One of my main bullet points is to provide better customer service at work. This is reflective of the absolutely awful customer service I've recently received. I figure start with what I provide, then encourage others to change.
A while back the customer service paradigm shifted from 'the customer is always right' to 'the customer isn't always right, but we will do our best'. Yay. Unrealistic customer expectations happen, not all can be resolved. The problem is that the paradigm shifted further almost to 'what makes you think you're right just because you bought goods or services from us? You will now receive a condescending reply from us. Please leave.'
Customer service needs to be restored to the a paradigm that encourages retailers and service providers to strive to please the customer while cushioning them from unrealistic or aggressive patrons. Service with a smile. Polite, concise service with results.
Think back to recent customer service experiences you've had. Was it satisfactory? Allow me to share two recent experiences with you:
I went to Best Buy a few days ago to purchase a new oven because mine is old/busted/no worky. After selecting one and a new dishwasher, the customer service agent took my money, explained a few things (in that order) about delivery, etc. and confirmed that both appliances would be delivered on 12/29. I explained that I had to be very careful with my work schedule and that the delivery date had to be fixed in stone. He confirmed that yes, I would have both appliances delivered and installed on this day. Nothing wrong so far, right? The evening of the 28th I received a call from the delivery company confirming the delivery of each (both, so two) appliance the next day. I awoke to a contrary phone call yesterday morning. It went something like this 'Yes ma'am I'm just calling to let you know your dishwasher will still be on the truck today but your range will not. You need to call Best Buy because it's so far on backorder we have no idea when we will even get it so good luck'. Then she proceeded to chuckle. To say I was irate like a pent-up honey badger would be an understatement. I waited until Best Buy was open and contacted the service manager in the appliance department. She told me that I should be aware that my oven is a special order (special? It was sitting in your showroom. Seems pretty ordinary) and that it would be upward of a month before it would be delivered. She said I was aware of this and that I will need to arrange delivery once it has arrived. She was peaches and cream about this, 'natch. I took a deep breath and let her know that I was unaware it was a special order and offered that it practically takes an Order from Zeus to grant me a day off of work to sit around and wait for a delivery. I need this to be delivered on a Saturday. She said 'oh no problem. We're looking at probably a February delivery I would think but we are at the mercy of LG so no one really knows. Just tell your delivery driver who brings the dishwasher what you want and he will make it happen'. UM. Wait, what? Aren't you a manager? Don't you 'make things happen'? Aren't delivery drivers overworked and given very little authority to do this kind of thing?
So of course I spoke to the delivery driver about it. He told me that since I purchased two appliances on one ticket, I was entitled to one delivery and installation only. He added (while I was steaming like broccoli in the microwave) that the installation would be at a charge and not on a weekend unless I was alright with the upcharge.
Between the time of the phone exchange and the delivery driver insult I'd surfed the interwebz (as I should've done before making the purchase) for customer service complaints on Best Buy. MAN. The boards are rife with complaints about Best Buy overselling items to be delivered then cancelling or postponing deliveries. Phrases such as 'thanks for ruining Christmas' abound.
My personal issue has yet to be resolved as I have not been able to reach the appliances customer service manager again. The item in question is actually on backorder at LG but that's not the problem. I don't really care if I have to wait. It's what I want and were I to cancel the order to buy it from another store, I'd be thrust even further down the waiting list. The issue is the customer service, the inaccuracies and lack of care to please the customer.
Had I written this yesterday, there would've been expletives and slightly more descriptive phrases involved.
Had I not had this experience, the next probably wouldn't have mattered. My favorite clothing store is Anthropologie. I don't dress straight out of their catalog but I love their wares and buy from them. On 12/21 I bought a sale item from their website. My purchase went through, Paypal extracted money from my account and I received an order confirmation. Yesterday I received an email that my order had been cancelled. No indication that my money would be refunded, just that the order had been cancelled. I called customer service (which nauseated me at this point) only to find that their stock department had been on holiday, the item was oversold, they didn't have it and that I'd get my money back. I asked why it took a full week and she said that they were on holiday. No apology, no offer to improve my experience. WTF??? You have a functioning website, you have stock, why do these happen? The money hasn't been credited back to Paypal yet either (not that I can see and I checked about 10 minutes ago).
These are only two examples but they are from major retailers around the holidays. They should have their acts together, this is unacceptable. If you sell goods or services, especially during a high volume period, you had better be able to fulfill all of your orders. If not, get out of the business or change something. No lenience should be given to large corporations like this. They get tax breaks, they make money hand-over-fist yet they provide a craptastic customer experience in doing it? I'd prefer to pay a premium to a small retailer in exchange for quality service. I will not order anything for delivery again through Best Buy and I will not purchase anything from Anthropologie's ill-managed website.