Day 158. Great Expectations

I had no internet service Wednesday night. Not sure exactly when it went out. I started trying at 7:30. It was after midnight when it came back. It’s annoying and servicefrustrating to be sure. But it happens and probably can’t be helped (I can just feel my nose growing. We all know I’m not this nice). What pissed me off beyond the beyond, though, was the unforgivably bad customer service.

Tried calling. Could I get through?

Can pigs fly? For the first couple of hours I didn’t even hear that ‘connecting’ sound. Right after I dialled the number I got a recording: “The circuits are busy. Try again.”

Why I even bothered, I cannot say.

Bullheadedness, I guess. Obviously I’m a glutton for punishment. And clearly I’m the type of person who might press on a bruise, because I’m enough of a sicko to think it feels good. If this is true, I’ll bet I’d have a lot more fun with Christian Grey than I have dealing with Rogers.

Anyway, about three hours in I was finally connected to their IVR system. Oh, how I love those. Even on a good day.

Well, this won’t surprise you. It was screwed up. Wouldn’t recognize my telephone number (which had to be programmed in

before I could get any help at all), so I kept getting disconnected. I know you’ve been there, so you’re laughing now. I am too. But I wasn’t at the time.

Oh yes, I persisted. Next attempt got me directly to a ‘sales’ guy. No IVR. He had no info. Other than to tell me they were experiencing an outage. Well imagine if I hadn’t reached him. I might never have known. “I’m in sales”, he said. “That’s all I can tell you.” Then he offered to transfer me to Tech Support. “But”, he cautioned, “You’re going to be on hold all night. I’ll do it if you want, but I wouldn’t recommend it.”

No shit, Sherlock! And has anyone ever bothered to tell you how useless you are?? Thank your lucky stars you don’t work for me, mister.

Want to hear the topper? Please say “yes”. On Facebook yesterday morning a friend posted a notice he saw on their website in the middle of the night, after service was back up. “We are experiencing an outage impacting wireless data service in southern Ontario. We are working to resolve this ASAP & apologize for the inconvenience.”

How customer centric of them. There is, however, one teensy little fly in the ointment. If we had no internet service, how would we see the lovely message? Putting it on the website was not what I’d call a ‘big’ idea. Or particularly helpful. What do you think?

What about having a recording when people ‘call’ you? What about having a phone system/IVR that works properly? This happens constantly. It is not a one-off. What about training your employees? What about hiring smart people in the first place? What about raising your own corporate standards? Do something, instead of merely shrugging your shoulders, wringing your hands and saying “Well, what could we do?”

Which brings me to the point of this post.

People don’t really give a damn. What ever happened to taking pride in what you do? To ‘wanting’ to do a good job? To exceeding expectations? Whether it’s ‘customer service’ or plumbing or engineering or copywriting.

Throughout my career, regardless of the agency I was with, the work ethic remained the same. Whether a client wanted a simple postcard, letting customers know a special offer would soon expire, or a television commercial with a budget in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, each and every job received the same attention. From everyone involved. Big or small. As it should be. Nothing less would be tolerated.

It was a culture that started at the top, and worked it’s way through the entire agency. From city to city; and country to country.

Admittedly, I’m a tough taskmaster. I settle for nothing less than a best effort from myself. So I figure it gives me the right to expect it from others. I won’t settle for second best. Mediocre is not in my vocabulary. “It’s okay”, is not okay with me.

There’s a Thomas Edison quote I absolutely LOVE. It’s the story of my life. I wish it was the story of more lives:

“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”

23 thoughts on “Day 158. Great Expectations

  1. I can hear your anger and frustration from between the lines and seeping from everywhere else. Yes, those experiences are insane, and you are helpless as an alcoholic staring down a bottle of scotch.
    I agree with your expectations, but haven’t much hope that they will come to pass. Good luck to us all!

    • Frustration, yes. Anger, no. It’s not something I would bother getting angry about. This company has huge customer dissatisfaction issues. So does their competition, so they don’t do anything about it. On any given day, even when there is not a service outage, you are on hold for a minimum of 30 minutes trying to get to a human who can answer your questions. Then they cry the blues when they lose customers by the droves. Their churn is unbelieveable. I just have zero tolerance for this kind of bad service. It is unnecessary. And what companies don’t realize is, customers now have the power because of social media.

