This is a grumpy article about awful customer service, but it starts with a tale about false economy. The two are not necessarily inter-linked.
At the weekend, my office/gaming chair broke. It was the third one to break in the last few years. No, it’s not because I’m a fat bloater. It’s because of a little thing called false economy. The chairs were cheap. Cheap chairs break. Then you have to buy more cheap chairs. Eventually, you might as well have bought a good chair in the first place. This is exactly what I did. I went to Staples and purchased a genuine leather office chair. I went around the entire collection of chair, testing each to my criteria – did it lean back? Was it comfortable? Would it sufficiently support my lower back. Only a few made the cut and they were all £100+. There was a lovely velour chair which was £199 and unbelievably comfortable, but alas, it didn’t make the cut as it it didn’t provide the best lower back support and I could tell I’d ache after a while. So I opted for this lovely chair for £139. That’s £100 more than the cheap chair, time will tell if it was worth it. But the thing that lets those cheap chairs down in the plastic arms, they always crack with prolonged use, then the back snaps. The new chair has metal arms. So signs are good.
It was the weekend for awful customer service.
Despite me pre-ordering Battlefield 3 from Amazon over 2 months ago, they failed to deliver it on time. You’d think with a pre-order they’d try to get the game to you on release day, otherwise what’s the point in pre-ordering? Other companies manage it. Play, HMV and others all shipped out the games early to deliver to their customers on release day. Some lucky people even got the game a few days early. Lucky people.
I wrote Amazon a snotty email and told them I wasn’t happy. As a long-term customer (since 2000), I’d expect a good service from them and failure to deliver a pre-order was awful. I told them I wouldn’t order from them again and they could close my account. They didn’t care, their response was pretty much ‘Ok, see you then.’ I shouldn’t be surprised, why woud a big company care about 1 single person – even a long term customer? I’m going to stick to my guns though, there are plenty of other companies out there and loads who give a better service. Amazon isn’t the best or the cheapest.
The next customer service grump is at Multiplay.co.uk. A game server provider who supply use with gaming servers to play Battlefield, Call of Duty and such. I’ve been a customer with them for over 4 years and must have spent £££s with them as we’ve rented multiple servers during that time. Over time, as they’ve expanded and gained more customers and a bigger brand recognition, their service has gone downhill. Oddly, their servers had become more and more unreliable and prone to crashes, stability issues and other problems. Their customer service response times got worse. They used to be good, but lately it takes them 2 or 3 days to respond to requests for support.
When the Battlefield 3 beta was released, they promised anyone who pre-ordered a server a free beta key. I’d preordered but my key hadn’t arrived. I messaged them about it, they sent me a key that didn’t work, I complained, they replied a few days later ‘You don’t need a key anymore, the beta is now public’ – yeah, but that’s not the point! So I kicked off at them and wrote a grumpy message about how disappointed I was with their service and all the complaints I had with them. They wrote back apologising and claiming they were trying to improve their service and would take my comments on board. Offered 2 weeks extra free on my accounts – 4 years I’ve been with them! 2 weeks free? (That’s about £10 by the way).
The last straw came last week. Over a month ago, I pre-ordered the Battlefield 3 server so it was ready when the game released. I contacted them and asked them to set it up early (as a week before release, they already had servers in London) so I could set up the anti-cheat streaming, server settings, map rotation, etc, ready to go to make life easy (and enjoyable) for the members of my gaming community. Friday, the game released. No sign of the server. I wrote and complained. Saturday, still no sign. They replied (twice) saying it was setup now ‘sorry for the delay’. I looked, it still wasn’t there. I replied, they said ‘yeah, sorry, can you confirm you still want it?’ This was now Sunday. 2 days after release. I wrote back and told them to stick it. I told them I was sick of their shocking service and I’d be moving GSP. I ordered a Battlefield 3 server from KillerCreation and they set it up in 10 mins. They responded (pleasantly) to all my emails and queries within a short time frame and generally were very helpful. I plan to move everything to them and cancel all my Multiplay servers. This is a lesson – remember your loyal customers, don’t put new customers above them.
End of grump.
Killercreation are a good example of good service. Ebuyer are too. Ordered a new mouse from them late Saturday night, it shipped Sunday, arrived 9am Monday morning! Good stuff.