My friend and business associate Jeanne Byington, a PR maven, writes about customer service in her blog The Importance of Earnest Service. It's on my blog roll.
I had a customer service experience the other day that I just had to share, it was so stupid. Jeanne put it up on her blog, and I'm also sharing it with my readers here. But do check out Jeanne's blog. Twice a week she gives examples of customer service, both good and bad. It's fun reading.
I get The Wall Street Journal delivered to my office every day.
I frankly don't remember how much I pay for the subscription or when it expires. I do recall that when I ordered it, it was a good deal – maybe something like $9.95/mo. But it's just not one of those things I normally give much thought to.
I had a call last Friday morning from The Journal offering me "their best deal" of $29.95/mo and I'd get two months free. So that comes to about what I seem to recall I've been paying per month.
At that moment, I didn't remember what I've been paying. So I asked the nice man on the phone how much I'm now paying. He said he didn't have that information.
I then asked him when my subscription expires. He said he didn't have that information.
He then asked to confirm my address, and he gave me the address that I moved away from two months ago. I told him my new address and also told him I've been getting the Journal here at the new place since we moved. He had no information on the new address.
I then asked him how he expected me to make a purchase decision without key information that he should have – like how much I've been paying and how much longer is my subscription paid. He started to tell me I could call the Journal's subscription number – 1-800 something.
But we didn't get that far, because I politely told the guy I didn't have time to call to get information about my account that they should have. The call wasted about four minutes of my valuable time, and it also wasted the time of the person who's getting paid at the Journal's call center.
Customer service? No, more like service of stupidity. And shame on the Journal's customer service or marketing folks for putting their employee in such a stupid position.