Archive for April, 2010
In response to my e-mail to the Dallas Cowboys complaining about poor treatment I received at the hands of a Ticketmaster supervisor (see previous post below), I have received a response from Terry Lilly of Ticketmaster. Terry is a consumer support rep. He apologizes for the poor service I received, asks for the phone number I used and promises to investigate. He also explains in some detail the various extra fees charged by Ticketmaster, as well as the “facilities fee” tacked on by the Cowboys, which goes to the team, not to Ticketmaster. That still remains unexplained, so I guess I’ll have to go after the Cowboys next. Here is my response to Mr. Lilly:
Thank you for your response. The fact that you answered at all was unexpected. The fact that you answered in such detail was truly welcome and I appreciate it.
Your introduction of the sales tax was new and explained part of the cost. I still don’t understand why the Cowboys would tack on a facilities charge for a Ticketmaster order, but not charge it at the tour location in the stadium gift shop. I’ll take your word for it, however, that these funds do not go to Ticketmaster. As noted in my original message, I never disputed the convenience and processing fees.
I suggest two issues need your attention:
1. Treatment of callers””I am not looking to get anyone fired here. Maybe the mean supervisor mentioned in my original e-mail was just having a bad day. Still, no excuse. He definitely needs to be counseled that you don’t ever tell a customer that you “don’t care,” even if you don’t. Of course, he shouldn’t be working in customer relations if that is how he truly feels. Let me emphasize that all of the young women I spoke with initially were extremely friendly and patient. One even did come up with the facility charge after checking with someone, but could not explain it. Finally, let me again take full responsibility for my own actions that day. If you check the tape you will also find me raising my voice to unacceptable levels after the supervisor told me he “didn’t care.” I apologize for my own lack of control, but his statement seemed to sum up for me all the stereotypes about Ticketmaster, especially since the merger, as detailed in last Sunday’s New York Times story. His arrogance really set me off and I regret it.
2. Training””None of your people could explain the $2.16 discrepancy fully until your e-mail. They all should have had that information at their disposal in the form of talking points to answer customer questions. If they had, this unpleasant occurrence never would have happened. I never would have asked to speak to a supervisor. Actually, he was the least informed of the group. Again, the tape will show that he first blamed it on the convenience fee and then on the processing fee until I called him on it. I have 25 years experience in public relations and have taught public relations at the university level. I know how it needs to be done. It was your supervisor’s bad luck to draw someone of my background on the phone.
Ticketmaster is certainly not the only large company that has let customer service slip. You are just the latest in my experience, and maybe that’s why I decided this time that I would take action. We customers ask for so little from a customer service representative. Just be informed, answer our questions pleasantly and treat us with respect. It seems so simple. Just be nice!
Thanks again for your response,
Let me tell you what happens when a company gains near monopoly power. First, it overcharges. Then, it allows its customer service to go to hell.
Case in point:
Last week, we toured the awesome new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. We had a wonderful time. The tour guides and gift shop personnel were exceptional in their customer service. Unfortunately, the experience lost something thanks to my experience with Ticketmaster.
Since we were coming up from Austin and since our party included a Cowboys fanatic visiting from Florida, I wanted to be sure we had tickets for the proper time of day. I had noted on the Cowboys website that tour tickets for seniors are $12. Ticketmaster quoted me a price of $14.16, plus $2 each for a convenience fee plus $5 for handling the order. Total–$53.48, almost $18 a ticket, $6 more than the team charges at the stadium.
I am ready to accept the convenience fee, money I presume goes to give Ticketmaster its cut. Although it’s a stretch, I am even willing to accept the handling fee. When I asked the Ticketmaster woman on the phone why each ticket cost $2.16 more than the Cowboys’ $12 price, however, she did not know. I asked to speak to a supervisor. He also could not explain it, first calling it a convenience fee and then a handling fee, which I pointed out is not correct, since they are additional. I said it’s $12 on the Cowboys’ website and he said, “well our price is $14.16.” I said why is your price different from the Cowboys and his classic answer was, “I don’t care.” I then raised my voice, which I regret, and pointed out that “I’m the customer and you don’t care?” He then screamed at me, “I don’t care” and hung up.
I presume this is not the way the Cowboys want to be represented. I’m sure that if Jerry Jones called one of the top Ticketmaster executives they would take his call. I urge him to make that call and tell them that they must treat his fans better than that. I don’t care about the $6 I lost. I do care about the terrible way I was treated. I hope he will tell these out of control monopolists that they need to shape up their customer service. All we ask is that they “care.”
Full disclosure: I’m a Pittsburgh Steelers fanatic, but our guest is a lifelong Cowboy who was thrilled by the tour. Either way, no Ticketmaster customer should be treated this way.