Booming market swamps phone order service

Booming market swamps phone order service

Ingram Micro Australia managing director, Steve Rust, has admitted being caught unawares by a sudden upturn in business that has left resellers complaining about poor customer service.

MYOB retail professional manager for Victorian-based Computers@Beechworth, Deanna Rowland, emailed ARN last week to complain about unsatisfactory service levels she had received.

In one instance, Rowland claimed she had recently tried to place a phone order for a notebook and had hung up after waiting for 35 minutes without speaking to anybody. She tried again and waited a further 28 minutes before putting the phone down. ARN waited on hold for 70 minutes without getting an answer on the same number. When Rowland’s order was eventually placed — by email, fax and phone — she said it was duplicated. Rowland also said she had experienced problems with the distributor’s website and that it had got some orders wrong and billed incorrectly during the past two years. A significant number of resellers contacted by ARN backed up her claims.

Purchasing officer for Office National in Birchwood, Peter Drayton, said he had not used Ingram Micro for some years because he became fed up with its poor customer service.

“We won’t go back to them. Not a chance,” he said.

Purchasing manager of Total Recall Solutions, Mary Aberg, said she had not rung Ingram Micro for a while, but often had problems with website orders, including getting charged for items that Total Recall had not received.

“It’s pretty useless because we have to send a fax to order a product,” she said.

Service technician at Coastal Computing Services in Taree, Scott Lambert, also reported problems with the telephone system. He said his firm no longer bothered waiting. “It’s lucky if we get a call back,” Lambert said. “They don’t seem very concerned about their customers.”

However, other resellers had no complaints and said they were happy with the service provided by Ingram Micro. Sydney-based DataStore, the Plus Corporation in Rydalmere and Abet Computers in Baulkham Hills all said they were satisfied.

IT National’s e-business manager, Colleen Foxe, said: “We have a terrific rapport with them [Ingram Micro]. Ninety-five per cent of the time we get through straight away.

Our account manager, Luke Trinh, is very proactive. He always has a huge workload but he gets back to us.”

Rust said whenever he got a customer complaint — and he insisted he did not get many — he investigated them personally.

“Sure we are not perfect,” he said, attributing recent problems to growth achieved in a suddenly booming market. He said Ingram Micro dealt with many different types of resellers and had recorded growth of 25 per cent in the year so far. This had caught the company unawares.

The many thousands of smaller resellers across Australia were experiencing the greatest growth, Rust said. This was reflected in traffic through the company’s website, which was upgraded last October and had trebled its sales during the past year.

The distributor was increasing staff levels to address the rise in demand and would continue to do so if necessary, Rust said. Ingram had already employed a further 10 telephone staff in the past 6-8 weeks and was looking to add another three. But it would be a steep learning curve for the new faces, he explained, because the distributor carried 30,000 different products.

Rust also pointed out that several thousand customers bought goods from the distributor every day without experiencing any problems.

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