Former CSR Relates Service Experience with Toshiba

Toshiba Everyone who does QA and coaches Customer Service Reps (CSRs) knows that the experience is not generally enjoyed or appreciated by the recipients. No one likes being critiqued. No one likes being held accountable. Most people bristle at the thought of having to modify their behavior.

Yet, there is a meaning to the madness. I have often found that reluctant CSRs eventually come to understand the importance of delivering great service and develop a sense of pride for taking good care of their customers. They also begin to recognize poor service when they receive it.

Last week I received an unexpected e-mail from a CSR our group used to coach. She has now moved on to law school and wanted to share the following experience she had with Toshiba. I appreciate her thinking of us and taking the time to tell us about it.

I share her story with her permission:

Okay.  I admit it.  I HATED being graded on my calls.  Certain things were just SO nit-picky.  So what if I ended a call with "sir" or "ma’am" instead of someone’s name?  So what if I didn’t apologize all the time.  So what.

So…I am in law school now, and this law student needed a brand new computer for Christmas.  Dad actually bought me one.  It’s a Toshiba laptop – quite sharp, and the computer-type guys think it is an awesome one to have.

I open it Christmas morning and then turn it off.  Two days ago when school started again, I pulled out the laptop.  "What a great way to start off!  A brand new laptop on which to type all my notes!  Yea!"  Wrong.  There is something horribly wrong with the laptop.  It won’t boot up.  The screen is blank.  Yes, it is plugged in, and yes, I am sure I pressed the power button, and yes, I am sure that is a black screen in front of me with the power light on.

So I call Toshiba’s support line.  I pressed one for English and then pressed one for all other matters. I give the rep my phone number and laptop’s serial number and explain the problem.  In broken English, the rep s-l-o-w-l-y repeats the problem back to me.  "So.  What you are saying is…"  We attempt to fix it.  It doesn’t work.  The call drops because of the remote location in which I live.  I do not get a call back within 10 minutes.  I am not happy.

I call back.  Here we go again.  1. 1. New rep.  This one speaks less English than the last.  We trouble shoot.  "Are you sure you are doing ____?"  "YES!"  His tone is condescending.  Mine is irritated.  I think to myself that I am in law school – not kindergarten.  He offers no apologies and proceeds at his own pace.  I have three classes and one hundred pages to read for the next day.  I attempt to speed it up a little.  No luck.  The call probably took 20 minutes.  System restored and it will take 15 minutes to boot up again.  "Everything met to your satisfaction?" as he rushed me off the phone.  I sheeplishly said, "yeah."  As in "Are you kidding me?  How will I be satisfied until the problem is fixed?"    The call ends and I go out to dinner.  Come home about two hours later and guess what!  You guessed it.  The computer STILL does not work. 

Round 3.  I get a female.  I can understand her much better than the first two reps.  In addition to taking down my phone number, she asks for my case number.  I was not given one either time before.  I give her my serial number and explain the problem for the THIRD time.  (All in one day!!)  We go through a settings fix.  It does not work but the call is dropped again because of where I live.  I do not get a call back.  I am irate.  It is late at night and I have to do my homework.

Class all day the next day.  No time to mess with Toshiba.  Still upset. 

Day three.  Call Toshiba after a dinner meeting.  1. 1. Rep asks for my number.  Asks for case number – again, I was not given one.  Give him my serial number.  Poor guy.  I laid the whole story out on him.  "Bottom line is I’ve done what you’ve told me to do and it is NOT working.  Where do I take this to get fixed?!!"  He asks to put me on hold so he can help me.  Fine.  I am on hold for four minutes listening to elevator music and then the phone picks up and hangs up.  My blood boils.

I call back.  Mary answers.  Fifth time and I am NOT happy.  She apologizes for no call back and execuses it.  As in, "You did not get a call back because we have a high call volume."  Her tone does not help.  Neither does mine.  I explain that this is the FIFTH time; we have gone through everything, and it is STILL not working and I am in law school and all I want is for my BRAND NEW COMPUTER to work.  Where do I send it to get it fixed?

She tells me we must trouble shoot some more.  I am irate.  I tell her I want to return the Toshiba, get Dad’s money back and get a Dell.  She said as a law student, I’d know that I can’t do that because as a law student, I’ve read the warranty.  Grrr.  I ask for a supervisor.  She asks why.  I said because I am not happy with the level of service.  I repeat this several times.  She says the supervisor is only going to take down the complaint then send me back to her.  We can do things her way or I can go to the supervisor and then come back.  I am fuming.  I am ready to shout to the world about how angry I am and how horrible Toshiba is.  In the other jobs I’ve had, I would’ve been FIRED for being so rude to the customers – no matter how rude or upset the customer was.  And I was upset.  And short. 

We go through some more trouble shooting and guess what!  The laptop doesn’t even read the cd drive!  (Hello!  Did I not say several times before that the computer is NOT working and it needs to be sent back?)  Mary advises me we’re at a troubleshooting dead end and I will need to send the computer to Toshiba for repair.  (Yes, I said that a couple days ago.)

She asks to place me on hold.  My wait time was about 4-6 minutes each time.  And she would apologize and tell me what she was doing and come back. This happened two or three times.  They seemed insincere – but hey.  She apologized.   She probably did not want to deal with me any more, and that’s understandable. 

We went through a few more steps, and I am happy to say that Toshiba is going to fix my laptop after I wait twenty-four hours then drive an hour to drop it off at a UPS store.  (There is a UPS store in town but it is not "authorized.")   

I got my case number and apologized to Mary for being so upset and short and thanked her for her assistance. 

Am I still upset?  YES!!  Will I ever purchase a Toshiba product or recommend it to anyone?  No.  Will I tell everyone about the horrendous 5 experiences?  Most likely.  It’s all because of the poor communication and etiquette skills exhibited by Toshiba employees.

I just pray my laptop works when I get it back. 

You don’t always appreciate the value of great service, until you’re on the customer-end of poor service!

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and ukslim.

3 thoughts on “Former CSR Relates Service Experience with Toshiba

  1. Funny – I was just having this conversation with someone last night. Toshiba probably does lose many customers to Dell because they are not willing to go the extra mile to give exceptional service. (Or even good service) The leaders of these companies should wake up – it is no longer the case that an unhappy customer will complain to 2 or 3 friends – they will complain to millions worldwide, via your blog and others.
    Thank goodness for the few companies who do know how to give red-carpet service.
    And Tom, isn’t it gratifying to receive this kind of note from someone you used to coach? Kudos to you!
    Donna Cutting

  2. I have a personal theory that the more money that you spend the worse the customer experience.
    Donna – I’m not sure that Dell would be much better.
    I had real problems trying to get my new Dell Vista PC to work with my Nokia phone with an O2 contract – all of which worked quite happily on my old Dell PC.
    O2 passed me to Microsoft. Microsoft passed me to Dell (as they sold me the machine). Dell would only support the hardware. Nokia would not speak to me except on a preium rate line. In the end after 9 months of the PC sat on the shelf I paid my local IT company (great local service) to downgrade to XP and everything has been happy since.

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