I talked to five separate people at my bank in the last two weeks (three separate phone calls) before I found someone who could explain a few added charges on my checking account. And it drove me nuts.
The thing is, I sit near our customer service department at work, and I hear some of the calls they handle — I don’t envy that job. But from a customer’s point of view, calling a company to dispute a charge or get a service reactivated / fixed / changed is often a living nightmare.
- You have the hold function, which larger companies love to use. I get it, you’re busy. You’re a big company. Lots of people call you. You’re experiencing a larger call volume than usual. Your music is driving me nuts. During one phone call to my cable company, I just put the phone on speaker and went about my business — ate dinner, paid my bills, used the bathroom, etc. Might as well.
- You have the transfer. Those menus that ask you to press 1 for this, 2 for that, or 3 for the other thing? My issue never seems to fall neatly into any category, so I end up explaining my problem to two or three people before I talk to the right person.
- You have the pass-off. Closely related to the transfer, service reps do this when they try, but can’t answer your question. Sometimes when I get passed to three or four people, I think I’m living that Discover Card commercial where everyone is sitting in an office and handing the phone over to “Peggy.”
- You have the service appointment. This is my least favorite. I work the same hours as you (and the rest of America) do, how do you expect me to be home for a four-hour window in which you show up at your leisure?
In the end, I understand customer service is probably an incredibly frustrating, thankless job. Which is why I’d like to give a shout-out to the last woman I spoke to today at my bank. She was so helpful I wanted to give her a hug through the phone. Every question I had, she answered — she knew the answers! — and the call took less than five minutes.
So I can say, in my lifetime, I have had at least one good customer service experience. Here’s the question — has anyone else?!