Wednesday, April 2, 2008

If There Was an Economic Crisis, I'd Get Better Customer Service

I'm calling BS on the economic crisis and unemployment doomsayers. It's a crock. Brent and I have been plagued with incompetence at every turn from companies that we have chosen to patron. From which I can conclude, they don't care about getting our money.

I’m surprised that employees have little to no interest in job security. They could give a flying leap whether or not they have happy customers. The girl who was cranky at Einstein's Bagels, ok, no big deal. (When I'm shelling out $7 for a sandwich could I at least get the order right without a side of attitude?) But when you ask me for 5 grand you better act like you want it.

If there truly was an economic crisis corporations would be stepping up to the plate trying to differentiate their product and service. If unemployment was a real threat, there would be an added level of excellence due to the driving forces of competition in the employment market.

I’m using blog for a very self serving purpose. I’m ticked off, I'm sick of writing strongly worded letters, asking for managers, and then the manager's managers. Strangely blogging about crappy service is therapeutic, and by doing so I release my anger. Here's some additional companies that suck:

Delta Airlines-

Not really the surprise of the century. We booked our tickets to Puerto Rico in October. In January I went on line to check the status. They had moved the first leg of our flight back two days and kept the second leg on the same date. I had received no notification of this flight change, and anyone with half a brain would have noticed the severe error. 45 minutes later, I had our flight back.

Not to mention we flew first class (used the sky miles) and when you fly first class from Puerto Rico to New York, a 5 and a half our flight- first class gets served a satisfying meal of peanuts. Seriously, peanuts.

La Concha Resort (a Marriott Property) in Puerto Rico-

After spending over 50 nights in Marriotts in the past year, I bear my Gold card with pride. Marriott hotels do a great job of making me feel ridiculously important for that status, knowing well that it's the Gold members that keep their business running. However, La Concha- a resort that was deemed to be ‘new’ must have missed the Marriott memo on customer service. From a girl at the front desk who was too good to check us in, changing rooms 3 times until we found one that was palatable (the hotel wasn't new, it was an old hotel that got a Mary Kay make over), a toilet that clogged up and took 4 phone calls, a stop by the front desk and 6 hours to get taken care of, and to top it all off the air conditioning went out. All would have been ok if the management had cared about the quality of the experience- but as a customer I have never felt less important. This is a company I've given $10,000 last year by choosing to stay in their hotel chains.

Wright Brothers Carpet Cleaning (Provo, Salt Lake, Davis County)-

The carpet cleaner flooded the carpet in my office- the technician was outside taking a break, water ran directly onto the carpet and soaked it. I naively assumed that he would take care of the excess water- 4 days later when the carpet was still wet and smelling of mold I called the cleaners- this was a Friday night- they wanted to wait until Monday to fix the mess. My house smelled, I told them that they could go ahead and pay for the carpet to be replaced. So instead they decided to come up Saturday morning. Saturday morning they did not show. It took some angry words, but we got some one up to clean the carpet Saturday night. We were told they would refund what we paid to get the carpet cleaned. Refund has not been issued.

Wells Fargo Bank:
Same bank 13 years. 13 years of loyalty and you'd think you'd matter as a customer but oh no, they keep trying to sneak fees into my savings account. Today I noticed they were charging me $10 a month for savings. So I'm paying them $120 a year to let them hold my money. This is the fourth time it's happened. I've stayed with them for convenience- now I'm out, we're breaking up.

HVAC Installation:

We purchased a new furnace and AC. What was suppose to be a one day install by a man who spoke English has turned into a 3 day install by men who do not speak English and apathetic as to the 1- speed and 2- competence of their work. The banged up our door, they tried to leave us with out heat for two days (with a snow storm pending) Much yelling and gnashing of teeth has ensued.

Is it just me? Is there an epidemic of terrible service? Am I overly picky? Do you complain? What happens to the people who don’t complain? Most people must not complain when they get sub-par service, because if they did the sub-par would cease to exist.

I had hoped Equity Evil was a one time experience. Now it looks like terrible service has become the standard. Once the quality of service goes up, then I'll start worrying about an economic crisis.


Miss Hass said...

I'm furious just reading what you wrote. I can't imagine having gone through each of those experiences. Yikes.

I agree. Customer service has really gone downhill.

crazy4danes said...

Nice Post! I totally hear you on this one! I broke up with Wells Fargo years ago...I hate them....alot. ;P Then there's Einstein's and pretty much every other fast food place...I swear to you if I get my order screwed up one more time!!! Last time I checked I don't stutter so what's so hard about NO CHEESE people!

