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A Letter to Walmart

It has been a while since I published a letter from one of my readers. I get several comments via email concerning typical customer service problems we experience daily, but this letter goes into much detail describing a particular frustration that may be familiar to many consumers. The problem is, the customer placed an order online and paid extra for overnight shipping. The items ordered arrived three days later. The company is Wal-Mart – the largest retailer in the U.S. However, as you will soon find out, large does not necessarily mean good, when it comes to customer service anyway.

It has been a while since I published a letter from one of my readers.
I get several comments via email concerning typical customer service
problems we experience daily, but this letter goes into much detail
describing a particular frustration that may be familiar to many
consumers. The problem is, the customer placed an order online and paid
extra for overnight shipping. The items ordered arrived three days
later. The company is Wal-Mart – the largest retailer in the U.S.
However, as you will soon find out, large does not necessarily mean
good, when it comes to customer service anyway. Please read the
following excerpts from the perplexed Wal-Mart (former) customer and
let me hear your comments:

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After
repeated (frustrated attempts) to find a phone # or address, I got
through to a Customer Service line and explained that I wanted to have
an address to where I could send a letter of dissatisfaction and as to
why my husband and I canceled our account today. The customer service
representative never asked why but gave me a PO Box address in Florida.
‘Is there a particular department or name?’ “No.” I am thinking to
myself, what happens when a complaint letter arrives at that PO box?
How in the world will it find its way to the right department? Then the
representative asks if there is anything else Wal-Mart could do. Yes, I
want to explain my story and make a complaint. That is why I needed the
address. “OK, thanks for calling today and being a valued Wal-Mart
Customer.”
AARGGGH!

Then I went online to corporate offices,
got that address and phone number, and of course, being a holiday, they
were not open. But here was some information I thought you would find
interesting. On the Wal-Mart corporate Website are these words:

“Our Three Basic Beliefs as per Sam Walton:
1. Respect for the Individual
2. Service to Our Customers
3. Striving for Excellence”

(I beg to differ that they operate their business by these principles).

I
must go on record to say that the CS rep, Tawana, from Wal-Mart.com who
called today in response to my email dispute, was very gracious and
polite. She listened, she understood, agreed with some of my
frustration and even found an error on the site regarding the shipping
info on the Eastsport Backpack I ordered that she was going to report.
Yet, even with the misunderstanding on the order, the fact that it was
not stated clearly that the backpack would not be charged the $.97 as
stated for that day’s special but would also incur the additional 1-day
shipping fee, and that there was an error in how the shipping info was
listed; AND the fact that a ‘valued customer’ was about to cancel the
account completely, she would not refund the $14.00 shipping fee in
question.

When my husband called to cancel the account, the rep never asked why
we were dissatisfied with their customer service. I will say that they
accurately and speedily canceled the account because when I went back
online to try to send a letter from there, the account was already
closed.

I will be sending a letter to the PO Box and I may still
dispute paying the additional shipping fee that I am contesting. I will
await the bill and see what options are listed there.

Oh and on the Wal-Mart corporate site, they also refer to “Servant Leadership”. Yeah, right…

Thanks

It
has been my experience that some large companies tend to hide behind
the word “POLICY” rather than empowering their employees to do the right thing.
Empowered employees use their good judgment in order to fix an
injustice to the customer. In this case, the customer believed that by
spending more, they could guarantee the arrival of their order in one
day. Wal-Mart’s shipping policy does not give any such guarantee. The
Wal-Mart customer service reps are given certain guidelines by which to
abide when dealing with customers. The reps therefore may have the
impression of always being in the right if they follow these
guidelines. If that is the case, all I can add is that Wal-Mart should
add to their “Three Basic Beliefs” a fourth that says, “Whether the
customer is right or wrong, they are always the customer!”

DJC