Tech Blog

Todd Empey, VP of Operations for Future Shop also joins as a guest blogger!

by Administrator ‎04-09-2010 10:20 AM - edited ‎04-09-2010 10:21 AM

Big day on the Tech Blog! Also joining as a guest contributor this week is Future Shop’s very own FS_Todd.


 

FS_Todd is Todd Empey – VP of Operations for Future Shop.  He’s joining the Tech Blog to share a bit about what Future Shop is doing in the Green space for Earth Day and beyond.  Future Shop has teamed up with the David Suzuki Foundation to share tips, videos and other resources on how to reduce our impact on the environment - make sure to check out the site to learn more! So excited to have a couple new contributors focusing their articles on such a relevant topic, so please join me in welcoming Todd Empey to the Tech Blog today!

 

 

More about Todd

Todd joined Future Shop in 1985 as a sales associate and steadily earned senior positions, including General Manager, District Manager and Vice President for Ontario, Quebec and Eastern Canada.

 

Today, Todd and the Retail Operations leaders are focused on continuing Future Shop’s employee experience for more than 10,000 employees while concurrently heightening customer experiences at Future Shop. With this focus in mind, Todd committed to growing talent within the brand as well as earning customers for life through more than 140 stores nationwide and via www.futureshop.ca. Additionally, Todd oversees all aspects of the Future Shop’s retail stores.

 

Empey is an avid sports fan, outdoor enthusiast and golfer.

0910 Todd Empey headshot.jpgTodd joined Future Shop in 1985 as a sales associate and steadily earned senior positions, including General Manager, District Manager and Vice President for Ontario, Quebec and Eastern Canada.

 

Today,Todd and the Retail Operations leaders are focused on continuing Future Shop’s employee experience for more than 10,000 employees while concurrently heightening customer experiences at Future Shop. With this focus in mind, Todd committed to growing talent within the brand as well as earning customers for life through more than 140 stores nationwide and via www.futureshop.ca. Additionally, Todd oversees all aspects of the Future Shop’s retail stores.

 

Empey is an avid sports fan, outdoor enthusiast and golfer.

Comments
by Blogger on ‎04-09-2010 11:07 AM

Welcome, Todd!

by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎04-09-2010 01:40 PM

Welcome Todd!  Looking forward to hearing what you have to say!

by Trusted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎04-11-2010 11:35 AM

Awesome!  Welcome Todd!  I echo Krypto's statement! :smileyvery-happy:

 

JB

by AnotherFrustratedShopper(anon) on ‎04-11-2010 12:50 PM

FS_Todd,

 

As VP of Operations are you accountable for the web store site?

 

Since January it's become almost unusable.  It's brutally slow and choked with bugs and errors.  It's great that you have so much excess time that you can blog, but you are responsible for the site, shouldn't your focus be on job one: finding a way to fix the site or restore the old one?

 

by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎04-11-2010 02:49 PM

@ AnotherFrustratedShopper, I know that it can be frustrating to deal with issues like that.  Please forward your concerns using the following contact options:

https://www-ssl.futureshop.ca/en-ca/secure/contactus.aspx

 

They can hopefully pass along your concerns to the right people who can look into the issues.  Be sure to be as specific as possible as to exactly what problems you've been experiencing and where the big slow downs are.

 

Hopefully with enough feedback, they can determine the sources of the slowdowns and get things back up and running smoothly.

by AnotherFrustratedShopper(anon) on ‎04-11-2010 03:23 PM

Krypto - I've submitted to that address and also to the call center over a dozen times.

 

In february and march, they promised to put me in touch with someone at Empey's level... however those promises ultimately turned out to be totally false.  Out of 15-20 contacts I only received one response from an entry level respondent who simply said there were no problems with the web site (!) which just adds insult to the situation.

 

I suspect whomever's head needs to roll over this mess is suppressing the complaints.  The staff recently told me complaints about the web site go direct to the people who supply it (and would of course be in denial about their failure to deliver)  and that the front line have been specifically denied permission to escalate web site complaints to management.  And since so many attempts to reach Empey through the normal channels have been stonewalled, this is my creative attempt to get in touch with this elusive executive.

