Customer Service

I don’t want to cast aspersions on all customer service people; I have run into some who are actually quite good. But I have too many times run into people who don’t seem to know what “customer service” even means. I believe the problem starts with companies who want to say that they take care of their customers, but don’t really want to pay their customer service people a decent wage, and don’t want them to take enough time with a caller to even know what their issue is, much less resolve it.

I have several pet peeves about this. Let me start with the way a call usually starts, with a phone system that puts the caller into phone tree purgatory. The caller listens and pushes buttons, often guessing at the best way to go since nothing really fits why they are calling. Then you have to give the phone system all the information about you (your date of birth, account number, mother’s maiden name, etc.) that they never seem to get right – you say your birth date is June 10, 1987, and they repeat back to you February 1, 1998. You finally get through that and get to talk to an actual person (it may take a while), and it turns out that you have to repeat all the information you just gave the phone system, because none of it went through to the person you are talking to.  Let me tell you, by this time I am often a raving lunatic, and usually my first sentence is to apologize for being a raving lunatic.

My next pet peeve is customer service reps who say you should know something that you have no way of knowing. The other day I tried for about the 6th time to get my email address changed at some company. The rep said to me, “You know there are a lot of divisions in this company that store your email address.” Well, first of all, how would I know that? It doesn’t say that anywhere on their website. I changed my email address on the only place there was to do it on the website, and assumed that doing so would take care of it. But no, I keep getting email at my old address. And I keep calling to have them fix it, and they keep telling me that they have fixed it, and I still keep getting emails at the wrong address. This is definitely a company problem, and not a customer problem. In a previous work life, I designed interfaces for collecting customer information. The goal here should be to collect the information in one place, and distribute it to the many places that need that information. This is NOT something that the customer should have to deal with, but rather something that the company should deal with. At the very least (and it would be the least), the company should give a list of places that one has to change their information in order to get it changed for the entire company.

I could go on and on, but I won’t – it just aggravates me. Here’s hoping that you get through this holiday season without having to deal with anyone’s customer service!

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