Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Customer "Service"?

All of us probably have horror stories about bad customer service, particularly with the advent of these automated systems that force us to click through multiple options and which do their best to keep us from talking to an actual human being. However, it seems that at least some so-called 'customer service representatives' have even less understanding off what 'service' means than do the soulless machines they are supposed to be so much better than.

In a case posted online, an actual, human representative at AOL actually refused to let a customer cancel his account, even asking as a last resort to speak to the 30-year-old man's father! The customer, who fortuitously was recording the call, then posted it online and received an actual apology from AOL, along with the statement that the representative in question "was no longer with the company".

I should hope not. If that rep WAS still with the company, it would call into question just exactly what AOL was trying to pas off as 'service'. Though I have not been with AOL in a very long time, my wife is still an AOL Japan user and I dread the moment when we actually cancel her account if this is the kind of service we can expect from AOL.

The moral of the story seems to be that many companies (and not a few politicians and members of the Press) have forgotten what 'service' actually means. It would be refreshing if this incident reminded a few of them that they serve at the pleasure of the people and if they cannot provide the kinds of service their constituents expect and deserve, then maybe it is time to send a few of them home. The same is true of the Press, who have clearly forgotten that their role is not to make policy, but rather report it in a clear, unbiased manner. Or if they are biased (which I believe all humans are) then they should at least let their biases show clearly, instead of pretending that they are without bias.

Hat tip to Matt Drudge.

No comments: