Silence (silent_fire) wrote in bad_service,

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Please learn to communicate with a customer when there's a problem

On August 9th, I placed an order on for two shirt, since they had nice looking women's business shirts. I went through the usual set of online forms, selected the cheaper shipping option, and entered my name, address, and credit card number.

A couple minutes later, I got an email that pretty much said "Thanks for ordering, your order number is xxxxxx, billed to your credit card xxxx1234" and listing the two shirt I'd ordered.

Time passed, and I heard nothing more from the company. No shirts arrived in the mail. So on September 12, I decided to call the company, and see what had happened to my order. I got the customer service number off of their website, and gave it a call. The conversation went something like this:

Rep: "Hi, thank you for calling Long Elegant Legs, how can I help you today?"
Me: "I'd like to check the status of an order I placed."

Rep: "What was the order number?"
Me: "xxxxx"

Rep: "I'm sorry, I can't find that order in our system."
Me: "Well, I placed it August 9th, I've got a confirmation email right here."

Rep: "If you give me your last name and billing zip code, I can look it up in our system."
Me: "My last name is Blahh, spelled B-l-a-h-h, and my zip code is 12345."

Rep: "I can't find any purchases under that last name."
Me: "I've got an email here that says I submitted an order."

Rep: "Did you place the order with an American Express card?"
Me: "Yes."

Rep: "That may be the problem. If you enter the code on the back of the card wrong, then the system will drop your order."

Note: For AMEX, this is actually the 4 digits on the front of the card, not the 3 on the back. I've had prior experience with this one, and I know which number to put in . . .

Me: "But it sent me a confirmation email with my order number."
Rep: "Most of those orders are fraud, so the system drops the order for your protection."

Me: "So the system will just drop my order, without trying to get in touch with me?"
Rep: "Those orders are usually fraud, so for your protection the system doesn't process them. If you have the card, I can place an order for you now on the phone."

Me: "No thanks, I need to go back and check what I ordered. You might want to change the system so that it doesn't send an email with an order number, and then drop the order."
Rep: "Those orders are mostly fraud, so the system drops them for your protection. I can take the order for you now on the phone."

Me: "No, thanks. Goodbye."

That is definitely some of the worst service I've had in a while.

(1) The system should not send the customer an email with an order number and confirmation, and then drop the order without ever letting the customer know. I work with computers all day - it could either not send the email until the order was processed, or send another email if there was a problem with the order. Once I get an email with an order number, I tend to assume that my order went through.

(2) Even if most of the orders which that happens with are fraud, there are clearly enough of them that the service reps regard this as a common occurrence. I wonder how many customers never order from you again?

(3) Please teach your customer service reps to be nice and apologetic when problems occur. Phrases like "I'm very sorry that this happened to you" are good. Phrases like "Let me give you a code for 10% off your next order for your inconvenience" are even better, but I'm really annoyed that the rep never even apologized.

Instead, she said that it was entirely my fault for entering the wrong code off of my card. Then she managed to imply that I was trying to commit credit card fraud, because clearly if I wasn't, I would place an order now, and when the code is wrong, it's usually fraud (this last one may not have come through as well in the summary of the conversation I wrote above. It was certainly the impression I had at the end of the phone call).

In summary, if a company sends me a confirmation of my order, then drops my order and doesn't tell me, and finally your service reps are nasty when I call up to figure out the problem, there's no way I'm going to order from that company again. Which is too bad, because they have some pretty clothes.

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