Saturday, 28 July 2012

Customer Service Challenges

Those of you who read this blog may have noticed that I have a deep and abiding love of fitness apps.  I love love love tracking all the various trackable things, since each time I track something it's an opportunity to improve on at least one metric.  Because so many of my metrics are, simply put, terrible, progress on any one metric is good progress.

This week, interestingly, I had issues with two of my apps that required customer service intervention.  The first was with MyFitnessPal, which has entirely replaced LoseIt! in my affections.  I tried to log in to my MyFitnessPal account on Monday morning, and poof! my account was gone.  I tried on the mobile apps, and on the web interface, and each time saw a message that my account had been deleted.  Since I had not deleted the account, this was troubling. 

I penned a quick note to MyFitnessPal customer service, and sat back to await the inevitable 48 hour delay.  I was extremely pleasantly surprised when they got back to me the same day with a response.  As it turns out, I received the message that my account had been deleted because MyFitnessPal had upgraded its systems and ... inadvertently deleted my account.  It was entirely their fault, the customer service rep explained, and apologized profusely. 

Now I had only begun using the MyFitnessPal app the weekend prior, so there was not that much data in the account.  I had some menus and food records in there, and my weekly weight history from last November, but none of that was a huge loss, or irreplaceable.  I was most impressed with how quickly customer service responded to my inquiry, and how apologetic they were for deleting my account.  I have no problem when mistakes like this happen, since they cost me nothing, and are readily owned by the person who made the mistake.  Overall, yes, my account was gone forever, but customer service made it easy for me to set up my replacement account, and gave me all the information I needed to know how the issue happened in the first place.  I was very pleased with my experience, and even more of a fan of MyFitnessPal than before they (inadvertently) wiped out my account.

My second customer service issue was with Gym-Pact.  Gym-Pact is the app that allows the user to put a dollar value to their workouts, and to pay that money when they miss a workout, whilst earning money for making workouts.  It feels like a bit of a pyramid scheme, but it's a motivational pyramid scheme. 

Since joining Gym-Pact, I have not missed a workout.  I have to admit that on a couple of occasions, the thought of having to make up a missed workout to make my "Pact" did come into play and motivate me into getting out of bed.  Each week since joining, I have received a status email telling me that I had made my Pact, owed nothing, and earned $x (usually around $3 each week).  So far, so motivating.

Until I looked at my credit card statement and saw that Gym-Pact had billed me US$330.00 for "attendance fees", which is a charge of $50 for 6 weeks and $30 for one week.  Not good.  Not motivational. 

So I contacted customer service with a strongly worded email, demanding a refund and requesting an explanation.  After several days, I finally heard back from Gym-Pact customer service, who explained that I had apparently set up a partial account, but had never worked out under that account, which is why they billed me each week.  They deleted the duplicate account, and refunded the money.  On the face of it, they met my demands and did all they needed to do, albeit after several days' delay.

What makes me a little skeptical of Gym-Pact's explanation, however, is that the amount charged varied - - one week they billed me $30, rather than the $50 that should have been billed if the system legitimately thought I had missed my Pact.  After all, the Pact did not change, and if that partial user account had never worked out, the company should have billed me $50 each week.  So I think there was a system glitch, and one that slipped through the cracks until I brought it to Gym-Pact's attention.  But how often do these kind of "glitches" happen, and how many people do not notice?  Potentially shady. 

So I am considering leaving Gym-Pact, because my sense of trust in their accounting practices is somewhat shaken.  For now I will keep on, but I will watch 'em like a hawk. 

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