Showing posts with label Customer Service. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Customer Service. Show all posts

August 2, 2020

Overpriced Desk Chairs





I went on this website for some deck chairs.

They had this nothing of a chair called the Harborside for almost $500. I was looking for 2 chairs, so that would've been a whooping $1,000 almost.


After a while on their web page, a chat box came up asking if I needed any help. 

It was funny because the guys name was Jake, as in the commercial, "Hi, this is Jake from State Farm!"

Anyway, I must've been annoyed at their ridiculous prices and I had this farce of a dialogue with Jake. 

Jake: Hello, We see you are checking out.  Can we help in any way?

Me: trying to download a 25% off coupon...can you assist?

Jake: We don't have any coupons or discount codes. 

Me: Just overpriced then.  {smiley}

Me: Why do you charge so much for such cheap merchandise?

Jake: It's grade A teak which is the highest quality grade you buy but go on.

Me: It's a tree! Why should I pay $1000 for 2 small desk chairs.  There is plenty of tweak in the forest for free!

Me:  Can you explain?

Jake: *Teak. You're more than welcome to grow your own forest and make these but you'll have to move to a warmer climate. You can educate yourself better with our guide here [and he attached a link]. 

Me: Hmmm. Would you pay $1000 for thee little wooden chairs. 

Me: Also, I'm pretty educated.  TY

Jake: Yes, I have 4 on [my grandmother's porch]

Me: You didn't pay $2000 for 4 chairs for your grandmother's porch.  NO WAY!  I bet you got a big employee discount. 

At which point, the chat box quickly bleeped off the screen!

Jake from State Farm...you didn't really buy 4 chairs for your grandmother for $2000 did you???  ;-)

(Credit Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 2, 2020

The Truth Hurts

So I purchase some nutrition bars from a prominent online store. 

If you click on 2 boxes (12 bars each), they charge you $30. 

But if you look over a little on the website page, they have 24 bars for $24. 

I contact customer service and start chatting with them about this. 

Basically, I wanted the difference refunded to me. 

Surely, not a lot of money, but more the principle of it. 

They are charging 2 different amounts for the very same thing! 

The lady on the other end of the chat asks me to forward her the link for the product. 

I comply. 

She says, "You see that link is 2 boxes for $30!"

I say, "No, that's just the primary link to the product, and it has 2 different prices for basically the exact same thing."

She says, "On that link you sent it has 12 bars x 2, which is different than ordering 24 bars!"

I'm thinking, Oh really!  What math class did she take in elementary school???

And then for good measure, she adds socking one to me:
"Truth Always Hurts!"

At this point, I couldn't believe my chat "ears".  

Aside from her "truth" not being "the truth" in any universe...

I was in shock and said something like "How dare you.  You are incredibly rude.  Put your supervisor on."

She says: "Well, my supervisor will tell you the same thing!"

I repeated once more: "Please let me speak to a supervisor."

Finally when I got the supervisor, who was a more normal, reasonable person, and also could do simple arithmetic, she immediately apologizes issuing me a refund. 

She asked if there was anything else she could assist with.

I asked, to confirm again, "Are you a supervisor?"

She responded affirmatively. 

I asked her to review the chat with the prior customer service rep and asked, "Is this how you want your company represented to your customers?"

Needless to say, she was flabbergasted by what she saw from their outsourced "customer service" representative.

She assured me she was flagging the chat for review by management and that this outrageous behavior from this company representative would be addressed. 

To me, it is amazing that our companies not only outsource the manufacture of our vital goods, but they also outsource customer service to people that barely seem to speak the language, can't do basic math, and have zero customer service skills. 

This does not bode well for American competitiveness--in the age of Coronavirus or at any other time. 

I believe that this truth hurts much more than any company's horrendous customer service. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 17, 2020

Telework Lessons from Coronavirus

So we're all stuck in the house teleworking because of Coronavirus.

After a number of hours, I hear from my daughter that her laptop stopped working.

Apparently the battery overheated. 

Like a good millennial, what does she do?

She puts it in the refrigerator to cool down.

And sure enough, when she takes it out, it's working again. 

Next problem of the day is where the VPN circuits are overloaded (too many people trying to login from home).

And when you try to call the help desk, of course all you get is a busy signal. 

We sure are learning a lot during this Coronavirus outbreak. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 17, 2020

Airplane Art

Why aren't airplanes really decorated like this?

It would be so much more fun to get on a plane that displayed some pizzaz!

All we hear about are plane delays, cancelled flights, mishandled baggage, and involuntary bumping.

Oh, and don't forget the ever more cramped seating and the entertainment system that is habitually broken.

How does this industry get away with all this crap? ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 4, 2019

Now Dat's Customer Service

This was a sign that talks to a real customer service orientation:

"Suppose we refund your money.

