Service me!

Good customer service: 1-800-Flowers. Well, good customer service, bad actual service. In November I used them to send flowers for my mother’s birthday. As usual I was late and had to send it Overnight/Sat. delivery. Also as usual, it’s a “surprise” – though after getting flowers each year I suppose it’s not much of one. I went through the usual process, got my confirmation, got billed and didn’t think anything of it, they’ve been pretty much 99-100% effective in the past so I wasn’t worried. It did occur to me that I didn’t get the “thanks” from my mom when I made the birthday call but no biggie.

Finally at Christmas I asked if she liked the flowers and she said “What flowers? That’s right, you didn’t send me flowers this year, some son!” She was joking, but I was kinda peeved that they didn’t arrive. I asked her to double check that dad didn’t sign for them and lose them (or present them as his own) or that a neighbor didn’t have to sign for them and she e-mailed me last week to say that there was no sign of them at all.

I confirmed the order number and the billing date and fired off an e-mail at, their order tracking system doesn’t retain orders past 30 days, I suppose as I couldn’t pull it up. They e-mailed me back the next morning that they were very sorry for missing the birthday delivery and were looking into it. I got a call/voice-mail that morning advising me to call them back, though there was no name or case number given. When I did call them back (their voice response automated system is a nightmare) I got confirmation from a rep that the shipping label was sent to DHL, but no flowers for them to deliver. They refunded my money and offered me $10 off my next order, they would not send my mother anything, not even a card to apologize, but I suppose refunding my money was enough. Neither my mom or I were too terribly put out by non-delivered flowers.

I give them an F for service, obviously, but a B+ for customer service.

2/3/07 15:24Poor customer service: Google Checkout. Shorter tale this time. I “signed up” for Google Checkout back when it was more of a sign-up to be told when it was available, it was barely in beta and they weren’t even offering any merchants yet. More recently I saw a deal through one of my shopping RSS feeds about a 2GB flash drive for $50 with a $50 rebate, plus making the purchase through Google Checkout would net you a $10 on your first order with a qualified merchant. Pay $40, Get $50? Sure! So I made the order and let some of the anticipated $10 cover shipping costs and figured all was good.

Yeah.. not. The order went through, it was more convoluted than if I’d paid with my own card. I got multiple confirmation e-mail from both and from Google and the messages from Google didn’t reflect my $10 credit. They said that it might take a while for the credit to be applied so I waited the standard week/5 business days before e-mailing to ask what was up. Their response said that the Google Checkout account had to be opened in January. I wrote back that I had only just activated my account and made the first purchase in Jan. They said that no, it was activated back in June ’06, which is when I signed up for the non-functioning beta.

So I did what anyone would do in this situation… I made a demand, but worded it nicely. I pointed out that this was my first purchase, that I wouldn’t have made the purchase without the $10 credit and that I didn’t see what the benefit of their service was over using my already-established account with the merchant. First they sent a response saying that as it was my first purchase, they would credit the $10 to my account. However last night I got another e-mail that was identical to the first refusal e-mail, with a different case number. We’ll see how it plays out.

I give their service an A (for average) but customer service gets a D.

Mini-service note: Au Bon Pain has been putting coupons in the free daily Express that offer a free pastry with a latte. I do like their pastries so I gave them a try along with a co-worker. I grabbed my cream cheese croissant, ordered my latte, handed over my coupon and it was all good. The woman at the register said, “There’s two drinks in front of you.” I of course looked around and saw no drinks and looked her with a “huh?” look on my face. She repeated, “Two drinks in front of you.” I gave her the same confused look and said, “No.. no there aren’t!” She started to laugh a bit and said, “Sorry, I mean there are two drink orders ahead of you.” This triggered the light bulb over my head and I went to wait for my latte. The good: they have a brand spanking new technologically-fangled espresso machine that looks pretty effortless to operate. The bad: They only have one. So I did have to wait for a while for my drink. On the plus side, it tasted better than a Starbucks latte (who recently got their coffee dissed by Consumer Reports for McDonald’s), I could actually taste the espresso in my latte instead of it being masked by the milk and syrup.

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