Thursday, November 14, 2013

Customer service? More like customer disservice.

The other day, while on hold, waiting for the nice customer service representative to figure out why she couldn't find my account, again, I wondered, How much of our lives is wasted dealing with customer service -- or on hold waiting for a customer service representative? And how much of that wasted time is spent trying to fix a problem the company (not you) created...



Or a problem that you thought had been already resolved, but wasn't?

Granted, mistakes happen. That's why companies have Customer Service departments. I just think companies have different definitions of "service."

Oh to have a dollar for every customer service representative who was flat out incompetent. (I swear, if I have to spell my first and last name for my insurance broker, whom I have been working with for three years now, one more time, I'm going to explode.)

Or those customer service reps who can't actually help you with your problem, even though you know you pressed the right option on the customer support phone tree, and transfer you to someone else, often more than once....



[I have actually had this happen with my credit card company -- not Discover -- and with my digital subscription to my newspaper, which doesn't allow you to cancel your digital subscription online. You have to call -- and then have to go through two different departments, after going through a phone tree.]

Or those customer service -- or tech support -- folks who don't give a f@ck about your problem (or you)...



[Raise your hand if this has happened to you! Though I do somewhat sympathize with those IT help desk guys.]

Though the worst ones, at least to me, or the ones who seem all friendly and helpful -- who cheerfully "Yes, dear" you -- leading you to believe your issue has been resolved. Then days or weeks later you find out the problem hasn't been solved, and you have to go through the process all over again.

GRR.

So, any of you got beefs with customer service, or the lack thereof? Leave me a comment.

8 comments:

Furbo said...

Glad you worked "Peggy" into this!

It's awful that this is often an exception, but sometimes one can actually be delighted by unexpectedly good customer service.

During our recent switchover from ATT to T-Mobile I interacted with an incredibly personable agent at the local store, who has gone out her way to save us money and best utilize the services that might be available to us. And while they ended up screwing up the porting of numbers, she took total responsibility and took care of it. She even offered to send her manager up to our house to deliver an extra SIM card.

Yesterday I got a followup call from a real US-based person who asked very specific questions regarding my interaction, but also answered some questions I had about their international service. It wasn't a random survey, but a real person who was actually empowered to do stuff...

The cell phone industry has such a horrendous record on this front, and since T-Mobile is #4, their leadership has ceased on the opportunity to win customers through being good to customers. What a concept!

J. said...

@Furbo, I have had many positive customer service experiences over the years -- and am always pleasantly surprised when I do. That's because great customer care, while out there, is too often the exception rather than the norm.

Sugar Daze said...

Too many bad customer service experiences to mention. And yes, I believe I have wasted an extraordinary number of hours in my life dealing with. YOu think customer service is bad in US where "the customer is king" try living in France a few months! :P

J. said...

@Sugar Daze, reading several memoirs by Americans living in Paris and listening to you and my mother complain about the awful customer service and bureaucracy in France pretty much cured me of any desire to live or own a business there.

Dave S. said...

My first job in IT included helpdesk coverage at a smallish non-profit.* One day the HR director - the perfect combination of technophobe and IT disaster magnet - called the helpdesk line to ask whether the phone system was down.

...

My extra-professionally-delivered response: "Well, you called me..."

God, I hated helpdesk. Closing the affected program and (if necessary) rebooting the computer solves 90% of problems reported to helpdesk. Apologies in advance to the legions of suddenly-unemployed helpdesk techs. You hated your job anyway.

*Not, alas, a large Midwestern university

J. said...

@Dave S., I laughed, I cried. I also bought the spouse this t-shirt years ago, when he seemed to be the friends and family help desk. For some strange reason, however, whenever he wears it, people ask him for help with their computer. :-/

Mary Joan Sabuya said...

Video # 1 is very funny. The guy has a point. Whats the point of having a reservation if they didn't hold the car for him?. Companies should consider the fact that customers are taking time and effort to call them and ask for assistance, if only customer have a choice not to call they will not, what companies doesn't know that customers prefer not to call and resolved the problem on their own than wait on the line for 30-45 minutes for nothing. I Think companies should find a call center solutions to answer question fast so that they wont waste each others time.

William Lowry said...

As "the customer is king" So no matter what we have to deal with them. All experiences may no good, but it is very important.

customer returns