I enjoy Jane Wells' blog and live reports on CNBC.
This week she looks at poor customer service (sorry, she labels it "hellish "). A friend of Jane's Andy signed up with satellite internet service provider WildBlue.net...
"Barnett signed up in May of 2006, and the equipment was guaranteed for a year. Eleven months in, it died. Thus began one of the most mind-numbing attempts to get repairs that I have ever heard. He’s made repeated calls to the company only to learn that the piece of equipment he needs is no longer in stock. A company rep told him over the phone they’re completely out.
"Yet they continue to charge him for monthly service THAT HE NO LONGER HAS. And, according to Barnett, during this time WildBlue sales reps continued to tell prospective customers they could get service within a few weeks, even though the company allegedly didn’t have the necessary equipment."
That's amazing. Many consumer companies I have worked with throughout my career prescribed to the notion to keep spare parts on hand (or reasonable replacements and alternatives) available to customers for five to seven years. This means that, as a customer, you should be able to find replacement parts long after the latest gizmo has gone the way of the dodo. I found this to be true with major firms such as Canon, Dell, Toshiba, Sony, Panasonic and Samsung.
Wait a sec... hold that thought on Samsung for a moment.
Let me be clear on one thing: in order to get good customer service, you also have to be able to get through to the company. Lately, I had a heck of a time reaching Samsung, to obtain a replacement part for a monitor. I like their LCD monitors, having several at home (from an old SyncMaster 770 TFT to the latest 19" widescreens). Turns out that a mounting screw (connecting the base to the bottom mount of the monitor) was too short to make the connection. No problem, I thought, a quick call to their customer service centre should solve that problem.
Not so fast.
Several calls to their "customer care" 800 number resulted in being disconnected while I waited on hold. And when I dialed their offices on both coasts (on my dime), I left messages and never received a response. And my emails sent to the company were never answered.
Let's just say that due to the lack of support, I resorted to my own devices. I hopped in the car and shot over to Lowe's hardware, where I met a retired contractor now working in hardware customer service. In less than a minute, he found the replacement part (a metric screw, M4 .70 x 16) that solved my problem. I'll let you know if I ever hear back from a live person in Samsung's monitor division.
Thank you, Lowe's.
Also this week, Jane takes a look at all of the fake blogs popping up (such as fake Steve Jobs)...
"With all the talk about the “Fake Steve Jobs” at www.fakesteve.blogspot.com, (including on this blog), followed by the "Fake Gene Munster," the Piper Jaffray analyst who covers Apple, at www.fakegene.blogspot.com (Jim Goldman alerted us to this one yesterday), it seems to me all the attention goes to the fakes."
Jane also spend time last week reporting on LinkedIn... which I've found is a great way to reconnect and stay connected with friends and close business associates.
On CNBC, I also read Jim Goldman's blog - I enjoy his reporting style, watching him originally reporting on Bay Area news channels.