Archive for Customer Service

How Domino’s Canada Lost A Customer In A Pair Of Sub Optimal Interactions

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 20, 2022 by itnerd

These days, customer experience is king. As in if you don’t provide customers with a great experience 100% of the time, they will go elsewhere. And everyone in your organization needs to understand that. Last night I found an example of an organization that seems to have trouble with that. And that’s Domino’s Canada.

After the massive snowstorm that covered the Greater Toronto Area and beyond with a foot and a half of snow earlier in the week, I ventured out to grab some cereal and milk. While I was doing that, I ordered a pizza using the Domino’s Canada app and chose their “Carside Delivery” option. Which is Domino’s Canada speak for they will bring the pizza out to my car. All I had to do is to enter the make, model and color of my car, and when I arrived at the Domino’s location, I just had to press a button that says “I’m Here” and someone would bring out my pizza and associated beverage.

That sounds simple enough. Except that didn’t happen.

When I arrived I pressed the button that says “I’m here.” Five minutes went by. Nothing. Ten minutes went by. Nothing. When it got to 15 minutes I got fed up and walked into the store and asked professionally and nicely where my pizza was. That’s when the employee handed my pizza which wasn’t exactly hot and beverage and told me that I had not pressed the “I’m here” button. When I showed them my phone which had proof that I did, they made up some excuse about “their systems aren’t working.” At that point I simply walked out.

Top tip for companies: When you screw up, don’t try to push it back onto the customer and make the customer feel like it’s their fault. Because that will end badly 100% of the time.

What really bugged me about the excuse that “their systems aren’t working” is that Domino’s is known for their cutting edge IT infrastructure that has given them a decided edge over their competition. Thus I find it impossible to believe that this excuse was even in the same star system as the truth.

I took my purchase back to my car and quickly typed out this Tweet:

By the time I got home five minutes later, I got this reply:

Top tip for companies with a Twitter account: If a customer is not happy with your product or service, engage them immediately via a Direct Message. Do not tell them to send an email as that sound like a deflection strategy at best, or that you don’t care at worst. On top of that, empower the people behind your Twitter account to handle customer issues so that they get resolved quickly. A good example of an organization that does this well is the telco company Rogers who are able to do full troubleshooting sessions via Twitter direct message. Maybe someone at Domino’s Canada needs to phone someone at Rogers to get some tips on how to do this properly as doing this sort of thing right can turn a negative customer experience into a positive one.

In my case, while I will give Domino’s Canada points for replying quickly, I chose not to send an email. Instead I replied to their Tweet:

I decided to go that route because, not only will I not be using their “Carside Delivery” option again, I won’t be using Domino’s again. The interaction that I had with the Domino’s store was sub-optimal to say the least. And while the people behind the Domino’s Canada Twitter account tried to clean up the mess, the way they decided to do it could have been better. The thing is that ordering a pizza should be the easiest thing in the world to do. But it wasn’t in this case, and I came out with a very negative experience as a result. That’s not a good look for Domino’s Canada. I hope that someone at Domino’s Canada reads this story and ensures that all their stores provide a great customer experience 100% of the time so that more people don’t end up going to another pizza brand like I am planning to do.

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

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on March 23, 2021 by itnerd

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.

TWC Does The Impossible… Their Customer Service Sucks More Than Comcast

Posted in Commentary with tags , on February 19, 2015 by itnerd

If I were the CEO of a cable company, I would show the the numerous customer service fails from Comcast to my employees and then say “don’t be like Comcast.” I guess if that was done over at Time Warner Cable, someone missed this. That’s because this happened. In short, Time Warner Cable customer Esperanza Martinez got a letter from Time Warner Cable which starts out with “Dear C**t Martinez”. I’ll leave you to fill in the blanks.

Time Warner Cable has since apologized to her and given her a free year of service for TV and Internet. But I wonder if this is a sign of things to come? You see Time Warner Cable and Comcast are working on a merger. Both have really crappy customer service, but Comcast until today was far worse than Time Warner Cable. I guess Time Warner Cable has decided to match the crappy levels of customer service that Comcast has exhibited for years. Pity.

 

Here We Go Again: My Teksavvy DSL Is Down

Posted in Commentary with tags , on June 13, 2014 by itnerd

I cannot seem to catch a break with my Teksavvy DSL.

