Thursday, June 15, 2006

Times, they are a-changin'

Lately I’ve been thinking about how much things have changed in the past few years alone. For example, I now pay over $3.00 a gallon for gasoline without batting an eye. And I no longer give people weird looks when they’re walking down the street talking to themselves; I just assume they’re on a cell phone.

However, there is one change I’ve noticed that I do NOT want to get used to and that’s the new so-called standard for customer service. In the past week I have had issues with a phone company and a package delivery company. On both occasions I called their 1-800 number and had to deal with a voice recognition system. Instead of simply pressing buttons for service, “Press 1 for phone service, Press 2 for DSL service, Press 3 for new customer...”, the computer asks you questions. This is how one of my conversations with a computer went:

Computer: What can we help you with today?

Me: Uh…

Computer: Say something like “I have a question about my bill” or “I’d like to get cable service.”

Me: Oh. Um….I don’t know where my modem is.

Computer: I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you just said. Please repeat that.

Me: Modem

Computer: It sounds like you’re saying you want to set up internet service. Is this correct? If so, please say Yes.

Me: (silence)

Computer: What can we help you with today?

Me: (press zero, hoping to be connected to a real person)

Computer: I’m sorry, I don’t understand your response.

Me: (screaming into phone) Sales! Sales!

After I was connected to a live person, things went much better. But the whole experience was so frustrating that it will make me think twice about calling that company again, even when I need help with something. I’m starting to think they do that on purpose, that they actually try and discourage people from calling them. They must think that customers are just a lot more trouble than they’re worth.

Unfortunately it seems this level of service has become the norm. I am always surprised when I get to talk to friendly and helpful customer service reps and I don’t have to jump through hoops to get connected to them. It’s so rare these days.

Which brings me to a plug for Verity Credit Union. We make it easy for you to get in touch with us: call us! email us! stop by and see us! There are live people here waiting to help you out. You can even talk to the same person over and over again if that’s what you prefer. We are about developing relationships, which means we WANT to communicate with you. We want to hear what you have to say; we’re listening…

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