Screw You And Your Condescending Customer Service Reps VistaPrint!

Happy Shootin’ DudeAs you can probably tell from the title of this post, I am angry. Livid. With small twitches in my extremities that can only be stilled by breaking something. Unfortunately, I’m pretty happy with the things in my office, so the twitching will have to subside naturally.

[Warning: The following was written in anger. While Brian generally avoids excess profanity in his blog, he doesn’t here. He revels in it. If strong language offends you, dear reader, consider checking back in later for the next installment, which will undoubtedly be cleaner.]

So I just got off the phone with a customer service representative for VistaPrint named Kevin. (Which kinda bothers me because I have a good friend named Kevin.) Thought I doubt that’s his real name, Kevin, I can tell you, is an asshole. And as you would expect from a grade A prick, he’s horrible when it comes to customer service. Here’s an example of the exchange that will cause VistaPrint to lose my business from this day forward.

Kevin the Prick: Hi, what can I help you with?
Angry Brian: Hi, I’m calling because the replacement order for my business cards never arrived. The one I ordered several months ago. And in fact, I’m looking at your website, and it says my order was canceled! I never got any notification of it being canceled, which is fucking ridiculous.
Kevin the Prick: [With attitude] Excuse me?
Angry Brian: [Ignoring attitude, more irritated] The replacement order I put in forever-ago was canceled. I didn’t cancel it. I wasn’t notified that it was canceled. I’ve been waiting forever.
Kevin the Prick: OK, if we can proceed without the swear words I can help you.

You know what Kevin? Fuck you and fuck your company. Customer service is of paramount importance, especially when things don’t go as planned. I think it goes without say you never, ever correct a customer. Especially an angry customer. And especially not when you’re all saddled-up on your high-horse. I don’t care if you wince. I don’t care if you shudder. I don’t care if you’re offended. And I don’t care if I was overly aggressive and a prick myself when spoke to you. You don’t correct a fucking customer. That’s right, “fucking”. Because you know what, when you do that, you lose a customer. You Kevin, you lost VistaPrint all my future business. Congratulations. I’m sure VistaPrint doesn’t mind the costs of my lost business to ensure your ears a G-rated work day.

What makes the whole thing even more asinine is I was using the word “fucking” in the exchange as an adjective; a description of how ridiculous the situation was, not as a verbal assault against Captain Pricktastic. (Who is probably illiterate and the progeny of a lonely goat herder and his smelly flock.) That sort of swearing is even allowed on the radio these days, thanks to Bono‘s televised slip at an award show a few years back.

So you as the reader, are probably thinking “Brian! Don’t say anything until you actually get your order! You won’t get it for sure now!” You know what, you’re probably right. But I don’t care. This is at least the third time I’ve had to contact them with regard to this order, and I have very, very low expectations of ever receiving it. Here’s the time line as it sits presently:

March ’07: Flawed business cards ordered (part my mistake, part theirs).
April ’07: Flawed cards arrive.
May ’07: Notice problems, which includes embarrassing spelling error, and re-order. (Have to pay a small additional fee for re-order, since it was partially my fault. Fine. Again stuck with 21 day shipping time frame. Fine.)
June ’07: Stumble on a confirmation email, and realize I never got these cards. Email customer service. Never get a reply. (I think I sent a second email, but no response to that either.)
July 13th ’07: Stumble on that forgotten confirmation email again. Check the website only to discover my order was canceled. Call Kevin the CSR clown and get pissed.

Some people reading this might also think I’m the one being a prick. Yep, that’s very likely. I was an angry customer. That was my role. They have my money, I didn’t receive the goods. I’d been screwed, and I wanted satisfaction. The CSR’s job was to talk me down with apologies (which are generally only a formality, but an appreciated one) and promises to rectify the situation followed with decisive action.

How do I know all this? I’m a I.T. consultant and I dabble with selling things on eBay. In both scenarios, you have to deal with people who are pissed from time to time. Just this week, an eBay customer failed to read my thorough auction write up (if you’ve read my cigar reviews, you know I’m thorough) and sent a livid email to me to tell me how unacceptable an item was. An item that he paid 50 cents for. The flaws were documented in both text and pictures, but instead of correcting him, I apologized.

Yep, that’s right. I was clearly right, he was clearly wrong. (And I think we both knew it.) But I asked him what I could do to make the situation right. You know what? It worked out beautifully. I got very positive feedback from him, and while I lost a little money on the item (I got to keep most of the shipping expenses), this customer would probably buy from me again! That’s customer-fucking-service, Kevin! Get your thumb out of your ass and grab a damn note pad!

WordPress needs a lion-roaring emoticon. Or maybe an exploding head. *Sigh* OK. I’m done. Happy again! 🙂

[UPDATE: I finally made it to the next level! My mother would be so proud…

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