Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It is easy to SAY sorry

We had a $50 Harvey Norman voucher that expired at end Nov.

On Sunday evening, I went to Harvey Norman at Suntec to ask if I could still use the voucher.
Was told that I needed to call their head office to ask for authorization.
I asked if they could call for me, and was told they could not because it was not during office hours.

On Monday afternoon, I finally managed to get through to the head office.
Spoke to a lady who told me that I should go down to their stores and ask.
When I told her that I HAD done that and had been directed to call her, she agreed to allow me to use the voucher, on the conditions that
(a) I use it by this weekend
(b) I can only use at one store, so I chose Centerpoint.
She said she would email to Centerpoint straightaway to inform them about it and that I could go down from anytime from then onwards.

On Tuesday evening, I made my way to Centerpoint, battling the pre-Christmas Orchard crowds, specially to visit Harvey Norman.
Was told they had no records of any email regarding my voucher.
When I asked them to check, they said they would call the lady concerned and asked me to come back later.
Waited all the way till store closing time, to no avail - still can't contact her.
They asked me to come back tomorrow.

So frustrating!
1. No proper protocol for this kind of thing. People are unsure of who has the authority to issue the approval. The store manager, or the admin staff at head office?
2. Anyhow push me off just to save themselves trouble. Since Centerpoint store can try to contact their head office, it means Suntec store actually could have done so too.
3. Think I am so free to go around their stores everyday? I tried my best to comply with the conditions they gave to use it. But yet when I did so, I ended up wasting my time. What happens if I am not on holiday and don't have the liberty of a loose schedule? And it's obvious that I am pregnant (read: whale sized) and it's not easy for me to go down there in the first place! What's more, they sell electronics stuff which is v bulky. Wasted trip = wasted parking fee & ERP charges etc for those who drive in anticipation of bringing home electronics stuff.

Lesson learnt:
It is easy to SAY sorry for things.
But lack of immediacy, meticulousness and attention to details means that others will suffer inconvenience that you may not even be aware about.
So be excellent in whatever you do so that you NEVER need to inconvenience others.
That is the essence of good service.

All the more, as I am using voucher at their store, I am giving them business. $50 is definitely not enough to cover the price of any electronics. They should be more than willing to extend the voucher validity in order to secure my business. I can just as easily take my money to another electronics store to spend!! Grr!

Will see what they do tomorrow. Hmph.

Centerpoint called me back on Wednesday to tell me that my voucher could now be used.
No explanation or apology offered whatsoever for the lack of / delay in communication between head office and the store.
When I went down, no one there apologized either. When I mentioned my voucher, the staff were all like "Oh Yeah, the voucher" - the kind of tone that makes you think they have been talking about it behind your backs.
Anyway, I picked my Electrolux vacuum cleaner and brought it to the cashier.
The item was on $40 discount from the original price of $149.
But the cashier attempted to charge me $149 for it anyway! They only checked when I told them that the salesgirl on Tuesday had told me it was $109!
And weirdly enough, they packaged up the vacuum cleaner and gave it to me even before issuing the invoice. So when I told them the pricing was wrong, the cashier had to walk out of the cashier island over to me and open up the bag to see the product code to re-key the details!
So unbelievable.

Fired off an email to Harvey Norman Singapore and the parent store (Harvey Norman Australia) asking for explanation.
Guess what, the email for Harvey Norman Australia bounced (and yes, I obtained the email from their website).

Wahlau! What kind of international brand name is this?? Sheesh.

Will post again when they reply.

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