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Distinguished Bibliophile
Mercury_Glitch
Posts: 1,396
Registered: ‎06-07-2011

B&N, stop dumping on your staff

So today as a result of the servers being down I was yelled at by no less than five different customers about how they were on the phone for 40+ minutes to no avail.  How there was no information presented to them when they logged in to BN.com on their computers (because we all know the forums are not exactly prominent on the BN.com page).  And that while it was nice to have an answer, why wasn't it made available anywhere other than the store.

 

The hillarious part?

 

When I went in today, no one in the store knew what was going on with the Nooks.  None of them.  We got a store alert several hours in to my shift (I started at noon, store opens at 9am) about 'some issues with Nook downloads'.  I wont go in to the details but I feel that since Alex has posted that much, and the issue seems to be solved, that it is safe to post that the stores were alerted in the afternoon today.

 

So why am I posting here?

 

I'm tired of it all.  I am tired of feeling so out of the loop and being c%(#ed on by customers because of the abysmal customer service that B&N provides.  The thing is these people are perfectly right, they SHOULD NOT need to come in to a store to hear about these issues.  They should not need to spend nearly an hour on the phone and not gain anything from it.  This was a known issue YESTERDAY.  How in the world did it escape the attention of those who need to know about it and why was that information not then IMMEDIATELY spread to CS and to stores?

 

Why should I try and sell things when the relationship feels entirely one sided.  You reap the money and the customers and I are left out in the cold when it comes to support.

 

Want a free tip on a major part of recouping from the less than stellar holiday season?

 

Communication.  Learn what it means.  Learn how to do it quickly and efficiently.  Then keep on working to get better at it.  Never stop trying to improve on that skill   It wont be the one magic saving grace, but it will go a long way toward a better 2013.

The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills, and we are only the thread of the Pattern.
Bibliophile
5ivedom
Posts: 3,544
Registered: ‎12-03-2011

Re: B&N, stop dumping on your staff

I hope things get better for you. You really care about making things better so I'm sure eventually you'll find a place that appreciates you.

Inspired Bibliophile
compulsivereaderTX
Posts: 1,119
Registered: ‎01-09-2010

Re: B&N, stop dumping on your staff

That is terrible for an employer to do that! I would feel exactly the same. I probably would have been very verbal about it as politely as I could be under the circumstances...but I'd still let them know I didn't appreciate it.

 

BN DID post on FB that "the issue was being worked on and would be resolved shortly" but they didn't say WHAT the issue was about. ???? Dozens of posts asking "WHAT ISSUE?". Anyone who hadn't tried to download anything was left in the dark as to what the issue was and if they should be concerned about it. I'm sure that created quite a bit of anxiety that was unneccessary. It was if BN could barely bring themselves to tell us there was a problem let alone what it might be. IT was not exactly reassuring. Any information they did give out was due to pressure from users and was slim on details. Even the statement that it had been resolved was vague and unsatisfying in nature.

 

I simply cannot fathom how a company can be in business this long and be so clueless.

 

 

Inspired Scribe
kamas716
Posts: 1,480
Registered: ‎09-28-2011
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Re: B&N, stop dumping on your staff

"I simply cannot fathom how a company can be in business this long and be so clueless."

I can, because there are so many of them. At one department I worked for, they sent out a series of emails regarding an officer safety issue, but didn't put the name of the offender in any of them. Another time they sent us information about a no contact order between two people and to expect phone calls if there is trouble at that office; only problem was they didn't identify the office and instead of using names they used initials.
http://www.goodreads.com/kamas716
DeanGibson
Posts: 2,187
Topics: 92
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Registered: ‎04-12-2011
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Yes, Virginia, there is Karma

[ Edited ]

compulsivereaderTX wrote:
...

 

I simply cannot fathom how a company can be in business this long and be so clueless.

 

 


What would be really helpful (if someone can do it without violating company policy) is to have a list of the names of the senior people in B&N that make these decisions, so that in a couple of years, other companies know not to hire them.
 

Company communications are not rocket science.  It's like someone in the company fears that communicating with the stores is a bad idea.

 

Or someone is just plain lazy, topped off with a bit of arrogance about their "need to know".  "Need to know" is a valid concept in in military secrecy;  not so much so in a team effort to have a successful company.

