August 23, 2009

What happened to Customer Service?

Customer service is supposed to involve a series of activities and I was always under the impression it was originally designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or their service has met the customer's expectation.

I have to argue the fact that the quality and level of customer service has decreased big time in recent years, and that this can be attributed to a lack of support or understanding at the executive and middle management levels of a corporation. I personally believe that providing a high level of customer service is the only way to grow your business in these times. But hey folks, the decline also started when they send people out to the customer's home and they can't speak "English".....that would be problem number one! This is a big issue with me. This is my country and I feel like the foreigner!

So, our major companies that have survived the economical crisis still need to listen up and pay attention to put their level of Customer Service back on track. I was one very annoyed and disappointed customer and I certainly made that known to the Company and I also demanded restitution for my inconvenience and my blood pressure rising!

During 1962, I applied for my first credit card after graduating high school and was thrilled. This credit card was one of the most difficult to obtain many years ago. Their reputation of standing behind their products was impeccable so I remained a loyal customer for 47 years until my very last purchase .......I'm livid, not because of their products but because of their “Customer Service”.

When expecting delivery of my new appliances, I never anticipated such a change of events from a reputable company that I have done business with for years. Years ago, they were always absolutely fundamental in ensuring my major purchases to arrive on time and in excellent condition.

However, this recent delivery and installation started the trickling effects of a disaster starting with the dryer "ON" button not working which required a second delivery. Then they could not fit it in the closet that houses my appliances. All it needed was for them to be pushed back one more inch. I guess the first set of delivery guys (who could not speak English) created the onset of events. The second set of delivery men (who also could not speak English) annoyed me even more. They forgot to hook up the water hose. The Steam Feature dryer requires a water hose.……..geeze! Talk about imbeciles! I paid for new vents and brackets but these guys loved using masking tape instead! Mind you, the new vents and brackets were mandatory to buy.

After many calls I had to place for the appliance is dancing like crazy and the noise is terrible. I guess a “Level” is no longer used?????.......Finally, I got through to Customer Service after a handwritten letter and also a written email sent with furry banging on my keyboard.

Their third trip back to my house, I demanded a gentleman that had to be born and raised and educated in the United States and could speak perfect "English". Finally, my request was provided. This gentleman took care of all the issues and I now can do laundry! I think they sent the Professor of Technology…………I was extremely impressed and finally a satisfied customer but my nerves were rattled prior to this.

That was a long two weeks! Hey, I was starting to run out of clean bloomers! LOL

Well, if anyone is searching for the perfect washer/dryer. I do have to admit that Kenmore Elite Front Loader is an amazing piece of technology. They have three computers inside. A Steam Feature that you will love. Saves on a lot of clothes not going to the "Cleaners".

Also, saves on less ironing. Uses less electricity. Gosh, I hate to iron. For people with allergies, this Steam Feature and Sanitizing system is excellent. The best part for me is that I no longer have to bend down to remove clothes from the dryer, etc. I have a bad back. They are pricey but worth it.

FYI: The tech (the educated one who speaks English) that services many stores said I made an excellent choice, as the Kenmore is even better than the LG, Bosch, etc. The product is also made in the good old U.S. of A! I originally wanted to purchase the LG. So, I at least made the right choice. Actually, the price factor made that choice for me and the 20% off and additional discounts for purchasing a color they wanted to get rid of because they had too many of.

August 12, 2009

Don't Waste Your Money!

I have many friends that just can’t understand how I can live on a Social Security check alone! I do have to admit, it was a major adjustment to let go of some of what I call luxuries. (like going to the Mall) But do I really need another pair of shoes?

Well, when I lost my job I was thinking of ways to live on less money. We have all taken a hit on our investments so it forces us to spend more conservatively. Either way, I found ways to still enjoy my retirement with a low monthly bank balance.

I realized when I walked into my closet and still saw clothes with tags still on them and now no longer even fit anymore….what a waste of money! I was wasting money on things I no longer value or either I pay more for stuff I really don’t need.

For me, I found it a waste of money to subscribe to Netflix and a gym membership that I did not faithfully attend. I now have DVDs to exercise at home in my own comfort with a stronger a/c and ceiling fan and exercise at my convenience and at no cost to me. Being a resident of South Florida also allows me to exercise in the pool most days. During the winter months, I walk around my complex or down the beach when it is less humid out.

I’m doing my own manicures and pedicures these days except I do go probably twice a year as a special treat to pamper myself but no longer on a regular basis. I read my newspaper online now and I don’t miss the black ink on my fingers and on my table.

Cut out those coupons you receive in the mail! I’m using more coupons these days and I’m amazed at the savings at the grocery stores and at restaurants to….buy one dinner get the other free. My computer is a great tool to search for coupons and promotion codes. Also, I now buy no-brandname products that cost less.

I cook at home 6 days a week and go out with my friends one day a week whether it is out for dinner or enjoying a Happy Hour. I also enjoy cooking for my friends occasionally. Laughter around my dining room table with good food is a pleasurable evening for me and my friends love it too.

I don’t gamble as I feel it is a waste of money. Yeah, once in a while I may buy a Lottery ticket. But I stay away from the Casinos, etc.

I may live in Boca Raton but I’m not really considered a Boca Babe because I don’t have a cleaning lady! I do my own cleaning and always have. Gosh, that alone people are paying $75. an hour for and probably more! The only help I have is a Roomba vacuum cleaner that with a press of a button vacuums for me, it is also on a timer and goes off on scheduled days that I programmed into the docking station. I call her “Little Rosie”. It does a fabulous job and with my bad back……..a lifesaver! I’m not pushing a heavy upright. I have been using “Little Rosie” for 6 years now! Best product ever!

And, for those of you who have grandchildren….there is no need to spoil them and break the bank with trips to Disney and purchasing extravagant toys, etc. A great BBQ right in your own backyard can be more enjoyable and memorable! Remember to take the camera out to share the memories. And also keep in mind, your adult children need to learn responsibility and support themselves. I have so many friends that their adult children keep on draining them dry….what gives with that? They need to grow up….slap them on the back of the head and tell them to get a job!

I may not be able to afford jaunts to Europe or eat in five star restaurants anymore but I’m not unhappy. I just wish to be able to see my children more that live out of state. Even better, I wish I could move back home in New England!

I'm blessed with good friends here in Florida and also with my Forever Friends in New England.

Remember, focus on activities and purchases you value most and ones that you really need and spend more time with family and good friends and DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY!