Monday, October 20, 2008

The death of Customer Service

Who killed customer service? Where did the good customer service go?

I have thought about this post for quite some time but haven't written it until today.

Today I had two bad, very bad experiences with customer service.

The first. We have an outsourced company that does our benefits at work. I called as a HR representative on behalf of another employee. I just had a question nothing major and I forgot I had made the call!

Today they called me with a satisfaction survey. It did not go well from the minute I answered the phone. I know I won't be able to get her tone across in this but trust me she was not happy to be doing her job.

Her: This is "Sally" calling from the benefits company to ask you about the call you made last Thursday.

Me: Call?

Her: Yes the call you made last week to us.

Me: Hmm...

Her: YOU called on behalf of an employee. Do you remember THIS CALL?

Me: Oh yes. Sorry. I remember now.

(she kept interrupting me so I never got to ask a question or complete a sentence)

Her: I need to ask you a few questions about you satisfaction with that call do you have a minute.

Me: Yes.

Her: On a scale of 1 - 5, 1 being very dissatisfied and 5 being very satisfied, how would you rate the representative's effectiveness to answer your question?

Me: I guess average so 3.

Her (mean, frustrated tone): ON A SCALE of 1 -5..... (repeat above)

Me: I'm sorry I said 3, average service.

Her: (repeating the scale again)

Me: Hey if you are going to be rude I am not going to answer your questions.

Her: (even more rude and like she is just about to lose it): I am not being rude, if you would just....


That's enough of that. I just do not have time for this right now. I barely had a minute to talk to her in the first place but if she was just going to get angry when I tried to answer the questions!

Okay fast forward to tonight. I called one of the credit card companies. I have a payment plan with them that I pay a set amount each month. I can call in advance and change it if needed but I always pay. Always.

So here is how that went.

Me: Yes I would like to change my payment date to Nov 7th.

Her: Okay let's see. We can do Nov 5th. How is that?

Me: Well I don't get paid until Nov 7th is there anything you can do to change it to that date?

Her: No it would be a new billing cycle so just make sure you have money in your account. Then you can just pay back whomever you get the money from.

Me: (stunned) Okay well I guess Nov 5 will be fine. I'll figure something out.

Her: Yes so just make sure you get the funds in there or it will end your agreement and you will have to set up a new one.

Me: Oh so can I just cancel this one and start a new one then?

Her: Yes but just make sure the money is in there on Nov 5th.

Me: I don't have a way to get money by then.

Her: Okay well just make sure it is there. Is there anything else I can do?

Me: Nope thank you. I will make sure the money is in the account. I guess I can sell a kid.


And yes I really did say that!

Okay so maybe in that last call I was a little bitchy but OMG! I will have to call back tomorrow to make sure it all got changed. I do get my child support by the 5th so it is fine.

My head is still spinning though from the first call. Seriously I was just stunned by this call. I seriously wanted to ask her when I would get the call about how satisfied I was with her call.... It would not have been good!

Do you have any stories to share?


trappedintime said...

Ya know, I have tons of crappy c/s stories. I would have been extra rude to the survey beeaatch for wasting my time like that.
My Story: I made a rather large purchase and asked c/s to help me out on freight. This is a normal thing to do (i used to get paid for negotiating these kinds of things, come to think of it, I still do, back to the story). This was a Northeasterner, the rudest of people in general. 5 hours after my request, yes I had to wait 5 hours, I got an email saying "no problem". 2 days later I got my stuff via registered mail. It cost that compnay 2 times the amount I paid for freight. That was GREAT c/s. LOL, how about that. Good c/s does exist. It is very rare, but it's there if you're lucky.

m (the misanthrope) said... We might be living in parallel universes, since I've been writing a post about a customer service and general competence for while now...and I have some similarly ludicrous tales to relate. It's not just me, I guess!

Fairy said...

Wow, that second story you posted is pretty bad. The "customer service" rep obviously missed your point completely! Idiot. I have alot of problems with people that don't speak clear English and read off scripts; not really answering your questions.

A Single Mom's Life said...

Ohhh I could tell many customer service stories...Like the one where some collection agency called me about BMG...Hmmm I'll go over and post it on my blog this afternoon, and reference yours.

CynthiaK said...

Craziness! Yes, customer service has gone the way of the dodo.

Those calls were ridiculous! In the call to the credit card company, it doesn't sound like he was even hearing you. How frustrating! Glad you got that last bit in there before hanging up, although he probably didn't get the point, anyway...

Rich Single Momma said...

I feel your pain. I've had numerous calls like that. The sad thing is that it happens in person too. Good customer service is a lost art. Nobody cares any more because money is the bottom line.

What large corporations (and small) don't get is that pretty soon the average consumer will just stop doing business with them. I wrote an article on my writing blog about customer service last week. You can find it at

Happy Housewife and Penny Pincher Mom said...

You go girl, I hang up on them as well when they are like that.
I worked for customer service and never treated people like that.
Thats what customer service means, service to the customer in a respectable way.

margaret (the misanthrope) said...

You have inspired me to finish up and publish my post on stinky customer service and incompetence in general :-) So, let's commiserate!