So, as I already wrote the other day, our mattress was scheduled to arrive between 9:45 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. on Thursday. JJ and I waited near the entrance of our driveway for several hours so we could transport the mattress the rest of the way by sled if the delivery men didn’t want to attempt driving up our steep 500 foot driveway. They never arrived. So throughout the day I called Sears at least three times and I contacted their on-line chat once. (I prefer to use on-line chat because an accent doesn’t get in the way of communication.) Each time I contacted Sears I was transferred to a call center located in India. The conversations were always the same. After a few calls, I realized that they must be reading from a script on “How to Deal with an Angry Customer.”
I would explain the situation–the scheduled delivery that hadn’t occurred, the steps I had taken to resolve this, and so on.
PIIWHATICBU (Person in India with heavy accent that I could barely understand): “I understand how frustrating this situation is for you. The delivery men could not locate your address. Can you verify your address for us?
I told them my address. Again.
PIIWHATICBU: We can reschedule the delivery for January 27.
Me: Waiting another two weeks for delivery is unacceptable. I want the mattress delivered TODAY. If they can’t find my address they can call me and I will give them further directions. If they don’t want to attempt driving up my driveway, they can call me and I will take it up the driveway myself.
PIIWHATICBU: Will you verify your phone number. (I do.) Ok. They will be there within two hours.
I’d wait for two hours and there was no sign of a delivery truck so I called back. We’d repeat the conversation. They would tell me to call the local Sears to resolve the problem. I would call the local number and I would be transferred to the call center in India. I was getting very frustrated and increasingly angry. Finally, my last conversation went something like this:
PIIWHATICBU: We understand your frustration. Our records show that the mattress was delivered.
Me: Did your delivery man throw the mattress in the snow at the bottom of my driveway? Because no mattress was delivered to my house and the only way it was delivered was if they threw it in the snow and drove off.
PIIWHATICBU: We can reschedule your delivery for January 29th. We will call the night before to give you a window of time in which it will be delivered.
Me. “No. That is unacceptable. The mattress was on a truck in my area TODAY so there is no reason for it to take another TWO WEEKS to get to my house. I realize it is now too late to be delivered today so I want it delivered TOMORROW. And I don’t want to be given another “time window” for delivery. I have been given multiple “time windows” and am still waiting for my mattress.
PIIWHATICBU: Can you verify your address?
Me: No I cannot. I have verified my address multiple times ALL DAY long. You have my correct address. You also have my correct phone number. I don’t know why the delivery men can’t find my driveway when they’ve never had problems making deliveries in the past. Do they have GPS? I have asked you to have the delivery men call when they get to my area and no one has called. I want to talk to your manager.
PIIWHATICBU: Ok. I will put you on hold and find a manager. [I wait at least ten minutes.] The manager is busy but he will call you within three hours.
That was two days ago. I have not yet heard from any manager.
I was so frustrated and spitting mad when EJ got home. He ended up driving all the way to Sears in the next town to talk to a real person. The woman he talked to–head of operations or something–was very friendly and helpful. EJ explained all the steps I had taken, my frustration at repeatedly having to talk to people in India that I could barely understand. She said the store employees are often frustrated as well because they have to talk to the people in India and they can’t really understand them either. Plus, the people in India really don’t know much beyond what is on their script so they really aren’t much help. She showed EJ that the computer had our correct address and phone number. She scheduled the delivery for Saturday (today). She gave him her personal cell phone number and said that if the mattress was not here by noon to give her a call.
So this morning EJ wrote our house numbers in BIG NUMBERS on a piece of wood and put it out by the road. “CAN YOU SEE IT NOW???” He kept his phone with him. Wouldn’t you know it, it rang the one time he had left it on the table while he went into another room. I ran to answer it. When I heard a heavily accented Indian voice, I handed the phone to EJ, who by that time was next to me. Here is the really crazy thing: The delivery guys had to call India to call us to tell us that they had arrived. EJ told the guy from India that he would drive down and, if the delivery guys could help, he would fasten the mattress to the top of his Suburban and transfer it the rest of the way to our house. The India guy then called the delivery men, who were at the bottom of our driveway, and passed on the message.
The delivery guys were actually really good guys. They told EJ that they couldn’t make it up our driveway because their truck gets easily stuck in even the slightest snow. They helped EJ load the mattress and he got it to the house. We now have the new mattress on the bed.
Yay! Now maybe I will get some decent sleep. EJ took a nap on the bed and said it was heavenly.
I have heard that Sears is losing money and is closing many stores. No kidding! I think that Sears, and businesses like them, need to understand a few things:
1. It’s vital for their success to have happy, satisfied customers. An unhappy customer will go to their competitors.
2. I understand that businesses save money by outsourcing their support services to other countries like India. But they are not saving money if their customers are can’t get good customer service.
3. Good communication is vital, including being able to understand what the person on the other side of the phone is saying.
4. The support staff in India were able to do a few limited things–like schedule regular deliveries. They absolutely had no authority or ability to deal with any problems. If their job to provide support and resolve problems, they need to be given the ability to do it.
5. I was caught in an endless loop. Whether I called the phone number on Sears’ website or tried to call my local store, I was constantly transferred to the call center in India. When they couldn’t resolve my problem, I needed to have access to someone who could resolve problems. That access did not exist.
The local people were excellent, but we had to drive to the actual store to get any help. Because of Sears’ mishandling of our delivery problems, we don’t plan to shop there again. But that is probably a moot point anyway because if they can’t provide good customer service, their store isn’t going to survive.