Sunday, March 11, 2007

Customer service - NOT!

It seems somehow fitting that my first entry in this blog is about the lousy customer service provided by our biggest corporations - probably right up there in the Top 10 in terms of blog entries, I expect. But even though it's all been said before, here's my rant anyway.

If I hear "Please wait; your call is important to us" one more time I'll puke. If my call was really that important they'd have enough staff to answer the damned phone! My other favorite has to be "We are experiencing larger than normal call volumes". Say what? I have spent years selling and installing software that predicts, with a very high degree of accuracy, the call volumes to be expected on any given day; so unless the call center was hit by Katrina 2, a lack of planning on their part is not an acceptable reason to make me wait. In reality, both of these messages should be considered as what they are - euphemisms for "We're not going to spend one nickel more than we have to on customer service and if you have to wait - too bad. We have your money already anyway."

And to really irritate, they make sure that you don't even get to those messages until you have: 1) dialed the number; 2) listened to some advertising; 3) navigated through 5 or 6 layers of auto-attendant programming; 4) keyed in your 27-digit account number and listened to it being read back; and 5) listened to some more advertising. Then they tell you that you have to wait, but if you'd been smart enough in the first place to go online and help yourself you wouldn't be in this pickle. By now you have entered the zen-like state of being one with your phone and thus feel compelled to wait for 10 or 15 minutes on the off chance that you'll eventually get to speak with a real person. That is, if the agent isn't having a bad day and decides to hang up on you as soon as the call is transferred to their station.

So my advise to Bell Canada, Aeroplan, et al? If you want to improve your bottom line, take $1,000,000 in salary and bonuses away from your CEO and hire 30 more call center agents - or hire 20 and train them! As a consumer I can tell you that the return on that million dollars will be far greater if it's applied to helping your customers than helping pad your executives' pockets.

And locate them somewhere in North America.

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