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  1. Sarcky
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    So I tried to order something on Thinkgeek the other day...


    I'm a huge fan of Think Geek. I've been a customer for almost the entire life of the business, I own many black shirts with pithy sayings on it, I have their cube goodies all over my desk, etc. Big nerd shopper. I tried to order some Christmas presents from there yesterday and the entire experience took 4 hours, 3 customer service complaints, 2 browsers, and 6 attempts to enter a coupon code. This is the sequence of events:

    1. I went to thinkgeek to buy presents, looking to spend at least $100
    2. The site is down, but offers a promo code in the error message. Pleased, I record the promo code and wait 20 minutes
    3. The site is back up, but malfunctioning. I battle through the broken CSS and random 503s and get a few items in my cart
    4. Frustrated by the site failures, I decide to use the promo code and finish shopping for the day. The promo code doesn't work
    5. Attempt to enter live chat in Chrome. It doesn't work
    6. Attempt to enter live chat in Firefox. My cart has disappeared and is apparently cookie-based and not account-based.
    7. Restore 2 items in my cart based on the still-open chrome window
    8. Decide not to waste time if it won't work; enter the promo code, get the error, and join live chat in firefox
    9. Speak extensively with Crystal W (see below). Note this conversation took upwards of 30 minutes due to her extended response times and inability to understand the problem
    10. After being promised a gift certificate via email, I close Crystal's window and wait for an email
    11. Twenty minutes later, I receive an order confirmation email from Thinkgeek, which initially makes me think Crystal had submitted my incomplete cart as an order somehow. In fact, the email confirms an order for a $5 gift certificate, FROM me and TO me and billable to thinkgeek's corporate address.
    12. Go to the site, find the certificate code
    13. Restore my cart fully, enter certificate code
    14. The gift certificate doesn't work. I become enraged
    15. Enter sales chat. Crystal W shows up again. I leave immediately.
    16. I send a customer service complaint email about all of this.
    17. 3 hours later, I get bored and decide to try again
    18. Everything goes relatively smoothly (aside from intermittent server errors still throwing the invalid promo code)
    19. Receive my order confirmation and think the issue is settled.
    20. Crystal W, the initial support rep who couldn't understand my problem in the first place, is also handling the customer service email, and now I'm embroiled in a discussion with her about her own inability to handle customer service.



    Originally Posted by My conversation with Crystal
    Crystal W: Thank you for contacting ThinkGeek! How can I help you today?

    Dan: Good morning. I've been browsing the site and keep getting an error page containing the promotion code "ENGORGIO". However, it's not working in the actual checkout page.

    Dan: (also your online chat doesn't work in chrome, so I had to re-do my whole cart in firefox, attempt to checkout again, and then click the button to have this conversation)

    Crystal W: Where did you receive that code from?

    Dan: As I said, the site is throwing an error page containing that code

    Dan: it happened 3 times in the last 15 minutes

    Crystal W: What is the order ID that your trying to place?

    Dan: I'm not done filling my cart, but my current order ID is 4d0c5edf2

    Crystal W: One moment

    Crystal W: And what is the code your using for?

    Dan: The promo code from the error message was "ENGORGIO", if that's what you mean

    Crystal W: I'm not sure if I'm understanding what your talking about. Are you trying to use a promotion code?

    Dan: Your site was down, the error message gave the promo code "ENGORGIO". That promo code isn't working

    Crystal W: I am not aware of any code by that name. What was it for?

    Dan: I just got the error again

    Dan: We thought maybe you'd sleep in and not notice that we're doing a little site maintenance this morning. But here you are, reading this page. Oops. To entertain yourself until we're back up, why not check our latest posts on Facebook or Twitter? Okay, we'll admit it. (Gosh, this is embarrassing.) The reason it's taken Timmy so long is that he tried magic first. He wanted ThinkGeek to be bigger and better, so he tried the ENGORGIO charm. It didn't work, so he's back to the wrench. But we hear if you use the codeENGORGIO you can get 10% off orders $25+, 20% off orders $75+, and 25% off orders $100+ when he's plugged the site back in.

