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July 10, 2006


Nitin Goyal

You have a valid point, however most of us are so "thick skinned" due to our past sad experiences with customer service that we dread even making a call. I wonder what choice does one have when he has to choose between devil (AOL) or the deep blue sea (Comcast). Personally, some of the strategies I follow to make sure that customer service reps do not make my life hell are at http://nitnblogs.blogspot.com/2006/07/service-providers-pain-in-rear.html

Harsha Raghavan

In regards to your specific XM situation and in general with globally integrated enterprises, what you expect is a personalized experience. I think, fundamentally, this monster called a "customer" aka me or I, needs to create that relationship with the rep. I don't support big lazy, uncaring megacorps, but you're just another check mark on their customer list until that mark has some meaning.

Stephen Perelgut

Excellent article (as usual)!

My own personal experience has led me to never, ever shop with Amazon again. The problem wasn't unexpected but the way they handled it was unacceptable and I don't trust them any more.

In simple terms (remembering from the top of my head), I ordered something with a "ships in 4-6 days". A few weeks later, I checked to see why it hadn't arrived and saw that it had changed to "2-3 weeks". After 5 weeks, I checked and the shipping date had changed to a specific timeframe which was the equivalent of 8 weeks from placing the order.

My complaints went unanswered until I used some internet savvy and a more aggressive tone. Then, after a short exchange, I had a commitment of the given date and an explanation of why things were late (but, not surprisingly, not a word of apology or a reason why the wrong information had been provided three times).

Two weeks later, I checked and the date had moved out another month. I cancelled my order and wrote to the "executive" who had eventually responded. Her first response was sympathetic and promised to look into the issue but it effectively amounted to a " - why should I care about one customer and their $110". The *promised* second response never came. I can only assume that Amazon "executives" don't honour their commitments and I won't deal with that company.

By the time it got to that point, many colleagues were watching over my shoulder (in a Web 2.0 way) and enjoying my frustrations. None of them will be buying from Amazon ever again. I figure that the poor treatment cost Amazon somewhere on the order of $10K/year given the people.

FYI - at the moment, I am using www.chapters.ca since I have a number of options and there are bricks-and-mortar choices. Customer service is OK although I wish they'd also pay some attention to getting the goods shipped sooner.

I also use www.ebay.ca - everyone I've ever dealt with there knows that my comment on their record matters - a lot! I won't buy from someone with too much negative feedback and I will exchange email before bidding if the person doesn't have enough feedback.

Their customer service is exemplary.

Doug Karr

It's ironic that you noticed the article in the New York Times. As with the AOL event, view any newspaper online and you'll find a means to sign up but no means to cancel your subscription. In addition, newspapers often continue to deliver after the cancelation because, by ABC rules, they are allowed to count that circulation.


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