Thursday, August 10, 2023

What Happened to Training Those Working in Customer Service?

What happened to the good old days when you had an issue and more than likely received some resolution in a timely manner?

For me, I  have no luck even attempting to resolve a problem in nothing less that 3 phone calls and possibly a Chat or two.  Individual thinking is out of the question as it appears that everyone is reading from as script but has no grasp on how to solve a problem.

Let's take Xfinity for an example.  I  happen to have 2 Xfinity accounts in 2 different states and a problem arose at one location which wasn't resolved only to find I  had the same problem with the other account.  I  had spoken to 3 different agents, each one telling me something different until I  totally lucked out and the 4th agent resolved the issue in 5 minutes.  Good Luck getting this one agent again!

What I was being told to do would have resulted in even bigger problems so needless to say I  am grateful to that last agent.

Then one day I  receive an email that a bill is overdue.  I  start a chat to say that I  have been enrolled in Auto Pay for over 4 years so what happened?  No resolution other than I  had to go back into my account to re-enroll.  In the meantime, the  chat agent was more than happy to take my payment and I agreed.

A week later I go to the website and check my bill only to see a fee added but it does not state "WHY."  Again I  start a chat.  It seems that when an agent takes payment, you are charged a Convenience Fee.  Well, did anyone mention that to me?  I  complain to the agent and he concurs that I was not informed so he will remove the charge.  

In the past 2 months I  would say I  have had spent at least 7 hours dealing with various issues.  And why so many one knows what they are doing when they try to resolve the issue.  It is as if just having a body available to either chat or speak with is the solution.  And the classic line is that they are so sorry that I  am having an issue and will work to resolve it.  Resolution doesn't happen often enough considering what Xfinity service costs.

Then there is Land's End.  I  ordered an item and the very next day the price point was lower.  I  called and was told that they would issue a credit vs my cancelling the order and then reordering the item at the new price point.  That was over 14 days ago and still no credit adjustment after writing and calling 3 more times.  

I  don't want to bore you with more stories but suffice it to say that it seems I  spend way too much time on the phone or chatting with companies all due to issues which could be easily resolved if people did what they say they will do to rectify the problem.

And to add insult to injury, each time I  chat or call, I then get an email or a pop up for a Survey.  Do they even read customer comments?

Enjoy shopping but be vigilant.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

No More Cuisinart Products

Did you ever buy an item which had an expired warranty date as you were purchased it?

I have and this is what happened:

I purchased a Cuisinart Toaster Oven from Bloomingdales on October 28, 2022.  In February I  noticed that the words on each push button were worn off.

Called Cuisinart and they asked me for the serial number, which I gave them and then was informed that my warranty had expired.  HOW could that happen with a purchase date of October 28th?  The rep told me that the store I bought it from must have had old ones for sale. Cuisinart does not go by your purchase date, they only use the Serial number and the date which it is attached to.

In all the years I have purchased products, this has never happened.  I didn't even know that this could happen.   So then the rep tells me that in order to cover this and send me a new one, I had to CUT the electric cord, send them a photo that I  cut it and then they would send me a new unit.  Think about this, they wanted me to destroy a working toaster oven which I could have donated, just because they obviously do not trust their consumers to return the defective item once they received an replacement.  

I asked the rep if she would be willing to break her cell phone and then wait 10 days to get another one as she told me that it would be 10 days before a new Toaster Oven would arrive.  Her answer was, "That's company policy."

So I called Bloomingdales, a store I have shopped in since getting my very first job after college!  The rep was surprised at my story, saying he never heard that before and was very willing to make good and send me a replacement and a return label for the one I had.

That is how a reputable store should respond!  After this I just crossed Cuisinart off my list until they honor a warranty from the date of purchase!

Thursday, February 6, 2020

When is a Fig more than a Fig and other stories

A fig can only be better than expected when it comes from Shiloh Farms.  

This company has a customer service department which is one of the best I have ever experienced.

When I had a question about a product of theirs I had purchased, I not only received a very detailed answer, but before I knew it, I was sent a new one! And there was not anything wrong with the one I had but they wanted to make sure that I was totally satisfied.

All they wanted was for me to be happy. 

I  continue to buy products from Shiloh Farms and have enjoyed them all.

Great customer service seems to be harder to come by, so I need to give them credit for a job well done.

