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Its time for customer service to get back to normal

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BugFreak

Joined
Apr 29, 2010
Location
Central FL
I'm sure everyone here is or has dealt with some terrible customer service over the past year or so but it is time for businesses to wake up and get back to work. I get that production is a little slow right now but since when did the bait and switch become the norm in customer service? I have no problem with waiting for something if I'm told it will take X days to get it because then I can plan for it but when I'm told X days I don't want a call/email when the time expires saying it will be longer. For example, I bought some prescription sunglasses from Framesdirect for my son at the beginning of the month with an estimated shipping the week before we leave. I knew it would be tight so I paid extra for overnight shipping. I call today which is the 14th day of the estimated 12-14 day process time and I'm told it will be another week before they even ship. I explain that will be after we leave so they offer me free overnight shipping but can't say they will ship before the end of the month. Sadly I had to cancel my order so he won't have what we need now.

Again, I understand manufacturing is slow but customer service can still be handled correctly regardless. I work in a customer service business, worked remotely through the entire coronavirus bs and kept our clients happy throughout. The rep did not offer to research where in the process my order is, didn't call anyone and obviously didn't listen to my timeline concerns by offering free shipping after the needed date which is just sad. At this point it seems everyone is so used to making excuses they just don't even try. I think its time as consumers that we start expecting proper customer service again and find businesses that offer it or move to their competitor. /endrant
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
but since when did the bait and switch become the norm in customer service?
Your norm? Hasn't been mine. I don't recall the last time a 'bait and switch' happened. That's also, generally, illegal. At a high level, I am disappointed in service in a lot of places, but, I understand what's up.

What you describe immediately after isn't a bait and switch (like the brakes aren't the AC). They simply blew their obligation to get the product to you in a timely manner. They didn't 'switch' it out with anything offering inferior or more expensive goods. This happens in non pandemic times too.

As far as lead times... stuff happens...especially today. When you're short-staffed, as many are these days, it's difficult to achieve the same level of service we want as consumers (and they want as a company). I understand you didn't get the glasses in time and that is certainly frustrating. That said, what did you want that company to do at that point? They don't have the glasses on day 14 so the only way to give the customer reparations/recourse and inform them as best they can to its arrival. They literally told you that it would be about another week. What else could they have done? If they aren't ready, they aren't ready. What would they research? I mean, think about the supply chain and logistics a bit. What would the CSR 'research and tell you? If they said ~ a week, they have all the information already, I would imagine. And again, we're still in a pandemic. Half the US population won't even go get a fookn shot so we're dragging the pandemic on because of that. Supply chains are still affected... so is employee count.

It's OK to be upset, but, have some patience and perspective. :cool:
 

Blaylock

"That Backfired" Senior Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2013
Location
Go Blue!
I feel both sides of this at my bones.

I feel companies are using the pandemic as a crutch and as an excuse. Mail delivery being one of them. If an item does ship on time and you paid for guaranteed delivery by a certain date, don't claim it's because the pandemic. I Paris extra for expedited shipping, not standard ground shipping. On top of that not even offer compensation (I.e. refundfor the extra amount paid). It's ridiculous.

On the other hand, in Bugs scenario, Framesdirect does not manufacture the glasses. They can't guarantee dates for when the manufacturer will ship them. That scenario was definitely not bait and switch either.
 
OP
BugFreak

BugFreak

Joined
Apr 29, 2010
Location
Central FL
Your norm? Hasn't been mine. I don't recall the last time a 'bait and switch' happened. That's also, generally, illegal. At a high level, I am disappointed in service in a lot of places, but, I understand what's up.

What you describe immediately after isn't a bait and switch (like the brakes aren't the AC). They simply blew their obligation to get the product to you in a timely manner. They didn't 'switch' it out with anything offering inferior or more expensive goods. This happens in non pandemic times too.

As far as lead times... stuff happens...especially today. When you're short-staffed, as many are these days, it's difficult to achieve the same level of service we want as consumers (and they want as a company). I understand you didn't get the glasses in time and that is certainly frustrating. That said, what did you want that company to do at that point? They don't have the glasses on day 14 so the only way to give the customer reparations/recourse and inform them as best they can to its arrival. They literally told you that it would be about another week. What else could they have done? If they aren't ready, they aren't ready. What would they research? I mean, think about the supply chain and logistics a bit. What would the CSR 'research and tell you? If they said ~ a week, they have all the information already, I would imagine. And again, we're still in a pandemic. Half the US population won't even go get a fookn shot so we're dragging the pandemic on because of that. Supply chains are still affected... so is employee count.

It's OK to be upset, but, have some patience and perspective. :cool:

I'd say I've been patient enough waiting twice as long for something. The fact that I had to call them to get the update and then they can't get the order processed? I would have liked at least to know where I'm at. For all I know they could have been next on the production line and shipped tomorrow which would have made it in time but the person was too lazy to find this out for me. This is what Costa Del Mar did for me and my sunglasses arrived on time. I don't think it is too much to expect that level of service for the price paid from either place. Then again I guess that is why Costa charges a premium. Unfortunately I'm not willing to pay that much for sunglasses for a 12yo so I went to this place for his. Guess that was my mistake.

My perspective comes from being in customer service related work for 20+ years and I think I am more patient than most because of it. I know what these people put up with on a day to day basis so I'm pretty civil with them. This was pure laziness on her part.

Bait and switch was probably not the best term but I feel they roped me in with a time frame then switch to a later one because most people will put up with it. How about bait and delay?
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
Ha! I totally get you. I worked in customer service and was a customer service/retention manager for a large lawn care Co over 20 years ago. My patience for other human beings was quickly eroded in those positions. :rofl:

Anyway, I dont feel they baited you. The place is big enough to not have to scam people, ya know? I'm sure an overwhelming majority of orders are put through in the proper time frame...which does little for you, indeed, but just putting it in perspective. I would expect at least an email notifying of a delay (by phone is soooo 2000s, :p). The fact there isn't is certainly disconcerting.

I do feel places need to get their arse in gear but for many business, it's a true strugglebus to build back up.

I have to admit, I have little faith in humanity at this point, but I can't subscribe to thinking that a worthwhile amount of businesses are intentionally ****ting on customers and blaming the pandemic. Maybe I'm ignorant, but how does running a business that way benefit the owner? There's always bad apples, but here I'd like to take the side of glass half full. :)
 
OP
BugFreak

BugFreak

Joined
Apr 29, 2010
Location
Central FL
I know what you mean about doubting humanity, I feel the same way. Not sure where we are going as a people but I don't think it is in the right direction.

I have to admit, I have little faith in humanity at this point, but I can't subscribe to thinking that a worthwhile amount of businesses are intentionally ****ting on customers and blaming the pandemic. Maybe I'm ignorant, but how does running a business that way benefit the owner? There's always bad apples, but here I'd like to take the side of glass half full.
I don't think people are doing it intentionally, rather I think it has become a habit for most businesses and people at this point. For over a year they had an excuse for just about everything that went wrong from your lawn dying to paint colors not mixing right so now they just fall right back on it. The problem is we as customer's are going right along with it and putting up with it for some reason. When the shutdown was on there was good reason but now there just isn't. Think back about two years ago when poor customer service was an immediate reason to go somewhere else. It wasn't something we put up with but now for some reason we do and companies aren't going to change unless customers start to change.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
But (in many cases) there are good reasons for it still. That's what I'm trying to say... ;)

Today I have more patience, but feel it's still warranted. Maybe I'm soft... :shrug:

I can't believe I'm saying this but......................have some faith that businesses are trying to do their best. The truth is, most are. I'm a proponent of being eyes wide open for everything, and some need to get in gear, but, be aware there are plenty of reasons for things not to be running like a well-oiled machine in a lot of industries to this day. :)
 
OP
BugFreak

BugFreak

Joined
Apr 29, 2010
Location
Central FL
I agree there are many businesses that are trying for sure but many more that are just plain worthless and surviving off the free government money out there these days. I think as consumers we need to find the ones that are trying and reward them with our business and punish the others with our wallets by leaving. This way we will weed out those poor businesses and be left with good, solid businesses. I look at it the same as my tech, if I bought a certain brand of motherboard/gpu/etc a couple times and had multiple problems I would try another.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
Pretty sure all the loan money, even the second batch, is long gone by this point. These people are on their own. Stays from eviction are coming up... its put up or shut up time.
 
