What ever happened to “Customer Service”

“For service in English, press 1”

“For support on easy stuff press one, for support on tough stuff press 2…..”

“Your call is important to us…. We are experiencing higher than normal call volume …  You are in priority sequence.. the average wait time is 60 minutes”.

What ever happened to calling, speaking to a real human being, and getting an answer in a few minutes?  I called a hardware company for a simple question and went through literally, 20 minutes of answering various questions before I could talk to someone.  I called to change an airline ticket and was told that the wait time was 60 minutes.  I called my ISP for support when my connection timed out, and after getting  routed  to 4 different people, the supposed specialist said to me “what do you want, I am just a first line technician?” The next specialist said “why did they send you here, I am in California  [I was in Las Vegas] , but let me see if I can call your local dispatcher”.

I have tried using those “Live Chat” functions on vendor web sites.  I have had good experiences and bad – from “the doctor is out” messages to reasonably competent people… but spending 30-60 minutes to get an answer to a simple question is a waste of my time.

My insurance company messed up some policies so I called the “hot line”.  I was not permitted to talk to the same person as I spoke to the last time, so I had to explain the intricacies again from step one, endure the same sometimes inane questions again, and eliminate the same attempts to resolve again… finally I just cancelled the policies.

And have you ever tried to talk to a supervisor?  That just doesn’t happen.  For most companies, the “contact us” is more of an exercise in ”what-to-do-so-you-don’t-have-to-contact-us” .…  Wading through pages and pages of FAQ’s followed by a “Was that helpful?” is generally NOT helpful.

What ever happened to calling the person you know that can solve the problem?

At QIC we are, I guess, a bit old-fashioned for a hi-tech company:  We actually answer the phone – the only automated question is whether you want sales, support, or the company directory.  Clients can talk to someone who can listen and help – Someone they know, who knows them and their technical expertise, and knows the applications to  answer the question right away.  Simple, right?

We have also tried to respond to customer requirements with Annual Support Plans tailored to their unique requirements.

You can see our variations at http://www.qic-intl.com/supportplans.php

Sometimes old-fashioned is not all bad.