Customer Service and the Rest of Us

Posted by admin | Filed under Customer Service, Rants & Raves | Dec 4, 2008 | Comments Off

The holiday season drives me insane. Really and truly nuts.

I actually found Christmas decorations being put out for sale at a national craft store before Halloween. And to think, I use to complain about hearing holiday music before Turkey Day.

Silly Annie.

If I didn’t make a holiday present, I mail-ordered them; anything to avoid dealing with crowds, traffic, parking, and the whole stress-filled experience. I send a solemn thank you every day for the Internet – especially during this time of the year.

So I was looking for a present for my nephew Conner, when Mike sent me a link for a terrific wooden train set. Yes, it was for a little older child, but this way it would last more then a year or two. It was perfect.

Wooden Train Set

I had a wonderful metal train set as a kid – set of dual controls, smoke, lots of tracks, train station – I loved that train set.

t2.jpgAnyway… the wooden set was at a very good price, but what clinched the deal was the addition of a free train station. I mean how seriously cool is this set for a kid?!

Smoke was coming off my keyboard I was ordering so fast…

The downside was I don’t live near my nephew to play with it (about 1240 miles away), but I can still pretend.

I received an order confirmation immediately, and later that evening a notice that it had shipped! Come on UPS.

12-hours later I get another email, this one telling me the train station is out-of-stock and not part of my order; they included a $10 discount coupon for any purchase in the next 90-days.

Pausing for a second to explain our customer service efforts. We don’t run a database for our patterns or notions – if something goes out of stock we manually make the change on the Web sites. Sometimes we miss a page that had the item on it, and you place an order for it.

Now it doesn’t matter if that’s the way it happened, or if we only have 6 and you wanted 8 – the customer (you) are immediately emailed about the situation and we ask how you would like it handled.

Do you want a back order? Would you like us to ship what we have an cancel the rest? We ask you right away.

Maybe it’s going to take us more then a day to ship – we let you know via our thank you email the exact day of shipping. Normally any order received before 11:30 CST is mailed same day, otherwise next day.

We certainly aren’t perfect and mess up too, but we like to think that 99% of the time we do pretty darn good.

I was staring at this email in disbelief and brought up the ‘it’s shipped’ confirmation email.

No where on that email did it say that the train station wasn’t included. Na-da. As far as it was concerned the order was filled as originally purchased; I had thought so to.

I was not a happy person and called customer service. The gentleman I spoke with couldn’t understand why I was upset. He kept asking what I didn’t understand.

Okkaayyyy, what I didn’t understand was:

  • I ordered from an active product page that did not state partial product availability
  • I received an order confirmation for all pieces
  • I received an shipping confirmation for all pieces
  • 12-hours later I received a notice that I wasn’t getting all pieces

After several rounds of this, I requested the call be escalated. The supervisor requested I send her the last email – no problem. I was put on hold for a while and told again, that I could refuse delivery.

No one seems to understand my frustration here. Why would I get a notice that the train station was no longer available 12-hours AFTER my order shipped? You’d think that was pretty obvious when the order was being processed.

I should have been notified immediately about the situation and asked if I still wanted my order processed. Instead I’m told I can refuse delivery – if I’m around when they try to deliver the package of course.

If you guessed that I’m not going to be dealing with this company again, you’re right. I fully understand when something sells out – that’s not a problem at all.

I don’t understand not notifying the customer about a situation and allowing them to make a decision. I would have been very appreciative of that; it would have cemented my business. Looks like I go to a local store instead of eToys from now on.

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