Entries Tagged as 'Customer Service'

OfficeMax can’t seem to deliver a chair in three weeks

officemax.jpeg I’m sitting here in disbelief.
Seriously. What does it take to deliver an office chair? About three weeks ago, I ordered this office chair. Nice thing, but they didn’t have it it in the store. So they ordered one for me and told me that shipping was free and they could deliver it straight to me.
What a deal, right? Two weeks later, I’m doing some billing and I noticed that a charge was made to the card. Wait a second, I didn’t receive a chair.
So I called. They said that the order was on its way back to the warehouse since UPS couldn’t deliver to the address. Strange, so I had them repeat the address. They put in an extra digit. Now, how you do that, considering I had the carbon copy in front of me and it was neatly printed, is beyond me… but let’s just call it a mistake. No big deal.
The CSR assured me that someone would call me Monday and latest Tuesday on a replacement order. Guess what? It’s Wednesday. Called OfficeMax. They claim no such replacement was made. On top of it, they said that they’ve credited my card, but I don’t see anything yet.
I guess I’ll wait until the end of the week to make sure that they’ve actually given my money back. Never thought it’d be this much hassle just to get an office chair. Three weeks without a product? And I’m willingly trying to give them my money. On the last call, the lady actually asked me if I wanted to re-order the chair. No thanks. It might turn into another three week ordeal. Next time, maybe I should just order it from Amazon.

Why Netflix has great customer service

netflix_customerservice.jpg
If there’s any other reason to use Netflix, it’s the fact that their service is impeccable. I got this in my inbox today, and so did many others. Due to the fact that there was a delayed shipping, they credited 5% back to every user affected by this issue. What’s interesting is that they not only identified an issue, and solved it, but they also gave back to the customers that keep them in business without any prompting. This is how to treat your customers and retain customer loyalty. And this is how to respond to a problem.
In a service oriented business environment, sometimes many corporate people forget that the make or break people are the customers and that if you make a mistake, you should turn that negative into a positive. Good job, Netflix.
Disclaimer: Author is a Netflix shareholder

Don’t fear the Vonage annual prepaid small business plans

vonage001.jpg Was checking out my Vonage plan today and lo-and-behold, I was getting dinged for some tax. Regulatory fees. E911. The works. I was like, what the heck?
Reason being… I had pre-paid my plan for the year already. Saved 20% and paid out for a small business plan. And it really pays off you know? The savings is actually really awesome. And you prepay all the taxes too so you don’t have to worry about it.
OR so I thought.
Here’s the thing. If you have a small business plan, you get a free fax line. Now you have to pay for the taxes associated with that line, but otherwise the line is free. But when I pre-paid the small business plan, I had already paid for the E-911 and regulatory charges?
So I called Vonage customer service. Great guy. He was as baffled as I was so he called finance. Finance tells him that the taxes I already paid on the “pre-pay” only consisted of my main number, not my fax. I concurred after doing some quick calculations. What we both couldn’t understand was why Vonage couldn’t have just included those taxes in with the free line. If people don’t have or want the free line then they can drop it and Vonage can refund the rest of the tax money or what not. Either way, there isn’t really a reason for me to get dinged every month still.
Who’s fault is this? Vonage’s marketing and billing departments I’d say. It’s not clear why the taxes couldn’t be rolled into it, and why they didn’t actually write this up into their actual marketing thing in the first place. All they had to do is explain that taxes for the fax line could be extra monthly charge because it’s not rolled into the usual plan. Not a huge deal to me but this wasn’t evident when I bought it and they didn’t make it clear. Bad Vonage marketing department. Bad. Bad.
Does this make me not want to use Vonage? Not a chance. They’ve been good to me every time I’ve ever called about my service, and they’ve never once screwed me over. But if you see an extraneous charge coming in monthly after you did a pre-paid, then it’s probably this. Don’t fear the Vonage annual prepaid small business plans. Embrace them and the savings. Just be forewarned so you don’t go through your bills and mutter expletives before realizing that everything is fine and dandy.

AT&T changes policy due to backlash

att_logo.png It looks like this little policy is getting changed.
There’s a lot of talk that this wasn’t what they meant, but this is coming from the same company that would force the customers to pay for charges coming from stolen or lost calling cards at one point.
To tell you the truth, since the TOS hasn’t changed yet, and I wouldn’t trust it as far as I could throw it, it sounds like it’s a PR move rather than actual policy move. I’m willing to bet that the moment someone’s watchful eye is turned, they’ll be back at it. Just a hunch.

