Thursday, December 28, 2006

Black Listed Companies 12/28/2006
  • I don't know how good the product is just yet, since I'm still in the process of dealing with an order snafu. However, my experience with the company has been absolute misery. Once I finally chose the can opener that seemed the best for me, I was forced to go through a number of other pages asking me if I wanted to add to the order. Granted, there was something I wanted in all those pages, but really, what a pain! I'd think that if they were offering more stuff, that stuff would appear in their online catalog...which, by the way, doesn't exist, except in the form of a number of pages you have to go through to get to the checkout page.
    • Summary: shopping experience was like being taken by the scruff of the neck and forced to look at each item in the grocery store by a rather brutish geek.
  • When I finally got to the checkout page, since I was in a huge hurry to finish the process, I just clicked through everything to get to the order confirmation page. The order confirmation page read, "You've been sent a confirmation email." I have yet to see that email. Which doesn't seem all that annoying...until you read further.
    • Summary: extremely slow online ordering process.
  • Christmas comes and goes and I see no delivery. And still no email. So as not to disappoint the receiver of the would-be gift, I ordered again, thinking perhaps I had imagined I'd seen the confirmation page, mixing up the countless other order confirmation pages I'd seen through the weeks. When the next order confirmation page came up, the organization and presentation of the page was exactly like one I'd seen before. So, I knew for sure I'd seen it before. And if I'd seen it before, it's obvious I now had two orders in the works...maybe.
    • Summary: sketchy online ordering confirmation process.
  • I searched around on their site for a way to contact them, thinking there was a real-time way to do so. Nope. Call this number during these hours. Luckily it was during those special hours. I dial the number. I get a busy signal. Busy for 15 minutes. Finally I connect. It's a phone operator with quite a thick Middle-Eastern accent. I ask what the situation is with my order. "Yes, we have your order, it's going to be shipped very soon." Very soon. "Very soon." Ha. (Read on.) I ask him to read the order back to me. He reads the first order I placed. I ask him about the second order. He asks when I placed that order. I said, "About ten minutes ago." He asks me to call back in about two business days because that information is not in his system yet.
    • Summary: Hello? Automation? Computers? Instant information pathways? IT?
    • Summary II: while I appreciate the hard working spirit and the skills of others learning English as a second language so they can improve themselves and their situations, I abhor having to figure out how I can communicate with such people; picking through obfuscating accents; getting my point--that might not fit their scripts--across!
  • Very soon he said. As I recalled the second time through the ordering process (when I wasn't feeling quite as rushed) the shipping details read something like, "Ships from 1 to 4 weeks...unless you pay another $x--then it'll ship in 1 to 2 weeks." One to four weeks!? One to two weeks!? Come ON. Postage isn't that difficult. Unless it's shipping from over seas (and even then!) one to four weeks!?
    • Summary: one to four weeks!?
  • As I was casting my mind back to the other screens I'd just blown by I realized that for a can opener and 4 flashlights (the forced-impulse buy I fell into) the shipping charges were more than $33.
    • Summary: $33 shipping for something that can fit in a box smaller than your office's wastebasket...? I can only guess that this stuff must be coming from overseas and the company is having us pay the bribe money necessary to get the goods off port.
  • Three days later (I wanted to give their ridiculously slow system a chance) I call back. I get a fax tone on their 1-800 number. I call back again. Fax tone. I call back again...ah, a nice, friendly "[We want you to believe that] your call is important to us" message and am on perma-hold. 15 minutes later an operator answers my quite obviously important call with that familiar Middle-Eastern accent. "Thank you for calling. Can I help you." I tell him I want to check the status of one order and cancel another. "Thank you for calling. Can I help you?" I repeat myself. Silence. For like 3 minutes...silence. "Thank you for calling. Can I help you?" I repeat myself again...but before I can finish I'm disconnected.
    • Summary: customer service systems are very disappointing.
  • I call the 1-800 number again. Fax tone. For the next 15 minutes I'm calling that number. Fax tones. I start alternating the 1-800 number and the 508 area code number they offer. Fax tone. "The person is unavailable." Fax tone. "The person is unavailable." Finally I get a nice, friendly, lying computer voice telling me how important my call is to them.
    • Summary: customer service systems are exceeding asinine.
  • 10 minutes later (hey! better than the previous 15!) I get that familiar Middle Eastern accent, but it's a different guy this time. I tell him I'd like to check the status of my order and cancel the newer order. "Your order will ship very soon." I thank him and tell him I'd like to cancel the newer order. "Your order will ship very soon." (See Summary II in the fourth bullet.) I ask him to tell me which orders he has in the system. "Thank you. Is there something else I can do for you?" I ask him again to tell me how many orders I have in the system. "You have two orders." I tell him I'd like to cancel the most recent order. "The order you made first will ship very soon." I tell him I'd like to cancel the order I made a couple of days ago. "Okay. Can I ask why?" I explain the situation about my thinking that the order hadn't been filled. "Okay. Please hold." I hold. "Okay, your order has been cancelled."
    • Summary: good effort. Please, for the love of all that's holy, find someone who speaks English in your customer-facing jobs!!
In short: onetouchcanopeners...while the product might be great (which apparently I won't know for another 1 to 3 weeks), the rest of the experience ensures this company's long-time inclusion in my Black List.