Tuesday, June 4, 2013

This is Customer Service?

So... I finally fixed the grill.  The repair was actually rather simple.  The process of getting the directions was more time consuming and frustrating.

It caused me to stop and really wonder about customer service. A very long time ago when I lived in Germany we had gotten trapped in that stupid AOL circle and trying to get out of it was seriously challenging and involved a lot of phone calls placed to service centers where English was not even a fourth or fifth language. The only reason I remember the call, is the gentleman on the phone said to me, "we do not do customer service over here, if you want that go back to America"... wow... I hadn't lived in the USA as an adult really so I was not sure what he was meaning.  He was being your typical AOL customer Service representative from that time frame, say and do anything but don't cancel that subscription to the service.

Over the years, which have turned into decades I have often pondered that phrase.  Wondered.  Yesterday was another one of those times.  I called, pressed all the appropriate buttons (by the way - I HATE when a machine answers a phone) and waited.  The first call only took five minutes, I am fairly sure I was routed through Canada as most of the call was in what sounded like French.  And they did mention that it was a Canadian call center.  Finally, I get someone that I have no doubt is in the USA.  She was rude and cheeky "yeah what do you need?" and "my bad" where phrases used in the brief conversation as she was popping gum in my ear and telling me I needed to reset the regulator.  Eventually she agreed to send me the directions to do so, and after repeating my email address twice, told me she had sent it. I asked her to wait on the line until I had it... nope, that couldn't happen as she said it could take a few minutes to reach me.

During the time I waited I registered the warranty online and noticed that it said it could take up to thirty minutes to process.  Seconds after hitting submit, it was confirmed in my email.  The directions still were not.

I called back, as she had told me it was a bit time consuming and I was getting short on time. This time I sat on hold for 15 minutes, listening to the beautiful words in French.  Although I do believe they were simply repeating the hold message that sounded so crass in English. Finally speaking to what sounded like the same young lady, I don't know for sure she didn't give her name either time. When I asked to please have the directions sent again, and started to give my email address again she snapped at me "you know give it to me like this n-nancy, b-boy, that is how we communicate here!"  Seriously, I had done that the first time, and had started to do it again during that call.  I made her wait on the phone that time. Kaityn wasn't too pleased but did wait, and seconds later it was there, I finally knew her name as it was on her email.

The repair was simple, just timely.  It was done.

It was not at all a positive customer service experience, I felt that I was simply bothering her.  Is that what the German gentleman had meant years ago?  Or are we simply becoming more and more crass and short with each other as time goes on?  Has the phrase customer service faded away and now they just tolerate us?  I might like the grill now, I don't like the company.  Lunch wasn't much better and we almost walked out of there after waiting 15 minutes to even get spoken to.  I think customer service is going away... I think we have become simply too self serve and throw away....