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by Be Diane
Customer service: Where has it gone? So much competion but nothing changes!
I have wondered why I sometimes get the feeling that there is something about me that longs for the good ole days. I am not talking about the days when we had to go to the creek bank to wash or when we had to read and write by an old oil lamp. I am talking about the days when we had customer service; real customer service.|
My husband went to pay the bills today and one which was on his list was AT & T Cingular wireless. This was his second experience in this particular store and maybe his last. I would hate to loose him because his blood pressure gets so high from being mad at the way they conduct business. Therefore, if you want to pay your bill at this store, they charge you $5.00 for customer service. This means you are buying a service from them and keeping their business going but if you are going to pay them a payment you need to give them $5.00 extra to pay a live human to take the money from you.
Wait! You do have a second option! You can stand in line waiting for a machine to be open, only one in the whole store, so that you can punch in numbers and pay your bill. If you happen to be someone who is not literate on these kinds of machines and have a bill such as my husband had of $129 and you put $200 in the machine, you get no change. This is why two young employees are standing at their teller windows with their arms folded because no one wants to pay $5.00 extra to pay their bill. They are there for one other reason to sign others up on a long two-year contract so they can be next in line for the "machine" that eats money.
Now let us go back a few years to 1978-1979 when I was employed for Bellsouth. I was a telephone operator when there was an office building in the small town of Jasper. Our first lecture when dealing with the public as with any job was the fact that the customer was always right! Always! Not just occasionally but always. While being an operator we met a poor elderly person, long forgotten by her ungrateful childrfen. They no longer wanted to take the time to have anything to do with her. We got together one Thanksgiving and took her a big basket of groceries. It was enough to have a good holiday meal. Do you think with our impersonal world that this would happen today?
After being on the phone and pressing one for English or two for Spanish, then 3 for customer service, you soon lose your train of thought and wonder why you called them in the first place. In addition, I do not think number 3 is a real person you could go out to lunch with so plans for a day of conversing is out of the question. Then comes the reason the people of a big company explain why they charge the $5.00. This is because they are giving customer service. Their explanation: When you go to a gas station and you have to get someone to pump your gas (full service) you have to pay extra for the gas. I replied, "Why should my elderly Mother have to pay extra because she does not know how and does not want to learn how to pump gas?
I could go on and on about the extra charges, we pay these days but it really surprises me. Look at some of the grocery stores! My Mother -in-Law is a super, smart woman. She went into one of the stores while out of town and they wanted to know if she had "the card. " She said, "No, but you are going to give me the best price. " Guess what; they did, only after the manager came over, but she got the right price. Just imagine how much money it costs for this one and that one to have a person put the newer price in for the person who has the card. Not only that the costs of the card plus the advertisment for the card. The last time I saw the news we were in a recession. We also have businesses fighting over who's going to be our TV service, our phone service (both at home and on the road), and banking service; just to name a few. If they have all this competition why aren't we as consumers trying to get them to do the right thing.
All of these questions leads me to wonder. Are the companies at fault or are we for putting up with these outrageous policies? I think we are; just like other things you let a little bit of things come in at a time and before you know it you are just like them. If there was a businesss that would come in and offer good dependable service, honest, and when you call someone on the telephone you receive a real live person. How good would that be especially if the person was me?
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