Customer Service, What Customer service?

Since I came to Australian more than a decade ago, I have seen a decline in customer service here. Maybe it is because there are more people now than a decade ago or maybe it is just because people have started to care less. 

Normally people are nice to customer service (CS) staff because they know that customer service staffs are just trying to do their jobs so there is no point getting upset with them. But most of the time, these CS staff ignore you and are not helpful. But when you turn into a nasty customer (the one they hate), they make sure you are looked after well and your things are done properly and on time. What has this world come to?   

Here are some examples that have happened in my day-to-day life that makes me realise this world has no place for nice people. 

My home internet and phone were playing up a lot. Internet used to drop unexpectedly and the phone line gave a crackling sound. So we lodged a complaint with our provider on their website as required. The website informed us to wait 48 hours so someone can contact us with the solutions. As a good customer I waited, but when after 4 days no one called I called their customer service department. I had to wait 15 minutes before I could talk to a real person. Then I told him the problem and he assured me that within 24 hours one of their technicians would call back. So I thanked him and waited for the call. 

As there was no call back from anyone, I called them again after 2 days. Again the same story, I had to wait almost 20 minutes on the line before I could speak to a real person. This time too I explained the problem and asked to speak to the right person but got the same answer. The CS told me to wait 24 hours for someone to call me and I did. Even after a week when no one had called back and my patience was running low, I called and I asked the customer service person to put me through to their manager. I wasn’t happy about the situation as well as the poor customer service they had. She put me on hold for two minutes and told me that the technician would come and visit me the next day. I realised then that if you are nice, people ignore you but if you become nasty and angry, you get what you want. 

This is not limited to telephone companies.  A few months ago I changed my credit card type into different type. I asked the person on the phone multiple times that I won’t be charged if I go through with it. Because, if I was going to be charged, I was ready to wait a few more months so I wouldn’t be. He assured me that I wouldn’t be charge so I changed it. 

The first statement of the new credit card came after a month and there it was, I was charged $144 for the change. I was really pissed off because I kind of knew I might be charged so I had asked the bank employee multiple times and he had assured me I wouldn’t be charged. Now I had this statement asking me to pay the charge which I wasn’t willing to do. I called the customer service number and spoke to one of the girls. She was not listening to me when I tried to tell her that someone before told me I wouldn’t be charged and I even asked them multiple times. She kept telling me that it is impossible for someone to say that. Whatever I told her, she kept defending her co-worker so I asked to be put through to the manager. 

She put me on hold and a minute later a man picked up the phone. He was the supervisor. He tried to tell me the same story as the customer service representative but then I reminded him that as their every call is recorded, he should listen to the conversation I had before and then get back to me. In the mean time I wasn’t going to pay my bills. I was really angry as he was making more excuses and not listening to me. Anyway he said, he would follow through and get back to me. 

After 2 days a lady from the bank called and apologised for the inconvenience. Also she informed me that I didn’t need to pay the bill as they knew it was agreed in the beginning that I wouldn’t be charged. I thanked her and was glad that I didn’t back down when both the customer service rep and supervisor tried to make me pay the bill that I didn’t have to. 

Just last week I had another experience. The beauty salon I am using sent a sms cancelling my appointment. When I tried to call them, no one answered so I went there anyway because once before they had cancelled my appointment and I couldn’t reschedule as no one picked the phone to rebook it. The worst part is I had pre paid  so I need to go until the sessions are finished. Anyway I was really upset with the guy there and explained to him that they are not good enough at what they were doing. Customers aren’t able to get in touch with them unless they call the customers themselves. And how is it ok to cancel an appointment just 2 hours prior to the scheduled time? And it was not even the first time they had done it. He said he was sorry and he will make sure it doesn’t happen again. He said he had too many people trying to reach them so they have forwarded all calls to voice mail (I was surprised by his explanation. I am sure they must have cancelled lots of appointments and have not rebooked them). As he saw me unhappy, he gave me a direct phone number to call. I was thinking that they only look after unhappy customers so if someone doesn’t complain then they don’t deserve the service even if they have paid for it. 

Anyway with all my experiences I think I am so sure that if you are nice, you get nowhere but if you are a BITCH, the whole world will make sure you get what you want. Seriously, I am sure I was taught the opposite when I was growing up but I guess the word has changed since then. 

Do share your horrible customer service experience if you have one.  

11 responses to “Customer Service, What Customer service?

  1. I recently called my phone company to change my rate plan to a lower cost. This “customer service” person that I reached after a 10-15 minutes hold and button-pushing keeps telling me that I should not lower my plan since my current usage show that its not enough for me. I told him my usage is more just because i have a higher plan and I can do so, but I will not be using my phone the same way anymore and want to pay the lower bill. This guy would not listen, he keeps telling me that I should not lower my plan cause I would end up paying higher rates for the extra usage and all the crap. I was fully eligible to make that change and there was no questions about that. But this person would not listen, he will just not change my rate plan. I lost my patience and told him to shut the f*** up and just do it, and finally he agreed to change it but warned me that I made the “wrong” choice. It took me more than 1 hour to finish the conversation. When the bill came next month I saw that there was no changes made, I called them again, and explained everything, and this time there was a better person, he changed it and also re-calculated the monthly bill that was sent to me. I would not be complaining if they did that in the first place.

    • Looks like things are same everywhere in the world. I thought Australia was bad as all the customer service centre has been exported out of Australia. All companies here are just thinking about saving money. I like your“I don’t take shit from anyone” attitude. Keep it up as we need that in today’s world.

  2. My reply was very long so I just posted it here:

    So, I do feel your pain.

  3. Pingback: Customer Disservice « Padmini's Svorga

  4. This post reminds me of a song by a band from Gotye (I think they are a band from Australia, actually) …

  5. I nominated you for the Sunshine award!!! come to my website to see what to do,:) Congrats!!!

  6. It’s unfortunate. I’ve been on both sides, in that when I went through my meltdown I was impossible to deal with, but with my brain restored, I’d die before not rendering proper service, and when I was adjudicating unemployment benefits did just that for everyone.

    That said… maybe there is a business opportunity there for you based on rendering superior service.

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