terrible

Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

Click here for part 2, in which I have a wonderful interaction with Hyundai’s social team.

In the middle of last week, I noticed that my car was riding a bit rough, and was making what could only be called a growling sound when I was moving at higher than 40mph, and I was deeply concerned that the issue was coming from the engine or the transmission. As my car is still under warranty, I made an appointment to have the car checked out at 11:30am on Thursday, March 1, at Paramus Hyundai.

Contact 1: Thursday, March 1, 2018, 11:30am

I drop the car off and meet Stanley, my service center contact. Even though Paramus Hyundai’s website advertises a shuttle service to anywhere within 6 miles of the service center, I’m told that there is no one to drive the shuttle and I am out of luck. No offer to loan me a car, no offer to rent me a car, nothing. I take a Lyft back to my office. ($13.47)

This is the first thing you see when you go to the service center online:

Contact 2: Thursday, March 1, 2018, 12:39pm

Stanley calls to tell me that they don’t see an obvious issue, and that they will run a diagnostic test. The test costs $150, and if nothing is wrong, I have to pay for the test. I agree to the test.

Contact 3: Thursday, March 1, 2018, 2:07pm

Stanley calls and asks if I’ve been in an accident. I say no, and he asks if I hit a pothole, which I definitely did (and do every year because we have snow and therefore potholes). He says that I have a broken hub bearing, and that it can be fixed that day, and will cost $771. I agree to the repair.

Contact 4: Thursday, March 1, 2018, 2:52pm

Stanley calls again, and tells me that while they thought it wasn’t damaged, that the knuckle on the wheel with the broken hub bearing broke during the repair(he also made sure to tell me that it was probably already damaged), but that they can’t get the part until tomorrow. He says it is $300 but offers a discount of $100 off of the price, bringing my new proposed total to $971. He says that the part will be overnighted and will be delivered by 10am Friday, so my car will be ready on Friday.

Luckily, an available co-worker who lives near me drives me home from the office.

I take a Lyft to work in the morning as I still don’t have a car. ($26.14)

Contact 5: Friday, March 2, 2018, 1:06pm

I have to call Paramus Hyundai because they haven’t reached out to me. I’m told that Stanley isn’t there today, but after a period of time on hold, I hear that the part hasn’t arrived yet, that the delivery might be delayed because of the weather. I’m told I will get a call when the part arrives.

Contact 6: Friday, March 2, 2018, 3:31pm

I call them again because I haven’t heard anything. I speak to a woman who is a service manager(I don’t get her name), and she reiterates that the weather has prevented the part from being delivered. I find this hard to believe, as my office is a few minutes away, and somehow, our deliveries have all arrived without issue, regardless of some problematic weather.

She says that she’s looking into it and will call me back.

In the meantime, I have plans for the evening and the work day is over, and since I know my car isn’t fixed because the part isn’t there, I take another Lyft to go home. ($21.02)

Contact 7: Saturday, March 3, 2018, 11:14am

I call Paramus Hyundai because the service manager from Friday never called back about the status of the part needed for my car to be fixed.

I speak to another woman that I haven’t talked to before. I am asked who my contact was, and I say Stanley, and I’m told that he isn’t there. She asks my name again, and when she repeats it, the service manager from Friday chimes in to say “Oh we don’t get deliveries on the weekend. It might be here on Monday, but maybe Tuesday.” I ask if they are going to call me to tell me when the part arrives, and I get a yes.

I get a ride to Enterprise Car Rental, and rent a car that I’m supposed to return on Tuesday. ($160.54) (Updated cost to $214.06, see below.)

Contact 8: Monday, March 5, 2018, 12:56pm

I call again, because I still haven’t heard anything. I mentioned that Stanley was my contact, and then am told “he doesn’t work here anymore,” which is slightly distressing. I’m told that my part hasn’t arrived yet.

Contact 9: Monday, March 5, 2018, 3:41pm

I call, again, to see if the part is there. I am finally told that it arrived and that my car will be ready tomorrow. I ask, again, if someone will call me when the car is ready, and they say yes.

It’s Tuesday now and I haven’t heard anything yet. It is 12pm.

I cannot believe the runaround I have been through with the service center from the dealership. I was told by so many people that Hyundai was so great, and that hasn’t been my experience at all. I have been previously irritated with this particular service center, and while I would love to not go back, I had to use a dealer service center when I thought that I might be dealing with an issue that would be warranty-covered. I probably would have taken the car somewhere else to have the wheel repaired, but when Stanley told me it would be fixed that day, I agreed, in the interest of time and the fact that my family only has 1 car, so the less time without it, the better.

At this point, all of this extra time has cost me hundreds of dollars. If anyone from Paramus Hyundai had been kinder to me, or more apologetic for the delay, I would not be as upset about this, but I literally have spent over $200 on Lyft rides and a rental car.

