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Seriously, what happened to true Customer Service? Today I am sadly reminded of the inadequacies in training for technical support, or even a lack of care on the side of the employer. Personally, I’ve long seen offshoring as natural selection for the online world we live in, an inevitable progression to de-centralized support that can cheaply cover any continent at any hour. I can (somewhat begrudgingly) get past the broken English, poor grammar and thick accents that need third parties to translate them. What I can’t forgive, is the consistent attitude that the customer is wrong and if you can’t ask a question that’s on the cheat sheet in front of the CSR, then it must be your fault.

I’ve long suffered these issues, which to some extent have forced me into getting the nous for being my own technical support, so that I never need to call support. Today though, I had to get online because even though I knew the issue, it could only be resolved directly, by the company. The problem was simple enough; the city I live in has recently been incorporated into the adjacent city and therefore has an updated address. Unfortunately, the city and zip code are not recognized by the company website (neither have they been updated by Google maps – *tsk *tsk*). Over thirty minutes of reading ‘refresh your web page and try again,’ the CSR indicated that I must be doing something wrong as it worked fine on their side. See, for me, I understand that what you’re doing internally, doesn’t necessarily translate to what the customer sees, externally. They didn’t get it, apologized in broken English and said it was a ‘technical glitch’ – this explanation is right up there with the Apple ‘Genius Bar’ guy, who explained that my old 3G randomly rebooted because of ‘artifacts in the system.’ Yes, I’ve 24 years of technical experience in IT yet readily admit to not knowing a fraction of things; still, the smell of bullshit is an unmistakable odor.

I’m digressing a fair bit from my point here, which is the perception that the larger the company, the proportionally less qualified the support staff appear to be. Truth is, when you’re small, you have to care about the customer because if you lose just one, it’s potentially damaging to your future growth. Reaching critical mass sadly emboldens companies to allow a certain amount of customer fall-off because individuals are not so important any more. Ironically, I’m quite keen to lay a large portion of the blame at we consumers, who often just sit back and take it, hoping the problem will solve itself.

Ultimately, as company owners, no matter the size of the corporation, you and I should be walking the floors of customer service and occasionally make random calls to our own technical departments, else, how can you ever understand the level of quality you’re promising customers?