Monday, December 20, 2004

Adventures in Customer Service (Sears Sucks) Volume Six

About a year into the saga I began getting copies of reciepts for appliance purchases and mailing them to their corporate HQ with a letter that explained that this was yet another thing I didn't buy from Sears. I had friends and family give me their reciepts and sent them in as proof that I was making them pay for their complete jackassery.

Almost three years into the saga I got a call from a guy who said he was the VP of the Southwest region. He had heard that I had a problem and was calling me personally. He, of course, had no idea what the problem was or that I had asked to not be called. My guess is that he was concerned that I might be under the impression that only the "little guys" are capable of truly bad service. Or maybe it is company policy for the big wigs to get out and give bad service to people a couple of times a year just to stay fresh.

Anyhoo, I was stupid enough to go through the whole story with him. Click Read More.

When I got done with the story his response was basically: That's it? That is the story that forced me to call you to get it cleared up? I am torn on this one. On one level, I understand that feeling. Why the hell is a VP having to call a customer about some small problem? I know how he feels. On the other hand, the reason it got bumped to him is that apparently everyone between him and me within Sears is an idiot. Don't belittle me because your company sucks.

Then he got all used-car salesmany on me: What's it gonna take to get you back in a Sears store? I told him that the problem was I had offered a solution on several occasions. The solution was never onerous or unreasonable. Sears refused over and over again. Used-car guy: Come on buddy, you'll look great in a Sears. Craftsman tools, ehh? Kenmore appliances. You know you want to come back.

So I told him my wife analogy: You know when you do something to really piss off your wife? Do you get to come back to her and say: Come on, baby, what's it gonna take to get you to forget about me blowing Cindy's college fund on hookers and blow? Or do you just shut up and do whatever extravagant thing you can to try to make it up to her? I am the angry wife. What is your offer?

Here was his offer: I see your service contract is up in 3 months. How about if I give you and extra three months added on for free?

Here was my response: You mean the service contract that you never honored to begin with? How about if you refund my money for that contract in full?

Him: Can't do that. [Of course not. I think they have a secret policy of not doing anything that a customer requests]. But think about it. Dryers gettin' old. Could break down soon.

Me: What percentage of your washers and dryers break down within 3 months of the end of the contract? [A brilliant question, if I do say so. If the number is high he is admitting their products are shoddy. If it is low, he is admitting that he is offering me little.]

Him: Don't know but it is low.

Me: OK, so you are offering me little. Please don't call me unless you have something worth my time to discuss.

Him: But I am the VP of the southwest region.

Me: The title sounds really impressive but it doesn't seem to be backed up by the ability to do anything for me.

Him: I don't think you know who you are [I hung up here]

And never heard from Sears again. I suspect he filled out some form that he spoke with me and I was satisfied. We moved shortly thereafter and got a new phone number. Sometimes I wonder if there is some guy in Houston still getting phone calls from Sears asking what his problem was. He insists he doesn't have a problem with Sears except for the fact that they keep calling him. Six months later he gets another call...


Blogger Sandra Brownrigg. Amplify Marketing said...

Having my own issues with Sears and linked to your story from my blog.

All good wishes and thanks for a great read about a customer support system organized to unrelentingly not support the customer.

10:13 AM  

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