To Stamps.com tech support

Ok, first up is a basic customer service thing:  NEVER EVER berate a customer for neglecting to tell you a piece of information.  A simple “oh, ok, that makes a difference” is plenty and trust me the average customer will take a hint.  NEVER EVER EVER berate a customer for neglecting to tell you information when the customer in question has ALREADY told you, TWICE, that they JUST went over this with the guy who transferred her to you.  Its not her fault that you and your co-workers don’t communicate properly.  Its not her fault you not only didn’t ask the same set of question as the last person, but instead jumped to a conclusion without giving her the chance to explain fully.

And on to the reason to my call to you:

First off, this particular error code has been appearing off and on since mid-August, and its now mid-November.  As you can see if you’d bother to look at the history on the account.  Every other tech support person has told me this is an on going problem that you all are working on.  Which I can appreciate, but its been 3 months, and this particular error means I can’t download the latest orders for shipping from our online store untill such time as it temporarily fixes itself.  THIS IS BAD.  Can I work around it, yes, does it make my life more difficult, YES.

2nd: after telling me that this has been an ongoing problem, every single tech support person (including you) has informed me that error code means the exact same thing.  That one of the international “to” addresses contains an “invalid” character resulting in the download hanging.  Now, I have personally seen your software handle ALL SORTS of non-standard characters, everything from the umlaut over some letters, to Russian Cyrillic, to Asian characters.  In every case, where the software is unable to render the “letter” correctly it replaces it with a “?” and keeps going.  So you know what? I don’t believe you.  I believe that’s what you were TOLD that error code means, but I don’t believe that’s the actual problem, and if it IS then you need to fire all your programmers ASAP and hire someone who actually knows what they’re doing, like a first year college programming major.  (actually considering some of the other choices your programmers have made that’s not a bad idea over all)

3rd:  Telling me that the only fix for the problem (as you, and all your previous associates have done) is to go up to the online store access and manually go through each and every order checking the address to be sure they don’t contain any “unusual” characters is not a solution.  It’s especially not a solution when I have 500 orders pending for download that you’re telling me I have to go through, but its not a solution even if there were only 50.  The reason is simple, you can’t tell me WHAT the problem character is, so how in hell am I supposed to figure out what it is, especially considering what I HAVE seen your software handle just fine.  Also, after 3 months I would hope your programmers would have come up with a better solution.

THAT is why I hung up on you this morning.  And THAT is why you got a VERY nasty (and yet perfectly polite) email, informing you that if you don’t get your asses in gear and FIX THE GODDAMN problem before Christmas season properly hits I WILL be finding new software to use.

(on the other hand I amused the heck out of my co-workers as I displayed my language proficiency after I hung up the phone, I guess I’ll take what I can)

2 Comments

  1. Comment by DaddyBear:

    My co-workers say they should keep a recorder handy when I call vendors. I swear in every language I know except English. One call I ended up doing in broken Russian because my half-forgotten Russian was better than the guy on the other end of the conversation's English.

    Telling the customer to look for an unknown bad character is a non-starter. I'd start looking for a new vendor if I were you. These losers are only interested in cashing your checks.

  2. Comment by Ruth:

    To be fair to the company the previous associates I talked to handled it better, to the point of volunteering to go through them with me on the phone. The guy yesterday needed some serious customer service lessons period.

    And yes, if it was my call we'd have already switched vendors, their basic functions are great, the fancier ones, the ones we NEED, not so much. But the company owner (its a SMALL company) is totally computer illiterate and attempting to get him to change programs is not fun, as in the last time it resulted in a argument that ended in him telling me I didn't know how to cope and me telling him he was a luddite who thought computers were magic. I got what I wanted though. BUT I was not bluffing about switching software either. The first time I get that error message during the holiday season (which for us starts at Thanksgiving and runs through the end of January), and they cannot fix it THAT DAY, I will do what it takes to switch software immeadietly.

    On the other hand Stamps took that threat seriously and when I arrived at work today I had a message from a Level 2 tech support person asking me to call him back as he thought he'd IDed the problem order and wished to go over it with me. Since I arrive at work at 9:30am EST, and Stamps' offices are all in CA that took some work. So my software is (temporarily) working again.

    I can also now honestly say that whatever IS the problem its much more complicated than just an “invalid character” and that there has to be at LEAST a 2nd factor involved. The tech guy was surprised when I pointed that out to him, I guess they're not used to computer literate customers. (it seemed obvious to me once we determined that the order in question was the “problem”, oh well)