I ranted earlier today about Sprint’s customer service dystopia. It got worse. I decided waiting another 2 to 4 days for a phone was untenable. I called customer service again. Here’s how it went down:
I have phone service through Sprint; if you want to call it service. I drop calls constantly and everywhere. Out of probably 30 customer service experiences with them, perhaps only once did I not feel latent hostility from the representative. The Sprint stores themselves are like something dreamt by Dante. But that’s not what has me so frustrated at the moment. You see, I’ve been a Sprint customer for about 5 years now. I have always carried their insurance for my phone on the plan. Heretofore, I’ve at least had no problems getting phones replaced when they weren’t working. This time it has been a fiasco.
It’s been some time since the last update on my little Terra Chips interaction. I can’t say that there’s anything really new to report. I couldn’t seem to justify to myself the time and effort to record a phone call to their customer service team given the other important things to which I’ve had to attend. (Links to the previous posts, in case they’re needed: I, II, III, IV, V, VI – Fail.) And in case I you’re still wondering, the Terra Chips folks have still not responded to me, nor do I expect they will.
That said, I wanted to post to say thank you to the folks who offered comments and posts on their blogs. As I said repeatedly, this isn’t some kind of watershed experiment. I had no pretentions about breaking through some profound barrier. I simply wanted to point out how pervasively diseased marketing has become. Terra Chips is a great brand. They make a great product. They are simply one of many—in fact, one of the overwhelming majority—of consumer-facing businesses that fail utterly at creating a genuine relationship with their customers. The reason for this state of affairs is simply that mass marketing as we’ve known it since Oyster Bay—indeed since Gutenberg—has reached the end of its utility. I’ve been wanting to post about exactly this, and I have in the past. I’ve got more to say about it, but that will have to wait for another post which I intend to give a snappy title something along the lines of, “Marketing Can Kiss My Ass.”
One trip to the grocery and one blown PSU later and I can finally offer a final post in the wait for some response from the Terra Chips people. I’ve got a brand new bag of Lay’s Kettle Cooked Original Potato Chips. They’re good, although honestly, they’re not as good as the Terra. At least I could easily open the bag. (Again, if you haven’t read the other posts in this series, here are some links: I, II, III, IV, V. In a nutshell, their bag is hard to open.)
What’s the upshot of all of this? Not much. I do know this much: Google is crazy ubiquitous. Google will index this post. It will parse the following sentences. Terra Chips Consumer Relations failed to relate to this consumer. Terra Chips failed to respond to a legitimate complaint. Terra Chips ignored a consumer that was an admitted fan of their product who happened to have a small criticism. Terra Chips failed to prove their claim that they care about their customers’ questions and comments.
I’m interested to call Terra Chips Consumer Relation and see if they every actually received my emails. They’re located in Colorado and I’m in Missouri. Based upon the information I’ve read, there are no state laws that would require more than one party to a phone conversation to give consent in order to record that conversation. If I can find the time and setup the equipment, I’ll call them and publish the recording here.
To all the folks that manage the Terra Chips brand and their Consumer Relations group, I’m sorry this went down this way. I was really pulling for you guys to get in the conversation. I was prepared to give the Terra Chips brand full marks for their gumption. I don’t want to just trash the brand because they’ve got a few things right–like they make a great chip. But they definitely missed an opportunity here. And they’ve demonstrated the self-serving nature of their “contact us” page. And they’ve made liars of themselves inasmuch as they suggested that they care about my questions and comments and then never actually addressed them.