Computers, Customer Service, Online Orders, Software, Technology, Uncategorized

Update on Ballad of Best Buy Bonnie

Surface-Pro-3

(Refer to previous post regarding a refund problem Best Buy’s Geek Squad)

And so the saga comes to a conclusion, a full six weeks after it began. It turns out I was right to an extent. The alleged refund was never fully processed.  Had I not called to complain, yet again  – this time to a customer service rep named Amanda – I would still be waiting in vain.

Amanda accomplished what Bonnie and the others before her did not, could not or would not. Not only did she define “business cycle” as a monthly billing period which is, for them, 28 days, but also she scratched beneath the superficial to determine that my refund was stuck in some kind of limbo. She redirected it to the proper processing channel and, this afternoon, the money appeared back in my account – five days, 3 business days, after she initiated the action. It is, however, a full 41 days since the story began.

Why was it necessary for Best Buy to treat me so poorly that they have now lost a customer for life? Clearly I was not important enough – or my refund amount was so token – that no one before Amanda wanted to bother investigating what happened to my refund. And the bottom line is that Best Bu’s bottom line is more important to them than fixing a heinous situation that allows something that this to happen.

Kudos to Amanda, but I reiterate that I will never order anything online again from Best Buy or Geek Squad and advise everyone reading this to seriously consider doing the same. The stores seem to be different. Refunds are processed in a more timely manner. And, though I have issues with the length of lines at the checkouts and the overall lack of urgency toward remedying it – before I complain – I have had decent customer service in the store. If I buy anything from Best Buy in the future, it will be at a local store. Lesson learned.

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Update On Customer Dissatisfaction – (See Previous Blog Post)

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Early this morning I received an email asking for me to provide feedback about my customer experience in the Microsoft Store yesterday evening (5/28/15). I was brutally honest. My experience started out well. Everyone was polite as I said in my previous blog post. However, I left dissatisfied because I’d been lied to – whether the Store created the problem or not they did not back up what a Microsoft Tech Support person had told me.

The Store Manager called me later in the morning. I explained everything to him and he offered to replace my Surface Pro 3 from the store inventory. I am having it shipped back to me so that I don’t have to get a ride to the store again (and risk having the same thing happen as before). So the Manager is doing the right thing, what should have been done last night – except why does it take the big boss to solve a problem?

In my previous Blog post on this subject I mentioned my 30 years of customer service experience and that I have trained employees on how to handle customer problems. I have also dealt with my share of situations requiring a manager’s judgment call. There have been times when I did something for a customer that required a bit of explaining to my superiors. But always, if I did the right thing for the customer, even if what I did was not specifically what my supervisor would have done, it was handled as an opportunity to discuss what to do next time anything similar happens. It was never a cause for punishment. Perhaps I’ve been lucky working for enlightened companies that believe in putting the customer ahead of corporate policy, but I kind of think that any successful organization will have people in positions of authority who believe the job of manager is to do everything in his or her power to say yes to a customer.

For future reference – or whatever – here are some basic truths I’ve learned over the years for dealing with customers.

1. Never lie to a customer. If you don’t know, say you don’t know. Be honest. Nothing pisses off a customer more than being jerked around – being told one thing and then being told something different or even contradictory. (This was clearly what happened with Microsoft).

2. Be the hero. Take care of the customer at the lowest possible level of authority in the organization. Empower front line employees to make decisions with customer satisfaction in mind.

3. Never argue with a customer and don’t ever cite store policy as an excuse for poor customer service. If a policy gets in the way of taking care of a customer then the policy needs to be modified. If that takes a management decision, then so be it. Get the approval and don’t kick the problem upstairs requiring the customer to explain everything to someone higher up. Be the advocate for the customer, plead their case to your bosses.

4. Customers probably are not always right but that is irrelevant. No one who has worked retail for more than a few days honestly believes customers are always right but customers sure as hell think they are. Knowing that, and that customer will usually win every pissing match if they plead their case high enough up the food chain, why bother creating an artificial barrier that impedes customer satisfaction?

