Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What Can Happen in 14 Weeks?

My customer service problem with Weight Watchers is resolved, and it was a lesson hard learned.
For my readers who are also business owners, I want to summarize my experience - please do not make these mistakes with your customers!

1.  If you give your customers online tools that are free for a specified period, and then they are entitled to extending the free period (which I was), don't give them an email contact to use to get instructions.  Give them the instructions! Or give them a phone number to call.

2.  If you use email as support, do not take from January 21 to February 13 to answer the email.

3.  Train your customer service staff.  The person who answered the email in #2 gave me incorrect instructions.  It took me three phone calls to establish this.

4.  Do NOT answer a tweet complaining about your service with "call 1-800-XXX-XXXX" which is your main customer service number.  All I got was a long voicemail menu.  I ALREADY HAD THAT NUMBER.  IT'S ON THEIR WEBSITE.

5.  Reward your effective customer service people.  The last rep I spoke to was extremely helpful and stayed on the phone with me for over 20 minutes as we tried different solutions to my problem.  He stayed to the end and made sure my registration went through properly.  I told him how happy I was and that I would like to see him rewarded.  He told me "there's a survey that I can put you through at the end of the phone call". I gave him the highest marks for everything he did and told them I would NOT recommend the program to anyone. (that was the last question).  But it was an automated survey.  I hope my responses are tied to this wonderful rep's service.

I have 14 weeks to use the tools it took me from January 21 to today to register for and I will make the best of it.  After that, Weight Watchers is going to be do-it-myself, and I hope I can cancel (I had to give my credit card number) without going through the same nightmare.

I suppose it does not matter to Weight Watchers if they lose customers over their lack of service. (I've heard, since the start of my difficulties, that I'm far from the only dissatisfied customer).  There will be plenty more people, in the midst of the obesity epidemic here in the States, to join up.  To them I say  "I hope you have better luck if you need customer service."

So, I have 14 weeks to learn and succeed. And then, I'm on my own.

Have you ever kept using a product despite subpar customer service?

11 comments:

  1. Subpar (non-existent?) customer service has been endemic since corporations considered it appropriate to farm out these efforts to some country divorced from our culture and as capable as understanding and communicating in the vernacular as I am in speaking Russian.
    But, yes, there are many folks who essay using products/services where the customer support is terrible- either hoping the offering is so great that they would never need the service-- or offer the same support to others and consider everyone to be equal (and terrible).

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    1. You don't speak Russian? Horrors! I thought that was one of your many skills! You are so right (as usual)with your observations. It is ironic that Weight Watchers started as an obese woman using a free diet provided by the New York Department of Health, reaching out to her friends for support. So, from the first, the reason for their existence was - support! One of the many ironies of life, I suppose.

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  2. Customer service really is key. I will put up with a lot if someone will just be helpful and courteous about the situation. Lord knows I understand that things break down, just don't make it worse!

    Sorry about your ordeal, and I hope the product will be worth it in the end. I did WW years ago, and it's easy to apply it after without continuing to pay.

    Good luck!

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    1. I will put up with a lot, too - sadly, one of the people I spoke to at their "Customer Service" number was less than friendly, and it colored the rest of my experiences. I have learned a lot from Weight Watchers. I will be responsible for whether or not (once I lose the weight I need to - I am almost at my 10% loss goal) I can keep it off for life. I can always choose to form my own (informal) support group.

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  3. That's the problem when companies get too large... they lose the ability to help with individual service problems, and attempting to reach a real person is beyond frustration! I have the same issues whenever I have computer problems... ugh! I'm glad you finally got what you were looking for and I hope it was worth all the trouble! You've given us business owners some good food for thought!

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    1. So much bad customer service out there - I had a problem just recently with a company that provides a service to my elderly mother in law which led me to wonder: if they couldn't do the simple thing I asked them to, would they respond in a true emergency? It can be scary, sometimes, to wonder if you will get the service you paid for. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Customer service is so important and I think that many companies loose sight of how important customer service is. Sorry that you had a bad experience with weight watchers and I wish you good luck!

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  5. It's always helpful to share your experience with others especially if you think it will help. Too bad you had to go through that...Hope you have better experience with them...

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  6. Thank you for sharing your experience. I am glad it is worked out and I really hope you achieve your goal!

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  7. Poor customer service is a huge pet peeve of mine. It seems like the bigger the company the worse it is. And if they are a "can't do without" product/service it is even worse. I will change when I can if not... suffer through it.

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  8. Poor customer service is a huge pet peeve of mine. It seems like the bigger the company the worse it is. And if they are a "can't do without" product/service it is even worse. I will change when I can if not... suffer through it.

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