Not Picking Up The Phone Allows KeySmart & Tile To Create A Horrific Customer Experience For Yours Truly

For the last few weeks I have been working on a new version of my Every Day Carry setup. To that end, I have been spending time researching and buying products that would not only work for me. But I think that would work for other people. During my research, I zeroed on products from a company called KeySmart who among other things makes a product called the KeySmart Pro which not only organizes your keys, and adds a flashlight, but also has Tile integration so that you can keep track of them. My logic was that I could reduce the number of things bouncing around in my pocket, but still provide the functionality that I am used to. So I placed an order for one and waited two weeks for it to arrive so that I can set it up and review it.

Let me stop here for a moment. In the interest of full disclosure, I do get products for free from a variety of companies and PR firms. But I also buy products with my own money that I think would be interesting for you to read. That’s partially financed by advertising on the blog.

In any case, the KeySmart Pro arrived and that’s where my troubles began. After partially charging it as it has a built in battery to power the flashlight and Tile functionality, I tried to add it to my collection of other Tile products using the Tile app. It seemed to go through the pairing process fine. But after that, none of the Tile functionality would work. As in you couldn’t find it using the Tile app and you couldn’t ring it even if you were right next to the KeySmart Pro. That’s when I reached out to Tile support. Now according to this page, you can’t call them. Instead, if you aren’t a premium member which allows you to text message them via your phone, you have to use an AI driven chatbot who will then flip you to an actual human if required. Now I had to talk to Tile support three times. Here’s what happened on that front:

  • The first agent I spoke to claimed that I had not charged it enough. So he told me to charge it until the light on the KeySmart Pro turned green. If I had issues I was to reach out to them again.
  • I did what the first agent told me to do, but it still wouldn’t work. So I reached out to them again. This time they had me do some additional troubleshooting and concluded that the KeySmart Pro was defective. They then suggested that I reach out to KeySmart.

So I tried to do just that. Inside the documentation that came with the KeySmart Pro, I noted this piece of paper:

At the bottom, there was a number for their “technical support team” which I called. But all that did was play a message telling you to leave a voice mail or to email them if you want help. I have to admit that this is bizarre as the only reason why they would take that course of action is if they don’t actually want to talk to customers on the phone. After all, what kind of quality customer experience could you provide if you put a number in your documentation that tells you to leave a voice mail or email them.

So it was back to Tile to try again. I will admit that the third agent that I spoke to really did try his best to help me. But at the end of his valiant attempts to troubleshoot this issue, he sent me back to KeySmart.

Let me stop here for a second. While Tile did try and help me, part of the issue that I think that might have gotten in the way is that they insist on using chat as a primary means to support their customers. The top companies who provide technical support use inbound and sometimes outbound telephone support. It is often easier to support customers using that method because speaking to someone allows you to pick up nuances and cues that you would not get through typing. That helps to resolve issues quicker. Though in a Twitter exchange later in the day, they did say this:

That option is not listed on the the Tile website. So if customers don’t know about it, they won’t take advantage of it and become frustrated as a result. One last thing, Tile uses an AI chatbot as part of their support flow. While I know that chatbots are “the new hotness”, those tend to be useless and frustrate customers more often than not. So if I were Tile, I would dump their chatbot ASAP. Here’s why all of this matters. Apple is rumored to be coming out with a product called AirTags which is a tracker that is similar to what Tile sells. Though I don’t think it will have the level of success that Tile has because it will likely be an Apple only product unlike Tile that supports iOS and Android, which means that it has a broader reach. That may not matter though as Apple does industry leading support via a number of channels. Including inbound and outbound phone calls. Which means that if Tile is only offering text message and chat support rather than phone support, Apple will simply destroy Tile with ease as support is what keeps customers coming back to buy your product. And Apple does that better than most.

So now over to KeySmart. Since I can’t call them and I am forced to email them, I emailed them for a refund. Though that was a bit of a gong show as initially they wanted me to fill out a form that was meant for American based returns. When I pointed that out, and pointed out that I was going to go public with this, I got an email saying that they had processed a refund. That was followed up by an email telling me to dispose of this in an eco friendly way. Though I have yet to see the refund in my credit card account. Given what has gone on, I would not at all be surprised if it never shows up. And I am forced to update this story saying so giving KeySmart additional bad press.

One other thing about KeySmart’s refund process, if you have the KeySmart Pro paired to a Tile account and you return it, they will charge you a 15% restocking fee. Because apparently even if you have issues in the pairing process like I had that are not your fault, KeySmart thinks it’s your fault anyway. Though they say this:

I’m sorry. If your product has an issue that is due to the pairing process, this fee shouldn’t charged. But I guess KeySmart doesn’t see things that way. Clearly this is meant to dissuade you from doing a return.

So here’s the bottom line. This whole experience has left a bad taste in my mouth because of the simple fact that neither Tile nor KeySmart really wants to pick up the phone. I might have felt better about this if one of them, specifically KeySmart picked up the phone. Though they did say this:

Right. Sure it is. The bottom line is that they didn’t pick up the phone and now we are here talking about it.

On top of that, I had purchased a few other items from KeySmart via their store on Amazon. Those are being returned to Amazon today and I have already found equivalent replacements for them so that I can use those as part of my upcoming every day carry story. Which means those companies will get a bit of a bump in sales from that story and KeySmart won’t. Proof positive that it never ends well if a company provides a bad customer experience. And that starts with not picking up the phone when a customer is in need.

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