Companies are slowly learning that those infuriating automated phone trees aren’t the answer to their customer service problems. Some experts even claim that automated systems anger customers. The New York Times decided to trace the history of the hated trees, while wondering if things will ever change.
Microsoft charged Bill $1,632 for a single Windows Vista Ultimate upgrade license. Each time Bill, an IT Manager, tried to his enter his payment details through Windows Live Marketplace he was told that Microsoft could not be contacted, and to “please try again later.” What Microsoft really meant was, “Ha! Got your money! How ’bout some more?!”
Sprint is hemorrhaging both money and customers as it searches for a way to stop the financial bleeding. The company lost $505 million in the first quarter alone, and watched helplessly as over a million of its customers defected to other wireless carriers.
Chrysler has extracted the DNA of our executive email carpet bomb and used it to create a weird new outreach program: starting next week, 300 Chryslers execs will each call a different recent purchaser of a Chrysler, Dodge, or Jeep vehicle and ask if there are any problems. According to Cars.com’s blog Kicking Tires, they’ll keep doing this “until Chrysler chairman and chief executive officer Bob Nardelli is satisfied that if his customers have troubles, their problems will be fixed. Nardelli, by the way, is going to make the calls, too.” That last sentence—well, really the whole idea—becomes funnier when you know where Nardelli once worked.
Reader Dan writes in to tell us that the incense peddlers over at Keyherb.com are too chill to do business. All he wanted to do was de-stress with some of their lovely, organic aromatherapy products, but instead of shipping his order, they sent him a fake tracking number then ignored him.
Last week, travel consumer advocate Christopher Elliott listed four secrets about rule 240—that borderline mythic rule that describes how an airline will behave regarding a canceled or delayed flight—that he says are too often overlooked by travel experts and regular folk:”It’s hardly an all-powerful provision that can be invoked by every stranded passenger. Somewhere between myth and a magic bullet lies the truth about Rule 240.”
Walmart Ignores Widow's Letter Asking Why It Took Employees 9 Hours To Find Her Husband's Body In A Bathroom Stall
Karen Turner wants to know why Walmart employees told her that their bathroom stalls were unoccupied, even though they contained the body of Karen’s husband, 41-year-old airline mechanic Steven Turner. Karen needlessly spent hours searching for her husband, who went missing after dropping off his car that morning for an oil change. Walmart has yet to respond to a letter Karen sent in September. No condolences, no explanation. Nothing but silence.
A reader writes in to warn that if you purchase from Cascade Toboggan, be prepared to be treated with suspicion and hostility, and to have your order canceled if you attempt to straighten things out. Michal used a fairly common spam-tracking technique when he placed an order with them earlier this month—he put their company name as part of his email and shipping addresses, so that if his information was sold, he’d be able to source the perpetrator. We’ve done this ourselves in the past, and it works. However, the owner of Cascade, Dana, says this is trademark infringement, and even after getting Michal to agree to remove the name from his personal info, canceled the order and effectively banned Michal from future business.
Maybe the T-Mobile lawsuit has scared AT&T a bit, because they’ve announced that they’re changing their early termination policy: they will now prorate termination fees instead of charging a flat fee. They’re also removing the policy that required existing customers to extend a current agreement or sign up for a new one when changing their level of service. No word on when these changes will go into effect, but there’s nothing on their website yet.
A German department store is trying a new RFID system in its men’s department, where it’s tagged 30,000 pieces with Smart Chip labels. When shoppers take garments into the dressing room, an integrated display shows the customer price, materials, and care instructions, as well as sizes and colors available. Later this year, the screens will also show complimentary pieces, a great help if you’re not good at matching clothes or are color blind.
As we approach the New Year, let we consumers take a moment of quiet reflection to acknowledge that often we are as dumb as dirt. Before you make that phone call to customer service or write up your blistering review of your latest book, read up on the sort of teeth-crunchingly idiotic things clients and customers have said in the last year.
Of course, we kid. ‘Drone’ implies that you serve as the mindless agent of any intelligence.