AT&T will terminate your service if you criticize them

att_logo.png It figures that AT&T would pull something like this. Apparently if you “tends to damage the name or reputation of AT&T, or its parents, affiliates and subsidiaries” then you’ll violate the terms of service and AT&T has the right to legally terminate your contract.
I guess the First Amendment clause doesn’t apply anymore. It’s crazy because again… AT&T is a PUBLIC company. There are things you cannot do as a public company that you could as a private. As a private business, within the legal limits, you can do pretty much whatever you wish even if it’s not socially acceptable. However, for a publicly traded corporation, you might think you’re special and too large to be touched, but you are at the whim of your shareholders whom listen to consumer confidence reports.
Let me remind you (AT&T) that this doesn’t help consumer confidence. And it doesn’t surprise me at all that the new legal policy is held at a BellSouth address.
In case they change the legal terms, I’ve also thrown up a screenshot of the legal service and have highlighted the parts that will terminate your service.

att_tos.jpg

I’m literally amazed that the FCC is still standing by this merger between BellSouth and AT&T. Currently with the amount of trouble to get the $9.99/month DSL that they’re supposed to sell to consumers as part of the merger agreement, it’s almost as if they’re trying to get around the conditions placed upon them by the FCC. This is just another one of those… “you can’t touch us.. nyah nyah nyah” clauses that should send shivers down the spines of consumers with them. Personally, I would probably put this in the same pot as the Verizon Wireless public relations incident recently.
Personally? I refuse to use anything by AT&T or BellSouth due to this very reason. When a company becomes too big for their britches, it’s time to move on to someone that’s a little less evil.

Wells Fargo uses annoying telemarketer firm that calls you daily

4022232040.JPG (402) 223-2040. I hate this number and it’s only been three straight days.
Why? They keep calling and do the whole “hang-up” type calling. If you don’t have something to say, quit using your really bad dialing software. The caller ID showing Custom Response apparently has had some attention too. It’s annoyed many many others.
From the forums, it seems like the number is registered to a:

Custom Response Teleservices
2015 North 6th Street
Beatrice, NE (Nebraska) 68310-1236
Phone: (402) 223-2040

Further investigation reveals that CRT Inc, a telemarketing firm, is under contract with Wells Fargo Bank. Well this explains a lot, after looking at a couple complaints on Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage 402-223-2040 2007-07-06
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Custom Response 2007-05-22
Wells Fargo Custom Response 2007-08-15

It seems that Wells Fargo is in a practice of hiring subcontracted firms to bug you about home mortgages but only if you pick up quickly enough. Otherwise, you get a barrage of daily phone calls. Shameful.
What’s more amusing is the fact that we do have business with Wells Fargo. No offense, Wells Fargo, but I’m taking my business elsewhere. We don’t need annoying calls and there are other banks out there that won’t bother me unless I request it. And in hiring subs, you should know better to do some checking up on the people you hire.
As for CRT? Change your business practices or I’d imagine you’ll get some serious BBB complaints and calls to your state AG. In fact, I read that there were some calls of those sorts on the forums. Not really that surprised.
And I might join those ranks if these calls continue.