Send you another one without charge.

Close the store.

And have the manager shot...

Would that be satisfactory?"

Actually no, that's not good enough!

While you're at it...

Bow down and kiss my filthy feet.

Flagellate yourself with 40 lashes using a wet noodle. 

Give me a complimentary supply of whatever the crap is I was buying for life.

And after you shoot the manager, hang him from the tallest tree for everyone to get the message.  LOL

Now dat's customer service!  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 1, 2019

Give Me That Fridge Handle

So we got a new stainless refrigerator. 

A cause for celebration!

It get's delivered and afterwards, I notice that the door handles are installed unevenly. 

I call the store and they agree to send their guys out to us again to fix it. 

Well, the handles were on the wrong doors and they switch it so that now they look even, but in the process, they break the handle on one of the doors so that only the top is attached to the door and the bottom is blowing in the wind (and ready to scratch the door). 

With this second installation debacle, I call the store again and not a happy camper!

Three calls later, the store agrees for me to come over and literally take the handle of the fridge on the showroom floor to replace my broken one--which I promptly did!

Third times the charm...no more broken door handle. 

As for the one in the store, let's just say you can only open the left door for now.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 30, 2019

This Is The IT Help Desk

This was a funny true story that happened recently. 

Someone found a roach walking around their desk in the office. 

Not knowing who to call...they call the (IT) Help Desk.


Hello. What is the asset number on the device you are calling about?


Asset Number! You don't need my asset number.


Well, what is the nature of your problem?


I'll tell you what my problem is. The problem is that I have a cockroach walking around on my desk!"


Ah, do you know that you are calling the IT!!! Help Desk?


Ah, yes I do. Can you give me the number for who to call about this roach?


Ah, you are calling the wrong number. Why don't you try finding out who your facilities person is?


Facilities person! But you guys are the Help Desk! Can't you tell me how to get help to get rid of this roach? And by the way--where there is one, there are definitely more.


Ah, We don't typically handle roach problems, but thank you for calling the Help Desk. {{click}}

I know many organizations are moving to Enterprise Service Desks where you can call and get help for all sorts of issues at work. 

Even then, I wonder if the employees answering the line will be trained in who to call to get a Roach Motel or some Raid. 

Perhaps this is the next evolution of support.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 4, 2019

Monday Signs

Starting a new week...

Pick a sign for your desk:

- Good morning let the stress begin

- Step away from my desk and no one gets hurt

- I found your nose, it was in my business

- I'm pretty sure I have no idea

Which one would you pick?

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 17, 2018

Don't Give A Fire Truck

Sometimes, others can get negative at you in life.

People are unhappy. 

They are being unreasonable.

Complaints are rolling in. 

It seems like you can't do right.

But you have to have a thick skin or as one colleague told me:
You need to be like Teflon and have it all just roll off you.

And this book title reminded me of this:
"The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck"

Yes, we do have to care about doing good in what we do. 

It's just that we shouldn't "give a f*ck" when others are just wanting to tear us down and enjoying it. 

Constructive feedback is good. 

But destructive negativity at every turn is just hurtful.

It's also a way for others to not take ownership.

We all need to do our part to make things better in this world. 

Sure, no one does everything right and no one is perfect. 

But everyone needs to try their best, and when others just want to beat on you...

That's a completely appropriate time to not give a firetruck. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 29, 2018

Say YES!

Really liked this sign on my colleague's desk.

It says:
Start With Yes

I remember an old boss who used to say:
Don't make me get through no to get to yes. 

The idea as another colleague put it is to:
Keep a smile on your face and your focus on the customer; everything else takes care of itself. 

Basically, it's all our jobs to make sure that the customer's needs are being met. 

That doesn't mean that we don't need to differentiate between requirements and desirements or that we need to deliver the yacht in the first go around.

As a 4th colleague put it:
The customer is in the water. They want the yacht. But I can give them a boat. It gets them to where they want to go, and they no longer need to swim. We can work our way up to a yacht.

Good analogy analogy and good things to keep in mind for customer service excellence! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 3, 2018

Nitpicking To Death

It's funny some people go straight for the kill when they don't like something. 

Others may nitpick you to death. 

Always! looking for something to henpeck at.

It comes out as you're stupid, lazy, incompetent, and even worthless.

Why can't you do anything right (read: the way I would do it)?

If only you would change this, that, or the other thing then it would all be better!

But even when you do manage to change this, that or the other thing--guess what? That just sparks the next round of destructive criticism and never being satisfied.

Hey, since when are you so (f*ckin) perfect?  

Or as the old saying goes, "Who died and made you G-d?"

It should not be about grabbing some sadistic pleasure out of torturing other people with narcissism, judgmentalism, endless criticism and naysaying.

