I wanted to to check out how a website handled a manufacturing order. I walked through the entire process, which involved a wizard that could use a little work. Well, maybe the wizard was fine and I need work, who knows? Anyway, I was missing a little information after I took all the steps I could find. I was missing the actual cost of the item, and the shipping charge to get it to me. You should understand that the reason I walked through the wizard was to find the cost and shipping charge for the item, so I was bummed that I didn’t have it. I noticed a prominent button marked “CHAT”, so I clicked on it. That was the start of a convoluted journey I am still wondering about twelve hours later.
If you have never used on-line help systems, they bring up a box, and you can type questions to a customer service person, and they type a reply. This works like any instant message or chat program you may have used.
Disclaimer: I changed the name of the customer service representative, but of course they already change that, so it is no big deal. I also altered a few words to hide the type of company I was dealing with. I really don’t intend to trash them, but I would love to re-write the manuals that their customer service representatives use. Or perhaps it is the translation that is causing trouble? If you have never seen one of the new Discover Card Commercials, here is a sample to show why I chose to use “Peggy” as the name of the customer service representatives.
In a stroke of luck, the chat software allowed me to save a transcription of the entire event, which took more than fifteen minutes. What I am presenting here is just a section of the entire painful process.
You: How do I find the manufacturing cost?
Peggy:: Hi Pam, Welcome to support.
You: Hi, did you receive my question?
Peggy: I’m looking into your query; please give me a minute or two.
Peggy: Pam, you can calculate the manufacturing price of through the cost calculator that is readily available.
Peggy: Above the manufacturing cost, you can set your own price.
You: Is the manufacturing cost the one that is listed in the final step of the wizard?
Peggy: The manufacturing cost is the minimum price and you can set your own price above it. And the same will reflect to public.
You: Where do I find the manufacturing cost?
Peggy: Do you want to know about Cost Calculator?
You: No, I want to know how to find the manufacturing cost.
Peggy: You can see the manufacturing cost at the pricing section wizard.
You: Is there any way to navigate to that area without going all the way back through the whole process?
Peggy: I’m sorry, at this time we will not be able to navigate without going all the way back to whole process.
Peggy: I really hope in the near future we will be able to provide you this feature.
Pam: OK. Next question, how do I find out the shipping cost?
Peggy: We only charge actual shipping so there are too many factors for us to be able to offer a shipping price.
Peggy: While we hope to be able to offer a comprehensive shipping calculator some day in the future, for the time being, the easiest way to get a shipping estimate is to just add the desired number items that you are interested into your cart. This will allow you to explore your shipping price and then you are welcome to delete the content from your cart if you decide not to purchase.
You: OK. So, I have to put the item in the cart, and enter my shipping address to see how much the shipping is, right?
Peggy: Yes, you are right.
You: How do I set the price for the item after it is made?
Peggy: Once you finish in the wizard, on the revise page, you can click on the change button of pricing section and can change the price.
END of CHAT (thank goodness).
Well, there was a lot more, but this section was painful enough that I found that Bill, while listening of me
talking yelling swearing at the computer screen, had updated his Facebook status to let everyone know I was chatting with “Peggy.” Nice.
I do have one piece of advice for you if you must talk to any customer service representative these days:
- Know the terminology used on the site. Don’t confuse the issue with your words or impressions. If they say cost, say cost. If they say price, say price. However, I suspect that the instructions in this case were causing the confusion.
- Know what you want to know, and keep repeating the question till you get an answer. I wanted the manufacturing cost and the shipping cost, which would produce my total cost. No sense and asking for anything else, in any other way.
- Patience. You’ll need more than I have.