Customer service is dead!

It seems that wherever we go these days companies don’t care about customer service. Either they have a quasi monopole and it’s irrelevant or, despite a competitive environment, nobody seems to pay attention to the need or satisfaction of the customer. It must be really bad in my area — or I am a VERY unlucky customer — because I keep having those horrible experiences with customer service.

Beside the notoriously bad customer service of telecom companies like Bell (about which I have talked many times — their Fibe TV is superb but their wi-fi is quite shitty and their tech service doesn’t seem to care — unless they can sell you extra service or device that supposedly would improve the situation) I can easily mention three or four companies that gave me bad service just in the last couple of weeks!

Every Tuesday morning, I used to get a Publisac — a bag full of the flyers and advertisements for my area’s stores and grocery shops as well as the local newspaper. I never had any problem until about a year ago. Then the delivery started to skip a week once in a while, sometimes we would received only one (our duplex has two dwellings) or it would be just thrown on the ground instead of being hanged on the mailbox. I complained a few times by email or by phone and each time after that I get delivery for a few weeks and then it becomes spotty again. Now I haven’t received any in the last three weeks! I complained every week and they said that they would correct the problem but I still doesn’t receive my Publisac… I don’t know what kind of morons they are using for the distribution, but they are not very efficient ! Here’s the proof !

Update: This week I received both Publisac but they were simply thrown on the floor.  Publisac called me for a follow up and promised they would see to the situation…

Last year, we hired a general contractor, CAM Construction, to do some repairs on the rear’s balcony and masonry, as well as redo the backyard landscaping to improve drainage. It costed us a bundle and dealing with them was a total hell: constant communication problems, insufficient supervision of the work, repetitive delays, they don’t do stuff that I am sure we have discussed (and that, to my understanding, were included in the contract), they charge extra for stuff that, again to my understanding, is included in the contract, they make mistakes or forget stuff, etc. I was promised that the job would last seven to ten days, spread over two or three weeks. So far I has lasted sixteen days spread over EIGHT months! There was so much delay (once the balance of the invoice was paid they really dragged their feet and showed a lack of goodwill) that they couldn’t finish the work before winter (I asked them to start at the beginning of October because we wanted to enjoy our garden as much as possible). Now, since we had a late spring and we don’t seem to be a priority anymore, they keep delaying the final touch which is the landscaping! “We will do it next week for sure!” and of course they didn’t. I have some doubt that it will be done this week either. We’ll see…

Update: After postponing to the next week a few time, they promised they would come Wednesday. They called in early afternoon to say they couldn’t come because of the heavy rain (but it didn’t start until the evening!) and promised to come Friday. I am tired of being stood up!

More update: The landscapist hired by CAM did come on Friday and did a good job. It looks good. I am so glad that the work in the backyard  is finally done. What an ordeal! I just can’t believe that this nightmare is finally over! However, I’ll never use that company again, ever!

Last Thursday my water heater stopped working. I checked it thoroughly and discovered that the reset button has jumped, probably because the bottom heating element was dead. I reset the thermostat, but the following day it’s the breaker that jumps. I was hoping I would get enough hot water with just one heating element until I can deal with it on the week-end, but it seems to be a serious problem. Saturday, since I am working, I asked my sister to call HydroSolution to ask for someone to come repair the water heater. Even if she’s co-owner of the duplex with me, they refuse to take the service call because they want to talk to ME. I have to take some time from work to call them! They tell me that if someone comes to repair the tank and it needs replacement instead he would not be able to do it on the same service call. So, since the tank is over ten year-old anyway, we decide to simply have it replaced. So I purchased the tank over the phone but now, all this taking a long time, it’s too late for them to come and do the work Saturday evening (despite their so-called 24/7 service). I therefore take an appointment for Sunday morning. Sunday, I get up early (I am exhausted and I really need to sleep late, but too bad) and wait… and wait… but nobody comes. I call them and, surprise, my name was not on the list of the service call. They don’t know what happened, they are sorry, but there’s nothing they can do. What kind of customer service is that? Can they just ask their guys to do just one more job that day? Can they at least give me some sort of discount? Of course not! So they give me another appointment for Monday morning (now I really need to sleep late, but, you know, I also do need hot water to take a shower!). Monday morning I call to make sure that, this time, I am on the list. I am the fourth in line! They do come around noon, do a swift job and now I have a working water heater and hot water! What a hassle!

Update: Following my complaint, HydroSolution called me to offer a rebate of $25 on the water heater. It’s not much but at least they made an effort…

Being seriously at risk for diabetes (history going back two or three generations on both the maternal and paternal sides) I have to check my blood sugar for any suspicious changes. I had found this great glucometer (iHealth Smart Wireless Glucose Monitoring System) that was relatively accurate, compact, worked with smart phones and, above all, was quite cheap. Not only that, the testing strips were also quite affordable ($14 for a box of one hundred instead of $80-$100 for the big brand names). Unfortunately, iHealth being based in the U.S. and being outside the big Pharma industry, the supplies are not available in Canadian pharmacies. I used to get the test strips on eBay but, with shipping cost, they were much more expansive. Then I got them from the Canadian Apple Store but they stopped to carry them after a while. Then I got them from Best Buy, but they also stopped carrying them (they are still listed but perpetually out of stock). Amazon.ca doesn’t carry them either (Is it because the Big Pharma industry is pressuring them not to?). Strangely, most of those online stores still carry the meter or the lancets, which doesn’t make much sense to me… So, I switched to the OneTouch VERIO even if the cost of their testing strips is prohibitive — but at least it is available in any local pharmacy. Although, I found on Amazon.ca an Indian seller offering hundred strips at half the cost! So I order them and, after twenty-five days!, I finally receive… fifty strips for the OneTouch ULTRA! I therefore have to ask for a refund and a return label. However, the dealer seems to be stalling (and not friendly at all), but after complaining to Amazon, I receive the refund and can even keep the product (which is totally useless to me anyway!). Clearly, ordering medical supplies from India (and Amazon) is not a good idea particularly when it is time-sensitive (my bottle of strips was almost empty)! From now on I should purchase my diabetic supply somewhere more reliable!

Wrong item !

I wanted the one of the left and received the one of the right !

Update: I thought this situation over but the seller, mindmingle, keep harassing me by email, asking that I removed my negative feedback (he say that he is poor and must feed his family! Come on!). I received the wrong products, why should I be happy about it? I complained to Amazon and they said they would see to correct this situation… Also, it seems that the iHealth test strips are available again at Best Buy!

Excellent customer service should be like ballet: it’s hard and painful, but you must make it look like it’s easy and effortless, which means that you must put lots of extra hours and efforts to make each customer feels like he’s the only one. You must eat your pride, smile and almost anticipate every need and wish of the customer to make it feels like if what you do is magic. It is an art that is unfortunately disappearing as people want their job to be easy and fun. It never is.

Personally, I’d rather settle for just good customer service, where the service provider just LISTEN to what I want and find ways to make it happen (hopefully within my budget and schedule) !

Why is it so difficult to get a friendly, accommodating customer service? Is that the kind of society we want to live in? It is surely tiring to constantly have to fight to get what we need or want! I just can’t take much more of this…

[ Traduire ]

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