Customer Dissatisfaction [Stay-at-Home Nerd] Aug04

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Customer Dissatisfaction [Stay-at-Home Nerd]

“A guy don’t walk on the lot lest he wants to buy.” Glengarry Glen Ross

That quote is from one of my favorite plays written by one of my favorite writers. It concerns the lack of production a certain sales force is facing and is a poke to motivate them. I’ve always appreciated the quote from the other side, you know, the guy on the fucking lot looking to buy.

In the internet age, if that’s what this is, it is easier to window shop than ever before. It’s also easier to buy over the web for less money than the physical store. Most of this is due to online retailers like Amazon not collecting and paying sales taxes due to some legal loopholes. Thanks dickheads. I think of you every time an LAUSD student graduates without the ability to read because our high schools are underfunded. But, that’s not the point of this article.

I have a question and I don’t know the answer. Maybe you do. And if you do, please leave it in the comments section.

Why does customer service suck? I’m trying not to name names here, but I make no promises. Like me, you’ve probably needed to actually buy something in the past six months. My typical experience goes something like this. I walk into a store where I’m not greeted. (Yes, this even happened at a Wal*Mart in Paso Robles where they supposedly employ seniors with a second career in greeting. I won’t go into them not having the camera battery charger I needed, although they did have it online.)

After walking into the store and not being greeted, I look for the merchandise I intend to buy. More often than not the store has been “rearranged” in order to, and I can only assume this, influence more customer spending. I believe it has the opposite effect. I would like to walk into a store and say go to the polo shirt section and buy a new shirt from Eddie Bauer because perhaps I’m at the mall and my son dumped my plate of Panda Express all over me and I just want a clean shirt. In truth the Eddie Bauer store was no longer there and I walked into a women’s clothing store with the exact same shelving and lighting as the old Eddie Bauer store before I realized my mistake and left with my orange chicken stained shirt and headed home. In fairness to my son, the food at Panda Express is godawful and while it’s given to you relatively fast, I’m not convinced that it’s actually food.

How long was I in the woman’s clothing store? I don’t know. I assure you, however, that no one helped me. Now, it’s quite possible that the “big guy” with food all over his shirt and a baby tossing cheerios wasn’t an ideal customer. But what if I was there to buy something for my wife? Or a gift card? Don’t they want my money?

This isn’t an isolated instance. The third step in entering a retail environment is to ask for help. I do not recommend this course of action at Home Depot or Lowe’s. I once waited 45 minutes at a Home Depot, or was it Lowe’s, for the guy in the ceiling fan department to return from lunch. I had a question about installation and apparently he was the only guy in the store qualified to answer my question. How did I end up there for 45 minutes? Easy. It took 5 minutes of waiting around in the fan department before I gave up and looked for someone in a vest with a nametag. I asked them the question and they told me to wait in the fan department and someone would be right with me.

I waited. No one came. I went to customer service. They told me they would send some one right over. I went back. No one came. I returned to customer service and told them no one came. They paged some one over the loudspeaker. This sounded like a good sign. I went back to the department. And someone did come. This someone came to tell me that the guy who works in the department was on lunch and would be back in 10 minutes. I said I’d wait. 15 minutes later…

These are not isolated incidents. I also bought blinds that took nearly six weeks to install. The first problem was that the computer cancelled the order after the measurements weren’t entered by a certain time. My fault? No. They call you to schedule a time to come measure. Their earliest date was after this magical cutoff date that no one at the store seemed to know about. Upon returning to the store we were informed that the sales price we’d gotten was no longer valid. So we had to wait two weeks for the sale price to return (in case you don’t know, blinds, like Coke and Pepsi, basically alternate sales so that if you’re not brand loyal you can always buy the cheaper one, thus increasing sales for the competitor).

After the sales price returned we tried to renew the order. That wasn’t possible. So we redid the order, which seems like the same thing, but apparently isn’t and apparently only Greg in the department was capable of handling this situation so we had to work around his schedule.

Try calling Home Depot, or was it Lowe’s, and talking to Greg.

First you’re met by an answering machine designed to get you off the phone as it is presumed that all human contact costs money, even though if I could just talk to Greg we could wrap this up in 10 minutes and it would be win-win.

Second, ah, hell, I’ll just give you the transcript.

Home Depot (HD): Thank you for calling home depot, how may I help you.
Josh Pullin (JP): Can I speak to Greg please.

HD: Greg who?
JP: I don’t know. Just Greg. He works in blinds.

HD: Greg’s blind?
JP: I don’t think so. I just saw him a couple a days ago. I hope he’s OK.

HD: Why? Did something happen?
JP: No. Not that I know of. I just want to finish my order for blinds.

HD: That’s a different department.
JP: Yes. Could you please transfer me.

HD: One moment. (it transfers — a woman answers)
HD: Hold on please.

I wait.

HD: This is BLANK? How can I help you.
JP: Is Greg working today?

HD: No.
JP: Is he working tomorrow?

HD: I can’t give out schedules over the phone.
JP: Yes, but I placed a blind order with him and I just need to pay for it.

HD: I can help you.
JP: Great. My name is…

HD: One moment please.

More waiting.

HD: Okay, I’m at the computer.
JP: Where were you before?

HD: Not at the computer.
JP: OK great. What do you need?

HD: Do you have your order number?
JP: Yes, I do.

HD: What is it?
JP: (I give her the number)

HD: Huh?
JP: What is it?

HD: The order’s been cancelled.
JP: I know. There was a computer problem (I want to say a human problem, I want to say it’s a her problem, but I hold back).

HD: I can’t process the order if it’s cancelled.
JP: So… What now?

HD: You’ll have to talk to Greg.
JP: Does he work tomorrow?

HD: I can’t give out his schedule over the phone.
JP: If I call tomorrow around 11 AM, is there a chance that he will be there?

HD: (long pause). Yes.

I hang up immediately and despite my extreme frustrations I cannot help be excited that I will have a chance to talk to Greg tomorrow.

And so it goes. I want to say that I’m not complaining, but I am complaining. I’m complaining loud and clear and to anyone who will listen. I want to give you my money. I’m interested in what you’re selling. I’ve done the research online. I’m ready to make my purchase. All you have to do is close, motherfucker.

It’s one thing to whine about a problem. It’s another thing to do something about it. Please tune in next time to see my 4 rules of getting what you want and how, when properly applied, you can save hundreds (if not tens) of dollars a month.

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featured image credit: xcode