Memo to Customer Service Departments

Dear Customer Service Departments:

In my recent call to your service center, I was forced to navigate a nearly interminable set of menu options (which I listened to carefully since I had been assured that they had recently changed).  After I navigated these options, your automated system then gathered data from me.  It asked me to give my name, then my telephone number, and finally my account number, which I did.

Here is the reason for my letter, and my advice to you:  Once you have collected all my information via an automated system, it is just going to piss me off when your human operator picks up the line and proceeds to ask me for this same information again.  I know this seems to be the current industry standard, as practiced by every company from Citibank to Domino's Pizza, but I can assure you it is incredibly annoying and, perhaps worse for you, introduces me to your organization with the initial impression that you do not know what you are doing.  So, either find a way to put the information you have gathered up on the customer service agent's screen, or don't have an automated system gather it.

Thank you.

PS-  By the way, if you really, really want to start our conversation off on the wrong foot, then you should  make it nearly impossible for me to find a menu option that gets me to a real person.  You can get double extra credit for disabling "0" as an immediate route to the operator.  Oh, and make sure all menus are preceded with long-winded customer service notices that have nothing to do with my problem.

Update

  • http://kurifuri.com/ Christopher Fritz

    Whoa, were you calling Medicare, too? I never did reach a human, which is bad as I work in healthcare, and work with Medicare files!

  • http://www.pronetos.com L. Shane Carlson

    Sad and true. Customer service is never found by a mechanized voice. Add Dell to your list of terrible customer service experiences.

  • tribal elder

    A colleague told me he called his cable TV company, and had to press 3 for English. (Life in the BIG city.) I hope he was kidding.

  • Tony Edwards

    Just for the record, McMaster-Carr, an industrial equipment supplier based in Chicago, have a policy whereby the phone is answered by a person within one or two rings, and that person is the one who will deal with queries, take orders, take payments, replace missing items from an order, you name it, they do it. No pass the customer, no automated menus, just good old-fashioned service. Mind you, they are still run by the same family who started the business in 1901. Maybe that has something to do with it

  • Jeff

    Nothing burns me more than having to give my name, address, phone number, account number, mother's maiden name, zip code, last 4 of you social security number, etc. multiple times in the same phone call.

    I know they have it on their screen, either trust the software to route the call correctly or stop using it.

    Jeff

  • http://www.geolgyjoe.blogspot.com GeologyJoe

    This website may help you:

    http://www.dialahuman.com/

  • Damon Gentry

    I've been waiting patiently for FIOS internet and TV from Verizon. Their website confirmation utility informed me that I can get the service in my neighborhood. This sounds reasonable as it has been 3 months since their trucks were running fiber on my street. However, when I used their website to sign up for service, the price presented to me at the end of the sequence was not the same as their offer on the home page. When I called the company and finally got to speak with a person, she stated that Verizon DSL was not available to my home. I said I'm not calling about DSL, I'm calling about FIOS. She said that they don't offer service to my address yet.

    Sometimes I wonder if companies are interested in actually selling the product or service that they advertise.

  • http://www.snavemij.com Jim

    I've noticed that some companies are now bragging - as a marketing tactic - that when you call you speak with a real, live American. I have found it equally frustrating to finally get through to someone who obviously does not speak English as a first language, and trying to understand their accent is an exercise in frustration. I'd rather pay a bit more to work with a company that doesn't make me go through this.

    SO, my added note to Customer Service: Please realize that the minimal amount of profit you gain from outsourcing your support to non-American countries is offset by the loss of goodwill experienced by customers like me.

  • diz

    These days there are models available to tell a firm the expected future value of a customer.

    Some customers, it turns out, are so demanding they aren't worth keeping. Others are worth keeping only if you can spend a minimal amount acquiring and retaining them.

    In other words, "service" is a bit like any other scarce good. There is a cost to providing it, and an optimum level at which it should be provided.

  • http://hallofrecord.blogspot.com Bruce Hall

    Warren, you beat me to this one. I have a post about "Customer Non-Service" in draft and will post it if my suspicions are confirmed that nothing will be resolved about a current issue I have with a well-known company with which I spend about $400 per year in just supplies for the product I purchased.

  • http://hallofrecord.blogspot.com Bruce Hall

    Warren, you beat me to this one. I have a post about "Customer Non-Service" in draft and will post it if my suspicions are confirmed that nothing will be resolved about a current issue I have with a well-known company with which I spend about $400 per year in just supplies for the product I purchased.

  • http://hallofrecord.blogspot.com Bruce Hall

    Warren, you beat me to this one. I have a post about "Customer Non-Service" in draft and will post it if my suspicions are confirmed that nothing will be resolved about a current issue I have with a well-known company with which I spend about $400 per year in just supplies for the product I purchased.

  • m.jed

    I think the website is http://www.gethuman.com - which has navigation shortcuts for many name-brand companies

  • Kelly

    Purely for the benefit of self-therapy, I have to name my personal champions in this category of customer "dis-service." SEARS beats 'em all (must be that K-Mart impact). All insurance companies tie for second place, but a little known health care provider named "Golden Rule" edges the others. Ironically, the Golden Rule tells us, "whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." How do I get them to call me back and suffer through my personal multi-stage menu options?