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April 2014

21

Angry Black Friday calls mistakenly routed to Mukwonago spa

On the website for Mukwonago's Woodhouse Day Spa, words such as "tranquil," "peaceful" and "relax" explain everything from the ambience at the spa to the services provided, but it was far from tranquil, peaceful and relaxing this weekend when a national Realtor's glitch caused the phones to ring off the hook.

Spa marketing director Amy Horn said they knew they were in for a long day when they arrived Friday morning to 29 messages on their answering machine, which is closer to the number of calls they usually receive over the course of an entire day.

"We started listening to the messages, and they were all people asking how to redeem their voucher from Walmart," Horn said. "All day Friday, from the time we opened at 9 a.m. until we closed at 8 p.m., it was continuous. Phone call after phone call after phone call."

Horn estimates that Friday alone the spa answered from 400 to 500 phone calls. It even called in extra employees to simply help answer each of the three phone lines.

"We even had regular therapists answering the phones," Horn said with a laugh.

When they got the callers to calm down, they managed to find the root of the problem. Callers from as far away from Florida, Virginia and Illinois were given a voucher for a television at a special price and were directed to claim their television on the Walmart website. When the website didn't work, customers were directed to dial a 1-800 number. Somehow, that number connected to the spa in Mukwonago.

Horn said it's hard to tell how much business the spa missed because the phone lines were jammed literally all day, but the most frustrating part is that there hasn't been any response from Walmart — and there is no end in sight.

"Saturday, it slowed down to about 200 calls. Sunday a little fewer. Monday we came in to 11 messages on the machine and more calls," Horn said. "There's been no response from Walmart corporate. Walmart Mukwonago put in a tech ticket for us, but nothing."

"It's been frustrating, to say the least, just the inconvenience of it," Horn added. "If it was something that could have been taken care of in one day, it would have been different. Things happen, people make mistakes, but the fact that we still haven't had it resolved, and it's still continuing ... (is) frustrating."

Horn said there's obviously a disruption for the clients as well: The ringing phones can be heard throughout the facility, and constant ringing disrupts the peaceful atmosphere the spa prides itself on creating.

Still, the staff admits the entire situation is pretty comical.

"We just have to say 'Sorry, we're not a Walmart,'" Horn said. "We even have other Walmarts calling. 'Sorry, we're not a Walmart. We're a day spa.'"

As for a response from Walmart, the Mukwonago Chief got the same result as other media, the spa and the Mukwonago Walmart: no response at all from corporate headquarters.

"Walmart might need to give all of us TVs after this. We have 28 employees; that's minor compared to how many calls we answered," Horn joked. "Hopefully, it gets resolved."

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