There are times when even the best of brands goof up when it comes to handling complaint issues, and then there are brands who not only goof up and fail to apologise, but also compound the issue further by providing even worse service. Today’s narrative is just such a story. When poorly trained personnel are made to man important customer contact points, this kind of a situation is bound to occur.
A few days ago, I blogged about the pathetic service that I experienced with the Blackberry Service Center. Those who missed the story can read it here.
After having posted it, I had mailed the link to all the possible email ids of Blackberry that I could find, given the fact that the service center people had declined to give me the email id of Blackberry. I had also copied the mail to the email id of the service center but apart from an auto-response, I never heard from them. Initially, all that I got was a couple of auto responses acknowledging the receipt of my mail. Subsequently, I got a mail enclosing the link of an online form where I was required to raise an online query, which I did.
For a couple of days, I heard nothing, and then got a mail from one Mr Kenneth. Here is what the mail said:
Good Day and I hope all is well.
I apologize for the inconvenience in regards with the service that you are experiencing. Please provide us the necessary information where you brought the device for repair and what is the name of the service center.
Appreciate your response and for your understanding.
Here is what I sent back to him, also enclosing my last post on this subject:
First of all, let me say that I am very happy to see that someone from Blackberry has finally responded to me, because frankly, the service center has been of no help at all. In fact, so disappointing has my experience with them been that I was forced to blog about the issue and put it in public space (they even refused to provide me the direct email id of BB India, saying that I should send my mail to them). I had to resort to googling all possible mail ids of BB India and send a mail to each one of them.
Rather than try to explain the whole issue, I am pasting below my blog post, which just about covers everything, except the complaint reference numbers, which I will provide separately.
However, the next mail from him was somewhat surprising, because here is what it said:
Good Day and I hope all is well.
I am sorry to hear you are having inconvenience in regards with the device and the service that you experience with the service center.
Please be informed that in regards with warranty options, you need to go through the point of purchase where you bought the device.
Hello !! Wasn’t I already dealing with the authorized service center of Blackberry, and aren’t they the only ones who can handle in-warranty issues? So what was this mail all about ?
Honestly speaking, it was then that I decided not to pursue it any further with him because I felt that it was leading nowhere. Here was a company that seemed to be washing its hands off the issue. Lesson reinforced !
However, the icing on the cake was yet to come – it was today that the story got even more interesting. I got a call around mid-day from the service center informing me that the phone had been received after “higher repairs” and was ready for collection. I requested the lady to confirm to me if the phone had also been tested to ensure that the fault had actually been rectified because I did not wish to make another wasted trip. She assured me that it had been tested and that all was hunky-dory now. And so, taking her word for it, I landed up at the service center about 1600 Hrs.
This time, the reception was manned by a gentleman who was actually a technician but was holding the fort as the staff at the reception had taken the day off. He took my report and got the phone from inside. Once again, I requested for the phone to be tested before signing for it. And again, no prizes for guessing what happened next. The fault had not been rectified !
When I asked for an explanation, the gentleman behind the counter immediately responded by saying that he would call the center manager – one Mr Mohit. When Mr Mohit appeared from inside and was informed of the issue, he told me in a very matter-of-fact tone that I would have to leave the phone with them for a few more days. I reminded him that the phone had already been with them since 14th of April and today was 27th April, so how come it could still not be repaired ? To this, he could not give me any answer at all, except for stating that the phone had supposedly been repaired in their Bengaluru facility. My question to him was that if the problem had not been rectified, why was I specifically told by the lady who had called me, in response to my very specific query, that the phone had already been tested ?
No satisfactory answer was forthcoming, and the lady in question, the one who had called me to collect the phone, had already left for the day. I am sure you will agree with me that by this time I was entitled to blow my top, which I did. I told them in no uncertain terms exactly what I was feeling at that point of time, and also insisted that I speak to someone responsible within the organisation. I simply refused to budge before getting some answers.
While all this was transpiring, I got a mail on my cell from our friend Kenneth again. Here is what he said in the mail:
Thank you for your recent contact with BlackBerry® Customer Support.
Our records indicate that your ticket, INC000028036999, is still open and may require additional input to resolve. Unfortunately, we have been unable to reach you for follow up.
If you would like to discuss this request further, please reply to this email or call us at any of the numbers listed below within the next three (3) days. Please have your ticket number available for reference.