Instead of tearing down, let's focus on the big picture and what success looks like.

How can everyone contribute to that vision and effort?

Customer service doesn't mean personal servitude. 

There is such a thing as being a team player, identifying when good is good enough, and driving forward rather than seeking to derail or even go backward. 

Competency is not just for service providers, but for the customers. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 31, 2018

Lunch And A Call

This just seemed like a funny photo to me.

In the cafeteria, someone was checking out at the register. 

And on their lunch/food tray, they had, of course, their lunch. 

But also, they had a big black telephone.

Talking about a working lunch!

Wow, is that customer service or what? lol

This reminded me also of the BIG red phone on some top officials' desks --always ready for that critical call in case of near world catastrophe.

So here we go Joe... 

I will eat my lunch and am ready for your call at any time. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 11, 2018

Teambuilding S-Cubed

Awesome day today with my team at work. 

We had a half-day team building. 

Started off with a Play-Doh exercise where we had to answer things like what we'd like to accomplish as a team in the new year. 

This was my representation with a S-cubed for the new program implementing process improvements and enterprise service management using:

- Strategy

- Structure

- (Customer) Service

We followed up with a great team luncheon and then a game of Monster Mini Golf.

We broke into two teams and one team came in "first place" and the other team were the "winners."

I suppose whenever we genuinely come together as a team to appreciate each other and work collaboratively as a unified whole--greater than the sum of our parts--then we truly all come out as first place winners! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 8, 2017

It's All In The Interpretation

So a friend sent me this hilarious spoof about automatic transmissions, and it goes something like this...

A guy calls up the car service hotline and asks for help with his car.

What's the matter?

Well the car works perfectly in the daytime, but it refuses to drive at night. 

The lady on the customer service line is baffled.

Then he explains:

- During the daytime, I just put the car into "daytime" (D) mode, and it drives fine.

- But then at night, I put it into the "nighttime" (N) mode, and it doesn't move.

- What's worse yet, when another car tried to jump ahead of him, he puts the transmission into "race" (R) mode, and he ends up hitting the car behind him!

At this point, the customer service representative is completely cracking up laughing. 

Apparently not everyone has the same notion of "drive" (D), "neutral" (N), and "reverse" (R)--and frankly, maybe we shouldn't take so much in life for granted.  ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to AliExpress)
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September 19, 2017

Customer Service NO-NOs

So if you're in customer service...

The answer is easy. 

It's always got to be YES. 

- Any less is a big No-No!

The customer's needs are paramount.

Their satisfaction is your goal. 

So your job is to figure out how to get from no to yes!

You've got to problem-solve and figure it out. 

And it's not enough to come up with any old solution.

When I said to my colleagues the other day:
"There's a solution to every problem."

Someone joked and answered back:
"It's just that the customer may not like it."

And I responded:
"Well then that's not the solution you are looking for!"

You've got to go back to the drawing board and get to a legitimate yes. 

Of course, it can difficult, especially when at times you deal with some challenging customers and problems.

But listen, this is the customer service field and in the end, the customer experience should be WOW fantastic!

It's the customer that is depending on you to come through for them and their mission. 

Doing your job isn't just a matter of reading off of some cue card or playbook. 

This is real life with real consequences. 

If you can deliver, the customer will be able to do their jobs, and they may even sing your wildest praises--wouldn't that be rewarding? 

Customer service means getting to YES from the earliest possible moment in the interaction, meaning it, and legitimately delivering on it--no other questions asked.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 23, 2017

REI Stupid Coupons

REI had a special online. 

You order $100 or more of stuff, and you get a $20 "member bonus" card. 

That sounded good, so I placed an order. 

So I get a message that I'll have the bonus card within 48 hours or I should check my spam folder. 

Not sure what should take 48 hours, but I end up getting the email with the $20 code the same day. 

Thinking I'd go and get something for the freebie, I head to the store today and find something perfectly for $20!

Wow--that's cool.

I wait on this long line with my wife...and we're checking out this new popcorn on the line called Halfpops, which looks like Half Poop, and what's the other half?  

After having lousy experiences with these B.S. coupons in the past, we are joking back and forth how there is less than a 50% chance that the coupon actually works today and we end up walking out with the product.

Sure enough, we get to the register and the cashier says, 

"Sorry. The coupon is not good for another 2 weeks!"

Bingo.  Well why they heck did you send me the coupon now and not make it good for another 2 weeks--why waste everyone's time here?

Also, what difference is it to REI to make me wait 2 weeks to use the member reward--I'm in the store now, so if they want to cross-sell me some stuff what difference does another couple of weeks make. 

