Tuesday, May 5, 2009

When "friendly" customer service isn't

It's always a pleasure to deal with a company that understands customer service. Their representatives are courteous, professional and polite. For example, when I brought my car in to the dealer for service, the manager listened carefully to everything I asked for and addressed each one of my concerns. He asked if there was anything else and then moved on to the next customer.

There are times, though, that companies go just a bit too far. And two of those times happened to me within the past week.

First, I called my PC vendor to address an issue. The rep logged into my laptop remotely and downloaded the drivers I needed; it took about 10 minutes. I was sitting quietly doing some work and he wouldn't stop asking me inane questions related to the weather.

Second, I called my cell phone company - which I've been with for a while - for some quick answers to a couple of questions. At first (after getting through endless voice-recognition prompts that apparently don't work too well), it was nice to hear how much they value my loyal service but, after the fifth time, it was a bit much. Then, the rep didn't stop with absolutely irrelevant questions about my travel plans which (1) were none of his business and (2) were absolutely the last thing on my mind.

My brother-in-law had an idea. Companies ought to offer, in their automated menu prompts, an option of mindless banter or not. Good idea.

Anyway, what's the point? I can think of two. First, make sure to value your customers' time more than your own. Second, there's such a thing as too much of a good thing.

No comments: