There is no such thing as customer support department

We want to move in to our new apartment in a little more than a week and we've got some stuff to buy before our new home is ready. Throughout the last two months I've been busy shopping for stuff like floors, paint, materials for building walls, etc. Big stuff, so big that most of the times I wouldn't be able to transport these things in my own car. Today I realized that throughout this "renovation time" I've been experiencing a very mixed customer support from the places went shopping to...

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Usually the purchase process was very smooth.

Again, I was buying stuff for the flat, so I wasn't buying peanuts for $1 a pack, I was usually spending hundreds (if not more) of dollars on things necessary to build and prepare our apartment for us to live in.

Sales people were nice to me.

Obviously, the sales people were happy about a client who as buying lots of stuff from them and they were really nice to me and offered advice, helped make decisions, etc.

But then I had to pick up the stuff...

However due to the fact that I was buying stuff in quantities or sizes, usually the place to pick up the stuff was in a totally different spot from the one where I was buying and paying for it.

And usually picking up stuff wasn't all that nice.

Contrary to the salespeople in the same company, the guys in the storage rooms didn't care how much I was buying. They had to just give me the stuff I bought with the least effort possible.

Going extra mile? Not really. Going the required mile? Well, if I was lucky.

So there I am, just bought lots of heavy stuff that I need to load it on to my car... and the storage guys, even if there is nobody else picking up merchandise, won't help me at all. Since I'm a guy who usually asks for help, I politely ask them and to my surprise they would very often either ignore me or flat out reply: "it's not my job." 

Again, I'm a guy who knows what he wants, so instead of asking, I'm telling them to help me and I'm already angry at them, the shop and the whole experience makes me upset.

Every department needs to be crazy about customer support.

Whatever the sales guy did to make my shopping experience great, the storage guys trashed with a vengeance. I'm really sorry for these shops, but I refused to buy there again. We're in the recession and there are many shops willing to have me as their client.

Luckily not every place was like this... but there were too many where the customer experience was sub-par. There is no such thing as customer support department, there should be a "customer support company".

Question: Is your company a "customer support company"? Have you had similar experiences as I have? Did you inform the shop owner about them? Where's the customer support department in your company?

--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 (entrepreneurship,marketing,startup)