Is Customer Service a Contradiction in Terms?
There Was a Man Called
Sam Walton. He hailed from Bentonville, AR., He drove a beaten-up Chevy pick-up and he wore average work clothing to make a surprise visit to one of his many stores which you know his name. I could tell you some stories, but I won’t. Time and text will always betray what good thinking I might have.
I can tell you about a Personal Interaction with Walton, because my wife of 43 years worked for him at one of his stores in Hamilton, that is in Alabama, located strategically in Northwest Alabama and right off I-22, just in case you have an itch to visit us. My wife worked (not played around) for 27 years—doing what needed doing; doing what her five different managers told her to do and she came home in tears four out of five days in the week. Guess who was the recipient of her complaints?
Many times I picked up the phone to call my wife’s business number which started with 1-800, but she talked me out of it—she didn’t want to make waves, and with a ton of personal discipline, I put the phone down. But did not forget just how nasty and low her company treated her—and others who were treated equally. Some even worse. And I was supposed to just “turn the other cheek?” I would have been glad to except I had ran out of cheeks to turn. Besides, hard-working people should NOT be treated like livestock. I do not care what country you came from and if you are doing your best and working beyond your initiative, you shouldn’t have to endure such nasty and low life treatment.
Personally Speaking About
“this” company, not only did they try to make things appear that my wife was not doing an adequate job, but would take to dressing her down in front of other employees and customers to boot. These types of treatment are reminiscent of Nazi Germany because you were Jewish. I know you may be upset at this statement—so look it up. I promise. You will find plenty of information and data that will back me up on this awful facade.
As my Capsule Introduction states, ‘Personally Speaking,’ I can attest to the fact that in this same company where my wife worked, I met with this same time of mistreatment more than one time when I was taking on the role of a money-paying customer. And there was a time in our country when the word, “Customer,” stood for something. It meant that when “Customers” chose to darken the doors of American businesses, they stood for something more than valuable—how about “Needful” to keep the doors of our stores open? How about a term, “Cannot operate without the Customer?” If you stop and think about these terms in an honest light . . .you might start looking (like I did) from a new viewpoint and when you arrive at the same place where I once stood, you might feel the same as I did. Shameful. This is the only way that adequately-labels the way my wife’s company still operates. Please say that you read the previous statement!
as the unfortunate times when I walked into this huge store and had the ignorance of the fact that Customer Support actually meant just that .. .Customer, meaning someone just like me who supports (a) company and Support, meaning (the) customers help to keep businesses afloat. Boy, was I a fool!
I would go on record as telling you the coup de gra was NOT the idea of Customer Support, but how customers were, and are supported. I can tell you from a personal basis that during these very sad times of when I was the (mildly) disgruntled customer, I found out something that I did not expect: the term, Customer Support has faded, for lack of a better word, in our Great land.
Maybe not faded as it were. How about Machine Like and Ritualistic? Tough terms for a tough time. Customer Service was once what helped a business thrive and if one customer was not happy because of (that) business, the Customer Service Technician would stay as long as it took to make the customer happy—it didn’t matter if the customer’s need of being a happy camper took past five o’clock, the Customer Service Tech did not mind. Try and get “that” type of service in (most) places in 2019!
Customer Service today means going-through-the-motions; looking up an answer for the unhappy customer in some manual written by the higher-up of the company, but no longer occupies that corner office. Try it sometime if you don’t believe me—I have had Customer Service rep’s put on that mannequin-style smile, look right through me and if they would not try to “do what was necessary” to help me in less than fifteen-minutes, so be it. So long, Mr. Customer. Nice knowing ya’!
Along With the Human Side
of this sensitive subject, the bigger companies have found out that real human beings with real feelings—compassion, care for the other person, need not apply for employment. It just don’t happen. At least from a human standpoint. But now if you look from the level of Phone-a-Customer . . .I hate it for you.
Today’s Customer Service rep does not really hear what you, the customer, person who is spending money each month to keep a telephone, any telephone, electricity or water, and you run into a problem that takes you making contact with someone who works in Customer Service, good luck. I know of a huge telephone company who does NOT have a Customer Service number—no “800” number where we, the Disgruntled Customer, can vent to a caring human who would take our valid complaints to the business owners and get the problem solved, I said to someone at this Giant Telephone Company, so I am just wasting my time with you and they quickly agreed.
The Customer Service, in some businesses, those who are brave enough to hang out their shingles to “Help and Serve,” (sounds like the police, huh?), and have a rep that you have to discern their intricate maze of Telephone Prompts where you are either going to Hit 1, Say 10, Knock Three Times if You Want in, and in about half-hour, you get the same annoying male computer voice that states: “Your average call will be answered in 38 minute,” and like me, I was a sucker with (that) stupidity.
The time that I did follow the Prompts, jump through the asinine hoops only to meet with some unnecessary wait time . . .it was always More than the time said to me . . .38 minutes ended up being an hour or so and then when finally a human being got on the line, I made sure that the rep was a real human being before I unloaded on some faulty product or service that I had been lured into buying, that Customer Service rep told me that the problem wasn’t their fault, but mine!
So, I said to this sharp-talking Customer Service rep, although the problem is with YOUR company, (I am left) to try and fix this problem although I an well-within the Warranty that YOU sent me? “Yes! What else can I do for you”
I would have answered that last question, but I had too much self-respect to prostitute myself any further to get my telephone to work properly.
March 12, 2019______________________________________
If you are working in a Customer Service area of your company or business and doing your very best to take care of the needs of your customer . . . then this hub is NOT to you, but if this piece has affected you in some way, I am sure that YOU did not initiate a non-caring attitude toward your customers. I am the first to admit that sometimes (a) customer comes along that no matter how much or how long you or your managers work to solve the customer's problem . . .and still, it doesn't work and the angry customer leaves, do not worry. You did your best. That is all any of us can do.
© 2019 Kenneth Avery