Monday, February 28, 2011

For cryin' out loud I'm NOT 'system generated!!'

Twice in the last 5 days I’ve had ‘customer care managers’ (at least that’s what they laughingly called themselves) in two completely unrelated organisations say to me (paraphrasing slightly):

“I’m sorry but it’s a system generated response. Sorry you are upset with its contents but because we deal with so many people it’s not possible to deal with people as individuals”

How sad (tragic actually) is that?


1 What is the point of running ANY sort of business if you cannot be responsive to individuals?

2 For crying out loud, why call it customer ‘care’ if you don’t actually give a toss about the individual?

My suggestion is to disband the customer care department in such organisations and have a company motto that simply says:

“We genuinely care for you … Err that is …. If you will be so kind as to fit into our ‘system generated’ profile of what we think a customer must look like”

It makes me sick to be honest but it also makes me even more determined to carry on ranting about it … If I don’t rant about it I’m condoning it at best; and at worst I’m encouraging really crappy companies to carry on ignoring individual customers.


Rosa Say said...

Oh Trevor, we so agree!

I just posted a mini rant on my Tumblr earlier today: Technology gets ugly

Trevor Gay said...

Fantastic posting Rosa - things will be great when we take over :-)

Keep rattling the cage!!

Rocky said...

It makes one wonder how such companies stay in business.

Trevor Gay said...

Rocky - hope you are well Amigo! - They may stay in business in the short term ..... But ...

Richard Lipscombe said...

Trevor my friend,

Yes it is too much to ask for in 2011. There is no caring for the customer. Indeed in most big companies these days there is no view of the customer.

There is no customer ID so how could they distinguish between us. Why no customer ID? Because the customer is 'system generated'. The customer exists merely to receive and pay for the goods or services. If all that can be done automatically then more the good.

It is the product or service that has the unique ID. It is the product or service that attracts all the loving care (such as it is).

I had huge problems with my bank about this very matter last week. Will not bore you with the details but to them I am 'system generated'. I had frontline staff continually apologising to me on behalf of their bank as together we spent hours trying to get me access to my money. Would you believe I was denied access for 4 days - which cost me a fair bit of money and time.

Today I am hoping to hear from the same bank about some consulting work with them to help them fix this problem. One event is strangely not connected to the other. Not sure that I can solve this issue for them even if they hire me.

The problem is that the revenue models of most businesses are not aligned to the needs or wants of their customers. Believe it or not.

Trust you and yours are well and happy.


Trevor Gay said...

Cheers Richard - sorry to hear of your problems with the Bank - seems like customers don't really matter any more - its very sad.

Dale said...

Yes, amazing what customer care has become and has been reduced to. Perhaps we should have automated replies when they ask for payment. It is a sad day when the potential of real warm relationships are lost to robotic rhetoric and telephonic echoes. We simply become a statistic to be filed in the dark corridors of cold corporate entities whose famous last words will probably be, …”your call has been placed in a queue.. please hold..”


Trevor Gay said...

Great words Dale - I echo them entirely my friend

JOHN O'LEARY said...

Reminds me of my old bank which used to offer a small cash award if you were waiting in line for more than 5 minutes. But they had to stop offering it because it was such a financial drain for them. One could do a whole blog on customer abuse by banks.

Trevor Gay said...

I rest my case John - what happened to loving your customer?

Ralph Curcio said...

Just found your blog and you have excellent thoughts and comments! Will begin following today.
I just had an issue with a US based airline. They rescheduled our vacation flights after these were booked for three months and less then a month before our trip.
They did this because they randomly canceled flight to save money, with no thoughts about customers who already booked and paid.
They had us arriving for an international connection flight over FIVE hours after our flight left to our destination. How ridiculous their IT system must be to not catch this.
They have our life's in their hands while we use their services and they screw up like this! It makes you wonder what else they claim they can not control.
It took two hours on a phone call to get a flight to our final destination on the day we desired.
Then they send me a two page email with nonsense excuses on why this occurred and their is nothing that can stop it from happening over and over to others, from that great customer care group! Amazing!

I know I will enjoy your writing!


Trevor Gay said...

Hi Ralph – welcome to Simplicity Blog and thanks for your comments. I love to hear from new contributors as well (of course) as regular contributors so please feel free to offer your valuable input. There are a number of regulars and I’m sure you will enjoy the banter here.

Horror story after horror story such as yours I hear. I feel such abysmal, insensitive customer service eventually kills poor companies and they deserve everything they get.

I read recently that the CEO of South West Airlines said that if customers find dirty drop-down tables on the seat back, they will assume the engines are not maintained – I love that and it is so true. It’s simply being REALLY in touch with your customer and valuing him/her.

Customers rule – end of story and the best companies know that.

Look forward to more of your comments Ralph – stay tuned and forgive my occasional rants!