In the 13+ years of my online presence, I’ve seen the internet be used as a source of information pertaining to customer service. With social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter more popular than ever, along with thousands of bloggers constantly updating about anything and everything under the sun, communication spreads like wildfire. Even more so when it’s negative communication. What am I getting at? There is a point to this, after all.
Word came out earlier today regarding a recall of Similac baby formula, manufactured by Abbott Laboratories (see CNN article: “Similac recalling 5 million cans of baby formula“). A few months ago, my thought would have been “Oh, that’s not good”. Now, as a father, my first thought was “Oh (crap), that’s what we give to our daughter”. After a check of the lot numbers of the two canisters that we have for our daughter (one of which she’s finished, and another which was recently started), it was verified that our two canisters were indeed a part of the recall.
Per the CNN article, Abbott Laboratories gave two sources for customers to reach out to for more information and to initiate service. Inquiries could be made either through their website (http://similac.com/recall10) or their 24/7 Customer Service hotline (800-986-8850). Their website has been unaccessible all afternoon/evening (more on this later), and the Customer Service line was giving a busy signal for quite a while.
Finally, my girlfriend Amy was able to get through and reach a CS representative on the phone. Said CS representative was very rude and disrespectful to her, and when the issue of the unavailable website was addressed, the representive’s response was “the website wasn’t built properly”.
1) Don’t ever make excuses to a customer – and if you choose to break that rule, don’t make it such as weak of an excuse as this.
2) If your website was truly not built properly, your webmaster needs to be fired, along with whoever still pays them.
As an individual, I can understand the trials and tribulations involved in running damage control, especially when it pertains to something as important as children. With that said, a positive response can yield you positive feedback from satisfied customers. Likewise, as is the case with us, a negative response will almost guarantee negative feedback.
To Abbott Laboratories, your Customer Service representative’s handling of this situation was both unprofessional and inexcusable. My family will no longer use your product.
To other parents out there who may be giving Similac to your children, I can only hope that if you’re able to get through and speak with someone on their support line (since their recall website is still unresponsive, 8+ hours later), that you get treated better than Amy did.
A Concerned Father