"And How Are You Today Ma'am?"

Wednesday, Mar 15 2017

The Perils of Customer Service

Posted by Lena Georas

I think we have all been there. A problem with the internet, the bank, a credit card, a subscription, a return or in the worst case, lost luggage.... and you have to place the dreaded call to customer service. In the highly connected global world we live in, this can be risky business. You are already frustrated and most likely annoyed or even angry. You are working under a deadline, have a conference call in 5 minutes, have entered all your information, and you are still on hold listening to the same recorded message interspersed with music for 15 minutes.

Suddenly, a human voice, a sigh of relief. And then comes the “And how are you today Ma’am?” First of all, I do not want to tell you how I am, so I resent the question being asked. We are not friends, you are there to facilitate a problem.  If you are lucky, the phrase will have been said in well spoken understandable English, if not, it may take two or three attempts . “What?” “Can you speak clearer?” “I cannot understand you.”

You are a good global citizen, considerate of all working people world wide, but your blood pressure rises. Here we go down the path of having to decipher a foreign accent. The clock is ticking and you state your problem hoping for a speedy and efficient response. Instead you get a paragraph of scripted text that is entirely disingenuous purporting to care about you and the issue at hand. You perfunctorily state your problem again, and plead for help. The script continues and you start to get angry. Then you are placed on hold again, because what should be a simple solution turns out to be a complicated affair, and you have to go to tier two of customer service.

Eventually, if you are lucky, the problem gets solved. You are running late, everyone is waiting for you and now you have to hear the scripted ending. Several questions ensue in an ingratiating voice that is now seeking affirmation “How was your experience with us today  Ma’am?” “Is there anything else I can help you with?” “Would you mind rating this call as soon as it is over” “Have you heard about our new service?”  You give yes or no answers to get the call over with ASAP.

Relief, and exhaustion set in. You start to ponder the perils of customer service: how did it get to be so bad? It is a service after all. It is supposed to make you feel valued, it is supposed to address you as an individual and most of all,  you do want to feel you have been understood and taken care of. Human interaction is valued when it is genuine and authentic. The semi-robotic scripts of customer service are alienating and frustrating. And with all due respect to those employing representatives whose first language is not English: please help them do their job better. I am sure they are eager to learn.

Enough said! At LAMOU we are very pleased to have been awarded Best of Houzz 2017 for customer service. We value customers as individuals and are interested in you. We genuinely want to help and we love hearing from you. So continue to call or write us and we will be on board to help you with whatever you need!!

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