Now let's talk about dog food.  I feed our Labrador great food from Canidae.  Expensive but has everything you would want for your dog.  I  have gone through at least 4 of the 24 lb bags so far.  With this last one, I noticed that there were white pieces sticking out from some of the kibble.  I never saw anything like it before so I  emailed the company and sent a photo.  Their response was fast and assured me that what I was seeing was one of the ingredients in it and it was safe to eat.  They also said they would bring it to the attention of quality control.  On top of that, they offered to replace the bag through the website where I had purchased it, which was, another great company.

You can't ask for more.

VITACOST.COM is another company which allows you to ask for a refund or replacement directly on the website.  You don't even have to call or chat.  They are very responsive when you do call and always make things right.  Aside from customer service, they have an incredible amount of products and deals.

I also had a good experience with Revlon and  MyoBuddy makes handheld percussive massagers which I learned about in physical therapy.

The point is that there are those companies that actually care about their products and how they affect consumers and they need to get a Thank You and a Shout Out and our continued support! 

Maybe the effort taken by a company is not overwhelming for them but it sure makes our lives easier.

For the other ones who make things difficult for a consumer, we in turn should take offense and shop somewhere else.

Life is hard enough!

Thursday, October 31, 2019

A Washing Machine in Need of a Quick Fix

I only have good things to say about my Speed Queen Washer.  When I was young, we had Speed Queen machines in the Laundry Room in our apartment building.  You would put quarters in it to do a wash. Same for the dryers. Those were commercial machines but they were big and always worked. 

Last year I purchased a fairly simple model with knobs and limited cycles since I found I rarely use the other cycles anyway.  They have a great setting called Auto Fill where it determines how much water your wash actually needs.  The other setting I love is Normal Eco which uses a spray rinse for less water consumption and less hot water.

Recently I had noticed that the vinyl ring sitting over the drum was shredding and pieces were getting into my clothes.  I called Speed Queen, which is an Alliance Laundry Systems LLC company, and asked about this.  They told me that this problem is new and that they will cover the replacement parts and service. 

So I called the Appliance store and made a service appointment.  The parts were ordered and service was done.  It was actually a more involved repair than just the vinyl top of the drum.  The inner and outer drums were also replaced.  The unit was tested and the machine was working.

Before I did a wash using my now repaired machine, for some reason I held the agitator and turned the drum.  I have no idea what made me do this as I had not tried that with the machine ever before.  Hearing water splash around worried me since it seemed to be coming from between the inner and outer drum. I did two loads of laundry and all worked fine but that water sound still remained.

I looked online for answers to washing machine issues and all I would read is that a pump runs to remove water from the drums, so of course I assumed that I should not be hearing water.

First thing this morning I called Speed Queen.  After explaining what I was hearing since the repair was done, the representative assured me that when turning the drum and hearing water swish around is normal.  That water has a lubrication solution in it and is necessary to be there. If I didn't hear water, then I would have a problem.

By the way, I also have the matching dryer which works perfectly.

There is something to learn everyday.  And I thank Speed Queen for excellent customer service and taking care of an issue with great speed!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Going on a Safari...Hold on to your Hat!

It has been some months since I returned from a safari in East Africa, yet my memories are still very clear.

The strongest memory I have is how long it took my body to recuperate from riding in Land Rovers for 12 days!

Don't get me wrong, the trip was terrific.  And with all the research I did in preparation, there are still some things you find out after the fact.

Depending on how much wear and tear your body can take, an important item to have with you is a cushion for the seat.  Each camp has more or less the same type vehicles but not all are equal.  You are travelling on roads where you will get bumped in every direction.  The Safari guides love to say that it is like an African Massage, but I told them it also feels like an African Martini...totally shaken not stirred!

Now that you have your cushion, we can get started.

Choosing the camp(s) you will stay at is an interesting process.  I don't mind roughing it to a point so the choices are many. There are permanent camps which offer running water in your tent although how much water and if hot water is always available is another matter.  Some camps have bucket showers, which for 2 days was not bad.  You tell the person in charge of showers when you want to take your shower and he makes sure you have hot water which comes down from a bucket over your tent into your shower.  Not a problem if you need a second bucket.

