Customer Service: How long is too long to wait?
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  1. #1
    Formosan Cyclocross
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    Customer Service: How long is too long to wait?

    Hey guys,


    So I am trying to resolve a warrantee issue and I have been trying to contact various points of customer service while keeping a record of contacts, and times of contact.

    I am dealing with some larger companies with CS staff as well as smaller shops.

    After sending out a request for assistance via email, how long should I wait for a response before lodging another request or taking the issue to the next level in the case I am being ignored and asked to "get lost"?

    I don't want to be a pest thereby receiving the cold shoulder, but I don't want to be ignored with the hope I will just go away when I have a valid warrantee issue.

    At what point do you ramp it up and get all infopete about it?

    What is the courtesy time for a small shop and a larger company? The larger company's initial response was within 24 hours... it has now been four or five days since I requested a follow-up.

  2. #2
    Jerkhard Sirdribbledick
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    24 hours is fair. Four to five days is the high hat.
    "He groaned when we hung the rope over the tree but was relieved to see the white pinata."
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  3. #3
    Sooper Dooper Moderator!
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    I'd give em 36 hours.

  4. #4
    Jerkhard Sirdribbledick
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    Quote Originally Posted by il sogno
    I'd give em 36 hours.
    This is what happens when you start hanging around with all those stoners in santa cruz.
    "He groaned when we hung the rope over the tree but was relieved to see the white pinata."
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  5. #5
    Beetpull DeLite
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    I wouldn't complain unless attempting to call first.

  6. #6
    Formosan Cyclocross
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    That is my next step. Four or five days seems long without any kind of information to say something is going on.

  7. #7
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    It is possible that your initial response was automated, that's typical. Best practice here is to include some wording in that auto-response to indicate when to expect next contact. If that is not there, then via email give them 72 hours - a polite follow up first asking for expectations on next contact, request phone # in that mail. If there is a ticket # use that in subject line. if not, then use the same subject line from the initial email or response- in a large company their system will pick that up as another activity on your first ticket.
    Try to get a dedicated contact to resolve- again best practice here on escalations for CS is to assign a rep to follow through. For first level support that's usually not done if it is a simple request, this way they can keep the queue flowing

    Keep being polite, but keep pushing up the organizational ladder. EVENTUALLY, you'll get to a dedicated human...just takes time.
    If it is a public company, especially one that has US offices, you can usually determine the COO name, and get a phone # then call and ask for them directly. There will be a script for the CS rep that answers to deflect you, you explain your issue and be firm- the longer you keep them talking the more likely they will escalate you (as they are measured on talk time for each issue) to someone that can actually help.

  8. #8
    Big is relative
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    When I had a warranty issue with a broken Soma frame, the LBS where I purchased the frame tried for a month to get someone to respond to a call. Once the company responded, they chose to repair the frame instead of replacing. This was in accordance to the warranty. When the repaired frame was returned unpainted, the process started all over again. After three months, they eventually replaced the frame but by then I had bought a Gunnar because I needed a commuter. The replacement frame is still in the box in my garage.
    Retired sailor

  9. #9
    Formosan Cyclocross
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    Summary of contact (Pseudonyms Are Being Substituted For The Time Being):

    1) 1/2/2001: I wrote an email to S-Brand requesting information regarding a cracked Head Tube on an S-Brand Las Vegas model purchased 9/25/2007 (5-Year Warrantee).

    2) On 1/6/2009 I received a reply from Frank Booth of S-Brand Warrantee and Customer Service. Frank advised me to work with a shop that deals with S-Brand and other XYZ products and he expressend interest in resolving this situation.

    3) I contacted Joe at Big Cycles, an XYZ dealer in my city, and he informed me to email him pictures and the distributor could take care of the issue. After the Lunar New Year holiday I emailed Joe at Big Cycles with pictures and information on 2/9/2009. I never received a response.

    4) On 2/15/2009 I returned to Big Cycles and was informed by Joe that the distributor did not want to handle a warrantee issue and suggested I send it to the shop I bought it from, which is out of the country ($200 Fed Ex Charge). I contacted that retailer immediately after.

    5) 2/15/2009 I discussed the issue on the phone with the original retailer and the rep from the original retailer advised me to take the issue up with the distributor again, who should be able to handle the warrantee as I am not in the United States anymore the distributor would be the closest contact for S-Brand.

    6) 2/15/2009 I contacted S-Brand in regard to my inability to find help regarding this warrantee. I also sent a second email to Big Cycles regarding my conversation with the retailer. I have not received a response from either the bike shop or S-Brand.


    7) 2/17/2009 I sent an email to XYZ requesting the contact information for my area Distributor.

    8) 2/18/2009 I received a response from Jim French requesting more information. Still nothing back from S-Brand.


    I have been a very loyal customer for S-Brand and I have introduced thousands of potential customers to S-Brand, written positive reviews of their products that can be found online and brought dozens of customers to Big Cycles to check out S-Brand and other brands under XYZ. I have been free advertising for years. I had planned to bring a friend by Sunday to have a look... but they just lost that customer.

    Does this seem reasonable.

    Here is a sample of my last letter to S-Brand after salutations and the summary above:

    "I feel this issue can be resolved in a quick and reasonable manner with proper communication and creativity. I also feel this warrantee issue can be resolved in a positive manner that will be acceptable to all parties.

    I would really like to work with S-Brand in resolving this issue quickly and easily.

    I loved my bike and I am still interested in S-Brand products and S-Brand's commitment to innovation, quality and customer satisfaction.


    I am looking forward to hearing from you soon."

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dajianshan
    Summary of contact (Pseudonyms Are Being Substituted For The Time Being):

    [B]1) 1/2/2001: I wrote an email to S-Brand requesting information regarding a cracked Head Tube on an S-Brand Las Vegas model purchased 9/25/2007 (5-Year Warrantee).

    2) On 1/6/2009 I received a reply from Frank Booth of S-Brand Warrantee and Customer Service. Frank advised me to work with a shop that deals with S-Brand and other XYZ products and he expressend interest in resolving this situation.
    8 years?!? holy crap!
    Poast count x10...

  11. #11
    Formosan Cyclocross
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    Whoops! 2011

  12. #12
    No hero that's understood
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    I think I'd try to contact the person in charge of distributorships for S-Brand and lodge a complaint against the distributor as well. Your experience seems like this is where you are getting the run around.
    Often wrong, never in doubt

  13. #13
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    I am trying to deal with Dell right now, and it seems like I am not getting very far... In October I purchased a new TV from them online and the promo that came with it was a $400 Dell gift card which I was going to use towards a new lappy. The terms on the promo said allow 6-8 weeks for the delivery of the card. So, here we are 4 months later and I have yet to see the card. Here are some emails below... The last one I sent was mostly for my entertainment.

    First email I sent, just filled out their online CS form:
    "I was supposed to receive a $400 rebate card along with my order# 487268521, I have not yet received this. Can I find out why?"

    Dell Reply, probably Auto, from India:

    Hi McCurdy21,

    Thank you for contacting Dell Online Customer Care.

    We are experiencing unexpected high email volume these days that might have delayed the response to your request for assistance.
    However I will go ahead and help you with this issue without any further delay.

    I understand from your email that you are expecting to receive a $400.00 rebate card along with the order number 487268521. I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to you.

    I am pleased to inform that the request has been sent to the concern team for further review, please get back to us in the next 3 - 5 business days so that we may provide you the resolution.

    Your patience is highly appreciated.

    If there is anything else that we can assist you with, then please reply to this email and we will be glad to assist you.

    Sincerely,

    Sunny Kohli

    I waited 4 days and still had heard nothing so I conjured up this:

    Sunny,

    Thank you for your response.

    I have a problem with the way this is being handled. It has been 4 months now since I ordered the T.V/Giftcard promotion. According to the advertisement it should have taken 6-8 weeks for me to receive this Gift Card. The order was on 10/14/10, plus 8 weeks (maximum) puts the delivery time at or around 12/14/10. It is now 2/16/11. 16 Weeks!!! ? to mail a piece of plastic? That is very unacceptable. I work in the customer service field and if my company gives out a lead time on a part or service, to have it take twice as long... My customer would be very very displeased.

