I know that we’ve still got a couple of days left to go, but so far this has been a bad week with regards to me having to deal with customer service departments.
Two different companies – my bank and the company that prints my books – and two questions that were admittedly a bit complicated, but still, not impossible to solve … I can say this because eventually someone in each company did finally take the time to really dig in and get me the answer that I needed. But my point is – it didn’t happen the first time, and that really frustrates me…
I’ve worked at a call center before and I certainly witnessed the bad reps firsthand – the guys who would tell the customer that “they could see it going through the system right now” and how it would conveniently be done just after their shift ended, or the girls who would take escalated calls as each other’s supervisors so as to keep their actual boss in the dark about the lackluster service that they were offering. I get that the job sucks and there are lots of reasons to be grumpy, but I still believe that you should still come in and give at least a decent level of service for the paycheck that you’re receiving each week.
In each of these instances this week, my first e-mail was responded to with text copy & pasted straight out of a help file, which would’ve been fine if it had actually addressed my problem, but it didn’t … it fact, I had already read that help file and it didn’t, well, help! That’s why I mentioned in my e-mail that I had already done this and that to try and circumvent the entry level, “WTF – RTFM!”-ish response that’s all too common. Just like how I try to reboot my cable box before I call because I don’t want to waste your time any more than I want you wasting my time…
The next e-mail after your typical, copy & paste response is tricky, though – you want to be firm and assertive, but not a total dick because you do still need their actual help! Sometimes I’ll say, “Please re-read my original ticket – issue not actually addressed.” or sometimes I’ll try and distill my original question down to its simplest form, “Why can’t I access this feature with my account???” Admittedly often times I provide as much info as possible when I open support tickets because I’d like to think having all of the pertinent info right in front of them would help to resolve my issue faster the first time, but of course, that’s not always the case!
In this week’s twin stories – one of the two companies got back on the ball on the second try. My printer answered my original question and apologized for not catching it the first time … same rep, as far as I can tell … but for the bank, also the same rep’s second reply was even more nonsensical copy & paste BS that didn’t even apply to my situation, so at that point I threw in the towel and ended up calling them to get an actual answer. It turned out that there was indeed a technical problem from when my account had recently transitioned to them over the weekend and after making a couple of changes, suddenly I was able to refresh my screen and see what I had expected to see in the first place clear as day. Finally!
Customer service in this country measures itself on all the wrong metrics – I don’t care how long you keep me on the phone, as long as you’re polite about it and you’re actually fixing my issue behind the scenes. I don’t even care if you have to hand me off to another team, as long as the turnaround is still reasonable and somebody actually calls me back when they say they’re going to. I don’t expect everything to be right the first time – mistakes happen, but when somebody calls or sends an e-mail to bring them to your attention, you owe that customer at least as much time as they put into writing the e-mail to you in the first place.
Copy & Paste responses are fine for those ignorant customers who don’t bother to do any research on their own, but for the rest of us, actual insight and troubleshooting into our issues is both expected and appreciated.