The other day I bought an over-the-range microwave from a big box store online and was amazed to discover how little the company’s staff knew about what they were selling. Now, I didn’t expect the customer service rep to understand how microwaves work, but I did expect him to know what extended warranty was applicable from the choices online. He had to ask a supervisor and eventually came back with an answer. I promptly purchased the suggested warranty along with the oven. Once the microwave arrived I was prompted to register my warranty with the insurance company. This became a problem as its site did not recognize my product. I subsequently got an email from the big box store stating I had purchased the wrong warranty. Not pleased, I did however agree to purchase the higher priced warranty. A few days later another email from the big box store announced that the insurance company had told them that microwaves were not covered by extended warranties. As you can imagine I was none to happy as by this stage I’d wasted a great deal of time on something that should have been simple.
This catalogue of errors occurred due to a lack of knowledge – employees and even in their concierge department lacked sufficient knowledge. Lack of knowledge was obvious all the way through. There was a catalogue of knowledge gaps.
- How was I able to purchase a warranty on an item that could not be covered, in the first place? Shouldn’t it be simple to not show warranties on certain products?
- Why were the several choices of warranty with insufficient guidance?
- Why did the customer service rep not know microwaves were not covered?
- Why did the supervisor not know this?
- How did the person in the concierge department not know this?
Dozens, if not hundreds of other customers must have been through this experience. The waste of their time, and that of their staff must be considerable.
In all fairness, I have to add that the staff were friendly and helpful, not to mention apologetic every step of the way. It was a lack of knowledge, not a lack of customer care that made the company look as if it didn’t know what it was doing.
Whether your business is small or large, you and the people who work for you need to be knowledgeable about your company and the products and services it sells. If not, you’re going to look pretty dumb when a customer complains!