Aside

Found a service this morning which allows you to use any email client you want to send delayed emails. It’s called LetterMeLater. Sign up for an account, send a message to me@lendmelater.com, and include some info in the body of the message. Your message will be sent at the date and time specified.

Send Delayed Emails

H&R Block Knows the Value of a Customer

I usually do my own taxes, but with the sale of pokerchiptricks.com and all of the other miscellaneous income from web sites this year, I was more than a little confused. I started with the free TaxCut federal version from H&R Block. Once I got to the part for State taxes, I went ahead and purchased the Michigan version for $24.95. My credit card ended up being charged twice for some reason.

After completing my taxes to the best of my ability I figured it was probably a smart idea to have a tax professional do them. I called H&R Block on Wednesday of last week and made an appointment for Thursday after work. I stopped in with my stack of receipts and records. An hour and a half later I was walking out the door with some homework. I forgot about some of the home business use deductions/expenses I could take. I called back the next day, giving the amounts I came up with. She said everything would be done and I could stop in after work.

So I stopped back in and spent nearly another hour having her explain everything to me. She said it was one of the larger piles of paper she had seen for a tax return. If I had gone with my TaxCut run through I would have had quite a few mistakes, so I’m glad I had a pro take care of it. After a $40 coupon, it cost me $625 which I think is a bit high, but H&R Block has their Guarantee thing which is part of that total price, so if they made a mistake, they pay for it, not me. They charge according to the number of forms and everything too, so with a complicated return, the cost goes way up.

The tax professional I worked with and the woman working the front desk were both very courteous to me each time I came in or talked to them on the phone. Overall I had a very good experience at their office and was surprised how friendly they were considering it was the last couple of days of tax season.

This weekend I jumped online and sent an email to customer support explaining my position with the double charge for the state version of their software and also asking if I could get refunded for both charges since I went in to one of their offices and paid a pretty penny to get my taxes prepared. A day later I received a message explaining I would be refunded for both charges and they didn’t ask me anything. Not a single question about what office I visited (they may have looked it up on their own) or anything. I don’t know how many other times I’ve had bad customer service experiences where the company didn’t realize the value of a customer and word of mouth. I’ll highly recommend using H&R Block to anyone in the future.

Aside

I’m testing out OpenDNS here at work on my main computer. I’ll try out any service to replace something on our network. In testing the past couple of minutes some web pages seem to load faster and some slower. I’ll also be setting it up at home to see how it performs. Time will tell. (via Matt)

Free DNS from OpenDNS

Blinksale

Two weeks ago I wrote over at NICKED Up about using Blinksale for invoicing, but wanted to make mention of it here as well where I think I have a few more readers. Let me tell you…Blinksale kicks ass!

The easiest way to send invoices online.

Blinksale

I’ve had a chance to really get my hands dirty in the last couple of days while getting all of my advertisers across the NICKED Up blogs into my account. Recurring invoices are what I’ve used for just about everything and I really love how it estimates out the monthly and yearly revenue. I’ll no longer have to worry about renewing advertisers online because they’ll be sent an invoice a week before their ads run out. The $12/month I’m paying will be paid for over and over with the time I’ll save and the advertising renewals I’ll no longer miss.

Feeding Readers With a Feed Reader

I’ve been using FeedLounge as my feed reading service since I was accepted into their alpha (or was it beta) phase months ago. It’s a great service and I was happy with it. When they came out of alpha and beta tests I was given 2 free months of service. That went by and I couldn’t access my account anymore, so I paid the $5 for another month. Last week my month of paid subscription expired as well.

I was prepared this time though. I had already made an export of all the feeds I read and I’ve started using Rojo to track my feeds. It’s a nice service, but not as nice as FeedLounge was. But Rojo is free and provides all the functionality I need. Free is better in my book even if it’s a little bit slower. I can’t justify paying $5 a month when FeedLounge isn’t providing me with anything that I can’t get from a free feed reading service.

I’d really prefer to use Bloglines but haven’t been able to access their site from work in a year or so and our “network gurus” can’t figure out the problem. I need a service I can access from anywhere. I’d also like to be able to use Google Reader but I don’t like the interface. They make it way too hard to browse by tag/label and that’s the primary way I read my feeds (or is it “feed my reads”?). Update: Looks like Google has added a dropdown list with the labels. I’ll be trying out the Google Reader as my primary for awhile now.

What are you using and why?

Performancing Metrics

Performancing came out with a free public beta of a blog tracking service earlier this week, called Performancing Metrics. I haven’t used it a very much yet, but it looks very promising. Most statistics services and packages are bloated with useless data. PM gives bloggers access to the data they’ll need most often and it works great. The site responds quickly and stats are updated every hour. Best of all…you can track multiple blogs from one account!