Is Customer Service a Thing of the Past?

One of my biggest pet peeves is poor customer service.  I believe it is a right of any customer to receive courtesy and service.  Unfortunately, I see less and less of this each day.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying that there aren’t businesses out there that treat their customers with decency and respect, because I know there are.  I make an effort to acknowledge great service whenever I can, whether it be in the form of a tip, a compliment to a manager, or simply a thank you.

Some recent events have caused me severe grief in this department.

First, let’s start with Sprint, with whom I’ve done business for the past 10 years.  Last July, I renewed my Sprint contract and brought my girlfriend onto my plan.  We bought phones at a discounted price.  Until recently, she has had no issues with her phone.  She is able to surf the web quickly and easily.  I, on the other hand, have never received data service on my phone.  I pay for it, but it has never worked.  I’ve discussed the issue with Sprint 5 times, asking them to sell me a new phone.  Notice I said sell, not give.  I told them that I was willing to pay the price that new customers are paying, but I refused to pay the $700 they wanted to charge me for a phone. 

Their customer service reps were so bad last week, and so rude, that I hung up the phone and went straight to AT&T and switched my service.  They ignored me for almost a year, but once I switched, Sprint all of a sudden cares so much about making me happy that I get emails from their CEO, Dan Hesse every day asking me why I left and how they can get me back.  I know these are automatically generated emails but why were they not generated when I called multiple times with an issue instead of after I’ve taken my business elsewhere?

Next, I had a lovely encounter with FedEx.  I had a package delivered when I was out of town.  When I checked the tracking number, it showed as “delivered.”  However, it wasn’t at my apartment, and I didn’t have the usual notice saying that it was delivered to the leasing office.  I looked further into the details of the tracking.  There were three line items in the registry.  First, “unable to deliver…resident not home.”  Next, “unable to deliver…leasing office closed.”  Finally, “delivered to address other than recipient.”  This one confused me a bit, so I called FedEx.

The customer service rep first tells me that it was delivered to my leasing office.  I asked him why it would then say “unable to deliver…leasing office closed.”   He said, “oh, what is your address?”  I told him and he said, “it was delivered to a different address.”  I said “Great, that’s what it says online as well.  Where was it delivered?”  He said he couldn’t tell me.  I asked why not.  He said “I can’t give out addresses.” 

“Okay” I said, “so you can deliver my property to an address that it was not sent to, but you can’t tell me where?” 

He went on to tell me that the only thing he could do was file a claim with the local FedEx office.  A manager would then interview the driver, determine where the package is, and call me to let me know.

“Give me the address that it was delivered to” I said, “and I can save you a lot of time interviewing a driver to determine where it is.” 

It doesn’t sound like rocket science to me.  If you have an address, why would you waste time interviewing a driver? 

Needless to say that I still don’t have my package and have yet to hear from the “manager.”

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