Last weekend I noted that my DSL would disconnect and reconnect frequently. So I took my MacBook Pro and plugged it into the DSL modem so I could pull the line stats, just like the last time this happened to me. I found that my signal to noise ratio or SNR was between 6 and 6.4 which is really, really bad. It normally is 7.5, at least it was since the last time this happened. So I put in a repair ticket with Teksavvy and a Bell tech was scheduled to come out late yesterday to deal with this. Now I did take advantage of Teksavvy’s ability to leave your phone number and have them call you back as from previous experience, you can be waiting a long time to speak to someone. They did call me back in 30 minutes and I was able to have the tech do some troubleshooting (the same troubleshooting that I had done) and get the repair ticket into the system.

The Bell tech arrived and did some tests. What was interesting was that he could not get his testing equipment to work properly. He then asked if the property management office was still open. It was after 5PM on Thursday so it wasn’t. That meant that he couldn’t get into the phone room in the basement. He said that there was noise on the line, and the best way to deal with it was to install a new jack that had dedicated DSL and voice lines. He did that, but he did it on the jack in the living room despite the fact that I was told by previous Bell techs that the place to plug in my DSL modem was the bedroom as that’s where the phone jack enters my unit. He also then stated in an arrogant tone that he had been doing this a long time and he knew what he was doing. In any case, what he did caused the SNR on downstream to go up to 9, but it stayed at 6 on the upstream. He claimed that the upstream number didn’t matter. Also of note, he got that information from my modem as his testing equipment still wasn’t working properly. As an added measure, he dropped my speed a bit so I was getting 8.9 Mbps downstream instead of the 10.5 Mbps that I normally get. He then packed up and left.

Now I didn’t do myself any favors because clearly this Bell tech didn’t know what he was doing and I should have called him on that. But I didn’t and as a result my phone line failed outright at 11PM last night. No DSL, no voice, nothing.

After doing some troubleshooting which involved testing each jack individually using another phone that I keep lying around for just such a reason, I called Teksavvy. After waiting for 10 minutes with no option to leave a number like I did the last time I called them, I got a live human being. She took my info and recognized that I had an open ticket and tried to get me to the group that handled that, but after putting me on hold for another 5 minutes she came back and said that nobody was available so she’d help me. I told her that I had no voice or DSL after a repair earlier in the day. She then asked me to troubleshoot by unplugging all the phones in the  home and testing each jack one at a time. When I told her I did that, she then said I should get another phone and try that. I told her that I did that too. Then she said that I should go to the “Bell box outside your home and plug the phone in there.” Now when she collected my info, she recognized that I was in a condo. Therefore logic would suggest that there would be no “Bell box” to plug into. Thus asking me to plug into the “Bell box” is a great way to turn the conversation negative which is exactly what happened. Now I didn’t yell and scream, but I became far less forgiving than I was as the start of the call and I think that she could sense that in the tone of my voice. She put me on hold several more times before she opened a new repair ticket to get this fixed. In the process of doing so, she asked me when I would like a tech to show up.

Now one thing that I tell the call center agents that I train when I do consulting with call centers is that you want to phrase a question in a way that sounds like you’re addressing the needs of the customer and not in a way that could send the interaction negative. For example, if your customer just had a repair and the product is still not working and you need them to come back to do a re-repair, you should ask the following:

“I can schedule you in for the first available appointment which is 12PM tomorrow. Would that work for you?”

That comes across as recognizing that the issue is not resolved, and that you want to get it resolved quickly. Also you’re doing your best to get the customer in at the first opportunity that you can find. Now, conversely if you ask this question, the conversation could turn negative:

“When would you like to come in to get this fixed?”

When a customer hears that, there’s the possibility that it will come across as “Gee, this company doesn’t take my issue seriously. They tried to fix my product once, it doesn’t work, you’d think they’d care enough to fit me in ASAP.” Now, I can say that this is not what the Teksavvy tech was trying to express, but that is the knee jerk reaction that I had to hearing that. Thus I would suggest that Teksavvy invest in some soft skill coaching for their call center staff.

Now, as I type this as I install a new server for a customer, my wife is at home waiting for Bell to show up sometime between noon and 5 PM today. Hopefully they send a tech knows what they are doing. In the meantime, my wife and I are now again considering switching to another telco provider for our Internet and home phone service. Now to be fair, its Bell that’s making our lives miserable at the moment. But Bell is acting on behalf of Teksavvy, so they have to take some responsibility for this. And as I’ve documented, this isn’t the first time I’ve had problems with them and their ability to resolve my issues in the last few months. At the end of the day, all we want is reliable and stable telco services. When things break, which ideally should be very infrequently, it needs to be quickly fixed right the first time. The telco who can do that for myself and my wife gets my business.

