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Is customer service dead?

I spent the day sitting in my house waiting for someone to show up for an appointment to do some repair work. No one showed up.

What is it with people today? Are they incompetent or just rude? I hope someone will read this rant and be able to tell me what is going on.

I always thought word of mouth was important to businesses. You would think it is even more important now that we have so many forms of media to voice our concerns. Maybe our economy is just too good for some people now.

Example 1: I am sure all of us have sat for hours waiting for a doctor’s appointment. The doctor’s time is important but ours doesn’t appear to be. And, of course, good doctors are hard to find so we have to put up with it and just keep quiet.

Of course, you don’t want to be late or the doctor’s office will cancel your appointment and/or get very upset.

Example 2: We bought an extended warranty on our appliances from a large department store. It sounded like a good deal until we needed it.

We phoned and had someone come on Aug. 31. Turns out we needed a rubber seal for our washing machine that he would need to order. He would return as soon as the part came in.

Three weeks later, no phone call. So we called some answering firm for the department store. They told us they would have someone phone us right away. Two weeks later, no phone call.

So we phoned again. Of course, you have to go through a lot of automated questions first. Then we got a real person who finally answered.

We told them the problem and they said they would have someone phone us right away. I asked for the phone number so I could talk directly to the repair company. They weren’t allowed to do that but they assured us someone would call. No phone call.

So I tried again. This time we were informed that someone had already done the repair job. That was news to us, as we still had a leaky washing machine.

They promised, once more, someone would phone us and told us again that they couldn’t give us the number. Two weeks later and still no phone call.

This time my wife phoned and was told the same story — someone would call by the end of the day. No phone call, so we called once more.

The person on the line finally decided that maybe they should do something. They kept my wife on the phone while they actually made an appointment with the repair company. Then they came back and told us we would be seeing someone the following Wednesday.

We got a phone call Tuesday night to inform us that the repairman would be out the next day with a motor for our washing machine. When we informed the lady on the phone that we didn’t need a motor, we needed a seal, she remarked, “Oh yeah, I see that right here on the order form.”

Next morning we get a call telling us that they couldn’t find the part and they would have to order it.

The first time I informed the department store, I was directed to the manager of appliances, who gave me a number to phone to complain. Guess what? When I phoned that number I got the same people who I wanted to complain about in the first place.

Then when I went to store and talked to a store manager, she apologized and gave me a whole $40 gift certificate for my trouble and promised someone would show up the following week. After two months, we finally got our seal on our washing machine fixed. Oh yeah, and a $40 gift certificate.

Example 3: I sit here today waiting for someone to fix my hot tub. I phoned almost four weeks ago to have someone repair a small leak in the tub. I told them I needed someone in the morning as I had an appointment at 4 in the afternoon.

They said they were swamped but would have someone phone as soon as possible. Two weeks later and no phone call.

So I phoned back and the person apologized and promised someone would come out the following Wednesday morning. I sat here until 1:30 p.m., when I phoned the company and asked where the repairman was.

I was promised he would be here right away. Finally, at four o’clock, I phoned back and told the company to forget about it as I had to leave for the 4 o’clock appointment.

Unlike them, I didn’t want to be late.

Two weeks later, our washing machine doesn’t work again. The hot tub guy showed up a week later, looked at the hot tub and informed my daughter we had a leak. Duh!

Then he told my daughter that there was nothing he could do about it. Yesterday we got a bill for $100 for the repair services.

I spoke to the manager today. She said the repairman was swamped but that was the bill for services. When I told her I would be sending a bill for six hours waiting for someone to show up and my charge was only $20 an hour, she tore the bill from my hand and told me to never come back into the store. Like I ever will!

Consumers, stand up! Say something about lousy service. Tell others. Use social media and let others know about businesses that provide bad service and also, those who can be relied upon for good service.

Wayne Phillips

Red Deer



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