The Anti-Marketing Hall of Shame - The Fall of Customer Service

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The Fall of Customer Service

I am going to address the banking and telecom industries in particular, because most of us have had first-hand experience with them. However, it should be noted that the decline of customer service is pervasive. Normally, the fewer alternatives we have to obtain a service or product, the poorer the service can be. Take your local phone company. The hold times for customer service are often exceedingly long. How many times do we have to hear "Due to unusually high call volume, your expected hold time will be 30 minutes" before the so-called *unusual* is obviously the norm? And then they try to placate us with "Your call is important to us." Well, if they really mean it, why don't they transfer a few of their telemarketers to their customer service department? I once received 3 telemarketing calls from my phone company during the same week that I spent 3 hours trying (unsuccessfully) to get through to someone in customer service. I now appreciate them about as much as they appreciate me as a customer.
In the banking industry, it seems that the same two or three banks are stalking me by continuously buying out the smaller banks to which I fled, trying to escape them. Each time, they think up clever new ways to increase the service charges and decrease their levels of service. My last bank started charging $1 to $2 just to speak to a customer service representative on the phone, if I otherwise could have found the answer myself in their maze of pre-recorded options over the phone. This is the same bank whose ATM machine has been down 7 out of the last 10 times I attempted to use it. When I used another bank's ATM machine, I was charged $4 in fees (gotcha!). If consolidation continues and only 3 banks remain (and only one in my area), I can only imagine the level of customer service and convenience they will offer us. We won't be just joking about "Bankers Hours" any more.

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