Saturday, March 24, 2007

A Long Tale of Customer Swervice (avoiding serving the customer at all costs): Many moons ago Vo approached his eye care provider for contact lenses. He prepaid to make it easy on return pickup. 2 weeks later and no contact lenses, he called for the fourth time and was told "they will be here tomorrow." Vo shows up, and indeed they are finally there, suspecting they were never actually ordered until call #3 or $4. "That will be $175" said the not-so-nice-rotund lady behind the desk. Vo inquired "but I already paid, and I only wanted 4 boxes." Rotund lady: "You don't want 8." Vo thinks to himself "no you stupid ass, I don't." Eventually it's sorted, and Vo goes home.

2.5 weeks ago I called up the eye care provider again, ordering 4 boxes of said contact lenses. Friday I finally had enough of phone tag, I placed an order at 1-800-contacts (who have excellent customer service, beatdown approved with no physical threat!). Four hours later they call me and say they cannot fulfill my order, due to the eye care provider not releasing my prescription due to a nonpayment issue. I'm like WTF, and eagerly await the next day as to call my eye care provider and discover what this means.

I call this morning. The call was bizarre. The person at the other end says I owe them for a contact fitting from September. I'm like WTF! I have insurance, I pay my bills, what the heck is the deal here? "Hold please." 5 minutes pass. "Oh, it wasn't that, it was that we have this outstanding order for contacts we have waiting for you." I reply that a phone call would have been nice to >tell< me they arrived. "We called," and she dutifully recites back my home and work phone numbers. The odds of both voicemail systems NOT taking a call from Incompetent Eye Care are astronomical. I mean I could probably hit the lotto after an airplane accident! I start to get angry. "Hold on, let me let you talk to Jennifer," she says. PUNT! 3 minutes pass, Jennifer comes on. "Hi Vo, your contact lenses actually haven't come in yet, they are on back order." I'm imaging what it would be like to be Job in Lawnmower Man and somehow get INTO the phone system to pop out and strangle this woman. "So since we have this outstanding order, we refused to provide the info to 1-800-contacts." "How nice of you, since it's not problem that you people ordered delivery of my contacts on the jackass express, and I had to seek my own solution in an effort to resolve your obviously deficient customer service." The nice lady assured me she would have my contacts in on Monday, and offered, if it's not a problem for me to come in, a set of trial lenses to get me by, since I'm wearing contacts that passed their prime circa February. I tell her "sure, but I want my approval to go to 1-800-contacts," intending to purchase the replacements from them from here on.

When I finally get to the store today to pick up my trial pair, one is not the correct prescription, "just slightly off." I resisted making additional comments, and I vow to never purchase from this eye care provider again. I think an HMO-in-network beatdown is most deserved to this group of big-top circus clowns.