OP
BugFreak

BugFreak

Joined
Apr 29, 2010
Location
Central FL
I would agree but now they are getting the tax credit money. $300+ per kid I think it is? I would bet $100 that will become a permanent thing meaning no impact on taxes next year...mid term year. I will leave it at that to keep politics bs out of this.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
It's the EOY child tax credit but given to you monthly (not getting into the conjecture game about how long or still getting the credit on top of it ;) ). It's akin to robbing Peter to pay Paul. Not sure what that has to do with these companies though! Business are also paying rent (and what I was talking about, not residential). ;)
 

Brutal-Force

Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2009
BugFreak, I am one of the first persons to get upset over good customer service. If I don't get my item (as promised) I usually ask for compensation. If I paid extra for the service, I want the money I paid extra back (at minimum).

However, I also provide customer service, not in the same sense of package delivery, I provide public transit. On they daily, I lost about 10-25% of my driving staff at least weakly. That means that a 4 vehicle service has to drop to a 3 vehicle to operate. That means that instead of operating every 15 min, its now every 20 min. For most people, 5 min. might not be a big deal, but if the difference between catching the previous vehicle or catching the later is 20 min., you might not make it to work on time. My service is also free to ride, so what are they going to complain about? EVERYTHING, because that's what people do. When I lost 25% of my maintenance staff, we couldn't keep up with preventative maintenance and break downs, so that also affected service. When customers called to complain, the customer service was 25% short too, so the phone just rang. Internally, if I called another department for help, they were 25% short, so paychecks might have gone out late, tuition reimbursement wasn't paid on time.......The list goes on and on.

This pandemic didn't only affect things short term, I have lead times of 22 Weeks on a high voltage relay, some places just say they are out of stock and don't know when they will be in stock. If I can find one, I buy them all, which means someone else is SOL. My employees, who while paid well, also took hits from being out of work. Because they had not chosen to purchase short term disability they didn't get paid. Some lost relatives and are paying for funerals. They weren't able to make rent, so now they are facing eviction and might have to move back with their parents or other family members, leaving me without an employee. Now I have to go through the hiring process (takes about 2 months during the pandemic) and hiring (training is backlogged by 4-6 weeks).

Its a never ending cascade of events. It gives me a lot of perspective so I don't get mad at the USPS, Fedex or any other for being late. If I can't order an item, I do without. I only ask that they be honest with me, preferably up front, so that if they don't have an item, I can continue to shop around, or deal with the delay.

Edit: Did it occur to you that maybe the customer service rep was a) New and poorly trained, b) not even from that department and was just taking calls rather than let the phones just ring, or c) is so swamped with work that their moral is shot and they are tired of being beat up, so they just drone on until you hang up?
 
OP
BugFreak

BugFreak

Joined
Apr 29, 2010
Location
Central FL
I've worked in customer service in various ways for a long time including 10 years in management at UPS so I fully understand your comments about minutes matter. At UPS we had to worry about seconds because of planes taking off even. Now I directly control my customer service because it is me and my staff that do it. There are no off days, no days I'm too busy to deal with clients properly and that is why my clients do business with us.

I generally don't get upset about manufacturing delays or problems with supply chain because those can always happen, even before covid. What I do get upset with is not working with the client properly when they do. For example I ordered another pair of sunglasses a couple weeks ago, this time directly from Costa Del Mar. I knew it would take a few weeks because of the previous orders but after two I received an email that my order had been cancelled. I called their customer service who said it was a mistake and they immediately processed another order. I asked if the order could be rushed because of the mistake but was told no which I can understand. There are also 100 other people waiting for their order too so it is what it is. Regardless of what she said the glasses were at my door in three days. That is the second order they have processed, that had a hiccup but was corrected properly and quickly.

Great service is given and repeat business will be earned. The companies that quickly realize this moving forward from this whole covid bs will last. The rest will fail as they should.