Management Strategies

03:15 PM
Les Kovach
Les Kovach
Commentary
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The Perfect Storm: 10 Ways to Ruin the Customer Experience

An unfortunate combination of siloed channels, impotent customer service reps and ineffective technology implodes the customer experience.

And that should have been the end of it. But stupid me, I still wanted the product -- which was advertised along with 97-cent home delivery. Besides, I wanted to make sure Walmart wasn't planning to hit my credit card again.

So I spent another 10 minutes researching a contact number for Walmart.com -- which could only be found on the company's corporate site, not the retail site. Customer experience failure No. 5. After navigating another frustrating IVR and waiting on hold again, I finally connected with a live human. Failure No. 6.

Since my goal was to purchase the product, not to register a complaint, my first question after explaining the situation was, "Can you help me place the order?" Of course I can help you with that, the rep said.

Well, after 10 minutes of providing the rep with the product info and my personal information, I realized that she was attempting to place the order using the same customer-facing website that already declined my card! What will you do if you get the same error I received, I asked. "Let's hope it doesn't come to that," she replied. Failure No. 7.

That did it. Now my patience was exhausted. May I speak with a supervisor, I demanded. Of course. Please hold. Failure No. 8.

Ten minutes later the customer service rep returned to tell me she was still waiting for a supervisor. As it was now nearly 10 p.m., I requested a number through which I could reach a supervisor at my convenience. I'm sorry, I was told, the only available number was the same number I called to get to this point in the first place. Failure No. 9.

At this point -- after more than an hour of surfing and holding -- I lost my cool. I understand you are only doing your job, I told the rep, but please think for yourself for a change -- there must be a phone number for someone who can help me. Nope. Failure No. 10.

To be fair, I'm still not sure if the problem was with Walmart.com or my credit card company, but it looks like I'll be driving to my local Walmart after all. I can only hope that the company uses call recording technology to evaluate and train its CSRs. Maybe that way Walmart management will feel my pain and realize how out of touch with the customer experience they really are. Though somehow I doubt it.

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