Weis Markets: the grocery chain who absolutely refuses to offer customer service
I am a proactive consumer. I offer public praise of companies when it is warranted, and I am sure to offer public criticism for customer service misdeeds as well. Many people voice complaints publicly and create accounts at online review sites like Yelp or Google Reviews only when they have something negative to say, but I’m proud to have a Yelp Profile with a balanced mix of 1- to 5-star reviews.
I need that introduction to point out that I’m not one of those people who just leaves one-star reviews or complaints. Far from it. So when I tell you that all levels of personnel at Weis Markets have intentionally offered the worst customer service of all time, and they continue to do so, I want you to know that’s a statement that comes from someone who offers fair reviews of many businesses.
Where to begin with this one? Well, it’s simple, really. On January 20, 2015 (yes, 2015 — not a typo), I used the company’s online web form to ask two questions in a message similar to this:
I have a Weis shopper account but I do not have the cards. Do I need to keep the number and have a new card with that number sent to my address? What is the process?
Also, why, when I shop at your stores without my card, am I required to speak my phone number to the cashier? There are many problems with this, including:
* Slows down the checkout process for me and all customers in line
* It’s a privacy concern because other people are hearing my phone number
* There’s a potential miscommunication problem where the cashier mistypes the number and/or doesn’t hear the number correctly, again slowing things down.
Every other grocery chain I’ve ever visited allows me to simply type my phone number into a keypad, where I can do it during the checkout process (not slowing anyone down) and without fear of other people hearing my number or a cashier typing it wrong. Why can’t you implement this same procedure?
This seems like an innocent inquiry, however Weis Markets has turned it into an ordeal. Instead of just responding with two answers, they did nothing. A followup letter to their CEO a month later went unanswered. Tweets to the corporate Weis account received no responses. I even submitted a Better Business Bureau complaint, and Weis refused to respond. A phone call to their @WMKSpokesman Dennis Curtain went without a simple response to the two questions. In fact, he seemed extremely irritated that I would be a customer who actually wanted, you know, a response to an inquiry. In short, he said who are you to be complaining that we don’t respond. This is the attitude of a Director of Public Relations at a grocery chain with 160+ stores?
At any reasonable company, I would expect personnel to be in trouble for not responding to simple customer requests. At Weis, it’s the reverse — “how dare customers ask questions that require us to respond!?”
I have a Twitter account that was specifically created to contact businesses — for both praise and complaints, of course — and I used that to tweet to them. The Weis twitter account blocked my account. I even sent one tweet from my personal account, asking why they would block an account instead of just responding to a simple two-question inquiry. So they blocked my personal account, too.
Weis Markets has gone absolutely out of their way to refuse to respond to two simple questions. I wonder if anyone at their company realizes how much time could have been saved to provide the answers. Instead, they receive and read BBB complaints and decide to ignore them. They open mail and decide an answer isn’t necessary. They block twitter accounts. They field phone calls…. all a huge waste of time that could have been easily prevented by offering the simple courtesy of answering two questions from an online web form.
In many of my inquiries to Weis, I’ve asked an additional question that should be easy to answer: who at your company is in charge of answering customer requests? This question is never answered, and with a quick look at the company’s executive team, directors, and leadership, it is clear that there is no answer: Weis Markets simply has no department or personnel responsible for interacting with customers.
I haven’t shopped at a Weis store in a year, and I surely doubt I will ever shop with them again. So why would I contact Weis several times looking for a response? Why write this article? Aren’t there better things to do? I’ll start with the last question first: I’ve spent perhaps 10 or 20 seconds per week on this, so it’s not like I’m wasting any of my life. But the answer about continuing to seek a response is simple: companies need to be held accountable for their actions (or inactions!). If a customer sends a request to a company, isn’t the reasonable expectation that the company would respond? Ever?
No reasonable company could possibly act as Weis Markets has. It’s not like the message hasn’t reached the appropriate personnel: CEOs, spokespeople, and other directors at the company all know that they could answer two questions (now three: who is your customer service department director?) and move on with their lives, yet they don’t.
I now know Weis Markets as a company who, from the CEO down, has a directive to simply ignore their customers instead of providing reasonable customer service. Now I want the whole world to know that as well.
I get a fair amount of joy when I leave customer reviews (negative or positive) on Yelp or other review sites; it’s a small service that I really enjoy providing.
Unfortunately for customers of Weis Markets, it’s clear that Weis enjoys providing no service whatsoever.