To say I am extremely disappointed would be an understatement. I only hope I get the car back today.

UPDATE

Contact 10: Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 1:14pm

I called the service center as I haven’t heard anything. The woman I spoke to looked something up, put me on hold, and then came back to tell me the car is ready for pickup. Yet again, wondering if anyone would have called me, as they said they would. Did the fact that my original contact guy either quit or got fired really cause all of this delay?

A lovely coworker gave me a ride to Paramus Hyundai, so I didn’t have to take another Lyft.

Contact 11: Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 1:45pm

I arrived and told Vivian at the counter that I was there to pick up the car. There was some confusion about it since the paperwork wasn’t done, but it wasn’t long before I was handing my credit card over to pay the $971 for the fix.

I now have 2 cars at my office, and will have to do some juggling to get Will here so that we can return the rental tonight. This has been an experience that I don’t intend to expose myself to again. I genuinely hope that this post will be seen by Hyundai, and that it gives them a case study in how tiny changes in customer interactions would completely change someone’s experience.

This Tucson is the first new car I’ve ever purchased, and I got a Hyundai because I have multiple family members with great Hyundai experiences. I haven’t experienced that as much as I wanted to, which is unfortunate. At this point in time, I can’t imagine that I will buy another Hyundai.

Tell me about your favorite car brands on Twitter.

UPDATE 2

Due to work schedules and juggling cars, we dropped the rental car off at Enterprise after they closed and put the key in the drop slot. As we didn’t get there before closing, we were charged for another day of rental on the final bill. The price for the rental is increased to $214.06.

Contact 12: Wednesday, March 7, 2018, via Twitter

After tweeting out this blog post, Hyundai responds to acknowledge my issue and asks me to follow up via phone or email. I will send an email to share this blog post with them. I am grateful for the opportunity to have my voice heard here.

Click here for part 2, in which I have a wonderful interaction with Hyundai’s social team.

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This was going to be a product review, but my experience created questions that I think are better fitted to a brand experience post.

I am a big fan of Kat Von D Beauty products. I have a number of eyeshadow palettes and powder foundation, all that I greatly enjoy. During a random trip to TJ Maxx a few weeks back, I was super excited to see some Kat Von D Shade & Light blushes in the beauty section, and quickly scooped up a “Bonnie & Clyde” blush.

Here’s where things get unfortunate.

So much promise.

The focus here is questionable, but you can see the swatches of these 2 blushes on my arm. I expected a LOT more pigmentation than this.

Wow. This is how they looked after I blended over them with a brush. Where did they go? This is a major quality issue.

Beyond this, the product packaging was also a bit disappointing. I am going to directly compare the packaging of this blush with my Kat Von D Lock-It Powder Foundation.

It certainly looks like a lot more thought went into the packaging for the foundation. There is a lot more detail.

The sticker is actually pretty good on the blush, especially with 2 shades of product in the compact.

The packaging quality on the foundation looks much more expensive.

So, if I were reviewing this blush, it would be 0 stars. If I try to put it on my face and it just disappears, is isn’t actually blush. I went online after discovering the issue with this product, and found out that it had actually been pulled from both Sephora and the Kat Von D Beauty website.

Also found this on Reddit:

Here’s where I get to the heart of my issues with my experience.

Why did this product that had CLEARLY been identified as sub-par, get sold to a discount store? As a Kat Von D Beauty fan, I was excited to see what I figured was just excess stock being sold to TJ Maxx, and so I scooped it up. It didn’t occur to me that I should be looking online to find out that this is crap. I know what they say about assumptions, but I didn’t expect a Kat Von D Beauty product to be this terrible.

This makes me REALLY wonder who at Kat Von D Beauty decided to let this product into the wild in discount stores. Excess stock is one thing, but to release product of terrible quality to a discount store is a huge miss. Shoppers in a discount store might be really excited to see Kat Von D Beauty products at a discounted price. This could be a gateway product for someone who is interested in the brand but doesn’t think that they want to spend X dollars on a makeup product, and that opportunity to convince them that the cost is valid would be ruined by this product. The idea of samples from Ulta or Sephora, and perhaps even selling excess stock to discount stores, is to increase exposure of those products, to convince a shopper who isn’t sure about the brand or who isn’t sure about the price that the quality of the products is well worth the attached dollar amount. This blush is going to have the complete opposite effect.

I would love to hear comments from anyone on what you think about placement of problematic products into discount stores. Do you shop in a store like Marshall’s or TJ Maxx with a thought in your mind that you might be getting X product from a well-known brand because it might be of lesser quality?

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I am a massive fan of the Olympic games. I get so excited to watch all sorts of sports – everything from shot put to archery and my favorite, gymnastics. Unfortunately, the television coverage in the United States for the Rio games has been plagued with issues. There’s the well-covered sexism, which is frustrating, but I am not covering that here (at least not in detail). My major issue is currently with NBCOlympics.com.

