Breakthrough

As Gomer Pyle used to say, “Surprise, surprise, surprise!” You could also throw in his “Shazam!” or “Golly!”

There was a breakthrough. I am holding my breath, but at least there may be a payoff to my concerted effort and persistence.

Goal Zero finally responded to my customer service inquiry – only nine days after submission. Not with an answer I liked, but at least it was an answer.

And Ryobi, finally, after two hours on hold yesterday and then resorting to the “call back” (yeah, don’t fall for that ever…) option for no response. I called again this morning and after 20 minutes on hold, someone actually picked up!! They were very nice and got the process started for tool replacement via the warranty. Mind you, this was just the first step so there are still things on their end that they need to do, but I am hopeful. Hopeful that at least the process will now go the way it should have at the start.

Persistence. Patience. Bargain with the devil? Nah, I didn’t have to go that far, but I was contemplating the next step…a witch’s curse? Pentagram on the garage floor? Flaming sacrificial alter for burning the tools? There are a lot of options when you think about it.

Hopefully none of you out there are doing customer support. If so, know that you may not be safe from the dark world. As a matter of fact, maybe that is why I have had strange happenings in my home office…perhaps I have been cursed in my role for customer service…that might explain the strange goose-pimples at odd times of the day…

I’m out! I gotta go get my protection on.

man wearing gray and red armour standing on the streets

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Blah!

It’s been that kind of week.

Blah!

Customer service issues that still haven’t been resolved. Radio silence. Crickets everywhere.

Work has been overwhelming in trying to help schools with distance learning with little to no guidance from the state on how they should be tracking attendance, engagement, or even if they need to do it. Every call is a lot of shoulder shrugging, head nodding, what ifs, and apologies for not being more helpful.

BLAH!

It’s Friday.

I have never run a marathon, but is this what it feels like?

I need this weekend like no other.

Customer service?

 

The saga widens.

If you’re a business, staying in contact and helping your current customers is important for continuing to be a business. This shouldn’t even be a question. It’s a given!

If you’re a business and want to stay in business, you should respond to potential customer inquiries so they can decide if they want to buy your product. Again, this should be a given.

Customer service these days (well maybe always, but definitely more noticeable these days) is severely lacking in all kinds of different places. With most business being shifted online because of the current lockdown, customers are trying to reach out to companies as they deal with product issues or consider purchases. I am no different.

The Ryobi issue is still ongoing…no call back from the Warranty Department. Do I call every day now? Do I wait it out? Should I create a Twitter account just so I can go on there and shame them into helping me?

I emailed a company to ask about a product I currently have to see if they had a connection cable needed to connect to another product I have of theirs so they would work together. As yet, no response to that email from Goal Zero.

On top of that, I took the battery out of one of the vehicles and took it to a local company to have them check it out. It died in the vehicle for no reason and there isn’t anything that was drawing power from it, so I was wondering if it was bad. I dropped it off on Saturday with the understanding they would call on Tuesday or Wednesday with the test results (seemed like a long time to me, but OK). Yesterday afternoon came and no call. I called them. “Oh, yeah, seems to be working fine but we would like to test it one more time.” So, I’ll be picking that up this afternoon, hopefully.

Is this normal? Is customer service normally this bad?

Anyone else having a hard time getting online customer service? This stuff shouldn’t be that hard as it can mostly be done remotely. Are companies really not that nimble to make adjustments for customer service? Is it that hard to pick up a phone and just call?

I would be interested to know if you are experiencing more frustration than normal when contacting customer service.

Warranty Department

fashion hand hurry outfit

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Continuing the saga from yesterday

With a phone number and instructions to have tools, batteries, and chargers on had when I call the number, I called this morning to make sure that I was calling during East coast hours.

The call was answered by a machine and the instructions were the same as I received in my call yesterday. Then it proceeded to read back my phone number and ask if I would like a call back when someone to handle my call was available, if so, press 1.

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And now I wait? Until when? It’s been two hours so far. Am I just supposed to wait all day by the phone, in the garage, staring at the tool that doesn’t work?

So, the saga continues…

 

A tool story

Technology in today’s day and age allows companies and customers to better interact.

That could mean that customers have better access to product information and new offerings from a company. It could mean that companies provide better support and customer care when issues arise with it’s products. It could mean that customers are able to communicate with the company their needs for tools and features they need.

Regardless of what could happen, customers should have a good experience with the product and the company. It’s what keeps them coming back to the company and it’s what also has them recommend the company’s products to people they know.

A little over a year ago, I decided it was time to update my power tools so I decided that having something with lots of tools and one battery system would be the best since they are all interchangeable. The answer was…

Ryobi.

In general, I like the tools. They 18v One+ system is a great idea because of the variety of tools that will work off one battery system. No need to have a bunch of different battery sizes and no need to have to buy new and newer tools since other companies keep changing their batteries all the time.

So, I invested. I bought a multiple tool set and over the last year I have added several more tools and a new set of extra batteries with a quick charger (30 minutes to be exact). It’s been a little less than a year since I did this and everything has worked as expected until now.

That 30 minute charger just up and died…used it two weeks ago and it work and then went to use it last week and it didn’t. Nothing. No power.

So, I wanted to find out what now. It is less than a year old and is probably under warranty. I logged into their website, ryobitools.com, and navigation is PAINFULLY SLOW! It takes minutes just to get their page to load, let alone navigate from one place to another once you actually get there.

All I could think as I wait and wait and wait is, “Really?” With a company this large with that kind of budget, they can’t get a website that is zippity-do-dah fast? Kind of not really great customer service, ya know?