Any takers?

My Sunday Part Two – A Fix For My Teksavvy DSL Issue

Posted in Commentary with tags , on September 1, 2013 by itnerd

So, after my server upgrade, I raced home to make sure that I was there when Bell arrived. Now my wife who is training for the Scotiabank Marathon managed to get home at 11:30 so that if Bell arrived at 12 (since the window was 12 – 6 PM) to fix the DSL issue that I spoke of here, there would be someone to meet them. Now I had done a fair amount of work to diagnose this issue and I kind of figured out why I was getting constant disconnects. Take a look at the screenshot below:

Untitled

This is a screenshot from my DSL modem. Most if not all DSL modems have the ability to log into it and pull up a page that displays all sorts of useful info, as long as you know what it means. I have highlighted a section called SNR margin. SNR stands for Signal To Noise Ratio. The lower that this number is, the more likely you are to have slow speed or stability issues. To give you an idea of what this number means, here’s a quick chart to give you an idea of what is good and bad:

  • 6dB or below is bad and you will experience no synch or intermittent synch problems
  • 7dB-10dB is fair but does not leave much room for variances in conditions
  • 11dB-20dB is good with no synch problems
  • 20dB-28dB is excellent
  • 29dB or above is outstanding

So I was basically at the floor. That explains why I was having constant disconnections. Now it was possible that my wiring was causing the issue, so as a troubleshooting step, I plugged my DSL modem into the RJ-11 jack that is the one that comes up from the telephone room in my condo (if you’re in a house, this will be the jack that is closest to where the telephone line enters your house). That is called the demarcation point. By plugging my modem into that jack with the shortest RJ-11 cable that you can find, It eliminates any internal wiring issues. I did that and got the same results as above. That way I was certain that this was a Bell issue.

Now bell had phoned just before 11AM to see if we were home (which we were not as my wife got back from her training run at 11:30) and when we got to about 3:30 PM and discovered that this had happened, and Bell hadn’t shown up, I called Teksavvy to see what the status was on my ticket with Bell. The guy I spoke to seemed more intent on troubleshooting my issue rather than simply looking into my ticket. That was really was weird. I put an end to it by e-mailing the above screen shot and explaining that the issue had been previously diagnosed, but I had had also come to the same conclusion based on the screen shot. Only then did he put me on hold to see what the status of my ticket was. Or at least he tried to as we got disconnected. But that didn’t matter as the Bell tech knocked on my door.

Now after I showed him the he walked over to the demarcation point and plugged a device to measure the SNR among other things. He didn’t like the numbers that he got so he called into Bell to get a line test and that uncovered the problem. My condo is roughly 3.7 kilometres from the Bell central office that my line is being fed from. The DSL profile that I was set up for was 16 megabits downstream and 1 megabits upstream. The problem with using that profile is that everything from the central office to my home is all copper. Pushing a profile of that speed over copper over that distance is a #fail and will never be stable because it will have a low SNR. Thus they had to change my profile to 12 megabits down and 1 megabits up. Here’s the net result:

Untitled 2

You’ll now notice that the SNR is up to over 7. Not the best, but it will be stable. That’s all I want. Now the profile change also means a speed drop. Prior to this, I was getting this via Speedtest.net:

This is the result after:

Now I can live with that because everything between 6 megabits downstream and 15 megabits downstream is the same price with Teksavvy. I can improve both the speed (to a degree) and the SNR by moving the modem to the demarcation point and running a long Ethernet cable from that point to my Apple Airport Extreme router. I’d have to use a UPS with the DSL modem as well since I want my Internet to be up during a blackout. I don’t have a spare one at the moment, so this will be a project for another day. Also of note, when the Bell tech (who was extremely nice by the way) was done, Teksavvy called back and I reported to them what had happened and what the fix was.

I’ll monitor this over the next few days to see if it stays stable, but I think that we’re in good shape from this point forward. I’ll wrap up my thoughts on this whole experience at a later date. Part of that included me reaching out to Teksavvy on Saturday for an interview as I wanted to get their side of the story. I reached out over Twitter to Andre Cleroux who is Teksavvy’s Director of Online & Operations Intelligence with this:

and he replied with this:

Points to him for responding. We’ll see if the interview actually happens or not.

