Lessons in a Capresso Coffeemaker

My wife bought me a really nice Capresso coffeemaker for my birthday from Willams-Sonoma. I’m talking an expensive, top-of-the-line grinder/coffee maker combo. I watched the DVD instructions AND read the instruction manual (my wife was really impressed). While reading the instruction manual I noticed that they had laced the entire manual with statements of their commitment to quality and service like "we want you to be completely satisfied" and "if you have any problems call us" along with the customer service number.

So, when the coffee grinder seemed to spin and spin and not actually grind anything, I decided to call. I was thrown into queue where the message informed me that I was number 9 in queue and gave me the option of leaving a voice mail. I opted to wait in queue.

Every 30 seconds to a minute I was updated regarding my position in queue and given the option to leave a message or press any button to stay in queue. It was probably one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time ("Keep the customer informed and give them an option!"), but after a half-hour on hold, I had pressed the stinkin’ button countless times – it was annoying. Plus, as I tracked my position in queue I realized that I my position in queue DROPPED – not once, but TWICE!

After nearly a half-hour in queue, I finally heard the phone ring…

"Thanks for calling Capresso, hold please…." (click) [dead air]

Another three minutes or so of dead air followed before I was disconnected.

Lessons from my Capresso experience:

  • If you’re going to sell a quality product and boast of your commitment to customer satisfaction and service, then put the systems and people in place to walk the talk.
  • Providing customers with an opt-out of queue isn’t necessarily a bad idea during periods of excessive queue times, but forcing the customer to opt-in every 30 seconds or a minute is really, really annoying. It only serves as a constant reminder of how long you’ve been waiting.
  • If you’re going to inform customers of their place in queue, make sure that no one can be put in queue ahead of them and drop their place. This only leads to customer frustration and escalation before you even answer the call.
  • NEVER greet a customer and immediately place him/her on hold (especially if the customer has been in queue for a half-hour).

Do you know what your customers are experiencing in queue? Have you called your own Customer Service line lately? There are important lessons to learn about customer service in queue.

  1 comment for “Lessons in a Capresso Coffeemaker

  1. May 3, 2007 at 7:05 am

    Hi Tom, Happy Birthday a little late. Sounds like the coffee maker was meant to be extra special for you and I’m sorry you had such a bad customer service experience and you did well to point out your personal experience.
    I’m curious. Is your new coffee maker functioning now?

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