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Customer service – the rude, the bad and the plain annoying. 

Didn’t QANTAS cop it hard recently for poor customer service? Leaving people on hold for 8.5 hours. That’s bad. But it’s got to be said…… who even waits for 8.5 hours?!  

Anyway, I feel so sorry for the customer service team, because clearly there’s more calls than they can take. That’s not their fault! The business needs to hire people AND while they’re at it – stop directing people to just DIY online. It’s like Pornhub – it has a role to play but there’s only so much you can do on your own.  

Long wait times are just one bad aspect of customer service phone lines. The other is much worse – the hold message. 

If you get a recorded hold message that says: “Our staff will not tolerate abuse” you can bet their service sucks. They don’t know what the call is about. They don’t even know who’s calling! But what they do KNOW is they’re about to piss you off. 

Don’t think my message here today is that abuse is ok. It’s absolutely not. What I’m referring to here is that if a business anticipates customer anger so much that it’s the first thing you hear when you call them. Why not look inside the business and address the cause?  

If you’ve heard this message before – think about where you’ve heard it and ask yourself – do they typically treat their customers well?  

I got this message on centrelink once. And I would have loved to have been a part of the meeting where they thought it up! How can we reduce the angry nature of our customers? Gary? Treat them with dignity. No. John?  Apologise for robo debt? Don’t be smart. No. You. Intern. Thoughts? Ask people not to abuse us?. GENIUS!   

The don’t abuse us message is a red flag for what’s to come! It’s like if your partner walks into the kitchen while you’re cooking and says, babe we need to talk – but first, put down the knife. 

In the case of centrelink – I can understand their motivation. They don’t want your repeat business! For the rest of you, highlighting you won’t cop abuse on a generic wait message is just highlighting that there could be a reason you get it a lot. 

On a related matter – I’d rather hold for hours than have to deal with someone that has more pleasantries than substance. I had to deal with one of those the other day.  

I drive a Merc. And hey – don’t be so surprised – my business does better than my jokes.  

I rock up at 8am and hand my keys over to the customer service guy. 

Pierre: Good morning mam, let me get the door you. Welcome to Mercedes benz Sydney. My name is Pierre. We are for all ready for your full service. When would you like to collect your beautiful vehicle mam? 

Marie: Good morning Pierre. How long do you need? 

Pierre: Just a short few hours mam.  

Marie: Wonderful – how about 11am? 

Pierre: 11AM?!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry mam, we won’t have it done by then. Is there another time that suits you? 

It was 8am. He said a few short hours. Why the violent reaction?!  

Marie: OK how about 1pm?  

Pierre: 1PM?!!!!! Sorry mam that’s way way way too tight.  

Now you can understand my frustration right? Why offer options, that aren’t really options? I don’t care how nicely you say them – your conduct is infuriating! 

Imagine being at a restaurant and the waiter says “Might I suggest a delightful wine pairing with your Pappardelle – the New Zealand Merlot.” 

And you say awesome I’ll order that only to be told – “wonderful choice madam you’ll have to purchase it from Liquorland because we are BYO”!  

Yes, I can certainly leave a bad google review from my bankstownmilf79 account – if I can stop my hands from shaking with rage. 

So what’s to take from all this? As a long time business owner, and marketing comms pro – dare I say expert – here’s some free advice on how to ensure your customer service is exceptional – but first please hold the line…  

That’s Commical bites for today! A huge thank you to Sakina Javed, Senior Marketing exec from chasing albert. She played the annoying, incompetent and insane so well. It came so naturally to her, don’t you think? 

Sakina: Hey – I’m still here. 


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