Teksavvy Long Hold Times – Not Good For Business [UPDATED x2]

Posted in Commentary with tags , on August 29, 2013 by itnerd

One of the things that I do is not only solve the technology challenges of businesses and individuals, but I also do call centre consulting. That is, a company will hire me to look at their call centre processes, technology and sometimes their staff, and I tell them how they can improve. If they want, I can then assist in the implementation of whatever plan we come up with. As a result of that I am sensitive, perhaps too sensitive to any call centre that can’t deliver customer service in a timely manner. Case in point, Teksavvy.

Yesterday at 6AM my wife woke up to us having no Internet, I did some troubleshooting including swapping my router and concluded that the issue was someplace other than our home as no matter what I did, the modem would sync up to the DSL network, but it would not connect. So I called Teksavvy. I got through to an agent in less than 5 minutes which I found odd given that it was 6AM and you’d think that at that time of the morning the response would be instant. But I dismissed that from my mind. The agent was very pleasant and she went about troubleshooting my issue. She first noted that I had been bumped off the Internet at about 1:30 AM and had not connected back in since. She also noted that I had a bit more noise than I should on my line which I noted as a problem, but it may not be the core issue. What was more of a problem is that nothing that we did would connect my DSL modem to the Teksavvy network despite the fact that it could get a DSL signal. She concluded that I must have a defective modem. That to me was a reasonable assumption since the modem was several years old. I suggested that the last time I had an issue like this it was a Bell problem. She was reluctant to open a ticket with Bell as if it wasn’t a Bell problem, it would cost me money (almost $88). Thus she suggested I exhaust other options like swapping the modem. She offered to keep the case open if I needed to call back. Foolishly I neglected to get a case number. But the flipside to that is that I train the customer service agents that I am hired to teach that you should always offer up a case number to the customer and let them decide if they want it or not. I dismissed that too as it was 6AM and she likely worked all night. After hanging up with her, I reset the modem to factory defaults, set it up again, and I was able to log in and surf the net. To me that sounded like a problematic modem. So I planned on getting one on my way home from my various client visits that day.

Fast forward to 5:30 PM. I got home with a new modem as well as new phone cable as I wanted to see if the phone cable was responsible for the noise on my line. I walked into my home office to find that the Internet was out again. So I figured that I should just replace the modem and the phone cable, so I did that and within 15 minutes I was up and running. Or so I thought. An hour later the Internet went down again. So I called Teksavvy and waited online for over an hour with nobody answering. Okay, so it was dinner time and it was likely one of their busy times. But an hour is just plain unacceptable. So when I was offered the option to leave a number for a call back, I took it. I left my number and hung up. Within 10 minutes the Internet was back. It stayed that way until 9PM when it went down again. So I called Teksavvy again. And once again I was on hold for over an hour. That’s when I decided to do what I did the last time I ran into a problem getting a hold of a live human being at Teksavvy. I resorted to Twitter. Since I was far from being a happy camper at the time, my Tweets were very pointed:

Just like the last time, I got a very quick response via Twitter and this conversation took place:

Here’s what’s wrong with this interaction thus far:

  1. I’ve called twice in the same evening and nobody ever picked up my call. The advice that I give my paying customers is that the gold standard of answering calls is 60 seconds or less. Answering calls that quickly makes any interaction easy to deal with for the customer service agent. Not only that, it scores a bonus point for the business. However, the reality is that unless you have a call center the size of a Rogers or Bell, you can’t do that. Even they have problems doing that at the best of times. Thus the next best thing is to get to callers in less than 10 minutes. Why 10 minutes? Simple. Most people are willing to wait that long and still have a positive feeling about the company they’re dealing with. The second the wait time crosses 10 minutes, that positive feeling declines rapidly. By the time the phone is picked up, the interaction between the customer service agent and the customer is going to be far less positive. Plus, if that is the experience that the customer gets time after time, they are far more likely to take their business elsewhere.
  2. The fact that Teksavvy answers Tweets faster than their phones is a problem. Twitter should supplement call center activities. In this case, Twitter is clearly being used to mitigate whatever issues Teksavvy has in their call center. That only works for so long before it becomes an issue that’s in the public eye. More on that in a second.

