Friday, November 21, 2008

Customer Service Woes

These days, if I have to call Bank of America I won’t do it. I haul my lazy ass into a branch and make them do it for me. Why? Because awhile back I spent a lovely 70 minutes on the phone trying to get to customer service.

I couldn’t do it.

No seriously. I tried. Using the menus didn’t work. That took me through a maze of automated features with no way out. I make mazes so trust me…I know when I’m in one.

Cursing profanities into the phone didn’t work either. Those attempts came around the 40 minute mark and though they didn’t work I was stubborn and kept insisting that they would from that point on; I just needed to increase their frequency and the volume at which I spoke them.

I tried hitting the zero button. It didn’t work. The only zero was me!

I even got their sales folks on the line and pleaded with them that I was trying to get a real person over in customer service. They routed me to the automated phone hell.

I got back on with sales and explained what happened. A nice salesperson ensured me that they could get me in the right queue. They did. And about 10 minutes into the waiting it suddenly dumped me into the automated section.

I think this should be a reality TV show. Find 10 or so normal people and give them tasks to do with various customer service departments and watch the meltdowns. That’s good entertainment folks!

People don’t have to solve mazes anymore; they can just try to crack these customer service networks to get to an actual rep. They could have a top score list of those that have made it through key difficult companies.

And all of this was back last spring when I realized I hadn’t received an interest income statement from my bank account as I had every previous year and taxes were due! After all the hoopala it turns out I didn’t earn enough interest income to require them to print a statement. Way to make that one obvious…

31 comments:

padraig said...

> No seriously. I tried. Using the
> menus didn’t work. That took me
> through a maze of automated
> features with no way out.

I took a three week training course at my last job in programming a Lucent Definity One phone PBX and associated voicemail system.

Not once did they ever include any sort of flowcharting... so people who program these switches often know how to make the call jump from one place to another inside the system, but they're never sitting back and making sure that it eventually gets to the right place when it comes out.

I suspect that the advanced class actually trains you to build Holes down which Alice can fall...

VE said...

padraig - I think I might be afraid to see a complete flow chart of one of those customer service systems...there probably is no out.

ReformingGeek said...

Ah, BOA....hubby has stories to tell on them but unfortunately it's called the World Wide Web for a reason so the stories will have to stay at the cursing/water cooler.

I'm glad that I can handle most customer service isses via the Internet but I start to die a slow death when I have to pick up the phone.

I will give credit to one busines that I thought had an excellent customer service process: Charles Schwab. A nice person reset my password and I was on and off the phone in 5 minutes.

bitchlet said...

There is no way out. Whenever I reach an automated help line, I immediately hang up. It's just not worth it!!!

PS- embarrassing surprise over at Quack Quack.

Jacki said...

I hate calling any customer service line, especially for my phone or internet service. It's bad enough having to deal with Tier 1 support (is your computer turned on?), but when they are of a different nationality, and reading off a script? The worst.

VE said...

reforminggeek - Wow, a good one out there? Nooo way! Wow...

bitchlet - I at least try to pre-empt it by continually hitting zero; some of them will take you directly to a phone person that way. Others...not so much. I will be right over to revel in your full embarrassment!

VE said...

jacki - Hey, you know the lingo! Tier 1... You've done this before! Yeah, I laugh when I hear the poor person reading the script and I can hear their household in the background...

Chris Wood said...

You expected to get through? You optimist!

My record is 45 minutes with Orange mobile. Bastards.

VE said...

chris - Ha ha; they were obviously more mobile than you thought if they could elude you for 45 minutes!

Memarie Lane said...

i can't call any company with an automated service. i try to give my account number and it registers my kids' voices in the background and asks me to repeat myself. i end up screaming "I SAID CUSTOMER SERVICE YOU F*CKERS!!!!"

thank god for online banking.

i can't believe you people would rather bring back buddy holly that jim morrison? hello? puh-puh-puh peggy sue over the alabama song? on what disturbing planet???

Megan said...

Failsafe way to get a hold of a person - don't make your payment.

VE said...

marie - Actually, I picked Freddie Mercury but Stevie Ray Vaughn was a close second. I think it's just because I never got to see Queen in concert when I saw everyone else back then

VE said...

megan - True, but sometimes you still don't get to talk to them; they send Guido from the collections company they hired.

unfinishedrambler said...

