What has happened to Target? And customer service in general.

<p>Bad, bad experiences with Target and their <em>Red Card</em> lately. Two transactions declined. Yet, I was able to pay with my bank debit card that is linked to the Red Card. Two and a half hours on the phone, and no answers, other than that the bank account linked to the account is new. So frustrating. No answer as to when the card will work, or why it won't work. </p>

<p>Oh, update! -- Financial Services says the card may be scratched, so perhaps that is why it won't work. Well, I guess I will never see that 5% discount for those declined transactions. Basically, this is just a rant about poor customer service. And I love shopping at Target, too. Too bad they have dropped the ball on this one.</p>

<p>If the card won't swipe properly, ask the cashier to try typing the numbers in manually. They should be able to do that. </p>

<p>I've had so many credit cards die on me over the years, that I always ask if they can type it in when the swiping doesn't work.</p>

<p>Another trick is to rub the magnetic strip with your shirt a few times. I think they can pick up a charge by rubbing in your wallet and it makes the machine read it improperly. I've also seen cashiers wrap a produce bag around the card and have it work that way.</p>

<p>How it that bad customer service? What do you expect them to do for you over the phone?</p>

<p>I'm sorry you had problems. Phone customer service is time-consuming, especially when I'm annoyed already.
While Ive never had phone dealings (keeps auto correcting to darlings, which is pretty funny) with Target, in store they are tops around here. Friendly, knowledgeable people at the registers and easy returns.</p>

<p>Another happy Target customer been using a Red card for 10 years with no problems. I like paying my balance at local store , 5% off, when they bring in the new designer collections for women's clothes. Only thing I don't care for is their meats particularly the ones from behind the deli counter.</p>

<p>Edge of magnetic strip on my card peeled off so card would not scan. Until my new card arrived, had to ask sales clerk to manually type in the numbers. Every time, they stared at me like I was trying to somehow rip them off--even showed them the edge of the card. Even tried to make a joke about how much I spend there, given that I wore out my card! Still, got the suspicious stare. Very strange. Eventually they type in the numbers, but one even called a superior to give the OK. Thank God my new card arrived--don't enjoy being treated like a potential thief.</p>

<p>To answer the question in the thread title: When the economy crashed, businesses discovered that they could survive with fewer employees. Not just survive, but thrive; US corporate profits are a record levels. Target and other large businesses could easily hire more workers at, say, their call centers, cutting down on some of the frustration which we've all experienced. But that would cut into profits. So this is the the business model of the future: Maximize profits by minimizing customer service.</p>

<p>Phone service is the pits! What bugs me is being put on hold forever--after having to go through a million questions talking to a machine and I swear that 75% of the time, the choice I want is NOT on the menu. Very, very frustrating! Once I get a live person on the line, I can usually get my problem resolved, however.</p>

Target and other large businesses could easily hire more workers at, say, their call centers, cutting down on some of the frustration which we've all experienced. But that would cut into profits. So this is the the business model of the future: Maximize profits by minimizing customer service.


<p>How many people actually call customer service anymore? I usually just send an e-mail and usually get a response within 24-48 hours. Citibank is even better and respond in 6 hours or less.</p>

<p>Agree, email with customer service issues.
I even succeeded in having our utility company come and remove a dead tree on our property (that they had hacked up over the years) by emailing their 'forestry dept'.
I had low hopes for that request and was pleasantly surprised!</p>

<p>Well, I'll have to try email next time!</p>

<p>Very sorry for your bad experience mstee. I would e-mail the company and let them know. They take customer service very seriously and, for the vast majority of the time, seem to get it right from my perspective. Also, they are incredibly philanthropic: donating 5% of their income to charity! Full disclosure - I live in the land of Target HQ.</p>

<p>I have had all kinds of customer service frustrations this year (multiple visits to repair a chimney, multiple no-show appointments for a washer repair), but I have to say that Target is one of my favorite places to shop. Our local store is always clean, well-stocked, with short check-out lines...and for back-to-school this year, they had a whole collection of school supplies with sparkle.</p>

