Good service, to CEOs, seems to mean: as machine-like as possible. I have just spoken to the most ridiculously impersonal “live” representative from Overstock.com. This is a transcript of the chat -
Tiffany: Thank you for visiting Overstock.com. How may I help you today?
Wendelin: my order no. 8289xxxx has not arrived yet. The order was placed on 20 Aug 2006 and supposedly shipped on 22nd Aug – it’s been more than 3 weeks! USPS can’t track this item, so I think you need to put up a trace or send me a replacement.
Wendelin: My name is [Wendelin], and my billing address is 007 James Bond St, MI5, etc. The contents of my order: DVDs of Ferris Bueller, Pulp Fiction, Sunset Boulevard and a book titled “echo of the big bang”.
Tiffany: Hi there.
(Notice how much stuff I managed to type while she was working up the hello.)
Wendelin: Could you please be quick about this? You can skip the hello’s and sorrys and thank you’s, I am in a hurry.
Tiffany: I’m sorry to hear that you never received your order.
(And so it begins.)
Tiffany: I’ll be glad to check that information for you.
Tiffany: We value your time. Let me check that for you.
Tiffany: For security purposes, may I ask you to verify the name and billing address on your account?
Wendelin: I already DID
Tiffany: I’m sorry.
Tiffany: Let me check that.
Wendelin: I am trying to save us time – I have verified my name, billing address and order contents. Please don’t ask me to verify the order contents now.
Tiffany: Thank you for confirming the details, Wendelin.
(Hurry UP, bitch!)
Tiffany: Just to re-confirm, you are referring to the ‘Pulp Fiction (Collector’s Edition) (DVD)’, ‘Echo of the Big Bang’, ‘Sunset Boulevard (DVD)’ and ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – Bueller… Bueller… Edition (SE/DVD)’, am I correct?
Wendelin: OH MY GOD, did I not JUST type out all my order contents??? Am I talking to a person or a computer??
Tiffany: I’m sorry you felt that way.
Tiffany: I’m a live person.
(Allow me to entertain strong doubts.)
Tiffany: Thank you for confirming the products.
Wendelin: I also JUST said: PLEASE DON’T ASK ME AGAIN ABOUT THE ORDER. Did you read it?
Tiffany: In reviewing your account information, I see that you have placed this order on 08-20-2006 and was shipped to you on 08-22-2006 via USPS.
(Jesus. H. Christ.)
Tiffany: And it is beyond the shipping timeframe.
(You don’t say.)
Wendelin: I know that. Can you track the order? If you can’t, can you replace it?
Tiffany: I’m sorry the USPS wouldn’t update the tracking details until the delivery of the items.
(Mya I let my attention wander, since you haven’t told me anything since we started 20 minutes ago?)
Tiffany: What best I can do is setup trace for these items for replacement.
(Yes! I think she’s finally caught up to the first thing I said.)!
Wendelin: How long will this take?
Tiffany: The trace will be completed in 4 business days.
(Wonder of wonders, a straight, quick answer.)
Wendelin: OK, put the trace on.
Tiffany: Once the trace is completed it takes 1-4 business days for the replacement order to leave the warehouse and 2-15 business days to reach you.
Tiffany: May I go ahead and set up a trace with the carrier, Wendelin?
Tiffany: I have set up a trace for you. You will soon get an email confirming it. If we cannot find the package, we will ship you a replacement in 1-4 business days and the order will reach you in 2-15 business days.
Wendelin: OK. Sorry I was rude to you, but you have got to stop behaving like a machine.
Tiffany: I really appreciate your patience and understanding in this issue.
Tiffany: It was nice chatting with you.
Tiffany: Thank you again for visiting Overstock.com. Have a great day!
Wendelin: No it wasn’t, don’t lie. Good God, they do rule you with an iron fist, don’t they? What does it take to make you deviate from your script?
Tiffany: We always feel happy when talking to customer.
Tiffany: Because we know that they contact us with an issue.
Tiffany: I never felt bad, however, I understood your concern.
(I give up.)
Wendelin: fine. you win. thanks. bye.
Tiffany: Thank you, bye. Wendelin.