Customer Service Blues

It was part of a couple of my day jobs to get rid of unwanted mailings:  catalogs, free trade publications, etc.  I usually email but calling works better.  Except for large companies, who have outsourced all their customer service and given these people no training and no power to help in any way.

Typical exchange:

(after calling Dell and getting transferred 47, 692 times to “a department that can help me”)
Me: “Can we please get taken off your mailing list?”
FakeNameCSR: “So sorry to inconvenience you, thank you, Miss [mispronounces my last name]. I will be most happy to help you.”
Me: “Please, I would like to get some people who don’t work here anymore off your catalog mailing list.”
FakeNameCSR: “Thank you for calling us today, when we are finished would you like to take a brief survey–”
Me: “We haven’t started, I just want– Um, is there a supervisor available, please?”
FakeNameCSR: “So sorry. I will see if there is one available, Miss Werrgggggbbblle, happy to help you.”
*clicks Hold button. No music.*
After ten minutes, I give up and hang up.

I’m not a Dell customer, but I might have been someday.  Now that my encounter with the company has been frustrating and inefficient, think I’ll put myself in a position to call them again?  Probably not.

If someone calls to ask you a question, they aren’t yet your customer.  Make it hard to deal with you and they never will be.

Companies are jumping on the social media bandwagon to get customers to friend them, love them, fan them.  They use Twitter to respond to complaints.  Sure, after the entire Internet has been alerted to them.  Why on earth should we have to drag media into our dealings with them in order for them to do the right thing?

Here’s an idea: Take care of your customers and they will take care of you.  An oldie, but a goodie.

There’s another axiom of customer service that makes me grind my teeth until my head pops..

The customer is always right.  No.

No?  Well, part of the time, except when he is an arrogant, selfish, entitled jerk.  Websites like notalwaysright and customerssuck detail stories from retail, food and tech support people who deal with them all day long.

It’s okay to fire a bad customer.  Someone who always argues with your policies even though he knows you don’t (or can’t) do what he wants, someone who insults you, or doesn’t pay you is a drain on your company’s resources.  He stresses you and your employees and costs time and money.

Retail and food establishments often have signs up that say We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.  Just remember, an angry customer will complain to twice the number of people he praises you to.  If you must divorce him, do it respectfully.

Be a good customer.  Be a good vendor.

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