Most of us, particularly in agriculture, like to think the best of everybody. We’d like to believe that every business we deal with is trying hard to please. Unfortunately, that’s not true.
And last week, I became a little less naïve – at a cost. I was reminded once again that in the livestock industry there are two distinctly different meanings for the word “service”.
For years, I had put up with the automated customer service system of a well-know internet service provider having global aspirations. Every year, the ISP would go to great lengths to switch me from my less-expensive one-time annual payment to monthly payments via my credit card, so they could automatically unzip my wallet tp instantly zip my money into theirs.
Call me old fashioned. But I still like paying check and getting a paper receipt. So I went through the annual routine of calling an 800 number to talk to “Cybergal”. You’ve talked with her, too, I’m, sure.
Cybergal seemed friendly enough. I mean, how could she go wrong saying, “To pay your bill, punch 1. For service problems, punch 2. To change your address, punch 3 . . .." And finally, “To talk to a customer service representative, punch 23.” Then she comes back and says, “Sorry all customer service representatives are busy. But we’ll be with you shortly. Please hold for 1 hour and 35 minutes (and enjoy listening to music and self-promotion messages about how great we are).”
A clear clue for you
Your first warning should be that all customer service representatives are busy. Meanwhile my call was being zinged to India or some Pacific nation where I had to talk to a person with shattered English. Way back about punch 4, I was ready to punch about anything.
Two days after negotiating that annual payment, I called to cancel it because I found a much better more local service provider. After going another round with Cybergal and script-reading customer servers, they still insisted on a full year’s payment.
After patiently appealing to their sense of fairness, federal law and reason, the ISP finally agreed to a much smaller pro-rated charge – if I gave them my credit card number. Wrong thing to do!
The full charge showed up on my next credit card bill. I put a stop on the payment, and thought the battle was over. Wrong again. After sending me another bill for the full amount, they turned it over to a collection agency.
Now my patience was over. I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. I wrote to the ISP company’s president, and promised that I’d share my experience with anyone who would listen. (Yes, I paid the collection agency -- under protest .)
So now you’re forewarned, and wiser for it. Don't compromise on customer service – either received or provided to others. Word gets around!
Your comments are welcome and wanted. Click on "comment". If you aren’t already registered, just click on the ‘register” tab at the bottom of this page. Then come back and share your thoughts.