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Harry and David, the saga concludes

As you may recall, I’ve been having some difficulty with Harry & David, purveyors of legendarily good fruit (or at least legendarily good pears). They double-billed me for a large order, which set off my credit card’s fraud alert. I spent three weeks trying to deal with their phone and email support, and had difficulty, to say the least. Along the way, a few packages were mis-addressed [1]. Eventually, I got a phone call saying You were right; our systems had problems. I asked for a hand-written explanation, and they informed me that were not permitted to give me one.

I did receive some suggestions that I just contact James F. McCann (owner of Harry & David, 1-800-Flowers, Fannie May, and more) directly, along with offers of his email address. However, I really do like going through normal channels. I called back the day after I wrote that essays, and said that if they couldn’t put an explanation in writing, I’d like a hand-written apology from the director of customer service, since the customer service I’d received was so bad. They said they’d check.

On January 3, I got a call back from the Executive Services Department. For some reason, it went to voice mail. We played phone tag a big, but I eventually spoke with a gentleman named Amir. I explained that all I wanted was a hand-written apology, not something in which they just click a button to send me an apology. He promised that he’d get it done, and indicated that he expected to call back. He also said something like May we send you a $40 gift basket as an apology? I told him that I really just wanted the note, but would not turn down another gift basket.

The gift basket arrived about a week later. My family is happy with it. I have not yet received a hand-written apology, but I’m still hoping. However, I received a very nice email from Danielle R [2], one of their social media team, explaining how to avoid dealing with their poorly-designed Web site when sending large orders. Apparently, I order enough that I can just send them a spreadsheet. So, if I order from them again, I’ll probably use that process.

While I have not received the promised hand-written note, I have received multiple hand-crafted email messages from e-services. And those messages restore my faith in Harry and David customer service. Of course, it does suggest that I need to only deal with either e-services or executive services, and not the normal email customer service. We’ll see if they allow that to happen.

I suppose I should do some ratings to reflect my experience with Harry & David [3]. Let’s see … I’ll use a five-star [4] scale.

Quality of Harry & David fruit: ★★★★☆. Recipients told me they enjoyed it a lot. However, in my own case, some of the pears I received were not up to normal Harry & David standards.

Phone customer service: ★★★☆☆. Everyone I talked to was very nice and tried to be helpful. But most did not have access to the information that they needed to help me. In my original conversations, their system didn’t even show the original order price. When I called about mis-addressed packages, they could not tell why they were mis-addressed. They sent replacements that were also mis-addressed. I also don’t appreciate the ten-minute wait, although that’s not really under their control.

Email customer service: ☆☆☆☆☆. Slow, even though they insisted that I always had to respond within 24 hours. Initial message did not acknowledge any issues whatsoever. Did not appear to read my emails, since they gave the same reply twice in a row [4]. Did not acknowledge that the problems could be theirs, or what I had been promised by phone service. Stopped responding to my messages, even when I sent multiple followups. If possible, I will never deal directly with email support at Harry & David again. I suppose that I should have more sympathy for the people who probably get paid way too little to deal with annoying people like me.

Executive services: ★★★☆☆. The are friendly. They are easy to reach. However, their follow-up left a little to be desired.

Support from social media team: ★★★★★. They responded quickly. They actually knew what was happening. They followed up (often by email). I’d say they went beyond what I would normally expect (especially when compared to the phone and email support). Seemed to understand that some of my concerns were not just with my gifts, but with possible problems in their technology. I also appreciate the last message.

As part of the Social Media team here at Harry & David, it was my pleasure to help with your concerns both previous and current, and I do hope that we have restored some of of your faith in our Company.

Yes, Danielle, you have. Thank you. I appreciate that you’ve given me the confidence that I can order a gift people consider special, and will have access to people who can provide appropriate customer service.

[1] More precisely, they lacked the recipients’ names.

[2] No relation.

[3] Don’t companies always ask you to fill out surveys afterwards?

[4] It may be that they are just copying and pasting responses, rather than actually writing anything.

Version 1.0 of 2017-01-15.