What Do You Do All Day?
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Monday, April 04, 2005

Customer Service Folks Unclear on the Concept

So a couple of days ago I tried to order a couple of pairs of jeans for my husband from the Target.com website. I've used the site many times before and have never had a problem. This time, however, after I selected the items I wanted to buy, I tried to log in to my account, and found the log-in page was severely broken in my Firefox browser: whenever I tried to type my ID and password, the cursor defaulted to the middle of the entry box (instead of the normal left-hand starting position) and although it moved when I typed, nothing showed up in the entry boxes. Then, if I pressed the "enter" button after typing, I'd get an error message saying I had entered incorrect information. I tried reloading the page, re-booting Firefox several times, and even re-booting Windows and trying again...but nothing worked. I also tried using Internet Explorer instead of Firefox and found that the log-in page worked perfectly in IE, so it was definitely a Firefox compatibility issue.

So I went to the Target.com customer service pages and selected the option for people having trouble placing an order. I gave a detailed explanation of the login problem in the box provided and sent it off.

Two days later, I got an obviously auto-generated response saying that if I was having trouble ordering, I should a) try re-loading the order page, b) clear my cache and c) clear my cookies...and if those didn't work, to submit a "detailed description" of my problem.

So I wrote a lengthy reply to that note, saying I had already given them a detailed description of the problem (which they'd appended at the bottom of their response), which clearly stated that I couldn't even get to the order page, because the *login* page was broken. And, just for yucks, I tried the three fixes they recommended, and confirmed that none of them did any good.

But as I got to the bottom of my response, written below their quoted text in my reply, I got to the last line of their note, which said, "sorry, you can't reply to this note...to contact us again, you'll have to visit this web page," followed by a link. So I went to the link and found that the text box on that page wouldn't accept cut-and-pasted text from the e-mail I had already written, so I had to re-type everything into the new text box...which I did and sent it off.

About 24 hours later, I received another auto-generated reply, saying they were sorry I was having trouble, but there are no problems with their pages, so I should contact my ISP.

Since I knew better than to try to reply to that note, I looked for and found the link to a response page, went there, and typed into that text box a repeat of my original information -- that their login page was misbehaving in Firefox...which clearly isn't a problem my ISP could give two figs about. And then I went on to note that this was the single most frustrating customer service experience I'd ever had online.

So today, I got a third note from the Target.com auto-responder, saying they were sorry I had had such an unsatisfying experience, and offering me a $15.00 discount on my next purchase. And all I have to do to redeem it is enter the code number on the correct line of the order form the next time I log in to buy something.

I still haven't stopped laughing.

posted by Elizabeth 9:52 AM

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