Thursday, October 21, 2010

Roku Second Impressions

Here's an update to my article on Roku First Impressions posted the other day.

To recap, I had issues with audio on the Revision3 videos on the Roku briefly "cutting out" periodically.  I feel I must post Roku's response.  Note that this is a perfect example of incredibly bad technical support (no sarcasm, names the same to embarrass the guilty, highlighting is mine):

Thank you for contacting ROKU Customer Service. My Name is Sunil and I will be helping you with your query.
We apologize for the inconvenience and delay in responding to your valuable query.
I suggest you to try streaming Revision 3 content on your computer.
Kindly go through the following instructions.
1.Turn off the Modem, Router, and the Roku player.
2.Plug the Modem back in, give it some time to settle down.
3.Plug the router back in and when ready, turn on the Roku player.
If you have a cable modem, kindly unscrew the co-axial cable, wait for 30 seconds and then plug it back in.
Please feel free to email us for further queries.
Thank you for providing us with an opportunity to assist you and thank you for choosing ROKU.
Best Regards,
Roku Customer Service.
Why is this a bad response?
  1. I indicated in my "valuable query" that other content worked fine. This should have  immediately caused the question to drop into "oh, something may be wrong with that provider's content."
  2. If I wanted to stream content on my computer, I wouldn't have purchased the Roku player.
  3. I'm not sure that the cable company would like the idea of people being asked to remove the coax cable from the cable modem.  I can imagine "Joe User" doing this and then not being able to get anything working again!
  4. As I have come to expect from companies these days, they always redirect any fault from themselves to someone else.  In this case, the customer service rep clearly feels it is a problem with the cable company.
A good response would have offered more than one possible solution, and an opportunity to follow-up to see if the problem was corrected.  This response was clearly a cut-and-paste response, with the exception of one line.

Paying attention to customer issues is important because it can identify underlying problems with the product that can be corrected, resulting in more satisfied current and future customers.  The customer feels they are being heard, and the product gets better.  It's a win-win situation.

What I will need to do now is further troubleshoot the problem on my own and contact Revision3 to see if they can find anything in their own Roku application that may be causing the difficulty.  I have to hope that someone there actually can take responsibility for the issue and possibly contact Roku with more information.

My other options is, as a Roku application "developer," post my problem to the forum and see if someone at Roku will listen and possibly take a look at the player's source code.  I'm very afraid of the response I would get if I told them about the YouTube problem in that last posting.

I will reiterate that Roku is getting increasing competition in this area, and if they don't take these kinds of issues seriously and work to resolve them, they will soon find themselves out-of-business.

PS: Yes, last night I did have problems with my cable Internet service, but that was not happening when the Revision3 streaming problem happened...  Actually, our whole area experienced problems...and we may be still, I'm not entirely sure...

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