Please Stay on the Line, Your Call is Very Important to Us -- and Other Lies
A while back, I toyed with the idea of writing a book about service in America. I was going to call it, “Service in America Sucks.” I never wrote the book, but the premise was spot on. Service in America does suck. It sucks real bad.
Take today. Please! I called Bank of America to ask a real human being a simple question and got the recorded voice prompt routine. First the voice asked me to enter my user ID. I did. Then it asked for my pass code. I entered that. Then the voice wanted to know what department I wanted and gave me 117 choices. An hour and half later I entered the number for the department wanted. Finished at last!
Not a chance!!!
Then the voice prompt said something like “To better serve you we need to ask a few million more questions so we can both drive you freaking nuts and direct you to the right section of the right department.” Good news. Only 75 choices this time. Half an hour later, I entered another number, this time to get me to the person I needed to talk to in order to get an answer to my simple question.
Then – and I swear this is true (though I may have exaggerated a little bit about the number of choices, etc) – the recorded prompt voice said: “We’re sorry. The office is closed. We’re open from 7 AM to 10 PM Monday through Friday." Ready for this? I WAS CALLING AT 9:30 ON A WEDNESDAY MORNING.
I also called ATT this morning – perhaps the worst company in America when it comes to customer service. After hitting 150 numbers on my key pad I finally got to the department I wanted: "DSL billing." A real human being came on the line -- or the closest you're going to get at the phone company -- and told to call Customer Service – a misnomer if ever there was one – and gave me the number. I called, and when I finally got to another semi-human being in so-called Customer Service, she told me to call "DSL Billing." This is why normal, sane Americans go postal.
I could go on and on and on and on and on, but it would only depress you and me both. Some companies know how to treat their customers – Nordstrom and Fedex immediately come to mind. But so many others, don’t have a clue, no matter how many times that insincere recorded voice tells me to "please stay on the line because your call is very important to us.”
Hey, if I’m that important don’t tell me how important I am, show me. Don’t spend millions on ads trying to BS me into believing how good your service is, spend the money on training people to actually provide good service.
It’s one thing if a nuclear war brings us down. But can you imagine if crappy service leads to the downfall of America. That would be like the doctor telling you that you’re going to die – from a hang nail. Now that would really suck.