Friday, July 11, 2008

An hour (plus) of my valuable time

Hotel California's CAW is always providing stellar examples of how incredibly stupid customers never cease to amaze her (or us) in the retail trade. Here's one from the other side of the fence. One of those maddening experiences with a technical support representative, no doubt sitting somewhere in Delhi (apologies to my Indian friends - I lova ya!), following the on-screen prompts of their customer support program like a little robot...

(In this dialogue "You" is obviously ME)
  • Rep: Hi, my name is XYZ. How may I help you?
  • You: When I went to remove my wireless adaptor from my USB hole today, the USB connector stayed in the hole and the rest of the key came out without it. I cannot re-attach and it will not turn on.
  • Rep:Can you please confirm the model number of your product?
  • You: wusb600n
  • Rep: Can I also have its serial number and from which country are you based in?
  • You: I am in the U.S. The serial # is xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Rep: Thanks. I believe that the problem here is a PHYSICAL HARDWARE issue where WUSB600N adapter seems to have been cut in half?
  • Rep: Its USB connector got disconnected from the adapter itself....
  • You: Well, yes, the two components are disconnected
  • Rep: I see. What happened before this?
  • You: Nothing. Everything was working fine. I needed to remove the adaptor to pack away my laptop and one part came out, the rest stayed in.
  • Rep: Its just disintegrated by itself, right?
  • You: Right. I just pulled it out normally. Nothing unusual. It looks like it just came unstuck. Both components are in good shape otherwise.
  • Rep: Sorry for the delay.Let me again make sure that I fully understood your concern. The adapter itself has its PHYSICAL components detached from itself, right?
  • You: YES. The metal connector part that goes into the USB slot is still in there. The plastic part came away from it when I went to remove it from the slot. So yes, the physical components are detatched.
  • Rep: Sorry for the inconvenience.How long have you had the device and can I have its serial number?
  • You: I gave you the serial number already. I have had the device since May 12th 2008Rey
  • Rep: Sorry. I am just making sure its the same serial number. Anyway, do you still have its receipt?
  • You: Nothing has changed in the last few minutes. Yes, I still have the receipt.
  • Rep: Excellent! I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you. Your device is already qualified for replacement.
  • You: Great.
  • Rep: However, you should still try contacting our RMA department about the problem.
  • You: What?
  • Rep:The number is 1-800-xxx-xxxx for more informatiom on your RMA pplication. Wait for the voice prompt to give you further instructions on connecting to the RMA department.
  • You: I've been on here with you for 15 minutes and waiting a further 30 before that. You can't authorize an RMA?
  • Rep: I am only following a strict company policy.I hope you understand. After this session, I'll do what I can. As for now, you should try contacting our RMA department for more info.
  • You: Well, no, I don't understand how a technical support department and the return authorization department are not in communication with one another. But then I'm not surprised either. Do I have a reference # when I call them?
  • Rep: Case number of this session will be generated 5 minutes after disconnecting. Our RMA agents on the phone will be able to review this session.
  • You: Ok.
  • Rep: They can pull this up. Just use the same email address. Do you have any other questions that I can help you with today?
  • You: Doubtful.

Is it me or is it not logical to assume that many technical support requests result in a replacement product being needed? Would it not make sense that the RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) Department would have some kind of system whereby a technical support rep could communicate their approval for the replacement part (based upon their flow-chart of pre-approved approval processes and "policies"), obtain from the customer the pertinent information to return the part (name, address, phone), and then submit the RMA to the RMA department for shipping. Think of the efficiency! Instead of two different people obtaining the same information from the customer, entering into two separate data-entry points, they would only need to hire one person and all the information could be housed in one record. Egads! I am a genius.

Some days technology is nothing but a pain in rear. Not only does it go wrong (often) but when it does, technology itself turns the customer service process into a maddening, depersonalized, parade of time-wasting stupidity and mind-boggling ineffiiciency. The time wasted is mine (the customer's), the productivity wasted is mine (the customer's), and the people making all the profits and savings (by hiring some nimwit in Delhi) can't even be bothered to ensure their departments and systems work together.

The phone number the rep gave me, sent me to an 800 number with NO OPTION for an RMA Department. Also, the email with the case# never materialized. So, I got back through to someone in the tech support department who took all the same information again (in brief), put me on hold for 10 minutes and then came back with a case number and a new 800 number to call for "Customer Care" (an oxymoron). I called that number and aparently it's "unavailable from my calling area". So, back to the first 800# and this time trying a different set of random number selections to get me to someone with a brain and some common-sense.

Finally, after entering enough numbers to equal the total money spent on the Iraq war, I reached an RMA representative who proceeded to peform the complex and highly specialized task of taking my name, address, and phone number. (Now I see why they needed to separate the departments - different skillsets!) She then proceeded to place a $100 hold on my credit card for the priviledge of shipping me out a replacement part and then informed me that I would be responsible for the shipping costs when returning the defective part - which of course has to be done with a tracking # and insurance, and the receipt of which would remove the hold on my credit card. So none of that inexpensive snail mail.

By which time it was 11:30am and the only meaningful thing I had managed to achieve was a headache.

1 comment:

e said...

I know what you mean. Crap customer service makes me want to reach through the phone and rip out the customer rep's tongue out of their head. Oh yes.

I had a months-long terrible customer service experience with Dell when I first bought my personal laptop, and as long as I live I will never buy another Dell product and every time I can I try to dissuade other people from purchasing Dell.

On the flip side, I will never leave Verizon Wireless while their customer service is what it is. They have always solved my problem, and never with more than one phone call. If I live to be 150 I won't have enough time to deal with crap customer service.

Related Posts with Thumbnails