  2. Dear Fransi! I was trying to reach you, sent you few comments, but i’m afrad they went into spam:(
    I nominated you for a Beautiful Blogger Award:)
    Plz come and pick it from my blog, post name is “Beautiful Blogger Award”. you’ll find your name in the list:)
    Kindest regards! I’ll be visiting!
    Sofia Siberia

  3. Oh wow, what a coincidence, we are without internet and phone sporadically the last week and to boot our supplier’s phones have all been disconnected so I have to physically drive to the very unprofessional branch office to see what they hey is going on….some problem with their “trunk”….??? I agree customer service is a thing of the past. Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. Is there anything worse than that angry helpless feeling? I live in a one cable-internet town (the modern equivalent of the one-horse town). They can be downright arrogant when a problem occurs. I’ll leave you with my take on an old Irish blessing. May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be at your back and may the internet always connect.

  5. Thanks for my first LOL moment this morning. Your mention of the notice posted on Facebook, while service was not available, did it for me! I agree with you about the “M word” – mediocrity appears to be the high end of service these days. Sigh …

  6. Fransi, I so understand how you feel.
    We used to have a very successful ceramic tile business (pre 2008), and advertised everywhere: “Satisfaction Guaranteed” with Lifetime warranties on most of our work. People said we were crazy, and that we’d go broke. The fact is, our passion was exceeding our clients expectations. Aside from one person I can recall, who’s life’s mission it was to be dissatisfied with Life, we had a %99.99 satisfaction rate. No complaints, only high praises, and no warranty work. It comes from within. It’s personal integrity, without it…. nothing. When there’s a monopoly of a service, seems like it’s their license for (less than) mediocrity.
    But, “word of mouth” advertising is the best.

    I think I could work for you, Lady. I hope you have a stellar weekend!

    • Good for you! And doesn’t it feel great knowing your customers loved doing business with you? I have nobdoubt you could work for me. :). Stellar weekend to you, too.

  7. Must’ve been that “gremlin in the engine” my grandpa used to refer to…we also had an internet outage here in northwest Indiana!

    Luckily, our provider is usually decent about their customer service.

    Good customer service seems to slowly becoming a thing of the past, especially with these big companies.

  8. It’s crazy making. I have to say my internet “service” is so good, the actual service part of it. I’m grateful for that. Oftentimes my dealings with the behemoth company are very good too. But the majority of the time they are SO SO SO SO BAD! 🙂

    It’s funny you bring this up as this morning I had to go get three perfect color copies made of something so I went to Staples. I went with a pocket full of quarters. It was a big deal in their Copy Center as the idea of just going in for 3 copies was WAY too simple for the huge impersonal operation they’ve got going on there! You’d think they could handle such a small and easy request? (I wound up having to put my credit card in for a $1.47 total or something and they weren’t even really sure what to charge me).

    How strange we are.

  9. In my 15 years at working for a major retailer who I often refer to on my blog as “Mecca”, I have watched customer service go straight down the toilet. Unfortunately, in their never-ending quest to cut costs as much as possible to up their profits and stock prices (and of course, executive salaries and bonuses), big companies have come to realize that customer service is an area of the budget that they can hack deeply into without serious repercussions… because it may drive our customers into an angered frenzy to shop at our store, but dammit, the super low prices keep them comping back for more abuse. I never dreamed I’d see the day where there would be times our large store was open for business and not have a single customer service associate on duty anywhere…. but alas, it’s been like that for a few years now.

    Deeply frustrating, but it’s a trend I don’t see reversing itself anytime soon I’m afraid…

    • I hope you’re wrong, but you are probably right. At least until they stop slashing prices. Or until someone else gives them a run for their money.

      Having said that, I do believe that one day it will all come crashing down. More and more people are venting on social media. And more and more people are chiming in and sharing their own lousy experiences.

      It will effect change, but it will take some time.

      That’s my story and I’m sticking to it 🙂

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