I’ve talked about not fitting the corporate mold before. This shouldn’t raise any eyebrows. I want to go deeper and talk about the lack of awareness these corporate suits have.
I want to talk about customer service. Everyone has had some form of customer service forced upon them, it’s inevitable. Whether it’s been good or bad, we all have stories to tell.
I want to focus on the higher ups, and what they think customer service is. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that these ass-hats have never actually filled the role of “customer service.” I have to assume these people actually hate us and their employees.
There are always exceptions of course. There are stories of minions making it up the ladder (what they don’t tell you is they can only make it so far without being an immoral douche bag). Naturally I’m not counting mom and pop shops or local business. I’m talking only about the faceless corporations we all visit or call on a daily basis.
I’m speaking about the majority here, not the minority. Some serf usually stands up and claims their loyalty to whatever company they work for. That person is usually stealing pens, takes nineteen cigarette breaks, and has a fake facebook account somewhere so they can bitch about their boss.
I’m not old enough to know when it actually happened, but at some point in the last century, people in charge must have had this conversation:
Suit #1: Our sale figures are down. I only made $300,000 this year. If I want that yacht with gold flake toilet seats, we need to make more money!
Suit #2: I know! I had to buy my daughter a Lexus! Ugh, can you imagine? It only had two heated seats.
Suit #1: So what are we going to do about it?
Suit #2: Eureka! Go with me here, what if we inundated our customers with lifeless offers and demand our employees say a specific greeting, or else we fire them?
Suit #1: BRILLIANT! That should improve moral by tenfold.
I’d be very surprised if that bit of dialogue hasn’t actually happened.
I’m not telling anyone to completely ignore me. I could spend a day in BestBuy and not one person would ask me if I need help. Hell, in Target recently the lady who checked me out didn’t speak a word the entire time.
I want service, but I don’t want it shoved in my face. Stop asking me about your rewards card. Stop asking for my email. (Side note: Everyone who works in the Kingston Mall; Stop asking for my zip code. If I made a Venn diagram, the circles of people who live in Kingston and shop at the mall would fold over completely.)
The worst offender by far, is an old flame of mine; United Healthcare. Uh-oh, disgruntled employee alert! Sound the alarms. No, I’m not disgruntled, I quit because I wanted to and it’s the absolute best thing I’ve ever done.
But hot damn, their idea of customer service? It’s downright ignorant.
I can assure you this happened (probably):
Suit #1: Have you noticed customers are angrier lately?
Suit #2: Do you think it’s because we denied their claim and made them jump through hoops to fix it?
Suit #1: I don’t think so, they generally love that.
Suit #2: Do you think it’s because the phone system asks them for their date of birth and ID number, and then we ask them again?
Suit #1: Feedback shows we’re OK on that too.
Suit #2: Then what could it be?
Suit #1: I know! What if we beat them over the head with more useless questions?!
Suit #2: I like where this is going, proceed.
Suit #1: For starters, let’s make the phone line even more complicated; like adding more options than they need. We’ll blame it on some other department. Maybe get a robot to do the voice over.
Suit #2: This is making me hot.
Suit #1: Ok?…anyways, and then what we’ll do is ask if they have permission to speak on their twelve year old child. You know, the ones who have no idea what insurance is.
Suit #2: This is awesome. Can we do that?
Suit #1: Yeah we’ll just blame HIPAA and tell them this is how we interpret it.
Suit #2: I’m feeling some tingles and jingles.
Suit #1: Right. After they have spent ten or so minutes just getting to someone, we tell them they have to talk to someone else!
Suit #2: Can this get better?
Suit #1: It can! We give customers a survey, so they can bitch and complain about the company. Then we tell our employees we can’t change the scores, even though the feedback was great service.
Suit #2: I really don’t see how this can get any more miraculous.
Suit #1: Just wait for my grand finale. We’re going to send our customers random sheets of paper with as little information as possible. We won’t bother telling them why we sent it; we’ll just leave our phone number.
Suit #2: But won’t that generate more calls?
Suit #1: Exactly! We don’t have to take them, who cares? We’ll just tell our employees to get it done faster, or else.
Suit #2: I feel like this is missing one thing. How can we make it worse for our employees? We clearly hate customers, but sometimes I feel too nice with our staff.
Suit #1: Wait until you see what’s coming down the pipe. When someone calls out sick, or hundreds of people call out because The Day After Tomorrow is happening outside, the people who actually stay and work through the apocalypse…
Suit #2: Yes? Yes?!
Suit #1: We send them an email, thanking them.
Suit #2: That’s it?!
Suit #1: Yup! Maybe they’ll get a paper certificate like 5th grade.
Suit #2: I love this job.
Sorry this ran long, but I felt like the last part had to happen. And I was having too much fun with it. I’m one to be honest though, and the truth is, there are MUCH worse companies when it comes to keeping people on the phone. (I’m looking at you Verizon and TimeWarner, you guys make UHC look like the Better Business Bureau Company of the Year.)
Maybe I’ll get lucky, and someone will print this out and show everyone. If we’re all lucky, they will actually take this to heart. They won’t though, no matter what, because I’m some clueless rebel and have no idea what I’m talking about. (Ahem, perfect training record, ahem.)
Do Something Good