Customer Service Crisis

I believe that Customer Service in this country is in crisis. I cringe every time I have to call a 1-800 number. I know nothing good's going to happen. Without boring you with all the details, let me share with you a few items from a call Saturday evening to Dell's Technical Support line:

  • It took me two hours and six phones calls to get support.
  • Each rep I spoke with followed the exact same script, even after I gave them my case number.
  • It was 40 minutes from the time I dialed Dell until someone asked me to describe the nature of my problem.
  • I was chastised repeatedly for calling the wrong technical support number, even though I dailed the number provided in the manual.
  • Even after calling the 800 number given to me by the reps, my call always ended up in the wrong queue.

The net effect is two hours later my problem still wasn't solved. I was told to download drivers from the Internet. When that didn't work, I was told they would mail me the drivers. Why? What's the point? Oh I get it. It gets me off the phone.

I think all this outsourcing of customer service to India is going to backfire, not only against the companies doing the outsourcing but against Indians, too. When I call RoadRunner, I talk to Indians. When I call Sallie Mae, I talk to Indians. When I call Dell, I talk to Indians. And all these Indians that I talk to can't help me. It's not because they're stupid or anything. It's because they aren't empowered to help me. And, unfortunately for them, they end up looking like dumbasses.

To be truthful, it wouldn't matter if I was talking to Indians or Russians or Hoosiers. If the company isn't going to empower its people to solve problems, then their customer service is always going to suck. At the same time, it's really frustrating when you're trying to deal with someone who doesn't understand you. When you have to repeat yourself multiple times and spell things out, it's painful. And, you know as soon as you hear "Hi my name is Sarah" coming from an Indian voice that you are just screwed. That it doesn't matter any more, because the company clearly doesn't care about customer service. If they did, they would have folks who know their products answering the phones.

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