Back to my issue. Teksavvy called me back at 11:18 PM and started to look at my issue. After giving my customer information and re-explaining my issue to the agent that called back, he noted that my line stats were not good and I was on a DSL profile that was much lower than the speed of service that I was paying for.

For those who don’t speak nerd, here’s what I’m talking about: When you get DSL, the provider will give you a maximum speed that you can get. But depending on your individual line conditions (the line stats I mentioned earlier), and the distance from the central office where your line terminates, they can and do adjust the down and up speeds to give you the best service that is possible under those conditions by assigning you a DSL profile. An ISP will usually have several to choose from to fit most situations.

When I pointed out what line stats I’ve had and should have to him, he did a fair amount of investigation as what he was looking at didn’t make a whole lot of sense. What was also worrisome was the fact that he couldn’t find a profile to put me on. Thus, he put me on hold to speak to a manager. After he came back on the line, he made a couple of attempts to change my profile to account for the line stats he was seeing. When that failed, he concluded it was a Bell issue and he was going to put a ticket into Bell. I agreed to that after he read off some boilerplate that made me responsible for almost $88 if Bell didn’t find a problem and went to bed with no Internet. By this point it was midnight.

I got up this AM and found Internet access is live, but I’m getting 9.5 megabits downstream rather than the 12.5 that I used to be getting. But it is unstable as it disconnects and reconnects frequently. But it allowed me to type this blog entry. We’ll see what happens as it may take Bell up to 48 hours to resolve this.

Now, I am okay with what happened after I got on the line with someone from Teksavvy. In fact, I would describe the efforts of the customer service agent I spoke to as “heroic” and if he were one of the agents that I’m paid by my customers to evaluate, I’d give his efforts, customer handling skills, and temperament an “A”. What I am not okay with is the fact that it took a Twitter rant to get to that point. I was completely unable to dial them up and get to someone in a timely manner. What’s worse is that this appears to be a ongoing problem with them based on the fact that if you do a Google search for “Teksavvy long wait times” you get similar stories. What’s worse for them is that they’re dealing with ticked off customers on Twitter who have the same complaints as the ones that come up in Google searches. Plus my Twitter rant was favorited and retweeted other Twitter users. If someone is looking for a telco and searching either of those to see what they find for Teksavvy, the results will not be good and they’ll likely go with another company.

This is a major problem for Teksavvy and one that threatens their business. Why? Landing a customer is the easy part, but after sale service is what keeps them coming back. When they stop coming back because your after sale service isn’t that good, that affects future sales which affects their bottom line. I will give them some free advice. They need to not only acknowledge that they have issues with their customer service, but they also need to figure out why and remedy it quickly. Judging from my experience, the Google and Twitter searches, and the fact that I’ve posted this, the clock is clearly ticking for them.

As for my threat to look for another telco. It wasn’t a threat. It’s on my task list for today to see what’s out there in terms of service, price and customer service. But I will say that if Teksavvy makes clear improvements to their customer service, I can be convinced to stay with them.

Stay tuned for an update.

UPDATE: A voice mail was left on the home phone line just before 10AM today. A Bell tech is being dispatched on Sunday September 1st between 12PM and 6PM. I was planning to do a server upgrade for a customer, but I’m going to be rescheduling that since my wife will not be home. But seeing as I depend on my Internet connection to help me to make a living, I have little choice. More updates to come.

UPDATE #2: My wife suggested that I call Teksavvy to see if they could get Bell to move my appointment. They can, but it would be the third of September. I need a reliable Internet connection long before then, so I am leaving the appointment as it is. That’s not Teksavvy’s fault as they are at the mercy of Bell. But it doesn’t create the best optics for them. At least the customer understands and I am able to push this upgrade to Labor day. Still, this doesn’t create the best optics for me and what I do.

CIBC Customer Service = #Fail

Posted in Commentary with tags , on April 14, 2012 by itnerd

I got a voice mail yesterday from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (or CIBC as they go by these days) saying that my debit card has been restricted in terms of how I could use it because of suspicious activity. I checked my accounts on line and found no such activity. That was a relief as I have previously had my card compromised and the scumbags went on a spending spree after cloning my card. Not cool at all. So I called them and got a CIBC call center in the province of Saskatchewan. Initially, the individual was helpful and advised me that I needed to change the PIN number my debit card. He then walked me through the steps I would need to do in a two hour window to do so at the nearest CIBC ATM. This took about five minutes and I figured that I would be off the phone quickly and I could deal with this and go about my day.

