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April 5, 2005 12:13 AM

Broken: (via OK/Cancel)

Nicely done comic strip showing the customer experience on the Maytag website.

Thanks to Paul Schreiber for the pointer.


Ooo! Pictures!

Posted by: Maurs at April 5, 2005 02:09 AM

As the entry below details, that's a real story from Jeff Veen -- I saw him tell it at WebVisions in Portland a couple of years ago. Still quite compelling, and I love the way the OK-Cancel guys turned it into a comic!

Posted by: Elaine at April 5, 2005 12:04 PM

Sad thing is, I've had experiences like that e-mailing a number of major companies... send an inquiry, and they respond to what appears to be a different question entirely. It's enough to drive one insane.

Posted by: codeman38 at April 5, 2005 01:13 PM

It's part of a typical human tendency to see what you want to see and not what really is. I too see this many times in e-mail exchanges with companies, particularly computer companies such as Dell. You can ask them a specific hardware question, give them specifics of what've you've done, and they'll tell you to do what you've already done!

Posted by: FLyingASHtrays at April 5, 2005 02:34 PM

Do you shoot flying ashtrays?

Posted by: unknown at April 5, 2005 03:56 PM

Only if they shoot first.

Posted by: FLyingASHtrays at April 5, 2005 05:12 PM

Funny you should mention Dell because I just had such an experience with them.

I wrote a fairly simple message through their help system saying that although my laptop boots up fine when using AC power, it wouldn't boot up if I disconnected AC power and had a battery in only the right battery bay. However, the left battery bay did provide power. They wrote back with suggestions on how to test the AC power cords, and to test other good batteries in my system.

First off, the problem has nothing to do with the AC power unit. Secondly, I already told them that the batteries work fine in the left bay, but not the right bay. Finally, where am I supposed to get known good batteries? Do they assume I have a bunch of friends with the exact same model laptop?

Posted by: Manni at April 5, 2005 07:38 PM

What I hate most is when tech support responds with questions that were already asked in the form they make you fill out when you submit your problem.

Posted by: Maurs at April 5, 2005 10:47 PM

"Do they assume I have a bunch of friends with the exact same model laptop?"

They assume exactly that, but with "coworkers" instead of "friends" -- especially if it's a Latitude. Not that it's right, but that's what they're thinking, I bet.

Posted by: rich at April 6, 2005 03:17 PM

This is sadly typical. What kills me is how simple it would be for any one of these reps to just provide the information requested and thus cut their workload by a factor of three by preventing repeat requests. They obviously HAVE the information, but refuse to provide it until a model number is why not provide information for ALL the models? Oh, wait, that's exactly what he was asking for. Go figure.

I'm afraid I'm just obtuse enough to specify each and every single model number they have. Each one in a separate message. Keep them tied up answering my requests until they get the point.

Of course I'd then still buy someone else's product. Who wants to do business with a company that makes you go through that?

Posted by: Erich at April 6, 2005 05:52 PM

Last week, I sent an email to an online game I was playing asking how to delete my account. After submitting the question on the website, I was taken to a page listing common questions that are answered on the site. I continued with my submission, and the next day I got an email telling me to check the FAQs online to see if my question was answered. Since I had checked them prior to submitting my question, I was slightly annoyed, but the email said to reply with my original question if it wasn't on the website, so I replied. I promptly got a reply saying that this email address is for sending auto-replies, no one is going to check for new mail, yada yada yada. Slightly more annoyed, I went to the website and submitted my question again, only to discover that it took me to the common-questions-answered-on-the-website page again. I still haven't gotten an answer.

Posted by: fuzzy at April 6, 2005 08:30 PM

The reason we get nonsensical or irrelevant replies to our email questions is the advent of email handling Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM). One in popular use is Kana. These systems can be set up to scan incoming email and based on keywords found int he email, guess what the answer is, and push out what is believed to be the appropriate canned response.