5. A dissatisfied customer will always tell everyone they know about their bad experiences. Unfortunately, very few people hear about the good things that happen in a store. Stores spend millions of dollars advertising to gain a customer’s attention. It only take one bad experience and the ensuing word of mouth to sour ten or more potential customers from ever shopping in a store – because we tend to believe people we now before we believe the hype of advertising.

6. Listen to the customer. Most of the time customers have reasonable expectations. You don’t need to give away the farm. Ask the customer what will satisfy them. (I’m not sure why Microsoft couldn’t have just given me a DVD with the image on it to correct my problem, but apparently that is a huge no-no. That would have saved a whole lot of trouble for everyone, though).

7. Customers expect to be the focus – the center of attention. Treat each one as if they are the only customer in the store because if you don’t soon enough you will have only one customer to take care or – if you are lucky enough still have one.

8. Don’t believe your own bullshit about how great your customer service focus is. As soon as you stop trying to improve the customer experience you will start ignoring what customers want.

9. Actively seek customer feedback.  Otherwise you will never know about the problems that were never called to your attention. Don’t be defensive. Respond to customer criticisms as opportunities to learn. Pay attention to what the customer is telling you about his or her experience. You can assume that if one customer is having a problem and alerts you that ten or more have had the same problem and never mentioned it – instead, they are no longer shopping at your store.

10. Never let a customer walk away unhappy. There is an old saying about marriage that you should never go to sleep angry with your spouse. Consider a customer relationship as similar. Also, you almost never get a second chance to close a sale. (I learned this from selling cars). If a customer leave unsatisfied, they are likely never going to return – or if they return it will be after a very long time)  If you allow a customer the time to analyze why they were treated unfairly they will build a very good and reasonable case for why somebody needs to be disciplined. (The first thing the Store Manager asked me was who the employee was who didn’t take care of me. Having been on the receiving end often enough, I really didn’t want that to happen but the employee probably needs a re-orientation on customer cultivation discussion or at least how to handle the situation next time).

For the record, I feel much better about Microsoft now. Some of my faith in their customer support has been restored. So the Store Manager did what he needed to do, getting me back in the mindset that if I have a problem they are going to take care of it.

#MicrosoftStore #MicrosoftTechSupport #CustomerSatisfaction #CustomerDissatisfaction #MicrosoftSurfacePro3

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Customer Dissatisfaction – or – Wrestling An 800 Pound Gorilla Named Microsoft

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Let me tell you a story, but first allow me qualify things and set the stage so you better understand. I have worked in retail as either a manager, sales association, customer service associate or retail vendor support representative for more than thirty years. Also I was a computer technician from 1997 to 2007.  Between 200 and 2007 I worked as the manager overseeing a technical repair shop.

Over the years I have trained others and lead discussions about customer satisfaction. I may not know everything but I have a level of expertise. Also I do not believe the customer is always right but understand that my opinion on that matter as a retailer is immaterial because the customer usually if not almost always believe he or she is always right.

Now then, with all that out of the way, let’s begin. About a month ago I purchased a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 I5 256GB from Amazon. It came with Windows 8.1 installed. My overall experience with the product has been favorable and until yesterday I did not believe there was anything physically wrong with the device. My problem came about from upgrading it to a Beta version of Windows 10. That installation works, albeit with some expected glitches.

The past few days the computers has begun to randomly tell me my computer is “Out of Memory”.  In Microsoft jargon that usually has something to do with how memory is allocated by the OS not anything to do with the physically installed memory, which in this case is 8 GB. Also the computer has a problem whenever it boots up in Tablet Mode. The Tablet View appears to crash immediately leaving only a black screen. Since I have a mouse there is a cursor that still moves about when as I move the physical mouse on a mouse pad. As long as the cursor moves the OS hasn’t crashed . It is just some application or overlay that uses the OS that is to blame. In this case it is a new feature in Windows 10 that gives a transparent mask over the background screen that is color coordinated with the desktop theme.(When it works it is pretty cool.) After  I give the computer the tradition “Three Finger Salute” by pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL I am able to click on Sign Out and then log back on. After that everything works. It is an annoyance more so than a problem.

