Cell Phone Sales Person: Hi. What can I do for you?
FC113: I’d like to buy an expensive phone and pay you more each month to use it.
FC113: My phone is crap. It’s on fire right now.
CPSP: You have to wait two months for your cycle to end.
FC113: You’re telling me I have to wait two months for the privilege of giving you more money.
CPSP: That’s not what I’m saying.
FC113: It’s what I’m hearing.
CPSP: Sir, those are the rules. Please stop waving your flaming phone around.
FC113: Surely there must be some way to bend the rules for such a long time customer as myself.
CPSP: Please leave.
This is an abbreviated account of our exchange (minus my swearing and his back peddling), but you get the idea. Folks, customer service is dead. It died sometime ago when all corporations realized that if none of them treated their customers well, then no one would loose a customer to another company because of service. Every sector of business was affected. Especially businesses that know you need them, like banks and utilities. Live people have been replaced by a labyrinth like phone trees. There are no more armies of sycophants manning the phones to make us happy after an error on their part. Only hold music and an automated voice that sounds as board as you are.
I’ve been a customer with this cell phone carrier for over ten years. I’ve had my hair cut by the same shop for fifteen years. I go to the same bar tender at the same pub. I like consistency. It keeps me from having to repeat myself.
I work in a company that prides itself on our customer service. We actually do pretty well at it. It may have something to do with the fact that our entire senior management staff are terrified of confrontation, but the end is the same. Our customers are happy and return often. That’s why I’m baffled by the fact that nearly everywhere I go, it seem like that business would prefer that I wasn’t there.
I’ve considered the fact that I may be a huge jerk, but that apparently has nothing do with it since everyone I talk to feels the same way (surely not all of my friends are jerks to). I see news reports about how brick and mortar stores have declining sales while online stores are seeing an increase. Could it be because the sales staff have no interest in actually making a sale? Seriously, unless you go into a really high end store they look completely disinterested in doing their jobs. Even on my worst day, I can at least fake helpfulness.
So, I go to war with my cell carrier. I will fight my way through the phone tree labyrinth. I will write letters and send emails. I will draw a line in the sand. I will get what I want, it’ll take longer than the two months I could have just waited, and I’ll probably not even like the damn phone. Principles, man can they be a bitch.