Two sides of the customer service coin

I’ve been dealing with two annoying customer service situations over the past week or so and they show opposite ends of the spectrum for dealing with irritated people. First, I ought to say that despite being thought of as a pretty mellow and even keeled person, I have a wicked temper.

The first situation has to do with my MacBook Pro – which is still at Apple being repaired. I was confused as to what part Apple might need to order (the reason my system is STILL not back in my hands) and called to find out what was going on. I was only marginally irritated by the situation when I called. What I learned was that while they were repairing the problem I’d identified, they discovered another and needed a part for that. Fair enough – and I appreciated that they seemed to be looking out for me. I was even more impressed when I got a call the next day – from a live person – giving me an update on my system. I got a call again yesterday with another update. Ire squelched.

The second situation is not nearly so pretty. Last night my wife and I were out. Our local CompUSA is one of the many shutting down and we go in from time-to-time to see what deals are to be had. Last night the TVs were 25 percent off. There was a 32-inch LG LCD for $899. I looked around online and came away with the impression that it was a good TV and a good price. So we bought it. The salesguy said we were in luck because they still had a new one in the box. He and I went into the back to grab it. The box was open, he said, because it had come from another story and they’d wanted to check it. He opened it again to make sure the stand and whatnot were all there.

We carried it to the cashier and then to the car. Wendy and I carried it into the house. We opened the box and unloaded the TV. The screen was smashed. Now because CompUSA is liquidating, all sales are final. [I can feel my heart beating faster as I type this.]

On my other blog, I recently wrote about reading the Aeneid and how great it is. At this point of the evening, I was starting to feel like Mezentius attacking the Trojans in Book Ten, seized by an animal rage – simply wanting to go on a wild, vengeful rampage.

I called CompUSA. We’re closed now they tell me, and only the manager can help you, and he’s out till Friday. They pass me to his voice mail. I attempted to leave a calm message and think I did a pretty good job. Next I called Visa to reverse the payment. They can’t do anything until the charge is posted. Can I at least SPEAK to someone to feel reassured that I’m not going to be left holding the bag on this? No. Can Visa call me when the charge posts so I can resolve it? No.

I thank the customer service person, hang up the phone and throw it. My rage is ready to explode. Not only have I been sold a broken TV that I probably can’t return, I may not even be able to get my money back.

Why can’t Visa at least talk to me? Why can’t they make a call (or send an email) letting me know that a specific charge has posted? Apple seems to have figured out how to conduct customer care in a way that makes the customer at least FEEL cared for, you’d think that Visa could do something a little better than simply saying “No.”

[tags]Apple, CompUSA, Visa, customer service, rage[/tags]

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