Thank you for choosing BlackBerry. We hope to hear from you soon.
Well, hear from me he did. Immediately. Sitting right there I composed and shot off a long mail to him:
Thank you for your email. For your info I would like to update you that this morning I received a call from the BlackBerry Expert centre informing me that the phone was ready for collection. I specifically asked the lady to confirm that the phone had been tested so that I would not have to make another wasted trip. To this, she replied in the affirmative and accordingly I arrived at the centre to collect the phone.
However, to my utter disappointment I found that the problem is still not fixed and right now I am parked in the center waiting to speak to someone responsible but as yet they have not shown any inclination whatsoever to connect me to a senior person.
All they are trying to do is to convince me to leave the phone with them once again to be sent to Bangalore. And all this after it was supposed to have come back from Bangalore after having been fixed !
I am shocked at this gross incompetence, compounded twice over. These people seem to have no respect for other people’s time.
At this point I am totally perplexed with the whole issue and totally clueless as to when it will finally be resolved.
And I also regret to inform you that till date the center has not even acknowledged my mail sent several days ago.
I really am sorry that I bought a BlackBerry.
Thanks and regards
I copied this mail to all the email ids that I had sent my previous mails to. Mr Mohit, meanwhile, had realized that I was actually serious about not leaving their premises till I had spoken to their superiors, so he made some calls on his mobile and eventually came out and handed me his phone, so that I could speak to his senior, a lady by the name of Ms Prabhjot. She too had no answer to my specific questions about this goof-up.
I made it clear that I was not prepared to leave till I had some answers from them in writing, and an acknowledgement of my mail which I had marked to them earlier, but which was never responded to. She assured me that I would get a mail soon. The “soon” turned out to be a long wait. When I eventually did get a mail, it was even more absurd. Here is what it said:
Dear Mr. Bajaj,
This is with reference to the e-mail dated 27th of March 2015.
We would like to apologies for the inconvenience caused. Moreover, we would request you to visit our service centre and submit your handset so that the same can be diagnosed technically by our field team and the issue can be resolved at the earliest.
Post submission of handset in service centre, kindly share the scanned copy of Jobsheet with us, so that we can take this matter up with respective team for quicker resolution.
Our primary objective is to address your concerns at the earliest and to ensure satisfaction.
This was actually turning out to be a comedy of errors, except for the fact that I did not find the situation funny at all, and my response to her made it quite clear that I wasn’t impressed with her mail:
Dear Ms Singh
Thank you for your mail. However, please do not add insult to injury by sending an irresponsible reply like the one you have sent.
The phone has been with your service centre for two weeks already even right now I am sitting in your service center since the last two hours.
Please take the trouble to READ mails before responding.
Thanks and regards
I made Mr Mohit read the response and told him it was unacceptable. I was fed up. There is a limit to what a customer can tolerate and my readers would well agree that by all standards, these limits had been crossed. I was angry, upset and frustrated at the gross incompetence that I was encountering. I had every right to feel this way. And when I get into this frame of mind, I become what customer service experts call “a difficult customer”.
In no uncertain terms, once again, I informed Mr Mohit that I was not going to leave till I had a written acknowledgement of the phone having been retained by them since 14th April and their two failed attempts to repair it. Eventually, they gave me a hand-written job-sheet where I made them mention the relevant dates of my previous visits, and while signing the copy, I also wrote my remarks on the whole issue.
By the time I left, I had already spent close to three hours there before I could get them to give me that piece of paper. And no news on when I will see my phone again. Stay tuned in. I am sure there will be a part three as well to this story.
UPDATE ON 28 APR 15
I finally got this mail from them a short while ago:
Dear Mr. Bajaj,
This is with reference to the email wherein you have enquired about the complaint against your handset.
We would like to apologies for the miscommunication. we deeply regret the inconvenience caused to you due to delay in services. We have taken it very seriously with our service department and have taken an assurance that such delays do not reoccur in future.
Further, we shall ensure that your concern is addressed on priority and we would request you to allow us few working days time to resolve the matter upto your satisfaction.
In the meantime we would like to thank you in anticipation of your continued patience and co-operation, and to assure you of our best intention at all times.
So as you can see, they still need a few more days to resolve the issue ! And which also means that there is likely to be a third update to this story. Next update after next interaction. Till then, stay tuned !