For the past few months I have been engaged in a semi-private study of the customer service industrial complex. First, as noted on here a few times, the goofy people who answer phones in third world countries that handle all of the Comcast customer calls never have a solution, although they always answer and promise to “get to the bottom of your problem, Mr. Matt.”
Sure, we all understand that English speaking Americans are not interested in Call Center work, so corporations like Comcast, Delta Airlines and Verizon, have all sent these sorts of jobs to third world countries, where the underpaid employees are taught to say things like, “you and I will resolve this problem today.” Of course, since they are in some far off land with nothing more than a phone set and a well cooked cat, so nothing ever gets accomplished.
In 6 months Comcast has sent 6 repairmen to my house and countless phone representatives have promised “this will be the fix you need,” which of course never ever ever happens. Status today? Slow and unpredictable internet service, but I no longer call Comcast customer support because those calls only leave me in need of a heaping portion of General Tso’s.
When my crappy Samsung big screen phone continued to turn itself on and off on it’s own whim, I stopped into my local Verizon store, only to be told that while the Samsung phone has a reputation for being a piece of crap, there was nothing they could do about it, except FedEx me a replacement piece of crap phone. That was the promise, but of course, no replacement piece of crap phone ever showed up. So, stupidly, I called Verizon customer service, where I spent an engaging 30 minutes trying to talk with someone named Flan. Promises made, “we will get this problem fixed for you, Mr. Matt.” Still no phone, no nothing. Then, out of the blue, I received a call from someone higher up the Verizon food chain, a woman in Tennessee who works to make sure customers are happy. At first I thought, “now this is how you work with your customers.” She promised to find a solution to my phone problem and said “I will call you back tomorrow and we will have a workable solution for you.” That was a week ago. After waiting 3 days, I called her office back and of course, got voice mail. I left a detailed message and of course, there has been no return call back.
This past Saturday I was on my way to the airport for a flight to Mississippi. When we approached downtown Pittsburgh all traffic came to a complete stop. Not a crawl, not a slow stop and look at someone changing their tire slowdown, but a complete parking lot stand still. I still had a couple of hours before my flight, but I called the Delta Airlines customer phone service line and asked what I should do, since it appeared I may be on a Pittsburgh highway for the rest of my life. The friendly woman at Delta recommended I do not check on via phone, but wait until I was actually at the airport, because I may need to take a later flight. Cost of changing flights? Nothing if done that day, at least according to the Delta phone woman.
About that time a nice person got out of their car and stopped the stupid Kenny Chesney fans from blocking all lanes of the highway and we were soon passing the morons with “I love Kenny” on their bumpers and we raced to the airport. While checking in, a dumpy Delta robot told me that since I was trying to check in with less than half an hour left before my flight, I no longer had a seat, but I could go standby for 50 dollars. I told this robotic woman that I had talked with a Delta phone rep who said there would be no charge and recommended I do not check in on the phone and wait until I was there, at the airport, where I was then standing. Angry robot woman asked for the phone reps name, because that information I received while surrounded by Kenny Chesney oafs was false. As if I write down peoples names when talking on the phone.
She demanded a 50 dollar fee to get on the next plane. I paid it, got on the later plane and missed all the connections. In Atlanta I spoke to another drone Delta employee, who could not be bothered to find a flight that was less than a six hour wait. I noticed this woman was a “trainee” and the other Delta agent sitting next to her kept offering advice to the trainee, but in more than 10 minutes of waiting for the trainee to figure out an option, the experienced Delta agent never offered to just punch all the buttons and send me on my way, that would have been too easy. Of course, the trainee agent was sweet enough to offer me some sort of flight coupon, before sending me on a flight to New Orleans, a city far from my original destination. I did make the flight, but the flustered Delta agent, of course, forgot to actually print up any of the previously offered coupons. Funny how that works. She may be new, but she already mastered the corporate representative mantra, “how may I help, but don’t expect any sort of resolution.”
That’s when I realized that all these people, the ones in far off lands with exotic foods and terrible diseases, and their American bound associates must all attend the same conference on dealing with customers. Whether it’s Comcasts inability to just make an internet connection work, or Verizon finding a way to actually offer phone service, or Delta Airlines, where one agent says one thing, another says something opposite and a trainee makes offers that never appear, they all share one characteristic. Never, NEVER actually do anything.
The corporate representative conference must be filled with educational seminars on how to treat customers with little respect, with no integrity and make offers than never actually happen. Maybe this is part of the decline of the American empire, where the easiest thing you can do to deal with customers is just lie and hope they will just go away.
Which is now my plan. Disengage from the Comcast internet idiocy, cancel the Verizon no-phone plan and fly airlines that have a goal of delivering passengers to the cities they originally were scheduled to land in.
It can’t be that hard to be truthful. It seems like it would be easy to just tell customers, we don’t know, or we can’t fix that for you because we are too cheap to repair our old delivery systems, or “I have no clue what you are saying because I only read the responses I have been given to say because English is my 7th language and the one I do not understand at all.”
I could go on for hours, but right now, I need to call Apple Computer, because my Airbook keeps shutting down and disengaging from both the internet and the Verizon hotspot I had stupidly set up, and all I wanted to do was attempt to send another letter of complaint to Delta Airlines.