What do you think of this letter?
I am writing this letter to inform you of my complete and total dissatisfaction and disappointment in your service and your company. I do not ever remember dealing with a company who is handling such an important service for us, who claim to be professionals, and whose total incompetence was clear every step of the way.
When we first began dealing with you, we made constant attempts to reach either you or Tali or anyone that could assist us and failed. You did not call back, you did not e-mail back with answers to our questions, and the very few times we were able to reach you, you always had to "check on the matter" or "look into it" and get back to us. Never happened. Tali even told us that you don't check phone messages so don't bother leaving them. I remember after we paid our 25% deposit, debating canceling with your company because you were so completely unprofessional. Looking back, we should have taken the loss and switched to another company.
I imagine that someone in your position has learned something about Customer Service, despite that it's not clear in the way you handle matters. Perhaps you should go back to business school and take some of these courses. You may have heard the saying that a happy customer tells 1 friend, but an unhappy customer tells 10 friends. Experts have researched that and agree. However, these days the Internet has changed all that. Now, the unhappy customer can post intimate details about their bad experiences on blogs and message boards that reach millions of people everyday and can live on forever. I, for one, plan on not only telling at the very least 10 people, but also posting on a variety of Internet sites, Yahoo groups, Facebook groups, wherever I can reach anyone who is planning on making Aliyah. You may be aware that Olim Chadashim do a lot of networking, a lot of sharing experiances, and a lot of talking. And while yes, people want to know that someone had a good experience with a company they won't necessarily believe the good things written on the web or certainly not the "Testimonials" on your website. Those can easily be made up and "good" experiences easily posted by someone working in or for the company. But let me tell you, everyone believes the bad experiences. Why shouldn't they?
As far as Customer Service goes, I have worked in this area for a number of years and dealt with my fair share of unhappy customers. I worked in retail and people always find something to complain about. I found an important article that you should take a minute to read and try to absorb what it says:
Seeing as you don't want to take any blame for the way our case was handled, I imagine you ignored that article. But I will reiterate a few points made. The article says that sometimes it's difficult to maintain your composure when a customer is angry. But let them vent and don't interrupt. Listen carefully and with empathy. Try to rephrase the problem for clarity and ask for confirmation from the customer. Then, look for a resolution.
When my husband spoke to you last week, he was frustrated. He was tired of no one informing us of what was going on with our lift, or where it was, when it was coming, and even how do we get it??? When he spoke to you, you only seemed to be making it harder and harder for us to get our lift, as opposed to finding a solution. Yes, he lost his temper but it was not unjustified.
When I called back to ask a separate question, I was appalled at how you spoke to me!!! You spent the entire phone call ranting and raving about how angry you were that my husband spoke to you that way and how now you really didn't want to help us get our lift because of that. I couldn't get a word in edgewise. If you are upset about the way an unhappy customer talks to you, take it home with you and complain to your own wife, not to the customer's wife. I was calling so I could attempt to resolve the problem not so I could hear that your feelings were hurt. And certainly not to hear that "now you really don't want to help us". Once again, a sign of the unprofessional way that you dealt with us.
I know my husband already sent you a letter expressing his complaints. But to reiterate, our complaints are as follows:
1. It is almost impossible to reach you and has been from the beginning. You rarely answer your phone calls, don't respond to phone messages, and may occasionally "reply" to our e-mails but not with answers to the questions we asked.
2. Your failure to communicate with us. You work in a field dealing with people moving across the world. Most people have never done this before and therefore are unaware of the process. Not only that but they are in the middle of uprooting their lives, their families, and leaving everything that is familiar to them. YOU are the professional here. You are the one who knows how it all works. And you should be aware and sensitive to that. If you really do put customers first and you work around the clock, as quoted from your e-mail, then I imagine we would have been dealt with very differently. We were only aware of what was happening with our lift because of our constant phone calls to VASM here in Israel. Every time we called, it seemed another problem or delay arose.
3. Our shipping delay. As far as we are concerned, the last we heard from Tali was on September 9th which said she was attaching our shipment information - with nothing attached. I do not blame you for the strike here or for the "400 files that customs had to clear". What I do not understand is why didn't our container leave America until 6 weeks after the scheduled shipping date? How could you possibly not keep us informed of the status of our container? You should let us know when it leaves, when it is expected to arrive, let us know that it is delayed, and certainly let us know once it has arrived!!! How else are we supposed to know? This is YOUR job!
4. We were certainly aware of our open balance and had no problem paying it. You may have noticed that once we finally got in touch with you we wanted to pay immediately and the fastest way possible. All we asked for was our current balance which you had failed to provide for us until that point. I don't understand why you make it so hard to pay you ?!?! I would think you want your money and if you see an open balance, you would contact the customer to inform them. We didn't even know where our lift was, let alone when we were to receive it. If you place a hold on someone's lift, you should inform the customer of that hold. All it takes is a simple phone call or e-mail stating, your lift is on hold until you pay your balance of X amount. I was not withholding money from you. But for such a large balance, I have to withdraw from other funds and I prefer to do that at one time for the correct amount.
5. Regarding our payment, I would like my $152 returned to me for your "Credit Card Authorization fee". We requested of Liat, the accountant who one would think would be familiar with such a charge, to send us your policy on credit card payments. She seemed to be unfamiliar with this and said you would send us that policy. We are still waiting . Alon, please send that to me. We paid the first payment on credit card and that did not seem to be a problem at all. When we wanted to pay our balance, you told us about this 3% charge all of a sudden. I did some research into whether that was allowed or not and it seems that charging a 3% credit card transaction fee violates your merchant agreement. I would like my money refunded to me. And I plan on lodging a complaint against your company for this bogus charge.
6. When our lift finally arrived here in Ariel and they opened the doors, I was shocked to see 10-15 meters (according to the moving company) of unused space. Empty space that I paid for. Your initial assessment at our house claimed that we would need a 20 ft lift with all our belongings. Not only was that wrong, we brought presents and items for other people on our lift. Our total amount of things maybe would have taken half of a 20 foot lift. And since we had extra space, we would have sent some items that we were told "won't fit because our lift is completely full." We would have sent beds, our dining room table, and other items we left behind in Detroit. I cannot begin to express how furious I am regarding that. We paid thousands and thousands of dollars for that space and your screw-ups had us paying for empty space. Alon, this is unacceptable!
Once again, I am completely disappointed in Omega Shipping and especially in you, Alon Aviani. I am certain you will lose many potential customers because of your incompetence and unprofessional actions.