    Dan: that's the error message

    Crystal W: Are you copying it in without any spaces?

    Dan: As I've typed 4 times now, I'm using ENGORGIO

    Dan: Is that not correct?

    Crystal W: It should be working for you, one moment.

    Crystal W: What I can do is issue you a gift certificate for $5 that you can use to apply to this order, being as the code is not working for you.

    Dan: thank you

    Crystal W: Is there anything else I can help you with?

    Dan: How does the gift certificate work? Will it just show up upon checkout?

    Crystal W: It will be emailed out to you.
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  2. #2
  3. CSS & JS/DOM Adept
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    Oh, woe for those of us obstinate individuals... I empathize.

    You didn't ask her where she was located or if there was a supervisor available for you to talk to? (Though of course there's no guarantee that a supervisor would know much more.)

    How can one find competent people to do tech support of that nature? Though perhaps such "support" is a result of inadequate communication from the developers or insufficient training. "The left hand knoweth not what the right hand doeth" and all that.
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  4. #3
  5. Sarcky
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    No reason to ask where she's from, that would bring racism into the argument (regardless of what I meant by the question) and I rarely demand escalation to a supervisor because I find it baffling that anyone, regardless of their employment level, would be unable to understand such simple sentences.

    In our emailed conversation she DID blame the development team for not notifying her of outages. However, that has nothing to do with my actual problem relating to the promo code not working.

    I also later found out that the promo code on the 503 pages was from scheduled maintenance back in July and didn't actually apply anymore, which is why the website was rejecting it. However (1) nobody told me that, (2) she should be able to find all historical promo codes in the system regardless, (3) it still took her 4 repetitions to comprehend "this promocode <promocode> isn't working", and finally (4) why was it still being displayed months after it expired?

    I actually have to call XM Radio this week but I've been delaying because that conversation is going to be horrifying.

    Over the summer I got a vehicle loan through Chase. They saw my social security number, and matched it to an account in their records: The child's savings account I had under my dad's corporate account when I was 6 and living with them in another state. When I called to find out why I hadn't received any bills or communications, they refused to let me access my account until I was able to verify my contact information from TWENTY THREE YEARS AGO. They tried to be helpful by offering to text an activation code to the number they had on file. My mother's kitchen phone. From 1990.
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  6. #4
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    Yeah, forgetting to remove a temporary reference to a promo code from an error page that you never know when it might be needed again in a hurry and not keeping a list of deactivated codes is rather sloppy.

    Wow. Maybe they didn't realize that you weren't an adult back then... I wonder why they hadn't treated that old account as abandoned though?
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  8. #5
  9. Sarcky
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    The old account got re-activated when my SSN went into their system. It was linked to 3 deactivated accounts overall, plus the new car loan. I understand how it happened. If you were to design a banking system, wouldn't you make SSN the primary key on the central table?
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  10. #6
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    If you were to design a banking system, wouldn't you make SSN the primary key on the central table?
    I hadn't thought about that, but you make a good point.
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  12. #7
  13. Sarcky
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    There still should be some business logic in place to say "oh this account was last used generations ago, maybe we should call the originating lender back and see if they have contact information from this century" but the underlying "failure" is just a feature of proper financial system design.
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  14. #8
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    From step #2 you should have been ready to work through issues and expect things to **** up for the rest of the day.
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  16. #9
  17. Sarcky
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    Originally Posted by Sepodati
    From step #2 you should have been ready to work through issues and expect things to **** up for the rest of the day.
    Well every site has technical difficulties once in a while. The error message said it was planned maintenance and they were prepared with a promo code for me, so I figured I'd just wait an hour and come back.
    HEY! YOU! Read the New User Guide and Forum Rules

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -Benjamin Franklin

    "The greatest tragedy of this changing society is that people who never knew what it was like before will simply assume that this is the way things are supposed to be." -2600 Magazine, Fall 2002

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