Last week, I made an online purchase from Koss Corporation. I was purchasing a set of Fit Clips and Fit Buds as a birthday present for my daughter. I thought that based on my previous experience with Koss products that the purchasing experience from their website would match the experience when I purchase from one of their retail partners.
Was I wrong! The project manager in me says you need a timeline to put this in perspective. Here is the scenario as it rolled out.
1. May 29,2013 at 12:40 hrs: Placed the Order
2. May 29, 2013 at 13:08 hrs: Received email asking for confirmation of different billing and shipping address.
We would just like to contact you regarding a recent online order. The reason we are trying to reach you is that the Bill-to and Ship-to addresses are in different countries. We just want to confirm that you did in fact place the order. You can either respond to this email or call our customer service department at the number below.
We look forward to hearing from you.
3. May 31, 2013 at 11:40 hrs: 5 calls later, I finally get in touch with someone at Koss Customer Service. Only to be told that the order had been cancelled without anyone talking to me.
a) The conversation with the CSR went like this:
CSR: We cancelled your order.
CSR: Because it was going to a different shipping address, it might have been fraud.
Me: Between the time of my order and this call, it is less than 48 hours. So why would you cancel the order without talking to me.
CSR: We cancel the order just in case it might be fraudulent.
Me: Please reinstate the order
CSR: We can’t do that. But, I can take a new order for you.
Repeat a similar conversation for on more turn
Me: Can I speak to a supervisor.
CSS: How can I help you? (This was an outright falsehood).
Me: Why did Koss cancel the order?
CSS: We cancel orders if the billing and shipping address are different.
Me: Without talking to me.
CSS: Our supervisor left a voice message.
Me: At what number.
CSS: Some 204 number
Me: He couldn’t have left a message. There is no answering machine at that number.
CSS: Well, he left a message. It says so in his notes.
Me: He couldn’t have left a message. There is no way for him to have left a message.
CSS: Well, he did.
Me: Is there someone else that I can talk to?
CSS: I am the Vice-President.
At that point, I hung up.
I did the math. To put this in perspective, based on their customer service hours, I had 3 hours and 22 min on the 29th, 8 hours on the 30th, and a resounding 3 hours and 10 min on the 31st. The grand total is 14 hours and 22 min between the time I placed the order and the time I could get through to a ‘warm, vertical, breathing body’. There were a number of calls and they went to the cyber ether.
There was no instructions in the email above to tell me that there was an urgency to the request. It would have helped if the email had said “If you do not contact Koss Corporation within 48 calendar hours, we will cancel your order.” I would have tried to make time in a very busy workday (They are only open business hours.) to make the call. However, I couldn’t.
The Customer Service Supervisor (aka Vice-President) called my husband a liar. After all, he is the one who would have listened to the non-existent message. I was astounded that Koss Corporation would put such rude people in the front line where the Voice of the Customer (VOC) is supposed to matter.
I have come to understand that at the Koss Corporate Customer Service Group that VOC stands for the Voice of Can’t or the Voice of Cancel. Whatever the Code of Ethics at www.koss.com is supposed to communicate to the outside world, it isn’t that the customer will only buy from you when they are treated with respect and that the company sets expectations in their communication with the customer.
To the executives at Koss Incorporated, You Can’t Phone It In. Clear, complete, and concise communications with your customers will go a long way to managing customer expectations. In case you need reminding, VOC is supposed to stand for the Voice of the Customer.
So, here is my voice. To all my friends, family and colleagues, if you are looking for headphones or buds, I would encourage you to consider any other company (Sony, Pioneer, Rocketfish to name a few) that will give you a better customer experience.