 

It's clear the problems have probably never been revealed to him if he's feeling like he's got lots of free time for blogging instead of addressing critical issues!

 

And by the way, I've been both highly specific (including numerous specific web id's and order numbers) but frankly the problems are so prevalent that it's silly to look at them under a microscope.  Why don't you go to the web site and try to look up some products?  90% of them are showing a goofy Kindle like reader displaying a whimsical 404 error!

 

by Retired Moderator ‎04-11-2010 03:33 PM - edited ‎04-11-2010 03:35 PM

Hi AnotherFrustratedShopper,

 

I have forwarded your concern to our Community Manager

 

Please note that the Forum is not intended for customer service issues. 

 

For future reference, if you have any concerns about your in-store or online customer experience at Future Shop, please contact our customer service department via email at service@futureshop.com or by phone 1-800-663-2275 so that we may address your concerns.

by AnotherFrustratedShopper(anon) on ‎04-11-2010 05:39 PM

JS - read my messages and you'll see I've already tried using those channels and found them completely ineffective and time wasting.

 

And this isn't some petty isolated customer service issue.  It's about serious degradation of your web store spanning over 3 months now.  And that problem is being compounded by systemic breakdown in the service and escalation process across multiple channels.  On top of that, it's about spin control and minimization as you can see in even this thread!

 

 

Your response is the same kind of passive stonewalling and blockage I've experienced for 3 months, where people try to insulate Empey away from the reality of his key duty.  He's the blogger here, and a grown up, let him reply and do his job representing the company.  I for one am hopeful we'll finally get something honest about the current operational breakdown that is occuring.  The PR sanitized version is getting old.

 

Truly transparent companies aren't afraid to have their executives on blogs like this... what is Future Shop afraid of that they are trying to run interference and prevent Todd from knowing about problems or dialoging with customers?

 

By the way I visited one of your local stores today.  They tried pulling up your site and found it broken.  They said its been that way for many weeks and that after listening to the employees and giving them some story about how it was being fixed, it's reach the point now where employees who say anything are being muzzled.

 

But the worker candidly told me that the store workers are actually loving the web site problems and hope they persist.... they view the web site as a competitor to instore sales, and the more the web site flounders, the more they like it!

 

Then they tried their own internal employee information system and it crashed 10 times in a row before my eyes.  The worker said it's a citrix gateway problem that is very frequent and frustrating for the staff.  The staff feels the same as the customers... that management doesn't listen and management doesn't care.

 

 

by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎04-11-2010 06:25 PM

The problem is that the forums and the Tech Blog are not for customer service issues though as there is essentially nothing we can do from here.  Maybe FS_Todd will see your post, but there are no guarantees that any progress can be made simply based on your post (plus, I'm sure they are aware of the problems and are already trying to work on it).  Feel free to check out the Forum Guidelines here: http://www.futureshop.ca/help-customer-service/help-details.aspx?path=32ee829bb730c1412c3f001866bcb7...

 

Note, I don't work for Future Shop, so there really is nothing I can do.  I'm only giving advice based on my experiences on the forum and what I know about what can and can't be done from this end.

 

If you're really having a lot of problems, you can also try to contact Future Shop's head office.  Don't forget that they are owned by a different parent company, so you may need to search for that info seperately.  Unfortunately, due to forum guidelines, I can't list the name of the company as the name is automatically converted to "competitor".

 

Good luck and I wish there was more we could do to help!

by Retired Moderator on ‎04-11-2010 06:30 PM

AnotherFrustratedShopper(anon)

 

As mentioned by JSH, unfortunatly the forums and the blog are not for customer support issues. Please keep in mind that users and Moderators are not Customer service representative, however, please note that we have escalated the issue to our Customer Service contacts.

 

Thank you

by Administrator on ‎04-12-2010 03:26 PM

Hi AnotherFrustratedShopper,

 

Thanks for your feedback, I just wanted to provide a bit of background into what is going on with the Future Shop website.  There was a massive upgrade at the beginning of February - a total overhaul of the backend code, everything was rebuilt from scratch.  This project was not one that was thrown together in a couple of months, it took more than 2 years to plan, build & test - it was a huge initiative.

