In this week’s New Yorker, James Surowiecki takes a brief look at customer service in America these days, and offers up some theories to explain why it sucks. Most of it is stuff you’ve probably already seen: it’s a cost center and therefore an attractive target when cutting expenses; bargain pricing makes it impossible; current attempts to make it more “efficient” just make it worse. But the real problem, he says, is that maybe companies are too concerned with the customers they don’t have.
If you’re already a T-Mobile customer and you bought the new Google Nexus One phone recently, you know firsthand that you had to pay $100 more than new customers. Today T-Mobile announced that they’re dropping that heavily criticized price, and will be refunding $100 to customers who paid $379 for the phone before January 14th.
Jay Goltz, a small business owner in Chicago, thinks there are three reasons why customer service is so terrible at so many companies.
If you own a Honda and don’t like getting shot in the face with jagged metal fragments, you may want to keep an eye out for a recall notice. The automaker announced yesterday that it would recall 440,000 Civics, Accords, and Acura TL sedans sold between 2001 and 2003.
Village Lighting in Bellingham, Washington refused to let a 29-year-old man use their bathroom, and the man retaliated by going completely batshit insane on them.
Best-practices guru Joel Spolsky thinks Circuit City imploded because of their terrible customer service, not any “recession” or “macroeconomic conditions” nonsense. To prove his point, he looks at thriving New York electronics retailer B&H, which succeeds because they understand that stellar service leads to healthy profit margins.
Wondering why Sprint CEO Dan Hesse has time to wander around NYC telling people about Sprint products? Well, it’s apparently come to that. Sprint has lost another 1.1 million customers.
Consumerist reader Darkrose writes, “I just got this in my e-mail. Thought you guys might be interested in it.” In the email, GM’s president Troy Clarke is in high PR mode, pointing out the grave consequences and emphasizing that GM wants not “a bailout but rather a loan that will be repaid.” We thought other readers who aren’t GM customers would find it interesting.
Texas wedding caterer Dale Cane found a dead rat’s head in one of the twenty cans of Allen’s Italian Green Beans he bought at Walmart. Allen’s quickly offered Cane $200 if he agreed to keep quiet, and assured him that “the Pasteurization process renders the product sterile and completely safe for consumption.” Even worse, this isn’t the first time a dead rat’s head popped up in a can of Allen’s Green Beans…
A new study by Mindset Media and Nielsen Online has created a better profile of gadget lovers who tend to buy new technology early and often—and it’s no longer believed that they’re just “wealthy young males.” Instead, the early adopter type tends to score high in leadership and assertiveness, but low in modesty.
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.