 

OK, so maybe B&N management doesn't consider the stores part of the team?  That might work if online sales were supporting the company ...

 

Clearly these people have no fear that anyone at B&N will hold them accountable.  These days, jobs are just a place you have to spend time in order to get your paycheck.  Kinda like standing in the corner when you are bad, except that you have a desk and a computer.

2 Nook HD/8GB + 2 Nook HD+/16GB: B&N 2.2.0 rooted
2 Nook Touch (one Ltd. Ed.): B&N 1.2.1 rooted; Dell Venue 8 Pro: Windows 8.1
Nook 1stEd/3G: B&N 1.7.0 rooted.; Acer Iconia A500: Android 4.0.3 rooted;
Nook Color: B&N 1.4.3 rooted; Samsung Galaxy Tab2 (7.0"): Android 4.2.2 rooted
Customer loyalty is earned, not commanded or deserved, and easily lost.
Never suspect intent where incompetence will do.
flyingtoastr
Posts: 3,020
Topics: 55
Kudos: 2,947
Registered: ‎11-11-2009

"Trade Secrets" and the pathology of (non)communication

[ Edited ]

I got really lucky yesterday. I was the opening shift at Digital (I run the NOOK classes we do every Saturday morning so I'm always there bright and early), and about 10 minutes in we got a phone call from a customer having issues downloading something she purchased. I ran through the usual phone-troubleshooting (archive, power cycle, etc.), and she agreed to drive down to the store and I'd look at it in person. A few minutes later another customer came in with the same problem, at which point I figured something was up and called store support. The support tech was kind enough to stop me as soon as I said "Simple Touch downloading" and told me there were systems issues that were being worked on. So I knew about the problem nice and early as was able to at least give an answer (and assurances of a speedy repair) to the dozens of NOOK owners who came in or called to ask why they couldn't use their devices.

 

The funnier part was around noon, when the ASM called me and said, "Hey Thomas, we just got an email about an issue with downloading books, so if someone comes in tell them we're working on it."

 

 

****** 

 

BN's management is pathologically afraid of "leaking trade secrets". They've always been this way, going back to the suspicion that Borders managers were sneaking pictures of BN endcaps to replicate (lol), but it seems to be getting worse. I've always had the sneaking suspicion that someone in BN's management doesn't trust store employees, as if we're going to immediately blab everything to the nearest WSJ reporter.

 

But I think the issues with NOOK communication are more systemic than just "not wanting those grubby minimum wage peons to know the master strategy!". BN has a long history of having terrible integration between it's branches: look no further than the utter separation of the retail and college bookstores - a place where there could be a huge amount of cross-promoting and overlap. It could be that the NOOK division simply doesn't communicate with the retail arm. Last I heard, William Lynch still doesn't have an office in the BN retail headquarters building and works out of the BN.com offices in Lynhurst instead. So it's entirely possible that it isn't deliberate, but rather the business-as-usual system of non-integration that BN has been a fan of forever.

 

And then, in those few cases when something is actually communicated, it always seems to be through the private manager-only email system, despite the presence of not one but two open-access systems so that the actual people doing the customer interactions would have access to information in a timely manner. But that would be logical, and then the peons could actually communicate. So the communications are always late, and stuck somewhere that managers might check once every few hours.

 

But it does make me chuckle. The irony of customers complaining about a lack of communication is never lost on me, when the company has so many problems communicating internally already. There are just too many people at BN stuck in the mindset of "trade secrets" and a war that was over long ago, and don't realize that the best companies are those that encourage customers and employees to have a dialogue.

Distinguished Bibliophile
MacMcK1957
Posts: 2,193
Registered: ‎07-25-2011
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Re: Yes, Virginia, there is Karma

[ Edited ]

"What would be really helpful (if someone can do it without violating company policy) is to have a list of the names of the senior people in B&N that make these decisions, so that in a couple of years, other companies know not to hire them."

 

Seems like a nice idea until you remember the example of the Nardelli presidency at Home Depot, which turned out to be the period of the greatest, most profitable growth: for Loews. After they paid him 200 million just to go away he was immediately handed the keys to Chrysler. The idea that failure is somehow punished seems to be foreign to the American publicly-owned company.

