Posts Tagged ‘Best Buy’

Service of “Sorry About That” or Blah Blah Blah

Monday, August 14th, 2023

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

As I write this, I’m humming the song “Show Me” from My Fair Lady, where Eliza sings to the love besotted Freddy:

“Words! Words! Words! I’m so sick of words!
I get words all day through;
First from him, now from you! Is that all you blighters can do?
Don’t talk of stars Burning above; If you’re in love,
Show me! Tell me no dreams
Filled with desire. If you’re on fire,
Show me! Here we are together in the middle of the night!
Don’t talk of spring! Just hold me tight!”

The lyrics—the first lines especially–apply to many, but thank goodness not all, businesses.

It wasn’t so long ago that the manager of a restaurant raced to give me his card when a waiter spilled cream on my wool jacket. He wanted me to give him the dry cleaning bill. Just the other day a waiter gifted my friend her dessert because of a misunderstanding.

By the way, I dislike the words “Sorry about that**.” But in the next examples there were no apologies–not even this obnoxious one. [**The expression falls in the same irritating category as “No problem,” in response to “thank you” which drives me nuts when employees have completed their jobs.]

I told Deb Wright about the tweets I received from Tina at Best Buy for the TV purchase debacle I wrote about August 3rd. I’d posted highlights of the mess on the social media platform.

At first Tina offered assistance—but there was nothing more to do. She asked for basic information—my name, phone number, email and order number and for more details but she couldn’t link to my blog as it was against company policy, so I had to send screen shots. [More of my time spent.]

She then wrote: “I’ve had an opportunity to read your message along with your blog. I appreciate you sending this information our way. With the details of your experience and the feedback you have provided, I can see that there are some hits and misses that needed to be brought to our attention. Please note that I have documented this into our corporate system to be reviewed by the appropriate teams.”

I’ve read this and previous tweets a few times and didn’t see the word SORRY anywhere.

The wording reminded Deb of a response she received from her complaint for a far more dire circumstance than the wasted time and countless communications and appointment ball droppings by Best Buy. The night before she was to go to the rehab place—the hospital was, in her words, kicking her out after a knee replacement –the insurance company announced that it refused to pay. She lives alone, her bedroom is upstairs, recovery requires strong pain meds and she’d been to the rehab place after her first knee replacement and knew how crucial this step was. Deb texted: “After many communications, I got the same response you did: ‘we are documenting your complaint and it will get our full attention.’ Bah! Humbug!”

The insurance company is lucky Deb didn’t hurt herself or sue for the anxiety its decision caused.

Can you share examples of nonentity responses with no sorry attached from corporations or organizations when they have dropped the ball? Why do you think this is?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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

Thursday, August 3rd, 2023

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.

Service of Being Painted By the Same Brush

Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

There are some companies set up so you can’t reach them and others you can contact but that don’t listen to sense: They see all customers as offenders. A grouchy or nutty customer or employee writes a terrible online review and the words glare back from the top of every Google search about you or your business. Just try to get rid of it even if insane and untrue. Same if a competitor trashes your restaurant or business on Yelp. Nightmare.

And now, a company you can reach but can’t reason with—Retail Equation—can forbid you from returning purchases or exchanging them to a particular store for a year according to its calculations, even if you’re innocent.

Khadeeja Safdar wrote “Retailers Crack Down on Serial Returners,” in The Wall Street Journal. I’m all for that: Cheaters and unreasonable customers are not my favorites. I recently wrote about 106 year old L.L. Bean’s tightening its generous return policy after too many abuses hurt their bottom line in “Service of Going Too Far: L.L. Bean Puts its Boot Down.” But with Retail Equation keeping track of returns and more for retailers, reasonable shoppers can be swept up in the fray and painted by the same brush as serial returners.

One Best Buy customer bought a bunch of cellphone cases as gifts for his kids, let his sons choose among the colors, planning to return the three they didn’t select. When he did his salesperson warned him that the returns would jeopardize future ones–and even exchanges–for a year even though he was well within the designated 15 day after purchase period.

He contacted Retail Equation that tracks returns for large corporations. His entire record showed returns of the three cellphone cases worth, in all, less than $90. The company refused to change its decision. According to Safdar the customer said: “I’m being made to feel like I committed a crime. When you say habitual returner, I’m thinking 27 videogames and 14 TVs.”

Safdar reported: “Stores have long used generous return guidelines to lure more customers, but such policies also invite abuse. Retailers estimate 11% of their sales are returned, and of those, 11% are likely fraudulent returns, according to a 2017 survey of 63 retailers by the National Retail Federation. Return fraud or abuse occurs when customers exploit the return process, such as requesting a refund for items they have used, stolen or bought somewhere else.”

WARNING: You could be on the Retail Equation’s black list if you return in store or online:

  • an expensive item
  • a significant percentage of purchases
  • something without a receipt
  • after the accepted period
  • things that are often stolen at that store
  • just as the store closes or
  • too many items at once

In addition to Best Buy, other stores that use Retail Equation to track returns are Home Depot, J.C. Penney, Sephora and Victoria’s Secret. If you want to protest your ban, you can call Best Buy at 1-866-764-6979 the Journal discovered when researching the story.

“It isn’t easy for shoppers to learn their standing before receiving a warning. Retailers typically don’t publicize their relationship with Retail Equation. And even if a customer tracks down his or her return report, it doesn’t include purchase history or other information used to generate a score. The report also doesn’t disclose the actual score or the thresholds for getting barred.”

I understand the reason for such a policy, but think it should be used judiciously and not be directed by a company that seems to treat every customer like a sleazy thief. Safdar didn’t say if the policy referred to gifts. What if you give your Aunt Millie a portable heater from Home Depot and her son had already bought her one? Who will be dunned and subsequently penalized for the return? Are customers supposed to keep unwanted items instead?  Have you been confronted with such a punishment? Does it make you think twice about using a vendor that resorts to such measures?

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