Customer Service: The Good, The Bad, Buy A Kindle

We all have customer service experiences, right?  We live in a society where we can have almost anything we want, instantly.  Everyone wants our dollar, and hundreds of different companies are willing to sell us hundreds of different products that are just like everyone else’s product.  The difference in this day and age is service.  Some customer service people are great.  Some are awful. And some of them should count themselves lucky that they are, indeed, a phone call away and not anywhere near our (my) vicinity otherwise they would lose an eyeball when we (I) stick our (my) ink pen in it.  (I’m sorry, I’ve had no sugar today.)

I have had some experiences, yes, and some of them are below: 

Regions Bank:  A++.  I love these guys.  I would consider baking them cookies.  Always helpful, all the time. 

Budget Rental Car:  C.  This one has a story (naturally) and an ending in three parts.    

A few weeks ago, my Monday started like this:

Boss:  Here’s my Budget receipt.  They charged me an extra $127 because I returned the car an hour late.  It’s possible I called the guy f@cknuts.  Fix it. 

Jimmie:  <faintly> oh . . . .

Oh, this took HOURS.  I called Budget Nashville where I did speak to f@cknuts himself who blame-shifted me over to Budget Memphis.  There I spoke with a woman who answered every. single. question. and. request. I had with “Yes ma’am, it says right here that we charged you $127 for the extra hour on top of the $170 for the day,” like I was stupid and she was a benevolent information giver.  She blame-shifted me over to Budget Corporate who fixed the problem immediately, most likely while they were perusing the million plus miles Boss drives in their cars every year. 

Budget Nashville – You are walking a fine line.

Budget Corporate – A OK in my book

Budget Memphis – You people can suck eggs.     

Barnes & Noble:  Oh holy moly, I hate them.  F++

Obviously there is a story here as well. Surprise. 

Just over a year ago, I received as a birthday gift a Nook.  I’m a reader.  I love books.  I can blow through two or three of them in a week, so this was a perfect gift.  I didn’t even know I wanted it until I got it but I was in love from that moment forward. 

I was in love until, of course, the reading screen went into a blackout and never came back on.  Not one for being good at fixing or even understanding technical devices, I dutifully searched for the troubleshooting guidelines, performed them, and was not at all surprised when they did not work.  I called B&N, hoping for an answer and after explaining my problem, they offered to send me a replacement Nook. What a shock that was!  Usually the warranty on your car expires exactly 15 minutes before something major happens to the engine.  Or your washing machine will crap out two days after the parts and service guarantee shuts off.  You can see why I was thrilled that B&N didn’t give me any grief about sending me a new product.  I bragged about them to anyone who would listen, glossing over the fact that my Nook had broken just a month or so after receiving it.

Six months after the replacement arrived, my screen saver got stuck on the screen saver, never to reboot again.   Repeat all of the above paragraph.  I was promised a replacement, a new Nook.  Sure enough it came, except they sent me a used one.  It was called a “Certified Pre-Owned Nook” and while the box was packed up like Fort Knox, the back was off of the device and I smushed my finger trying to get it back together.  Also, I broke a nail trying to get the box open so suffice it to say that I wasn’t nearly as thrilled about my second replacement Nook.   

Also, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I didn’t like getting a used product when I had started off with a new one and was promised another new one.  Plus I wanted to know why my used one had been returned in the first place.  Plus I wanted to tell them to be more careful when sending out the used ones that were not properly put back together because my finger still hurt.  So I called. 

Oh my holy mercy, what a process that was.  Everyone was initially very nice.  No one spoke English as a first language.  Everyone put me off on another person.  No one gave me their real name (I was informed that they give fake names for their protection, and later I could see why.)  Everyone spent their hour on the phone with me saying “I’m sorry for the wait.  <pause> I apologize for the delay. <pause> I insist on being mournful for the time this is taking. <pause> I’m sorry for the wait.”  I finally exploded and requested that we sit in silence for the hour it was going to take for them to read the notes on my file, please for the love of all we hold sacred, just silence was all I needed.  “I’m sorry about that ma’am, but yes, I apologize for the silence.”  Aargh! 

Six phone calls later, two disconnections from B&N later, 270 “I’m sorry’s” later (six phone calls at an average of 45 “I’m sorry’s” per call, and yes, I counted), two weeks later, four supervisors later, two trainees sent back to training camp later, and still a used Nook with no ready information as to why it was returned in the first place, they gave in and offered to send me a new Nook which took two full months for me to receive because they neglected to make the note in my file to send it.   Incidentally, the final customer service rep I talked with had the whole discussion over and done with in less than fifteen minutes and said, “I’m sorry ma’am but it should have been this easy for you all along.  I have no idea what happened before.” 

Barnes & Noble:  Bite me.    

The Reading World:  Buy a Kindle. 

Anyone else want to chime in?  What is your customer service experience? 

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. WiseFather
    Dec 01, 2011 @ 15:20:37

    As a critic of bad customer service, you might enjoy this little prank I made recently. I called my credit card’s customer service line to do some “negotiating.” Having a bit of leverage, I thought it presented a great opportunity to mess with them a little without fear of retribution. I made a video of the call and posted it on my blog along with my comments about what happened and a fuller “director’s cut” transcript. Pay attention to his response to the classic line “Why does Bank of America hate Christmas?” Enjoy.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: