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MyselfWhat Happened to Dear Mr. Customer?

Posted Aug 2013

Why is the consumer so irrelevant to companies? Why they pretend that they care so much about their consumer and society as whole? The real truth is so far from that.


   

Customer service is something that everybody is talking about a lot. This segment of the business is becoming more and more important. There is a struggle for every customer in the market and every company is trying to get as bigger share as possible. But is it so?

There is one annoying thing that I noticed from my personal experience, and is related to customer info line. I do not know is it a coincidence, or is it happening only to me? Whenever I try to contact somebody from that company, for different info or quality issue, I get no answer or I get irrelevant answer.

I am generally pissed off with the trend of size reduction of products. As the time goes you get less and less for same amount of money, or even for more money. Lately I was provoked by reduction of chocolate size from 50 grams to 45 grams, by local manufacturer. It sounds funny to be pissed off because of chocolate bar, but as consumer I have right to have opinion and to complaint. I went to the web site of manufacturer and went to contact page, where they have contact form for questions. It didn't work. I tried several times, but the page does not work. You can type text in the form and try to press the submit button, but nothing happens. Simply, they have web site because everybody does. They have contact page just because everybody have, regardless whether it works or not. Simply it is nice to appear as if they take care about customer and consumer.

Another example comes from McDonalds. I go there from time to time, with regular order, Big Menu and Orange Juice. I order their juice because it is a really good juice. But, one day I got some sort of yellow liquid instead of juice. This liquid was some cheap dilution that only looked as juice. Since I picked a meal, I was lazy to return to the outlet, but I sent a mail that I found on their site. Guess what happened? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. No response at all. Dear customer, who cares about you.

I bought a wireless mouse for my laptop recently. I got a Genius mouse, since I already have one of their models, which works really well. But this model is annoying because a wheel. Apart of regular option as wheel and middle button it has additional, totally dysfunctional option of moving the wheel left and right. This is supposed to give you forward or backward possibility while you browse, or some other programmable option. But in reality it does not work that easy, since the wheel is prone to go left while you attempt to just press the middle button, because the resistance to the left is much reduced compared to resistance necessary just to press the button vertically. So whenever I try to press the middle button, the browser also goes back. This is such annoying option, which I had to disable with their customizing software Set Point. Also, the speed of the wheel scrolling is too fast for some activities, like flipping the power point presentation or flipping pictures in image viewer, without possibility to set it with Set Point. The worst thing is that you cannot test the wheel before you buy it, because it is packed in tight plastic. I wander does anybody test those useless options before product release for sale. I filled their on line questionnaire and gave them full feedback and described all problems that I as consumer face. Of course, they never replied.

Recently, my wife and I went to holiday to the nice hotel on the coast. Overall, we got nice experience for moderate amount of money. But, at the checkout we got an embarrassing surprise, which may sound trivial. The receptionist claimed that we consumed a bottle of water from the mini bar. The truth is that we didn't even touch the mini bar, because we spent a little time in the room. The receptionist was insisting that we took it, because they have a precise daily tracking of mini bar inventory in rooms. So they have a right to protect them self, while their guests do not have the same right. Although we didn’t consume that water bottle I paid, because I didn't want to be further exposed to embarrassment in front the other guests at the reception. We sent a complaint mail to hotel administration and surprisingly the replied. But the reply was generic, without any compensation.

My employer, a well known beverage bottler, is not much better than these examples. We have the info line that nobody answers to. The info line is on every bottle, but nobody answers because the position of info line operator is vacant. Probably it will stay vacant for long time, due to stingy policy of the company, where no profit is good enough.

So where is consumer in this story? It seems nowhere. Corporations simply grab what they want, they pretend that their corporate social responsibility is at high level. But in reality, the consumer is just a number.

 

 

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