Category: customer service

Circuit City needs to stop insulting customers

I’m in Las Vegas for the EnergyCamp conference.

I had a couple of hours today so I decided to check out the local Electronics stores. When I went into the Circuit City store I was approached by a member of staff who informed me that I “needed to leave my rucksack with customer service near the front of the store”!

I resent being told that. I resent the implication that because I have a rucksack, I am a thief. My rucksack contained my laptop and several other items of value to me. If Circuit City don’t trust me with their valuables, why should I trust them with mine?

I said nothing and simply walked out of the store fuming and into the Best Buy which is conveniently placed next door (as you can almost see in the picture below!).

Circuit City and Best Buy in Las Vegas

The staff in Best Buy had absolutely no problem with my having a rucksack. I browsed the store for about 45 minutes, had several interactions with various staff members, all of whom were very helpful, and I left Best Buy having purchased some electronics goodies I have been looking for for sometime. Goodies which I have no doubt Circuit City also stock.

Are Circuit City always so insulting to potential patrons? And if so, how are they still in business?

Microsoft give up on trying to fix Windows Live OneCare

I wrote a post a few weeks ago about how slow Microsoft’s Support people were in getting back to me to resolve an issue I have with Windows Live OneCare.

The other day they sent me an email which said:

Case Reference Number: 1039327169

Dear Mr.Raftery,

Unfortunately we have been unsuccessful in resolving your issue at this time; therefore I can confirm I am closing this case as unresolved.

I’m sorry, what? That’s it?

Microsoft are just giving up?

Windows Live OneCare is such a piece of junk that Microsoft themselves can’t even support it?

This doesn’t auger well for the rest of their Windows Live offerings.


Telephone hell with Dell…

Tom’s on holidays, I’ll be your host for today. My name’s Frank P, you might remember me from such blogs as “”,”” and “”.

If you fancy being bounced around in telephone hell for a little while, try and call up the Irish Dell Outlet Store about the possibility of purchasing a machine on the UK outlet Store…

First you go through the usual press 1,2 or 3 etc… you’ll get through to teleperson one who will half listen to you and put you through to ‘someone who can help’… teleperson two will then half listen to you in a very bored manner and explain that you are through to the wrong person and if you want to buy a refurb machine you need to speak to someone in the Outlet Store. After you explain that you were through to the Outlet Store originally, you will be put through to teleperson three who turns out to be from the UK Outlet Store. He will listen to your question and explain that if you’re in Ireland you need to call the Irish Outlet Store – this is the UK Outlet store. He will patch you through to where you started, and after pressing the appropriate numbers you will be through to teleperson four – an Irish lady who talks to you as if you are stupid, stupid, stupid. At this point you will be bored and frustrated and, because of the day that’s in it, somewhat amused. The Irish lady will explain that there are two sites. One for the UK, and one for Ireland. No, of course you can’t purchase a machine from the UK Outlet store, that’s for people in the UK. There are no words to describe the patronising manner in which she will explain this to you.

If you’re in the mood, you can pretend to be as stupid as she believes you to be and keep her on the line for at least as long as you were in telephone hell for.

Sky Handling Partners engage in fraud and libel against blogger?

Sky Handling Partners lost Damien Mulley’s bag recently.

When Damien called to complain, they lied to him on the phone and showed a level of customer contempt which begs the question of how they are still in business.

Damien blogged about his treatment by them and their poor customer relations.

What do they do in return?

They sign him up for a load of gay dating websites with, as Damien put it in his own post, “rather interesting profile descriptions” – I can only imagine.

Damien phoned them to ask them about this. When he was getting nowhere he reminded them that:

signing up to dating websites using my details was fraud and I could happily call the Gardai and let them sort it out. Quoting from Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act,. 2001 to the lady seemed to make her take the matter seriously. I also pointed out I felt that posting untrue details about me on at least 3 websites was not on, especially what was written and I said I felt I was libeled

Fraud is a criminal offense so Damien would be well within his rights to call the Gardaí and have them investigate. The fact that he feels he was libeled means that he can sue as well.

Sky Handling Partners have exposed themselves to being sued for libel and a criminal investigation for fraud.

Why didn’t they just apologise?

Remarkable customer service

Regular readers here will be aware that I bang on about customer service on this blog from time to time (occasionally to my cost)!

For that reason, I was delighted to read Joel Spolsky’s comprehensive post on Remarkable Customer Service this morning.

Everyone in business needs to read this post.

Some quotes from it:

Most people’s experience with tech support and customer service comes from airlines, telephone companies, cable companies, and ISPs, all of whom provide generally awful customer service. It’s so bad you don’t even bother calling any more, do you?… when someone does call, look at it as a great opportunity to create fanatically devoted customer, one who will prattle on and on about what a great job you did.

It’s completely natural to have trouble saying “It’s my fault.” That’s human. But those three words are going to make your angry customers much happier. So you’re going to have to say them. And you’re going to have to sound like you mean it…. You may think that admitting fault is a strict no-no that can get you sued. This is nonsense. The way to avoid getting sued is not to have people who are mad at you. The best way to do this is to admit fault and fix the damn problem.

There is only one way to survive angry customers emotionally: you have to realize that they’re not angry at you; they’re angry at your business, and you just happen to be a convenient representative of that business.

Read the whole post. Adopt Joel’s customer service principles and watch your sales increase.

Having read it I almost wish I were a software developer so I could be one of Joel’s customers for his FogBugz bug tracking system. Almost!

Hosting 365 and customer service

I haven’t written about Hosting365‘s customer service before now as I have no direct experience of it. I don’t host with Hosting365. However their reputation for customer service has been far from stellar. Almost as bad as Irish Broadband’s, I’m told.

Recently appointed marketing director of Hosting365, Ed Byrne is determined to change that.

In a comment on a recent post on this site, Paul Walsh of Segala said

Hosting 365 probably have the worst customer services I’ve come across. Not only are they ignorant, they’re technically crap.

Now, instead of attacking Paul, or throwing him off their servers, Ed contacted Paul privately by email and said:

I read your comment on Tom Raftery’s blog about Hosting365’s service.

First of all I am very sorry you have that opinion of us. 2005 was a tough year for Hosting365 – we’ll be putting up a long blog post about that soon – we went from 16 to over 30 staff and built 2 new support teams. I hope that customers now start seeing positive results from this.

I’m not going to try and pretend we had a perfect customer experience in 2005 – we didn’t – and we’re working to build back customer trust and deliver BETTER support – as we see it as our core driver of growth…

I would like to extend an invitation for you to come in and have a quick chat – show you around the facility. For our business – any business – reputation is absolutely key, so I’d really like to show you the investment we’ve made and get feedback as a customer, on what we should be focussing on.

When I spoke to Ed after my falling out with Blacknight, Ed very generously offered to help move all my sites and host them until I got sorted with a more permanent host, free of charge.

I told Ed that I really appreciated his offer but that if I did ask for his help I would insist on paying.

Now that is customer service – keep it up Ed.

UPDATE: – Just to clarify, I have no intention of moving to Hosting365, I just thought Ed’s attitude to customer service should be highlighted.