Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Customer Service

At the beginning of the year, I ordered a lamp. Now, this was going to be one of the coolest lamps ever, and I was going to enjoy it very much when it came in. However, a couple weeks went by, and there was no sign of my lamp. I decided to email customer service at (I'm not going to link to them because I refuse to give them anything that remotely resembles a plug).I did so, and more time went by, with no response.

To make a long story short, several emails later, I finally get a reply saying that they have some trouble with their supply in China (this little shop (not of horrors) that makes all of this type of lamp), and they basically have no idea when it will be coming in. I also get an email from a real person named Marcus, not a department, who apologizes and says they should have kept me up-to-date better. I can cancel my order and get a refund, or I can just wait. By now, I'm fairly steamed because I had to hound them in order to find out that they don't even have my lamp in stock and have no real way of getting it, but I really want my lamp, so I decided to wait it out, thinking it would just be a few weeks.

Fast forward a couple months. I still haven't heard anything from them, so I email them again. I get no reply, and two weeks later, I send another email, both to the customer service address and to this Marcus character, saying how frustrated I am and that I am never going to buy anything else from them again. That gets a response within a day, and they tell me they're sorry and have no idea when they'll be getting the lamps, and in fact they have taken them completely off their web site because they can't seem to get any. And of course, they didn't notify me of this. So now I've asked for the refund they've continually offered, and am waiting on that.

So that's my recent experience with horrible customer service. Let's contrast that. I recently added the Facebook application Chips n Chat, which is a flash Texas Hold 'Em game. I have nothing but good things to say about it: it's fun, very functional, and they have contests going on pretty much constantly where all you have to do is play like normal to win. When I first started, they had a contest where the first 100 people to play 1,500 hands would win a $20 gift card to an online retailer they chose from a list.

Well, I hovered around rank #35 the entire contest, and 2 days before it was over had play 1,334 hands. Suddenly, however, I couldn't load their application to play, from whatever computer I tried. The contest ended with me ranked #40, and only 35 or so people having completed the 1,500 hands, so I emailed their customer support asking them to count me as having won since I would have played enough in those 2 days to make it, or maybe give me 2 more days to play if I could connect or something, and I didn't get a response, so I assumed it was a lost cause. Well, yesterday I got an email saying I was a winner of the contest and I could have my choice of gift cards. I picked, and everything's happy. In that instance, they just fixed the problem and didn't even need to tell me.

So I've had some good and bad customer service experiences in the past few weeks, but that's nothing compared to the ups and downs of a guy named Nathaniel. Read about his dramatic tragedy and astounding comeback and feel happy we have companies like Bungie in the world.

Anyone else have any horrible customer service stories?


Jess said...

I called Dell a few weeks ago, and the rep hung up on me in the middle of our conversation. A few weeks prior to that, I was in an online chat with a Dell rep, and she just up and left in the middle of me trying to ask questions about a computer I was going to buy.


Anonymous said...

Great article.

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Your disputes could be resolved using MeasuredUp if the company you reviewed reads your review or another consumer could give you advice. When you have good things to say a company could reward you.

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Alex said...

The US Passport folks about made me pull my hair out last May when I was trying to get my passport before leaving for HUF. We stayed on the phone for hours every day, listening to Vivaldi's "Spring" from the Four Seasons over and over. Eventually, we talked to a number of actual humans, none of whom knew anything and, judging by their thick accents, were probably in New York City.

Jeremy said...

When I got my passport, my mom did it all (except for the stuff I had to go do in person and such, obviously). :) I don't think she had too much trouble, though.

Kelsey said...

In contrast to Alex's very unfortunate passport experiences, I sent in my application in January and got the passport in about a week and a half. Including weekends.

I do have a negative customer service story, though. I ordered three t-shirts from a small company (it seems like a home business) in November of 2006. I received one shirt in a few weeks. A couple months passed without the other two coming, so I sent an email. I didn't get a reply, but the second shirt came in a few more weeks. Some more months passed without the third shirt coming, so I sent two more emails. I never received a reply and I still don't have the third shirt (which, incidentally was the one I ordered for myself and not as a gift). Sigh.

Alex said...

I probably should've added this: the unpleasant passport experience was the result of new legislation that required passports to cross Mexican or Canadian borders, even for short jaunts.

Stupid jaunts.

Jeremy said...

Yeah, my little brother is having to get a passport now for a mission trip to Mexico.