Friday, January 08, 2010

Of customer service and being blown off

I've often stood in queues, watching some baba ranting about something or other to do with the service we were all in line for. Or some mama. It tends to be older folk. The guy will complain loudly, while looking at you [but not addressing you directly]. These guys this and these guys that.

I tend to be more sympathetic. Especially because a lot of these problems are because of "systems". I've come to accept that problems happen. Knowing that, there's no reason to get all worked up if I can't get some service in microwave time. Besides, I've been the guy on the other side. The guy doing battle with the "system", and getting the blame and the heat. So I'm sympathetic.

I was in a situation recently though which tested my sympathy somewhat. Quite a familiar story. You have a problem. You tell someone. They go to great lengths to explain to you how things work [so you can't possibly be experiencing the problem that you are]. You look back at them in silence, wondering what else you should tell them. And whether the effort of speaking all those words is worth it. It's not. So you hang your head in resignation and saunter off.

Like I said, problems happen. My qualms are not about that. My problem is that these guys know that there's nothing I can do. I know it too. I have no options. Get the service from somewhere else? Maybe. Chances are the other guys aren't much better. Or worse. There's no other guy. So. Tough. Me and my problems? I'll just have to deal with it. Suck it up and get on with life. This seems to be the situation that many companies put their customers through. And since I don't really like blaming the chic at the enquiries desk, or the guy on the other end of the phone, I feel the buck must stop somewhere higher up. It's one of the reasons those guys earn the big bucks isn't it.

I don't expect there to be no problems. I don't expect problems to be solved ASAP. I don't even expect problems never to recur. All I want is to feel like someone cares.

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