I am establishing the guidelines for what I will consider good customer service in 2009. This is my oath: If I come in contact with any company using the practices described here I will work to discontinue all business relationships that will result in a monetary gain for the company engaging in reduced or bad customer service.
- Automated phone attendants. Time Warner – gone. Sirius – gone. Any other company want me to answer to a damned computer that poorly impersonates a humans job? Don’t bother employing the computer, just cancel my account. I’ve heard plenty of people say “I don’t mind automated attendants, I just don’t like it when they can’t understand me”. Well, it’s sad to know the human intellect in some people has reduced them to a bowl of brain lard willing to answer to a computer. Do they realize how stupid they sound answering these automated questions in front of other people? This God forsaken technology was adopted by companies for no other reason than replacing humans to answer the phones. It’s sold as “better customer service”. It’s bullshit and I call it. End automated service attendants and put customer service reps back to work on the phones.
- The inability to pay on-line or limited web presence. I can pay my water bill on the Internet. If the municipal governments can do it so can any finance or service company. While searching for a car recently I was offered financing options. I was amazed how many companies don’t offer electronic invoicing or on-line bill payment. As far as I’m concerned they are not worth conducting business with if they can’t accept payments on-line when I want to make one in 2009. Which is actually different than number three:
- Any company that requires scheduled electronic drafting of a checking account for bill payment. I’m about to change my life insurance next week because of this. The only way ING will accept payments on the policy is through scheduled electronic drafts. I’m not letting any company take money out on a schedule when they want. No one’s ever taking money out of my checking account at any time until I authorize it each and every time, not once for a particular date of the month, recurring. The utility companies try to push people into scheduled drafts as often as they can. Even if you are a millionaire and you’re letting any company do this your a fool. If I need to explain why you are a bigger fool.
- Any service or product exceeding the cost stated in a quote, written or verbal. Hidden fees, and other “Misc.” charges can go to hell. I’m not putting up with it anymore. It’s a good thing I don’t have a phone bill because cramming is part of their game. You never know what you’re going to pay until the bill comes. It’s time companies learned to invoice their customers and make revenue without feeling like they have to add small change to the bill using cryptic charges and ridiculous fees. Send me one crammed bill during 2009 and I’ll send you a notice of account termination. Mine will be easy to read.
- Any company that refuses to refund or credit an account for a bad product or service(s). This is the ultimate heeeellll naaawwww. If you sell me crap, you take it back and give the money back. If I pay someone to do a job or provide a service it will be done as expected or it will be refunded. It’s surprising how many stories are emerging about companies that will not refund money when they have provided bad products or services. The Snake-oil Salesmen think they can win. The “buyer beware” mentality that has formulated under the Bush Administration and the best congress money can buy which does not hold companies accountable for their actions has nurtured this prolific, vile attitude in companies. I will learn the art of the lawsuit if this occurs to me this year.
Perhaps they are in charge thanks to the calls for Corporate America and Capitalism at any and all cost. The cost has been reliable products and quality services. It’s been replaced by rampant dishonesty creating consumer distrust and a struggling consumer market. I know full well that great big companies worth billions, some facing bankruptcy, could care less about my one little account. I’m still canceling it if the service sucks.