Business, Hardware

Update: Nokia?s Second Problem: Customer Service


Everyone knows that Nokia has been in the news a lot lately with their recent change of OS and board members. The turmoil in the company has been seen by many to be a destabilizing factor in the company?s attempt to turn around things. Currently, they are trying to introduce Windows Phone into their OS mix and we will see how this will affect their bottom line. But this is not the only problem that Nokia faces as the leader in mobile phones (or what used to be the leader).

Nokia?s second problem is their utter lack of customer service. They have, with my own personal experience, displayed that there is little regard for customer satisfaction. Having worked customer service in the past for a computer hardware company, I have quite a bit of customer service experience and this had to be one of the worst instances of bad customer service, ever.

Nokia's build quality has taken a hit with the N900 - USB port breaking off is a common issue with this top-of-the-line product
Nokia’s build quality has taken a hit with the N900 – USB port breaking off is unfortunately, a common issue

Initially, the problem with reviewed Nokia N900 was a broken USB port which is a VERY common problem with the device – and Nokia is aware of. As a result of this, the phone?s serial number was submitted for a warranty status check and the website itself stated that the device was still within warranty. And upon requesting an RMA it was stated that an invoice would not be necessary if the device was sent out within 10 days of requesting an RMA. So, based on this information, the device was sent out assuming that the issue would be fixed no problems. This included the print out form that was filled out in order to complete the RMA as the instructions stipulated that it needed to be included inside of the box.

Upon sending it on January 20th, the device was tracked and delivered on the 25th. Once this had occurred, the status check on Nokia?s site still said that it was waiting to be received into the system. The Nokia RMA status page states that it may take 1-2 business days for an RMA to be received. Then, I called on that Friday, the 28th as it had been a full 2 business days since it had been received and was told that they had no idea why this was the case. I was put on hold multiple times until I was told that someone from "upper level support" would call me back within 24-48 business hours. This was the first indication that this was not going to be a fun process. This meant that I would have to wait until Monday the earliest in order to find out what had happened to a phone that they had received on a Tuesday of the previous week.

I was finally called back on Monday, the 31st by a gentleman named Jacob who indicated that he was from upper level support and was calling regarding my issue. Once the conversation had progressed, he had indicated that the device was magically out of warranty and that they needed an invoice in order to prove that the device was still within warranty. Furthermore, why would I be able to even submit a request for repair if my device is out of warranty? Last time I checked, most companies don?t give you the opportunity to even request an RMA if your serial number is out of warranty. Although I could have ended the conversation here by saying that it was a review sample, I instead continued as if I were a customer trying to get his customer service issue resolved. Upon discussing this issue further I had conveyed that this was a known issue with the phone and that they should be responsible for fixing something like that, regardless but of course he deflected that issue entirely. There have been hundreds if not thousands of people posting about this problem online for quite some time and they still refused to admit the truth.

Nokia's RMA form
Nokia’s RMA form

He then proceeded to demand the invoice for the device otherwise it would be sent back in which case he had claimed that the initial form that I had sent in with the actual device required an invoice or proof of purchase. As you can see for yourself, it says nowhere on this form that the device would require an invoice or proof of purchase. He then proceeded to ?read? the said form and claim that it stated that a proof of purchase was required, which my very own copy does not say? needless to say this conversation was not a productive one. So, I decided that I would attempt to speak with his manager or supervisor. Unfortunately, he was the supervisor and he refused to allow me to speak to his manager despite multiple requests, nor did he offer to repair it for a cost.

The unfortunate part about the invoice is that even if we were willing to send the invoice over, the problem was that we did not receive an invoice from Nokia. This situation put me over the top and I simply realized that I would get nowhere with him and listened to him tell me that my device would be sent back and not repaired unless I sent an invoice in. At the end of the call, I specifically told him that this was a review sample and he said that I would need to get an invoice from the said person who provided the sample to get the warranty replacement. Given that the PR in question left the company for greener pastures – I figured that my phone was probably not going to be fixed and I proceeded to simply let things take their course.

I then proceeded to contact Nokia PR to let them know about the situation, the response seemed genuine and concerned until I was told that I was not supposed to have kept the device for so long and that I would need to send it back. I thought that was fair enough since it was a review sample, but I still would?ve liked to take my contacts off of the phone since I had them stored on a memory card and they were in Nokia?s proprietary backup format. Secondly, Nokia adhered to BSN* review policy.

During this email conversation on Feb 7th, a package had arrived? the unfixed phone. So, it took Nokia just shy of two weeks to send me back a phone that they didn?t even fix. Furthermore, I sent the N900 in an anti-static bag since that?s how it should be done and got it back in a little roll of bubble wrap with all of the same paperwork and broken off USB port in a Ziploc bag (the way it was sent). I had sent back multiple emails regarding the situation notifying Nokia?s PR that I had received the phone as well as giving them the device?s serial number but we have not received any more responses since February 7th when we had the initial conversation regarding the device. We figured that giving them 2 weeks to respond to our last 3 emails was enough and that they hadn?t done enough to remedy the issue. Needless to say, this was a horribly handled problem from every front and we could not believe the utter disrespect that we would have felt if we were a customer. No wonder people are jumping ship.

Update 2/23/2011

Nokia has responded to our article and we hope to get this problem resolved but at the same time will keep you all posted regarding the result.

Hi Anshel,

We apologize for the confusion involved in your particular situation and the delay in getting back to you.

We?re connecting with our Care team now to ensure we have all information from your interaction and then will get back to you about retrieving the data from your device. Rest assured we?ll take good care of you from here onwards.

In the future, please ensure you contact us directly when it pertains to a review devices as they are handled and tracked a bit differently from the commercial product consumers purchase. We apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to resolving this quickly.

Kind regards,