Leading By Example

, , , , , | Right | May 7, 2021

We’re about to close. I’m running customer service, and my coworker running our self-serve checkout comes up to me with a box of shoes and the customer saying she needs help with a price adjustment that seems fishy. He wants a pair of shoes that are on sale for $25 for $5.

Customer: “Well, there’s a tag that says five dollars.”

Me: “We have sample price tags that show what our clearance stickers look like. They say ‘Example’ over them to make it less confusing.”

Customer: “No, it said it was $5.”

Me: “You know what, if you want to take a picture of it and show it to me, I’ll see what I can do.”

He runs off to get the picture, and I work on closing the customer service desk. When he comes back, he shows me the picture. Sure enough, it is an example price that has “Example” pasted over the image, above, and below it.

Me: “Sir, that’s an example tag. The shoes are $25.”

Customer: “You’re not going to honor the price?”

Me: *Laughing and trying not to cry* “No, it’s not a real price, sir.”

Customer: “You sure?”

Me: “Yes.”

Customer: “Why?”

Me: “It’s not. A real. Price. I’m not giving you shoes for a fake sale price. Do you want the shoes?”

Customer: “Sure.”

He dropped $30 and pays easily as if we hadn’t just spent minutes arguing over a sample clearance tag. It looked like there was nothing going on in his head. I’m surprised we came to an agreement. That concluded a very long day.

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Addressing The Lack Of Addressing, Part 3

, , , , | Right | May 4, 2021

I work from home answering emails for a variety of companies. I work for the parent company and we own forty-six other companies; all the emails go into one inbox. Half of our companies ship out our horticulture products (plants and plant goods) while the other half ship out our gift products (puzzles, household items, furniture, etc.).

Once the package leaves our facility, we cannot control what happens, regardless of the shipping company used.

On the 28th of the month:

Customer: “This is outrageous! You had to reship my order on the eighth because [Shipping Company] lost it and I still don’t have it!”

Me: “I apologize for the inconvenience, ma’am. After looking at your account, it appears the package was returned to us and marked undeliverable, and we have credited back the card on file.”

Customer: “Are you serious?! First, it took me three tries to type my credit card in on the website because I couldn’t figure out the expiration date! Then, [Shipping Company] lost my order! And now, when I’m waiting to get it again, it says the address is undeliverable! That has to be something in your system because the address was correct!

Me: “I have looked at the ship-to address on the account. The address we have is [address], Jacksonville, Florida. Is this the correct address?”

Customer: “No! It should be shipping to Jackson, Mississippi, not Florida! Why can you people never do anything right?! I demand whoever put this order in be yelled at for not knowing!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry for the confusion, but it appears this order was placed on our website, not via one of our agents. I understand that our website can be confusing sometimes. I do apologize for the trouble you’ve had with this order. Would you like me to help you place a new order for the correct address?”

Customer: “Ha! As if I’m ever ordering from your company again! You mess up addresses and [Shipping Company] can’t do anything right! I think you should give me all of the products I was trying to order for free to make this right.”

Me: “Ma’am, unfortunately, we cannot ship out free items when the situation is not our fault. We have fully refunded your card and, unfortunately, the only thing lost in this order has been time. I can offer you a $25 gift certificate for a future order, but that is the best we can do.”

Customer: “I’m going to the BBB about this! I hope you enjoy your scathing review about not making things right!”

I really don’t know what she wanted from us. We already gave her back her money, she messed up on the address, and we can’t make [Shipping Company] deliver to somewhere we don’t even know. You just can’t please some people.

Addressing The Lack Of Addressing, Part 2
Addressing The Lack Of Addressing

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Frustration Is Ramping Up

, , , , , , | Working | April 27, 2021

It is August in Phoenix, Arizona — a desert. The day starts over 100°F/38°C and it’s going to be 115°F/46°C later in the day. We are moving from one house to another.

My wife has to stay at the house we are moving from for a while and then has to get to the new house to meet the cable installer, and we have three little kids who cannot carry heavy boxes.

We have rented a large truck with a ramp to help with the move. We rented from a location near the new house so it wouldn’t be that long a drive at the end of the day. A friend was supposed to help me, but he broke his toe the night before, so I am on my own. Did I mention the temperature? I have to load items from the old house, drive to a storage locker and load items from there, and then go to the new house.

All day, the ramp doesn’t work correctly. It’s difficult to pull out of the back of the truck and nearly impossible to get it back in when I’m done. I have been fighting with it all day, and it’s hot and I’m frustrated. At each stop — sometimes twice at a stop — I call the rental company to tell them the ramp is broken and that they need to send someone to fix it. Each time, the customer service rep tells me that they will connect me to technical support where they can explain to me what I’m doing wrong. As far as they are concerned, it’s not broken, so it must be user error. Each time, I try to convince them it’s not me but the ramp, but they won’t send anyone.

