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What They Say When They Think You’re Not Listening


Presented By: CrmXchange

GlassesUSA, when it comes to customer service, you get whatever is worse than F. You don’t get a B for Bi**h or a C for C**t, which are two names I was called by your agents on the phone.

When it comes to customer service, I am no stranger.

I have moderated and produced hundreds, if not thousands of webinars even before webcast software existed. Yes, we actually had to fax directions to audience members.

When we started CrmXchange almost 30 years ago and discussed best practices for the contact center, three items were non-negotiable:  

  1. Treat customer with respect and the way you would want to be treated
  2. Teach agents how to use technology correctly
  3. Try, if possible, to solve the customer issue on the first contact 

Sounds simple enough, right? For some, yes. Recently I had very positive experiences with three companies: Spectrum, Verizon and Cablevision.  Each issue was handled on a phone professionally and quickly.  The phone was answered within 1 minute, and agents from each company solved my issue within 10 minutes. 

Enter: GlassesUSA

I have ordered many glasses from GlassesUSA over the past 5 years with no issue. Their costs are reasonable, and their customer service is typically good, that is, until last month.

I ordered two pairs of glasses; one came in wrong (both the frames and the prescription) and one pair was returned to sender. Ok, we all make mistakes. Surely, I can just get in touch with the company to get it resolved, right?

Wrong. So very wrong.

Chapter 1: 1-800-Unavailable

“1-844-244-1186 All Day Every Day 24/7” is what it says on the website, but when called, you’re referred to chat. Okay… I guess I’ll chat.

I had to chat in multiple times, each less successful than the previous attempt. Finally, exasperated, I called and talked to a sales agent, who is the only person I could reach on the phone (is anyone surprised that the revenue-generated stream is the only one that could be reached?).

The sales agent promised he would take care of the issue. He didn’t. Back to chat.

While on chat, I let them know I was an unhappy customer and had no one to talk to. The agent let me know that they no longer have agents to talk on the phone because “the chat resolves most of our issues”. Well, it didn’t.

Each chat led to an agent telling me that a different department would be “sending me an email” in a few days.

So, I took to twitter. As companies have trained us so well, when we can’t get satisfaction, we tweet.

glassesusa tweet
Finally that evening, I got a call from a GlassesUSA customer service agent. Rejoice! I told the agent the issue, and he profusely apologized and ask to put me on hold.

He put me on hold.

Or so he thought.

Chapter 2: Am I being punked?

The conversation I overheard went like this:

Representative: “I have a bi**h on the phone.  She’s tweeting about us all over the internet. Can you talk to this bi**h?”

Supervisor: “I was getting ready to leave but if you need me to talk to this fu****g c**t, then I will.”

Now, I was ready to forgive “bi***h”. Let’s face it, I was frustrated, and I suppose I can be less than favorable when I get upset. But as someone in the customer service in industry for well over 20 years, I thought this had to be a prank.

I hung up.

The original rep called back to see if everything was “taken care of”.  When I told him no, that the issue has gotten worse, he said he would put me through to the supervisor’s manager.

He put me on hold.

Or so he thought. Again.

Chapter 3: Oops, I Did it Again.

The conversation went like this.

Representative: “I have a bi**h on the phone”

Manager: “It’s the person [agent] told me about. Don’t worry, I erased the recording. There is no proof of the conversation.”

Representative: “I erased my recording too”

I have since tried to link it to GlassesUSA CMO and placed a call to the CEO.  As of this time I have not heard  back.

If there are any takeaways from this story, they are these: 

  1. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother to hear – you never know who is listening.
  2. While it may be (very) challenging at times, treat customers with respect.
  3. Learn the technology.
  4. Provide a channel that the customer wants; not just what is saving costs for your company.
  5. It is easier to resell a customer than to sell a new customer.  Not only will I never purchase from them again, I tell everyone of my experience (here!).
  6. As a CEO, you are not too big to hear what a customer has to say.  Fish smells from the head down.  

While I can’t know, I can image the type of culture at GlassesUSA that lets people think its ok to talk the way they do – then cover it up is pervasive.