Note: I was going to title this Blog entry 2,047 Words About Modern-Day Customer Service…but…I liked the new title better.
This Blog entry is Revision 1 to 609 Words About Modern-Day Customer Service which I published on July 22, 2001…a mere ten days ago…but then I realized that I had only scratched the surface of this topic.
My Fair Lady is one of my very favorite stage plays/movie in which Rex Harrison sings a song entitled “I’m An Ordinary Man”. Here in part… are some of the lyrics from that song…to which I can relate to…
I’m a very gentle man,
even-tempered and good-natured
who you never hear complain,
Who has the milk of human kindness
by the quart in every vein,
A patient man am I, down to my fingertips,
the sort who never could, ever would,
let an insulting remark escape his lips
A very gentle man…
EXCEPT WHEN IT COMES TO POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE!
I view these above words as applying to me…after all…I live a very peaceful and serene life in my 16th year of vacation (full-time RVing)…a very relaxed, laid-back kind of guy living my life one day at a time.
BUT…nothing ruffles my feathers like poor modern-day customer service. This is my 1,269th Blog entry and have never ranted about one thing. I think the law of averages has caught up with me! A mere ten days ago I spouted my very first rant …unlike my life-partner Mary who rants like Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park…which starts right underneath the below line…the remainder to Revision 1 can be found at its end…
609 Words About Modern-Day Customer Service Published July 22, 2011
It’s really hard to find! How’s that for a few words?
I’m lucky in so many ways. One on those ways is that I have little interface with the outside world…outside of my peaceful, quiet and serene RVing lifestyle world. I went paperless about one year ago and that appears to be working well.
But…every once in a while…I do have to interface with the outside world. And every once in a while…I need assistance…sometimes to file a compliant …more often than not…about poor customer service.
What ever happened to real customer service? It seems to me that…in today’s modern world…that when I seek some form of assistance…the person/company to whom I am making the request makes an instant evalation….is there any money associated to why this person is bothering me???? If not…customer service…never heard of it!
And don’t you just love those automated menu-answering systems that never seem to address my particular problem and won’t let you speak to a real-live human being…but instead just keeps you going around in a never-ending circle? Grrrrrrr!
And then…finally when you do get to speak to a real live human being…all they know how to say is…no…you can’t do that instead of… of course..you bet no problem. How in the world did they ever get a job as a “Customer Service Representative”? They do not have a clue as to the meaning of the words! It seems like there’s a formula…the larger the company…the lesser the understanding of customer service. When you’ve got millions of customers…they truly don’t care about me and my piddly little problem(s).
But…there are exceptions to this general rule. The old one-in-a-million trick!
Because of my reclusive life style…my major interface with the outside world is through either a cell phone or computer. Do you know that a mere six years ago…I had neither in my life? Anyways..both of these methods are through a company known as Verizon Wireless.
I’m happy to say that Verizon Wireless seems to understand the words customer service and…most of the times…not always…I’m satisfied with their attempt at customer service.
Now…ABOUT MY ONCE-IN-A-MILLION EXPERIENCE! If you are a regular follower of my Blog you know that in my last two entries I’ve described the physical process of shifting Internet Gears from 3G to 4G. Prior to the actual switching…there was lots investigation/homework to be done regarding what equipment choices to select.
Along the way I happen to connect with a delightful gal in Verizon technical support by the name of Peggy…and let me tell you…she is very knowledgeable…and just a hoot. This lady fully understands the words customer service! She could make millions teaching customer service…if anybody cared enough to want to learn about it.
Anyway…she has provided me with outstanding customer service…and you won’t believe this…she actually gave me her email address (they do not have individual phone extensions) so that I might contact her directly if I had any further questions or problems. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? It’s true! Now…when I have another question or problem…I send her a brief email and usually within a very few moments…she is back in touch with me! Fantastic! It almost takes my breath away!
I was so moved by her level of customer service I actually went out of my way to identify her supervisors so that I could send them an email message about her outstanding customer service.
Whew…as you can tell…I was really moved by my experience with her. Peggy…thank you…you are truly one-in a-million! You’ve made me a very happy camper! 🙂
Revision 1 continues below…
It seems that in the last ten days I’ve had a rash of poor customer service which prompted this revision. Here are the happenings including the company names…
I recently purchased our new 4G router..with which my new modem was experiencing interface problems…from these folks…whom customer service I normally like. You can actually talk to a live human-being technical support person. Except on weekends! C’mon 3G…get with it…we now live in a 24/7 world…well…at least a 7 world. Would it financially break you to have a weekend customer service rep for people who are having real problems during a weekend?
A few days back my Sirius-XM decided it would no longer receive more than one channel. So…I called customer support. Where do these companies go beyond India???? This customer service gal spoke with such a heavy accent that I had to ask her three times…to repeat what she said…that it could be up to seven days before someone from technical support could look into my problem! I asked her to re-hit my signal and fortunately about one-half hour later my Sirius-XM Radio started working normally once again. BUT…c’mon…up to seven days for technical support!
is the publisher of my three books. I needed a download copy of one of my books…and because I’m the author…I can download a copy for free…that’s if my Free Download button was working properly! No talking to a live customer service rep here. The best one can do is “Live Chat”. Two live chats…and two emails…and five days later…my Free Download button is still not working! Good thing I decided not to hold my breath while I waited for my download to arrive! I wouldn’t be writing this revision!
