Service of It’s Simple: Do What You Say You’ll Do When You Said You Would

August 3rd, 2023

Categories: Customer Service, Retail, TV

New TV sits on an antique table [so it’s slightly askew].

I learned a lesson from my first encounter with a remodeling contractor who kept disappointing us by missing deadline after deadline without warning. If you’re going to be late let customers know so that they aren’t shocked and angry on discovering that the toilet or countertops aren’t installed as promised adding acid to the frustration.

That was decades ago but nothing’s changed. Communicate, confirm, adjust and update or a dissatisfied customer you’ll make. That’s me today.

All I wanted was to buy a TV to replace a broken one. Before I enumerate the remarkably long list of missteps by Best Buy, I want to note that I grade some of the employees I encountered very good to excellent.

High-speed cable

There was no communication between sales, consulting, appointment staff and installation for which I fault Best Buy.

I chose the TV on my visit to the store. I didn’t order it outright because it didn’t come with a pedestal base and I needed to confirm that the table that two feet would rest on was long enough. Further, TV’s no longer come in the size of the one I was replacing, and I needed to check that a larger one fit in the tight space.

The salesman wrote up the order and chose a time for a virtual visit from a consultant to confirm the space and table issues. When I got home, I measured the table. All OK. Nevertheless, to satisfy the store I waited for the phone call/virtual visit scheduled for 10:30-11:00. When nobody called—I had an email confirmation–I contacted customer service that told me my call was scheduled from 2:20-3:00 p.m. and when that also didn’t happen, I called again.

Before I did, I’d tried the associate’s number—it was on the email confirmation–but his voice mailbox was full and he didn’t respond to my email.

Customer service called the associate who immediately called me. He’d never heard of me nor what he was supposed to do. Further, he was unable to accept emails or texts [!] –no Internet connectivity [!!]–so I couldn’t send him a still photo of the space.

So much for a virtual review with a consultant.

It concerned me that the store associate and phone consultant’s measurements between the feet that had to fit my antique TV table didn’t match. In fact, the associate argued with me over terminology. When I said that my table was 33-1/2 inches long, he said they call that the width.

I’d spent enough time on this so we went ahead with the order.

I was alarmed by the confirmation. Missing was my apartment number—there are 500+ apartments here–but more important, I specified delivery could only be made between 9:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. The invoice stated deliveries happen between 7 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. As the associate said he would be able to read emails once he left the store I asked for these adjustments both by text and email. No response. Was this supposed to be a pleasant experience?

In addition, I emailed to him a Certificate of Liability Insurance form that apartment management requires of any company sending a worker with equipment. He waited until the next afternoon to fill out and return the form. He never assured me the installers knew of my building’s time constraints and apartment number.

There was an online checklist for customers to fill out before a TV installation. One of the items is: “I have secured a place for the service provider to park.” I think that for NYC residents this item should be deleted. I wouldn’t check it.

I learned that the charge for the installer to remove the old TV was $40. I brought it to the garbage room myself for $0.00. But it gives you an idea of the pretty penny I was charged for installation.

By 5:00 p.m. the day before delivery I hadn’t learned the two-hour delivery time range, as I had been assured I would. I called the customer service number. Nobody works on Sunday. I called and wrote the associate who took the order.

Around 6 p.m. I learned the TV would arrive between noon and 4 p.m. [Two-hour window?] 

Nevertheless I could breathe again. My TV wasn’t going to be abandoned in the package room uninstalled if it was allowed inside.

The next morning I received a second email confirming the time frame. I had errands to run and as I stepped out my front door at 10:30 a.m. the installer called. He was arriving in 15 minutes. Is 10:45 a.m. the new noon?

The Geek Squad installers looked surprised that I didn’t expect them. They did a spectacular job except the cable connection didn’t work. The expert installer diagnosed this as one of two potential problems. I rushed off to buy a high-speed cable and he left for his next appointment. He returned, as promised, to see if that did the trick. It seemed to. The other choice was to contact FIOS for a new cable box. Dealing with another giant corporation would have been overwhelming.

The first night it took a few tries to reach my Netflix account and even though he connected the volume function to the remote, it didn’t always work. My fingers are crossed that everything else goes right. I plan to live with glitches as I don’t have the strength to deal with this operation anytime soon.

Did I mention that Best Buy sent me a survey immediately after I purchased the TV but before the installation? I didn’t fill it out until the TV was working.

How can people who need to be at an office or job work with such slapdash business practices, faulty updates and lack of confirmation? Have you encountered so many problems surrounding one purchase?

I was not planning to secure parking for the installation crew and did not check the box.