The combination of the two issues I have with Windows 10 Technical Preview caused me to desire returning the computer to Windows 8.1. When I installed Windows 10 I followed the instruction to a “T” when it came to backing up stuff. I created a USB Recovery Drive. So I didn’t think I’d have a problem reverting to Windows 8.1, but I did. The computer tells me I no longer have a recovery image even though I purposely left the image alone when I created the USB Recovery Drive. The system has the option of deleting it to free up space, but I have enough room in my SSD storage drive. When I tried to use the USB Drive the computer tells me the Recovery image is missing.

So, I think – no big deal. There has to be a way to download the image from Microsoft, right? I couldn’t find the image so I logged into Tech Support. I go through the same process with the online tech and we reach the conclusion there is something corrupted. He tells me they will replace the Surface Pro 3. However that’s going to take a few days. I can either give them a credit card for expedited exchange or they can send me the return authorization and once they receive my Surface Pro 3, they can ship me a replacement. I really didn’t to replace my device. All I wanted was a new drive image. And I didn’t want to be without my computer for a week or maybe 3. So I asked if I could do the exchange at the Microsoft Store – there are two in Orlando but both are a bit of a haul from where I live and certainly now within bike riding distance. When I asked the support tech if the in store exchange was possible he assured me it was and said he’d ensure they had a model like mine in stock to exchange and would schedule an appointment for me. I sent my son a text message to ensure he could drive me there and made an appointment for 8PM last night.

Based on what tech support told me I expected to go into the store, maybe have to explain my problem to them and perhaps have them check to see that the computer wasn’t otherwise damaged. Bottom line was I would end up with a different computer (likely refurbished) when I left the store. I did not expect wrestling with the 800 pound gorilla named Microsoft.

I was greeted when I entered. As Tech Support told me to tell them my name and that I had an appointment (for which I was early, by the way) I thought it would be a ten or fifteen minute consultation at most. I sat down at the service desk to wait for maybe three or four minutes before a service tech appeared and offered assistance. I really can’t complain about anything up to that moment. It was what happened next that floored me. He asked what I needed. I told him Tech Support made an appointment for me to exchange my Surface Pro 3. He asked what problem I was having, which I expected. I explained. He informed me that my warranty was voided when I installed Windows 10 because it was a beta and that they could not replace my Surface Pro 3 and that if I wanted they could apply the image to my device for me but they would need to check it in and keep it for a few days. When I informed him that was not an option because I don’t have a car and had to have someone drive me there he reiterated that was all he could do.

It was immaterial what Tech Support told me or that they offered to ship me a replacement. He asked me if I had purchased the Surface Pro 3 from the Microsoft Store  as if that mattered somehow. I replied I bought it through Amazon. I told him I was completely dissatisfied. I expected to come there maybe have them check out the Surface Pro 3 I had with me and then exchange it. He said even if that were to happen there would be a $200 charge.

What infuriates me about this whole affair isn’t about a exchanging a defective device. All I wanted in the first place was a recovery image or something to fix my problem. The first rule of customer service is to never lie to a customer. Microsoft Tech Support created an expectation that could not be fulfilled at the Microsoft Store. As a customer I feel they lied to me and in the process I was inconvenienced. To add insult to injury, after I expressed my dissatisfaction they asked if they could get me anything, like a bottle of water – as if that would cool me down. I’d been in the store for maybe twelve minutes at this point. I might have actually accepted the water when I first arrived.

#Microsoft #MicrosoftStore #MicrosoftTechSupport #MicrosoftSurfacePro3 #Windows10TechnicalPreview #Windows8dot1 #CustomerService #CustomerSatisfaction #CustomerDissatisfaction #PoorService #Amazon #USBRecoveryDrive #Warranty