In Today’s World Your Website Can’t Fail Due to Demand

We live in a world that requires real-time feedback, response, and 100% up-time in nearly everything we do. Or at least that is what our customers expect. But when things fail you stand to lose a customer for life and this has happened to me twice this holiday season. Both for different reasons but both were failures on the part of technology followed by failure when it came to customer service. I wanted to make sure I shared with you what happened to me, so hopefully it doesn’t happen to you.bad customer service

New York & Company’s Website Ate My Gift Cards

Now this may sound kind of strange but wouldn’t my luck have it that I was trying to place an order with New York and Company on Cyber Monday and got all the way to the submit your order page just to have my order taken back to the shopping cart. Sounds strange, right?

With no errors in my cart, I proceed to type my two $50 gift card codes into the website again but this time, the website said there was no balance on the gift cards. I tried both with the same result. That was funny to me because they had just said they had deducted the gift card amount from my order during the previous checkout attempt. Now, giving them the benefit of the doubt, I thought there was a glitch and my order had been processed. So, I checked my email and purchase history on the website and of course, nothing. Then I checked my credit card for the new charge to appear, nothing. All the while, I am watching as things being moved out of my cart as they were selling out.

new york and company customer serviceSo I tried one more time, maybe I had typed in my cards wrong. Nope, that wasn’t the case. New York and Company had just stolen $100 dollars from me in gift cards. I immediately opened up a chat with a specialist who was not helpful at all. She said she would open up a support ticket and that someone would reach out to me in 3-5 business days. Well, that wasn’t helpful as Cyber Monday lasts just one day and the deals I wanted were going fast. The chat representative did nothing to reimbursement my funds and the only explanation she gave was that this was not something she could escalate.

Customer Forced to Follow-Up

At the end of the 5th business day, I called New York and Company. They proceeded to open a ticket regarding my issue. I asked them what happened to the chat representative’s support ticket and they said they had no record of one ever being logged. Well, that was just great, no record of something I had been waiting for. I was still out $100 in gift cards and New York and Company was still considered thieves in my book.

I called back two days later, there was no update on the ticket; however, I did receive an email that it was being looked into. Finally, after about 10 days, I received an email stating my gift cards had been refunded and I was free to continue to shop at New York and Company online or at a nearby store. I was shocked because I had had to do all the follow-up to get an answer. I had to log 2 tickets to get MY MONEY back. And yet, all they did was refund me the money that was already mine. They didn’t offer to get me the deals that were in my cart although I had saved a screenshot. They didn’t even offer me a free shipping promo code.

Good Customer Service is Not Hard

Truly how hard would it have been to do that? Or how hard would it have been to refund me my money from the get-go? Instead, they dragged it out and wasted my time. So at the end of the day due to this experience, they have lost a customer for life. It was that plain and simple. I will use my $100 in gift cards and that will be it. I have asked my friends and family to no longer gift me New York & Company gift cards at the holidays or my birthday and I will no longer be shopping at the store.

Customer Service is that simple. You need to have a functioning website especially on days you are promising the best deals of the day. If you can’t handle the extra shoppers on your server, don’t have deals.

No Shipping Home When it comes to Walmart Photo

For the last several years, I have always ordered photo calendars at the holidays for my family through Walmart Photo. And I have always had them shipped to my house. But this year, this was not the case.

After spending about 2 hours designing 4 calendars, I was going through the checkout process, received the confirmation dates, typed in my credit card and checked out. Or so I thought. About a week later, I was wondering why I hadn’t received any notifications regarding my photos. I looked in my email and recent orders but there was nothing there. This was so strange! But I called it user error.

Round Two

walmart photo error

So that evening I logged onto Walmart Photo and went through the same checkout process. Only, when I got to the submit step an error popped up saying my order could not be processed. This same error came up the next 5 times I tried. I sent a screen shot to their Twitter account and they told me it was user error. However, I searched around and found that I was not alone in this and the problem was not user error but a system error when selecting home shipping. Even after trying another browser and another computer, the error persisted, yet Walmart’s social media team claimed they could not reproduce the photo twitter customer service

Due to the time sensitivity, I had the photos shipped to the store. Sadly, the problems did not stop there. On Monday evening (12/19) when 2 out 3 of the calendar items were to have arrived at the store I hadn’t heard anything about my order. I found this really odd because Walmart is usually really good. I called the online team to try and get more information on my order. The short version of the conversation was that they didn’t know where the package was and didn’t have any additional findings for me. Not helpful but I was busy so I accepted it, for now.


