OfficeMax Fails at Customer Service

I got home last night and the cleaning begin in ernest. However, before I could really get down to cleaning I had to call back to OfficeMax because after having opened a customer service case last night and having been told that they would get back to me – they didn’t get back to me. The issue is that we ordered a desk eleven days ago that was to be delivered in one to three business days. We placed the order on Sunday so shipping could happen the very next day. We waited and no desk arrived. We had been hopeful that it would have arrived by the weekend so that we could have had it assembled and put in place before we left on Friday. That had been the plan all along. No luck.

We returned from Frankfort and decided to give them until Tuesday to deliver the desk before calling. So yesterday I called and talked to customer service about the desk. They said that they couldn’t help me (great customer service) but that someone from the warehouse would call me back (I assumed later that evening.) I thought that it was strange both that the customer service team couldn’t answer questions about the status of my order and that they thought that the warehouse would be useful since the one thing that they were able to determine for me was that the desk had not been shipped at all.

So tonight when I got home I decided that I needed to follow up as obviously the unshipped desk did not arrive nor did the warehouse call. Apparently the warehouse has little interest in shipping products or doing good customer service. So I called customer service again and they explained that the warehouse needs at least forty-eight hours before they would call back. The excuse for this turn around time was that the warehouse needed time to check with the shipping partner as to the status of the order. I could see this if, in fact, the warehouse had shipped my desk but in this case they had not. They were simply stalling.

I explained that it was not appropriate for the customer service department to stall on my for forty-eight hours on an item that I was trying to find out why it hadn’t been shipped in seventy-two hours especially when I had given them much longer than that in the first place. Had the customer service representative yesterday decided to actual take care of me they would have immediately cancelled the order and had a new replacement desk shipped immediately since it would be likely to arrive, assuming the warehouse people decide to show up to work at all, around the same time that the warehouse is supposed to return my call to let me know that they don’t intend to ever ship my original desk. The first customer service representative simply took the path of least resistance, acting like she was solving my problem and brushed me off.

Tonight the customer service representative was going to simply let me continue to have nothing done for me explaining that it was the warehouse’s problem and not customer service’s – something that should never, ever be said or implied to a customer. I mentioned that if the desk was ordered today that it would, hopefully, arrive within seventy-two hours but that if we waited for the warehouse to tell us what we already knew – that the desk had not yet been shipped – that it would take at least one day longer for no reason.  She agreed and went ahead and cancelled my current order and placed a new order for the desk which should, in theory, arrive within the next three business day.

Given that we know that it takes the warehouse forty-eight hours to respond to a request for information concerning a shipped product it therefore makes sense that the only reasonable way to get a good turnaround time from them is for me to then open a customer service request tomorrow.  If I open a case tomorrow then the warehouse should get back to me to let me know whether or not they have bothered to ship this new desk by the exact same time that it should, at the latest, have arrived.

I have often said that the true quality of a company is not seen until you have something go wrong.  Every companies makes mistakes and has problems.  There is no way around that.  Customer service is the place where companies have an opportunity to fix things that are wrong or to make them worse.  In the case of OfficeMax, they made it worse.  They could have shipped out a replacement desk immediately but instead totally blew me off the first time from customer service, then blew me off via the warehouse and then only did anything to resolve the issue when I proposed the only logical solution.  Why didn’t either of the customer service representatives take the initiative to fix the problem rather than just pass it off to the warehouse whom they knew were going to call for several days and knew that they hadn’t shipped the desk at all?  And why is the warehouse allowed to sit on a customer service issue for two days when they could tell me instantly that they had missed the order and needed to ship it right away.  The entire system is built for the purpose of stalling.

The only thing that I can imagine is that OfficeMax is stalling because they already have my money and just by holding onto my money they get to earn a little bit on it before they actually deliver the product that I paid for.  Even now I had to pay for the second desk (which we don’t even know that they are going to ship) up front just for the honor of possibly getting the service that I already paid for two weeks ago.  And, at some point, I will get credited for the original desk whose order has been cancelled.  So even now I am not getting the same level of service that I should expect should I be a new customer at this point.  A new customer would at least not have to have money held for a desk that OfficeMax just decided not to deliver!

Altogether, even though the customer service representatives were “friendly” this has been one of the most disappointing customer service situations that I have ever experienced and has totally turned me off to OfficeMax.  I was so happy with the products and the ordering just two weeks ago and I have used them for years but they managed to show to me that all of that good service was just a thin veil over a completely customer unfriendly organization.  They proved to me this week that they have absolutely no interest in having me as a customer nor fulfilling their obligations of sending the order that they had happily taken my money for.

The bottom line is that to my face people acted friendly but the actions, which speak louder than the words, were rude and obnoxious.  And now I am back to the beginning.  Maybe they will ship me a desk.  Maybe they won’t.  It will be another week before I have any way to know.  Even if I open a case to find out if it is shipping tomorrow I should not expect the warehouse to let me know whether or not they are going to ship me the desk until next week.

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  1. I emailed the content of this post to OfficeMax customer service in the hopes that someone will take some responsibility and use this information to make a change. They have lost me as a customer most likely – once customer service has failed there is little that can be done to repair that breach of trust. But I do appreciate the idea that companies at least need an opportunity to find out what has happened when they lose customers. Otherwise how do they know to change. The problem, though, is that the only obvious means of communications (and even this required a Google seach as customer service wasn’t obvious from the OfficeMax web site) is to email customer service. So much likely this information will be quietly discarded as at least two customer service reps and the warehouse are all very aware of the situation and created it in the first place. There is most likely an entire culture of passing the buck and avoiding customer service already in place and a customer service manager hiding behind it all.

  2. On Friday, June 15th, OfficeMax called to arrange the desk being delivered on Monday to our apartment. So, it would appear that everything is in order for this second order. However, the warehouse never did get back to us about the first order so I am concerned that this is actually the first order and not the second order and that the second order is now in limbo. We will know more on Monday.

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