As a previous employee of this company, I feel like it is important to express my concerns about this company and make customers aware of how terrible this company is:
Training as a 'Work-From-Home Customer Service Representative' for this company is around 2-3 weeks. During that time, you are in a chat room with about 50 trainees, and 2-3 trainers.
At the end of training, half of the trainees are gone. The 'training' consists of nothing but reading modules. Every day, you are to log in and read a certain amount of modules that show you how to navigate through the systems, and educate you on the companies policies and procedures. If you have any questions, you can post in the chat room, with hopes your question will be answered.
If you ask a question that has been answered already, you will be reprimanded by the trainers. The trainers should be trained on how to train. Susan R. is very unprofessional, condescending, and unhelpful.
You can tell they hate their jobs. After the two weeks of 'training' you are thrown on the phones, no mock calls, no experience whatsoever.
There is no 'classroom', or 'one-on-one' training to learn how to perform your job to the best of your ability. This is most definitely a 'self-taught' and 'learn as you go' job. I took this job because I was under the assumption I would be helping people and I would feel good at the end of my shifts knowing that I was of assistance.
Instead, I feel helpless, sad, and overwhelmed with anxiety after being yelled at by upset customers all day. Basically, customer service reps are hired to deal with the companies dirty work. A supervisors position in this company is to stay on top of the reps, make sure they are on their phones the entire shift. $12 an hour is not nearly enough to deal with pissed off customers all day.
It gets old very fast. I have reached out to HR (specifically Carolyn P.) on several occasions with my complaints and concerns, but I was either ignored, or told to speak to my supervisor, Tiffany H. I spoke with my supervisors manager, Owen B. and he was EXTREMELY rude and disrespectful.
My supervisor was NEVER helpful, and would always tell me to contact HR. I was continuously given the run around.
The following are just a few issues that I feel customers and potential employees should know:
1. CUSTOMER WANTS TO CANCEL ORDER/ITEM:
- Once an order goes into the "In Fulfillment" status, we are instructed to tell customers that it can not be cancelled. Orders go into the "In Fullfillment" status almost instantly once placed.
So whether a customer has placed the order 5 minutes ago, or within 24 hours, we have to tell the customer that we can not cancel their order...but we can send in a request to our 'support team' or warehouse to see if they can cancel the order on their end. The customer will have to call back in to check if the order/item was cancelled, as they WILL NOT be notified by anyone in customer service of the cancellation. More than half the time, orders are not cancelled and the customer is still sent the item. This upsets customers and they then usually want to speak with a supervisor.
We do not have that will take escalated calls, upset customers, or ANY calls at all. My supervisor, Tiffany, told me on numerous occasions that if a customer is upset and wants a supervisor than I have not done my job correctly. Customers become more upset when told that a supervisor is "unavailable" at the time. They then request for a supervisor to call them when they are available...but we are told NOT to tell a customer they will get a call back.
No one will call the customer. I am not sure what the purpose of the supervisors are, except to keep track of our calls and making sure we are on the phones slaving away. My supervisor, Tiffany, served no purpose. I remember asking her for help one day during my shift and she told me she could not help me because she was 'late for a dinner date'....which I have a screenshot of.
- This company always has some kind of sale or promotion going on. Many calls from customers are requests for price adjustments. However, this company does not honor ANY kind of price adjustment. It does not matter whether the customer ordered the item 5 minutes ago, and the item just went on sale for 75% off within that 5 minutes.
As a customer service rep, we are told to 'stay firm' on the strict policy for no price adjustments. Customers become upset when you tell them of this policy, and then demand to have their order cancelled, and a new one placed for the current sale price. Which then leads to telling the customer that their first order could not be cancelled as it is already "In Fulfillment". This upsets customers and they then want to speak with a supervisor.
We have to tell the customer that a supervisor is "unavailable" and the call then becomes further escalated.
