Poor Customer Service

I recommend that you do not do business with Nature’s Stone.

Here is the (only) correspondence I got from them — see at the bottom it is an automated response [and there are typos in the message!]:

I sincerly appologize for the inconvieninece caused in regards to your granite purchase.
Natures Stone prides itself in creating an affordable and conveinient experience for all of our customers.  We have read your comments and will take immediate action to correct any and all problems at Natures Stone.  We do appreciate your business and hope to work with you again in the future.
— On Sun, 9/6/09, gparks@acm.org <gparks@acm.org> wrote:

Naturest
From: gparks@acm.org <gparks@acm.org>
Subject: Nature’s Stone Web Site Inquiry
To: naturestone88@yahoo.com
Date: Sunday, September 6, 2009, 3:19 PM

This is a comment or question from the Nature’s Stone Web Site:

Name:
Greg and Lana Parks
Phone: 952-xxx-xxxx
Email address:
gparks@acm.org

Comments:

I just want to inform you of the poor customer service we received
while purchasing granite from your company (at the Burnsville
location).  We came to your company to purchase a granite countertop
for our bathroom and was greeted by Chuck. He showed me the pricing,
etc, then led me to the back where there were remanents of granite
that he said were at a reduced price. He said that anything that
didn’t have a tag on it we could choose from. He was very kind at
this point and pulled out some slabs with a machine, etc. We chose a
granite slab that would work and he marked our name on it, told us
that he would generate a sales receipt, and assured us that he would
save it for us. I informed him that the contractor that we had hired
would be contacting him in the next few days. (This was a Thurs). The
next Tuesday — only five days later, our contractor contacted Chuck
and he informed our contractor that he did not remember me or my
husband (we were both there — and he shook our hands), that our name
and information was not in your computer system. Fortunately, I had a
sample I had gotten with the name of the color we had chosen and was
informed that there was a slab that would work.  We were not informed
that the original slab we had chosen had been sold; we were not told
that we would be paying full price at this point or we would not have
gone through with the sale. While this was an annoyance, things seemed
as though they would work out.

A few days later, our contractor informed us that your company did
not have a big enough slab of the granite we had wanted in the
remanent selection, so we’d be paying full price ($7 more a sq ft).
Nevermind that originally the slab we had chosen was more than enough
yardage and that now it was too late to even go look at other slabs
that may have been more to our preference if we were paying full
price. (“Bait-and-switch” is illegal and unethical.  At this point it
was too late to change — the project was underway, the old counter
removed) Our contractor was informed that our slab would be cut and
ready by the next Tuesday He called Tues. and was informed that it
was not ready, but would be by Wed. He called Wednesday and was
informed that it was all ready to pick up, so he drove from Woodbury
to your Burnsville office and it wasn’t ready. The backsplash hadn’t
been cut, so our contractor waited. By this time, my husband, usually
a very trusting man, even asked our contractor to confirm that the
color was right — he doubted anything was accurate any more.  The
contractor eventually took the counter and backsplash to our home to
install and as he was installing it found that though the sink hole
had been cut, the faucet holes hadn’t — this despite the fact that
he gave you the faucet and was given it back when he picked it up.
Yes, he had informed and laid out for your workers where to cut them.
He called your company and was informed that someone would need to
come out to our house and cut the holes for the faucet. So, we made
arrangements and your company gave us a 2 hour window. (Do you really
need a 2 hour time window?? Do you have that many jobs that you forget
to drill holes and have to go fix the problems??). The person from
your company didn’t even knock or ring the doorbell. He walked in.
Yes, our garage was open as we had our contractor here, but as I’m
home, working in our living room suddenly there is a strange man in
my house. HOW RUDE!  Not to mention that he barely spoke English.
Fortunately, our contractor was here and informed him of what to do
and was able to supervise.

Needless to say, we will NOT be using your company ever again and
will let everyone we know of our experience. We’re more than happy to
recommend to family, friends and acquaintances good service, and
willingly warn everyone about the bad.  But we thought there might be
someone at your company who would like to know — and perhaps make
changes.

This is an automated message from the Nature’s Stone web site.

No follow-up, nothing.
On the other hand, we know an excellent contractor for home repair work, and will gladly give out his contact info, and recommend his work.
Contrast this with petfooddirect.com — the other day I was shopping there, and realized I forgot to check some detail, so I abandoned my shopping cart… and got an e-mail the next day because they “noticed” that I hadn’t checked-out and were wondering if there was something they could do to help.  Now, I know that some will not like that, but I thought it was a nice touch.  I know it was automated, but it still was a step they didn’t need to do, and it showed a consideration — I replied to that message and got a human answer (someone was checking the reply e-mails!).
Also, I have another example, a store my wife and I shop at frequently failed to properly honor some coupons my wife tried to use — the store manager didn’t understand corporate policy, either, although my wife, a serious couponer, knew exactly what they were supposed to do.
Later, my wife called the corporate office, and got a person who also didn’t understand, but my wife wouldn’t let it go and escalated the issue to a supervisor.  When she left a voice mail message, she forgot to leave a phone number, but that person (turns out, a V.P. or some division), has voicemail that recorded the phone number that the call was from, and just to be sure, called back, talked to my wife and understood exactly the problem, agreed to have a “chat” with that store and with the person she spoke with who also didn’t get it…
Now, it would have been reasonable for that woman to say to herself, “well, she didn’t leave a phone number, and I’m not sure I know who called, so I’m going to drop it.”  But, being a responsible person, who knows the value of customer relations, she tried every avenue available to her to correct a problem, and earned our respect (and continued business for the store she represents).
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4 Responses to “Poor Customer Service”

  1. Jessica-MomForHim Says:

    Wow, that sounds extremely frustrating!! How rude!! I hope you got a discount or something….

  2. Lana Says:

    We’ve had our share of ups and downs with cs haven’t we?! yikes! Just so people know, we vote with our dollars. If we get poor cs, we tell people, go up the chain of command, and typically don’t go back if there’s no resolution (like Nature’s Stone). On the other hand, when we get excellent cs, we tell people, sometimes even call the company to compliment them and go back even if things are cheaper elsewhere. It’s like our vote.

  3. Customer Service — good and bad « More than a Tweet Says:

    […] it gets the most visits (I’ve written more: about functional programming, and even another customer service story); maybe I need to mention high profiles search keywords more often to generate more traffic to my […]

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