Customer service joys of online shopping

Printing press from 1811, photographed in Muni...
1811 printing press – Image via Wikipedia

I love the Internet. I think it’s the most powerful invention since the printing press for allowing the average person–especially women!–to learn about and do a world of things without having to be rich or powerful.

I am grateful to be able to shop on the web. It means I don’t have to bundle up, trudge out, pollute the atmosphere with gasoline, smoke, etc. (even though my car just passed its biennial test, it still contributes exhaust emissions) by driving  somewhere, and then wander around in stores for hours to find something I want.

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Image by scottobear via Flickr

And I guess the experience of getting poor customer service seems a little less horrible if if happens over the phone than if I have to see a person’s face while s/he insults or ignores me.  Last week I had a really crummy experience with a tech support rep at Verizon Wireless.

Ever get one of those folks who treats you as if you’re a complete idiot? And then ignores everything you say about what’s happening? Grrrrr. I even asked for a supervisor and she wouldn’t pass me on! After an additional 5 minutes of being discounted and condescended to (by someone who by now I knew either didn’t understand or simply chose not to believe what I was telling her)—and after telling the woman I thought she really ought to look for a new line of work—I got to speak to a supervisor (after an extremely long wait on hold). She listened to me, fixed the problem within 30 seconds, and apologized very politely for the rep’s behavior.

This morning it happened when I wanted to cancel part of an order from a clothing store I patronize. “I’m sorry, ma’am. You are not coming up on the computer.” Re-spell my name. “No, you’re not in here.” Give her my address. “Nope. There’s nothing under your name. Did you order from ‘OneUpXYZ’?” I say, no I ordered from Roaman’s (apparently the parent company of OneUpXYZ). “Well, you dialed the wrong number. This is OneUpXYZ.” I said, wait a minute–I called the number right here on the Roaman’s website for customer service. “Well, you called the wrong store, and there’s no record of any order under your name in the computer.”

I tried to calm myself to suggest another way of looking it up, but she wasn’t listening. After another, “We have no order for your name in our records,” I felt compelled to raise my voice. Ma’am, I said, please look it up by the order number! She finally heard me and listened while I gave her the order number. When—surprise, surprise—she found my order under my name, address, and information, I contained myself. I asked why in the world my name and order information wouldn’t show up when the information was clearly in there. She pretended I hadn’t asked the question. Just asked me what I wanted to do. I said you know, it’s amazing to me that a customer service rep would choose to argue with me about my having placed an order instead of trying to come up with a way to  find it and then ignore my request to understand possible reasons why the information couldn’t be found. She ignored me again. I was incensed–and I was tempted to simply cancel everything, but I really wanted that denim skirt.

I hope that you will have a marvelous Thanksgiving week. And may your experiences of poor customer service—online or in person—this holiday be few and far between.

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