The state of affairs in customer service

September 12, 2009 at 11:42 am 1 comment

As someone who believes she has worked in customer service her whole life, it disappoints me when folks get it wrong. This is the easiest thing someone can do and the cheapest.  Yes, sometimes my title was customer service, sometimes not. But my belief is, if you have customers, internal or external, then you should be customer service focused.

I said should be. The sad fact is, many people are not. I have been having a variety of experiences lately and for the most part, I have just been an observer of them. I have been patient and forgiving, but sometimes that just doesn’t work.  My TomTom gps thingie does not work. It hasn’t now for a few months. It was a gift from my dad and despite my very frequent desire to throw it out the window, I know that would not be nice to him.  Plus, whenever he would come to visit, he would ask where it was when we were driving around in my car.  I hate that thing, really.  And the fact that it can’t ever retrieve the GPS signal renders it useless, only makes me hate it more.  My gosh, I don’t mind checking Google maps when I need to go someplace new.  And in fact, I am back to this all over again. I digress.

I tried to contact Office Depot, where my dad purchased it and an extended warranty. They told me that the warranty doesn’t kick in until the manufacturer’s warranty ends.  They sounded like they didn’t care and I could here her flipping pages as she read a script (ack, that just irks me – personalize and engage). Then she transferred me to TomTom, didn’t stay on the line and dumped me off.  I guess it was the wrong place because after holding for 5 minutes, i was disconnected.  I tried their IT chat online and was told I had to pay $9 for the service. Really? My dad already paid $249 for a paperweight and if I want troubleshooting support, I have to pay more?  Nope.  I found the number to call online.  I was on hold for another 10 minutes then told that all the lines were busy and promptly disconnected. Really? This is how they do business? They sure make it hard to do business with them or give you a reason to share anything nice about their product. Oh that’s right, I’m not.  My dad is equally frustrated with all of us this as I share the latest and wants me to send the thing back to him so he can get his money back.  I will try that but am skeptical Office Depot will do this for a paperweight he bought in February.  Yes, that is it’s only function lately.

This is just one example in a string I could share. I won’t even get started on the lack of service and actually the harassment I have been feeling at the hands of school. I actually feel hassled and harassed by them lately instead of feeling like a valued member of the student community. I won’t tell you how much I spend per credit hour but I guess they do not value me as student or customer.  It may be another factor in why I am taking a leave of absence from the program for the remainder of this year.

My dad and I visited Olive Garden recently, lunch before his flight home to San Diego.  We ate in the bar area and truly had a fantastic waiter.  He was always there at the right time, anticipated needs, and brought good cheer to the interactions.  It was a wonderful thing.  Even though we only ordered soup and salad, he made it seem like we were the only one’s in the restaurant. It was a great experience.

Customer service, or service of any kind, is just so easy. So inexpensive. And provides such a bounty of riches in terms of customer loyalty, customer testimonials, and subsequently, profit. I just don’t get it.  Why don’t companies do a better job of this?  Why don’t they realize that this could be the missing ingredient to their success and the reason for their decline in revenues? If you lose your most diehard customers, don’t have repeat business of any kind, and have little new business, how do you expect to stay in business?  Word of mouth is a real killer to the bottom line.  Southwest gets it, why don’t the other airlines? SAS gets it, why don’t other companies?

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Entry filed under: Miscellania, school, thoughts, workplace. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

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