This is a very long post AND it is a rant. Pour yourself a drink and let’s begin.
If I had to choose now between a real person in a Customer Service position or a robotic, digitized, computerized Customer Service AI, I’d choose the robot each and every time. Our world, whether it is due to the pandemic or just plain human frailties and discontent, but I am finding it exceedingly difficult to get anything done anymore in this crazy world I am living in!
Every single company or service I call has a computerized voice mail system. Perhaps the company thinks they are saving money by not having a human answer the phone. Not when I call! I just love screwing around with those voice machines. When the ‘voice’ asks me the reason why I am calling, I know they are looking for a common human response, like ‘help’, ‘technical assistance’, ‘billing question’……..I just love to say “I’m calling because my Aunty Betsy told me to“. The voice computer has absolutely no idea what I am talking about or how to respond. The truth is, I want ‘Customer Service’ but before the voice computer will connect you to Customer Service they have to ask you a series of questions because maybe the voice computer can answer your question electronically thus saving the company from paying a real human being a living wage salary.
I’ll have none of that.
Once I fuck around with the voice computer, they magically respond with ‘I’ll connect you now to Customer Service‘. That was easy. And within seconds I’m speaking to a real live human being. Unfortunately, however, have you noticed the disappointing case of the ‘real human being’ lately? Many humans are taking the calls from their own homes so the connections are bad, the volume is so low you can barely hear them and/or English must be a second or third language to them because basically, I don’t know what the heck they are saying or talking about. Thus my now decision to stick to pre-programed robots because humans, in my book, have lost their luster.
I’ll give you two recent examples of the new frustrating experiences I had to deal with concerning Customer Service. Back in June, I was shopping online for a freezer. If you didn’t already know, because of the pandemic, freezers are hard to get right now. They’re back ordered till October. Well, I need a freezer now. I located the only freezer available at that time from Best Buy. Normally, I shop Wal Mart, Amazon, Home Depot or Lowes (all trusted and long term suppliers to yours truly). It was a small freezer, only 3 cu ft. from an obscure manufacturer. The one I really wanted was back ordered with no date in sight. (6 cu ft, upright freezer from Fridgedaire, as ALL my appliances come from them because they are competitively priced, last a long time and work! work! work!)
I ordered the Best Buy model, online, paid for it with my credit card. I was informed delivery would be in 2 weeks. Don’t ask me how this happened, but it is quite common, that in my digital life, sometimes computers do magical things for me (I was a computer wiz for many, many years, as I owned my own Apple Computer retail store). One hour after I purchased the Best Buy freezer, when I did a freezer search again, I got this pop-up from Home Depot that they has one model left of a 6 cu ft. Fridgidaire upright freezer, in white FOR FIFTY DOLLARS LESS THAN WHAT I HAD PAID BEST BUY FOR HALF THE SIZED FREEZER!!
This is a no brainer. I needed to cancel my order with Best Buy. But first I quickly snatched up the Home Depot freezer. Once confirmed, I logged onto my Best Buy account and noted there was no way to cancel my online purchase. WalMart and Amazon have superior computer technology to not only cancel your online order but get immediate refunds. Not so with Best Buy. I had to actually call their Customer Service line and speak to a human to cancel. I suppose Best Buy does this so a human can talk you out of cancelling. After finally getting connected to a real human, Best Buy told me I could only cancel an order online 30 minutes afterwards. “But the freezer isn’t going to be shipped out till 2 weeks from now“, I argued. “Sorry” said Customer Service. “You have to accept delivery and then take the freezer back to one of our Best Buy stores” she quipped. “The freezer weighs 70 pounds, almost as much as my age. I can’t carry it.” I argued back. “How about I just refuse delivery? Can I get a refund then?” I asked. (I’m out $354 dollars on my charge card by now) “Yes, if you refuse delivery, Best Buy will issue you a refund.”
