Saturday, November 13, 2010

Customer Service That Sucks

Customer service is a dying art form.  I positively dread having to call any company these days to check on an order, verify a price or for any question in general.  It is not because I fear that the someone on the other end will be from a foreign country.  It is because I always have the feeling, that no matter what I am told, good or bad, if I were to call nine more times, I would end up with an entirely different answer each time, or at the very least have to call again because the last customer service person, or personal shopper as they call them at Sears, didn't do what they were going to do.  Of course, there would be no knowledge or record of the call(s) that came before and the story would have to start all over again.

Take JC Penney for instance.  When Randy and I first moved to Mountain Home (Arkansas, not Idaho) this summer, we didn't exist to the post office.  That's not really true, we do exist, but apparently our 100 feet of private road in between the end of the county road and our driveway is too dangerous for the postal carrier to drive on six days a week excluding federal holidays.  The Post Master informed me that in order to get mail service, our mailbox would have to be next to our nearest neighbor's mailbox, which is at the end of the county road.  

Since we didn't know John - or any of our neighbors - at that point, Randy and I decided to get a box at the post office for six months.  We have since met all of our neighbors and John suggested that we put up our mailbox next to his.  Thank you, John.  Our neighbors are truly wonderful people.

Anyway ~

Before John so kindly offered this, I felt the need to update my winter wardrobe of sweatpants.  I ordered three pair of warmers online from JC Penney.  One pair shipped immediately using UPS, the other two were backordered (another customer service complaint - doesn't anybody keep anything in stock any more?).  When tracking the shipment, UPS had made the note that they had turned the package over to the local post office.

Remember - we didn't exist to the post office at that particular moment in time.

I called UPS, who patiently explained to me that UPS and JC Penney had a deal that any package under ten pounds would be turned over to the post office and that in this deal Penney's assumed the responsibility for the shipment.

I called Penney's and spent way too long on the phone with a lady who just knew that the post office would look at the physical address on the package and know instantly to put said package in the correct box at the post office.  I could not convince her that out of a population of 12,000 in Mountain Home (Arkansas, not Idaho), the post office was not aware of my existence.

She couldn't understand why the post office wouldn't deliver our mail to our home (isn't that in the Constitution?) and wanted me to call the post office to get this fixed.  Frustrated, I asked to speak to her supervisor (I know, I know, the person in the next cubicle) where I went through this all over again.  

Holding my ground, I explained that the package would never find me and I insisted on a credit to my account and the backorder be cancelled.  Finally, this second person saw the light and agreed to processing a credit.

I found a certain amount of humor in the fact that while I did receive a credit on the sweatpants, I had to call a second time to get them to credit me on the shipping charges.

Oh, and the backorder?  It wasn't cancelled.  But by the time those were shipped to me, I had a shiny new mailbox waiting for them.  Actually, they were the first thing that I received in my shiny new mailbox.

Randy ordered a utility cart from Sears online a few weeks ago.  Since it was oversized, the only option available was to have it shipped directly to the house.  When Randy received the shipping confirmation from Sears that had the tracking number on it, the tracking number wouldn't work on the shipper's website.

Knowing just how much Randy dislikes immensely to make phone calls, I volunteered to call Sears to find out where the cart was.  Is?  Was?


First phone call to the 'Sears Personal Shopper' = clueless.  I was told that I would have to contact the shipper.  The fact that there wasn't a phone number to be found on the shipper's website kind of worried me a bit.

Second phone call to the 'Sears Personal Shopper" = while this lady comes to the conclusion there is an issue and seems to make some effort to figure it out, she also spends way too much time thanking me for my patronage, asking if it is okay if she puts me on hold and then apologizing to me for putting me on hold.

I am dizzy.

I spent almost twenty minutes on this particular call, alterantely being put on hold and then being apologized to for being put on hold.  After seventeen minutes, my Sears Personal Shopper came back onto the phone call and tells me that she has exceeded her time that is allowed on one phone call and will have to hang up.

Are you serious?

She wants my phone number 'cause she assures me that she will call me back - funny, my phone number is the same one I gave you when you first asked because HIPPA laws apparently prevent you from giving out utility cart shipping information to just anybody.

You know, I really want to give her the benefit of the doubt that she will do what she says.  But I am getting over a cold, my back hurts, I am on my eleventh day without sugar and Randy has just said  something husbandly that only a wife could take the wrong way.

Here is the best part ...

She then asks me if she can send me a survey to rate my customer service experience with her and will I fill it out favorably?  I tell her it is directly proportionate to her calling me back.

This goes over her head.

Even though, I know, deep down, in the cold, dark and empty place in my heart that is reserved for my Sears Personal Shopper, she is not going to call me back, I graciously give her until 5pm.

Third phone call to the 'Sears Personal Shopper' = I am 50% certain that we are onto solving the utility cart mystery.

My highlight for today?  Filling out the customer service survey.

Have the BEST day ever!
~ Dorothy

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