 

That being said, there's no denying that there are bugs and there is still a dedicated team tasked with resolving these issues based on priority as their full-time work.  Rest assured that all of the complaints you and others have submitted have been received and logged, but it takes time to work through everything, so depending on the severity of the issue at the time (site down, navigation broken, image not displaying porperly, etc), it will get fixed according to its place in the queue.

 

It's unfortunately the rule of the web: fix one thing & that breaks three more :smileywink:  I apologize if you've felt deceived at any point.  Bugs on the site do not benefit anyone (the company or the customer) and feedback from our customers is genuinely appreciated! 

 

Regards,

 

Laura

by AnotherFrustratedShopper(anon) on ‎04-12-2010 05:53 PM

Sorry about the honesty contained in this response Laura but your answer rings of PR spin, contains some inaccuracies, and as a whole is just more vague minimization on behalf of Future Shop.  As such I find it disheartening that no real and specific action or response is taking place and that you seem to think this is normal in the it world.

 

I know it's not your fault the site launch is a disaster.  And it's totally unfair the company is hanging you out to dry here making you answer for problems you had no hand in causing and that they have given you no power to fix.

 

But someone is grossly misleading you if they say that fixing one bug creates three more.  That's an old yarn I've heard spun by lazy or incompetent developers when they are trying to pull the wool over the eyes of a disappointed customer.

 

I suspect whomever Future Shop engaged to create this mess is perhaps attempting to spin that story to deflect heat from what by all accounts appears to be a horrible failure on their part.

 

Despite the myths, such launch failures are NOT the norm in the web world, and month upon month of post-launch fallout are not considered normal or acceptable either.

 

As for appreciating feedback from the customers I can say that is not the case.  I have had to spend long hours relaying my concerns through service agents who have no idea what I'm telling them just so they can attempt to transcribe it and sent it to management and the IT leadership.  Direct contact would be infinitely smoother and less prone to miscommunication.  And on numerous occasions I was promised that would direct contact would happen and that I would get a response after some arbitrary and inexpicable 48 hour stall period.  But even after the 48 hour stall, they have not responded or even acknowledged, which demonstrates more disdain for the customer than appreciation.

 

I've been told that call center staff are now being discouraged and even forbidden from forwarding any complaint or concern regarding the web site.  I've also been told that customer care staff have no escalation path to management.  Does any of that sound like they "genuinely appreciate" feedback?  To me it proves the opposite.

 

Where's Todd Empey anyway?  Why can't I, or you, or the entire customer facing service force actually access this guy?  He supposedly represents the operations of the company, but he might as well be a ghost.

 

Some answers I'm especially keen to hear from Empey:

 - what was the thinking behind totally revamping a perfectly good web site?

 - what goals were set for the new site?

 - what were the specific success criteria for the new site?

 - why has so much useful and descriptive product content been deleted?

 - why wasn't the site tested before releasing it onto the public?

 - why can't the old site be brought online, at least for a year or two until the new one is more ready for release?

 - why are front line service staff being forbidden from escalating web site concerns to management or IT?

 

I've got more questions but these are a good place to start. 

 

I appreciate all the members at large chiming in with positive input and suggestions. 

 

Unfortunately, I've already tried all those avenues and found they do not work. 

 

That shouldn't be surprising since those channels are set up to deal with narrow and specific problems such as a a lost shipment or a billing error.  Their purpose is not to speak about a wide ranging issue such as the web site operations channel suffering near complete break down or the thinking behind the strategy of taking a great site and replacing it with inadequately tested bloat-ware.

 

Answering for such problems IS however the specific duty of the VP of Operations I would assume.  If and when he can get back on duty, that would be a great topic for him to address in his blog.  I only hope he answers truthfully and with specifics rather than generalities and vague talk about how they are really trying hard on the site.  That kind of sunshine might have been OK for the first day or two, but we're approaching the 4th month of severe problems.  The days of glossing over the situation are long past.

