I don’t often complain about vendors on this blog. I don’t think it’s a useful use of anyone’s time, or that people really want to read about it. But my experience with LG has been so bizarre, and has ended so bizarrely, that I feel it was worth putting pen to paper.
At some stage in 2013 (I believe July), I noticed that the knobs on my LG Range cooker were falling apart. Specifically, they looked like they were solid metal, but they were in fact some sort of plastic or resin, coated in metal. The metal was peeling – here’s what it looked like:
This isn’t great, so I got in touch with LG. They told me that despite the Uniform Commercial Code in the USA, which requires goods to be of good quality, they were unable to replace them because the range was too old. I thought oh well, I’ll just go and buy some online.
It turns out that when you go to buy them, they are $50-60 each! It was $310 for a set of knobs from the parts distributor, which is most of the cost of a new Range oven. I haven’t checked, but I’m pretty certain they’re not gold plated.
So, I went back to LG and asked nicely if they would consider pushing up their management chain and replacing the knobs as a gesture of good will. I tweet out a picture of the knobs for good effect, you can see it is on July 26th.
— John Appleby (@applebyj) July 26, 2013
Some while later…
A package arrives! I’m excited until I open it, when I find that a single shiny new knob is inside. So, I get back in contact, and request that they send another four. An agent, apologized for the inconvenience, and promptly ordered another four knobs.
We’re now at October 10th and 4 knobs arrive in the post, that don’t fit my range. Someone else is now taking charge of the case and they say they have sent out another 4 knobs.
I call several times in the interim, create email cases, and deal with nearly 10 separate people. They’re all pretty nice people, and I think they genuinely want to resolve my problem.
In November, they contacted me to say that the items have been on back order and should be with me in the next few weeks. In December and early January, I got in touch twice but didn’t get a response on the second occasion.
The last straw
It’s been a busy start to the year and I’ve travelled extensively. Nearly a year has passed and this isn’t at the top of my to-do list, but I pulled up my to-do list today to try and knock a few things off it. Ah, LG knobs. Back to the live chat. This way I have a record.
We’re back where we have always been but this time, the person on the other end of the chat is defiant.
As much as I will like to help you out unfortunately its way pass the time for the free of charge cases which mean you will need to buy it from our parts distributor.
yes its been 4 months now and unfortunately its way pass the time to report this case
also remember this is as a goodwill, your unit is already pass the warranty period its a 2008 unit.
and unfortunately it has already pass the concession request period, this is a october-november case , you should have report this no more than 2 weeks from not receiving it.
So I’ve waited nearly a year, LG have consistently either not sent out the parts they promised, and now after wasting all this time, they tell me to go and buy them.
Customer Service 101
And here is the point I’m trying to get to. LG have several routes for customer support. In the B2C world we call this multi-channel. At least: Twitter, e-mail, Phone, Chat, Web. I think that everyone I interacted with was interested in solving my problem.
However, after 10-15 interactions, at least two shipments, and incorrect products being sent out, there is no problem resolution. I don’t want to know what my interaction with LG cost them.
And the problem is that LG clearly do not have a process which tracks multi-channel support requests and assigns ownership. At every stage, I was a transaction and never a customer. To them, I was case reference VCM130726017442 and CNM131002063418, and not a human being.
At no stage, did anyone from LG proactively get in touch with me to find out if the problem was resolved. They did ask me to fill in a lot of surveys, which I of course filled in with zeros and they did not contact me.
So I thought I’d pen this little story as a reminder of how in 2014, customers have moved from a desire to have Business to Consumer (B2C) relationships with consumer products vendors. Instead, we want Business to Person (B2P) relationships.
I wanted a human interaction, and I didn’t even get a LG pen with which to write them an angry letter. Guess this will have to do.