If Your Customers Are Using Foul Language
Maybe The Problem Is You?

Believe it or not this article is based on a true experience I had. A very large company here in California signed me up as a new customer only four months ago.

One month after signing me up they called and wrote stating they needed an updated contract signed. I spent two hours in Voice Mail Hell finally getting someone who stated " Oh, we don’t need a new contract you’re a new customer, let me fix that". Not that bad only two hours of my time wasted on their mistake. Next month, it started again. Same thing, same result. Month after, they did it again. So now I have spent about six plus hours wasting my time fixing their customer service records. I would have told them to just cancel my contract however; they’re the only company in California who does what they do. Got to love Monopolies, as it is still against the law to drive your car though their lobby.

The kicker came when I was at Comdex last month. I came back with the week almost gone, a stack of important Voice Mail Massages to return, and the Holidays rapidly approaching. All this and I was dead tired from the research I did for this months article on Networking at the Comdex party scene (boy I hate this job). What do I see at the top of my massage stack, marked extremely urgent? A message from a "Sean" at this company. No last name. No extension number. No department. Only the message that my service was going to be terminated on the 20th as I did not send in an updated contract. How nice. It was the 19th. My service was going to be shut off in less then 24 hours. I called the main number that Sean left for me to call. It was the main number; I was on hold for 45 minutes before a person came on the line to thank me for holding just before she disconnected me. What did I care; I only had about ten hours of work to do and only six hours left in my day. I called back. The gods were with me. It only took 30 minutes to get a nice friendly customer service lady to explain my problem to. After listening with the heart of an angel she told me "Sir do you know how many Seans there are in this company. I can’t tell you which one called. Next time you should write down his full name, department and extension number". I apologized to the woman, but as I begged for forgiveness I did explain that "Sean" left a Voice Mail Message" and he did not give any other information, so as I was their customer could she maybe find someone to help me as I knew my account number. She placed me on hold. 20 minutes later the line went dead. Now I was getting somewhere! Encouraged by my headway, and feeling totally relieved of the need to get any real work done, as I was wasting my whole day, I recalled. I was amazed; it only took 15 minutes to get a person to place me back on hold. But before placing me on hold, she was professional enough to give me the time to say" I need to……" then I was on hold. After 58 minutes, I was dumped into voice mail with out human intervention. I tell you, you got to love technology. I must have been delirious or had fallen into a stupor from my peaceful 58 minutes on hold, because when that Voice Mail beeped, so did my mouth. I left a message that would have made a longshoreman blush.

So was my service turned off? No, apparently my message struck the person who listened to it as being so vile and disgusting that she played it for her supervisor. That supervisor played it for their supervisor and so on. Finally someone recognized my voice and called me to admonish me for my abusive behavior. I explained about "Sean’s" phone call. I was told "no, you’re a new customer; we will take care of that, but all you had to do was call and let us know." I was then told that if I ever left a message like that again they would terminate my contract. This took about 15 minutes after I left my message.

I learned my lesson. Be nice, ask for help, waste hours of my time get no where. Totally loose it, as nasty as can be and get it taken care if in 15 minutes. Boy did I learn my lesson.

How about you?

So, if your customers are leaving abusive, foul language messages on your phone system, maybe it’s you and not your customers. Think about it.

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Last modified: November 08, 2002