Customer service sure seems to have taken a step back at times.
Not always, mind you, but at times.
Allow me to share a recent tale of woe for you to enjoy.
First, when I shop – I look for the lowest price. Though I like to shop “local” when possible, it doesn’t always make sense, such as my recent search for an iPad mini.
I’ve wanted one of these for a while. Though I have a work iPad, I wanted one that was mine and I could do with what I want. The mini is better in regard to size, so I kept watching. It needed to get to a certain price before I would consider it.
And I didn’t need the latest and greatest version. The iPad Mini 2 was just fine (to me, there really wasn’t that big of a difference between that one and the 4, well for me anyway), so that’s what I set my sights on.
In the past few days, Walmart had it listed for $199. That’s some $50-60 lower than many others. And it seems like Apple (just based on a few things I read) might be trying to phase that one out, which is fine with me if I can snag a deal.
So, with it set at $199, I finally decide to pull the trigger. I place the order online knowing I could pick the item up after work.
I never receive a pick up e-mail, despite the website saying it would be available to pick up by 12:06 p.m.
So after work, I head to Walmart. I have the printout in hand and to the pickup area I go.
I’m not in the system. Not by name. Not by order number. Nothing. The guy can’t help me, it seems. He can’t answer questions. But he does tell me that I wouldn’t be charged until I picked it up or something.
I decide to go out to electronics. Maybe they don’t have the iPad in stock as Walmart’s website thought? I speak with a person out on the floor who checks and the store definitely has it and the price is $199.
Why the hell did I even bother ordering online?
My next step is to go online and cancel the order. It then shows the request is going through and they will cancel if nothing has gone through yet, otherwise they’ll tell me when it ships (in which case it will be an immediate return and put the funds back on my card).
Then I head out to my car for some privacy and to call Walmart.com’s customer care.
I get a lady and explain my situation. She then informs me that I’ve put in a request to cancel.
I once again explain the situation, this time adding if it could be pushed through, I wouldn’t need to cancel and I’d be more than happy to let it go through.
Well, you see, I’ve put a cancelation request in, so the best bet is to wait 48 hours and then call back. Or something along those lines.
I then ask what the issue is and wonder why the heck it’s still processing (well, now being canceled) if it told me it would be ready by 12:06 p.m. and it’s now after 5?
She responds I’d have to ask billing that because it’s not her department. She then asks to put me on hold to see if there’s anything else she can do. Usually, that’s a good sign in my experiences.
She comes back to tell me the same stuff she had already told me once before and mentioned the 48 hours again etc. At this point I want to ask about if I’ve been charged. If not, I’ll just go buy the one in store and ignore the website all together. She again said it’s not her department and I follow up asking if I could speak with billing.
Turns out they can’t transfer me to speak with billing (she did tell me earlier it was something I’d have to speak with billing about), but that I should speak with my card holder to see what the holdup is.
So wait – is it my card or Walmart holding it up? Now she’s got another side that she won’t elaborate on.
At this point, I do something I never do – I hung up on her.
See, I realize it’s not her fault. I know there are protocols that need to be followed. I know there are things she can and can’t do. But I also know that if you are in customer care, you should treat the customer a tad better. I thought from the beginning she didn’t care and was just like “Whatever.”
So I hung up.
I went back inside and bought the iPad in there. But my plight wasn’t over. The person I originally talked to was helping somebody else. So somebody else helped me. I tell her what I want – exactly – and she goes to the back to get it. After two trips to the back, she comes out with two iPad minis – the 2 and the 3 (which Apple doesn’t even carry anymore on its website). She tells me the 3 is only $30 more.
I didn’t want the 3, I said. I like the $199 deal, which drew a look of total confusion.
So she attempted to up sale me, I rebuffed, and I got the confused look, a roll of the eyes and a total lack of interest.
So she rang it up and it comes up $269.
I said… um, it’s $199. The guy scanned it before and it showed $199. Now, I’m not sure if she did something or if the rescan got it, but it was eventually $199. Then I rebuffed the “added warranty” coverage and all that.
Needless to say, she didn’t seem thrilled to be helping anybody.
The end result was me walking out with the item I wanted for the price I intended on paying. But the whole experience to get it was maddening. I guess, in the end, it gives me a blog post I can schedule.
I just don’t understand sometimes.
As I said, I’m not one of those people who will boycott a place because of things like this, though I likely won’t be trying the online setup there anytime soon. I will always shop around and look for the best price (and if anybody else was even close to this iPad price that I had seen, I would have gone elsewhere), because it doesn’t make sense to pay an additional 50-75 bucks to “prove a point.”
It’s probably why the big-box stores can act like this at times. People will keep shopping there because the prices are usually what people are seeking.
In all reality, though, this doesn’t shock me. I did get a questionnaire to fill out about my “experience” and I was less than positive in my remarks, though the odds are it means nothing.
This whole situation has nothing to do with the product in question as I’m happy with it, but with the service. If you are going to work in a customer-based business, make sure you can fit the role well. We all have bad days. But when you deal with people on a regular basis, make sure you can be cheery and helpful; else you aren’t doing what you are hired to do.
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