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September 20, 2008

Customer Service Nightmares: There is an After

"Wake up, wake!"
I muttered a few expletives, hoped to hell it wasn't relative related (no one dying), because I wasn't in the mood; would you be in the mood if the weather forecaster says 31 degrees Celsius in spring? Jokes aside, I still remembered yesterday's missed delivery.
I grabbed my cell phone. Yes, the butt-crack did call me back, and he picked the wrong person to try the usual customer service trick - using bullshit to diffuse a situation. Why I am the wrong person? Because I've worked as a customer service supervisor and the reason why I can't tolerate this industry is because I had the misfortune of working with people who didn't give a shit about the service bit. Yes, it's an industry that has more white lies or outright lies than Law, but here's the thing that many don't understand (middle managers, etc): good service isn't limited to providing a product, it also includes empathy and not pissing off a client (unnecessarily) with 'chicken-shit' behavior such as avoidance. In other words, if you fuck up, accept it and move forward, and don't try to blame the customer. Butt-crack tried to blame me - I didn't sign the form properly, the signature didn't come through.
"Is that why I can see my signature on my copy?" I asked in my best stainless steel (mincer) voice.
"Yes...but...but-but..." it was the Maharishi 'but-but'. Yeah, whatever, call me whatever name for saying that, but many people think it each time they speak to someone via Bangalore. I think some of them take complete advantage of their eastern accents; it adds more complications, and they go with the flow - if they explain things fast enough, with their accents, then they'll hopefully breeze through. No chance. It doesn't work with me. I can understand most accents.
"But-but nothing," I began, "I sign a contract, abide by your conditions and you don't deliver. That is not great customer service. It's bad ("bery-bery bad customer servish") customer service." And he understood me. Don't let their brief pauses fool you. They do understand. The problem many Anglos have is that many of them think that comprehension declines in proportion to accent. I saw this first hand as a child; my mother read and wrote English, but she had the typical 'New-Australian Greek accent' and many Anglos spoke to her like she had an IQ of 1. Some of these 'accented'  customer service reps, whether they're in India or China or imported, take advantage of this to get out of admitting their failure - they act like they don't understand what you're saying which, in my view, fuels the stereotype.
I told him that he couldn't hide the fact that he didn't call back to inform me about the form. All of a sudden, he had an insight and returns to me about the form? He was lost for words. Then the landline rang, housemate picked it up and he started his sign language. It was another rep, from the company head office. So I amped up my voice so she could hear what was going on. I ended the call, after telling the guy (who said he'd look into it with his manager) with, ''You do that," no goodbye, no thank you, nothing, and picked up the other handset, relaying the entire story to this female, who 'couldn't apologize enough." It seems that he didn't relay her message three days ago. But that still didn't cut the deal. Why confirm a delivery to begin with, to use the form as an excuse? But because she actually apologized for the disaster, I am willing to return to the store this weekend and resign the portion/copy of the form (it had four copies) so the signature goes through.

Such is my Saturday. To come:

2nd coffee


Doctor's appointment



Afternoon: writing

DVD Store (I'm sick and frigging tired of watching crap on free-to-air)



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