If you want a slightly higher end type camp you can look at Sanctuary and Lemala brands.  One of the Sanctuary camps we were at heats water by solar and there was a limited amount of hot water available at a given time.  Once you decide on the camp, I would try to find out if you could reserve a specific "tent" since the location of each one in a specific camp may make a big difference to you.  Basically you follow a path and the "tents" are usually in numerical order, although some have names only. Some require a longer walk from the main area, which you may not mind, but if you forget something and have to go back, the walk starts to matter. In the evening once dark you have to be escorted to and from your tent for safety reasons, and that is another reason to consider the distance of your particular "tent."  We found that it was nice to be midway from the main area.

The vehicles do vary such as some are open where windows would be, some with windows have an open top, some seats are better and some don't have doors!  In our last camp, a vehicle pulls up and I kept looking at it, wondering how we get in.  Well, you climb up into it! Ha, just what I wanted to do towards the end of our trip.  My advice is to ask ahead of time about the vehicles to determine what works for you.  We preferred the windowless ones since they are much easier for taking photos but...those with an open top allow more freedom to take photos, especially if others are in the vehicle.  It's easier not to be blocked by anyone. 

Most of the guides we had are well informed and answer most of the questions you may have.  Some are more enthusiastic in regards to how fast they drive to get you from place to place.  When it comes to seeing a Migration or a leopard, a guide's driving speed may make all the difference as to getting there fast and getting a good space to watch all the excitement.

We also found that if you rather stay out all day, you can arrange that with your guide.  We liked having an early breakfast then going out for the day until as late as possible.  A picnic lunch would be prepared for us and we were always happy with what was presented.  We would come back to shower and go to dinner.  After that long of a day, we could not get into bed fast enough.

Each camp gave us a different experience and we enjoyed that.  Some smaller camps have one large table at which you have your meals so all the guests sit together. A nice way of meeting other people from all over the world.

Clothes are easy.  Comfort is the word and layers are a must.  You do not need to dress for dinner, at least where we stayed and to do anything else is not necessary. Definitely have a sun hat or baseball cap or two.  For shoes, anything comfortable and easy to wipe down since lots of dirt and dust will dirty your shoes.

Use insect repellent on your skin and you can also treat your clothes with various products to be double safe.  Sanitary hand wipes help a good deal, especially if you do a lot of pit stops during the day on Safari.  Take various meds to help with diarrhea, infections, stomach issues for starters.

Drink the water supplied by the camps which are either bottled or treated.  Brush your teeth with the supplied water, not from the faucet.

The food we had at most of the camps was terrific and beautifully presented. Had great coffee all the time, not to mention wine!

If you have a special occasion to celebrate, let your booking agent know since some camps help you celebrate with an experience you won't forget.  

Wishing you a wonderful trip!

Monday, April 2, 2018

When a Verizon Reward is Not Rewarding

While going through a pile of papers, I came across a Verizon Reward+Cards, issued by MasterCard.  

Having no idea if any money was left on it, I made a call or two.  What I found out was not good news.

The first call I made was to Verizon Rewards.  The agent was able to tell me that I originally had money on the card but could not tell me what the balance was.  It was suggested to call the actual card company and gave me the number.

I make call number 2 and through voice prompts I was able to find out that I had $0 balance on the card so that was good.  I connected to customer service to find out what I need to do with this "empty" card.

Here is what I learned:

1.  If you are going to redeem points for cash to put onto a Rewards+ MasterCard, you should hold on to the card while money is on it or if you will eventually add to it. Otherwise they will charge you a fee for a lost card.  They do not want to send you a new one unless you pay for it.

2.  You have 12 months to use the money that you put on the card THE FIRST TIME.  After that, any balance remaining on the card or added to the card at another time, is charged a monthly fee, starting with the 13th month, for as long as you keep a balance, no matter how small a balance. Remember, this is after the initial 12 months of having the card.

In other words, you are paying MasterCard for the privilege of having this Verizon Rewards+ card after the initial 12 months, as long as money remains on the card or if you reload it.

The agent at MasterCard was very nice and very upfront when I asked all the questions one would ask when they just can't wrap their brain around something which makes no sense, at least to the consumer.  She said that if I read the back of the card I can see that it states all I was told about fees.  My problem is that even with my good reading glasses, I cannot read the small type on the back of the card.  

