TORRANCE, CALIFORNIA -- The week of February 4th 2008 we purchased an entire living room. Leather sofa, loveseat, chair, & ottoman as well as a coffee table, entertainment unit, (TV Lift unit) and 50" Plasma TV.
This purchase was made on our second visit to the store and we had them check inventory etc. and everything was available and a delivery was set for the next week February 13th. Delivery day arrives and everything except the loveseat is in the shipment. OK, this is not a major issue, however when I inspected the sofa the frame was broken thus I refused the item called the store and customer service manager Sue, a new delivery was set for Saturday the 16th, the new sofa is fine.
Oh yeah, the TV was supposed to be installed in the lift unit before delivery and it wasn't, when I called about it an assistant store manager tells me the company doesn't install them.
Well now, I had paid an additional $100.00 for the pleasure of being told this. After several calls to customer service etc. It was confirmed that they do in fact install them and they made a mistake and would come out and correct it. This was of course after they wanted to come pick up the TV and the unit and take it back to the warehouse install it and set up another delivery date. I am a consultant and bill out at $250.00 an hour my time is way to costly to sit around waiting for a delivery a second time BTW the purchase was in excess of $8000.00
NOW HERE COMES THE REAL ISSUE:
The entertainment unit has a pull out shelf that hold some of the electronics, that evening after delivery I was prepping the unit to put the components in when I noticed that the shelfâs face board is cracked on the top, both ends, 4-5 inches in length. I immediately called the store and Sue the customer service manager, and informed her that the TV would be installed as planned, as I would not allow it to be installed in a damaged unit. (She agreed of course) The next day (after I visited the store manager) Sue informed me that she had ordered a new pull out shelf from the manufacturer and it would be on by the 18th or 19th.
True to her word a shelf was received and an install of the TV and shelf were scheduled for Thursday February 25th. My wife was home for the install, and she called me after the TV was installed to inform me that the wrong shelf was brought out. So now I have a TV installed in a damaged unit that I told the customer service manager that it was not to be done until the damage was corrected. When I called Sue the customer service manager the call went to voice mail, I called back and spoke to someone (never gave me a name) she told me Sue was on the phone with another customer and she took a message. When I used the word DAMN in the conversation she immediately focused on the word and tried to give me a lecture on my language.
WRONG THING TO DO: I CONSULT TO LARGE FORTUNE 500 COMPANIES ON MANAGEMENT AND CUSTOMER SERVICE.
I explained to this insipid creature that that the use of the word damn in conversation is acceptable and amounts to an expression of frustration but if she wishes for me to get to a level of moronic understanding I am more than capable to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent. Needless to say she was lost, said she would deliver the message and have Sue call me back. Well guess what? I called the store manager in Torrance to let him know about the situation also and to offer a chance at redemption by Linderâs. The store manager Gary called Sue and found out she was in corporate meetings all day and was not on the phone, nor taking calls from customers.
Hmmm, me thinks there is a pattern of untruths surfacingâ¦â¦â¦â¦â¦..
Now, according to Gary, Sue will be re-ordering the shelf, so letâs see what transpires now. Of course, I am now at home with a TV installed in a damaged unit that should not be installed until the unit is acceptable and now I donât see any sense in installing the electronic components since they will have to be disconnected and removed in order to allow the shelf to be replaced.
OK, so now here I am a week after delivery of a television that should have been installed in a damage free unit with the TV in the damaged unit. I cannot install the electronics that will provide the experience of superb plasma HD TV thus I cannot utilize the system.
You know, customer service issues are interesting when you can separate yourself from the emotion of it all.
My wife, bless her, decided to step in before I allowed my blood pressure to escalate and really get pissed off. She went to the store where we purchased all the items and spoke with Gary the manager. She got a delivery date in writing from him on the errant loveseat and a firm commitment on the pullout shelf. Well, I just got off the phone with Sue, Linderâs customer service manager [she called me]. This is where these issues are interesting, which is with the human factor. Sue has gone from being nice, friendly and helpful to cold, calculating in her speech and very curt. I think this is because of two things, one she knows she made a mistake with the shelf and her lack of attention to detail has shown through [if I were consulting with this company my recommendation would be to replace their entire customer service staff by outsourcing] and typically when you are caught in lies, deceit and out right incompetence it is human nature to protect yourself by withdrawing. This is really a bad tactic since the world sees it as being more incompetent than you really are and a bad attitude and a defensive posture pisses people off more.
All is well; the love seat was delivered along with the shelf. No issues with either, they were accepted by my wife. Interestingly though, the person delivering to items was quite competent in removing the shelf, but either he had no common sense about installing it or was just plain lazy. He claimed to my wife that he had no idea how the shelf was to go in and just left it on the floor and too the damaged one. Being the handyman that I am it took me all of about 10 seconds to align the shelf on the tracks and slide it into place.
Needless to say, I didnât waste my valuable time calling and informing them of the issue with the shelf, but also needless to say word of mouth advertising is much more valuable than any paid advertising. So, here it is, a positive endorsement would mean that I would inform 5-10 people with positive comments about my experiences with the company whereas, with negative endorsements typically 10 times that are communicated to as to the poor service/quality of product etc. Thus, 50 -100 negative endorsements. Which do you think will affect the business more?
So, the burning question â what will he do? Well, I have a professional online network of 1.8 million contacts worldwide and I have posted my comments to my profile with an invitation to each of them to review them. Even if only 10% of them read the comments which would be about 180K and then 2% of that number actually donât purchase from the company that adds up the 360 potential customers lost because of one bad experience. Now, figure that out of that 360 customers they were to spend an average of 3k each, that would be $1, 080000.00 [1 million 80 thousand dollars] in lost revenue.
Ouchâ¦â¦â¦.I think that might just hurt the bottom line of a $23m companyâ¦..What do you think?
Is it worth establishing an effective customer service program and not base it upon a series of lies and deceit?
It really is sad when a customer [former] has to waste time documenting these types of issues, but in the end one can hope that the company in question picks sense out of nonsense and makes needed adjustments to their shortcomings.