Monday, January 21, 2013
Is Poor Customer Service Sinking Sears?
If you look like this after a customer service experience, that's never good. After my most recent experience with Sears®, I'm beginning to wonder if poor customer service is partially to blame for their financial woes.
My mother-in-law (MIL) visited our local Sears at the beginning of January to order a Kenmore bread machine like the one I received for Christmas. They didn't have one in stock, but the salesperson offered to order one for her. According to my MIL, they were having technology issues and the order couldn't be placed then, so she left. The reason she went to Sears in the first place was because she had a $40 gift card. This gift card was an attempt on Sears's part to make up for the total screw up on their hot water heater. Sears has a next day delivery guarantee. It took them eight days to deliver and install my in-laws' hot water heater.
At any rate, a few days later, my MIL asked me to order her bread machine online. When I went to do that, however, the gift card now had a zero balance. I checked her email, and she had a message from Sears that said, "Thank you for your purchase." We figured, the salesperson at Sears was able to get the order put through and in a week or so a bread machine would arrive at her home.
Well, when I was at their house Thursday and they still had no bread machine, I called our local Sears store. They were totally useless. They couldn't even find her order in the system. So, I then had to call Sears.com. After a lengthy, frustrating conversation, I discovered the order had been placed, but cancelled because they were out of stock of the unit. Now, you have to realize, both on the day I originally tried to order the unit online and the day I had this conversation with Sears.com their website claimed the unit could be delivered within a few days.
So, what about the balance of my MIL's gift card? I was told she would receive a new one within 3 to 5 days from the date of the cancelled order. We're still waiting on it.
I could give you other examples of our unfavorable customer service experiences with Sears, but instead, I'll offer this link to Consumer Affairs that lists numerous other complaints from people around the country: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/retail/sears_cust.html
Poor holiday sales and news that CIT Group halted loans to Sears's suppliers seem to be signs of more tough times for this retailer. Hopefully, they can work on improving customer service and gain back some of their customers. My family shopped at Sears when I was growing up, and it pains me to think one more piece of my childhood will be eliminated.