Lately I’ve been paying very close attention to both customer service and marketing.  Being a business owner myself I’m very interested in what brings in prospects and keeps clients happy.  I look to my own reactions to companies I deal with to learn what works and what doesn’t.

I used to deal with a company that told me about their great customer service, as a loop on an automated voice mail tree.  Their automated HOLD line tells me how important I am to them; they will be with me momentarily, for at least 45 minutes.  Every time I had to call this company, I was guaranteed to wait at least 45 minutes on hold, and then have a different agent take care of me each time, and NOT fulfill what they said they would.  That’s a lot of overhead to order the same few parts each quarter.

Actual flyer received from company. Click to enlarge.

Imagine getting a flyer from a company that says “if you can’t give us 5 out of 5 stars for customer service, let us know”.  The company is actually so miserable at customer service that I thought the flyer was a bad joke at first, and then I looked at it more carefully.  I became mad at how cynical and self-serving it is.  The flyer asks for feedback but has no information on how to contact the company or give the feedback.  It’s designed to waste my time.   This company bought the company that bought the company (all within 9 months) that supplies the replacement parts for my CPAP machine.  Their customer service is so bad that after waiting on hold listening to their ads for 47 minutes, they sent me the wrong parts.  When I called them up and told them I take a “large”, not a “medium”, they argued with me and told me they sent me a medium last month so it must be right!  I responded that it was wrong then and is still wrong now, I take a large.   Customer Overhead 45 minutes to order the parts, 45 minutes to try to return the wrong parts.

I asked them for an RMA so I could return the incorrect parts they sent me.  They said the parts weren’t costly enough to warrant an RMA, I should just throw them out.  Well I didn’t throw them out, and when I got a bill for the wrong parts I disputed the bill.  They did not respond to the dispute and at 90 days they put me into collection.  And that is after they billed my insurance company.
After waiting on hold another 1 hour and 15 minutes at the collection agency, I  asked the collection agency if they were part of this scam, which they denied, I told them the story, that I wasn’t going to pay, and that I had the parts, which they told me to throw out, and would be happy to return them.  The collection agency said they would call me back.  That was 3 weeks ago.

Does this sound like a scam?  They send me the wrong parts, waste 1 hour and 15 minutes of my time to try to straighten it out, tell me to throw out those parts, bill my insurance company AND then they turn me over to collections.

The flyer they sent, which says “if you can’t say our service is 5/5 stars let us know”, does NOT have an email address, phone number or any other way to contact them.  Not a surprise.  I guess they saved me a lot of time.

At my company, ITCSNY, a person answers the phone and takes responsibility for your call from beginning to end.  No endless telephone trees.  No interminable hold times.

At ITCSNY an account executive manages your account, and every support ticket and thread has at least 3 sets of eyes on it as well as a monthly review by me, the CTO.

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– Dan Scolnick
IT Computer Support of New York
President and Chief Technical Officer