Monday, July 07, 2008

Customer Service Rant

Yup ... this is going to be a full-blown rant. If you don't want to read my whining and complaining, it won't hurt my feelings.

I have spent 4 hours today on the telephone with customer service from various retail suppliers. For the most part, they all stand out as hideous, but two companies have nearly pushed me over the edge of sanity: Capital One and Both will receive letters of complaint from me, but I can guarantee that neither will care.

I try to be patient with companies that have many customers trying to get information, but at some point, my patience is replaced with fury. I'm tired of having my calls shunted to a customer service center in another country. I understand the need for inexpensive customer service care and I understand that these call centers in other countries are trying to provide training, etc., but I've had it! I don't want to have to explain myself several times to make myself understood. I don't want to have to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to understand what someone is saying to me. I don't want to have to explain all of the reasons for my request.

At some point, this customer service person is simply reading off a script and when presented with a question that can't be answered by the script in their repertoire, they repeat one of the previous answers ad nauseum. Because of cultural and language differences, there is no leap of understanding that is made by the representatives.

Last night on my way to dinner, I called Capital One to find out why my funds had been put on hold. I had made a large payment on Thursday, and all of a sudden on evening, no longer had access to funds in my account. I was told that because I had made such a large payment, they would be putting my funds on hold for 10 days!

Are you kidding me? Because I pay attention, I knew that the funds would be removed from my bank account today. I pushed and pushed the representative, who kept repeating the same information back to me. I finally got furious and demanded to speak to a supervisor. After a 15 minute wait on hold, I was told that the account supervisors were no longer there. Well, duh - during that wait, the hour had changed. I just hung up. I tried again this morning. And after waiting and waiting, giving my account information to 4 different people and moving back and forth between foreign speaking people and others, I finally got to a person who told me (after a 1/2 hour wait to get to her) that they had transferred me to the wrong department. I freaked out again.

I'm certain that these representatives don't want to have to deal with furious customers, but let me just ask how they can expect anything different? I had been on the phone for over an hour, been transferred through 4-5 systems, given my credit card number, PIN number, home phone number, ok ... they had my life ... each time I was transferred and then I'm told that I had the wrong department.

The automated phone system kept telling me that they cared about my call, that they had higher than normal call volume. I don't believe they care and I don't care if they have a high call volume, it should be their job to hire enough to meet that call volume.

Capital One is losing me as a customer and there will be a letter explaining how disgusted I am with their customer service.

By the way, I've discovered that when calling India - I get excellent background music while on hold - when I'm into an American system, the background music is filled with static. The music will change back and forth as I'm transferred through these systems. Drives me insane. Do they think we're stupid?

As for Well, they kind of have you over a barrel. There simply aren't great ways to purchase computer systems. This group has the most insane verification process I've ever seen. You can't ship anything to a second address without them freaking out. I had to call Capital One back (don't even ask - I wanted to kill for this requirement) and add a friend's address so that Newegg could ship to this person. Excuse me, what? I have worked with numerous (and it's more than that number) online retailers and this has NEVER happened before. Yet, again, when I pushed the issue, I kept receiving the same statement: the shipping address must be verified by your credit card company.

It really didn't change anything. It simply made things more of a pain in the butt for me. I had to call Capital One, deal with another foreigner that couldn't understand what I was asking for, add a temporary address to the credit card, then call Newegg back and tell them that I had done that. Shipping!!! Not billing. Shipping!

Yes, they have great prices, but no ... they have lousy customer service. Adding a shipping address to my credit card does not prevent fraud - it just makes me annoyed.

I dealt with and Jeep's customer service today. I've been on the phone with my bank and numerous other retail establishments as well today. And, I'll be honest. With both Amazon and Jeep, I know that I was dealing with foreign customer services. When I hear, "I wish you have a good day," I know that he doesn't know my language. I wanted to scream, but I put my patient voice back into my mouth and just dealt with the annoyance.

The training must be much better for Amazon and Jeep, though. I was able to get questions answered and the young man at Amazon took excellent care of me as quickly as he could.

So, why the public rant? Because I also know that these companies search the internet for their name and links to their names. I'm freakin' sick and tired of lousy customer service and if people let them know how disgusted they are by this behavior, it has a better chance of changing than if we just allow it to happen with no pushback. I'll be pushing back.

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