In the movie Broadcast News, the crazy news anchor told his audience one night to go to the window and scream “I’m mad as hell, and I won’t take it anymore”. Todays businesses have come close to making me want to do that very thing. And, every single industry that deals with the public is guilty of this. I am sure that all of you have some things that drive you crazy, and I just want to list a few that drive me insane.
Automated Answering Systems
I think everyone knows what I am talking about here. Let’s say you have some problem with a bill. So you call the 1-800 number to help get it straightened out. Once the phone picks up, it goes something like this:
Thank you for calling XYZ corporation. For Spanish say or press 2.
After a short pause because I did not say or press 2 because I don’t speak Spanish, I hear Please listen carefully because our menu has changed (they keep saying that but they haven’t changed the menu since Christ was a Carpentersmate).
You pick a number and say 3.
It says: In order to speed up your process, please say your account number.
So you say your account number.
Then it says, for your privacy, we are going to ask a couple of security questions. Please say the last four digits of your Social Security Number.
You give it.
Then it says, what is the name of your pet parakeet?
You say, I don’t have a pet parakeet.
So it says Sorry, the information you provided does not match our records, good-bye.
And you say !@#$%^&* or something like that.
Or, maybe you got it all right and you are going to be passed to an actual person.
All calls may be monitored for accuracy. Please stand-by the next available operator will be with you shortly.
After hearing bad music for about 5 minutes you hear, Sorry for the delay but all of our operators are busy helping other customers. Please stand-by and thank you for your patience.
And you are thinking, no wonder I have a problem with my bill.
After about 10 more minutes of bad music, if you are lucky, you get a person.
How does that person start the conversation? By saying What is your account number? What are the last four digits of your Social Security Number? What is the name of your pet parakeet?
So much for speeding up the process by giving it to the damn machine!
If you are going to suggest that I use the “chat” or “help” buttons on the company website, forget it. I don’t know who that person is. At least if I call, I know what country the person I am talking to is in. You can tell by the accent. Besides, when you are calling because there is a problem with your computer or internet connection, you can’t use the “chat” button! When I called tech support once, the person on the line told me that I could get assistance on-line. I reminded the idiot, I was calling because I couldn’t get on-line.
Customer Satisfaction Surveys
This is the one that really bugs me. Let’s be honest. When we purchase something, like a car, we know that once we receive the Customer Satisfaction Survey, only a “perfect survey” means they passed. Hell, they even tell you that just before you leave.
Even if that person needed some work on one area of his presentation, and you want to help teach something, you cannot mark it less than perfect because that says you were unsatisfied, even though you marked “excellent” instead of “outstanding”. Or, maybe the dealership had dirty floors and you were never going to drink out of that water fountain. If you say so, the consultant gets dinged for it.
No wonder it is so easy for companies to point to their internal “customer satisfaction surveys” to show how great they are. Only really pissed off people won’t give a perfect survey.
But, what really bothers me about them is the number of surveys we are asked to fill out. You buy a car, fill out a survey. Get your car serviced, fill out a survey. Buy a new TV, fill out a survey. Call tech support, fill out a survey. Sneeze and have someone say gesundheit, fill out a survey.
I don’t care what you do, what you buy, what you get serviced, or just walk down the street, you are expected to fill out a survey! Just imagine those companies who constantly come up at the bottom of “customer satisfaction surveys”. They must really be awful, or simply the public is just so sick of filling out surveys they mark them all bad.
Don’t worry, I won’t ask you fill out a survey after reading this.
Stupid Sayings After You Finished Buying Something Or Getting Assistance From A Consultant
You know those stupid sayings like “have a nice day”, or the new right-wing one about “have a blessed day”. George Carlin did a routine on this several years ago, and I agree with him. Telling someone to “have a nice day” is putting too much pressure on them. It is really an awful thing to do to people. Think about it for a minute, maybe that person just had a family member pass away, and you are telling them to “have a nice day”! Or, as George said in his routine, maybe I have had 492 nice days in a row, and I feel like having a crappy day! Now I can’t because of some loose-lipped cashier!
I know they are trained to say things like that. But, whatever happened to something simple like “thank you for your business”. There is no pressure in those words. Just a simple “thank you”.
The other thing I hate is when you get assistance and simply say “thank you” to the person who helped and they say “no prob”. Really, no prob? It better not be a prob! Remember, the assistance you provided to me is what you get paid to do! Saying “no prob” is like saying that we bothered them, but that was okay they had nothing else to do anyway. I’m thinking “where’s that damn customer satisfaction survey? I’ll show him no prob”!
When people hear the term “robo-calls” they automatically think about political robo-calls. But we are flooded by thousands of robo-calls daily from all kinds of organizations. Hell, I even got one from someone claiming to be a pharmaceutical company the other day telling me that my “order” was ready and to press 2 if I wanted it.
You can always tell if it is a robo-call. When you answer it, or let the answering machine get it, there is a computer generated voice, or no voice at all for a few seconds. I get a kick out of listening to them get on the line after the machine picked it up and all I hear is “hello, hello, hello”. I even put my number on the “do not call list”. The number of these robo-calls has gone down, but they haven’t all stopped.
Funny, I have never gotten a customer satisfaction survey from robo-call companies.
So, there are four things in today’s everyday world that drive me crazy. I am sure that you have some additional issues. I would love to hear them, because I know I must have missed a boatload.