Just my Thoughts

Where has the service in “customer service” gone?

I know.  This has been in every major media outlet.  Everyone you know has written about the demise of the customer service industry.  Well, I have had it.  I work in the customer service industry.  I return my customers call promptly.  I find the answers to their questions if I do not know them.  I pass the questions on to someone who can help if I cannot.  But what about the rest of the world?

My daughter wanted an MP3 play for Christmas.  Well, since auntie works for a major electronics producer – an international corporation – she said fine and bought a great one – while it worked.  Three weeks into January and the MP3 won’t charge, won’t load new songs, won’t turn on.  A call to the customer care line was a rather lengthy exchange.  Daughter was on the phone for about an hour.  Call resulted in an RMA number and an address in Arkansas to send the damaged electronic piece to for repair.  Suggestion was made that the item be shipped some way that could be tracked.

So I pack up the item – which on sale before Christmas cost about $150.  I decide that I will ship it USPS as I don’t have time to get to a UPS store but I will insure and get tracking.  It will fulfill all the requirements the company asked.  I log into the USPS site to print a label and type in the address daughter has written.  I get a message back that this is not a valid address.  Since auntie works for company, I send her a quick email figuring maybe she can look in a directory or something.  I should have known better as this is most likely an outsourced facility.  She didn’t know anything was returned to Arkansas.  No biggie!  I will just call back that customer care number and ask for the address again.

Well, there was my first mistake – thinking I could call and just ask for the address.  No one would just confirm an address.  Then came a bigger surprise!  The address daughter had put down was correct.  “We don’t get USPS shipments here.”  Well, let me talk to someone else.  I ended up on the phone with a woman in Canada who couldn’t tell me anything about said address in Arkansas other than DHL delivers there.  She couldn’t tell me why the address was incorrect because, of course, it wasn’t but the United States Postal Service says it is.  It took three hours on the phone and absolutely NO resolution.

Needless to say, I will NOT ever encourage auntie to buy items from this company, whether she works for them or not, again!!

My smarter move was to then call the toll-free number on the receipt of the purchase location.  Daughter went to local store, fully expecting to get store credit, and received a cash refund.  Wal-Mart is customer-oriented.  Unfortunately, there was not another item in store that could be purchased to replace but the MP3 has now been replaced with one from BestBuy.

Move on to about three weeks later…. I live in a community where a huge, new indoor sports facility has just opened.  The cost to build was enormous and I am sure that the utility costs associated with it are staggering.  A “partner,” I think, in the venture is doing some of the scheduling.  I call and leave voicemail as I want to get indoor tennis time for son during week of school break.  No return call.  I call again and leave a message.  No return call. Well, third time is a charm, they say.  Finally, I get a return call and tennis time.

I am also team manager on daughter’s soccer team.  Well, things with soccer practices are not running smoothly.  We are using this new facility which is grand.  Unfortunately, the cost is a lot.  We did manage to secure a half hour of full field time so that two teams could scrimmage each other and get set to move outdoors – always a challenge in upstate NY in February.  The first night went fine.  The second night we didnt’ get our full field at all.

On top of that, I called and left several messages about wanting to secure a two hour time slot for a friendly with a team from out of town.  I was basically ignored.  I had to physically track down someone to get information.  At which time, I was given faulty information because I was not important enough of a customer for the man to take time to check.  I had had it.  I was unprofessional on the phone but the man deserved it.  He is not someone I will ever deal with again.

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