Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Customer (Lack of) Service Rant.

Since this business is stumbling toward making this situation right, they shall remain anonymous. However, the stupidity involved in this Sega is breathtaking and probably good for a few laughs as I unwind this romp with incompetence.

I'm cat sitting for some folks who have been traveling for the last 5 weeks. I responsibilities include: signing for packages, picking up mail and answering expected telephone calls. Not difficult, correct? Well, no. By-the-way, these folks are in Italy, as in out of the country and are 8 hours ahead of us time wise.

On my first week of duty I get a recorded message from a store reporting that the item sent in for repair is ready. They have five days to claim it, or it will be assumed abandoned. Well, this could be a big ticket item, I didn't know, but figured a quick call to the store would update the customer file. When my employers returned in a month, they could pick up said repaired item. (ignorance can be bliss).

Upon calling this establishment I ran into a 20-something dweeb who refused to update the customer file unless he was speaking directly to the customer. (Delivered with a vibrato which could have won an Academy Award. Patiently, I explained the situation about how silly it would be for these people to call from ROME ITALY. I again requested he simply notate the file, so the item would not be disposed of.

This clown then LECTURED me on how my employers: "should have taken care of this before leaving. Don't ya think?". Frankly, this tactic stunned me into silence. I didn't think to request a supervisor. So, I had to call Rome, Italy. (Joy).

Just a brief aside. I know from many lovely experiences with The Marriott Corporation, that it is possible to have a central file on a customer. This file is filled with reservations, reward points and preferences. For example, they know that I always call down for extra coffee. Magically, when I call the front desk, they not only know who I am, but in a friendly way inquire if I'm ready for more coffee!. If a HUGE Corporation spread all over the WORLD, can manage a filing system which is able to be updated from different locations and departments, why can't a national chain store manage the same feat?

I tried to call Rome from the employer's phone, but needed an "access code" I didn't have. Great, I'll buy some Skype Credit and do it through the computer. (Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we try to succeed)! Again, this should have been a simple transaction. Oh yeah, simple, sure.

Skype was easy and my debit card went through to a security system at my bank. Good, I'd waited until 12:30 PDT to call Rome, as not to scare the life out of the travelers with a 3:30 AM long distance call.

I had been through the bank's security system just a few days earlier when I'd set up Skype for unlimited Us and Canada calling. I knew my password and everything. For once I'd written it down and shot a copy to a web document. BUT since I was using a DIFFERENT computer, the bank denied the transaction!

I finally called customer service at said bank. This bank is extremely good at making you feel cared for while doing nothing for you. (I'm sure this is again a security measure). I like my bank, even when they try to sell me things I don't need instead of solving my problem.

I noticed I had another payment option with another source. I took it and got the required service, avoiding the bank's protection option. I shudder at how easily my information could have been used fraudulently, but thank God I was able to use my information NOW.

I put in the long distance call. The lady in Rome was very nice, but I had to spell out my message! By the time I got through this ordeal, I wanted to scream! Of course my people weren't at the hotel at the moment.

The next morning PDT, I get an email explaining the following situation. This is so amazing!
Before they left for Rome, they'd sent in a camera to be repaired. Store didn't manage to repair it, but damaged it instead. So, since they were leaving for Rome in a week, they RENTED a loner camera from this same store!

Am I crazy, or should this fact not have been noted in the file for the camera they were still trying to repair? I know, I'm using logic... The repair department and the rental departments have different files, which are not the same as the call center's file. Yeah, and for security, the call center people aren't given permission to update files anyway.

As I said, this business is attempting to redeem itself. My employers left no doubt that they would "deal with them... when we get back". So now I have to wait for a UPS package that requires a signature, hopefully to arrive today. I hope they will accept MY signature.

No Virginia: stupidity knows no bounds.

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