Thousand Trails RV Resorts…
of which I am a member…and once upon a time I used to sell memberships for them. Ten years ago today I was the top-selling rep in the Pacific Northwest…but today nobody remembers or cares. Recently my life-partner Mary and I blended our two memberships into an upgraded Elite Membership on June 30th. On July 1st I called member services requesting that the unused $250 dues from my membership be applied to our new membership dues. Several phone calls…I’ve even requested that the department manager call me three days ago…and three emails later…you guessed it No response. What???? You want your unused money transferred to you new membership dues? Another…good thing I’m not holding my breath situation.
Even my long-time favorite Amazon is showing signs of slipping away from great customer service. I recently…accidently… ordered the wrong item. In the past all you had to do was click a link and immediately be able to printout a return label. No more! Now all you get is a “contact the seller” link and then wait 2-3 days for the seller to contact you! Amazon is no longer Amazing! This Amazon vendor actually contacted me and told me that he only made a $2 profit on the item…and for that I also expected customer service? So…I thought about his comment… for only a short moment and came up with an answer. Amazon…or any other vendor/seller for that matter…should be required to put an asterisk on the price and explain…for this price you get little to no customer service! End of problem!
Norton Internet Security…
First of all they make it very difficult to find your way through the maze of pages to find a telephone number to call them. Then the computer screen said estimated six minutes wait time to talk to a customer service representative…after 50 minutes of listening to horrible recycled music I finally gave up and hung up…to try again another day! Terrible customer service!
Is it me???? Am I just a grouchy old man with nothing to do but harass these poor companies? I might be old-fashioned in that I believe that if I pay good money for a product…good customer service should come with the product.
I can prove that I’m not just a grouchy old man…I recently found another company who understands great customer service…
I bought my rear view camera for the motorhome from a company called 4UCam. Just a couple of days ago the Sony Camera…the primary reason I bought the system…without warning…gave up the ghost…quit working. Of course I was out of the one year warranty…but I sent them an email expressing my disappointment. Within one hour I got a call from Joe in their customer service department. Without going into details Joe offered me a fair deal on a replacement unit. They sell a wide variety of vehicle camera products and if you are in the market for something they offer…I can highly recommend them to you. Joe told me his job was to turn an unhappy customer into a happy customer! Can you imagine that???? Thanks for your phone call, Joe. Here’s their website link http://www.4ucam.com/ .
Enough of specific companies…let’s talk in general. As brick and mortar stores disappear…more online stores arrive. Some of them do not identify where they are physically located or a telephone number…just in case you have a problem with one of their products. If you a lucky you may get a “Live Chat” box or and email us link…and after that…don’t bother us unless you want to send us more money!
One thing that a vendor does not realize about people like me is…our temporary delivery addresses…usually expire at a very short time in the future. Like right now…my temporary delivery address will no longer be valid in another 14 days…so…time is of the essence!
CUSTOMER SERVICE…IS IT AN ENDANGERED SPECIES????
So…I’ll conclude this rant by saying…Customer Service…in my humble opinion…is not totally dead…there are still a few good guy companies out there…unfortunely there are more bad guys than good guys. One can avoid some of these problems by…before making a purchase…evaluating how many different ways and how easy it is to connect with both the customer service and technical service departments. The old adage remains…Buyer Beware!
Whew…it’s a good thing I don’t do this very often…the gall of me…in thinking it’s the principal of the thing…the right thing to do!
PS: I prepared the draft of this Revision 1 on July 28th with the intent of a publish date of August 1st. Within an hour of saving it to my hard drive…both Lulu.com and Thousand Trails RV Resorts telephoned me to advise that my request had been fulfilled. That’s great ESP…how do they do that? That still does not get them off the hook from me telling you about them. A person should not be required to harass, harang, etc…to get good customer service…a good vendor offers it freely!
PPS: Usually my Blog entries are short and to the point…much like Joe Friday from the old television series Dragnet…when he used to say “Just the facts, Ma’am! I tend to be more of a photographer than a writer. I believe that this has become my most verbose Blog entry!
🙂 ‘Nuff said!
All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2011
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Boy! I certainly can relate to your blog this morning. Both my husband and I have owned businesses in the past and bent over backwards to provide our customers with the best customer service within our power to give and always with a smile. Nothing gets our dander up more than poor customer service which seems to be so common these days. There are so many things that are maddening and certainly one is trying to understand a heavy accent. I just could not understand the guy from India who was trying to instruct me in setting up my wireless system. I finally just had to give up and eventually managed to hook it up myself and I’m a cripple in all things to do with computers. It is wonderful, isn’t it when once in a very long time you have a good experience with a company.
Elaine in Canada