This week Kat, from Three Bedroom Bungalow joins Toni for a chat about customer service calls. Kat is an American living in England.
When my family first moved to the
I was in charge of setting up all the accounts for the new house. This included of course the phone, the water, the TV, the TV tax, the electricity and the list goes on. I however was not bothered by the fact that I had to set up all these accounts because I was having entirely too much fun listening to the messages that these companies had on their phone lines while I was waiting to speak to a real life human being. UK
There was the bog standard bad muzak being played, however, occasionally a voice would break in and remind you that your satisfaction was very important. In fact, your satisfaction is so important that the voice would then start to profusely apologise for any inconvenience that you may experience while holding for a representative. Wait, what? Do people not expect to hold for a representative here in
? Am I supposed to be connected right away all the time? What foreign concept is this? I actually found it so funny at first that while I was doodling on the piece of paper in front of me that I wrote down the entire hold message to read out to my husband when he got home from work. It was that funny. UK
Of course I later learned that, no, I am not going to get through automatically to a representative. British telephone customer service just dictates that they must apologise no matter what. Even if they have done nothing wrong. I could be calling to tell the company that they have the best service ever, but if I wait more than a tick, I had better be appologised to!
Now I just wish that the utility companies who have the best hold messages ever would train the shop assistants that barely acknowledge my existence.
The thing that always makes me laugh about customer service calls in the States is the voice prompt call. When my kids know I’m on one of these calls, they gather round to watch the show.
The fact that my telephone number has two fours in it kicks things off as British pronunciation apparently sounds more like “oh”. Then I have to attempt an American accent to spell my name H-A-Aaaaaarrrrr –G-I-S, at which point the kids are on the floor pointing at me and muttering about Jack Sparrow
Then I’m on hold, which is interrupted every thirty seconds by a soothing female voice telling me my call is very important to her but why don’t I sod off to the web site and stop wasting everyone’s time. Well not quite, but it’s very obvious that Internet is their preferred method of communication. Tough if you’re phoning about a computer or web site problem isn’t it?
When my call is finally answered the introduction is so long I forget why I’m calling. Last week I wanted to find out where I could by my vacuum bags, which seem to have been discontinued (just the bags, mind you). After being re-routed to Uranus and back, the nice man wouldn’t answer my question until I’d set up an account.
“Why do I need to set up an account to ask you a questions?”, I pleaded.
“So that we have all your details if you call again”, was the nonsensical reply.
“Never mind, I’ll just do a web search”.
Thank you for calling. Is there anything else we can help you with?”
It’s enough to drive you to the web site.