Saturday, June 10, 2017

Still Life with Robin: How Did We Do Today? (Do You REALLY Want to Know?) via Wikimedia Commons
by Peggy Robin

I have just spent 45 to 50 minutes spaced out in 15 to 20 minute increments over a three-day period on the phone with “customer service.” After my final, wholly unsatisfactory phone session, I was asked if I wanted to stay on the line for a one-minute customer satisfaction survey.

“Yes, yes!” I said to the automated voice on the phone. “I have lot to say about how much of my time you have wasted while still not solving my problem.” (I realize it’s pointless to talk to automated voices, but that doesn’t stop me from doing it. I also pressed “one” to go on to the survey.)

First question: “On a scale of one to five, with five being the highest and one being the lowest” [OK, I think that scale is understood by everyone who knows how numbers work… but do go on], “please rate your customer service representative for professionalism.” (OK, she was perfectly well-spoken and businesslike – so I guess she deserves a 5. She did not however, solve my problem.]

Second question: “On a scale of one to five, with five being the highest and one being the lowest” [yes, yes, I got how the scale works the first time – you don’t need to repeat it], “please rate your customer service representative for politeness.” (Hmm, not much different to my way of thinking from a rating for professionalism. But sure, she was polite. I’ll give her a 5.]

Third question: "On a scale of one to five, with five being the highest and one being the lowest," [enough already with the scale reminders!], "please rate your customer service representative for her ability to resolve your issue." Now it gets tricky! She was not able to help me solve my problem in the lslightest. I was locked out of my online account. The trouble started three days earlier when I first tried to log in, after some months or possibly years away. It had been so long since I had last tried to sign in, the sign-in requirements had changed. At some unknown, earlier point I was supposed to have updated my online account by adding two security questions. Now the site was no longer accepting my user name and or password, although I’m sure I was entering the correct information. After just two failed attempts to log on, I was told that my account would be locked for 15 minutes. After waiting the required time, I tried again, and ended up with my account locked for 24 hours. That led to my first call to customer service.

At the end of that first call, the rep told me I should just wait the 24 hours, as she had no ability to unlock my account over the phone – no matter how much information I gave her to verify my identity. So the following day, I tried again, and this time got locked out, not just for 15 minutes but for 24 hours immediately. I called customer service again, and after various holds and wait times, this time got connected to a customer service rep who told me, after waiting the required 24 hours, I should NOT try to log in but should immediately click on “forgot password” and try again after retrieving a new password. So another day passed, I got my new password, and successfully logged in. I was happy….for about two minutes. As soon as I tried to do anything substantive within my account, I was brought right back to the sign-in page and required to re-enter the user name and password. But when I entered the new password that had worked fine a few minutes before….guess what? LOCKED OUT AGAIN for another 24 hours!

For the third day in a row, I navigated the voicemail and the various holds and listened to horrible instrumental hold-music, until I got to a customer service rep. And was told, just as I’d been told twice before, that a customer service rep cannot simply unlock a locked account. I still needed to wait the 24 hours and then call back to be helped. This time I asked to speak to a supervisor. The rep dutifully explained – in a calm, polite, professional manner -- that her supervisor could not undo the 24-hour lockout period, either. That was how the system was set up. Neither she nor her supervisor could change it.

I understood; it wasn’t her fault. She was perfectly nice about it, apologetic even. So the answer to question three – did she do her best to resolve my issue? – is yes, she did what she could. I can’t lay the blame on her for her inability to help a customer, if she’s not given the tools to help. I can’t give a young employee a low rating for a service she has no way to provide. So I ended up pressing “3.” What I really wanted to do was give the SURVEY a zero!

I’m tempted to write a letter to the company CEO complaining about the way the website works….or doesn’t!....and add, “What’s the good of having polite, professional customer service reps if they can’t provide any actual service to the customer?” But sending a snail-mail letter to such a poorly-run company, using the even more poorly run, unreliable US postal service, how would I know the CEO would ever receive my letter? Besides, I think I’ve spent more than enough of my time trying to make my point.


Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.  

No comments:

Post a Comment