The next day at lunch, I logged in to check my order status. The website said: Should have been delivered Monday 12/19. The other was to be delivered by the end of the business day. Now I am sorry Walmart but that is not status a customer wants to see because that means nothing to them. I called the store I ordered the photos to and asked to be directed to the Photo Center. The woman on the other end’s response was, sorry they are busy. I asked could I be put on hold as I was trying to find out if my photos were there or not. She said no, they were busy and that she couldn’t help me.

Now I was very frustrated. I didn’t want to make an extra trip to the madhouse that is Walmart around the holidays. So I opened up a chat function with a representative. His response was I would have to wait until the end of the day to find out if my package had been lost or not. If it had they could cancel it and try again. I said I didn’t want to cancel I wanted the package as it contained gifts. He said I am sorry there is nothing I can do, with the busy season a lot of packages are delayed. Hello…Walmart! You don’t see Amazon Prime packages delayed due to the season and they are way busier than you. No wonder you are losing business to Amazon.

We Live in the 21st Century..Why Can’t You Get Customer Service Right?

So the day after everything was supposed to be delivered all of my packages said: Should Have Arrived on….Tell me Walmart what does that mean to you? I called the store again. They tried to direct me to photo and they were busy. Apparently, everyone was having problems with your website and photo because this was the second time it had happen. I was redirected back to the person who redirected my call the first time. Her instructions, “you have to come into the store.” I am sorry, we live in a 24/7 connected world that is technology savvy and you have no way of looking up if my photo order is actually there or not? What kind of digital customer service is that?

Much to my dismay, I made the trek to the store on my lunch break.

When I got there, I was not surprised to find a very long line at pick-up (apparently that line is the same as the photo pick-up). It took about 20 minutes to get up to the register and a young girl greeted me and began looking for my order. Sadly, I was not surprised that should couldn’t find the order. By this point, another woman who worked in the photo department stepped in. Her name was June. And let me tell you Walmart, give this woman a raise because she is the only thing that was positive about the entire experience.

She got on the phone with some mystery number and was on hold for another 20 minutes before someone was magically able to tell her that the packages had been delivered to the store that morning. Tell me, why was someone able to tell her this information but not me?

Anyway, after hanging up she began searching through the unsorted mail (why was it 12:30 pm and the morning mail hadn’t been sorted at Christmas)? In another 20 minutes, she was able to locate one of the three packages. Instead of having me wait any longer, she took down my name and number and told me she would personally call me letting me know by the end of the day they had located the additional items. Now that is customer service even though I was not happy to have to return to the store.

Walmart: This was the Sheridan Dr. in Buffalo location and the woman’s name is June and she worked in the photo department. If you are reading this, she deserves something for going above and beyond because over the past week no one else was doing that.  

At the end of the day, I received my photos (Brian picked them up) because I was really over Walmart at this point. When I looked over everything, the photos were printed much darker tin the calendars than I had ever seen (they are not that dark on the computer. The order was a day late and no one could tell me why their website wasn’t functioning correctly. June even said that she had heard there were issues with shipping to home functionality frequently (WALMART THIS IS A PROBLEM)!

Not only was this a case of poor customer service, it was also a case of a terrible website that is not supported.  Sadly this has cost Walmart my business for life because I know if I ever have a future problem, they won’t be able to resolve it.

Customer Service Matters

The world we live in is a connected one and requires constantly updated technology and technical support standing by. If you are a big brand and expect higher than normal volumes of traffic on your website at any point in the year, make sure you have a contingency plan if something goes down. And also, never tell your customers that it is user error or that you can’t get them any more information, it is a really bad customer experience and your poor customer service can cost you customers.


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