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Thank you for visiting my blog. I am a Cofounder & Technical Advisor here at the BeyeNETWORK. Having covered the business intelligence and data warehousing industry for more than 15 years, I'm looking forward to a more interactive form of communication with all of you. Please share your comments and thoughts!

 

 

Its a shame when you see big name brands like Sears drop the ball. It makes you wonder what could possibly have gone so wrong that legendary brands find themselves losing life long customers. I can report that its often caused by the simplest of things and can almost always be traced back to terrible customer service.

Over the last 18 months or so Sears stock has dropped like a rock from over $180.00 a share to closing last week at around $71.00. I am sure general economics trends contribute to this but as you can see Sears has been trending down for a long time.

sears.jpg

Yesterday I decided to shop online for a dehumidifier to put in my basement. I used Sears.com to compare and select the appropriate unit, used the check availability feature for a store near my house confirmed they had it and bought the item. The site explained that I would get an email to confirm when I could come to the store to pick up my purchase. I got the email about 30 minutes later along with a separate text message confirming they were ready for me to come to the store, so off I went to pick up my item. So far so good right?

Here's where it gets interesting, shortly after getting the confirmation text and email a sales representative from the store called to tell me that the item wasn't actually in stock but a more expensive one was available if I wanted to upgrade to that. I have to admit that left a pretty bad taste in my mouth, your systems said you had it, I confirmed the availability and you took my money, now after confirming it was ready for pick up you want to sell me a more expensive unit? I declined and asked for a refund the rep told me I'd have to cancel the purchase online. I searched all over the site for the "Cancel Order" button but couldn't find one. So I called the website customer service number and was told by a customer service rep that she couldn't cancel an order for me and said that I would have to go to the store. So I called the store and got the pleasure of interacting with the voice activated automated customer service system that disconnected me 5 different times (I never reached the store). In desperation I called the website service number again and got a different Sears employee who did in fact cancel the order for me.

Here's the best part...Sears policy is that I have to wait 7 -10 days for the refund. Yep that's right, they wasted my time, tried to up sell me when they were out of stock, didn't give me what I paid for and are going to keep MY MONEY for 7 - 10 days. Isn't shopping online supposed to be easier, aren't I the best type of customer for Sears? I'm completely self service and a life long purchaser of your Appliances, Automotive services, and in home services.

So it gets even funnier, Sears responded today to the email complaint I sent them, their solution.....are you ready for this....not to quickly refund MY MONEY but to offer me a 10% discount and to have the item shipped from their warehouse. Are you kidding me! Its clear I didn't want to wait I was purchasing online for store pick up! You have already wasted a bunch of my time I'm not going to wait a couple days for you to send it to me and I don't care about the $17 dollar discount I went and bought it yesterday at your competition and your lame interaction with me resulted in you losing a customer who has spent $1000's of dollars at your stores.

So for those of you who specialize in solutions like call center training, automated phone systems, real-time business intelligence, supply chain management get your sales reps over to Sears headquarters because they need you and if they claim not to have budget show them this blog post and suggest they use my $173.51 toward the purchase apparently they think its theirs anyway.

Tags: Sears, Business Intelligence, Sears Customer Service is terrible


Posted October 13, 2008 5:00 AM
Permalink | 6 Comments |

6 Comments

The frustrating thing about being in the business intelligence industry is knowing that no amount of technology will ever replace good customer service, and can only enhance it. Even more so, you are dying to tell those people on the front lines that you know how to fix the problem, but they are in no position to effect the changes necessary to get it done.

Ultimately, consider the business model and see whether it makes sense. Here is my personal example: in the aitline industry, Southwest is in the business of moving people from one location to another, and they use airplanes to make that happen. Most other airlines are in the business of flying airplanes from one location to another and they subsidize that by charging a lot of money to many people to sit in those planes while they are being ferried from one airport to another.

Any good service chain will tell you that if you want your staff to take good care of your customers you MUST treat them in the same way. Good associate relations will always translate to excellent customer care.

Unfortunately, Sears decided some time ago that every decision is about how to make the next dollar and not about taking care of their associates and as a result not caring about how their customers are treated.

I used to work for Sears, in the shoe dept, and our supervisor used to use a similar tactic on customers.

Customers would call in asking for a specific shoe and we would have to tell them that we had it, even though we didn't. The customer would come in to pick it up, and we would break the news for her that an associate unaware of the hold, sold the shoes. Then we were told to try and convince the customer to buy a different pair of shoes from us.

I used to hate doing that, and even when associates would complain that it is not fair to the customer, the managers didn't even consider what we said.

Eventually I was let go due to lack of sales with the entire store and when I told the management teams where they were making mistakes(remember, I am the associate dealing with customers all day long.I hear their complements and complaints all day) the management told me, "Thats not our concern. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion". Just disgusting.

Sears doesn't care about it's customers ,# 2. # 1 is they HATE the employees.The managers are all completely unqualified to manage.They have no set skills,backbone or integrity.They sold the Credit Card division to Citi to try and stay afloat.Bad times in that hellhole,bad times.

I just got off the phone with the customer complaint line (800-549-4505). We have a Kenmore refrigerator & a Kenmore clothes dryer, both purchased in 2005.

The fridge died last year--fan went out in the back of the freezer. Sears wanted over $200 to fix it. My dad ended up jerry-rigging the fan with gorilla glue and it's hanging in there so far.

The dryer's heating element gave out this past Sunday. Called SEARS. Again, they want over $200 to come out and fix it, and they want me to wait 4 days for them to send somebody. the appt was today btw hours of 8am-noon. Repairman NEVER ARRIVED. I called and they tried to tell me that the appt was for 4 days from now. Now I KNOW what day the orig appt was made for, because i was pissed off that it would take that long in the first place, and upset that I'd be charged so much money to repair a 3yo dryer.

So I called the complaint line and spoke with Jen. I swear she is a robot. She was unhelpful, dismissive and rude.

First of all, it is CRAZY that appliances under normal household use (family of 4 here, 2 small kids) should only last 3years before having problems.

I totally agree. SEARS SUCKS.

Thanks for the opty to vent.

When you make a purchase online and it says the item is in stock, it takes into account returned and damaged merchandise and floor models as being "instock" so you buy it, but there is not one. When the Dock personal gets it they find out there isnt one, they push no on their machine and call you to inform you about it. But they dont care because that store receives 0 credit for that sale. Sears.com and Sears stores have nothing to do with each other besides facilitating pickup of merchandise for sears.com Sears computers and management are form the 1800s we need some young fresh ideas... I promise I am better equipped than any one on the BOD. The first thing that needs to happen is to shut down some stores, then upgrade the computer systems.

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