In the case where the automation cannot make a determination, or the company decides it wants rep to always handle the email, there is still a canned set of prewritten replies and fill-in templates that reps use to answer queries. It saves them typing things repeatedly. Now when you combine this with the fact that customer service centres are cost centres, and reps are usually under the gun to process X number of emails per hour or else get fired, it's easy to see which choice a rep will make when faced with (1) typing out a custom reply that answers your questions, or (2) punching a button that generates a canned reply that vaguely matches with your questions.

If a company is interested in better quality customer service, then they will need to emphasize accuracy and completeness of answers as a measure of success for the rep, and de-emphasize volume of mail answered.

Posted by: Carlos Gomez at April 7, 2005 08:12 AM

Yeah, it's been more than a year now that I've tried to tell McAfee that their virus scanner is getting a false positive on a piece of commercial software on my HD. Only once have I gotten someone who even understood my e-mail and they suggested turning off the search for suspicious files. (It's not a sure hit, it's being flagged as suspect. It's a .OBJ file, though--why is it even being scanned?? The .EXE that results is *NOT* flagged.)

Posted by: Loren Pechtel at April 10, 2005 11:56 AM

This is a horror story about a Maytag refrigerator. If you at Maytag care at all you will contact me. I can not get satisfaction from anyone on the telephone. I have an extended warranty from a company that you represent, and you will not stand behind this company, or you are just giving me the runaround because you do not want them to replace it. I have lost four days of work, and hundreds of dollars worth of food, and you will not do anything about replacing a refrigerator that is beyond repair. I have had four service calls with eleven hours windows, which I have patiently waited for to be repaired. I do not understand the mentality of a company who would pay service men for eighteen hours of work and end up with an unhappy customer and a refrigerator which is inoperatable on an extended warranty. I wait on the telephone for hours without results. What is it with a respectable company as yours that will not respond to a 73 yr. old customer who is without fresh food for going on two weeks. I am living on crackers, energy bars, apples, and carrots. What can I do to get a response? My telephone number is 949 725 3357. I would replace it at my own expense, if I could afford to do so. But I did pay good money that I could afford to have it repaired, and yet you can not deliver. If you have any courage you could call me at 949 725 3357.

Posted by: Gloria Russell at June 18, 2005 06:24 PM

Please contact me. I can not get any satisfaction. I am a very unhappy customer. 949 725 3357

Posted by: Gloria Russell at June 18, 2005 06:25 PM

I need to warn all of you that are reading this post on Maytag. STAY AWAY FROM MAYTAG PRODUCTS. They have been purchased by Whirlpool just recently, but I want all of you to remember this:

No matter how pretty the maytag machine looks, DO NOT BUY IT. The company does not stand behind the warranty. Many of the washing machines have a mold that begins to grow after 6 months and the doors pop open at odd times. PLEASE save your money for a better product. I know cause it happened to me. and the poor lady in the previous post.

Posted by: Terri at April 1, 2006 05:11 AM

I bought the new Maytag Ice20 at $2199 (shiny black)from Home Depot. It was delivered on Friday, March 3, 2006. Boo hiss. First, right out of the box, a big dent on the side. We went ahead and took the $150.00 damage fee for that as I had 13 guests coming the following Monday and had to have a refrigerator. After the first 24 hours, I emptied the ice maker. There was very little ice in it. I had to read the manual to put the ice maker back in it's slot as it didn't seem to be fitting right. It was an ordeal and you have to get it "just right" and hope the audible "click" you finally hear means it is put back correctly. Waited for ice for a day. Nothing came out so pulled the ice bucket out again and had 2 clumps of ice hooked together - so a total of 8 or 10 cubes. Spent a good amount of time putting the ice bucket back. Waited another day. Same problem. No ice, only a couple of clumps. Pulled the ice bucket out and the auger in the back fell off. Screwed it back on, read the ice maker directions again, had my sister read the directions, and had my brother read the directions to make sure we were doing it right. We all three watched and checked to be sure the ice bucket was put back in properly. Heard the "click" telling me it was good to go. Still, no ice.

By this time, my tomatoes had frozen in the vegetable bin (which was set as instructed in the manual). Also had a carton of milk frozen that was sitting on the shelf above the vegetable bin AND had milk frozen in the beverage chiller on the right hand door.

