9.9.09: Customer Service FAIL

I really hate to complain.  Truly, I do.  But today I have experienced a succession of customer service failures, and frankly I'm at the point of exhaustion and complete frustration.  It's 6:30 p.m. and I just want to go to bed and start over tomorrow.

Today was my son's first day of school.  He is supposed to catch his bus(for what was to be his first bus ride ever) at 8:08.  We arrived at the elementary school around the corner from our house, his bus stop, at 7:55 a.m. and checked in with the principal to find out exactly where we are supposed to wait, since it wasn't addressed in the letter that I received from the school. No biggie I guess.

So we wait. And wait. A bus finally comes at 8:20 and does not turn in to the bus zone but speeds past, and stops more than half a block away.  We run over there to see which bus it is. There's no number posted on the bus's back or front windows, so we have to go all the way to the side of the bus, which means running all the way to the bus, to read the opaque white numbers  on the side, which are obscured by mirrors if you happen to be looking at the bus from the front.

It's not our bus.  Meanwhile, a whole bunch of buses start turning into the bus zone so we run back to make sure we don't miss it.  None is our bus. We wait till 8:30, 8:35.  My husband, just getting off of work, sees us and comes by the school.  I tell him what's going on and we get in the car to take my son to school.  Luckily he got off work early; we only have one car. Meanwhile, I have the principal call transportation to see what's going on.

So we get to my son's new school late.  I ask two different staff members where my son's teacher's class is, and they lead me to complete opposite ends of the building.  At the beginning of the year we found out that my son's program would be moving to this school.  In front of the entrance to every group of classrooms were big sheets of paper with the teachers' names on them; every one, of course, except for that of my son's teacher.  Finally at 8:55 I find the teacher and send my son into class late.  I overhear other students in my son's program talking about how they were not picked up by the bus either.

I call the district transportation line and ask why my son was not picked up this morning.  She asks for my son's name, and then says, "Oh, the bus driver came by at 8:08 but your son was not there."  I tell her that's a flat-out lie, and I have the principal to back me up on that.  I tell her that I need to know why my son was not picked up so that a) I know he will at least be getting home from school, and b) he can be picked up for school tomorrow.  The lady then gives me the excuse that, "Oh, the first couple days of school are crazy, that's just the way it goes and there's nothing I can do about that now!".  I tell her that her answer is unacceptable and that we will see what happens tomorrow. I meet the bus driver at the end of the day and asked what happened.  He hemmed and hawed and gave a very unclear answer.  Gotta love the CYA.

I know that sometimes people need to be cut some slack, but this is 2009.  We should have more effective systems down by now. 

Why is it okay to have the attitude that it's totally fine to completely forget to pick up little children because it's the "first couple days of school?"

I'm self-employed.  I can't get away with making such excuses.  On the occasions when I do screw up, an apology sure goes a lot further than a bunch of B.S. and defensive posturing.


THEN, we go to T-Mobile because my husband needs a new phone, because his 6-month old phone goes black and dies(nope, we didn't get the warranty).  He had decided on a phone online, but when he got to the store he saw another one he liked better. He spends about 40 minutes comparing the two.  He finally decides on the one he spotted in the store.  We tell the salesperson that this is the phone we want. 

He then says: "Oh, that phone? You can't purchase that here, that phone is only available online."  "Really?" I said. "Is there some reason why there couldn't be a little note next to the phone that states something to that effect? Because we've just wasted 40 minutes here".  I was friendly but clearly frustrated; I'm not one of those people that treats service people badly, but I do share my opinion. He apologized, and we left.

We went home, went online, and - guess what?  The phone is not visible anywhere on the website.  I pick up my working phone and call my local T-Mobile.  I ask if they might have the phone, out of desperation. The very friendly, helpful associate on the other end says, "Oh, that phone? That phone has been discontinued!  I'm surprised it was still on the floor!"  Yeah, me too buddy.

I know, perhaps I expect too much. Sometimes the world is too much for me.  I need to follow in the footsteps of the Danish, the happiest people in the world. Why are they the happiest people in the world, you ask?  The answer: lowered expectations.  Not to mention highly organized, much like the rest of Scandinavia.  I bet any IKEA employee would take one look at our district's school buses and say, "Ya know, maybe we should make bus numbers that are actually VISIBLE, and put them where they can actually be SEEN!". 

Done with my rant.


Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Comment balloon 5 commentsLisa Bosques • September 09 2009 09:28PM


These are the days of our lives....there is always tomorrow...

Posted by Randy Havel almost 10 years ago

You don't expect too much ... and like you said, if we dealt this way with our business . . . . . . .

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) almost 10 years ago

Randy - That's a good Queen song. Yes, there's (almost) always tomorrow.  I ended up a bit more frazzled than was necessary today.

Posted by Lisa Bosques almost 10 years ago

Thanks, Steve.  A little organization and communication goes a long way.

Posted by Lisa Bosques almost 10 years ago

What a frustrating day!  I just hurt when I saw what a mess you had to deal with at the bus and the school.   They should be better organized.. and fire that bus driver, although they have so much trouble getting people to drive the bus that they pretty much take who they can get if they aren't convicted sex offenders or other felons.  (Please don't take this to mean that I think ALL bus drivers are irresponsible - schools can't function without their corps of drivers).  I remember one time I was tracking a high priority closing package via FEDEX and it was not delivered on time.   The FEDEX office said the driver tried to deliver it and the title company was closed at 4:30 on a Wednesday.  EXCUSE ME???   After insisting they quiz the driver, he finally admitted it was so hot and he was so tired he didn't take the package in the building.  He just falsified everything to cover his backside.   A trick that backfired.  Deep breaths... we will forge on.

Posted by Mary Ann Daniell Realtor, Delivering Successful Results Since 1999 (Coldwell Banker United, Realtors - Subsidiary of NRT LLC ) almost 10 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments