OP-ED: Story Over a Cup: Insanity, thy name is customer service
So, I had the misfortune of having to contact customer service of a well-known, unnamed online store recently.
I did not relish the thought as when I am at the point of calling or chatting, already my patience is running thin and patience is no longer a virtue I can extol.
Taking a swig of my black coffee, which now is not quite as dark as my heart, I called the customer number.
Let’s see how this goes.
It didn’t start well.
Them: Thank you for contacting XYZco, we apologize for any inconvenience we are about to cause you. How can we fail to meet your expectations today?
Me: I have a complaint about my recent order.
Them: Okay, can I have your name so I can pretend to look up the account?
Them: Hold please
Before I could go any further, I was cut off and their cheesy music began to play. Does every online call line and department store use the same music selection? I do not mind most music, but this music is like horribly done cover bands and singers.
Such hits as “My Way” by Fred Sinatra and the Crooners, or “Hard Afternoons Mid Morning” by the Slugs.
But, I digress.
Anyway, right as I was about to take an ice pick to my ears to make the classic hit, “Downtown Woman” By William Joel go away, the voice broke back in.
Them: Hello, sir? I would apologize for the wait, but I would be lying. It seems that it was your fault the order was shipped incorrectly.
Them: Well, I am glad you asked. You see, there are different levels of membership. The regular kind where we overcharge you for shipping, then ship it broken and possibly to the wrong place. Advantage: where you do not pay for shipping, but we purposely break the merchandise. Advantage Plus: where you do not pay for shipping, but we send the wrong item. Finally, there is Advantage Plus Plus, where you do not pay for shipping, get the right item, but we send it via mule express.
Me: Mule express?
Them: Yes, like the pony express, but with mules and drivers who have no sense of direction. You have Advantage Plus, would you like to upgrade?
Me: I want the right package and I want it delivered as soon as possible.
Them: Oh, you want to upgrade to the Advantage Plus Plus Plus, or the APPP as we call it.
Me: How much will that cost?
Them: A kidney.
Me: I am not sure…
Them: That is okay, we have already dispatched an associate with your product and the medical equipment necessary to remove your kidney. While I have you on the phone, with your lost kidney will you need to order any dialysis equipment? We are running a special on medical equipment for our APPP customers this week.
Well, till next time, keep those coffee cups full. I will not be answering the door for a while.
Michael Cole is a syndicated columnist that when he is not writing, he is plotting global domination. You can follow him at www.storyoveracup.com