Event Registration with PayPal and WordPress

Written: April 14, 2013

I belong to the Portland Metropolitan Photographers Association and we have events where members need to register and make a payment. Since the www.pmpa.net web site is built with WordPress I was able to add a new feature using PayPal for payments where members choose between three different options and quantities:

Three options for Add to Cart

When a member choose an option and quantity, clicks the Add button, they see the PayPal cart on a secure web page:

Secure PayPal cart

 

If they click Continue Shopping, then they are returned to the PMPA page that they started on. When they click Check Out then they can pay with Credit Card or PayPal.

Checkout

Inside of WordPress they can choose where to place this new event registration using short code:

[pmpa_print_competition]

This is easy for the PMPA volunteers to add event registration to any Page, plus it’s easy for members to register, a win for everyone.

Email Etiquette

Written: April 12, 2013

Many businesses use e-mail updates to keep clients and prospects updated and informed about information that is of value. For this to work best you should follow some simple rules:

  1. Have people opt in
  2. When people opt in, then let them opt out easily with one or at most two clicks
  3. The frequency of messages should be appropriate, not too often
  4. Let people choose what their interests are
  5. Provide value

I’ve been a loyal Acura car owner for many years and some how I got added to their email list, but then decided that I no longer wanted to receive their emails.

Acura email

 

At the bottom of the email was a link to update my preferences:

acura preferences

 

Clicking this link I ended up at www.acura.com and scrolled to the bottom and checked the box to Unsubscribe:

Unsubscribe

Then to my dismay the page told me that no updates had been made to my preferences:

No updates

I then phoned Acura support at 800 382 2238 and asked to be removed from their email list. The Acura phone support asked for my phone number to find my account, but when I provided my phone number he couldn’t find the account. Next he asked for my Vehicle Identification Number which I was unwilling to give him. Finally he asked for my name and had me wait several minutes on hold. Eventually he asked me to forward my latest Acura email to a special address. All of this process was a big hassle and inconvenience to me, a somewhat less than happy Acura customer.

Summary

I’m shocked that Acura has not mastered the art of email communications, and hope that in your business that you will comply with the CAN-SPAM act and make it easy for subscribers to quickly opt-out without placing them in a catch-22 situation where they cannot opt out themselves.

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Reliable Web Hosting

Written: April 3, 2013

I’ve used over a dozen different web hosting companies over the years, and the company that I recommend now is called 1and1. My reasons for this recommendation are:

1and1-hosting

Having said that, I felt some panic today when I tried to login at www.1and1.com and was greeted with this screen of death:

1and1 as 404

 

This is the kind of screen that you would see if their web host was having issues, or worse, they were hacked.

A quick phone call to tech support provided me with the login address: my.1and1.com

1and1 login

Yes, I can login, however why is the main web site at www.1and1.com down this afternoon?

All of the web sites that I have hosted at 1and1 are all up and running without issue.

When I filled out a Support request on their web site it was about 10 minutes later that I got a reply e-mail asking me, “Which browser are you using?” I replied that it was Google Chrome on a Mac. Next, I tried out four other browsers and they all worked OK (Firefox on Mac, Safari on Mac,  IE on Windows, Firefox on Windows).

Hmm, sounds like a browser issue and not a web hosting issue. I then went into the settings on Google Chrome on my Mac and cleared the cache, sure enough I can now browse 1and1 OK, it was a browser bug and not a 1and1 issue. You see, even an expert like me can mis-diagnose a tech issue.

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Apple Provides Excellent Customer Service

Written: April 1, 2013

In business I love a good deal, so when my daughter wanted to upgrade her phone she fell in love with the iPhone. I knew that AT&T offered refurbished phones for a good price online, so we logged into our account and found a refurbished iPhone 4 for just $0.01.

iPhone 4

 

The phone was shipped to our home within 2 days of ordering, and my daughter enjoyed using her first smart phone. She was so excited about the iPhone that she started downloading apps, changing the ring tones, getting a case, etc. that we didn’t activate the phone until 15 days later. Upon activation I called her iPhone but she couldn’t hear me speaking. We ran through some diagnostics at the Apple support site and concluded that the speaker wasn’t working.

We phoned AT&T and explained our audio problem with the iPhone and they told us that we were one day late beyond the 14 day limit for a return, instead we needed to talk with Apple directly. The nice AT&T support person connected us with Apple and we found out that we could either have a replacement mailed to us in a few days, or just schedule an appointment at our local Apple store using the online scheduling with the Genius Bar.

Monday morning we arrived at the Apple store in Bridgeport Village and received our replacement iPhone 4, at no cost. The blue-shirted  employees at our Apple store greeted us warmly, found our reservation, and helped us quickly and efficiently. Now that’s superior customer service that will likely make my daughter a lifelong Apple customer.

Apple Store, Bridgeport Village

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