It is becoming increasingly difficult in dealing with large corporations to speak to live people or more so, live people who actually listen and help.
I bought a case of Alexander Keith’s Ale a while back. I left it somewhere in the house and about a year later came across it again. I wondered if it was still drinkable. I called some number in Halifax (ie Nova Scotia’s legendary beer, since 1820) expecting to speak to a descendant of Alexander Keith himself, maybe some guy called Fergus. I hit a customer relations gentleman called Jeremy. After giving him the bottle codes he suggested that though drinkable, I would be wise not to test my body’s immune system with the product. He took my contact info.
Two weeks later I received an email from a brewery in St Louis, Missouri. The email contained a survey, the RE line reading, “Is my beer still good?”. I was shocked. It seems Alexander Keith’s is actually a brand of this mega brewery. There is no Fergus Keith at all. If there ever was, he or his family sold out. Shame.
The survey read something like, “We are never satisfied with our results. We want to make sure you have a positive experience with us.”
I thought about it and responded, giving an overall comment in the allowable 255 characters, saying, “ A positive experience would be for you guys to send me a certificate for a free case of Keith’s.” Why not?
I did not hear from them. A couple of weeks later I called Halifax again, complaining that I never got a response to my survey comments, and asking about some of that positive experience.
One Trevor, said he would pass my comments on.
Two weeks later I received another email from St. Louis, the RE line reading, “I never got a response to my survey comments.” The survey again wanted to know how they could make my experience better as they was never satisfied unless I was.
I called Halifax again and this time, one Cameron risked all, by giving me an 800 number directly to the St. Louis team associates who should be able to assist me.
With much anticipation, I called the 800 number. A voice told me my call was important to them and that they were never satisfied unless I had a positive experience. A Lee Ann, with a quaint southern drawl, came on the line. She asked if she could refer to me as Marcel. I said sure, following which she went to call me, ”Y’all”.
Lee Ann asked how she could enhance my experience with her brewery. I told her given that I took my time to respond to the survey, it would be nice for them to offer me a replacement for my aborted case of beer. I also asked if there was really ever an Alexander Keith in Halifax. She asked, “Where is Halifax?” We were on a roll.
She told me very sympathetically, “I am sorry for your less than excellent experience. We are definitely not satisfied. I shall pass this on.
This time for sure I expected a certificate for a nice case of beer. Then again Hillary Clinton expected to win the presidential election.
Yesterday, I received another email from the “we are not satisfied til you are “ team. The RE line read, “Customer queries if there was really ever an Alexander Keith in Halifax?”
I give up. I have gone back to Sleemans. I don’t give a damn whether or not there was ever a Sidney Sleeman. I just hope that at least this brand is still Canadian and not owned by say, Miller.
I am now retired from the practice of law after almost 43 years in the profession. I now have time and leisure to laugh even more. I would be delighted to speak about using humour, avoiding trouble or otherwise amuse you at your next event. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.