“PLEASE Sell Us a Conference Table!”

Every day we’re reminded about just HOW LOUSY Customer Service is in this country. WHAT IS THE DEAL? It’s SO bad that we are all shocked when a company or person actually delivers the MINIMUM in customer service. We almost want to thank them for simply doing their job! Here at Studio Center, we talk about Customer Service on a Daily Basis! We share the frequent “Horror Stories” and the rare “Blew Us Away Stories”. The following would fall under the “Horror Story” Category.

Several months ago as we were nearing completion of our new “Video and Digital Center” here in Virginia Beach, I began shopping for a Large Conference Table for one of our Conference Rooms. I quickly found one that I liked on Office Depot’s Site, put it in my cart, carefully read the discouraging and painfully boring “Delivery Instructions” and bought it! After inputting my Credit Card Data and Billing Information, I soon received a Confirmation Email. All is well, right?

NO! Two days later I received an email stating that my order had been cancelled because of an “Incorrect Billing Address”. After two hours explaining that I’d had the same card for 7 years and that our Billing Address WAS correct, I was advised to go online and complete the purchase ALL OVER AGAIN. “We can’t do that here.” Um, ok, I really liked the table. That night, I go back to Office Depot’s Site and make the purchase yet again. I promptly received another Confirmation Email. That wasn’t so bad, or was it?

Two days later I received another email stating that my order had been cancelled because, you guessed it, of an “Incorrect Billing Address”. Two hours later and after much “holding” I was advised to go online do it all over again. Did I mention that I liked the table? That night, I go back, yet again, to Office Depot’s Site and complete the purchase one more time. Another Confirmation Email arrives. It didn’t take quite as long as I was beginning to get the hang of it! Two days went by and while holding my breath I checked my email. There was NOT an “Incorrect Billing Address” Email. I fist bumped myself and went back to work. A week went by and it was now time to check the “Delivery Status” of my order. I logged in to the Office Depot site and began searching for ANY information regarding my table. NOTHING. I called and held. Then held some more before being advised that I needed to leave a message with another department. I obliged and left my cell number.

I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP! Office Depot cancelled my order for the THIRD TIME, didn’t bother to tell me, asked me to call them again, and referred to me as “Wullem”!!! Fearing that I might crack, I delegated purchasing the table to my Comptroller, Pete Bouker. Guess what? The SAME THING HAPPENED! Calling, holding, checking the Billing Address, etc.

Next up, Dave Davis, Operations Manager. Dave is very patient, calm, and deliberate, a perfect fit for ordering online at Office Depot. In an unbelievable coincidence, Dave went through the ENTIRE PROCESS TWICE before somehow completing the purchase without an “Incorrect Billing Email”. He tracked the table and informed me three weeks ago that it would arrive (fingers crossed) November 1. Dave sent me this update today:


This is to inform you that we have a delay in shipping the above mentioned order# for the item # 274636 (Mayline® Group Corsica Conference Table, Boat-Shaped, 29 1/2"H x 96"W x 42"D, Mahogany )
The estimated shipping date is: November 10th 2011.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Please get back to us for any further assistance. Customer Service # 1866-345-3139."

Studio Center’s 10 Ways to Great Customer Service:

  • Talk About it EVERY Day
  • Hire Only Smart, FUN People (They get it.)
  • Reward GREAT Customer Service (We give away money!)
  • NEVER Ask Your Customer to DO WORK! (“Call back.” “Fill out this form.” “Call another department.”)
  • Make it RIDICULOUSLY EASY For Them to BUY! (“Let us help.” “We’ll do that for you.”)
  • NEVER Tell Your Customer “NO”! (If you can’t do it, suggest something else.)
  • Do NOT Let BAD PEOPLE Talk to Your Customer! (No offense grouchy accountants.)
  • TRAIN Your People! (The Best Service Industries, Hotels and Restaurants TRAIN their people daily!)
  • Frequently Solicit Customer Service Suggestions From Your Staff! (You hired Smart People Already, right?
  • ELIMINATE the Bad! (Harsh? How MUCH are they costing you?)

Hey Office Depot! Bring us our table and we’ll help you!

William Prettyman