for existing projects that just need a new file. They all perform the same magic but require varying amounts of data input. This is another 1-way solution which doesn’t help deliver files to clients. Enter Dropbox.

Dropbox offers file sync, sharing, and secure backup in one software application that integrates seamlessly with your operating system, and is also accessible from anywhere via the Dropbox website. With a user base that is growing by 200,000 people each month, Dropbox is the leading software of its kind on the market. I discovered Dropbox when my family needed a way for us to share vacation photos from 6 different cameras. We ended up with a shared directory where we could drop all our favorite pics. Since then, I’ve found a million great business uses for it, including syncing my desktop calendar and address book between each of my computers and my iPhone.

Dropbox is free if you have limited storage needs and there is a professional subscription level as well. Dropbox is an excellent solution that has worked flawlessly for my needs, personal and business.


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Posted From My iPhone

This changes everything.


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