No wonder my blood pressure is high. I've been caught in a customer service nightmare with several companies. Companies are not paying attention to what employees are doing to ruin reputations and chase off customers! Shame on you, marketing professionals! Customer retention is of utmost importance!
Incident number 1: J.C. Penney Optical - last year I had my eyes checked and bought new glasses at J.C. Penney Optical. This was the second time I decided to use them. The first time, I has a very good customer experience and bought glasses without pressure to pay a fortune for things I didn't want or need. This time, the buying experience was good again.
However, I paid for insurance on my lenses so that I could have them replaced if they got scratched or damage, so when that happened around the first of this year, I took them back and asked to have them either repaired or replaced. The women who were on duty were trying to deal with lots of customers. It was obvious they needed more help. I dutifully waited until I could get service. The sales person was nice, but distracted. She said she would send the glasses back to the lab and call me when the lab had an answer about what they could do.
Several weeks later, I hadn't heard anything about my glasses, so I called. The person who answered my call had no idea what I was talking about and asked me to call back when the optical department manager was in. I kept calling back. The optical department manager wasn't in each time I called. I finally got her. She said she would check on my glasses and call me back. Some time later, she called back and said the glasses should be shipped to the Mobile store within that week. I called back several times and finally was told the glasses had come in. I went to get them on a Friday. The frames weren't the same. The glasses didn't have Transition lenses. The glasses made my vision blurry. But the sales person assured me they were my glasses and that I should go home and wear them for a few days. I went home, tried again, got sick to my stomach, and took the glasses back the very next day to complain. They weren't my glasses. The girl who took them said she would leave a message with the manager. I wrote the message - explaining the mistake. Since then, I have called, gone to the store and done everything in my power to get them to either give me the right glasses or give me my money back. The last time I was in, I was told by the clerk that I had to get permission to get a refund on my glasses. She was too busy talking on the phone to someone and laughing it up to treat my problem with any concern.
My next step... I think I'll write to the CEO of J.C. Penney and complain. But first, I'll blog.
Incident number 2: Abebooks.com - I ordered a text book I needed for teaching my Marketing Management Class at Spring Hill. I ordered expedited shipping (2-4 days) and was charged about three or four dollars more for it ($7.99 to be exact). I just got notice from Abebooks and from "The Book Place" that the order had shipped, but the shipping notice said it was shipped standard mail (4 - 10 days). So I emailed them back and said I had paid for expedited shipping. I got a reply that made no sense. "We are sorry you haven't received your book yet. If..." Nothing about my payment for expedited shipping, or graciously saying they would refund the difference. That's the last time I'll shop on Abebooks.com and I'll be sure NOT to recommend the site to any students, professors, peers, friends... you get the picture.
I guess companies don't bother to explain to employees that in lean economic times, the employee's job and the future of the company may very well rest on customer satisfaction and customer retention. And the employees obviously don't give a hoot about customer satisfaction once the customer has been fleeced out of the bucks.
So we must hold a funeral for customer service. It's dead. Though I don't think it's buried yet.
March 12th - Addendum: The latest from Abebooks.com and The Book Place... I received an email saying that the notification template that was used was wrong and that my order had been shipped per my payment and request for expedited shipping. So we have closed the book on this one, I hope and I'll be expecting to get the book soon. One thing I can say about the customer service for these two providers, they do answer email quickly. And that's a good sign! Maybe customer service isn't totally dead. Maybe it can be revived.
(Imagery Marketing Consultants can produce and facilitate custom customer service training programs. Contact Imagery for help in training your employees how to retain customers through excellent service.)