Tuesday, May 23, 2006

gethuman - advocacy for high quality customer service for consumers

Finally an advocacy group I get behind. I, like others, am tired of talking to phones and getting lost in automated phone system hell.

Why is it so hard for a company to employ someone to pick up the phone and help out customers who have a question?

If, after placing a call and hearing the line ring, I still have to press buttons: I don't consider myself a customer of your business!

York Region Transit makes you sit on the phone through eight longly listed options before you can get talk to an operator. Press "0" you say? No luck as this just starts the options back over again. These options include: fare information, have a schedule delivered to you, phone numbers for TTC & GO Transit, yadda yadda yadda. Perhaps, after you have listened to the long winded options and waited for an agent to answer the phone, you might:

a) forget what your calling about.

b) had to drop the pay phone receiver, because the next bus after the one that closed their doors in your face, has arrived.

c) fall asleep or get distracted by something more interesting than staying on the phone.

The only thing worse than the above is, after working your way through the phone system gauntlet, poor customer service agents who answer the phone!

Canada Post probably takes the cake. As an Office Manager I have quite the experience in inquiring as to why some packages are claimed to be delivered by Canada Post and yet I hear from the recipient they haven't seen the package that was delivered.

So I call Canada Post's 1-800 number only to be greated by an automated system asking if I am a commercial or residential customer. Once I select one or the other category (really its your choice...trust me..I've tried both!) you can no longer press "0" to reach an operator. I get the usual options to track a package, to change my address, etc. etc.

So I just press "0" and hear the voice that "For quality and training purposes this call may be recorded" as well as the usual "All our representatives are currently on the line with other customers, please stay on the line for priority sequence." or some other bafflegab while waiting sometimes over five minutes to talk to a person.

Not only that the people that pick-up the phone are dummer and dummer. They don't start investigations into where the package may be, that is the job of a "tracking officer" or some other poor schmuck that I am not allowed to talk to. The operator who picks up the phone can only "send a message" and give me a seven digit confirmation number. Whats even better is this story that actually happenned at Canada Post one day when I tried to figure out where a package ended up (i.e. the Canada Post website said it had been delivered but the recipient never received the package):

1st call I talked to a customer agent who took my information (e.g. recipient's address and phone number, my address and phone number, etc.) said I would hear back in 10 business days. (Lets stop here...10 business days to investigate where a package is? Isn't it more likely that a package would be found the sooner you get on it? Perhaps if the package was delivered to the wrong address the delivery person might actually remember where he/she left it and be more able to go back and find it? Fedex, once they hear a package has gone MIA gets the closest depot right on the problem so that perhaps the package can be found).

2nd call (after 10 business days have gone past hearing nothing about the package from Canada Post) after another 5 minute wait on hold to speak to a live operator and then another 5 minute wait after I request to talk to a Customer Service Manager, I finally get to retell my story from call number one. The Customer Service Manager said the original customer agent was wrong and the time delay is actually 15 days in order to hear the results of the investigation into lost packages. She does send a message to the investigation branch to please call me about my inquiries into where my package is.

3rd call (after 15 days) the operator can only send a message a message to the investigation branch.

The following day the investigation branch calls me and say they have no idea where the package is. They also inquire as to why the recipient hasn't returned their calls to see if the package was even delivered! Hmmmm...maybe because they have told me the package wasn't delivered! Why else would I be calling incessantly three times? hmmmm....for fun? This is Toronto not Alert, North West Territories, I have better things to do than to harass Canada Post employees.

Then, after another ten days, I might see a cheque in the mail with a refund for the postage. Never mind all the time and aggravation of having to keep meticulous notes on the dates, times, names and phone conversations I have had with Canada Post representatives that has cost the company I work for in cash (and psychiatry bills!) for its employees.

Canada Post, and those who use the phone systems that say my call is "a priority", get rid of the phone system and give me a human to talk to! If my call was a priority give me a live human being that knows what is going on!

Which is the best delivery company that I deal with? FEDEX! Purolator is very similar to Canada Post in customer service (e.g. missed pickups, wrongly delivered packages, taking forever to actually talk to a live operator, etc.). But Fedex, if I have a question, will have an operator on the phone within thirty seconds of my call. Also that operator can do everything including delivery hot coffee if I need it! Congratulations Fedex! I appreciate you!

As far as this website? Hmmmm....I am totally behind it. Down with automated phone systems. If I call your phone, obviously your website doesn't cut it.

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