I was something in the 60s but now I'm just sixty something.

Customer Service

on September 8, 2012

Do you see a package here?

I’m so glad big companies did away with their outsourced call centers. You know, the ones where we couldn’t understand what anyone was saying. Things are so much better now that nobody at all is working in customer service. At least the automated voice doesn’t hold it against me when I tell her to bite me.

I ordered a replacement water filter for my refrigerator and after being assured it was in stock I chose to pay extra for a quick delivery. When it hadn’t arrived in two and a half weeks I decided I should call the appliance company back and check on my order. I began this ordeal with an attitude of patience because if I spent time doing this I could put off something I wanted to do even less. There was the usual “push 1”, “push 2”, “your call is important to us” bullshit. If they really thought it was that important they would actually pick up my call. Their real strategy is to make you give up and hang up. When I finally got through to someone she assured me that according to the tracking number my water filter had been delivered. Wrong! I know it never landed on my doorstep. I paid for three-day delivery and was watching for it. I know what time the truck comes down our street. I was home that day at the exact time of said delivery. The appliance company told me that since they had received confirmation of the delivery it was up to me to deal with the delivery service.

Next I called the delivery company’s 800 number whose mechanical voice gives you three options, none of which is to report you didn’t get your package. Neither is there an option for speaking to a real person. They did offer a list of local stores with addresses and store hours. This might have helped if I wanted to send something instead of receive something. Then I discovered if I waited around and pushed “1 for more information” I could get a phone number to a local store. I doubted the locals could help me but I figured they would know who could.

So I called one of the local stores and a real woman actually answered the phone! I asked her, in pressurized speech, before she could hang up or put me on hold, how I was supposed to report that I had never received a package that was recorded as delivered when the number you are supposed to call doesn’t allow for that. I concluded she must get this question frequently because she answered in an equally manic voice that if I were to press “0” four or five times at three-second intervals I would get an operator. Then she immediately hung up before I could thank her. Or ask her anything else. No one calling the 800 number could had uncovered this information simply by listening to the menu. Do they actually want customers?

So again, I call the 800 number for the delivery company but this time I am running out of patience because by now an hour has passed and I am beginning to think of all those things I hate to do that I could have gotten done in that time.

Then I found myself in conversation with a machine.

“Press 1 if you…,” the mechanical voice chirped.

“Bite me. I’m pressing 0,” I replied.

“Press 1 if you… ”

“F*** you. I’m pressing 0.

“Press ‘1’ if you…”

“Ha! You think I’m stupid? I’m pressing 0.

And so the conversation went until at last I got a real person. I explained my problem to the man and was then put on hold until I could to talk to “someone who could help me”. While holding I’m wondering what the first man was paid to do if he couldn’t help. At last the lone customer service worker in this multi-billion dollar shipping company cheerfully explained to me that the appliance company I ordered from was the account holder and they would have to initiate the tracer investigation for claim purposes. I bit my tongue until it bled because she was real and obviously overworked  and my mother taught me not to swear at people. Then I dialed back right where I started from.

In the meantime, there is a bright, blinking, annoying warning indicator on my refrigerator lighting up the kitchen at night. And although I have paid for a replacement part I have no idea when or if I’ll ever get it. Anyone want to place any bets?

Could it be here somewhere?

14 responses to “Customer Service

  1. Dave Steven says:

    Dare to try one more call center? You may have recourse thru the credit card company you used to place the order.

  2. Charlotte (Toddy) Phillips says:

    Look it, she just wants her damn water filter …. As far as Customer Service goes .. those days are gonzo duck … as national radio talk show host, Clark Howard, says …. “CUSTOMER NO SERVICE” !!!!! If she tries one more call center, she’ll probably be dusting off her AK-47 …. and then what’s the future of this blog ????

  3. Charlotte (Toddy) Phillips says:

    You, Me and Patty Hearst, Baby …. oh, and don’t forget to include Bonnie, but let’s leave Clyde out of this one ….

  4. Cindi Hamilton DiMichele says:

    Just have to add my personal favorite:” Did you know that we can now be reached online at http://www.jokesonyou ? We have answers to all your questions …” To which I reply in very loud, totally non-pressurized speech (love that descriptor, Philis!) :”Seriously?! Do you think we’re f’n morons?!”
    Like there’s an idiot alive who wouldn’t peruse all the stupid FAQs100 times if they could avoid dialing 1-800? So yeah, we’ll continue to hold.

    Philis, you know those tv warnings “this show contains graphic images that may scare the bejeesus out of you”? In the future, please consider warning your readers accordingly, if appropriate. I am rather sensitive, so just reading this has me ready to kick my cat, yell at my husband (which is ok, he deserves it for something); my blood pressure has risen to the hypertensive crisis level, and my head is pounding.

    I’m beginning to think the 1-800 conglomerate is trying to solve the health care crisis and the world population problems with a single method. If they drive you insane, the psych hospitals and various therapists will increase health revenue. A much larger benefit will occur with customer strokes and heart attacks. The world population solution? Easy – death by phone.

  5. Williams says:

    Good Read. I do all through Amazon now. To include my last water filter. Never have to call just send an email and then I have refunds, rushed tracked replacements etc. No need to live in the sixties. It’s Amaz-oning!
    With the Internet you can chat live, no need to call anymore. I believe it will only get less resources and thus worse!

    • sixtiestosixties says:

      We order off the Internet all the time. When things go the way they are supposed to great. When something gets wrong that’s when you end up in 1-800-hell.

  6. Scott Miner says:

    Hey Philis, love this blog! I’m with ya babe, does anybody remember AOL? I sadistically timed a
    “customer service” call once with them at over two hours. Seems that when TimeWarner bought them, they wanted to appraise their value, but like the ‘ Emperor’s New Clothes, it turned out there was nothing of substance there! Bank of America is headed the same way in regards to ‘telephone customer service’ ( is that an oxymoron?).
    Ah, thanks for turning me onto your blog, it’s nice to have a place to rant and vent.

    • sixtiestosixties says:

      Well, “Customer Service” did turn out to be more of a rant but mostly I just like to try to coax a laugh out of my readers. Someone told me the job of a good writer is to draw the reader in to the story. Apparently this one drew them in too far because a lot of people got pissed. Touched a nerve in the collective experience.

  7. sixtiestosixties says:

    I see to have struck a nerve here.

  8. Charlotte (Toddy) Phillips says:

    Philis: you didn’t strike a nerve with me …. I’m good with it …. after all, customer service’s main priority, if I’m not mistaken, is to job is to knock us off our rocker and it looks like they’re getting the better of us …. HA … and I agree with Scott … B of A customer service now resides in the toilet or “turlit” as Sue Health Mincher calls it …..

    • sixtiestosixties says:

      What I meant by that was they everyone has had such bad customer service experiences that they are beyound laughing it off and reading about it pisses them off all over again. Kind of like “we’re mad as hell and we aren’t going to take it anymore.”

  9. Cindi Hamilton DiMichele says:

    Your “we’re mad as hell and…..” reminds me, I was thinking after reading this that Customer Service will continue like this as long as consumers keep tolerating it. I give high praise for them to pass on if their customer service is outstanding – fast, polite (but not TOO polite if you’ve been there). We’re all so hurried we don’t have time to write letters telling them we’re no longer buying their products. If anyone comes up with a great idea, we could start a movement – of change.

    I think you realized, my ranting above was tongue in cheek, for the most part!

    Your writing is great, Philis, always witty!

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