Monthly Archives: February 2014

My LG USA consumer experience fail, and why B2P matters

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:

LG Range

LG Range

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.

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.

10 iPhone Apps I can’t live without

Some months back I wrote a post about stuff that made my life easier in 2013. I can’t find the reference to this, and therefore can’t remember who asked, but someone asked for me to write a similar article about mobile apps.

For some reason, I do bad things to technology. I’m lucky if a phone lasts 9 months or a laptop lasts 18 months. It’s not that I abuse them, but perhaps it is my travel schedule and usage that wears them out so fast. Whatever it was, my 15-month-old iPhone was dead. The battery was down to a few hours and the camera had stopped working. It was time to replace it.

I’m smart enough to get AppleCare and so Apple replaced it with no fuss. Instead of restoring from an iCloud backup, I decided to start from scratch and only install those apps that I really needed. A few weeks later, here are the top 10.

1) Google Maps

I’m sorry but Apple Maps sucks. It’s totally unusable and doesn’t recognize places. The first thing I did, after driving into a lake, was to move Apple Maps out my home screen and replace it with Google Maps.

2) Twitter

I love the plain vanilla Twitter app. The new version has made messages, interactions and newsfeeds easy to navigate and I’m a huge Twitter fan. I installed this straight up.

3) Waze

Google bought Waze but they haven’t integrated it with Google Maps yet. Where I live, there are a few roads which can get really badly blocked and Waze lets me know and helps navigate around traffic jams.

4) Whatsapp

Facebook bought them today, but this is on my home screen. I use it to talk to people out the country and besides… iMessages sucks. It’s unreliable. Whatsapp works great and it allows for group chats, which I use at work for round-the-world messaging on projects.

5) Polar Beat

I’m trying to lose weight and Polar Beat helps incentivize me. I’ve got a Polar H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor and Stride Sensor. Awesome.

6) Expensify

With Expensify I connect my credit cards and receipts and build them into an expense report that I put into our corporate portal. I snap pictures of expenses and it builds them into a PDF that I submit. No paper expenses any more. And I email expenses to receipts@expensify.com.

7) CamCard

When I go to a conference, I come back with 50 business cards and CamCard lets me photograph them and turns them into contacts. It’s a great time saver and it works very reliably.

8) TripIt

I email my travel plans to plans@tripit.com and it keeps all my travel in one place. I have TripIt Pro so I get notifications of spare seats, changes to plans and check ins. I’m not that organized, so it really helps.

9) Uber

Uber is your personal driver. You click a button and a few minutes later you have a black car pick you up. I use this most weeks because it integrates with Expensify, and so I don’t need to keep manual receipts for taxis. It’s slightly more expensive than a regular cab but it saves in administration time.

10) Hotel Tonight

Hotel Tonight is my travel friend – I usually don’t book hotels until the day. This way I open the app, it gives me a list of reliable hotels and I click book. I get an email which I forward to Expensify and just walk out the hotel when I’m done.

Final Words

So these are the first 10 apps I installed on my phone. Note that there’s no Facebook or LinkedIn – those are apps that I use primarily on my laptop. There’s no Skype – that’s on my iPad. Are there any other apps that you really need on your phone?

Let me know what your favorites are.