So I'm with you....I'll start worrying about the economy when my sandwich is made correctly, and I don't have to listen to idiots try to explain why my jacuzzi tub in my suite we just checked into is dirty, and then listen to Mexicans speak a language that I UNDERSTAND, talk about what a princess I am, while "attempting" to clean it, and then having to argue why I want a new room in the end, and a discount on my stay! (there's a run on sentence for ya!) LOL

Well....glad I got that off my chest! LOL ;P

Daisy Paige said...

I don't write companies like I should, and I've more than one Wells Fargo story for you. Sorry this comment will be long, but now I'm all re-worked up over my latest WF drama.

Two weeks ago we added another $500 to our emergency cash fund at home. I wrote myself a check from our credit union but cashed it at WF because it's much closer. When I got there, a nice woman was at the door asking everyone walking inside to please use the drive-through instead. No big deal, right? So I go to the drive-through, and on my bank slip, I write out the number of bills I want in each denomination. What did I get back? Loose bills, no envelope or rubber band, with the 10s, 5s and 20s all mixed together. The bills weren't even facing the same way! Cars are lining up behind me as I'm counting it out to make sure it's all there. Discover I only got one $50, but had asked for two. Call for assistance and the very rude girl explains to me that she only had one fifty, so it'll have to do. I call back and say it's fine, but it would have saved time if she had let me know before sending the money. She replies that it would have saved even more time had I come inside to do this transaction so they could count the money out in front of me. Duh! I tried to go in but got kicked out! Whatever. I send the tube back and ask her to please send me an envelope or a rubber band to hold the bills together. She retorts, "Well, which is it? I'm not going to give you both." I opted for the envelope.

Seriously, what a bi***, and I've had that account since 1996 - back when it was a First Security account before WF bought them out. I think they're mad because we closed everything but the checking account, and only use it to move money around when we need to (it's linked to our ING account).

Regardless, WF sucks. We really should just drop them, but it's so convenient having a WF on every corner. It was the only thing around while we lived in Vegas.

Steve said...

1. We ARE on the brink of an economic crisis, but there are other reasons for what you have stated. Frist of all, we as a country are 199% complacent. We feel entitled to everything, including customer service. Trust me, in this country, it's the only place customer service means anything; but I agree it is digressing. And service has continued to deteriorate b/c we as a whole have demanded it less by not complaining and bosses not forcing it. Instead of going to soulless chains like Einstein, you will have to go to Mom and Pop places, if you can find them for any real service.

2. All US airline carriers suck donkey phallice. Sorry to be so graphic, but it's true. Having flown on lots of international carriers, even Aeroflot!, ours are the worse, but still slightly better than Aeroflot. But I at least got food on them. I'm 100% behind nationalizing the airline industry b/c it honestly can't get any worse. BTW, I just booked us on Delta for our St. Kitts vaca today!

3. The US banking industry is run by a bunch of fascists. In fact, the banking industry thrives and strives for a fascist industry model. Again, the best bet is a smaller and more local bank. They usually offer a lot more perks and better PERSONAL service for the same types of accounts.

4. As a Platinum Marriott member (please, don't grovel, haha) I'm a little surprised by that. I've had fairly good luck with them in many, many countries. Maybe it was just that one employee and/or specific hotel. I bet if you contact corporate you'll get some free nights somewhere.

Salt H2O said...

Hass- Thank you for your empathy. That means I'm not overly picky.

Crazy- Now that your got your rant out don't you feel a little bit better!

Daisy- Break up with WellsFargo! Join a Credit Union. You can make a with drawl from any credit union ATM with out recieving fees, and has all the online bill pay features.

1- If American's worried about losing their jobs then they'd do their jobs. If companies cared about losing customers then they'd take care of their customers. From what I've seen neither is happening, so hence- no crisis. I do agree with you that not enough people are complaining. As for world wide customer service standards- Singapore reigns supreme.

2. Despite the Southwest boarding procedures- I like southwest. They don't charge me to change my flights, they have a great frequent flier program and don't charge you more for a one way ticket than a round trip ticket. The only beef I have with Southwest is the singing flight attendants.

3. I agree- time to go to credit unions.

4. Platinum status eh? I'm strangely jealous and sorry for you at the same time. Marriott did finally refund all of the points from my stay, so technically the stay at the La Concha was free.

jiners said...

You are in need of a desparate trip to Korea or Japan! The service is amazing! My mom hates coming back to the states, because service is a joke!

Steve said...

Salty (btw, did you know that is Aussie slang for a croc; yet I still find it somewhat appropriate, in all the best ways, of course!),

I still disagree. We have been #1 for so long that people think that nothing will bring us done. This credit/mortage/dollar devaluation problem is going to have serious long-term effects. People think they can just go out and get a job. It's true, especially on the micro level, but our economy at the macro level is in some serious flux. Not to mention, the "US" macro level isn't really "US" anymore. I'm ok with this, but most people don't really know how much of our country we don't really own anymore or even have control of. Of course, if people don't care, what can we do.

