Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Software driven instead of Customer driven???

I experienced another mind baffling customer experience while trying Blockbuster's online rental service. Since the rental service on Amazon.co.uk was lagging behind a little and there were some delays for the DVDs I wanted to rent, I decided to go with Blockbuster's Free Trial. It sounded pretty good with a 14 day free trial of their rental service.
It was very easy to register and to start building a list. I received a batch of 3 DVDs a few days later.
2 weeks later I received an e-mail saying I was now registered for the £14.99/month subscription and that my credit card had been billed for this amount. I wasn't particularly pleased about the way this happened with Blockbuster NOT sending me a reminder e-mail stating my 14 days trial period was about to end. So, I wasn't impressed but decided to give the service a fair try.
I sent my initial DVDs back, added more DVDs to my list and waited for the next batch to arrive.

Even though I had sent 3 DVDs back, the Blockbuster web site only mentioned 2. This meant I had to go through an online procedure to confirm I had indeed sent 3 DVDs back.
One week later, still no new batch of DVDs.
Two weeks later, still no new batch of DVDs.

So, I finally sent an e-mail to Blockbuster's customer service on 22nd August 2007. On Saturday 25th August I finally get a reply from the customer service department ... that is 3 days later!

This email explains "the top title along with the Prison Break series have been ticked as first to last, the top title should not be selected as first to last as it is the last of the series you have already seen and placed on your list, if you could please remove the top title as first to last, leave the prison break as they are and try to add more to your list because presently the system can not differentiate between the 4400 title and prison break and it is not checking the rest of your list correctly".

So basically after I had indicated I wanted to receive The 4400 DVDs "First to Last" by ticking the appropriate boxes, and after having received 3 out of 4 DVDs I should have un-ticked the 4th 4400 DVD that was now topping my list, before adding another series of Prison Break DVDs in "First to Last" order. Phew...

Not being very happy with this reply I sent an e-mail back saying I modified my list, but would like to be compensated for the 2 weeks of rentals I lost.
Fortunately it only took Blockbuster's customer service only 1 day to reply this time, but again the feedback is not really satisfactory: "The first to last on your top title is not something that we compensate for as it is not the fault of the system. The first to last feature is sensitive to series titles and needs to be used correctly or it will affect the way our system can check and pick titles from your list. I can understand your disappointment and will place credit on your account for 7 days as a goodwill gesture however, I am unable to provide you with more compensation credits."
Let me now just emphasize in the above "as it is not the fault of the system". Isn't it? Really? I thought it was!
Blockbuster develops an online application that does not perform intuitively at all, but it is not the fault of the system ... Well no I guess they are right. Someone somewhere at Blockbuster must have thought this was good enough. Well guess what? It is NOT!
In an online market place where Amazon is just a click away, good enough isn't really good enough.