Okay, this little rant is merely for my self gratification. With one day a week dedicated to my gripes, sometimes the gripe loses its momentum. The incident that had me fuming last Friday is nothing but smoke and ashes now, but when I walk back into that place, as I must, the flames may get fanned again.
One Angry Customer and Lessons to Learn from Cake Mania
Last Friday I had the car, the one that my husband and I “share” if you want to call it that. I have become complacent about that issue, learning to deal with it by doing without. While I was out I decided to pick up my DVD player from a very large electronics store here in Amman. My husband bought it for the kids back in July and it came with a one year warranty. Of all the possessions we have owned, my four kids treated this one with the utmost respect as it was a long time coming. When it wasn’t in use, I kept it in my room to ensure its safety. However, it quit working.
We took it back to their Customer Care Center and expected to get it back in a reasonable amount of time, and for it to work. Neither happened. We got it back in the exact condition we sent it with the assurance that it was working. So we took it back. I explained to them slowly and clearly what the problem was. It would load fine, play a few minutes, the screen would go blank and it would load again and say no disc. I even brought them a movie to put into it (the last time, they had the excuse of not having one). I dropped it off and was told it would take four days. A couple of weeks later we get a text message stating that the DVD player is fixed, please pick it up. I had my husband call to make sure, and they told him that it wasn’t fixed, it wasn’t covered under the warranty and it would cost half the price we paid for it new to have the lens replaced. My husband said thank you very much, but we will be picking it up to have it fixed elsewhere.
Grrrrrrr. . . was my response upon hearing this. Come on, people. This is a large operation you have running and it took us this long to get to this point? Fine. Fine. I will pick it up and see how long it takes my husband to take care of this for me. I go on Friday to pick it up with my little receipt in my hand. I hand it over to the Customer Care Associate and they disappear for maybe twenty minutes! No kidding.
While I was waiting, I stand right there at the counter. I wish I had a picket sign saying “Don’t bother buying from here. You WILL be sorry.” But I didn’t. I just had two kids in the car waiting for me to go in for what should have been a minute while this very large electronics store tries to find my misplaced DVD player.
While I was waiting, I was listening to some hyper pumped up techno music, the kind that increases your heart rate without even trying. How’s about some elevator music, some classical, some Fairouz. I might be putty in your hands. You might be able to think clearer as to how to serve the customer.
While I was waiting, I notice the long row of cashiers. Ah yes, to get them out quickly while they are still having a buyer’s high and are anxious to get home and plug in their purchases.
While I was waiting, I notice that the Customer Care line has the most people and the longest waits.
While I was waiting, I saw a stand with a slot for cards on how they can serve us better. Well, you have given me the time to fill it out, and you have given me plenty to say at this point. I look for the form but it is not there. How ironic. I step up to the counter and ask for one. Finally, after a bit of a search, they hand me a complaint form. I feel sorry for the people working there, they shouldn’t be having to deal with this, even if it is their job. Where is the management? I apologize to the man behind the counter but continue to fill out my complaint.
While I was waiting, I vow never to shop there again. I would much rather go to a smaller store where they still give me a one year warranty, every store does, you know. They need me. And I will give them a chance to remain on the market. THAT’s the smart thing to do.
Finally, Customer Care girl and guy give up looking and ask me to give them my phone number so they can call me. The phone number, by the way, is right there on that little paper they gave me to fill out. It is their job to know that. I point that out to them and they write my name in number in a little notebook with no note other than my name. They promise to give me a call in a couple days after they talk to the maintenance department who is not there on Fridays. Oh yeah, that’s it, blame me for coming in during working hours to pick up an item.
I purposely did not call them until I wrote my rant here. I wanted to see how long a couple days really was. Now I know. A couple days is more than five days. How many more? I shall not wait to find out. They are going to hear from me tomorrow.
After cooling down, I start thinking about the simplicity of customer service. I remember this little game my kids play called Cake Mania. You get customers, they place an order, you fill their order, they pay, they leave. Simple? Not always. But it is a wonderful exercise in multitasking and people pleasing. Call it Customer Service 101. My kids have better Customer Service than I have ever gotten at that store.
But you know what? Even when the kids do badly at the game, they always have another day to improve their service, and I certainly hope that this particular large electronics store will take note and do likewise.