Re the Marriott points; yeah, those "PPV movies" really add up! ;-)

Robin said...

Great rant on customer service and I completely agree. My problem is that it takes me about 3 hours to work up enough anger to get brave enough to do anything about it and by then the ADD has kicked in and I get distracted.

Sarah said...

I was raised to believe that it was bad form to complain about poor service unless it was really ridiculously unbearable, but since our marriage my husband has been retraining me. I agree that customer service is on the decline, and I think it's partly -- but not entirely -- because people have forgotten that it's possible to be politely insistent on good service.

I see it this way; if I say nothing, the person may believe the service was satisfactory, or at least that it wasn't too bad. If I freak out and act like a jerk from the get go, the person believes that no matter how bad the service, it was justified on some level because I am a jerk anyway. If I politely, but insistently, point out the poor quality, at least there is no excuse.

It doesn't work every time, but I was amazed to find the reaction I got when I stopped treating "Did you find everything you were looking for?" and "How does everything taste?" as rhetorical questions.

Blythe said...

Hey Kory! I'm irritated just from reading that post. How frustrating.

Such a small blogging world! I'm starting to feel like it's another myspace.

f*bomb. said...

My company used to ship me a box of peanuts as my Christmas bonus each year. I wanted to slap a post-it saying, "I'm allergic. Stop trying to KILL ME."
And passing off peanuts as a MEAL!?! You have GOT to be kidding me.
I f*ing HATE peanuts.

Salt H2O said...

Jiners- you're right. I got the best service in Asia. Could have something to do with culture and the sheer number of people there. If you suck at your job there's like 5000 other people just waiting to take it from you.

Steve- This credit/morgage/devaluation of the dollar has been a long time coming. From what I see, a lot of people dug their own graves- not everyone, but a lot. As long as the government steps back and allows the market to correct itself we'll be fine. In Adam Smith I trust.

Robin- I suggest you take Sarah's advice and politely say something when the occurrance happens, and don't wait 3 hours. The more people speaking up against bad service the better service will eventually get.

Sarah- You're absolutely right. I've actually gotten fairly good at reading the person I'm complaining to and the way I have to address the problem. IE the Delta ticket. The operator I worked with for 45 minutes saw the problem, saw that it was ridculous and was helpful. So I kept my calm. However at La Concha- after the 4th phone call the only way we got a manager to address the problem was by my husband yelling. Some people will ignore you if you aren't angry.

Farrah- LOL! You kill me.

Steve said...

Yeah, this has been on the wall for a long time, but it is BECAUSE of an unregulated and free market that Smith and you trust in; as was the Great Depression. You and I have often AGREED(!) on the mortgage crisis. This article made me rethink it a little...

Steve said...

Sorry, here is a better link....
Mortgage crisis article.

Cameron said...

I have heard tons of Wells Fargo horror stories over the years. Yet, I still have an account. Though technically it's my wife's account that I got roped into when we got married. It's the first and only bank account she's ever had, and it's taken me 7 years to get her to switch. Yes, it's true, I am breaking free of the Wells Fargo chains.

On the dollar valuation. I had a professor in college say that it would be a good thing for the dollar to fall. That was 5 years ago. We'll see if he was right.

Jared said...

A few years ago, I played in a Lacrosse tournament in Philadelphia. When I booked my hotel, I searches for one with a Jacuzzi in which I could soak my sore body after the each day of the two day tournament. I was reassured that the Hyatt had a working jacuzzi so I booked my room. When we got there and I attempted to get into the Jacuzzi, I found that it was freezing cold, broken and had been since prior to my booking the room. Needless to say, I was infuriated and complained to management. I was provided a free stay at a Hyatt of my choice but that didn't change the fact that I was unable to soak my sore body after my tourney. :(
I recently went back to school to make a career change. As I pursue a degree in Organizational Psychology, one of my future dreams/goals is to create and implement measurable accountability within organizations...something that is severely lacking as is evident from this post.

Kaylene said...

You are so funny and yet so accurate at the same time. I know exactly what you are talking about. The other day I called Directv because programming I had not ordered showed up on my bill. I asked to have it removed and be refunded for the charge I had paid the month before, the customer service rep asked me why I found it so difficult to open my bill and do “something called reading” to discover this last month. I was mad…ok really pissed off. Long story short I talked to his supervisor had the changes made but that employee is still working for the company to help them achieve a “high level of customer service”.