    If this happened at my company, by week 9 of the product not arriving, the issue would have been escalated to our Director of Customer Service (upper, upper Management). So, since my Card has not arrived in 16 weeks, I would really be satisfied if I could talk to someone in Dells upper management chain, if not a VP of customer service. I am also thinking that since it has taken twice as long for me to receive my gift card, that I should receive twice as much "Product" ie: two gift cards.

    I would also like to add, that up until now I have been satisfied with Dells' customer service and the products they supply. Please, lets do our best to keep this relationship going.

    Can you please forward this email on to any other parties that may find my complaint a priority



    Thank you for your time,
    Mccurdy21
    Poast count x10...

  14. #14
    Formosan Cyclocross
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    I just did that with XYZ parent company. I thought maybe S-Brand would be interested in convincing the distributor to work with me, but to my surprise S-Brand hasn't responded to me after a few attempts to contact them. It is possible they are trying to talk with the distributor, but they should let me know that is what is going on rather than letting me guess.

  15. #15
    Travels by Map
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    Quote Originally Posted by GirchyGirchy
    I wouldn't complain unless attempting to call first.
    Yup, pick up a phone. Email is easier to ignore. Email can make it harder to convey the problem, proposed solution, and the level of dissatisfaction.

    One other tip I have is, no matter how mad you get at customer service, never just complain without offering a solution. A company can't satisfy a customer if the customer just complains without offering a proposal for what it would take to provide a satisfactory solution to the problem.

  16. #16
    Formosan Cyclocross
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    That is my thought. I have a fantastic plan for resolution. They would really benefit in helping me on this and I would get a frame.

    I run the only regular English Language bike blog in my country and I get about 10,000 hits per month. I would love to be able to give them free advertising space in a prominent location on my website along with a featured positive review for customer service and a positive review on their frame. I reviewed another model that is the number one or number two Google hit for their frame. Positive review. I have recommended this brand in numerous posts and to numerous inquiries. It would be a shame and a missed opportunity not to go that route.

    In the past hour I was contacted by a reader who asked my opinion between XYZ's S-Brand or S-Mark. I had to reply, "neither at the moment".

  17. #17
    banned from the museum
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    Have you ever heard the saying "the squeaky wheel gets the grease"? In this case, you need to not let it drop. You are the only person who benefits directly from you getting the frame replacement.

  18. #18
    Formosan Cyclocross
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    Right! I am trying to make noise without being a prick so that they will retaliate by making the process more difficult. That is why I am not going to out them yet.

  19. #19
    No hero that's understood
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dajianshan
    Right! I am trying to make noise without being a prick so that they will retaliate by making the process more difficult. That is why I am not going to out them yet.
    I believe they've already made the process difficult.

    The process should be easy.

    Your product broke during the warranty period.

    The process should be as simple as:
    1) Provide you an avenue for resolution.
    2) Review product failure to ensure that damage is from customary use.
    3) If damage is due to customary use, repair or replace.
    4) If damage is due to misuse, send you on your way.

    It does not appear that your are even getting off the ground. This is their fault and they need to fix it.
    Often wrong, never in doubt

  20. #20
    Formosan Cyclocross
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    I have called six times and I get a confirmation that I have called the correct number. Then I get a "We're sorry nobody can come to the phone right now... leave a message."

    I'll keep it up for a few days and see where going up to XYZ Parent Company gets me.

    Right now all parties are avoiding me. I am really surprised because XYZ is the largest bike part distributor in the world and S-brand is one of their boutique brands. You'd think they'd be a little more together than this.

  21. #21
    Beetpull DeLite
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    Quote Originally Posted by mccurdy21
    I am trying to deal with Dell right now, and it seems like I am not getting very far...
    Try their online chat, SRSLY - IME it's the best way to get into contact with someone who knows anything worthwhile.

  22. #22
    Call me a Fred
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dajianshan
    I have called six times and I get a confirmation that I have called the correct number. Then I get a "We're sorry nobody can come to the phone right now... leave a message." ...
    I changed ISPs because of this response. A couple of weeks later the original ISP got back to me. I told him it a way too late.
    Mike

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  23. #23
    Formosan Cyclocross
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    Progress!

    I finally reached Jeffery Beaumont at S-Brand who informed me they have all been busy with another event.

    Jeffery also acknowledged the distributor is failing to do his job by not accepting a frame for warrantee.

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