Costly CRM

OK so I am using a blog as a sounding board to complain. I do this often. Perhaps this is part of my unique charm? 😉 Since the holiday season is approaching I will complain without telling you what company I am complaining about. This is my gift to them. I will tell you however that they are a top computer maker in the US and their name doesn’t rhyme with smell.
The story goes; I needed to buy a computer for a family member and ordered it on a Saturday. The family member told me instead it should be a laptop. So on the following Sunday I called to cancel it. The customer service representative in India had me hold to be connected to someone else who was definitely in the US. This person then asked me to hold for a supervisor. Approximately 60+ minutes later I was told there was a technical problem and the order cannot be cancelled.
The company suggested I wait for the computer to arrive and then send it back.
I think this may one of the stupidest companies I have ever worked with. Within 24 hours it should be trivial to cancel an order. Perhaps I don’t understand just in time manufacturing but I thought on a Sunday it should be easy to cancel an order. I would imagine it is easier to stop an order then wait for it to ship, and then ship it back.
But then again hey, what do I know.
So we waited patiently for the items to arrive and they didn’t show up on the day they should have. Instead, I received an e-mail telling me there are manufacturing delays and subsequently the computer will not arrive on time.
In the e-mail I was given the option of cancelling the order and in addition I was told I will receive a $50 credit on my next computer purchase. The credit did indeed arrive in another e-mail.
So I cancelled the computer order and now have a $50 credit. In the end this is probably less than the company would have paid to ship the computer anyway (there was free shipping included with the purchase).
As a customer, I am not sure what to make of this. Is this business as usual in corporate America or just plain lunacy? But hey, I shouldn’t complain and I am indeed happier to have the $50 credit and not have to deal with the return. The question is, shouldn’t companies have a system in place to allow customers to cancel orders in a more efficient manner?
But on the bright side the $50 credit has won me over. Sure the company is out of packet but they purchased some customer loyalty and I am leaning towards ordering the laptop from the same company. I wonder still if it wouldn’t have been more effective to let me get the order cancelled quickly in the first place. The company would have had a laptop order sooner, a happy customer and saved $50 which is probably the entire margin on a computer purchase these days.

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