Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Customer Service: The New Oxymoron

When did Customer Service go from being a "serve us" institution to a "can't help/don't care" fiasco? Maybe it is just me, but I can't seem to get anyone to help me anymore. I am speaking as a veteran of the customer service industry. Nearly all of my work experience has something to do with customer service in some shape or form. Read my LinkedIn profile recommendation from Roger Gibson, a former boss. I took giving good customer service personally. Almost to a fault. I made it my business to have happy clients or customers. A lot of people in my organizations didn't like me, because I made them do their jobs. I must be a dying breed. Here is what happened:

In March of 2009, I bought my wife a laptop. Last week, the power supply receptacle on the laptop stopped powering. Now I have a dead laptop. Called Lenovo to get the laptop fixed. In theory, while the unit is under warranty, they send you a UPS box, you ship it to them at their cost, they fix it, and then ship it back to you. In theory.

In reality, Lenovo tells me that because I bought the laptop from an "unauthorized" dealer (who was my employer at the time), the warranty had expired, because it was based on when Chipco bought it from Lenovo and not when Todd bought it. So I then contacted Chipco who suggested I bring it by there and let them have a look at it. I have not had this laptop for a full year, and I can't get anyone to honor this.

Here's another incident: I have been a student at the University of Phoenix since last year. I decided to change majors and ended up talking to four different people, all of whom told me I needed to talk to someone else. All this back and forth has somehow placed me in "Collections," and now, according to my Enrollment Counselor, "I can't even talk to you while you're in collections, or I could be fired." What the heck is that? If no one can talk to me, then who is going to help me? So now I am leaving voice mails for a supervisor who will not return my calls. All I want to do is get a degree.

No one seems to want to take "ownership" of my problems. It seems easier to apologize and say "We can't help you," or, "You need to talk to so and so."

When I am paying for something, it seems fair to expect that I will be taken care of by the people who so happily took my money to begin with. Wake up, all you customer service people, and make us happy.
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