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Let’s Talk About Terrible Customer Service

Customer service is something that everyone, everywhere will undoubtedly encounter at one point or another in their lives.

Sometimes we get phenomenal customer service and rave and rave and rave about how Company XYZ GETS their customers. Other times we get really, really bad customer disservice.

Unfortunately for the company I have been attempting to deal with since the 18th, I just experienced that dreaded other time where you get really, really bad customer disservice.

Let me share with you the chain of events:

July 2011 – Jess subscribes to SocialReport.com under a 30-day-trial, agreeing to the terms that after the initial 30 days, the credit card on file shall be charged a monthly service fee unless a cancellation request is submitted within the trial period.

Mid-July 2011 – Jess no longer needs the services that SocialReport.com provides and submits a cancellation request while logged in to her account.

September 2011 – Jess no longer operates under the business name nor does she have access to the webmail account associated with the business domain (the email address used to create credentials for the SocialReport.com services)

July 18, 2012 – On a whim, Jess logs into a rarely-used-except-to-make-payments credit card account to confirm her recent payment had successfully posted, only to discover a monthly subscription fee for SocialReport.com had been drafted from the account.

July 18, 2012 – Jess emails SocialReport.com once from their general contact form and, after twenty minutes of racking her brain to recall her login credentials established a year ago, unable to send a retrieval request because of her actions in September of 2011, she sends a subsequent message requesting  a refund of four sporadic “monthly” subscription fees charged to her card over the course of the last twelve months. Jess also cancels her subscription…for the second time…for good measure.

July 19-22, 2012 – Crickets.

July 22, 2012 – Jess disputes the charges with the card issuer and is temporarily credited the full amount of the four sporadic charges occurring in August 2011, January 2012, February 2012, and July 2012.

July 23, 2012 – After still experiencing only crickets, Jess sends a follow up email to SocialReport.com, detailing the steps she has taken with her credit card company to recoup the sporadic charges based on the lack of response from SocialReport.com.

It’s at this point that Jess receives a completely familiarized reply to her third attempt at return correspondence. The “customer service rep” (we’re using these terms lightly here, folks) informs her that they only hold record that she canceled her account on July 18, 2012. Blatantly disregarding the timeline she had now repeated in each correspondence attempt three times. She emphasizes again the inability to present the documentation that she submitted a cancellation request within the time frame suitable for being removed from a monthly subscription beyond July 2011. SocialReport.com shares that they do not have record of her canceling service in July 2011 so they are willing to issue a courtesy credit equal to one month of service fees. Jess has already obtained this refund from her card issuer.

Jess’ favorite part was when the rep for SocialReport.com starts out a reply email with “Well actually…” which just screams professionalism. In another awkward turn of events, it appears the company took to the erratic and dramatic by stating, unprovoked,

“If we hear from credit card company – we will submit proof that nothing malicious has occurred…”

This is like a neon sign of professionalism, y’all. Then the straw breaks the camel’s back when the rep calls Jess’ reply, “dense”.

Now Jess attempts to get to the bottom of the sporadic nature of the charges. Recall that they took place in August 2011, then none for four months, and then back to back in January and February 2012, and then none for four more months, and then finally again in July 2012. According to the rep, the “credit card on file was declined for those two blocks of four months” while almost entirely in the same breath, comparing SocialReport.com’s services to that of a television provider who “would not refund your money if you chose not to turn on your TV while you had cable.” At which point, Jess kindly attempted to wrap her head around the blatant assimilation the rep had just made to a luxury service like cable television, where, to the best of her knowledge, if you were to not pay a month’s dues, your services would be temporarily suspended or terminated until an ample means of payment had been received. But that’s not how SocialReport.com operates, you guys. SocialReport.com has at least a FOUR MONTH grace period as a superior means of providing a service to large corporations. Ain’t that fancy?

It’s this principle of business policy that seems to confirm that if business is that good, where you can maintain your services for up to (if not more than) four months without payment from your client, that refunding four sporadic subscription fees over the course of a twelve-month period should be a drop in the bucket, right?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’d tell myself to go fly a kite too if I were standing at their door, demanding TWELVE WHOLE MONTHS OF SERVICE FEES with evidence that I had totally been utilizing their services to the fullest extent of my subscriptions tier, but, BUT…they confirmed with me themselves, per internal record, that the last time I had logged into the account to access any of the reports from their tracking services was…wait for it…AUGUST 2011. Which is the point I was trying to make as a civil, honest customer looking to recoup unnecessary losses. That I was positive I canceled the subscription and had quite obviously ceased use of their services regardless of the missing record of my cancellation. I could have been super dishonest and just  put a bad card on file and then proceeded to milk their generous grace period for my own benefit, but that’s just not how I roll. This situation is pretty black and white and now it’s red all over.

So this is it, guys. The next time you want to really drill it down, make sure to pluck your nose out of your employee handbook and ensure you’re offering more than a 25% effort at customer service.

UPDATED: I forgot to mention that when I brought it to the attention of the rep that I feel they are not truly paying attention to the situation, they insisted that “The fact that I am spending this much time with you trying to explain what happened is already a great indicator that I am looking beyond the employee hand book.”. Which is what a customer is interested in hearing when they bring their dissatisfaction with the way you are (not)handling things to your attention. Absolutely. Also? None of the dialogue has been extravagant or pursuant to the recognition of “above and beyond”. Translation: “Listen lady, we do our best to correspond way less than this with people, so I’m probably getting a trophy tomorrow in the board room for ALL OF THIS explaining I’m doing with you.”

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