Dial 1-800-URADOLT

Is it just me that gets total idiots on the line when I phone a call center for customer service? Sometimes I wonder if businesses send these call takers to the same school where a major portion of the curriculum is geared toward learning how to colossally piss off the customer.

Today I tried to call Bank of America to find out if my neighborhood ATM was up and running after having been down due to the hurricane. The person I talked to could not find my city and didn’t seem to have the faintest notion of about what I was asking.

ME: “It’s in Beaumont, Texas.”
CALL-TAKER: “Are you sure it is in that city?”
ME: “Yes, I live four blocks from there.”
CALL-TAKER: “Maybe I’m spelling it wrong.”
ME: (Increasingly irritated)”It’s B-E-A-U-M-O-N-T.”
CALL-TAKER: “Oh here it is. I’ll have to put you on hold while I call that bank.”

And hold I did, for about 8-10 minutes, before I hung up. I looked in the phone book and called the phone number for the bank myself but did not get an answer. While that was happening, I missed a call that was apparently from the call center. I called the call center back. The person on the other end, a supervisor no less, hadn’t a clue as to what I was talking about. I said “To hell with it,” hung up, and drove to the ATM. It was closed. I should have done that to begin with. But wonderful customer service is supposed to be one of my bank’s big draws.

If you work in a call center, I’m sorry. I’m sure you are very customer oriented and a real people person. I’ve just had many more negative experiences dealing with call centers than I’ve had positive ones. First you go through an extensive phone menu that appears designed to prevent at all costs human-to-human communication. Next you wait and wait and wait to talk to a live person. Then that person has to telephone Earth from whatever planet they are own to get an answer to your question. Oh, and you are put back on hold while awaiting your answer.

It seems like these types of experiences would create a lot of ill will for companies. Then again, I’m beginning to wonder if people in the business world or anyone at all gives a damn about customer service anymore? Or, maybe it is just me.

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