Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Button Pushing

Ever had one of those days when you are embarrassed about the way you’ve responded to a situation? I’m not talking about the slight faux paus, like when I mess up a colloquialism and say something like "take another stab at the apple." I’m talking about responding to a situation in such a negative way that embarrassment sets in because the person on the receiving end would be hard-pressed to know that I am a Christian.

My buttons got pushed the other day by a customer service representative for an electric company. We didn’t get off to the greatest start because I kept having to ask her to repeat everything that she said because I couldn’t make out the words that she was saying or even identify if she was speaking English. Then, when I sat and listened to her, she kept asking if I was still on the line. It quickly turned worse when she couldn’t give me a straight answer to my simple question: How can I guarantee that you all will read my meter each month instead of estimating my usage? She had no answer; she read my account balance again and again and told me when the next meter reading would take place. Obviously, I was getting nowhere with her, so I asked to speak to a manager. She asked to put me on hold. Then she came back not once, not twice, not three times, but four times before she actually put me in the queue to speak to a supervisor. I tried to explain to the supervisor how frustrating my experience with the customer service rep had been, and he said in a monotone voice that my concerns would be passed along to the training division. They will send me a meter reading schedule. That’s it.

What am I leaving out? Possibly the despicable tone that I used. Oh, and the self-righteous attitude I conveyed. And the way I acted afterwards by telling lots of people about my bad experience and naming the company involved.

I had a similar encounter this weekend while purchasing a computer. I was told the computer would be ready at 6:30. I came back about 6:40 and was told the computer would not be ready until 8:00. I asked why they hadn’t called to let me know of the delay and received no answer; it was as if that’s not part of their protocol. So, I came back at 8:00 and was told it would be ready at 8:30. My patience ran out. I had a minor melt down but refrained from climbing over the counter and from crying–both of which seemed very likely in the heat of the moment.

I’m normally a pretty calm person. But for some reason, bad customer service representatives seem to push my buttons, even more than bad drivers and ignorant people. I guess I just feel like they don’t hear me, and by golly I deserve to be heard because I pay their company big bucks.

It sounds pretty gross to write that but that seems to be the way I operate with them. Maybe I expect too much. Maybe I should stop assuming that I will receive "customer care," and just realize that a lot of the people in these customer service positions don’t have the training or the desire to see my problem fixed.

Or maybe I should take my concerns up with Someone who really does care.

Thank you, Jesus, that I don’t have to queue up to talk to You. Thank You that You listen, that You speak my language, that You don’t refer me away to others but that You draw me to You.


Kirsten said...

I am so glad that you have started blogging. Count me in as a regular reader. I have "button pushing" issues daily. It is one of my main prayer focuses, so I can relate. It was great to see you over the holiday. We will have to get together for lunch soon.

"Bluebonnet in the snow" said...

K - Thanks for stopping by! Don't tell me those sweet girls of yours know how to push your buttons at their young age! :) I'll join you in that prayer focus.

Caddis fly said...

Customer service is definitely not what it used to be. Unfortunately, it seems like good customer service is the exception instead of the rule (like it should be).

Maybe I can help (a little) with the utility company though, since I used to be a meter reader at the Intermountain Gas Company in Boise. Even if they over-estimate your meter one month, it will be corrected the next month because the meter keeps a running total. Hope that puts your mind at ease a little.... :-)

"Bluebonnet in the snow" said...

CF - That's good to know since the meter reading schedule was pretty much useless.