Customer Service Who is it for?

Is Customer Service for the customer or for the business?  After an experience this weekend I am becoming more convinced that the people who tell me they are for me aren’t for me. One of us has to be wrong.

The remote control for our cable receiver broke, so I went to order a new one. I signed onto the website and quickly discovered that I couldn’t order a remote with the click of a button. Instead, I had to go through a long process. I got the remote but left the call more frustrated than satisfied. I thought that ordering a new remote would be easy, I would go to the website of the cable company, and I could click a button and order a new remote. Nope not at all. There wasn’t a web page, There wasn’t a cart. Zip. I can order a burrito from Chipotle, A latte from Starbucks, but a remote for my cable receiver nope not available for me.

Here is what I had to do. I had to use the search function and type in the word  remote. I found out that I could either go to the nearest store that was closed or call, but a message told me that it would be better for me to do a text chat due to a high volume of calls.

So I started a text chat. Before I got to a human, it asked me the same questions that I had already been asked, and I got similar responses, Go to the store or call and order a new one.

It has been about fifteen minutes. I remember my old cable company; when my remote broke, I went online, clicked a button, and a new remote showed up. Why are they putting me through all of this? Why can’t they just have a webpage with remotes? Tween are selling plushies online and making millions, I can buy a plushy toy from an 8 year old web entrepreneur faster than this.

So I got a human, or maybe it was a human, who knows. I could be chatting with a sophisticated bot or a human. The bot or human looked up my address and replied, “ok, we need the security code from your cable bill. ”

I now have to sign onto my computer, login into my account, and there isn’t a security code on the front page. I asked again, and she says if you can’t find it, we can verify another way.

What I do next is I look up my billing statement and download a pdf of the bill. There on the pdf is my security code. I read it off, and then we can finally ship the remote.
Now two questions, one I asked and one I didn’t. Why didn’t the customer service representative tell me that I would need to download my billing statement or a security code? Why isn’t the security code on the front page of your online billing statement? Did you convince me to stop getting paper statements? You told me to sign up for online billing. So I did.

I don’t think that it is an unrealistic expectation that you could update your customer service policies to note that if you want to use a security code, you should place it on the front page of the site or at least tell the customers how to locate it.

The next question I asked was, why do I need to go through all of this to replace a remote? We don’t charge you for the remote, so we have to do it this way. That didn’t make any sense to me at all. If I want to order a new subscription channel or a pay-per-view movie, I just need to click a button from my couch; there aren’t any security codes or third-party verification. So when I am giving you money, security doesn’t matter, because the company is getting my money. Still, when you have to give away something for free, a new remote, you are going to make me work for it. I spent about an hour going through all of this, so at the minimum wage rate in California, I guess I had to work off the cost of the remote?

So again, when a company says to me, we are for the customer. We care about the customer experience; it’s a lie. I am. The customer and I did not enjoy that experience. I guess I guess I shouldn’t complain, right? I got the remote, my tv works, I can change channels using the app on my phone, and the internet in my home is reliable. Does it really matter? Is a remote control important? I don’t know. What I do know is that it was a frustrating experience. But I guess I can file it away in the first-world problems drawer.

One thought on “Customer Service Who is it for?

  1. Steven, I can feel your pain throughout this post. It makes me wonder why certain types of companies seem to be worse at customer service than others. I’d love to hear you contrast this experience with a great customer service experience (if you have one to share!). This post rhymes with much of what I’ve read Seth write on the topic over the years. Yes, it may be a first world problem, however it is one that we can do better if we care to.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *