Customer Service and a Tale of Two Morons

I read a post yesterday, which referred to “customer service” as an oxymoron. Not at our shop – we always try to come achieve a satisfactory solution when there is a problem. With eBay being so skewed towards the customer it’s actually hard not to get to a satisfactory solution for the customer, even stupid or dishonest ones.

How about this for an example.

A customer ordered an item last week, then rang to complain that he had received an X when he had ordered a Z. I replied that I couldn’t understand what had happened, as he had definitely ordered an X according to our eBay screen. (No, we don’t sell capital letters, I’m just trying to protect the identity of an idiot). He added, “You always do this. I ordered  a P a Q and an X last time and you sent me three Xs. It’s all the fault of your system, it’s difficult to use and it’s not very clear.”

We agreed that we didn’t want him to have things he didn’t require, but that all the others were out of stock, so he would have to ring the next day to speak to the owner, who could make decisions on this that I couldn’t make.

Alarm bells were, to put it mildly, ringing.

I checked his last order. He had ordered Three Xs and that was what we had supplied.

So, according to me and eBay he had ordered four Xs and we had, quickly and accurately, supplied exactly that.

The problem is that he isn’t very good with technology, and he isn’t very good at listening. He has pressed the “buy” button four times and tried to order things that are no longer in stock (and are clearly marked as “out of stock”). He’s also clearly no good at listening, when I try to explain. And he doesn’t understand eBay – it’s a standard drop-down menu as used by everyone on eBay. It is not our system as he seems to think. Nobody else has ever had this problem.

Now, I’m happy to take things back, and we are going to help him out, but I do object to him claiming that it is our fault, and I do object to him costing us money when he is the one at fault.r fault, particularly when he could have told us there was a problem after the first lot.

What we are doing is paying for him to send them back and then giving him a refund. The cost to us will be about £7 in postage and £5 in time spent sorting the return out. Next time we sell the goods for £20, the eBay fees of £3 plus the £7 and the £5 all have to be taken from the £20. That leaves us £5 to pay for the stock, our premises and our wages. It is not, as we retail professionals say, a sustainable model.

So there you go, a tale of modern customer service. Not actually the story of an oxymoron, more the story of an actual moron.

22 thoughts on “Customer Service and a Tale of Two Morons

  1. Pingback: I did a bad thing today | quercuscommunity

  2. Lavinia Ross

    You did provide excellent customer service. You or the owner might have to walk him through the next purchase on eBay over the phone, though. 🙂

  3. tootlepedal

    Very good customer service indeed. I never use eBay because I feel that I might well turn out to be like your customer. This is a cautionary tale for me.

  4. Over Soil

    As I get older I expect I will be more stupid by the day and I hope my technophobia doesn’t make me a complete liability. Strangely at work, someone keeps getting me to order things for him, to sort his computer stuff, even though I keep telling him how I’m a technophobe, but that maybe that is why he keeps getting me to do it, for the practice or to watch me succeed and learn how not to panic.

    1. Over Soil

      p.s. I think you’ve been very kind to sort it out for him. It’s not every day we get the chance to help the afflict with [ Stupid ] but live with the consequences of being ruled by them.

      1. Over Soil

        I think the reason my mother avoided that, is because one day when she was out on her push bike, two swarms of bees 🐝🐝🐝 met over her head 🐝🐝🐝 and dropped on her in a bee fight. All those bee stings 🐝🐝🐝 probably gave her a lifetimes worth of immunity to arthritis.

      2. quercuscommunity Post author

        That’s an impressive story. I’m just wondering which I would prefer – bee stings or arthritis. If I actually had to book an appointment for the bees I would probably wimp out, to be honest.

      3. Over Soil

        I recall her saying how she had ran into a back garden of someone she knew and took all her clothes off and they were in her hair. It’s one of the things nightmares are made of. Her nurse friend spent an age pulling the bees bodies out of her. I think the bee “Therapy” of being stung is one 🐝 every now and then, but I still wouldn’t want to go through with it.

    2. quercuscommunity Post author

      🙂 That’s one of the reasons I don’t connect my ohone to the web – slightly inconvenient at times, but in the long run it will prevent me ordering things I don’t want or sending all my savings to a criminal mastermind.

  5. paolsoren

    I had a problem the other day. I wanted to purchase and have the item posted or delivered locally. But because I am a moron I thought ‘click and collect’ meant I had to go in and collect the item. I didn’t want to do that because I am on the opposite side of the globe. But I did make it clear that the destination was only 9 kilometres from the shop. But the item went from the warehouse in Yorkshire to the address in the Channel Isles. When I complained they must have thought I was a moron for not knowing that ‘click and collect’ actually means click and then we will work out how you want it delivered. Sometimes old people who have only bought online five or six times in their life don’t have the expertise that younger people have. So I think I’ll claim moronity.


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