After spending hours on hold with various companies today I decided to write this letter. As if dealing with shoddy internet all day was not bad enough! Now I get to spend over an hour on hold trying to get their technical issue resolved. This is my 7th time calling about the same issue in less than a year. When I was finally connected with someone I was told that they could not assist me and would have to send out a technician. Oh, and they had the nerve to tell me that there was a cost of $45 to have a technician come out to fix THEIR issue. So let me get this straight, “I pay you for a service that is not properly working and when I call to get help I spend exactly 82 minutes on the phone only to be told you can not fix the service I am paying you for and you are going to charge me more to do what is necessary to fix it? Did I hear that correctly?” — “Yes sir, that is company procedure”. WOW. Blood pressure 200/130!
This encounter today sent me into a fury making me realize more than ever that Customer Service in America is DEAD! Corporation’s tunneled focus on dollars has made its way down the chain of command and into the department that deals directly with the clients that they profit from. To properly staff and train the customer service department would eat too much into their profits. To me it is a sad realization that nobody cares about anything but profitability. Client satisfaction is obsolete.
I have owned and operated a service-based business for 8 years and understand that you can not please everybody and some people have unrealistic demands and expectations. That does not mean we will not do anything and everything to try to make sure our clients are happy at the end of the day. I genuinely want our customers to to feel appreciated and to have an enjoyable experience with our company. Most companies these days seem to care very little about protecting their brand.
The bad customer service epidemic is spreading like wild fire. Cable companies, cell phone providers, credit card companies, airlines, insurance companies, and any others with a customer service call center — you are just a number and they have little incentive to ensure you are happy. The companies that will treat you the worst and make you hold the longest, undoubtedly, are the ones that have you locked into a contract, so even if you wanted to cancel, they are going to charge you a ridiculous ETF (Early Termination Fee) — if, out of principle, you decide not to pay the ETF, they will send it to collections and damage your credit score costing you potentially thousands in interest on home loans, car loans, etc. So either way, they are winning…or shall I say, you are losing.
I seem to recall 20 years ago that companies cared about your experience and put an emphasis on the satisfaction of their paying clientele. Between then and now, we have sadly become accustomed to being treated unfairly and without respect. This didn’t all happen overnight. It’s been a slow and steady decline to where we are today. Long hold times, overseas call centers, scripted unsatisfactory responses to inquiries, discourteous interactions, and a very obvious lack of genuine concern have unfortunately become the norm.
It’s almost as if they are playing a game to see how annoyed they can make you before you actually give up and hang up the phone. Terrible recorded messages and a constant loop of obnoxious hold music, are enough to make you want to stab yourself in the ear repeatedly to make it stop. All of this designed, I’m convinced, to drive you absolutely bananas.
Here is a little tip for you — If you want a company to pick up the phone right away, select the option that links to their sales team…For instance, “press 1 to learn more about our services” or “press 1 to set up a new account” — Amazingly they will pick up in under 10 seconds if you choose this option. Good luck if you select the option for existing customers. Get comfy, it will be awhile.