Wednesday, February 19, 2020

No Difference

I think it's very easy to assume nowadays that foreign-based phone support is the biggest problem with customer service. It's doubly easy to do so because almost every big company uses foreign-based customer service.

I had a real blast from the past today, though.

I called a manufacturer of a major soundbar. This company has this bizarre approach to functionality that has some functionality attached to the remote, while the rest of it is only usable with their app.

To start off with, that's horrible design. Just horrible.

What's even more horrible is that the app is terrible. It's incredibly flaky when installing, and the app itself has something like a 2.5 rating (with thousands of reviews), which you don't get unless the app is crap.

I needed to call customer service to answer a question about an error code I was getting.

I called.

The voice cheerily told me that I was 77th in the queue.

I was told that I could leave my number, which I did, and someone called back 2+ hours later. I clearly concluded that this person was based in the U.S. He had me on the phone for less than two minutes, couldn't answer a simple question, and told me I needed a Level 2 tech. He took my number.

The Level 2 tech (again, based in the U.S.) called me 21 hours later. I wasn't available. He left me a toll-free number to call.

When I was free, I called. This time, I was 1st in the queue. And held for 22 minutes.

Now I did get the information I needed, after I talked to the tech. But it reminded me of how terrible U.S. tech support was BEFORE it started being outsourced.

I remember this happening all the time. Half-hour waits in queues, or longer. People who couldn't answer even the simplest questions. People who were totally disinterested in helping me. And this kind of attitude starts at the executive level, not the employee level. Their lack of commitment to service, seeing it as an expense instead of an integral part of future revenue, is what leads to bad customer service.

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