Trying not to become a screaming, unreasonable, irrational customer!
A recent experience with Fitbit tested me and I had all I could do to stay grounded and above the fray. Before our Worldwide Conference, our VP of Africa, Murtaza Versi, asked me to do him a favor and order a wristband from Fitbit for $268.17 so he could use it while in Minneapolis.
Without thinking twice I just clicked the link Murtaza sent me, https://www.fitbit.com/shop/surge, and filled out a profile, created a username and password. It took several minutes to fill this out and again, I didn’t give it a second thought as we were preparing for an important conference and was happy to do this for our VP and a friend. Keep in mind, this was done on October 4th.
On Saturday, October 15, in the afternoon, he asked me about the wristband. It had slipped my mind as I had just returned from a trip overseas and was just finishing our conference. I could not access the account I set up at fitbit.com so I sent them a chat message and several days later this is what I received:
James Park is the CEO, President, and Co-Founder of Fitbit. It’s pretty evident that they are not concerned with the Customer Experience. If they were, their stock prices would not be falling. Management has no grasp of why the Customer Experience is important.
They did everything they shouldn’t have done:
- Hours at Fitbit are worse than banker hours
- Very difficult to find a phone number to call them. I called Investor Relations 415-604-4106. They do not have live people at 3 pm answering their phone but, they do leave the phone number for customer service 877-623-4997 on their message.
- When I tried to log into their website it did not recall my email address, said it was wrong.
- They say their live chat hours are Monday – Friday 4am – 8pm and Saturday and Sunday 6 am – 9 PM. They also say they will respond within 4 hours. The Reality is they are NOT open and they do NOT respond to requests. I was working on Sunday and Monday with no success. Murtaza had left for New York and on Wednesday was returning to Tanzania. After 4 days….no response!
- I contacted Mimi in their customer support. I let her know that my order was October 4th and that it was now the 15th. She said they had a problem with my credit card so the order was never placed. WOW, they had my phone number and email on file as a requirement for me to place the order. NO ONE ever contacted me.
Lessons to be Learned. The entire situation could have easily been handled if they would incorporate 4 simple steps for their frontline employees to handle difficult situations:
- Act quickly
- Take responsibility
- Make an empowered decision
I think we can learn a lot from firms that have awful customer service. By learning a lot I mean learning what NOT to do. It looks like FIT went public in 2015 with a high of $47.60. As of October 19th, it is $13.78 and has been flat all year. This is not the type of stock you should invest in for growth. So easy to see why Amazon grew 20% ($18 billion in 2015) While writing this I decided to check the prices on Amazon. 44% less ($149.95) and they deliver without fail in 2 days. Free Shipping I am a Prime Member.
“Next time I will go with Amazon”