Customer Service Fail: PetAmberAlert.Com (Part One)-Nazar Kamangar/bridge consulting blogs
We’ve used this space before to provide examples of the right and wrong ways small businesses can reach out to dissatisfied customers using social media. While we advocate using Google Alerts to monitor the internet for mentions of your business, we do like to give you the tools to ensure you’re taking the correct next steps. One of the best ways to do that is to provide practical examples of companies who could have handled a situation better, as we have done in the past with Kimberly-Clark. Today, we turn our attention to PetAmberAlert.com, a company that so poorly handled a customer service issue, we’ll be devoting two posts to the story.
Last month, Leslie’s cat escaped from her home. When he didn’t return, she became frantic. Her mother went online and discovered PetAmberAlert.com, a service designed to help pet owners locate lost and missing pets. The service works as follows: the company will send phone and poster alerts with photos, descriptions and details to veterinarians, animal shelters, animal control, pet stores, and animal rescues within a 10 to 100 mile radius of where your pet was last seen. Anywhere from hundreds to potentially thousands of people will receive this information, as well as a contact number for the pet owner. Leslie was losing hope that she would find her beloved Raz, so she felt she had nothing to lose by giving the service a try.
Unfortunately, Leslie was less than happy with her experience. She wrote the company a letter detailing her satisfaction, and shared it in a post in a Livejournal community that deals with poor customer service experiences. Her main issues were as follows:
- The site promised that the phone recording that went out would be up to 60 seconds, longer than the 30-seconds or less phone alerts sent out by other lost-pet services. The actual message sent was only 29 seconds long.
- The site promised to mention her pet’s name three times; the message only mentioned it twice, and the name was mispronounced each time.
- The site promised to provide a description of her cat twice; not only was it only provided once, the message left out the important identifying characteristic of a clipped right ear.
- The site claims that alerts will be issued the same day they are received, but they were not.
When Leslie initially attempted to reach out to the company to register her dissatisfaction, she had a difficult time getting in touch, though they were still updating their Facebook page with new fliers.. She left two voicemails, sent an email, and left a message on the instant messaging service, but only got a response when she initiated further attempts at instant messaging. At that point, she wrote another email, listing out the specific shortcomings.
This time the company did provide a response, which she shares in a follow-up post here. This response was a terse one line response that did very little to assuage her discontent. They blamed the shortcomings on inadequately trained new staff, but they did offer to redo the alert with updated information that day. Leslie responded with the details she wanted to make sure were included on the redo, including Raz’s weight, and the detail about his clipped right ear and waited for notification that the new alert had gone out, hoping this would help her land on their page of success stories.
That notification never came.
Please stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, where we’ll document the further failings of PetAmberAlert.com’s handling of Leslie’s situation, and let you know what we feel the company could have done better.