NBC has exclusive broadcast rights in the United States for the Olympic games, so unless you can find a sketchy way to watch another country’s coverage online, you are stuck with NBC. What seems to be an improvement over previous coverage is that there are replays available on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app, and also live events available to be streamed. This is great, right?

You also have to turn to either the website or app to view full events. NBC’s primetime coverage on television is weirdly skewed towards swimming and track, and while I don’t want to slight those athletes, there are other things going on, other things that are awarding medals, and semifinals in swimming shouldn’t be shown when other athletes are in finals for medals.

Anyway, last Thursday was the Women’s Gymnastics All-Around Final. I have been watching a LOT of women’s gymnastics on YouTube in the last few months, and I am a huge fan of the sport. I wanted to see the full coverage of the final, not just what NBC would show me in primetime, which turned out to be terrible coverage of mostly just American athletes, and again, showed swimming semifinals and made gymnastics fans wait until after 11pm on a weeknight to see the results.

So in an effort to watch the entire final when I got home from the office on Thursday, I opened the website to see if I could start watching the final, since I knew it was already over. This is what I saw.

Seriously, NBC? You couldn’t have avoided a spoiler here? This pissed me off so much, but I guess I should be surprised, given what was said by the NBC Olympics chief marketing officer:

The people who watch the Olympics are not particularly sports fans. More women watch the Games than men, and for the women, they’re less interested in the result and more interested in the journey. It’s sort of like the ultimate reality show and mini-series wrapped into one. And to tell the truth, it has been the complaint of a few sports writers. It has not been the complaint of the vast viewing public.

This is nonsense. Who are they polling or whatever to get this information? Why can’t I possibly watch a sporting event without it being turned into a reality show? The simplification of what “all women watching television in the United States” wants is asinine.

It is now 4 days later, and NBC is still committed to making sure that I know who won before I watch something.

If I was only interested in the performance of Simone Biles, I wouldn’t even need to watch this now, because they have told me who wins. When did someone decide that spoiler alerts were no longer relevant or necessary? I am still perfectly capable of avoiding social media in order to not be spoiled on things like this. The instances where I make this effort are few and far between, but it is possible.

Suggestions for alternative headlines:

  • Big day for Biles: Did she win? Watch now!
  • Watch now: Simone Biles’ historic run for gold!
  • Women’s All-Around Final: Watch Now

Each of these pages or stories could have giant spoiler alerts on them before revealing the medalists. It isn’t difficult in the least, but I guess I’m not interested in who wins, right?

The bottom line is that while this is ridiculous, I will likely continue going to NBCOlympics.com to watch Olympic events, because I simply have no other choice. I sincerely hope that they revisit their approach to coverage on television and online for the next event.

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AAA.com | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on July 31, 2014

Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

I recently bought a new car, after having to call AAA twice in one week to rescue me in my old one. It was just after getting my new car that I had to renew my AAA membership. I’ve had it as long as I’ve had a car, and it really is the best thing. I have been towed at least twice, and jumpstarted maybe 10 times? Things happen, it’s good to have roadside assistance.

Anyway, I decided to renew my membership online, and that’s where things went downhill.

Pretty straightforward. I’m in North Jersey, this is the North Jersey section of AAA.com. This could be a bit more modern, but perhaps it is working for them. Change for the sake of change isn’t necessary, but a bit of an update on the look would not hurt the site.

I choose the “login” option as I’ve been here before. Again, easy enough instructions for me to get to my account.

Instead of my account, I’m back to a general page. Hmm.

I move to the membership area to review my options. Oy. This really needs to be presented in a better way! A direct comparison of all options on one page would be better. Or perhaps a chart showing each option, how much it costs, and the features it has checked off. We’ve all seen a version of this.

You can see all of the tabs are similar.

This is where I got when I clicked “renew.” Come on AAA! This is awful. You can see the little message in the middle of “if you are already an AAA member, click here.”

This is the last page I saw. I clicked the button to “renew” my membership and NOWHERE on this page does it offer me the opportunity to upgrade my membership for the new membership period! A huge missed opportunity by AAA. I wanted to pay them more money for an increased service level, and their website completely fails at making that possible.

AAA is lucky that I like their service so much. I actually filled out a form and wrote a check and used a stamp to send this in the actual mail, since their website did not do the job.

I cannot end this post on anything but a down note. Consumers are used to being able to do most things online, and how many opportunities has AAA missed for upgraded memberships because their website is impossible? It would have taken seconds for me to stay with my basic membership and move on, but I made the effort because it was important to me to upgrade. If I was wavering at all I would have just used this website to renew and that would have been the end of it.

Thumbs down, unfortunately. This is not only a frustrating experience on the consumer end, but is likely having an effect on sales and income on the business side. Thumbs down all around.

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