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My week of customer service pissiness…

Is it just me…or is customer services in some parts going to hell? It’s been one of those bad service weeks, where trying to accomplish a simple task – like paying a bill, or buying groceries, was unnecessarily complicated. These are some examples of the crappy service I received.

  1. Trying to pay a bill:

Advisor: [picked up after only 2 rings]
Me: [silently, and somewhat prematurely thinks: oh goody, this is going to be easy, whoop whoop!]
Adviser: good morning, my name is Danny, how can I help you today?
Me: [somewhat brightly] hi, I’d like to pay a bill please
Advisor: [unnecessarily perkily] certainly! I’ll just take you through some security questions and I’ll get that sorted for you, can you just confirm your full name and address please?[queue name and address confirmations, and a bonus 10-point security question quiz thrown in absolutely free]
Advisor: and you are the account holder?
Me: yes
Advisor: ok…thank you for getting through security…oh! [brief pause, and scarily rapid typing sounds ensue] I can see here…it’s been a while since your last call, mind if I quickly confirm your contact details are up to date?
Me: um, ok-[queue second bonus 10-point contact-detail Q&A, even though I only have 1 contact number, and one address with them, but I still feel like I’m winning, so…]
Advisor: excellent! Now that’s all checked out…you’d like to pay a bill today is that right? How much would that be for?
Me: [see? Winning!] the full balance amount please
Advisor: miss……are you aware you don’t have to pay the balance off in full? There is a minimum payment amount of [ridiculously low amount which would leave me drowning in interest for the rest of my life], would you like to pay that instead?
Me: [silently, WT actual F?] no, I’d like to pay the balance off in full please, I did
Advisor: ok I’ll just need to ask you some more questions-
Me: but—-?
Advisor: -this is just to make sure that paying the balance off in full is the right move for you. Are you all caught up on priority bills – rent or mortgage, council tax etc…
Me: yes, I’d just like to-
Advisor: -and do you have any other creditors?
Me: -what? Does that matter? I just want to-
Advisor: [in that ‘clearly I’m speaking to an imbecile way’ that only a customer advisor on the phone can manage] miss….miss, I’m just trying to decide…if paying the balance off…in full…is the right move…for you…because we don’t want you to fall behind on priority bills
Me: -it’s fine, I’d like to pay the balance off in–
Advisor: -as that could have undesirable consequences for you-
Me: -full please, and-
Advisor: all things considered, you’re sure you’d still like to continue and pay the balance off in full…is that correct?
Me: [contemplative silence after realising I lost the second I dialled the number]
Advisor: we have other services available, if you’d like to discuss them after you’ve made your payment?
Me: [agitated] I really just want…to pay my bill
Advisor:…..ok. And…just to confirm once more, you are the account holder is that right?
Me: we’ve confirmed this alrea
Advisor: miss…miss…there’s no need to get frustrated, I’m just following procedure. Will you be paying with debit or credit card?
Me: [clenched teeth] debit
Advisor:….and you’d like to pay the balance off in full is that right?
Me:
Advisor: [takes card details…and five seconds later…seriously, five seconds is all it took to completely resolve my damn call!] that’s all done for you [compulsory waffle about how long payment takes to clear] would you like to take part in our surv-
Me: [hanging up with an attitude I carried with me for the rest of the day] argggghhhhhhhhh!
Credit Card Provider: [via SMS 10 seconds later] Thank you for calling customer services. Would you like to take part in a brief survey about your experience today?

  1. Trying to buy something for dinner

Cashier: [smiles] hi there, did you find everything you’re looking for?
Me: yes thanks.
Cashier: [smiles] would you like a bag?
Me: yes thanks.
Cashier: [scans shopping. Smiles] do you have a store card?
Me: no [thinks to self: hey, this is easy]
Cashier: ok, I’ll give you one…I just need to take your name and email address please [smiles]
Me: no thanks, I’ll just take my shopping please
Cashier:…[briefly freezes] this will only take a second [smiles]
Me: the time isn’t the issue, I don’t want a store card
Cashier: [smile widens] but the way it works is, you’ll earn points on your shopping which you can redeem on-
Me: -I know. I don’t want a store card.
Cashier: [does not. Put store card. Down. Smile falters] you can also register it online if that’d be easier
Me:
Cashier:
Me:
Cashier: [stops smiling completely.]
Me: [smiling brightly] I’ll be paying by card please
Cashier: [processes my payment………then drops the damn store card into my shopping bag which I only discover when I unpack at home]
Me: [at home under breath having discovered said store card] son of a-
Cashier: [in my imagination while on the checkout] mwuahahahahahaha

  1. Trying to buy new glasses at a high street opticians

Advisor: [after I selected frames very clearly marked as £89 with standard lenses included] ok that’s £269 please.
Me: [after my heart started beating again] what the damn hell?
Advisor: [stares at me blankly for a minute]
Me: [raises eyebrow] £89. Standard lenses
Advisor: [the bitch sighed at me] no. That’s £89 for the frame, I thought you might like the anti-glare, scratch resistant, anti-fog, UVA/UVB blocking lenses…plus our lenses cleaning kit, that’s a total of £269.
Me: [agitated] Just the standard lenses please
Advisor: what if your glasses fall off your face…or you drop them when you try to put them on?
Me: [walks out. And is infuriated when I walk two streets over to a different branch of the same opticians and the service was fabulous. Although it could have been the attitude I walked in with].

The thing that frustrates me with the chain stores is the lack of consistency. Perfection in one store, nasty service in another. You can maybe get away with that if you are offering a niche service somewhere remote, but in central London (or indeed any city), where for every shop offering a particular service or product there are 20 more less than 10 seconds away offering exactly the same product or service (often for much less money), why  risk losing a customer (and therefore money)? I think I’m becoming a cantankerous old lady before my time. Old fashioned and yearning for a bygone time when one would walk into a shop, tell the assistant what you want and walk out with it 5 seconds later. Sigh.

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