 

by Moderator ‎04-13-2010 10:28 AM - edited ‎04-13-2010 10:29 AM

Hi AnotherFrustratedShopper,

 

Thanks for your comments. I understand the frustration but please make sure that you remain respectful, as per the Community guidelines found here:

http://www.futureshop.ca/en-ca/help/id/hc8183.aspx

 

I would also like to invite you to join the community by registering here so that the team may get in touch with you.

 

Thanks for your help in keeping the forums a friendly, productive environment for all members.

 

Julez

by AnotherFrustratedShopper(anon) on ‎04-25-2010 03:02 PM

Hey Julez,

 

It's been another 2 weeks.... and guess what... nobody from the team has bothered to contact me.

 

Nor has Mr Empey had the basic professional courtesy to come here and update his own blog.

 

I guess I shouldn't be surprised.  I've been promised a management call back by your customer 'care' center now 6 times... and had that promised violated 6 times.

 

The web site is still completely fouled up.  It's incredibly slow, and for those pages that do come up, there are warning messages coming up that raise questions about the validity of your servers and security.

 

Giant amounts of content is missing or inaccurate.

 

The search function returns crazy, impossible results.  One search for 'lcd' says you have 0 items containing that word.  I'm skeptical as I suspect Future Shop probably carries hundreds if not thousand of items named or containing the word 'lcd'.

 

A search for the word insignia returns 5629 results... the first couple hundred of which I noticed have nothing to do with Insignia.  This is an error on the other end of the spectrum as I doubt that even as prolific as no-name insignia products are, you sure don't have over 5000 such sku's.

 

One possible explanation is that your search indexes are hopelessly corrupted.  It would explain the unbelievable slowness and the horribly inaccurate search results.

 

This would be a very easy problem for even a junior level IT person to resolve, so it begs the question how come Future Shop doesn't have even that skill level available to fix things.

 

Julez, I have remained respectful, factual, and above all.... patient.

 

Mr Todd Empey announced he's now a blogger and is trying to bring transparency to the operations of the company.  I believe it's quite fair to ask these questions and make it public knowledge that your promises of service teams and management to contact me are NOT being honored. 

 

I believe it's also fair to point out that weeks and weeks are elapsing with no response or even acknowledgement by Mr Empey other than to send out his rank and file PR employees to try and stifle what I'm saying. 

 

by Retired Moderator ‎04-25-2010 03:42 PM - edited ‎04-25-2010 03:42 PM

Hi AnotherFrustratedShopper

 

As per Julez previous post, if you would like to register to the Future Shop forums, it would facilitate providing you with support.

 

Unfortunately until this is done, there is no way for the Customer Support team to contact you.

 

Regards,

AlexMod 

by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎04-25-2010 06:51 PM

As a quick heads up as well, the moderators on the forum do not work for Future Shop.  Rather, they work for the company that supplies the forum (Lithium - you can see the icon on the bottom right of the page here).  So they are limited in what they can do as well.  They are simply following the guidelines they have been provided in responding to your posts.

 

Again, my recommendation is to contact head office if you do not believe you are getting the support you need.  There is nothing that can be done via the forums that the moderators haven't already done.

by AnotherFrustratedShopper(anon) on ‎06-10-2010 05:53 PM

Well it's now June... and guess what....

 

The site is still packed with errors and missing content.

 

The site is still frequently down, and when it is working it's 25X slower than it used to be.

 

Many pages show a flippant 404 error message.

 

The search function is erratic at best.

 

The VP of Operations Todd Empey still hasn't updated this blog with a response.

 

Despite all the happy promises from well meaning Future Shop moderators and apologists, nobody has contacted me.

 

 Moderators and well meaning fans of Future Shop, do you really think 6 months of continuous web failures is actually acceptable?

 

by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎06-10-2010 10:58 PM
Hmm, website has been working fine for me for some time. I haven't had any problems in a couple of months. Try contacting the Future Shop webmaster. By the way, you were asked to join the forum for better support options but I see you never did. If you'd like further assistance, please join the forums as directed by the moderators. Also, by doing that, you can post in the regular forums (post in the Off Topic board for website errors). This will also help the admins get more information from you which can help to resolve the problems.
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