I cook. So for me to be without an appliance to achieve said end result is a big deal. A few months ago I was a lucky girl and got a new wall oven. And then mysteriously six months after install, the digital thermostat gives up the ghost. If we wanted things only 350 degrees or above, I was golden.
Yes, you guess it: the thermostat goes up, only up. It doesn’t come down. (As a slightly related aside read this amusing article about oven temperature on Slate.)
So anyway, my new oven which is brand name came from Sears. Sears appliances come with these warranties and “Blue Crew” repairmen who are truthfully awesome.
Unfortunately I am learning the customer service as in when you call the toll-free numbers is not so hot. To the point of frustrating enough to make you want to toss the telephone out the window after dealing with them.
So back to the beginning. The oven is wonky so we call the number on the warranty paperwork. We tell them what is wrong, give them all the data off the oven door and they say they will dispatch a repairman. A few days later, we get the repairman. Only he could only LOOK at the oven, the part had to be ordered. And the fact that warranty repair is this multi-step process like this is not exactly explained to you by the “customer service” people.
We are told the part would arrive by last Thursday (I am not sure it even came Thursday, I think it came Friday). When the box arrives we were told to call Sears toll-free number right away. So like good little robots we did. We were scheduled for repair between 8 a.m. and 12 noon.
This morning begins with a robo-call from Sears at quite the uncivilized hour stating the repairman would be there at 7:30 a.m. O.k. in a civilized world unless someone is bleeding on the side of the road or it is the snow day phone tree, the phone doesn’t even ring then! At that hour in the morning what is happening with families this time of year? Oh yeah, getting people off to work and school or they are trying to enjoy vacation and might shock or shockers sleep in a few minutes extra.
The repairman arrives. As always, the best and most competent and professional part of Sears Home Repair are the actual repairman. They are pleasant, competent, know their stuff.
So I hand my repairman the box that got shipped from Sears via the manufacturer. I had not opened the box as I did not want to invalidate any warranty if only a licensed technician was supposed to open it.
The repairman opens the box and turns to me with a pained look on his face “Is this all they shipped to you?” he asks.
I replied yes, just that box which I had not opened. Well it ends up what they shipped was not the actual digital panel part but the cover for it.
The repairman excused himself and went out to his truck to call his office or headquarters or whatever. He comes back with an even more pained look on his face. Apparently my part is on backorder and will arrive on Monday, September 2nd…you know, Labor Day. As in national holiday?
I said to the repairman, I know it is not his fault but how come they can robo-call and call for everything except for things like to tell the customer who has been waiting for over two weeks to get to this point and will be at over three weeks if the part arrives that a part was on back order???
I called the number (888-236-1885). They said the call center was Houston, it sounded more like the Dominican Republic or something. The gentleman who answered the phone was very nice, but his voice was so heavily accented that I could not understand him. And I don’t speak Spanish so I couldn’t converse with him that way. So I politely said I could not hear him and asked for a supervisor. I was placed on hold and listened to a mind numbing repetitive fake jazz tune for about 10 minutes before he came back to the line and said he had permission to transfer me to a supervisor.
So a woman named Patricia (still with an accented voice, though not as heavy) comes onto the line a few minutes after being placed on hold again and forced to listen to more of the same mind numbing repetitive fake jazz tune. I go through the whole situation with her. She then replies to me and I could tell she was reading a script or something off a computer screen.
I listened and then I said, look, I need to know what you are going to do to try to resolve my issues, and I need more than being read to off a computer screen. So she tells me that the manufacturer (Whirlpool) is specially making my oven part – yes specially. I laughed and said I wish that was true but we all know the parts are manufactured overseas in factories and there is nothing “special” about it.
She tells me there is nothing she can do for me. I asked who else I could speak to. She replies “Customer Resolution” but won’t give me the direct number. She transfers me. I spent the next 50 yes 50 minutes on hold listening to SAME mind numbing repetitive fake jazz tune and then the call was picked up and DROPPED on Sears end.
I was forced to call again and start the process again. This time although I could have been in Brazil or Cuba, I was told I was calling Florida. A happy sing songy voice wanted me to go through it all again. So I did and then she transferred me to the super secret Customer Resolution area where the phone rang and rang and rang for 20 minutes before I swear the extension was picked up and disconnected. I did not even get to the mind numbing repetitive fake jazz tune part of being on perma-hold this time.
Now my better half is having a go at Sears. And I decided to write about it. And Sears? Your repairman is awesome and none of this is his fault.
I just want to know what happened to real customer service? What happened to valuing my time as a customer? Is my time not valuable? Am I just supposed to be Donna Reed sitting on the sofa in the living room with a nice gin and tonic and am not supposed to worry my pretty head about it?
My final word is usually I try to give local businesses more of a shot. Only after lots and lots of looking we discovered no one could beat Sears prices on brand names we were interested in. However, I think next time I might weigh the pros and cons of paying a little more and knowing I will get actual customer service vs. Sears magic carpet ride.
Am I experiencing desperate housewifery?
And I would really like to use my oven……