Assistance calls often one-way streets

“Space is broad, teeming with possibilities, positions, intersections, passages, detours, U-turns, dead-ends, one-way streets. Too many possibilities, indeed.” Susan Sontag.

O N E  W A Y  T O  B L O C K  S E R V I C E

Have you ever had to make a telephone call to a customer service center and noticed that the person you were chatting with was following some type of mindless script and not really interacting with you or your immediate need?

I live in an apartment complex and the washer unit in our block frequently requires professional repair. The cause for the repair is usually tenant recklessness but the need for the service still exists.

Tuesday of last week I phoned the repair company at 7:30 a.m. ( the service line is 24/7) and requested a service repairman visit the site for the needed repair.

I was assured by the operator on duty at that time that the call would be logged in and dispatched to the driver that day. I was assured all was in order. The service rep did not make it that day.

Wednesday morning at 7:30 a.m. I called again and spoke with another rep. 

He asked for my name, telephone number, suite number and zip code.

Then he asked me to “carefully describe” the situation.

This enumeration took five minutes but I told myself it was necessary.

He assured me that the call was logged in the books, that a repair man would be in the area. I told him I had called the day before and had also been assured the job would be handled that day. 

He graciously apologized for the inconvenience and also assured me the job would be handled that day because in his words “the repair man was booked to be in the area.”

Later that day at 4:30 pm I again called the company and spoke with the same guy I had chatted with earlier that day.

I recognized his voiced and offered a hearty but frustrated “hello”.

He acted as if this was the first time we had spoken.

He heartily apologized for the inconvenience and after checking the dispatch logs informed me the situation would be handled that day.

I then explained to him that it was almost 5 p.m. and asked what were the repair man’s work hours.

He informed me that there were no set hours and that the man set his own hours.

At that point I knew I was chatting with an idiot.

“You mean to tell me that he can work till midnight? That you at the call center really don’t know where he is located?”

He took a moment to gather his thoughts and then offered me the company line.

“I am sorry for the inconvenience and assure you the repair man will be there later today.”

By now I was getting pretty steamed and did not really want to yell at this guy and have him delete my service call.

“Thank you for your indifference” I told him and hung up the receiver.

Thursday morning around 10 a.m. the repair man finally arrived and fixed the damaged washing machine.

He told me the quicker way to get immediate help is use the company’s website and not the call in center.

I thanked him for his helpful advice.

The second guy I spoke with had literally put me on the clothes line to dry and had obviously given me the run around.

Many times in life essential lines of two-way communication are hampered by people who have no vested interest in helping their customers. 

Live and learn.  – gc


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