I waited the 2 weeks till the Best Buy freezer was delivered. In the interim the Home Depot freezer was delivered in a few days, set up and works great (except for a small dent, which we got a $100 refund, which makes the Home Depot model even the more cherished!) I refused the delivery, which Best Buy noted. Their computer sent me a message three days later telling me the freezer was returned to them, accepted and I would get my refund in 5 days. Five days came and passed. Now it was time again for me to contact Customer Service. This time, instead of dealing with a human I could barely understand, I contacted them through their chat line. I was told the five days had now become 7 to 10 days. 10 days came and went and I was back on the chat line being told it was now 15 days till I got my refund.
This was now a case for me to contact my credit card company and tell them of my experience, which I considered at this point to be fraud. Best Buy had my money AND the freezer. I had nothing but debt. Again, this was all done computerly since it is near impossible to converse with anything resembling a human being. My credit card company stopped the payment. Best Buy immediately got it reversed. I was re-billed and I still didn’t get a refund. I’ll get to the end of the story….I threatened Best Buy with a Better Business Bureau Complaint (I spoke to a real human Customer Service person by now, and again to my credit card rep) and within seconds, I got my refund, a full 30 days after placing my original order and within hours before a new credit card statement would have been issued, with the $354 charge on it which I would be forced to pay with real human cash or otherwise be forced to pay interest should I withhold the $354 from my usual paid-in-full credit card payment schedule.
Whew! WHAT A MOUTHFUL!
Is it any wonder why Best Buy may go out of business soon? All they had to do was let me cancel my order in the very beginning (just like WalMart and Amazon lets me do, online, through their fantastic apps, without a hassle). But nooooooooo. BestBuy shipped the freezer. Both ways, I might ask, thus incurring expenses. And paid for the hours I spent online and on the phone chatting/talking with their disrespectful employees and outdated computer system software.
My frustration doesn’t end here. I’ll tell you one more story I had with my cell phone provider, A T & T and then call it a post. Just understand that I am encountering such frustration with practically every thing else in my life. Are you? It’s getting to the point that I can’t deal with humans anymore so I now will select only companies that have superb user friendly software, chat lines and just deal with computers and AI (Artificial Intelligence….that name alone should tell us all something!)
Hubby’s phone (iPhone 7) was paid off two years ago BUT he needs a new, upgraded phone. Apple just came out with a new, lower cost phone, the SE. It’s only $399 vs the 11 or the 12 which retail for $1100. BIG difference. I placed a call to A T & T. Fucked around with their answering service, asking for Aunty Betsy and got Customer Service. After much discussion, I settled on the new SE with financing ($13 a month over 30 months at zero interest which is good for our budget bottom line). The agent told me she was going to activate the account. She had me on hold for 12 minutes. Yup. 12 minutes!!! After 15 minutes I hung up. Logged onto Apple.com, immediately chatted online with one of their reps. He told me all I had to do was order the new iPhone without the SIMM card, which means the cell phone is unlocked, exchange the old SIMM card from hubby’s iPhone 7 and install it in the new iPhone SE and that was the end of that. New phone! Same phone number and service….without the human hassle. I could use my Apple Credit Card and get 6 months zero financing and I didn’t have to speak or deal with another human being. PLUS, if I traded in the old iPhone 7, Apple would refund $110 back to our account! So, the new iPhone in the end only cost $289!! Apple sent a shipping box and label. Easy as pie. There’s a reason why I love Apple so much. I dedicated my life to them when I ran my own Apple store for 4 years (1998 to 2001) and yes! I personally met, spoke and touched Steve Jobs arm during one of his annual speaking engagements!!!!)
Stick a fork in me. I’m done! From here on in, I will only interact with AI.
I hope to never deal with a frustrating human experience ever again!
What about you? Am I the only one going through this? Is this really because of the pandemic or has life, as we know it, become more and more stupider with each passing day?
We’re seeing more ‘violence’ like this when it comes to Customer Service:
Instead of good, Customer Service experience, such as this, as what is supposed to be taught in store training: