How would you like to do business with a retailer who absolutely HAMMERS on you with no way out? If you buy or get service from Sears, get ready to be a NAIL.
My wife and I haven’t purchased a major appliance (or much of anything, frankly) at Sears for many years. They do have a good selection of appliances and many more solid installers than does, say, a Best Buy, so when we were in the market for a new oven and cooktop we bought one from the local Sears store. The saleswoman was absolutely top-notch and she handled all the details…
…but that’s where the communications nightmare began with the “Sears marketing machine”.
We purchased the two pieces and scheduled installation for mid-January. Even before that installation had occurred, my wife (whose email address was on the order) began being inundated with emails from Sears and calls to her mobile phone (her mobile number was also on the order). She told me, “I have been deleting them so I can’t say an exact number. But I can say it has been too much! From 24 hour sales to requests for feedback, I have heard from Sears more than I have heard from my family since we bought these appliances!” Yep. She’s pissed.
We then upgraded the oven to a convection which delayed the installation to February 14th. Since my wife was taking a 12 day European trip on business in mid-January, we changed the phone number to mine since these robocalls could easily come in while she’s sleeping and also cost her $1.60/minute.
Putting my number on the order so Sears or the installers could communicate any issues to us seemed innocuous, but I had NO IDEA that a Sears installation survey robocaller (with the caller ID of 312-951-1276) would call not once, not twice, but SEVEN TIMES over the last two weeks or so! The calls came in each time to my mobile number, I was unable to answer, so the robocaller still hasn’t connected with me and will continue until I either answer its survey or it (hopefully) timesout.
Last evening I called the store to talk with our salesperson and department manager to see if they had suggestions on how to STOP THIS CALLING AND EMAILING. Unfortunately they had NO clue what to do. So I decided to connect with @MySears via Twitter hoping I could circumvent trying to call and connect with David Friedman, the new President of Marketing for Sears Holdings. Too bad that the people monitoring Twitter for @MySears didn’t followup all day today so I connected with them. They have now informed me that they’ve tossed me to “@SearsCares” but that I should know “…that the center has been affected by the snowstorm.” That’s shorthand for “Don’t hold your breath on having someone help you.”
Look. I do this web/internet business all day, every day. I understand the impact and necessity to engage in social media and what the best practices are for taking care of customers via these new channels. THAT is why I’m trying to connect with these people so that I can learn how to get in to a system like theirs and figure out how to bend it toward what I need which in this case is GETTING THEM TO STOP HARASSING MY WIFE AND I with all of their supposed “helpful” communications. Maybe they will learn something too.
If I’m unable to get these robocalls stopped and emails to cease by Monday or Tuesday of next week, I will do what my wife wants me to do right now: cancel the installation; get a credit for the oven and cooktop; and never, ever shop at Sears again.
UPDATE 2/21/11 THIS WOULD BE FUNNY IF NOT SO SAD: The Sears “Social Media” contact, Robert, has called me twice about the “$100 gift card we’re sending” and to check up to see if it has yet arrived. Someone else called AGAIN TODAY, more than TWO WEEKS LATER, to see if it has arrived and no, it hasn’t. This is getting sadly comical.
UPDATE 2/5/11 at 1:45pm CST: ‘Robert’, my ‘point of contact’, called (I assume my tweeting the last update, and including David Friedman, President of Marketing for Sears Holdings, got some attention). He ensured that “all your numbers are removed from our call lists” and is sending me a $100 gift card for my ‘trouble.’ Nice gesture for certain and I appreciate it, but if they’d NOT instituted such cheesey marketing practices and followed up promptly with their social media monitoring, the $100 would not have been necessary. These Sears folks have some work to do if they hope to be in-the-game 3-5 years from now.
UPDATE 2/5/11 at 11am CST: Yesterday afternoon a young man from “Sears Social Media” called me from Austin, TX. He said he’s my “main point of contact” and we talked about this issue and promised he’d “…send an email with my contact info immediately after we hang up.” That was 19 hours ago and you guessed it: nothing has arrived (and yes, I checked my spam inbox). I think these people need to go through a “Social Media 101″ course followed by a “How to Give Great Customer Service” one.