17 comments on “Missing The Mark: Sears – Christmas Customer Service

  1. I’m sorry to hear this happened, Nick, especially to someone dedicated to giving excellent customer service such as yourself. I hope they pull the rabbit out of their ***, ahem, hat, and get the perfect present ready in time to give it to your family member.

  2. Nick,

    Ouch. I don’t want to paint this with the “corporate culture” brush, however, it’s clear that no one in the chain really took any steps to own up and be proactive about your Sears experience.

    This kind of stuff drives me up the wall. Thanks for the catalogue memories (I used to always flip to the electric guitar page), and I hope you figured out something else for your relative.

    • Yeah, It drove me up a wall, too. The opportunities to make this right were/are plentiful, they chose to miss every one of them. I did find something else. I just hate it when companies make it so difficult to give them your money. Thanks for stopping by! šŸ™‚

  3. We pretty much stopped shopping at Sears after Rob was laid off from there in 2003. Their customer service used to be top notch, but has been declining at such a rapid rate in the last 10 years or so.

    When my dad died, my mom tried to pay off their Sears card in FULL, but they wouldn’t even talk to her as she wasn’t the primary on the account — but they wanted to talk to her once the account was past due. Not to mention completely rude.

    It’s very disappointing that a company that has such a long and rich tradition in our country has managed to throw it all away.

  4. As a merchandise pick up assosciate and the one that personally spent the time trying to find your order I am appalled that I can be trashed so easily. Sears.com purchases are a completely seperate faction from the main stores, this is becuase of corporations selling parts of their stores overseas for cheaper wages. This is nothing new and no one should be surprised. Due to this seperation, Sears locations are constantly running around trying to fill orders that we never made. We have an hour for each order to try and find it. I personally see at least 50 customers in that hour all asking questions, and so yes I am human and tend to forget to call customers if I can’t find that item. Instead of laying blame and judgement I would love to invite you to make a purchase in store where I will gladly help you find any item that we have in stock. Also none of the stores are linked with each other, that’s over 900 stores nationwide, there’s no conceivable way for the system to just be linked. Please put thought into anything you say before you go attacking hardworking people that do nothing but bend over for every customer that believes deserving.

    • Thank you for stopping by to make a comment. I certainly hope I didn’t trash you personally, in fact, if you look at the 7 issues I laid out in Update #2 – I never trashed anyone, just made observations of where everything in the system failed.

      From a customer stand point – If I purchase an item online on Sears.com, I am purchasing it from Sears. Period. I’m not buying online or in-store, I’m buying an item from Sears. There’s no difference in the consumer’s eye. As for linking stores, hundreds of chain stores do it all the time. Kohls does it, Target does it, Walmart does it. All chain stores, all with an online presence.

      I appreciate your comment and know that it’s hard work being on the ground – the whole organization has failed at customer service.

    • Wow, Shea….I realize that the holiday season is busy and you’ve been very busy doing your job to the best of your abilities; however, the issues laid out in this blog are not personal. In fact, I think the author does an excellent job laying out some of the same issues that you also point out here. Customers expect online presence and in-store presence to be linked. If it truly is as unlinked as you say it is, then Nick’s experience will sadly be replicated far too often which is so unfortunate.

      When a business tries to sell itself as a smooth online and offline experience, it is frustrating when it doesn’t happen smoothly from the customer’s perspective. I am sure that you work hard for your company and are proud of its history and presence in the community; however, in this instance, the structure of the organization failed the consumer and hopefully, it was only a one-time issue. For if it is not, the corporate reputation may be in some danger. Perhaps you can use this illustration from the inside of the organization to affect some needed change.

  5. Schnik: Just listening to the repeat of KGW news (Channel 308) and it appears that several Sears stores are going to be closing due to low sales numbers. I wonder if that has anything to do with the email confirmation that you got and then the issue with the reps in the store… Sad. I use to go into Sears (Lloyd Centre) and could see over the yrs where the attitude of the store changed. It was really eerie:-(

    • Yeah, I saw that story today, too. Sears has/had a long, long history of great quality and service. Those days, it seems, are long gone. Long lost are the days of the great Sears & Roebuck, inc. we all have come to know, like and trust. Now it’s just a name, not an institution.

      It’s really sad. I’m sad for the employees that will be downsized in this round of store closures and also sad for the lack of corporate culture that leads to great customer service.

      At any rate, thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  6. Yeah. It seems that when the *original* owner (be it JC Penney, Sears, Kmart, or Albertson’s, for examples) is taken over or dies, the *original* premise of the owner (that of customer service) dims. That is why some take-overs or mergers are *not* in the best interest of the customer, but all for the grab of the almighty buck:-(

    I use to trust in the names “Sears” and “Craftsman”, for example. Yet, with so many things being “outsourced”, quality suffers.

    We should demand better customer service. But the “corporate heads” are more interested in the bottom line. They don’t see the corelation… Bummer. Oh sure, you are very welcome. I love reading other people’s views on things. The best to ya!!!

    • I agree, the hard part I’m really having here is that it seems to be systemic of the corporate culture at Sears, not a single employee’s failure. Sad. It’s just as easy for me to shop on Amazon or site-to-store in other stores. Locally, Craftsman is sold in Ace Hardware, may have to look them up. šŸ™‚

  7. Pingback: Top 11 Posts of 2011 | Schnikisms

  8. My heart goes out to you, Nick. As a customer experience consultant and expert, your story was actually painful to read. It’s apparent that whatever “systems” Sears has in place, they are not accurate nor working properly, hindering the effectiveness of employees. To make matters worse, Sears employees are following the broken processes without stepping into the customer’s shoes and looking at the interaction from your perspective. So failure on both counts. Clearly, Sears requires a complete overhaul of both their systems and their processes and a re-training of associates on how to deliver a complete and worthwhile experience. In a recent shareholder call, their CEO thinks giving the employees iPhones and iPads is going to solve their problems and “get closer” to their customers. I think not. Sorry you had to go through this.

    Bill Leinweber
    Landmark Experience Consulting

    • Bill, Thanks for stopping by. The whole experience, every step of the way, has been a process story on what not to do. There were so many opportunities to make it better and they missed every opportunity. First, by misunderstanding the issues, then by missing the opportunity to make it right.

      Thanks for your comments. Hopefully companies will see that it’s not technology, but people, who solve issues for consumers and it’s not hard to rectify consumer’s complaints when you take a moment to listen first. šŸ™‚

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