Customer Dis/Service

What the hell happened to the customer being right? These days, the customer can’t even get service. And when we do, it’s more often a dis than a service, and I mean that in both senses of the word: dis like “you been dissed” and dis as in disservice.

It usually starts by calling an 800 number. Your chances of immediately reaching a human being? Absolutely zero. Instead you’ll be greeted by…a computer. (Not like we aren’t already interacting with computers way more than humans, but don’t get me started on that topic!) The first question that computer may ask you is to “press 1 if you want to continue in English.” Why the hell aren’t we prompted to press 1 if we want to continue in Urdu? When did English become the second choice? Should it be the default?

When you eventually reach a person, what are the chances that that person is speaking to you from somewhere in the continental US? I won’t say zero because occasionally you may be speaking to an American. But even when you are speaking to an American their grasp of the English language is usually hovering close to zero. Hey, didn’t I press 1 to continue in English? Where the hell are you, “Bob?!”

Yesterday, when I reached “Bob” at some random third-party company who had passed along my credit card information to yet another company and granted them permission to debit my checking account automatically every month, something I most certainly did not approve, the guy kept repeating the same scripted sentences over and over without truly listening to what I was saying. “Yes, I understand, m’am, and allow me to assist you with this matter.” He must’ve said that a dozen times and wasted 15 minutes of my time. Not to mention my valuable AT&T minutes! Finally, exasperated, I asked to speak with his supervisor. It took him another six repetitions of the same scripted sentences before I shrieked into the phone “SHUT UP AND GET ME YOUR SUPERVISOR!” I sure hope they were recording that phone call for “training purposes” so they can teach their future “Bobs” what not to do!

Fortunately for my blood pressure, his supervisor managed to do what I asked in a fairly swift and unscripted manner. Now, to call ConEd…

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