The Customer Experience Saga

Mr. Customer Experience Adam Toporek was just highlighted by Gini Dietrich last Friday as someone to follow on the Twitter and read his blog Customers That Stick. I fully concur! So this just happened to me and I figured good blog fodder.

I bought the Motorola Droid Razr specifically because it has Gorilla Glass from Corning and is touted as durable and rugged in billboards and commercials. It is Kevlar strong! I got the phone in April. In August the screen cracked from a drop onto a dirt road when jogging. It slowly got worse and I reluctantly replaced it via Asurion Insurance 2 weeks ago. It was simple. 5 mins online got the phone the next day. Was TOTALLY HAPPY! In fact this was probably my 6th happy experience over the last 8 years with them. But the problem was where I was going to be wasn’t in their computer for the address. So had to set up shipping where I wasn’t going to be. And had to wait to get my phone a few days.

One week after activation of the new phone a drop on a hard wood floor broke the screen dead. I tried to use the insurance again (I am allowed two replacements per year at $99 deductible). Because it was so soon I was asked to print an affidavit, scan or fax and send with ID. This was easy but I didn’t get a response that the documents were rejected until after 5pm Monday too late to fix to get the phone out that day.

Why was my claim rejected? I chose the wrong model on the drop down menu in the system. It didn’t match the model I hand wrote in the affidavit. I said I have your shipper this is what it says what is the problem? ‘The model is different on the form and computer they need to match’. ‘You sent me this phone. Don’t know you exactly what phone I have?’ ‘Sorry Sir you can get that info from Verizon’

So Yesterday it took 2 phone calls and redoing the claim online 2 times before I got to shipping. Again won’t take the address. I figured place it and call to change the address I am going to be at today. Sorry Sir once the file is processed can’t change shipping. WHAT?! ‘Well to be honest if you get the email that a shipper is printed there is someone we can call and get it changed’ Total 4 phone calls.

3 hrs later. Get the shipper call Asurion. Sorry Sir, it is too late the shipper printed. I explain what I was told. Sorry Sir that is not our policy you can call UPS. I call UPS who was helpful but to get to a person was traumatic with their phone system. They failed to give the ‘talk to a person option’. There was no option for ‘Change a shipping location’ or anything related. Their answer? ‘Our contract with this client prohibits us for changing the delivery address.

Today I am here waiting for my phone so I can then drive to Vermont costing me more money in babysitting. And I am not happy with Asurion who until this time was great (also on previous claims). But the moral of my saga is first how a horrible customer experience will have a lasting impression even if there have been many positive experiences prior. Second is it is wonderful to nail down processes that handle 99% of your business effortlessly. But you need to have flexible procedures for out of the ordinary circumstances. When the ‘System’ rejected the address because we have no official USPS address, we have a PO box for mail, but UPS and FedX deliver direct to the house address. Would of been nice to have an option to call for help vs no instructions. Or allowed me to have the shipping changed in their system.

And notice UPS and Corning responded to me but Asurion did not. While often these outreaches don’t get me to respond I did write UPS and was pleased they both asked.

About chiefalien

Howie Goldfarb with 20 years of Sales and Marketing experience founded Blue Star Strategic Marketing in central Vermont to serve as the objective and strategic adviser of brands to help them grow and thrive. His Degree in Finance and 14 years of B2B sales to Fortune 500 companies gives him a CFO’s view of marketing. Thus bringing a dose of reality to the confusing world of jargon, spin, and hype. Also playfully known as the Chief Alien of Blue Star Strategic, Howie relishes his role as an industry outsider. A native New Yorker and former Angelino, he currently lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont and is still seeking his first moose sighting. His passions are living life, art, music, the outdoors, he tries to cook and loves the Vermont Fresh Network – local sustainability initiatives like farm to table and buying local.
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1 Response to The Customer Experience Saga

  1. Adam says:

    Howie,Thanks for the kind words!I know how frustrating that can be. I’ve written a few times about the Steve Jobs concept of brand deposits. The idea is that interactions with the brand are like deposits and withdrawals in an account, the bad ones deplete the balance created by the good ones. As you point out though, it is not a one-to-one relationship. A few good experiences can be completely erased by one miserable experience. And man, get an otterbox or something for your phone. That thing gets a workout!

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