The View from a Drawbridge

The random musings of a bridgetender with entirely too much time on her hands.

Have you noticed that more and more companies are making it nearly impossible for you to contact them through their websites? Some are particularly diabolical in their plots to tell us all to get stuffed. They provide a contact button, and when you click it, you have two options. Their mailing address (as if any of us write letters anymore) or their help center, in which you can speak to an automated phone system that sends you from one menu to the next, but ultimately does not help you at all, or you can post a message in a community forum where you get to commiserate with all the other frustrated customers out there who also have no idea what to do about their situations.

Am I alone in thinking this is a piss poor business model? I get it. The incessant ringing of the telephone means you actually have to do your job, and that gets expensive. But telling your customers that you can’t be bothered, that you’re happy to take their money but will do little or nothing to serve them, seems like the best way on earth to lose their loyalty. It might even get you the occasional disgruntled, mentally ill consumer visiting corporate headquarters with the ubiquitous AK47.

Ah but in this present atmosphere of monopolies, we, the customers, have fewer and fewer options when we’re dissatisfied. Many cities give you two possibilities for wifi at the very most, for example. So there’s not much we can do other than shout into the phone, “I need to talk to a HUMAN!!!!” and hope the robot will finally see reason.

I long for the day when the pendulum swings back the other way, when companies aren’t allowed to get too big to fail, and, due to the increase in competition, customer service becomes a priority once again. But I’m not going to hold my breath while listening to the Muzak that seems to be the soundtrack of my life these days.


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4 thoughts on “Leave Us Alone

  1. Angiportus Librarysaver says:

    Plus, the sound quality of the muzak is wretched, and we sharp-eared types find it hard going.
    Having ears with the gain turned up a little high is a mixed blessing in more ways than I care to count. Just yesterday, I was on the 101 bus heading off I-5 into Renton and the driver was one of those showoff types who entertain the customers with adlib-ing over the PA. Which I wouldn’t have cared about because sometimes it is funny, except today it wasn’t and I was right under one of the speakers which was mighty damn loud, esp. in the treble and I’m a bass-oriented listener. Well, this fellow about my age was across the aisle and he didn’t like it either. Finally he yells to the driver to cut it out and the driver gets all defensive and they go back and forth for a while, and I am not getting any calmer, and then we stop and several kids walk on, whereupon the driver barks at them over the PA instead of to their faces, something about stinking up the bus, although I didn’t smell anything, and the man across from me and they and the driver start sounding like a flock of agitated chickens, and the rest of us just scowled at each other and it was like that till downtown Renton.
    I think if this happens again I will either find a speakerless seat or walk up and calmly ask the driver to either adjust the PA volume or else ease off on the extemporizing. And when I got home I remembered I had some earplugs in my bag.
    End of digression. I sometimes have the same problem with suppliers and their phone inputs. Aaaggghhhhh.

    1. Ugh, what a nightmare. It’s never fun when the “entertainer” doesn’t realize everyone is not entertained. Earplugs sound like a great idea.

  2. lyn sutton says:

    And if you go through all that and finally get a human they just read the same scripted solutions posted on their site that didn’t address your issue. I threaten to give my business to their competitors if they don’t accommodate me. It works with cable and phone service. I have no problem bothering them. Also, try writing. It throws them off balance because putting it in writing is a legal documentation of your complaint. It shows you’re really determined to get the issue handled. Keep copies of all correspondence. If it’s a product, find it on Amazon and write a negative review and post your question. Some companies will respond with a solution. I got a response within half an hour yesterday. Good Luck.

    1. THanks! Great ideas, all. But competitors are getting thin on the ground these days. :/

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