Thursday, October 30, 2008

And ... We're back to customer service

I had to deal with the dreaded "Customer Service" folks again lately. Three different companies, and three different experiences.

First: We live near one of the major theme parks in the area. They have roller coasters. They test these roller coasters by running them through cycle after cycle in the morning before the park opens. They're not supposed to start before 7 AM, because the constant barrage of low-frequency noise carries over great distances, and it's LOUD. Wake you up from a dead sleep loud. Or, they've got a concert and they neglect to keep the decibel levels within range. I've had MANY dealings with the man in charge of community affairs. Each time, he assures me it shouldn't have happened, that he's going to make sure it never happens again. Until it does, of course. And these events never happen while he's on duty, so there's nothing you can do except call and leave a voice mail. To me, this is Lip Service Customer Service. He's polite, sincere, but pretty much useless as far as being able to control the situation.

Next: check the sidebar on this blog. Several days ago, I noticed that the price for my book, What's in a Name? jumped from $9.99 to $16.99 at one of the sellers. Checking with the publisher verified that it is WRONG. The book is still priced at $9.99. Trying to reach Customer Service through the website is a lesson in navigating a labyrinth. And once you do find the right site, you have to figure out how your question matches the ones they want you to ask. Then, you get an answer that has nothing to do with your question. Can you reply? NO. You have to go all the way back to square one and start over. So, if you want to buy What's in a Name? either wait until you see the right price, or go to another seller's site. I finally went through my publisher, who has a more direct route to the right people. I'm waiting to see how long it takes to fix the problem ... I was told yesterday it would be within 24 hours. I'm watching. To me, this is Pain in the Neck Customer Service.

Lastly, due to my own total clumsy stupidity, I didn't pay attention to where I set my e-book reader when I went into the restroom at the hair salon, and I knocked it off the edge of the sink. It landed, as all things must, "jelly side down" and the faceplate was cracked. The device is way out of warranty, and it was totally my fault, but I emailed customer service and asked what I could do. Within hours, I had a response that although this was not an easy fix, if I'd send the unit back (with a check, but a very reasonable price considering), they'd send me a replacement. Not a refurbished unit, or a fix of mine, but a brand new reader. They told me exactly what to do, and yesterday I received notice that my new one has been shipped. AND, they gave me rather detailed instructions on how to get all my books re-loaded. To me, that's Good Customer Service.


Ray said...

I'm glad that in some instances customer service works out.

I am trying to buy a PC TV tuner so I can watch something else on TV while my wife watches on the TV set.

I found out that to view cable you have to have a tuner that gets "QAM."
I didn't have a clue until I came across a web site that explained. It went on to say not all cable companies used QAM. So I call my cable provider. I go through the prompts and give up. Next I went to their web site. No way to query that question.

I had to go back to the phone and go through several layers of voice mail. At least the automated voice that asked for my problem and had no answer said, let me transfer you to a technician.

I got the answer I wanted, but it took time.

In a way I can understand the prompts. Service would be even worse if the technician had to answer every question that could be answered by a machine.

I still hate it.

For your theme park problem it probably won't get solved until someone gets coverage in the media or the local community files a law suit to get rid of a nuisance.

Unfortunately I have heard of the way that particular theme park outfit decides the morals of the community and what businesses are allowed and what are not.

They sucked several people into opening shops at the piers where their cruise ships dock as incentive for the local government to approve the new piers. After their ships started docking in that city the theme park company began transporting guests directly from the airport/hotels in your fair city to the ship's gangway and the ship's crew's to the local mall thus killing business for the pier side vendors.

There is much hatred by the locals in the port community for the theme park company.


Terry Odell said...

Hi again, Ray.
The theme park isn't likely to go anywhere, and it's within the city limits (we're outside them) so they play by whatever rules the city has. I will say they do TRY to be good neighbors most of the time, but when things don't go right, there's nothing they can really do but apologize. Fixing the problem would be nice, but if they have permits for the concerts, etc, that's all they need to do. We're dependent on their good will as far as making sure the speakers are pointed the right way, or that none of the vendors decide blasting music outside is a way to lure customers inside their restaurant, etc.

Counting the days until we can afford to retire and move someplace quiet. And, no, the theme park was NOT there when we bought this house. The land at that time, was supposed to be used for a mall.

Katie Reus said...

Wow, that's awesome about your ereader! That's some serious customer service :)

Terry Odell said...

Yes, every now and then a company not only stands behind their product, but they go even further. Their rep answered all my questions and follow up questions immediately, and in a very friendly fashion.

Anita Birt said...

What great service to repair your reader. I can't download on to mine. Perhaps they could offer some suggestions to make it work. The books are sent there from Librarian but they never appear.

I hope the pricing horror story at Amazon has been fixed.

Terry Odell said...

Anita, I suggest you contact customer service for help with your reader. There's a different process for books you buy from sites other than theirs. I know it surprised me the first time I bought from their site, and you don't use the Librian program for those; you just download them from their site directly to your reader without putting them on your computer first.

Anonymous said...

Ummm - when you get great service like that, maybe you should give the name of the company, so people can go buy from them?

Terry Odell said...

I did think of that, but I wasn't 100% sure if I should mention the company right here, Anon -- their email telling me what they would do stated, "not setting policy" and I was concerned that someone might have a different problem but say, "You did this for Terry, so why not do it for me?" kind of thing. My impression was that they would offer solutions on a case by case basis.

However, regular readers of this blog know what kind of a reader I have. Perhaps I'll ask the company if they mind me mentioning them by name. I know everyone likes good publicity, but it felt almost like betraying a confidence to name them specifically when I gave the exact circumstances of what happened.