Thursday, 4 February 2010

It's broken: The (ongoing) saga of a case study in abysmal customer service

Disclaimer: This a long (and not-yet proofread) post, but I feel better.

So. Ya. Where to start? How about the beginning, shall we?

I'm currently taking Photoshop I at Conestoga College. I'm on week 4 of a ten-week course. I have failed to 'obtain' a copy of Photoshop, so I resigned myself to the fact I* was going to have to sell one of my children purchase the software. Obviously having the appropriate software at home makes taking a software course infinitely easier.

Last Monday night (Jan 25th) - before my course at a satellite campus - I went to their excuse for a bookstore. I walked in, thereby interrupting the employee as she was having what I assume was her dinner. I asked about the software. "Oh. You'll have to call the main campus bookstore. We don't have that information here." Alright. Weird. Whatever. I went on my way. Halfway down the hall I thought... Um... Shouldn't you have offered to call the main campus for me?! But (as I just mentioned) I was halfway down the hall and I was too lazy on my way to class at that point.

The next day (Tuesday the 26th if you're on the ball) I called the main campus bookstore at around 11am. Voicemail. Fun. Left a message requesting the information I needed and for them to call me back. I have another course on Tuesdays so I wasn't here when they called back AT 7:45 PM! (They close at 8pm). And they wouldn't give the information to our babysitter. Like it's some covert operation and they can't disclose that I might possibly be looking into buying Adobe software! "OMG! I want a divorce!! How DARE YOU not tell me you were costing Adobe Photoshop! That's it!! And I'm taking the kids!!!"

A couple days go by and the next time I think to call is Friday. I call in them morning and get - you guessed it - voice. mail. So, I left a message. Again. With all the pertinent information. Again. This time I say, "And please leave a message if someone else answers." Friday goes by. No call back. They close at 4pm on Fridays.) I call back after 5 and leave another polite(ish) yet to-the-point voicemail about serving their customers...

So. That brings us to Monday (a week later if you're doing the math). I call and actually get someone! Wow! Anyway, Becky** asks me what it was I am looking for. I let her know Adobe Photoshop. Her response (as she's obviously writing this down) "OK, that was Photo...." "Shop" I say. For the love of Papa Smurf, this girl has never heard of Photoshop... Then she proceeds to look up books about Photoshop. "All we have in stock is Photoshop... whatever it was called." "Um... It's software. I'm also looking to have Illustrator and InDesign in the package." I think this is where I completely lost her. "Let me get Tony**. He's the purchaser for the software." "Ya. You do that."

Tony gets on the phone with me. He explains there is Design Standard and Design Premium and there's a hundred dollar difference between the two. The only thing really that's different is Adobe Acrobat somethingorother and it's not that big of a deal. He asks if those three are the only ones I'm interested. I tell him they are. He lets my know Standard is the way to go. OK. I let him know to go ahead and order Standard. There's $100 deposit needed. OK. Can I just pay by credit card or do I need to come down to the campus. "It's best if you come here." He says. That caught me off guard. Then he's just about to hang up, so I jump in with "Would you like my name and number again."

Oh ya, I also let Becky know I had left a couple message and to just disregard them.

So, of course, about a half hour later, I get a call. From the college bookstore. They're returning my message. That I told them to disregard. Anyway, it's a good thing, because I want to put an order in for the software and I give the new girl my credit card for the deposit. (Funny how it wasn't an issue anymore...)

Monday night I go to my course. There a have a chance to talk to the instructor and actually look at the differences between Standard and Premium. It's the difference between Photoshop and Photoshop Extended. Premium also comes with Dreamweaver - which I may want to use later. I call first thing the next morning, hoping to catch Tony before he puts in the non-refundable, non-returnable, final-sale order for Standard. Guess what happened?.... Go ahead, guess..... I'll wait for you....  Yes! You are correct! Voicemail, people. Voicemail. Midday... Again... Voicemail. Left another message. Early evening... Called again. Human! Not Tony, but a human. Explained that I didn't want Standard, but Premium and that I'd left a couple messages already. I was left with the impression all would be fine. That was Tuesday (Feb 2nd).

That brings us to today. Thursday, February 4th. I get a call that my software is in. Nice! Considering I was told it would be late this week/early next before it would be in. AND super nice because I have an assignment due on Monday and it would be really helpful to have the software here, so I don't have to trudge to the main campus on the weekend to do my work.

My gut is telling me all is likely not ok, so I ask, "It is Design PREMIUM?". I'm told yes it is. So, the kids and I eat supper. I pack them up and drive 20 minutes to the main campus. We park and we walk... and walk... Anyone who's been to a campus knows you don't park anywhere near where you need to go, right?! And it's close to bedtime, so this is really fun. :/

We get into the bookstore and the first associate-girl is not sure where the heck it could be, so nice associate-girl 2 brings out my Design..... wait for it..... STANDARD. I try to keep it together. (At the same time I am trying to wrangle two very short people and get to them to NOT TOUCH anything.)

I go through the process with her... spoke to Tony and someone else (apparently not associate-girl 2) and ordered. Realized that evening all was not disclosed about the differences and tried everything I could to get the message through in time to the appropriate person. (Obviously that didn't happen.) And the person I (finally) spoke with to change to Premium was associate-girl 2 herself.

My exact words to her were, "Excuse me for being blunt, but it's not my fault as a customer that your system sucks. Put those Smarties back and DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING!" (Ok. That last part wasn't to her directly.)

I also relayed the fact that I was VERY unimpressed with packing up my kids, driving to the main campus, trudging to the bookstore AFTER I'd tried to make sure it was going to be the correct package when I got there. "Again. Your system is broken."

Where has it been left? Well, the 'final-purchase' software is not being purchased and they are ordering Premium - which should be there just in time for me to have to have done my assignment in the computer lab at the college instead of at home...

The kids and I walked around campus for a bit - so they could 'explore' and I could scope out the computer labs and find out which ones have Adobe on them.... Guess where I'll be at some point this weekend?!

Oh - and get this, when I went up to the information desk? The information guy saw me and then WALKED AWAY! He proceeded to talk to some other college dude for a couple minutes first... And I found 'information guy' is a bit of a misnomer...

*By "I", I mean "my parents" because they have graciously offered to buy the software for me! Yay for awesome parents. (Yes, I'm 36.... At least I don't live in their basement!)

**Names have been changed to protect me. Since I don't have my software in hand yet - and it is WAY cheaper to buy as a student through the college - I'm going to play a bit nice. ;)

Do you have any "fun" cusomter service stories to share?!

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