You'd think the customer service at REI would say, "we apologize for the inconvenience" and process it now to make it a positive experience, but instead they actually told me to come back in 2 weeks and start all over AGAIN. 

Gee, thanks REI for the member bonus reward...you've really done so well with customer service for your members, NOT!  

I think REI is blinded by stupid policies and corporate bullsh*t so that they cannot take care of their customers and do what makes common sense. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 12, 2017

Getting To Yes

I thought this was a good and important customer service principle:
"Don't make me go through NO
To get to YES."

When it comes to customer service, the default for reasonable requests from good customers should always be YES!

We can either make the experience miserable for the customer and leave them fuming, never coming back, and bad-mouthing us or we can make it fair, easy, accommodating, and a WOW experience!

Why not build your customer base and reputation for excellence rather than erode it? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 14, 2017

Inspector Inspects Starbucks

This was the first time that I have ever seen an inspector in Starbucks...

See the lady in the white lab coat with hair cap and gloves...

Ah, she stands out like a saw thumb in contrast to the other staff person in the traditional green Starbucks apron. 

So I would imagine that she's not a doctor moonlighting as a barista!

She was checking here, there, and everywhere. 

At this point, she was taking out the milk and looked like she had some thermometer like device to make sure it was cold enough and not spoiled. 

Honestly, I was impressed that they have this level of quality control in the stores. 

We need more of this to ensure quality standards as well as customer service -- here and everywhere in industry and government. 

There is way too much dysfunction, inefficiencies, politics, power plays, turf battles, backstabbing, bullying, lack of accountability, unprofessionalism, fraud, waste, and abuse, and mucho organizational culture issues that need to be--must be--addressed and fast!

Can the inspector that inspects do it?

Of course, that's probably not enough--it just uncovers the defects--we still have the hard work of leadership to make things right--and not just to checklist them and say we did it.

I wonder if the Starbucks inspector will also address the annoying long lines on the other side of the counter as well? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 1, 2017

2017 Year Of The Customer

So here's a resolution for all of us for 2017...

How about this year be the year of the customer!

- Where we care more about doing a good job for someone than we do about what time we get off from work.

- Where we talk to and treat customers with respect, dignity, and ultimately to solve their needs, rather than it escalating to a yelling match and oh, did I accidentally hang up the phone on you?

- Where we make the customer feel good about dealing with us and our organization, rather than wanting to beg for a supervisor or cyanide please!

- Where the customer isn't lied to, manipulated, and taken advantage of just so someone can make another quick buck!

- Where the quality and value is #1 and it's not just a shinny veneer on a car that accelerates on it's own and with fake emissions test results or smartphone batteries that light up on fire and explode

- Where we don't cross-sell and up-sell customers, like phony bank accounts or other things they don't want, need, and never asked for just to make our sales quotas, and accrue the fine bonuses and stock options that go with them. 

- Where we don't oversell the capability of a product, like fraudulent blood testing devices and medical results, and instead deliver what's really doable and as promised. 

- Where there's no error in the charge to the customer or it's in the customer's favor, rather than always an overcharge in the seller's favor, and the price from the beginning is fair and reasonable and not hiked up 400% like on critical medicine that people's lives depend on. 

- Where items arrive on time and work the first time, rather than having delays, making excuses, and causing endless customer returns of defective items or those that didn't fit, look, or work as advertised. 

- Where the customer is happy to come back to and where they feel trust in the people, products, and services offered--not another Home Shopping Network or QVC shoddy experience of "It slices, it dices...the only tears you'll shed are tears of joy!"

- Where we solve genuine customer needs or problems and not just "build it and they will come."

- Where rather than a pure what's in it for me (WIIFM) mentality, we suspend our self-interest and greed for the moment and we do for others, because it's not just a job and we actually have a work ethic and care about what we do. 

- Where we delight! and wow!, rather than disengage and disappoint, and we put the customer first, and like first responders, we run to help and not run away. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 18, 2016

Survey The Performance

So I was in the Apple store recently and made a purchase to upgrade some technology.

Afterwards, I got an email asking:

"How was your experience with Beverly?

When I opened this my wife saw this and was like, "What the heck is that?!"

We should be surveying the work performance and not the experience with the person.

I can't imagine that super smart Apple didn't see this sort of double entendre about sweet Beverly.

All Apple needed to do was add in the word(s) at the top, shopping and/or at Apple, as in "How was your shopping experience with Beverly at Apple? (rather than burying it in the subtext later)"

But then their customer satisfaction survey maybe wouldn't get as much attention.

Sexualizing the customer experience shouldn't be part of marketing, unless maybe your purposely visiting a shady part of town for unscrupulous reasons. 

Anyway, I did respond that Beverly was a definite 5!

Thank you for the wonderful technology Apple and for the experience with Beverly--it was great! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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