When I finally get to the “Contact” page I called the Power Tools phone number for support, 800-525-2579, and their navigation system is garbled and hard to understand…and the number they say to push for help sounds like “8” but when you push that number is says it is invalid. I called several times and finally pushed “2” (sounds nothing like “8”) and got through. WTH? Seriously. I am not joking. Call it yourself.

So, besides having a painfully slow website, they also have a call system that is garbled and hard to understand. Makes total sense for a company trying to get and keep customers, right?

Oh, and after I talked with someone I have to call another department (East coast times, mind you) to get warranty help. I’ll let you know how that goes…

fitbit – one last chance

This is a love/hate story. I can’t think of anything else to say about what you are going to read. I love the idea of the product, but the execution of said product hasn’t been great, nor good. Thus, I find myself loving the product and hating it at the same time.

Bear with me here. This is a long, complicated story with lots of history. I’ll do my best to condense it to a cohesive, frustratingly loud, “Aarg!” and head shake.

It all started with the fitbit Charge. It was small enough to wear comfortably but large enough to be helpful and readable. It had features I liked and it was convenient enough to wear. Then the troubles started…

The bands on the Charge were not holding to the molded plastic inside and the rubber started peeling away from the unit. Eventually the band would just wear out and would need to be replaced. I wore it as long as I could. Luckily the warranty from the store it was purchased from hadn’t expired yet. They replaced it free of charge. But, it didn’t last long and they were again going to have to replace it because of the same issue. This time I decided to pay the difference and upgrade to the Charge HR.

This time the band on the unit seemed to be much better and lasted longer. But, after about a year, the display screen started having issues and it got hard to read. I made it last as long as I could until is just up and died (at least the screen did).

I missed having it on my wrist and they had a new version of the Charge out, the Charge 3, so I bought it off of Amazon. I was happy with it. Bands were good. It had more functions than I had previously. All was going good until…about eight months into it the display screen started to do strange things. At first, it started loosing lines of pixels. As more and more started to drop off, then the screen turned almost a light white color – like someone had turned the contrast up and it no longer had much.

I contacted customer support after doing some research and seeing that other users were having similar issues. I took pictures (sorry don’t have those any longer) and they walked me through some reset functions and finally determined the screen was bad and since it was under warranty they sent me a new unit. I got the replacement, put the bands from the old one on it and off I went.

Less than four months later, I am contacting customer service, again. This replacement unit, which I highly suspect was a refurbished Charge 3, was beginning to display the same issues as the one it had replaced (see top of photo below). There were lines forming in the display again and it was losing pixels. We of course go through the whole process of “Did you try this? Or this? How about that?”

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Now, I am starting to get irritated. Look, you have a bad product, parts, design, something. I want my money back. I don’t want another replacement of this product. The best they will do for me is replace it or give me a 50% discount on another product. As if my confidence isn’t already worn down, “OK, whatever. I’ll give you one more shot.”

So, I took my 50% discount to their products page and purchased the fitbit Versa 2. With the discount it was actually less expensive to buy it now than with any of the Black Friday specials the stores were offering. So, I’ll jump in cautiously.

Product arrives and I open it up to set it up. Immediately I am met with this thought as I go to charge the unit, “Who was the designer of the charger and how did this idiot get it approved for production?” Seriously, my confidence is already not real high on your product and then you send me this?

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fitbit, you’re really gonna have a large faced product that will sit sideways on a surface so that it can’t be seen or used while it is charging? REALLY? 

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I was a little wary of getting a large faced product since that is the reason I don’t really like wearing watches, but so far the larger screen isn’t the issue. Design. Design is the issue, at least for the charger. Not a good start, or first impression. My confidence isn’t high in this product but we’ll see where it goes. This may be the final product I ever purchase from them.

I was already eyeing the Apple Watch, so it may not be far off in my future.

Refund

money coins currency savings

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I bought something online at the beginning of the month that needed to be sized before being purchased. Of course, I don’t want to buy something that doesn’t fit right off the bat so I was careful to follow instructions.

The instructions said to download the fitting guide and make sure to “print at 100%” so the fitting guide printed accurately. The fitting guide was a PDF on the company website. When you hit download you have a program that opens the PDF and then you print. Pretty simple process. At least it should be. There is no magic here.

So, the product arrives and I try it on. Doesn’t fit. It doesn’t fit!

I decide to compare the item I received to the fitting guide I printed off. It was obviously bigger than what I determined the size should be so where exactly did it fit on the sizing guide? Interestingly Frustratingly enough, the item was a full two sizes bigger than what I ordered. TWO!

Now, I take pictures of the fit and sizing guide with the item and what it should have been versus what it actually was. Then I contact the company and submit my request for a refund and to return the item.

The response is rather irritating. Yes, they will refund the money, but a “common mistake is that the sizing guide isn’t printed at 100%.” Oh, so you are going to blame the problem on the customer when all they did was download and print the guide you provided?

Is the PDF already at full size or not? It fit onto and filled an entire 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper so I don’t know how there could be any mistaking how it was printed. If the PDF isn’t already at full size, why put it up on your website as your fitting guide?

Sorry, but you lost a sale and any recommendation you might have gotten for the whole process even if it was a return. You can’t blame the customer for a problem you may be creating yourself.

Morning meetings

group of people in conference room

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Morning meetings, especially long ones, throw the rest of the day under the bus. Playing catch-up isn’t easy for the employees, and it is frustrating to your clients.

I realize there isn’t probably a perfect time to have a meeting, but there are definitely times that aren’t good to have them. Thus, the eternal question of “when?”

So, we play catch-up and everyone’s stress level or anxiety goes up.

#SMH