What Ever Happened to Customer Service?
Those who know me are aware that my email account was recently hacked by scammers hoping to scam all of my contacts. You can read my rant on the wasted time and frustration of changing all of my accounts to a new email address and rebuilding my contacts from the ground up on my Writing to be Read blog, (“I’ve Been Scammed!”), if you are interested, but here, I’d like to discuss a deficiency in most Internet hosting services, which I’ve have discovered as a result of all the hassles that the hackers have caused me.
Through my struggle to regain access to regain access to my hacked email, I learned the hard way that there are no contact numbers for Windows Live, the Internet service provider for hotmail. When something goes wrong, the only recourse that a customer has is to post the problem in their customer service forum. Your post will eventually be answered, but their moderators are not actually technically knowledgeable, and can only refer you to generalized trouble shooting articles and offer very basic solutions. If you respond that their suggestion did not work, they simply refer you back through the same steps over and over, without really hearing what you are saying because they don’t have a clue as to what to do to actually fix the problem. There is no talking with a live person to resolve the problem quickly, such as many individual sites and most reputable companies offer. You make a post and then wait, sometimes up to two days for a response. Then you try what they suggest, and if it doesn’t work, you post and wait again. My email was hacked over two weeks ago and I still haven’t regained access.
Today, I learned that the same is true for Google, as I tried to determine how to fix a problem with my Adsense account, that I suspect is connected to the problems I am having with the hacked email. The account has been placed on hold, for whatever reason, and it tells me that I must take action to fix it, but won’t allow me to leave the page I logged in on to do anything about it. Google also refers you to a forum for all problems and has no contact numbers or emails where you can get assistance. I suspect that it is the same with most of the other service providers, as well.
Now, most companies that I have ever dealt with have customer service numbers, or at least an address that you can write to in order to receive assistance with a problem or file a complaint. Granted, some of them employ service representatives that can barely speak English and are very hard to understand, but at least you know that there is somebody there to try to help. Why is it that Internet service providers don’t feel that they have to do this? Do they just enjoy having frustrated customers and like to see how ticked off they can make them by offering solutions that don’t really help? Are we just a form of amusement for them? Because customer service forums are slow and ineffective, as far as I can tell. I maintain that they do it this way because they can. The customer really has no choice, but to put up with it. They are the ones with the problems, and they are basically, at the mercy of the service providers. They can change service providers, but if all customer service is handled in the same way by other providers, what good would it do? We could call for a strike and ask everyone to stop using these services until they offer real support for their customers, but somehow I doubt that it would be very successful. So how do we get them to offer live customer support? I don’t know. I don’t have the answer, but I think that as a service provider, they should all be obligated to do so. The frustrations that their customers are put through to try and solve a problem are ridiculous. It could almost be considered cruel and unusual punishment. I imagine there are a lot of you out there that feel the same way I do, judging by some of the forum posts that I have read while trying to figure all of this out. Any ideas on what can be done about it?