In the agreement, even if you read it all, you have to look at the back of your card for more information:

Thank you very much MasterCard.  Wouldn't it be nice if Verizon would be upfront about this also? 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

American Airlines Flies Away With Facts

By now you know me well enough to know that I need to share my experience when I don't care for the way a company conducts their business.

Well hats off to American Airlines.  They really did it this time.

Let me set the scene:  I was planning a trip.  I wanted to use my miles.  I want to book flights and because I didn't have enough miles, I was going to buy some right before I confirmed the booking.

My flights took me on an American Airlines flight to a British Airways flight.  Same, but in reverse, on the return.  The representative told me that if I fly AA at least part of the way it would save on taxes and fees since BA charges more when flying over the water.

I did it all and was ready to book but we changed our travel plans so our dates of travel changed.

I called AA and moved the flights.  Unfortunately there were no seats on an American Airlines flight using miles so I had to book British Airways all the way.  That led to higher fees and taxes.  OK, I can deal with that since it was still less money than buying a ticket outright.

I had some questions for which I needed answers to before confirming flights and booking. Because my original flights had American Airline segments, I was able to get seat assignments on those AA flights. Now I had all British Airways flights. What about getting seat assignments on the BA flights?  At least three AA agents said that as soon as I confirm my flights and pay, I can call BA and get my seats.

Sounds good, right?

So now my dates are set and I call American Airlines to pay for miles and book the flight.  For starters, I had been told that it is best to call to buy the miles I need so that the miles and the bonus miles they were offering would go into my account ASAP vs buying online and waiting for the miles to actually move into my account.

I call.  I explain that I need to buy miles, book flights.  The agent was totally clueless about the Bonus miles I was to get.  I told the agent that I need to buy 48,000 miles and that I would get a 9,000 bonus miles to get me to the 57,000 I needed to buy the tickets.  She had me on hold for almost 15 minutes because she thought the bonus miles get put into the account after I booked the ticket and that I had to purchase 57,000 miles.  Now I am telling the AA agent that she is wrong and that I spoke to 3 agents over the past few days all who said the Bonus miles are immediately added to my account when I call.  I had to leave for an appointment so I gave the call to my husband.

When I return home, my husband and I discuss the amount charged for the additional miles as well for the tickets.  You also have to pay fees and taxes when buying miles.  The total  seemed wrong, so I called American Airlines.  The agent told me that because we did this over the phone, they charged an additional $80 for the phone booking vs online booking.  I was ready to explode.  I told them that the agents before told me to call and never mentioned it would cost extra money.

I am steaming at this point.

Finally they reverse that extra charge.  I then get on the phone with British Airways.  I am informed that in order to book a seat assignment now there are fees charged.  Needless to say, I am in shock.  Not once did American Airlines tell me that British Airways charges for seat assignments and considering I mentioned getting seat assignments 3 different times, I was in disbelief. I am told that unless you are an AA Executive Platinum member, you have to pay unless, are you ready for this, you get your seat assignments 7 days in advance of flight date.  Well, when we are that close to a departure on a popular route, what are the chances that my husband and I would get seats together on a very long flight?  AA did not charge for seat assignments when I made the original reservations.

So I paid the extra fees which totalled $928. Each flight segment per person gets a fee charged. It seems that the idea of using and buying miles, then paying for seat assignments was not the great deal I thought it would be.

I called American Airlines to tell them how disappointed I was in what I went through and it was a waste of my time.  They couldn't have cared less. They knew that there were charges to get seat assignments.  In fact one agent I spoke with afterwards laughed and said that "of course you have to pay for that on British Airways."  I told her I wished I had her for my booking agent because then I would have used a different airline.

I then tweeted and DM'd with AA and got nowhere.  They basically washed their hands of the fact that it would have been good customer relations had they at least mentioned that some airlines charge for seat assignments, especially since they partner with BA.  I told them that in all the years I have been flying, I never had to pay for a seat assignment so how would I have ever imagined that this could happen.  So they say they are sorry that I didn't know there would be a charge.

My fault!

I end with this:  from now on, before booking any flight, whether using miles or paying for a ticket, it wouldn't hurt to inquire whether or not you have to pay for a seat assignment.  And if you are using miles, remember that there are taxes and fees on the miles so nothing is free. If you are buying miles, you also get fees charged to your purchase.

And to American Airlines I say, "Go fly a kite!"