What is Customer Service?

As stated in a previous blog entry, we received a billing statement from our satellite dish provider, for years, that were incorrect. There were duplicate fees, charges for services we did not have or request and rental fees for equipment we owned. Every month, I called them. Every month, a credit was issued. If you break the contract, there is a fee. If you switch to the “other” satellite provider, from personal experience, their billing service was worse. It took a year to cancel the service long after the anniversary date of the completed contract.

We moved recently. A request to forward the mail was submitted online with the USPS. It went well for a week or two. Now, we are receiving publications and magazines belonging to our Sugar Land, Texas subdivision neighbors. There is a mile difference between Ragus Lake Drive and Bramblebury Drive. The house numbers are not similar.  The last names on the publications do not start with the same initials. In other words, the person or persons at the Sugar Land Post Office, are just slapping the forwarding stickers onto my ex-neighbors mail and sending it to Powderly, TX. It makes me wonder if we are receiving all of our mail or is the Publishers Clearing House check going to the Jezikowski family? If you’re out there and receiving my mail, please make sure a remittance is sent to any of my creditors!

Customer service can actually be a psychiatric session for the frustrated. The name of the game in the money-making corporate universe is, “Get them off the phone as quickly as possible.” Time is money. Money is time. No one wants to hear about the box containing two left shoes. Your perception of what is truly Chartreuse, is never exactly the color of the car in the photo. Important, is a mundane term when there is a discrepancy with a nuptial accoutrement. You certainly don’t want any screw-ups repeated at your current wedding!

Telephone calls to customer service add to your delight if you are greeted with an audio-response service. Press one, scream your social security number, repeat your social security number, choose from the next menu, keep pounding on the zero, repeat everything you just input, wait to be switched to the appropriate person, listen to some screaming bitch sing opera, be told you are the 9th person waiting because everyone in front of you in-line is more important, listen to the cross-sell, up-sell, commercials, be told your problem can be solved on their website (this particularly pissed me off when I was calling the internet provider which was always down), and then be told your call will be disconnected, now – click.

It is shocking when a customer service representative is kind to you. We prepare ourselves for the worse. Benevolence can actually unravel our game plan. Just when you think no one can solve your problem, an understanding and intelligent person with a clue – puts all the puzzle pieces back together right where they belong. You almost sound like a fool, repeating “thank you, thank you, and thank you”. You act like they have saved you from a burning vehicle on the freeway at rush hour when in fact they are mailing you a copy of last month’s statement.

Customer service is not a babysitting service when you are viewing model homes at a homebuilder. The beauty consultant at the Niemen’s counter usually can not explain the Fair Credit Reporting Act when you have a revolving credit card question. It doesn’t matter if you have called 13 times to no avail. When truly frustrated, I like to preface my inquiries with, “I know you didn’t wake up this morning with the intent of creating this pestiferous situation comedy for me.” This allows the recipient of my challenge to put the mental ammunition to rest and actually listen. When life is treating you bad and in a really foul mood – needing to release tension, unload, full of road rage, ticked with the partner – call the IRS for a fun call.




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