By David Sims
The news as of the first coffee this morning, and the music is the BBC Philharmonic’s broadcast version of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6:
Happy birthday, and thanks for all the great columns, Ann Coulter.
It’s great to write about the theory of CRM, how companies should be treating their customers better, and to praise companies who do it well, but we here at First CoffeeSM think it’s also appropriate to kick a little butt when somebody clearly despises their customers. This usually happens in the online world, since anybody who treated customer as badly as Caiman.com treats their customers wouldn’t last from one Christmas season to the next on a street corner shop somewhere.
First CoffeeSM printed an account of a terrible customer experience he had buying a CD via the online vendor through Amazon.com, more as an object lesson than anything else, and was astounded at how many other e-mails that provoked from customers feeling similarly ill-used, lied to and otherwise treated like a whiny ATM.
This led to another entry, “Terrible Service Costs Caiman.com Another Customer,” printed back in April, and the responses to that one are still rolling in. On the day before Thanksgiving Day “Eric” wrote in to post “Caiman.com is absolutely the worst customer service experience ever!,” and yesterday, Pearl Harbor Day – it must be a day of great moment to post on First CoffeeSM, folks – “Brett” echoed what others have written:
I ordered a DVD from Caiman from Amazon on 11/05/05. I received an email from them saying it has shipped. On 12/07/05 it is still not here. I emailed “Claire” in customer service. She said the USPS can take up to 21 days to deliver a package. This is total fabrication. I then asked for the tracking number for the package. She replied, “The USPS does not provide us with tracking numbers.” Once again, I believe such a statement is a total fabrication. They’re the worst. SOMEBODY SHUT THEM DOWN.
That so many people have written in to complain about Caiman.com’s terrible customer service tells us that a) this isn’t First CoffeeSM griping about a one-off mistake somebody at an otherwise fine company made, and b) it’s a lot easier for companies providing bad service like Caiman.com to thrive online, where they’re virtually anonymous and, parasite-like, cling to their host sites like Amazon.com.
What can be done about this? Not just about Caiman.com’s awful treatment of customers, but to improve customer service online in general? Do people not read the customer opinions on Amazon.com? First CoffeeSM didn’t, or else he would’ve taken his business elsewhere. My bad, okay, but it’s a mistake not to be made twice.
Some posters to the entry above have contacted the Better Business Bureau to complain about Caiman.com, some have written the Florida Attorney General’s office. That’s upsetting your customers in a big way, when they take the time and effort to track down that sort of recourse. The problem there is that enforcement action rarely filters down in a meaningful way to company headquarters.
First CoffeeSM’s recommendation? When you find someone who couldn’t care less about providing you with good customer service, who you think isn’t shooting 100% straight with you, who tries to slough you off with obviously canned e-mails providing information you know to be incorrect, in other words a company which can’t be bothered to even pretend to give a rip about you as long as you simply hand over the money, give ‘em the ol’ Nancy Reagan treatment and just buy a complete set of new china after consulting your astrologer.
Uh, rather, just say no. The only thing that’ll get such scofflaws off the Internet is loss of revenue. It’s the only power we have to improve the quality and reliability of customer service, so let’s use it.
Motorola, Inc. has announced that the company deployed its commercial UMTS on Taiwan, within nine months of contract signing, to let VIBO Telecom launch 3G commercial service on December 6, 2005.
Motorola provided VIBO with a complete 3G network including
Motorola’s UMTS system and exclusive 3G handsets, so VIBO could launch the latest
3G multimedia services this week to customers across Taiwan. A system upgrade
to HSDPA via a simple software download will be carried out at a future time,
when VIBO opts for a 3G network enhancement, Motorola officials say.
With Motorola’s UMTS network, VIBO was able to provide its initial 1.5 million subscribers with 3G services. Subscribers now can access VIBO’s 3G multi-media services, which generally provide a greater variety of quality voice and data services than previously available with 2/2.5G.
Pactolus Communications Software Corporation, a developer of Class 4/5 SIP-based IP voice services, and Convedia Corporation, a supplier of IP media servers, have announced that the two companies are collaborating to offer service provider deployment of SIP-based, IMS-compliant services.
The partnership, Pactolus officials say, will enable “rapid, economical deployment of media-rich services and features for applications based on Pactolus’ RapidFLEX Service Creation Environment and its SIPwar Carrier Services Suite, using Convedia’s IP multimedia processing.”
Over the last four years, the two companies’ products have
been used in numerous service provider networks, such as that of Primus Canada.
Officials from both companies say the collaboration is to help simplify both media-rich features, and the delivery of services of all types of fixed and mobile network topologies, in the hopes of driving increased subscriber usage and retention. The emerging IMS cross-network service model, they believe, fosters subscriber adoption of advanced calling features, customizations, unified contact databases and calling groups, which extends the usability of carrier services and promotes subscriber loyalty.
We’re settled into our apartment in Istanbul now, which actually has a view of Bosphorus if you stand on the roof and jump. Here’s how First CoffeeSM explained the experience to a friend in an e-mail:
Arrange for the truck to pick up our stuff in Antalya at nine in the morning Friday. Truck shows up at 10:30, so early by Turkish standards we’re lucky we’re dressed. We’d agreed to pay 500 lira ($370) for the guy to do the move, truck and all, he gets there and doesn’t have any helpers. Where are the helpers? Oh, helpers, yeah, that’ll be 300 lira, I can have a couple guys here in ten minutes (upon which he’ll pay them 15 lira each and pocket 270). Forget it, we’ll do it ourselves. Um, 150 lira? Sorry, Charlie. It’s mostly boxes anyway, not much furniture, a friend’s staying with us so he helps.
Truck’s all packed, locked, the guy says you’re going to Cengelkoy in Istanbul, right? Right, like we told you a couple weeks ago. Sorry, can’t take you there, streets are too narrow, the guy says. (You think this is an exaggeration? After the truck is locked he says this.) Much phone-calling back and forth with the woman who lives in the apartment we’re moving into, assures him yes, it’s fine, the truck can make it no problem. No bribe, sorry. Grumpy, he says he’ll have it in Istanbul Saturday morning, leaves.
We fly to Istanbul Friday night, call the truck guy, who says sure, I’ll have a couple helpers to unload tomorrow morning, no problem.
Saturday comes and goes. Sunday morning he calls, says he’s “in Istanbul” somewhere. Fine, we say, we’ll be at church, you can come to the flat after two. Guy calls at 11:30 saying he’s at the apartment. This is still Swiss timing for Turkey, mind you. We get home at two, he’s there, where are the guys to help? Oh, you wanted helpers? Makes some calls, in five minutes two guys show up asking 100 lira each.
Paying 25 lira for a day’s work is a lot, this job’ll take a couple hours, max. Friend and I start unpacking. Um, 60 lira? Get lost. Security guard hails a couple gardeners thrilled to pieces to get 30 each for a couple hours’ work and who are Our Good Friends now.
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