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October 21, 2011

1

An Open Letter to the President of Bloomingdale’s

by Anne Paddock
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Dear Mr. Lundgren:

News Flash:  Your company call centers in India are awful and are in desperate need of an overhaul. The employees need to be trained to speak and understand English better in order to effectively communicate with customers. If your company doesn’t want to provide training, then close your call centers in India and bring the jobs back to the United States and train the employees here. Really, your customers will be happier and you will be commended for creating  jobs in the country in which your company is based.

A few days ago, I received a message to call Bloomingdale’s Credit Services and so I returned the call. The first person I spoke with asked me for four pieces of information:
  1. account number
  2. name
  3. last four numbers of my Social Security (SS) number
  4. billing address

I took my Bloomingdale’s white credit card out of my wallet and read the account number to her – four times. Then, I spelled my name twice, gave the last four digits of my SS number and stated my address three times. The customer service representative told me I don’t have a Bloomingdale’s account but that I have a Macy’s account and an American Express Bloomingdale’s account. Really, that’s strange because I don’t have an American Express Bloomingdale’s card. Instead of arguing with her, I asked her to close the American Express account and to please check again because I was reading the numbers right off a Bloomingdale’s credit card. She still could not find my Bloomingdale’s account so she transferred me to “Customer Service” and guess what? I was disconnected.

I called back and punched my account number and last four numbers of my SS number into the automated phone prompt system.  After a short wait, a woman came on the phone who I could barely understand or hear. In fact, she sounded like she was outside (I was speaking to someone in India again). She actually found my Bloomingdale’s account though and said I had not paid my bill.  I told her that I rarely use my Bloomingdale’s card but did use my card last month and had not received a bill.  I asked her to verify the billing address but she kept saying she wanted to give me the mailing address so I could mail my payment.  I told her I won’t pay the bill until I receive a copy of the bill but that I always pay my bill in full.  I could barely understand her English and finally asked to speak to her supervisor.  She transferred me and I was disconnected, again.

called back again thinking maybe the third time is the charm. No such luck. This time I was connected to a man in India who could not find my Bloomingdale’s account. I read the number off the credit card again, gave him my name, the last four digits of my SS number, and the billing address twice. No luck; he couldn’t find it. He asked me for my full Social Security number and I told him no.  I thanked him for his time and said good-bye.

Exasperated (because I really do want to pay my bill), I turned my Bloomingdale’s card over and dialed the number on the back.  I was connected to a customer service representative who asked me to repeat all the same information that I just keyed into the phone, again.  Mr. Lundgren, have you ever seen the movie “Groundhog Day?” It’s about a guy that has to keep re-living the same day until he gets it right. I felt like I was starring in the remake but in the wrong role.

The representative insisted I had an American Express Bloomingdale’s card and then said the only way to verify I didn’t was for her to ask me questions so I obliged. She asked me 4 questions about addresses, none of which I had ever heard of. Then, she started asking me questions about cars and by the second car description, I told her this was a ridiculous conversation that had nothing to do with my Bloomingdale’s account. She stood firm and said she was required to ask these questions.

refused to answer any more questions and told her to close my Bloomingdale’s account. She said she did not have the authority to close my account.  Really.  I thought I just gave it to her. She put me on hold and then told me she would transfer me to a woman named Debbie. Debbie answered the phone (thankfully, I wasn’t disconnected) and before I could say anything Debbie asked if I would change my mind if she sent me a $25 off a $100 purchase. The answer:  no, absolutely not.  I’m done.   I repeated my request to close my account and have the final bill sent to my proper billing address.  We went over the address three times and when I asked her to read it back the fourth time, she finally got it right. She assured me the bill would be sent to the correct address. I won’t hold my breath.

So, Mr. Lundgren do your customers a favor and either train the customer service representatives serving your client base or close the call centers in India.  You get what you pay for and I’m not convinced you’re getting what you think you’re getting or what your customers want.  The reps are difficult to hear and understand, don’t have or don’t know how to access information, don’t fully understand the difference between my billing address and your mailing address, and they’re not even working in the country where your company and customers are domiciled.

Signed:

One Bilingual Frustrated Ex-Customer

P.S.  Bloomingdale’s Credit Services called back again today and wanted to do the above all over again. I hung up. Groundhog Day isn’t until next Spring.
1 Comment Post a comment
  1. julia
    Feb 28 2012

    I know a call is going badly when I yell out “Where are you from”?

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