3. SHIPPING | PERSONALIZATION ISSUES:
- I have received several calls about orders arriving with items missing from their package, or receiving someone elses order. Most commonly, customers receive their personalized items that have one or more of the following: wrong name, wrong thread color, upside down, uneven, incorrect spelling, wrong font. I believe this company has blind workers in their factories.
Clearly this company cares only about making money, rather than good customer service, but do they realize how much money they are losing by having to replace/remake so many items? Out of 100 calls a shift, I'd say 40% of the calls are personalization issues. Customers usually are upset because they waited a ridiculous amount of time for their item, and they want a replacement shipped immediately, but the company does not offer fast shipping for their own errors. This was a huge issue for all the parents during back-to-school season, when they spent about $100 on their child's personalized lunch boxes, backpacks etc....and they wouldn't receive their replacement in time for the beginning of school.
BACK ORDER | OUT OF STOCK ITEMS:
- I recall an instance where a father was in jeopardy of losing custody of his daughter and he needed a bed and furniture for his daughters room, so that Social Services could see he had a proper environment for his child to live in. Could you imagine going on a website, placing an order for $4,000 worth of furniture, receiving a 'delivery date' for your order, requesting time off of work to be home for the delivery...and then the day comes, your order never arrives, you call customer service and they inform you that the order is on back order or not even available any longer? I reached out to my supervisor for help and was told "Apologize to the customer and tell him that we will gladly refund his order and he can reorder new furniture." This upset the customer even more, considering he took off work to be home for the delivery, he was never informed the items he purchased and was waiting almost a month for were not even available. In addition, we were not going to expedite his new order to make it there on time, and he was on a time limit.
What an outrage! I almost ordered furniture from Walmart, with expedited shipping, and sent it to him out of my own pocket, because I felt so bad and I was so embarrassed of the company I work for.
The Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Pottery Barn Teen, West Elm, Williams Sonoma, Mark and Graham websites will let you place orders online when the item is not even available...either out of stock, back ordered, or discontinued. Customers are not notified that their items are in this status. Customers find out when they call customer service to see what is taking so long for their orders to arrive or log into their online accounts at a later date, after the purchase is made...to become aware of this issue.
I personally feel like this should be considered fraud. How can you sell an item you don't even have?
5. PROMOTION CODES:
- My least favorite customer call in, is promotion codes not working at check out. Usually, it is because the item is apart of the exclusions, but the website does not make that clear to the customer.
The websites are VERY misleading. Customers receive promotion codes sent to their emails that show up 'invalid' at checkout or it says that the code was already used. Customers call in wanting a new code sent to their email or a code given to them over the phone. However, reps do not have codes to give out, nor are they able to resend promotion codes and customers do not believe this.
They want a supervisor because they feel you are not being helpful or just being lazy and not wanting to give them the codes they think we have. Once again, this company makes reps jobs more difficult than they need to be, with simple issues such as these.
6. REWARD "CERTIFICATES" | REWARD "DOLLARS":
- Per Section 3 of the Pottery Barn Rewards Program, the Terms and Conditions state the "Reward Dollars" do not expire for 36 months. In Section 4 it states that "Reward Certificates" expire after 180 days of issue.
The terminology is key here. You receive reward 'dollars' and then they are redeemed for a reward 'certificate'. Pottery Barn automatically issues/redeems the dollars to a "Reward Certificate" without a customer request, which means that they auto-expire in 180 days versus the programs Terms and Conditions policy of 36 months. Customers see this as deceptive and possibly illegal.
I remember being really excited to shop with my 40% discount that we were bribed with before and during 'training'. What they don't tell you is that you can not use your discount in-store unless you have a discount card (you wont get one of these as a work-from-home rep), your orders are only placed on the 'Associate Shopping' link, and you DO NOT RECEIVE 40% OFF! You can receive UP TO 40% off on select items. Most of the time, it is cheaper to order items as a regular customer with the current promotions.
To be honest, even if I received 40% off, I wouldn't buy anything from this over-priced brand anyways because who knows if I would receive the correct item I ordered, or even receive the item at all!!
I would highly suggest taking your business elsewhere. This company scams customers and should be shut down.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.