At the end of the day, I finally unload the last of the items into the house or the garage. The ramp is sticking partway into the garage, so we cannot close the garage door. And at this point, the ramp. Will. Not. Go. In. I try all the tricks I have used throughout the day to get the ramp to move and it won’t go.

I call customer service again, and again they want to transfer me to tech support. I stop the woman right there.

Me: “Do not transfer me to technical support. It’s not that I do not know how to do this. I have been fighting this all day and I have been transferred to technical support three times already today. It is not user error. It is broken. It is 10:00 pm and I am hot and tired. Right now, the ramp is sticking into my garage so I cannot close the garage door. I was told when I picked up this truck today that it was heading out on a long-distance move tomorrow morning. So, you have two choices at this point: you can send a mechanic to fix this and I can return the truck, or I will drive it back to the rental center a mile from here now with the ramp dragging the whole way and I will not be responsible for any damage to the truck.”

She agrees to send a mechanic and, in the meantime, I hop into the pool to cool off. When the mechanic arrives at around 11:00 pm, I explain the problem. He gets under the truck and takes one look at the latching mechanism.

Mechanic: “Yeah, this thing is completely busted. The metal was fatigued and it snapped. I’ll have to take it back to the shop and weld it back together. This isn’t going anywhere tomorrow morning.”

He told me to slowly push the ramp back in while he held the broken latch out of the way, and we got the ramp back in. He followed me back to the rental center to make sure I got there safely, and I presume he got to work on the repair.

Sometimes, when a customer says it’s not user error, they might even be right.

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Stuck Between A Tablet And A Hard Place

, , , , | Working | April 7, 2021

I have bought a new tablet made by a major Internet retailer. In order to use my tablet, I have to create an account with said major Internet retailer. I have never needed to create an account with them before, so I am taken by surprise when it won’t let me use my email because “There is already an account with that email address.”

I call the retailer’s customer service line and finally get connected to a human representative.

Representative: “Hello, thank you for calling. My name is [Representative]. How can I help you?”

Me: “I’m trying to create an account so I can register my new [Brand] tablet, but it’s telling me that there is already an account with that email address. I did not create that account, so somebody must have used my email address for their own account.”

Representative: “You need to confirm the email to create an account.”

Me: “No, that’s not the problem. I did not make the account that is using my email. I would like that account to be taken down so I can use my own email for my account.”

Representative: “Oh, I understand. Can I have the name on the account?”

Me: “I don’t know what name the person used because I did not make the account.”

Representative: “I cannot cancel an account unless you are able to verify the information.”

Me: “How can I verify the information when someone else used my email address? Can you tell me what name is on the account, and I can tell you if that’s my name or not?”

Representative: “No, I cannot do that. What is your name?”

Me: “[My Name].”

Representative: “That is not the name on the account.”

Me: “I know it’s not. That is my name. Someone else used their own name, but they used my email address.”

Representative: “I am sorry, but if you cannot verify the name, I cannot cancel the account.”

Me: “So you’re saying that you are willingly allowing someone who is not me to use my email address for your website?”

Representative: “I am sorry, but if you cannot verify the name on the account, I cannot cancel the account.”

After trying once more to get the representative to understand my problem, I gave up and hung up. I tried calling the customer service number twice more to see if another representative could understand my issue, but no luck. So, eventually, I had to create a completely new email address JUST for [Major Online Retailer] in order to set up my new tablet.

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Looking For A Specialty Item Doesn’t Make You Special

, , , , , , | Right | April 5, 2021

We are a specialty component store. People come to us because they can’t find what they need at the big box stores and websites. We’re not usually the cheapest out there, but for most of our customers, that doesn’t matter because we actually HAVE the impossible-to-find object they’re looking for.

Customer: “I’m looking for [specific hydraulic component]. You got anything like that?”

Me: *Searches* “Actually, yes, we have that exact model.”

I list off some specs to make sure it matches.

Me: “That’s $453.75.”

Customer: “Ouch, that’s pretty expensive. Do you have anything cheaper?”

Me: “I can check what we have that might function similarly that’s cheaper. What can you use that’s different?”

Customer: “The price. A lower price.”

Me: “Sorry, I meant what specs can change for you and still be usable?”

Customer: “I want the exact same thing but cheaper.”

Me: “…”

Customer: “…”

Me: “…”

Customer: “…”

Me: “If you’d like to buy this exact component, then it will cost $453.75. We do not sell a version that will meet all these exact specifications for a cheaper price.”

Customer: “Why not?”

This story is part of our Best Of April 2021 roundup!

Read the next Best Of April 2021 roundup story!

Read the Best Of April 2021 roundup!

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