Effraeti's RP

One Woman, Two Timelines, Two Destinies.

The Death of Customer Service

When I posted Machinehead a while back, I admitted that part of my original inspiration was the decline of face-to-face customer service.  It was satirical in nature, and taken to the extreme.

Yesterday, with my phone, is what I consider further proof that we are too quickly going towards exactly what I illustrated.

I am already darkly amused that it costs service fees to actually interact with a human to accomplish things rather than use a machine at many banks.  This is a trend that is apparently spreading to other areas as well.

Many companies now not only have automated phone services, but have online services for greater convenience.  Most phone customer service is completely automated, and you usually have have to specifically ask to talk to someone.  Online interaction is completely automated.

I dare say that this means 95% of customer service reps only hear bitching.  If everything works out fine, then I have no reason to press “0” and talk to them.

The few times I have recently talked to an actual customer service rep, it has hardly been helpful.  They nearly sound like robots themselves – trite and rehearsed greetings, repeating themselves over and over because they have a script in front of them of exactly how to answer questions and have no idea how to deviate from it.  (Yes, I have worked in customer service before, so I know they have scripts.  Hell, I have written those scripts before.  But for God’s sake – add some personality!)

When I got home last night, my phone was still broken.  <sigh>  My mom explained that the reps in the Sprint store barely talked to her – they gave her a card with some insurance information and told her to call or go online to replace my phone.

So, after the in store reps sell me a $300-400 phone, their job is apparently done?  Oh yah, accessories – which they are hardly helpful with.

What is the use of a store front if they shoo me away?

So instead, I filed my claim through their website – completely automated.  I will admit, automated is all well and good.  It is quick and convenient – which companies these days usually charge a hefty fee for too.

In fact, if I had known they would shoo Mom, I would have just done exactly that first thing yesterday morning.  But silly me, I thought the store front would be quicker and more convenient.  :/

~ Effy

Do you have another example of the decline of face-to-face customer service?  Do you think customer service is a thing of the past?

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6 Comments

  1. JD Kenada

    Case in point: My phone company will come out to inspect my phone line. If it’s a problem outside the house, they take care of it. If it’s INSIDE, then I have to pay 85 dollars…just for the diagnosis.

    I constantly watch our customer service level erode and remember back when I was younger how rare it was to be treated poorly as a customer. You were important to the company, so to not be treated as such was rare. A couple decades later and good customer service is the real surprise.

    • Yah, it seems there is no longer truth to “The customer is always right.”

      Honestly, I never believed in that phrase literally, it was more the undertones of the phrase. Like you said – treating a customer well and having them come back and tell friends, that was the goal. That no longer seems to be the goal of most companies. I am seeing more and more of companies giving better deals to new customer – “Join and save!” – but what about customer loyalty? Loyal customers get no breaks, and I am made to feel my loyalty is not appreciated.

      ~ Effy

  2. I switched phone providers a year ago because provider B had a better offer for me at the time (your “join now and save” thing :P). Boy, was a wrong! The line was supposed to go “live” after two weeks, which it didn’t, and I kept being sent back and forth between the providers blaming each other and customer reps telling me they can’t help. The representatives were so rude, too! On top of that, I had no working number but was getting billed for it meanwhile, so my contract was already running.

    I sent multiple registered letters to the company (the reps refused to give me an address, it took me a couple of calls before someone finally did!) until I forwarded my case to the biggest consumer protection agency in the country, and immediately I got a response. It was mid-January then, and I’d signed my contract in September. I had the contract annulled, of course. I’d been with provider A for 8 years, but after I was treated so rudely on more than one occassion by their reps as well, I just choose for a new company altogether.

    • OMG, that experience sounds horrible. I am glad to hear you were able to turn them in for such shady dealings.

      Most times I feel I am at the mercy of bad companies. They say we do not allow monopolies, but when I only have one cable company available, how does that work? DSL and Satellite are completely different.

      ~ Effy

  3. Customer service is sadly long dead most everywhere. I had the same scenario as JD and when I showed them the problem was on the outside they then determined there was no problem so I continued to get a loud intermittent buzzing on my phone. So we cancelled Verizon and got Comcast and the installer put deep scratches in our hardwood floors which of course was not their problem, sigh.

    My daughter though had dropped her iPhone and the screen shattered, she was astounded when she went to her local Apple store and they replaced it on the spot and didn’t charge her. I couldn’t believe it, I don’t know if she just encountered a nice person or if that’s their policy.

    • I have heard that Apple has phenomenal customer service, and as much as I am not an Apple person, I have to admit, customer service may just sway me… Even though, I really do not want an iPhone. lol

      Similarly, with my car… I have a Volkwagen Golf TDI (diesel), and I love my car. But I have had such awful dealings with the dealership the entire time I have had that car, which is so odd. My ex from high school actually got me into Volkswagens, and they always had great experiences.

      Another sign of the times? I am not sure, but it pains me to say that all I have gone through is seriously making me think twice about buying another Volkswagen. 😦 They are great cars. Maybe I just have bad luck with dealerships.

      ~ Effy

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