<p>I would say the problem is not so much with customer service, which I've found has actually improved, but with the difficulty of finding out why something went wrong. The problem - declined one way, accepted the other way - suggests a computer failure somewhere in the chain. Where is that? What database is reporting the wrong information? What query is not returning the right value? The answer may depend on how many upgrades have been done, how much maintenance on the database, etc. That's not something a customer rep can answer, so information is entered into a form and sent off so a data person can look at the actual issue. We depend on these systems always working right but they can't. Each time you change stuff, something you don't want to change might. It's not like you can take each "card" for each customer and go through them. These large systems have error checks, but even those can cause a small number of errors when they're running right.</p>

<p>These things can be frustrating. I remember having an issue with a card, getting absolutely nowhere in understanding why, and ending up talking to the main executive office which explained that because I'd agreed to take on a new card from them the system had recalculated things in ways they hadn't anticipated. It wasn't going well and they were waiting on a fix. They found themselves in the rather awkward position of having really good customers getting denied on transactions. And not big ones. I had an $11 charge for a sandwich denied. They'd already had enough experience with the problem that their customer service managers knew to escalate some customers directly to the home office, meaning a private line, not a service center. I could have blamed them but how were they to know what would happen until they rolled this out and found, oops, we're ****ing off our good customers by mistake.</p>

<p>I give up -- have ordered a new Red Card. Maybe it will work. Maybe not. I will try asking the cashier to type in the numbers if it doesn't work, and see. Worth a try, I guess. The Target people have been very friendly, I have to say, just not able to fix the problem, or even give a goodwill coupon. Talked to the people in the store and on the phone. Nada. A coupon or something like that goes a long way in my book -- which is why I keep going back to Starbucks. They don't just say sorry -- they give you a free drink. It isn't that much and it keeps me coming back. I have to say that yesterday I needed a couple of things, and thought about going to Target, but because of this dumb thing with the Red Card (and it doesn't help that every time I call, there is a recorded message touting the wonders of the Red Card) I opted to go to the drug store instead. I like shopping at Target and will go back eventually.</p>

<p>We can bash the corporations for not hiring enough people to provide good customer service but most of us have stock funds in 401Ks or whatever and when those stocks don't go up we sell them. The "analysts" rate these companies by their profit growth and when customers aren't buying as much due to a recession then the only way for the companies to increase profits is to lower costs, especially labor costs.</p>

<p>Son has a number of friends who went into "consulting" after college and they say what they really are doing is going into firms and rolling out waves of layoffs to boost profit margins, and in turn boost stock price.</p>

<p>So it's sort of the "great circle of life" model in an economic sense. We all play a role. We all want stock that goes eternally upward and we pay for that in terms of employment and customer service. </p>

<p>The hope would be for innovation to kick in more significantly so that companies began to see their profits get boosted by hiring more people and pumping out innovative products we need and want. That's the missing piece, in my view. That sort of innovation tends to come in waves and not always when we need it.</p>

<p>music222 - the reason that I consider it bad customer service -- I have contacted them multiple times, and have been told repeatedly that there is nothing wrong with my bank account, but it is because the account is new or something (they are vague, and won't say for sure). If there is nothing wrong with my bank account, and all of my ducks are in a row, according to them, why not make good on the discount? Why not admit, hey, this isn't the way it should be, we're working on it, here's a coupon in the meantime . . .??? Companies used to do this. Some still do. Some don't make you jump through a million hoops on the phone, though it seems to be heading more and more that way. Golly, when I can get an actual person on the phone anymore, and get a problem attended to within a reasonable time (let's say around 1/2 hour or less), I am pleasantly surprised.</p>

<p>sewhappy -- well, maybe I should buy Target Stock and forget about customer service, LOL.</p>

<p>mstee: Try e-mailing Target customer service. I can guarantee you will get a better response. I don't bother with customer service over the phone anymore.</p>