Vitamix customer service: the ordeal to get a blender

vitamix.jpg Disclaimer: This situation was probably isolated but it did happen.
Last week I wrote about a recent purchase I had made from Vitamix. I mentioned a customer service situation that at first had me outraged. We’re talking serious annoyance.
Let’s first take a look at Vitamix customer service history. Historically, it looks like people have been very well received and have been happy with the customer service. Yet, I had a terrible experience at the beginning of the build.
Let’s go through the timeline.
TAXES:
When you purchase something over the Internet, the general rule is that unless the seller has a brick & mortar store in your state, you are not charged sales tax. The seller usually absolves this responsibility to the consumer. Look at Amazon. Sales tax is only charged in the states it operates in. Not so with Vitamix. They charge sales tax in all states and have a break-out for state and county tax. If you don’t know how this works, be prepared to be confused like I was.
I seriously would love to see the accounting books to see if that money disappears and ever makes it to Uncle Sam’s coffers. But that’s a whole other matter in itself. If you’re used to seeing the sales tax as one single state percentage, be prepared to floored. I was, and the customer service at Vitamix was of no help. They told me to call my Councilperson. I called both Forsyth County and City of Winston-Salem, where both didn’t know what I was talking about until I got to the state level. Apparently counties get their cut but the states do the distribution of funds. The tax departments at the local levels just deal in real estate. Fun stuff.
Oh one more thing. I assume it was coming off of Labor Day weekend, and the lady was groggy or something, but she was pretty rude about the whole thing. Talk about bad first impressions.
So got that figured out. No problems now right? Wrong.
BUILD TIME:
My next issue came when it took about two weeks to build the machine. I called customer service and they told me that it takes 14 days. The website (when I ordered it) said 7-10 days, but has since been changed to reflect 10-14 days. And for those that are Google freaks, no the cache date was a day or so after I had reported to them that the build was taking a pretty long time.
Fine, whatever. At least this lady was nicer than the first about everything.
SHIPPING:
This one really perturbed me when I saw the shipping notice go out. After everything above, you would think that for something that is SO expensive, there would have been a check done before they went online with a shopping cart service on the corporate web site. I had a billing address that was different from my shipping address. So lo and behold when I found that they were shipping it to my billing address.
Wait one second here. One would go back and check the orders to make sure right? So I did. I checked every single confirmation email (which I still have) and what not. Everything up to the “we have shipped your product” email had the shipping address. Go figure that one out. I had to again call customer service, and at the beginning, they even told me that it would cost $10 to change the UPS shipping. Talk about nickel and diming. I had to explain my situation and explain that their code was screwed up and that they had to fix it. I even made screenshots and assisted them with their code. Maybe I should get paid to help them troubleshoot their site.
In any case, I didn’t have to pay the money and they got my product to me. Finally. Two customer service ladies helped me with this one (not the same as the ones before) but the whole thing was an ordeal. Nothing like the situations mentioned online about how great their customer service was or could be. I have to mention that the end part of it and they had apologized profusely for the screw-ups and did pay for the UPS change.
OUT OF BOX:
When you read the product description, you’ll note that you get a few things. Guess what wasn’t packed? Yes, I didn’t get my cooking DVD. A $25 value apparently too ( we won’t go into inflated bonus values here). Alas, this was just not worth the customer service call after everything above.
SYNOPSIS:
I didn’t get the same customer service as what many other received. Perhaps the corporation has PR people that write that stuff on product reviews. I don’t know. I will say that the overall experience was pretty negative, although the customer service representatives that helped with the shipping were very apologetic and tried to get me everything I needed to get it fixed. They even did a call back when I wrote them an email almost right away. That’s a good response time at least. Between the order date and the product receive date, was a total of seventeen days which was still outside the fourteen day period.
For the sake of Vitamix, I hope that my incident was an isolated one at worst. Many of my family members all have Vitamix machines and all have praised the robustness of the actual product. But then again, none of them bought it direct like I did. My suggestion for this all? Fix the website, and explain the breakout of taxes or change it so that state tax is one single percentage. In fact, it would probably be good to even explain why you’re taking state tax at all in states you don’t operate in. And I truly hope that someone else that buys the product with different billing and shipping will not run into the whole wrong shipping address issue. They never did get back to me on if it’s fixed.
All of this to get a blender. Geez. The pot at the end of the rainbow? I’m a smoothie machine now. And hopefully I’ll never have to call them again.

Cable service? What cable service?

Speaking of customer service in a previous post, I recently had some pretty bad service from a cable corporation. What’s interesting is that their customer service department is actually not bad but the overall service was poor due to the internal communications between their departments.
Basically, long story short, it took three weeks to get cable television and Internet hooked up. One of the sales managers actually felt terrible for us since he basically told us that we were trying to pay them, and they basically wouldn’t take our money for whatever reason.
Long story short, it’s finally resolved.
But it was three weeks of misery.
I mean, seriously. Have you ever tried to live without Internet? If you have, then you probably aren’t reading this post anyways. Otherwise, feel my pain!
Okay, really now. It was pretty bad. The turn around (so I’m told by some others that work for this company) is usually two-three business days. So they were fairly surprised when we told them how long we waited for some service, including calling their customer service when they requested to be called back and actually in one instance, was placed on hold for more than 2.5 hours before I finally had it and hung up. I have pictures, but I won’t release them since they finally took care of the business.
Some people asked, why didn’t you just go to DSL? Have you ever tried DSL? Ick. I’d be better off going with a T-1 and the service provider that would pull that would probably have been just as bad in customer service.
Oh well, what’s done is done.

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JCPenny customer survey promotes good customer service

jcp_logo.jpg JCPenny you say? Yes. They have really have thought this out.
Customer service requires feedback usually. So what they did was ingenious. They set up a survey website. It’s not the survey site itself that is brilliant though. No, many stores have done this. It’s the fact that they use this customer survey to promote more sales. How do they do that?
On every single receipt these days, the back of the ticket says that you can save “15% off” your entire purchase and from what I can tell can be stacked with clearance and sales (some conditions may apply, just take a look at the coupon for details). This works for both online and brick-and-mortar shopping. The maximum the survey takes is about ten minutes if you’re extremely slow, probably closer to five. I do it in about two since it’s pretty simple.
It’s one question per page, approximately thirteen pages. Asks about your experience in the store, and at the very end asks about some categorizing information. This is typically to trend out which groups of people are shopping at the store and what their income levels are and what not. At the end of survey, you get to print out your coupon.
That’s the right idea about customer survey. People love saving money, and they love it even more when you get to save just by telling them if you had a good or bad experience. It’s almost like someone giving you a gift certificate just because they wanted to know if you had a good time. Not bad. Not bad at all.