Bibliophile
5ivedom
Posts: 3,544
Registered: ‎12-03-2011
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Re: Yes, Virginia, there is Karma

This is very interesting:

 

*****

What would be really helpful (if someone can do it without violating company policy) is to have a list of the names of the senior people in B&N that make these decisions, so that in a couple of years, other companies know not to hire them.

*****

 

There are a very very small number of exceptional CEO level people.

That makes it almost impossible for most companies to find very good people. Often they have to settle for 'best of a decent lot' or even 'least bad of a terrible group'.

 

Plus there's a lot of salesmanship and other factors involved i.e. a very convincing candidate could absolve himself of blame.

 

Rising in management usually requires such skills - so it's quite possible that someone who got through the ranks to become a high level executive has the skills to convince people that 'it wasn't her/his fault'.

Inspired Scribe
kamas716
Posts: 1,480
Registered: ‎09-28-2011
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Re: Yes, Virginia, there is Karma

CEOs seem to be like baseball managers or head football coaches. There are a limited number of them, and they just seem to rove from one organization to the next. Get fired at one, there's another one looking to pick you up.
http://www.goodreads.com/kamas716
Distinguished Bibliophile
MacMcK1957
Posts: 2,193
Registered: ‎07-25-2011

Re: Yes, Virginia, there is Karma


kamas716 wrote:
CEOs seem to be like baseball managers or head football coaches. There are a limited number of them, and they just seem to rove from one organization to the next. Get fired at one, there's another one looking to pick you up.

Which, sadly, means that yet another company/team will soon be led by a Bobby Valentine.

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Tope_the_NOOK_Dope
Posts: 23
Registered: ‎09-28-2011
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Re: B&N, stop dumping on your staff

Almost completely agree with you. Ultimately, we are doing a job and getting paid for it. Let's face it... we're not laying brick, shoveling sh!t, etc. our jobs are pretty good. That being said, I came in at noon on Saturday and everyone at the store was clueless. Anytime there's an issue, either in-store support isn't helpful or we are led to figure it out ourselves. When AMV suddenly showed up on the Color I had dozens of people call or come in the store wondering, "what's this APP?", "What's it do?" and "How did it get here?" Extrordinarily frustrating.

My advice? Take notes. Diligent, detailed notes :-).....

 

-Rope

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Mercury_Glitch
Posts: 1,396
Registered: ‎06-07-2011
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Re: B&N, stop dumping on your staff


Tope_the_NOOK_Dope wrote:

Almost completely agree with you. Ultimately, we are doing a job and getting paid for it. Let's face it... we're not laying brick, shoveling sh!t, etc. our jobs are pretty good. That being said, I came in at noon on Saturday and everyone at the store was clueless. Anytime there's an issue, either in-store support isn't helpful or we are led to figure it out ourselves. When AMV suddenly showed up on the Color I had dozens of people call or come in the store wondering, "what's this APP?", "What's it do?" and "How did it get here?" Extrordinarily frustrating.

My advice? Take notes. Diligent, detailed notes :-).....

 

-Rope


 

Pretty much, I'm not going to pretend our jobs are these back breaking tasks, they just simply aren't.  We work in temperature controlled buildings, and while we aren't free to dress as we please generally comfortable clothes.  The tasks set to us are not rocket science, and really anyone with even a very basic education should be able to perform the job at an acceptable level.  That said being educated does have benefits, especially working in a bookstore. 

 

It's a bit embarassing that I get more helpful advice from these forums than I do on average from store support, though I have had a few really great store support people.  The few times I've had to subject myself to the customer CS I have wanted to pull my hair out. 

 

I also suspect FT is right on all points.  B&N is paranoid, and grossly incompetent at intergration.  The whole 'check other stores' option is just an example of something that, by now, should have been vastly improved.  It should be able to give us an estimate of the stock count, how many if any are on hold etc. 

 

Of course the fact that some stores are using computers that were new when Windows XP was brand new is probably a factor.  I laugh when I check BN.com on one of our stores computers, it sounds as if a rocket is taking off.

The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills, and we are only the thread of the Pattern.