Since I have nothing to add on customer service woes, I'm going to go to Memarie Lane's comments on Buddy Holly and your quiz.

Without Buddy, there would be no Jim Morrison. Didn't you listen to the song American Pie? ;)

But as for your comments on Freddie Mercury, and hopefully this doesn't come across as a cheap attempt to kiss your ass, VE, but I don't blame you for picking him. A true great.

VE said...

unfinishedrambler - I have respect for Buddy Holly. He was an influence for the Beatles! Who knows what he might have done and influenced had he lived. Jim M. had already done his influencing and we lost him before he really even died. Sort of like Elvis. Funny you should mention American Pie...it's my current parody. Man is that song long. It took awhile to parody that one...

unfinishedperson said...

Um, yeah, about that parody: I do read your blog and did see that previously. I was so focused on my own "witty" reply that I...uh..."forgot" to mention that I did "see" your parody before.

VE said...

unfinishedperson - Ha ha. Did you just swoop in for a witty comment? Actually, the side stuff...it's just bonus...I don't care if people read it or not. I like that with that stuff I don't have to change it out except when I feel like it. But the posting demands, aaack...five days a week I have to slave over giving you good funny content. There...was that a convincing whine?

Megan said...

Nope, not convincing. I want my VE 8 Days a Week, dammit!

VE said...

megan - That's the first thing I'm hoping Obama pushes through...another weekend day...everyone can use the extra time.

The Incredible Woody said...

I always pull the "I-don't-have-touch-tone" trick. I don't think there is any way out of the voice activated ones.

Giggle Pixie said...

I just suffered through a 70 minute wait the other day with my mortgage company, over an issue that was THEIR mistake, which of course only makes me angrier. Wouldn't it seem like seeing how full their queues are and how long the customer wait time is, they'd actually put more people onto the customer service team?

Wait...that would only entice us to call them more often. Nope. They'll never do that.

Serena said...

This really hits home. I spent way too long in customer non-service hell this afternoon. NONE of the infamous automated menu offerings could help me, and I learned that it is completely impossible to get a live person. Finally, after much cussing, I hung up. Then I decided I'd e-mail them. But noooooo, they don't provide an e-mail address, only a "secure message" function on their site. I've already sent 3 "secure messages," none of which have been answered. I'm trying to come up with a Plan C now.

VE said...

incredible woody - I've tried that one but some of them don't have that feature....damn them!

giggle pixie - They should have to have their CEO wait for you to answer on your time when you feel like getting around to it. That should teach them!

serena - Sounds like you should Nuke them from orbit...it's the only way to be safe...

colbymarshall said...

I hate customer service lines more than I hate my Uncle's disgusting toe fungus. Seriously.

I am Arizona; a person, not a place. said...

Comcast has been pretty good to me, but Sony and Bank of America are HORRIBLE. And HORRIBLE PEOPLE work there.

R2K said...

: )

NYD said...

If you want to talk to someone at customer service try witholding payment for a couple of months.

when they want their money the'll send real people for you.

GC (God's Child) said...

thanks for reminding me to keep paying off my boa card and NEVER USE IT AGAIN!!!
thanks
no really.
I was about to USE IT AGAIN
I used to bank there--and not even going inside the bank could help me--
the hell I had when they merged with a bank back east (I used to live out west)--the money I lost--the fees I was charged--oh. oh. oh. I'm gonna go lie down.

Jeff said...

Just wait a few more weeks and all the banks will be out of business anyway. Then you'll never have to worry about contacting them again!

eve cleveland said...

VE...
How could you earn enough interest with such a boring institution?

SRV rawks and I am still not over losing him. I blame myself. Some days I think I'm better...but no, the pain just unbearable.
Eve

VE said...

colby - Wow, you must really hate it. I've heard about your uncle...

arizona - They probably test you for horrible right in the interview! Don't tempt me in comign up with details...it wouldn't be pretty

r2k - You've been on customer service forever, haven't you?

nyd - Have you seen those people they send? A little too real for me!

gc - There, there. You'll save more money with all of it in your mattress.

jeff - That's good news. As long as the ATMs keep spit out money for me...

eve - Yeah, that's a bummer about him. I miss him...