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14 Responses to “Service of It’s Simple: Do What You Say You’ll Do When You Said You Would”

  1. Martha Takayama Said:

    All I can say is that none of what you describe sounds unusual, strange or upredictable. I can’t think of any service of this nature for electronics and for maintenance and for household repairs and for banking or anything else that works as it should. Nobody provides complete or accurate information for ANYTHING! One week of Waiting Times for responses can age you a decade. Websites whether for food, public transport, the World’s Greatest Hospitals, department store, banks, government agencies, or technical support NEVER WORK! That is our current reality!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Martha,

    I so wish I could disagree with you. My heart is sometimes in my shoes waiting for information or responses. I am a diehard discount shopper and when I pay full price for something–as I did this TV–I expect better but boy am I wrong at times. I can be so naive. Maybe that’s one reason this upset me so much. My expectations of a smooth process for such a simple task were dashed.

  3. BC Said:

    Not that way at our Fl. ranch. Providers have been prompt. Too many folks in NYC- circuit overload for your providers, seems to me.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    BC,

    Martha, in an earlier comment, has similar issues in New England for all sorts of services from medical to retail and banking.

    A company like Best Buy should have a computer system that reports a time, for example, in all outlets and places and receives confirmation from the associates or installers involved that they are on the same page.

    And when there is a fix requested on an invoice, the associates should be trained to confirm that they have been made.

  5. Loretta Adams Said:

    Loretta on Facebook: That sounds like a nightmare! We are lucky “up here” with deliveries etc.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Loretta,

    The scheduling glitches for calls and service were pathetic. Sounds like their system needs an overhaul.

    My anxiety over NOT receiving confirmation about the delivery time required by my apartment building–which is standard for big apartments in NYC–caused unnecessary stress that folks in private homes wouldn’t experience.

  7. Joan Cear Said:

    Joan on Facebook: Such a pain for you! Lately I have tried to purchase big items from local and/or privately owned businesses. The service is generally much better and I have found they will match or do better on price. I use the big box stores just for researching items.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Joan,

    I know better. I usually follow this advice. I should have gone to PC Richards!

  9. Lucrezia Said:

    I haven’t had to engage in such activity lately, so am unable to praise or condemn. This is a scary advertisement for Best Buy, which I will avoid when making in a purchase which requires installation.

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    We are hamstrung in NYC in that we are more dependent on others than those in suburbs who have cars. The TV that broke I’d had for years. We paid very little for it. It served us well. An associate in the Poughkeepsie store helped us lift it into the trunk. My husband was able to connect it to the less complicated situation we had upstate.

    I’d mentioned my headaches to a good friend who said if he’d known it would be so stressful, he would have put the new TV in a taxi and installed it himself. As it turned out, because there was a glitch, I’m glad I opted for the professional installation as we would not have known the reason for the disconnect.

    That said, while I don’t anticipate major purchases for a while, I’m off to a smaller retailer if I need help to do more than plug the gizmo into the wall.

    Upstate there was a wonderful one-store appliance store with spectacular repair service. We bought our washer and dryer there. But so many opted for the less expensive big boxes that he went out of business long before he should have.

  11. Dawn Gour Said:

    Dear Jeannie,

    There’s something to be said about great customer service, great quality of products sold online, and companies honoring their commitments when they don’t meet their customer’s expectations. Call me old-fashioned but I love walking into a store and browsing through the shelves and picking up a product that first my needs rather than what the salesperson thinks I should be buying. I learned to ask intelligent questions before I purchase the right solution for my problem with technology. As someone who is self-employed, I learned to research solutions before I can make a decision.

  12. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Dawn,

    I also believe in research. The brand of TV I chose gets good reviews. I’ve bought things from Best Buy for years. Never ran into snags with this store as I did this time. Hopefully my experience is a one-off.

    Retail has always fascinated me. It was what much of my career has been about–promoting new products for sale at retail, training retailers, and so forth.

    It’s always a good idea to find out not only about products, but about people you hire and represent. It doesn’t mean you’ll always come out ahead, but it helps.

  13. Dawn Gour Said:

    Dear Jeanne, Thank you for sharing your thoughts on my previous commentary. I have learned over time not to have a one-track mind about the issues I face and it’s important to view it from different angles. Perhaps the manufacturer didn’t focus on quality checks before the product left their manufacturing unit while shipping the product couldn’t have gotten damaged, or another multitude of scenarios that can be explored further.

    Instead, I have learned to practice grace.

    The retail industry is one of the toughest industries to survive in, besides the hospitality/ food industries, and whenever we pause to say thank you and share my feedback in a positive way so that they can learn from it as opposed to being harsh with my criticism.

  14. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Dawn,

    I haven’t kept track of the number of positive or negative posts I’ve written over the years. If I come across spectacular service, I call it out as well.

    I think some companies have grown too large to be able to serve customers properly. I have never understood why corporations must grow no matter what, even if they have reached the perfect size as far as profits and service are concerned. I’ve asked this question of a corporate officer of a Fortune 500 company and while he mumbled words, he didn’t answer.

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