Sebastian Kirsch: Blog

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Customer service in Eireann pt. 2

Filed under: — Sebastian Kirsch @ 22:51

Since we’re already on the topic …

I am looking for a new lens for my digital SLR to replace the kit lens.

I looked around a couple of local shops, some told me that they didn’t carry Pentax lenses at all, while those that did quoted a price between 600€ and 650€. Just one of them had this lens for 490€. And since I am not one to pass up a 150€ price difference, I told them to order the lens for me. They took my order and told me that the lens would be there in seven days.

That was 7 weeks ago.

For the first four weeks, they steadfastly told me that the lens would be there “in two days". During this time, I was twice promised a call back to confirm this estimate. From the store manager. Personally. This time, for sure. I never got a call.

When I called them after four weeks, they told me that they had to order the lens, and that it would take nother two weeks to arrive. Those two weeks passed. I checked back into the store, and was again promised a call back.

This time, the call back actually happened. To inform me that this lens was actually a special order from Japan, and that they would only order it if I paid it in full, upfront.

No thanks. After keeping me on hold for seven weeks, I am certainly not going to give you any money. I’ll take my business elsewhere, preferably out of this country.

Sunday, 08 July 2007

Customer service in Eireann

Filed under: — Sebastian Kirsch @ 18:30

I love my bicycle shop. I really do.

My employer has a 200EUR bicycle subsidy for new hires – which makes sense in a city where the only viable way of getting around is on bike: public transport is practically non-existent, the distances are too far for walking, and the whole city is gridlocked all day anyway. The problem is that the subsidy is only valid at one particular cycle shop.

The first problem with my new bike was after about two months, when the pedals broke. My new (400EUR) bike was fitted with plastic pedals, which promptly broke off. I took the bike in to the shop and was sent to the workshop. At the workshop, I told them that I wanted metal pedals now, because I’d wreck another pair of plastic pedals in the same amount of time. They reluctantly agreed, but told me that they didn’t have any in stock until a week from then, and that I couldn’t leave the bike there because there wasn’t any space. Bummer.

What did I do? I went back up to the shop, left the bike outside, and browsed their selection of pedals. Sure enough, they had plenty of metal pedals in stock, ranging from 13EUR to about 40EUR. I opted for a pair of toe-clip pedals at 17EUR. A friendly shop assistant offered to mount them for me, which he did in about 2 minutes. It was only after that that I told him I wasn’t going to pay for them. But a brief chat with the manager cleared that up as well – I left with a shiny new pair of pedals and without paying for anything.

Today (about two months after this episode) I went back to the bike shop again, to get yet another pair of (non toe-clip, metal) pedals. (The problem? Toe-clips aren’t really suitable for inner city traffic, and Dublin traffic is dangerous enough without having to deal with getting in and out of toe-clips.) I got a pair of solid metal mountain bike pedals this time (at about 20EUR). Asked them whether they could mount them for me, and was told “No, you’ll have to come for the workshop for that, but that’s not open on Sundays. It would be against company policy to do that.” Bummer.

But I had learned from my previous experience: Ask different people, and you get different answers. So I went to another, more senior shop assistant and asked him very nicely to mount the pedals for me. He looked at one of the young boys, “Can you mount these pedals?", got a yes, and I had my pedals mounted in another two minutes.

The boy got a 5EUR tip from me as well. Not so much because I think his work was worth 5EUR. More to show the other guy that if he had tried a little harder, those 5EUR would have been his.

The lesson? If you want to get something done in Ireland, you’ll never get it in the first try. Ask as many different people as you have to until you get what you want.


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