You Called Me. Please Don't Ruin My Day.

by Jeannie Walters

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I was minding my own business. The call came into my home phone and the caller ID never quite identified who was calling. So I made the mistake of answering.

What greeted me was a beep, a woman who sounded half-awake and who started a monologue about my “auto warranty.” I suspected something was up, since she never mentioned my name or the make of my car. She started listing all the things that might be covered if I were to extend said warranty. In a half-awake mumble, she kept droning on: “engine, power locks, steering…” I couldn’t take it any longer, so I interrupted her. (Perhaps this was a bit rude.) And I asked where she was calling from. She mumbled the answer: National Protection Services (good thing I caught it!) and I asked then to be removed from the list because we weren’t interested.

This is when she suddenly became non-mumbly and quite coherent.

She began talking over me to tell me about my Dodge extended warranty. I said we don’t own a Dodge. But she kept talking about an extended warranty.

I will own this – I am sure I stopped letting her complete her sentences. I had wasted enough time. I’m sure I was impatient. I’m sure I might have been a little rude.

She then told me I was being very rude (big sigh) and she needed to confirm my information to get me off the list. But it wasn’t said as much as shouted.

I sat. Quietly. Forming this blog post in my head.

She asked if I was Cordelia Walters. Nope.

“See!?” she shouted. “Was that painful!?”

Then she hung up.

So that was groovy. But it ruined my workflow and sunshiney outlook temporarily. And I just hate that. And I thought about how I almost NEVER complain as a customer. (Shocking, right?)

I did a Google search. Called the number. Sat through the depressing IVR prompts. Waited on hold. When “Customer Service” answered, I asked calmly to speak to a manager of the call center. Mr. Customer Service said he was “one of them.” I told my tale in calm tones and stuck to the facts.

He requested my name, then said he’d remove me from the list.

I waited. I was hoping he’d come through for me; for all of us! But, no, Mr. Customer Service is not there to apologize or tell me this is wrong. He’s just there to make sure his poor callers never have to deal with a meany like me again.

So many fails I don’t even know where to start.

1. We’ve had this number for 8.5 years. There has never been a Cordelia Walters associated with this number. FAIL.

2. This number IS on the Do Not Call list. FAIL.

3. The rep who called was either chewing on marbles or had repeated herself so many times that day, she was practically incoherent. FAIL.

4. She lost it with me. This could be because I was the umpteenth person to imply she probably shouldn’t be calling. Could be because I was a little rude. Still – not really my fault. FAIL.

5. The web site. Oy. FAIL.

6. The “manager” who took my call expressed no remorse or apology about the situation. FAIL.

7. I write a blog and own a company focused solely on customer experience. (Ok, this one is really a FAIL for them.)

But really, why do companies think this is remotely ok? THEY had called ME. This is clearly a problem with their data, their culture, their attitude, their hiring practices and their business ethics. This is the type of company who will never really get it. It’s too much about them and not about their customers. Would that call center rep EVER be hired at Zappos? No. Not a chance.

Just when I think companies are becoming enlightened about how all of these factors drive experience, and how experience drives success, I get  reminder from the universe that our work is far from over.

 Photo Credit: FindYourSearch via Creative Commons license

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience.

Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter.

Learn more here.

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