Tag Archives: Bad customer service

Adventures In Customers Service

I simply had to write about this. As a business professor, I just found it too fascinating not to talk about. Here is what happened.

It is the day after Christmas, and my wife asked me about where a Wal-Mart Site-to-store pick-up was. I hadn’t picked it up and neither had she, but we received a confirmation that it had already been picked-up. That was problem #1

#2. So I went to Wal-Mart and explained the problem to the people in the Site-to-store department. They looked it up by the account number and their information showed that it had been picked up.

#3. So I protested that it had not. Then I waited … and waited… and waited while they reviewed every receipt from customers with a last name that begins with a G. They found another site to store receipt, but not that one.

#4. The department manager tried to make it right. She made a call to correct it. She would reorder the missing merchandise and we would not be charged a second time.

#5. I believed her.

#6. When I returned home, my wife asked me why we were charged again for the same merchandise. What?

#7. So she attempted to cancel the order, but you cannot see if it is really canceled for a couple of days.

#8. I drove back to WalMart under the impression that I would resolve something. Silly me.

#9. I spoke with the same site to store department manager who understood the problem, but could not seem to get anyone elsewhere in Walmart’s system to tell her what happened. The best she could was get a half-hearted “I think the customer has not been charged a second time. I don’t know why it reflects that way on their email.”

10. I asked for assurances that we had not been charged twice for the same goods that we did not pick up the first time, but I received no reassurance. The department manager asked me if I would like to come back tomorrow. “No.” I wanted to resolve it now.

11. So she looked at her computer in the back room. She came back with no information.

12. “What do I do now?” I asked.  “You can see if your bank statements reflect a new charge,” she said. That really was not good enough.

13. “Well, we can go up to customer service.” So we walked up to customer service where a very annoyed assistant manager told me that I could come back tomorrow. In fairness, it was the day after Christmas, so I understand her annoyance, but I have now just spent a large chunk of my day in WalMart getting nowhere trying to resolve a problem that I did not create as they tried to correct a problem that I did not create.

It was dark when I left my local WalMart at 9800 Dorchester Road in Summerville, SC.  I resolved to write my story because I resolved to write the company president–the one that is in the new company commercials showing us how tuned in he is. Let’s see if he is tuned in or if that is marketing.

I wrote this:

Dear Doug,
I thought I would let you know about my experience at Wal-Mart today. I received a confirmation email for a site-to-store pick up that I did not pick up (but I was charged for). I went t0 the store and tried to resolve it. After waiting for the employees to scour the receipts, they told me that they would re-order it for me “at no charge” (which actually means that they would provide the merchandise that I already paid for, but OK. To err is human).

When I got home I found out that they had charged me a second time. We tried to cancel, but the system would not tell us that it was canceled. I drove back to the store and asked them to unwind the transaction. No one could tell if I was actually charged twice. They told me to check my bank statement to find out. Really?
I wasted hours of my day trying to correct a mistake compounded by additional mistakes that were made over and again by your employees. I would like to get this problem resolved, and I thought you would like to know just how badly your internal system is functioning. I would also like to know how I can get these few hours of my life back. I blogged about it here if you care to read about it:

-Darin Gerdes

I told him that I am looking forward to hearing back from him, but in the mean-time, I am blogging about it. I understand that companies now pay attention to social media, so we will test the theory.

The good news for WalMart is that they get to write the last segment of this post. I will provide their response below. If they do not respond, I will report that too. Either way, there is a public record and it will likely become a topic of discussion for class and maybe make its way into a future book.

So this is Part I. Stay tuned.




Filed under Change, Current Events, Effectiveness, Social Media, Success, Uncategorized