Daily Archives: January 11, 2013

Customer Service That Takes No Action is Not Customer Service

And if you have no customer service, your supply chain performance metric could be significantly lower than you think! It doesn’t matter that the product ships on time, it only matters that the end customer receives it on time and defect-free. And if the product doesn’t reach the customer on-time and defect-free, your supply chain performance is ZERO unless customer service does something to actively resolve the situation.

It seems that Customer Service is Still Going to Hell and Supply Management hasn’t learned anything yet, as per this recent blog post over on the Supply Chain Management Review that points out that A Disgruntled Customer [is] the Last Supply Chain Link. In this post, the author, Rosemary Coates of Blue Silk Consulting describes her recent experience with Target.com’s customer service and their refusal to do anything when the customer not only clearly pointed out the problem but also pointed out the resolution (which is not the customer’s job).

In summary, the author ordered a gift for Christmas from Target.com, well in advance of Christmas, but when the package didn’t arrive in 10 days, she went online to track it. She discovered that it was scanned at the Target.com warehouse, but never recorded in the UPS system. She then confirmed with UPS that they never picked it up. At this time, she contacted Target.com customer support who refused to do anything, stating that she must wait 10 business days just in case, by some miracle, the package left the warehouse, to be delivered long after Christmas. And then they still did nothing. Target.com didn’t even offer a refund until the author complained about the problem on their Facebook site and Tweeted about it. Were they trying to outdo Best Buy in a race for the customer service Razzie?

This story is absolutely ridiculous. The problem could have been solved with a simple UPS lookup, to confirm the author’s complaint, and a simple call to the warehouse to inquire why the package hadn’t been shipped yet. This would have resulted in a “we don’t know, let’s check” followed by a call-back a little later along the lines of “we misplaced it, it will go out in the next pick-up” or “we can’t find it — it’s obviously lost, we can re-package and re-send or you can give the customer a refund”. And within 24 hours customer service could have called the author back on the open trouble ticket with either a “success, it’s going out” or “it’s been lost, would you like a replacement shipment or a refund”. It shouldn’t take multiple complaints for something a simple phone call can fix. That’s not customer service. It’s customer contempt, and it’s contemptuous in a modern supply chain!