March 14, 2011 ↘︎

Measuring customer dissatisfaction

Or maybe this should be called “Revenge is best served cold…and lots of times”.

electronicbazaar adword resultsSo many companies today have a really great customer support experience.  Some of the biggest brands like Best Buy, Dell, iiNet, Omniture and Woolworths just get it.

Others, like Electronic Bazaar are fantastically clueless.

This is a story about poor customer service, with a bit of measurement thrown in.  While buyer beware is true, the real moral is company beware…for there are now a lot of things consumers can do to express their frustration.  We have, at our fingertips, quite a few ways to skin the proverbial cat to spread the word about poor customer service.  All it takes is a little imagination.

Apologies for taking this one a little off course, but it’s a customer service train-wreck, with some measureable results.

New business

In setting up a new venture, my business partner and I required two new laptops.  But we wanted something light and very transportable, so we opted for the new Asus Netbook 1215N, due to its power, screen resolution and a few other features, which, in our minds, put it ahead of the competition in netbooks.

So, having conducted a search online trying to buy it, we eventually tracked down a store in Melbourne called Electronic Bazaar.    Ok, ok, firstly the name should have set off alarm bells…

Going online, I made two purchases by credit card, one for each netbook.  One in red for Claire, the other in silver for me.  All went swimmingly well at first.  The product was described as being shipped express parcel post from their Melbourne warehouse.

After about 4-5 days the red one turned up.  Eagerly I opened the box, and the tracking slip caught my attention.  It didn’t come from Melbourne…it came from China, via Singapore to Perth.  Uh oh, I thought.

A day later we actually received the tracking code for it as well by email.  Nice that it came through after the product had been delivered.

No sign of the silver one though.  And no tracking code.

And so it began…

A few days later, still no delivery.  At that point I tried to call their customer support number.  It rang out to an answer phone that said their customer support number was open from 10am to 7pm.  Kept trying to ring back, but got nothing.

On their site, they have live chat – never works.  Just goes to a contact form and they promise to call you back.  Which they never do.

So I sent them an email.  Eventually, after a few emails and a few messages left by me, they sent me an email saying it was out of stock, and would be back in stock by the end of the week.  Bear in mind, we’re now 2 weeks after I had ordered the product originally.

In the meantime, I conducted a search online about this company and unfortunately found a Whirlpool forum dedicated to Electronic Bazaar.  Oh dear.  Not a lot of happy experiences in this little list…

So I stepped up my one-way conversation with them, sending them emails, filling in their forms online, calling their number repeatedly. Nothing. Nada. Zippo.

Eventually I called my bank to start the process to dispute the transaction.  They send me all the paperwork and told me it’ll be about 8 weeks before any refund happens.

Some time later, I got another email back saying it will ship next week on Monday, so I decided not to complete the bank forms yet.

So I called them from my desk phone, multiple times.  No answer.  I call from my mobile, multiple times.  Nothing.  In fact, my iPhone says I’d called that number 26 times in one day…  I called from my colleagues mobile but didn’t leave a message.  We’re now nearly three weeks from placing the order.

Can you believe this – within 5 minutes, his phone rings and it’s Electronic Bazaar on the line saying they’re sorry they missed the call, how could they help?  Did we want to purchase something?

Oh, yes please – I’d like my netbook please.  You know, the one ordered over three weeks ago…

He assured me that the product was in, and would be shipped on time, from Melbourne.  Having done an extensive, but unsuccessful, search for the product elsewhere, I decided (against my better judgement) to allow him to continue to ship the product to me.  Big mistake!  He promised me he would call when he shipped it on the Tuesday morning.

You guessed it.  No call.  No email.  No nothing.

On the Wednesday 9th, I got an email saying it’s shipped, and here’s a tracking number.  Oddly, it says it’s on it’s way to Cairns depot, and the pickup date was Wednesday.

The next day, I get another email, with a totally different tracking number on it.  This one says it’s being shipped to Perth.

Ok, now we’re getting somewhere.

So, on Thursday 17th February, the couriers finally deliver my shiny new netbook – nearly a month after I’d ordered it.

It’s a refirb!

It’s got some scratches, on it.  You can tell the keyboard has been lifted, the mouse pad doesn’t work properly and it’s not the correct model.  It’s not got USB3 ports.

Furious, I call him.  And surprisingly I get through.  After denying it, he backtracked and said his “warehouse” sent the refirb and I would be getting a partial refund after 30 days.  Seriously, did he expect me to believe that?  He’s trying to get away with it.  He’d never have told me if I hadn’t called him.

So I demanded that he send me an email saying he would give me a full refund for the product upon receipt of the product back to him at this “office”, which I now reckon is just his front room.  I did get that email, by the way.  And I told him I was shipping the product back immediately.

And I was so close to sending it back to him too.  But, on the way to post office, I had a chat with myself and figured if I did actually send it back to him, I’d probably never see that refund and would have to go through the bank anyway.

So I skinned the cat!

I thought, there’s no way you’re going to get the satisfaction of continuing to do what you do, from me.  There’s more than one way I can get satisfaction from this.  And in doing so, I hope I can help a few others – pre-purchase!

Enter AdWords and social media

I created an adwords campaign.  I researched his keywords on his site and his products, and put together an adwords campaign directing traffic to the forum to hopefully alert people prior to purchasing, giving them some insight as to what they’re about to be in for if they purchase.

I ran three ads:

electronicbazaar adwords

All traffic was directed through to the Whirlpool forum about Electronic Bazaar.


It only ran for about 5 days…that’s all I wanted to spend on this to get some satisfaction.  But I was quite happy with the results.

electronicbazaar adword results

  • 238,885 impressions
  • 192 click throughs
  • 0.08% click through rate

If 10% of those click-throughs were from people who hadn’t yet purchased, and the average cart value is $500, then poor customer service just cost him $9,600 – well over the price of my new netbook.  Of course, I hope there were more pre-purchasers that changed their mind before purchasing…but I’ll never know.

Now, I don’t have a huge Twitter following, but it’ll be there soon too, and another 600+ people will see it.  And hopefully they’ll retweet it too…

The moral

Companies beware…the customer can really affect your bottom line if you fail your most basic service.

Oh, and big surprise, I’ve never heard from him questioning why my returned netbook didn’t show up…

Definitely inspired to post this from a recent post by Groundswell.

DB logo
DB logo
DB logo