I’ve talked about this before, but now is a good time for a reminder. A couple of people have emailed in about issues they’ve had with online orders, and the advice is usually the same whether you’re talking about tools, electronics, or almost anything else.
Unfortunately, Best Buy presented me with a great example to share with you.
I ordered a new phone on December 2nd. I wanted it fast, so I skipped the free shipping and opted for in-store pickup and a December 3rd pickup date.
December 3rd came, and my order wasn’t ready. The website now said I have to wait until December 10th.
I called Best Buy, or at least I tried to, since their chat didn’t work. I left my number and received a call-back in 39 minutes.
If I changed my order to shipping, they were seeing a January ETA on their end. Best Buy’s website said I would get it in a couple of days, but I figured they were seeing more accurate estimates and didn’t want to risk it.
I was angry, but polite. I asked if they could offer me anything for the inconvenience, and a gift card is on the way to me. It doesn’t hurt to ask – sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes no.
It’s (almost) never the customer service agent’s fault. Be polite and civil. Sure, you could yell at them and be angry, but that’s just rude. They’re there to help you, and not to be abused. Yelling at customer service can only hurt you.
December 10th came, and my order still wasn’t ready.
In the late afternoon or evening, I received an email saying there was a delay and that if my order wasn’t in by January 9th, 2020, I could cancel.
Best Buy’s chat didn’t work, or rather it told me I was #100 in line, gave me a time estimate, and then when the time limit was up it told me to refresh the page and start over. This happened a couple of times.
I tried to call Best Buy. The option was to hold. Their call-back service wasn’t accepting my phone number. I tried again later, no luck. And then again, it worked, and I was called back in about a half hour.
I spoke with an agent, and they said my order would arrive before midnight the next day (Wednesday 12/11). Okay, great. This means I’d be able to pick up my order on Thursday, maybe Friday.
Thursday came, no order. I finally go through to chat, and they gave me a tracking number, saying my order would arrive by Friday. Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. Then why did they say it would arrive at the store Wednesday?
Friday came around, and my package was delivered to the store! Or rather, the package my order was supposed to be in was delivered to the store.
Saturday morning, 24 hours later, no pick-up notice.
I tried chatting, it didn’t work – it reset after a 12 minute wait, telling me to wait again.
I tried calling my store a couple of times that week, and the phone just rang and rang. I guess that’s understandable, it’s a very busy shopping week, but it’s still frustrating.
Okay, so I called Best Buy, again, on Saturday morning. I put my phone number in for a 41 minute call-back.
After 41 minutes, what did Best Buy do to help me? They gave me the extension for my store’s mobile department.
Best Buy also has social media support, but I guess nobody is monitoring those inboxes, because I have yet to receive a response to my direct message. I did poke fun at them in a tweet, since sometimes this can help with all the frustration.
Armed with a 4-digit extension, I called my local store.
I spoke with one person, who listened to my inquiry, took my order number, and disappeared. I spoke to someone a few minutes later who asked who I was on hold for. I then spoke to a third person who seemed to have been from corporate, and who I’m guessing passed me back to the store, where I spoke to a fourth person who took all my information down again. She was investigating and put me on hold. After a total of 35 minutes, someone took my phone number and said the associate would be calling me back in about 20 minutes.
Three hours later, I went to the store.
At this point you might be asking why I was going through all this. Well, because with Best Buy’s promo, I was saving hundreds of dollars off the price of the Samsung phone I wanted. My phone has also been glitching a little, and I wanted a quick replacement.
At the store, the customer service agent got the ball rolling. They said this had happened to someone else, too. She went to the back room and came back, telling me that the mobile manager and another manager were looking at the boxes for my order. She said things weren’t unloaded or unpacked properly because of seasonal help.
They were looking, looking, looking. The box was back there, because tracking showed me it was signed for the previous day, and by whom.
A manager took down my name and phone number and said they’d call me in about 45 minutes to an hour, since it’ll more time to go through all of the boxes again. It was 3:45pm, I agreed and said I hoped to hear from here by 5pm.
I had mentioned to the customer service agent and manager that I had a “Plan B,” which was to ask for my order to be cancelled and for a discount to be applied to a new purchase I’d make at the store. I checked prices and determined this before I even left the house to go to the store.
There was one left of my “Plan B” phone, and the manager put it aside for me before I left the store.
I took my daughter to the nearby supermarket for a snack and a treat, as she’d been trying very hard to be patient the whole time I was chatting with customer service.
5pm came and I went back to Best Buy.
Bad news, they can’t find my ordered item anywhere.
The cynic in me has a theory that the phone that was meant to be earmarked for me to pick up was instead sold in-store – perhaps the one I was supposed to pick up on the 3rd, and then again with the one that arrived on the 13th.
But, it is possible that the phone was supposed to be included in the shipment, but wasn’t.
The bottom line was that the store didn’t have my phone for pick-up, and didn’t know when it’d be available.
So, I cancelled the order on my phone, and purchased my second choice phone. (I decided to give iPhone a try, switching from Android for the first time. I’ve been with Android for 10 years, since the original Motorola Droid, and had already been thinking about switching. It was the big discount on the Samsung phone that convinced me not to, but with all this hassle, I took it as a sign maybe it was time to switch.
Best Buy had a $100 discount compared to the full-price at the Apple Store and elsewhere, and the manager was able to give me an additional $100 savings over the huge hassle I endured.
Saturday morning, I was furious and ready to swear off Best Buy forever. But here’s the thing – mistakes happen. I was annoyed that the chat wasn’t working, that there’s no email option, and that the phone call-back system (so that you don’t have to wait by the phone the whole time) wasn’t perfect.
But, at the end of everything, the customer service agent at the store and the manager were able to help me.
At the end, what really helped me was knowing what I wanted, and asking for it.
If your optimal resolution isn’t possible, what else would make you happy? For me, I determined that if the store’s best efforts to track down my phone wasn’t successful, I wanted to choose a different phone, buy it in-store, and receive a discount that would soften the blow of the whole experience.
If thy said no, I would have maybe asked about a different color or version of the phone, price-matched to my original order, or maybe discounted a little further.
But they said yes, and I found the amount to be acceptable.
I read a forum post the other day, where someone was going on a tirade about Kreg because his recent pocket hole jig was missing an accessory. They didn’t even wait for a response or resolution before bashing Kreg up and down the web, with “DO NOT BUY” messaging. That’s not productive.
I was extremely frustrated throughout this whole Best Buy experience, but in the end I knew what would make me happy, and the issue was resolved. This doesn’t automatically erase the frustrations and aggravation, but overall things are resolved.
Do you think they would have looked for my order in the back room if I were hostile and angry? Do you think they would have set aside my second-choice phone or applied an extra discount to it if I were yelling at the associates?
My belief is that most stores will be polite, reasonable, and willing to compromise if we as customers are polite, reasonable, and willing to compromise. And the stores that aren’t? They don’t need my business.
I have witnessed screaming, tantrums, cursing, and other such unpleasant behaviors towards customer service associates. Don’t do this.