Posted By RichC on April 12, 2019
The “customer experience” (a marketing buzz-term nowadays) can make or break companies. Some do it right, others fall on their face early in their start-up cycle … and others like Ebay ($EBAY) and Paypal ($PYPL) have employees, customer service departments and management issues dragging their company down … yes, this is going to be a “gripe” kind of post (a how-to business point too).
I’ve called a lot of customer service representatives in my lifetime. I’ve owned a small business since 1986 and have a wife who deals with people every day as a retail pharmacist … and I can easily tell well-managed customer service departments from those that are managed poorly and have employees who should not be dealing with customers. This week I stumbled on one who not only tarnished the company’s brand – Ebay, but also the payment platform their promotion was partnering with – Paypal. The managers should never have let this happen (she expected me to accept that there was nothing she could do and hung up when I asked to speak to a supervisor). When a retail-oriented company doesn’t manage the basics and loses touch with users because they have grown too large, it is easy to become complacent and forget customers are why they exist.
Here was my issue:
Ebay marketing “emailed me a coupon” to entice a purchase their platform along with using payment using Paypal by a certain date. I made a purchase, plugged in the coupon, but it failed to work … triggering a call to customer service for assistance. Simple and common enough, right?
Yes and no … since phishing scams likely regularly use email to generate clicks, the customer service rep indicated that was probably what happened. I told her “no, this is your email” (I checked the sender metadata) and indicated it is also linked to Ebay’s servers and wanted to give her the URL. She did not want the link and suggested I not click it further. Of course, this is something savvy Internet users deal with every day.
I expected she would give me a replacement number or force it through with the minimal $5 couple credit … but nope. Just “don’t use the coupon” was her answer. So I did what experienced customers do, “may I speak with your supervisor or manager?” No answer … just a “click” dead air or dead hold … so I held on just in case the dead sound was from being on hold (it wasn’t).
My point to those in the customer service business – especially Ebay:
A lot of marketing and money is spent to attract customers and retain users like me who have 100% positive feedback – I have been one since 2001! To let your guard down and allow a $5 coupon annoy a long time user (both seller and buyer) does not speak well for a company wanting to attract more business AND investors (or the partner that this promotion). Perhaps I’m an isolated incident … but suspect it has more to do with the management and the culture that does not treat a customer as if they want to keep them.