Too bad I was wrong about that.

He then started to ask probing questions about my bank accounts and credit card. This led to him trying to switch the credit card I already have to a “better” one. When I didn’t show any interest in his offer, he became ultra aggressive about trying to get me to listen to his pitch and to take what he was offering. Clearly he was on commission. I eventually had to tell him to call back at another time as that was the only way I could get him off the phone.

Here’s my problem with this. If CIBC wants to have me sign up for for new products and services, I have no problem with that. Simply send an offer in the mail of use some call center to try and get me to sign up. As long as they’re not calling during dinner or something, I have no issue with that. But when I respond to a voice mail about a potential breach of my debit card that you want me to respond to ASAP so that you can protect me from fraud, and you then try to sell me something at that point, then I consider that to be unsavory at best. All this experience did is create a rather negative experience that makes me want to look at TD, BMO, Scotiabank, or RBC for my banking needs. Would those four banks do something like this? I have no idea. But the fact that CIBC does makes me not want to deal with them after 22 years of continued business.

CIBC, your customer service is a #fail. You might want to do something about it if you want to keep my business.

It Seems VMWare Can’t Do Any Better The Parallels…. Why Is It So Hard To Order By PayPal? [UPDATED x4]

Posted in Commentary with tags , , on September 18, 2010 by itnerd

You’ll recall that I tried to order the latest version of Parallels Desktop using PayPal and couldn’t. Then they canceled my order because I didn’t pay them. Not that they gave me the opportunity to. So last night I tried to order VMWare Fusion via PayPal. Guess what? Just like with Parallels they promised that I would get an e-mail confirming my order. But I didn’t.

I really don’t get why it is so hard to order something via PayPal with either VMWare or Parallels. In either case I go through the process to order and in both cases I get a message saying that I will get an e-mail confirming my order. The e-mail in either case never arrives. Given that I can order something from vendors like ThinkGeek and Skype, and the fact that I control the e-mail server that these e-mails would be going to (and there are zero issues there), that says to me that these VMWare and Parallels have issues with taking PayPal as payment. That’s very disappointing as PayPal is quite simply a safer way to pay for purchases on line. Given that the process to order from either company looks almost exactly the same, I suspect that they have the same company handling their respective online presences. I know for a fact that in the case of Parallels that’s Digital River. VMWare doesn’t make it clear who handles their online store, but I suspect they use them as well.

So here’s my challenge to both VMWare and Parallels. If you want my business, you need to explain to to me why something as simple as ordering using PayPal as my method of payment seems to be such a challenge. You also need to fix your processes so that customers can choose to pay you guys using whatever method of payment they choose. And finally, I’d actually like to be able to order and receive my product in a timely manner. The first one to the table, gets my business and a lot of praise in this blog for stepping up to the plate. By the way, in case you’re wondering why I’m making such a big deal about this, it’s simple. If you offer a payment method, it has to work or don’t bother offering it as an option.

The clock starts now.

UPDATE: A comment was left that seems to indicate that this is a PayPal problem. Assuming that is true, it would be helpful if either of these companies mans up to it rather than stay silent.

UPDATE #2: VMWare seems to want my business. They’ve jumped in and are trying to sort out why I can’t order via PayPal. Another note, they also confirmed that they too use Digital River for their online store. Bravo to VMWare for stepping up to the plate. Now we’ll see if it actually gets resolved.

UPDATE #3: VMWare e-mailed me at 7:30 AM this morning to try and sort this out. Parallels e-mailed at 3:36 PM and offered me a free copy. Draw your own conclusions. Keep in mind I’m not looking for a freebie. I simply wanted to be able to order Parallels Desktop 6 using the payment method of my choice. So Parallels I’ll take your copy and say thank you, and I will note that in your e-mail to me that you’re going to fix things so that this doesn’t happen again. Great. I’ll be watching.

UPDATE #4: VMWare surprisingly really managed to bungle this. This is what they VMWare forwarded to me from Digital River:

At this time if the payment has not been completed, we would suggest to
have this order cancelled and a new one set up for the order.

Thank you for contacting Digital River.

So they then canceled my order. I then tried to order it again using PayPal as they suggested, and guess what? It didn’t work AGAIN. At this point, VMWare is out of chances. Parallels despite all the negative press associated with their support came through. VMWare didn’t come through. Take a guess who I am going to be singing the praises of?

