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Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Customer Service is an Oxymoron
Yes, it is. Oh, occasionally you come across the freakish person who actually believes in treating the customer like they matter. VERY seldom do you come across someone who acts like the customer is their reason for being in business. Lately it seems more that businesses treat the customer like they (the business person) is doing them (the customer) a favor by even acknowledging that they exist.

Then there are the companies that just need to polish up their customer service a little.

Sears is in the first category. I ordered a jewelry armoire on line because I gave up on JCPenney's sending me one in a decent box so that it did not get damaged in transit (to JCP's credit, when I returned the first one and refused the second one they immediately credited my account). Anyway, I ordered the one from Sears in early November so it would get here before I left for Nova Scotia for Christmas. On-line it said "in stock and ready to ship." Well, they lied. You're getting the Reader's Digest version here. They stalled and stalled. Then they said they shipped it. Then they said, no, it hasn't shipped yet. Finally, it had shipped but, since it came directly from the manufacturer Sears had no way of knowing when it would arrive. When it didn't show up in 14 days I canceled the order and asked for credit. I was told I would have the credit in 3-5 days. Two weeks later, still no credit. I called. Was told "oh, sorry but we have no control over how long it takes for the manufacturer to issue credit." Uh, excuse me?? I didn't order from, nor did I pay, the manufacturer. The VISA statement quite clearly shows that Sears was paid on November 16th. Since I paid Sears then Sears should be giving me the credit. Nope, doesn't work that way. Sigh. Ok, called VISA and asked that the charge be reversed. This was in later January. The credit was on my statement in 48 hours (January 28th). So, order placed 11/9, charged 11/16, finally got my money back on 1/28.

No wonder Sears is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Ok, then there is firstStreet which falls in the latter category.

In early November I ordered a "Tiffany-style" floor lamp with full-spectrum bulb (think Ott- light but more attractive). It was perfect for my living room so I could do hand work at night in front of the TV. Again, order placed, confirmed. Was supposed to be "in stock and available to ship." It was ordered so that it would get here before 12/20 when I went home for Christmas. It didn't make it. I emailed. "Oh, sorry but our computer shows that this item is backordered and won't be available to ship until 1/15/08." Ok, I responded, did it ever occur to you to send me an email to tell me this? No response. I got home on 1/4. On 1/11 I was notified that the lamp had shipped and should arrive within 10 days (good grief, how do they ship this stuff? slow boat??). 1/21, no lamp; 1/22, no lamp; 1/23, no lamp. I emailed again. Oh, it didn't actually ship (then why did you tell me it did). They are still back ordered and won't be available until February. And you were going to tell me when?? I noted that good customer service requires communication, just like any relationship and that I did not appreciate being charged for an item and told it had shipped when it had not. I suggested they try emailing customers whose orders were delayed for any reason and that most people (me included) didn't mind waiting for something we really wanted as long as we knew why we were waiting and how long the wait might be. Their response?? They canceled the order and credited my VISA. Did they email me to tell me they were doing this? No; I found out when I checked my VISA statement. The credit was issued 1/23. On 2/2 I received a letter in the mail telling me they had canceled the order. Gee, thanks. But, at least I didn't have to go to the manufacturer to get the refund.

Will I ever order online from Penney's or Sears....no. At least, not from Sears.com. However, I have not had any problems with Sears.ca so I am debating that one. How about firstStreet?? Well, I already did. I ordered a different lamp since the Tiffany style is still back ordered. I was charged for the new lamp on 1/31- I'll let you know when/if it comes.

No wonder the US economy is in the toilet. If one more person tells me it's my patriotic duty to buy American and shop in American stores I think I will scream. I am finding the US stores (both in person, via catalog and via the Internet) have the worst customer service. And the larger the business the worse the service.

End of Rant.

If you are in a Super Tuesday State please go vote!!! and vote Obama!!!!)

teri
posted by Teri Springer @ 9:54 AM  
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About Me

Name: Teri Springer
Home: Chester, Nova Scotia, Canada
About Me: Studio Art Quilt Associates for the Atlantic Canada Region (New Brunswick, Newfoundland/Labrador, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island). Quote:Apples and Wine: Women are like apples on trees. The best ones are at the top of the tree. Most men don't want to reach for the good ones because they are afraid of falling and getting hurt. Instead, they sometimes take the apples from the ground that aren't as good, but easy. The apples at the top think something is wrong with them, when in reality, they're amazing. They just have to wait for the right man to come along, the one who is brave enough & smart enough to climb all the way to the top of the tree. Now Men... Men are like a fine wine. They begin as grapes, and it's up to women to stomp the hell out of them until they turn into something acceptable to have dinner with.
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