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Plantronics, Part 2: the definition of un-customer service

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

As per my blog post a few weeks ago, I had problems with a phone I recently purchased from Plantronic. The first fix they sent me was a refurbished product to replace the new one. I refused that, and was then sent a new one. At each step of the way, I told the folks to please make sure they would pick up the products from my door, and I was assured there would be a mailing envelope so I didn’t have to spend more time.

Here is the stream of emails I received from Russell Castronovo, Director, Global Communications.  As you can see, they truly care…. about themselves. Below, I’ve taken several email exchanges and printed just the ones I thought were most interesting: 1. the comment that this was a non-standard problem so it didn’t deserve additional customer service training for the folks (although I had said I had found the team unresponsive, etc), and that he not only refused to get the package picked up, but he ended communication when I got a bit cheeky when he insisted I just pack it all up, etc. Unfortunately I bet these exchanges are common.



This is Russ Castronovo, I’m the director of communications here at Plantronics. My email address is russell.castronovo@plantronics.com.

I’m sorry to hear that your experience with our company wasn’t good and would like to offer our apologies. Hopefully the replacement device is working properly.

If you have any continuing issues with the product or Plantronics let me know and I’ll expedite.


Russ: As I said on the original email, although 2 of your handsets didn’t work, this 3rd one is working.

The problem (for you more than me) at this point, is I’m sitting with the 2 faulty boxes to send back. I just don’t have the time to pack them up, tape them up, get them over to the post office, wait on line, etc.

I had asked the supervisor if she could fix this so I wouldn’t have to do that, and she said the box(es) contained a shipping envelope – which they do not.

And, now that there are 2 boxes, one shipping envelope won’t work.

So they sit here until someone from plantronics arranges for them to be picked up. I had originally discussed this, telling the supervisor not to expect me to get them sent off but that you’d have to make arrangements from your end.’



Russ, if you ever want to discuss customer service, it might not be a bad idea to give your folks some training. The first guy didn’t even care what my problem was, gathered no data at all, and tried to get rid of me.

The woman who is/was helping me, did a rotten job in gathering data and doing what she promised. so now you folks have me holding 2 boxes of product with no way to get them back.

This is basically what i do for a living. So if/when you decide you’d like to actually help your folks 1. listen; 2. respond in a way that matches the interaction, so you can respond more appropriately to your customers, let me know.


Thanks for the offer. I’ll run it by our Customer Service head.  I talked to him earlier and got the impression that the folks were off the path in terms of our standard procedure and he was looking in to that.  If it’s a training thing, rather than an end case, I’m sure he’ll be in touch.

As for returning the product, were you sent a fed ex shipping label or a USPS label?  I’ve not gotten the details of what’s happened to date so I’m flying a little blind.

If it’s a Fed Ex label all you should have to do is put the items in any box and, attach the label and drop it off anywhere where there is a Fed Ex pickup.  I’m less clear about what the USPS processes are so if you got something that the Post Office would use then I’ll have to look into that.

Russ: I will not find a box, pack it, tape it, and drive it to a fed ex center.

I am an entrepreneur. I run a business. I purchased a product. I’ve put over 2 hours into YOUR problem (that became my problem) with YOUR defective product and now you want me to spend MORE of my time? Even though I asked you all to send me a shipping envelope, or get the boxes picked up, right from the beginning?

Why don’t you come here and do that for me? All you have to do is fly here. My place is a brief taxi ride from the airport.



I do not understand how this phone problem ended up in my lap. I do not understand why they didn’t have a FedEx guy come pick it up. I do not understand why it became easier to let me keep the phones (I guess since they were defective it didn’t matter to them.). It certainly makes me seriously question if I would ever purchase a Plantronics product again.

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