Thursday, February 07, 2008

Customer Disservice

So we have a filtered instant hot water dispenser that has been producing foul-tasting water lately. It's under warranty, so I called the manufacturer to request service. They gave me the name of a local business to call to get service and told me that I would need to give them a case number when I called them so that they could bill the manufacturer. I wrote the case number down, but wasn't able to contact the local business immediately, since they were closed weekends. In the meantime, I managed to lose track of the case number. So I called the manufacturer. Here's how the conversation went.

Mfr: Thank you for calling InSinkerator, this is Billy, may I help you?

Me: I hope so. I had called last week to request service for a hot water dispenser that is producing bad-tasting water, but somewhere along the line, I have misplaced the case number. I just need to get my case number again so that I can call the local repair facility for service.

Mfr: Okay, I just need your case number so I can pull that information for you.

Me: I believe I just explained that I don't have my case number. That's why I'm calling you.

Mfr: Oh, well, that's a problem. I need a case number.

Me: You should have my name, address, and other information on file since I provided all that information along with the serial number when I called last week.

Mfr: Oh. Give me the serial number, maybe I can look it up that way.

Me: (not having serial number at the ready) You can't look me up by name?

Mfr: So, what is your ZIP Code?

Me: (now puzzled) mean the serial number?

Mfr: No, your ZIP Code.

Me: Okay, the ZIP is 11554. I was just confused because you asked for the serial number first, but then changed to ZIP Code.

Mfr: Right, so your ZIP Code is....?

Me: As I said, it's 11554.

Mfr: Okay. And your name?

Me: (I give my name.)

Mfr: Okay, I have it. The name of the business you need to contact is Marty's Wholesale Appliance, and the number is 516-555-1111. Will that be all?

Me: No. I asked for the case number. I have the name and the number of the business. I need the case number so that I can schedule an appointment.

Mfr: Okay, the case number is 4040000. Did you need the number of the local business to call for service?

Me: (I hang up the phone.)

Customer service just isn't what it used to be. It's not even close. This maroon didn't even bother to apologize when he didn't give the right information. Sad.


At 12:25 AM, February 08, 2008, Blogger Michelle Ann said...

We are all victims of outsourcing.... I called a customer service line once and told them I lived in Sacramento and they asked me what country was that in... I knew I was in trouble.

At 12:59 PM, February 08, 2008, Blogger pinknest said...

i hate customer service. such. a. joke.

At 5:07 PM, February 09, 2008, Blogger Thom said...

This kind of thing is maddening... and all too common, too.

It really makes you appreciate the rare instances where you find competent customer service.


At 8:02 PM, February 10, 2008, Blogger Marc said...

michelle ann - I think he was actually in the U.S.... but your experience is not uncommon to me. Most companies don't pay their front line enough to hire effective and friendly people, so we're left with the dregs.

pinknest - yes, it is. I dread ever having to use it. Yet the quality of most merchandise is so lame, we're forced to. It sucks!

Thom - yes it does, and I am an ardent letter-writer or caller when I have received competent or better-than-competent service. I think managers need to know which of their people are able to effectively deal with customers. But I suspect I'm actually just pushing those people up the ladder, and then I'll be stuck with crappy people all over again! There is no winning.

At 4:55 PM, February 13, 2008, Blogger Dantallion said...

Ugh. Couldn't agree more. I'm in the middle of a mind-numbingly stupid and never ending problem with my cable company right now. The level of brainless incompetence is beyond shocking.


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