Turned the refrigerator up and freezer down, 1 degree each. Next time I opened the refrigerator, it smelled. Changed the settings back but the smell persisted.

Called Maytag for service on that Monday (3/6/06) after the Friday delivery. They said they couldn't get anyone out until the 14th. I told them it was unacceptable, that they needed to get someone out sooner that that and they said tough toenails.

I called Home Depot. Talked to a manager even. They called Maytag to see if a sooner date could be had, and the appliance guy called to see about just getting a new refrigerator delivered. The HD appliance guy said it would be the 14th before a new refrigerator could be delivered and suggested I see what his manager could do first. After two more days and no repsonse from her (the HD manager), I called her to find out she had no luck and she gave me a HD distict manager to call. All this time I was being told by the HD people that Maytag service is just the worse. That isn't what I was told when I bought the refrigerator, however.

So, now I'm back to Maytag myself, since the HD manager dropped the ball, and now I'm two more days out, with a service call date of 3/16/06.

In the meantime, I walk into my kitchen a day later and there is a flood of water pouring out of the door water/ice dispenser. Lucky I have people to help. As I'm grabbing containers to catch the water pouring out of the dispenser, my sister is grabbing towels to sop up the water all over the floor and my brother is taking off the brakes to move the refrigerator out so we can turn off the water. Turned off the water and waited for the refrigerator to empty itself of all that was in it's water bin. Turned off the ice maker and waited.

Next day I opened the door and the deli tray cover had popped off. Had a hard time getting that back on as I wanted to make sure I didn't break it.

Finally, a repairman shows up. Extremely young and inexperienced. He gets on the phone to the Maytag refrigerator guru who immediately knows exactly what to do with the ice and flood problems, and the freezing problems. Seems a few other Maytag Ice 20's are having the same problems.

The tech in my house tells me that this IS new technology and so a few bugs can be expected. He says the ice maker motor was freezing up, which caused both the flooding and the ice maker to not produce ice. He said they don't even have these ice makers on their trucks right now as they just can't get them from Maytag yet. He said this motor freezing problem has been addressed by Maytag and the new ice makers will work properly. He said he would order one to be sent to my house and once I got it, I should call and make another appointment for them to come fix it. He said the ice maker should be here in two days. I told him he needed to go ahead and schedule the return appointment now so that I didn't have to wait another 9 or 10 days. He tried and yep, sure enough. The first available appointment would be 8 days out, or the 24th of March. I asked him why it was taking so long to get people out, especially when he claimed the ice maker was only 2 days out. He said all of their techs were in training right now to learn how to fix this new refrigerator.

He tells me the problem with the food freezing is caused from the cold air dispenser that flows into the beverage chiller on the door. I reminded him that I had the setting at the lowest possible point and asked him to explain how the small amount of air that was actually going directly into the beverage chiller could freeze items outside of the chiller. He said it was just too cold of air and it was a flaw in the refrigerator that Maytag engineering was currently working on to find a way to fix it. He said, when they solved the problem, they would probably come out with a kit to use for repairs, and that someone would eventually come out to fix my refrigerator, but he didn't know when that might be. He said he was sure it would be soon, maybe only weeks, as it was a common problem so Maytag engineers would be quick as possible to figure it out. In the meantime, he took a piece of styrofoam-like material to seal mine off.

I've called Home Depot and told them to come get this clunker. They want to get Maytag to send me a new one. I'm thinking, I don't want a Neptune-like refrigerator!!!

HD sends another service guy out from a different company. He doesn't do anything except write down what problems I have had and leaves.

Another repair guy comes and puts in the "new and improved icemaker". He leaves, but forgot to turn the water back on! Still have the plug in the beverage chiller airflow area and am told by this repair guy that there is no way to "fix" that problem, despite what the previous repair guy said.

Started getting ice, but little of it. Refrigerator still smells all the time. Tomatoes freeze again. Cilantro and parsley freeze up in one of the bins. Roast beef in a ziplock bag freezes up while in the deli bin. Icemaker stops working, again. Deli lid popped off again this morning. HD sending ANOTHER repair person.

Posted by: nymeria at April 15, 2006 01:44 PM

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