Oh, for those who want to know what I think of Parallels Desktop 6, watch for a review in the next few days.

Parallels Desktop for Mac 6 Ships….. Too Bad I Can’t Order It

Posted in Commentary with tags , on September 14, 2010 by itnerd

The latest version of Parallels Desktop for Mac has hit the streets. Version 6 of Parallels Desktop has a number of new features and refinements for users looking to run Windows, LINUX and other operating systems on your Mac. Frequent readers know that I really like Parallels Desktop 6 and I ordered it…. or rather tried to order it online from the Parallels website tonight using PayPal as my method of payment. The only acknowledgment that I received was that their webpage told me that I would get an e-mail acknowledging my order. That was 6 PM. I have still not received a message from Parallels about my order. Now it might have something to do with the fact that Parallels outsources their online store to a company called Digital River, or it could simply be incompetence which wouldn’t be a shock since a simple Google search shows that Parallels Desktop doesn’t exactly have the best reputation for customer service. Either way, I’m not a happy camper and I wonder if others have the same issue. If you have had issues ordering Parallels Desktop 6, please post a comment.

In the meantime, perhaps I’ll look at VMWare Fusion as they’re offering Parallels Desktop users a $9.99 upgrade for a limited time. That would be an option for me seeing as my MobiKEY works just fine with it.

Palm Canada Support…. Arrgh!!!!!

Posted in Commentary with tags , on February 4, 2010 by itnerd

I must be living in the Twilight Zone of customer service or something as this stuff just keeps happening to me.

Today I had the “pleasure” of calling Palm Canada technical support as my wife’s Centro lost all the data while on a run (but she backs it up daily so it’s not a big deal) and would no longer connect to the Internet over GPRS nor would it Hotsync properly. I got the Hotsync issues sorted, but couldn’t get it to connect to the Internet. Thus the call to support, and the start of my “fun.” After navigating through their “press 1 for English, press 2 for whatever” menu, I got a woman who while looking up my info hung up on me.

Charming.

I called back and got a different woman who asked for the same info, then put me on hold for almost five minutes (4:20 to be exact… I timed it). She then said that she couldn’t find the serial number of the device and I would have to provide proof of purchase before she could talk to me via fax (she wouldn’t accept a PDF via e-mail). That wasn’t exactly a welcome answer, but I needed this fixed so I offered to whip out my credit card and pay for support (as I’d sort it out after the fact). She refused saying that I would have to fax in my proof of purchase and someone will call me back in a day or two.

So let’s get this straight. I am offering her money to assist me with an issue with one of their products which the recordings on the support line said that I had the option of doing, and she refused my money? WTF?

I admit that I got a bit frustrated (which by the way I tell customers not to do and I should really follow my own advice) at this point and told her that this is really lame and that I was tempted to replace the Centro (which I got my wife for Christmas) with a Blackberry (even though she despises them). The woman told me flat out that “that is your choice.” No apology, no trying to placate me, nothing.

Even Bell Canada is better than that.

One of the things that she did do is point me to a web based chat support system. So I gave that a try. The tech on the other end got right down to work and solved my issue in 10 minutes flat.

So from where I sit, two parts of the same organization have two completely different responses to customers. That is bizarre.

Now I’ve set up call centers and coached people in customer service. In fact I’ve done this for a significant portion of my life. If I were the person at the other end of the phone, here’s how I would have dealt with the situation:

  • Gather the information about the customer and the issue.
  • Confirm the information if possible. If you can’t do that, offer the customer options that allows the customer to solve the issue on the spot and not in a day or two (by offering me the online chat based support, she at least did that part right). Or simply solve the issue and deal with the back end stuff after the fact.
  • If the customer becomes difficult, show some empathy and try to go out of your way to assist them. In no way, shape or form should you have the customer leave the call without their issue being resolved.

Clearly that’s not how things work at Palm Canada. That’s not going to help them sell Pre or Pixie smartphones as customer service is not only what keeps customers coming back to you, but it helps you to sell products as well. So Palm Canada may want to look at their customer service processes and make whatever adjustments needed to have happy customers. Otherwise they will start losing customers. After all, they made life difficult enough for me that I am unlikely to buy one of their products in the future or recommend them to friends and customers.

See how it works Palm?