Customer Care CrankaTsuris. This is something we all experience when we have a problem, and we call up the Customer Care Representative to solve the problem. We also do this, despite having the knowledge that we have tried this many times before, and it has never turned out too well. The definition of "Crazy" is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a completely different result. Well, I guess that means we are all crazy.
End of Story.
But, no. I do want to walk us through Customer Care CrankaTsuris. But, before I do, I want to put something out there as a "backdrop." You see, I am an attorney, and one of the legal issues I get involved in is a statute called the Telephone Communications Practices Act.
This is a statute that protects consumers from being harassed by telemarketers and those annoying robocalls. And while I am all in favor of laws to protect consumers, I have to say that this particular law is meant for those people who own a phone, and missed the part in the Owners Manual on just how to hang up the phone. I guess that there are some people out there who just may never have figured that part out. So, our legislatures worked overtime to take care of this large part of our population.
So, after reading this article, I ask all of you to call up your representative, and tell them that you want the Customer Care CrankaTsuris Protection Act passed immediately. This is vital to our national interest. The Gross Domestic Product would skyrocket because we would all become much happier and efficient. We would be working instead of sitting there for hours being placed on hold, and end up completely depleted and frustrated. Health care costs would significantly drop. We would all be nicer to each other because we know there was someone on the other side of a telephone who can actually be helpful.
I am ready to sit before Congress and testify about my own personal experience of going through this maze of torment.
Just the other day, I called up Customer Care because I had a question about a bill that I had in my hand in front of me. It had the phone number right on the bill, and how nice, I thought. It was a toll free number.
I call up my Customer Care Representative, and it starts out pretty good. They want to know if I speak English or Spanish. I find out later that this question has no relationship to the the language that the Customer Care Representative speaks, but at the time, I consider it a nice gesture. They then ask for the fourteen digit account number, and the seven digit invoice number, my zip code, the last four digits of my social security number and my secret six digit numeric phone password. Okay. It takes about ten minutes, but you do not want to play around with private financial stuff.
The next thing I hear on the phone is that this phone call may be recorded for "quality assurance." After many years of experience, I have come to the conclusion that the recording has nothing to do whatsoever with "quality assurance," but I was pleased to hear that the phone call was being recorded. You see. I am Jewish, and when Jewish people pass away, they have a seven day period of mourning called "sitting shiva."
So, when I pass away, I expect that I will be able to collect all the recordings I have been on that was recorded for the purpose of "quality assurance", and the length of those recordings should be about seven days, exactly as the time that people will need to mourn.
I have it all planned out. When people will sit shiva after my passing, they will truly feel the grief, and pain, and there will be lots of sobbing; exactly what is needed for this time of mourning. And they will be able to do this because I will have all those "Quality Assurance" phone recordings playing in the house throughout the week. They will all know of my suffering. When the recordings end, so can the mourning.
After I put in all my information, and I am informed about the recording, I get another question. "Are you willing to take a three minute survey after this phone call?"
I always say no. It is not not about the time. Okay. It is a little bit about the time. However, I feel if they have recorded the phone call for quality assurance, they can just listen to the entire phone call (which we all know they do), and they can fill out the survey themselves. "You have the recording. How do you think it all turned out?"
Then, the recorded voice comes on again. "Please listen to the menu closely because the options have changed."
Okay. I was hoping to just speak to a human, but I will listen to the menu. But, I have a question about this. I have been doing this Customer Care phone call stuff for years and years and years, and the options have all changed. It is always changing. I never hear about the options being exactly the same. There must be a person at every company whose only job is to get on the phone and change the options every single day.
Why do they even have to tell me that the "options have changed" in the first place. Just give me the menu. This never happens in a restaurant:
"Excuse me! Waiter! We have been waiting fifteen minutes for a menu. Can we get a menu?"
"Sorry sir. We do not give you a menu because our options have not changed!"
By this point, I never have a lot of patience to hear all of the options. I always press Option Number 1. No matter what. The options usually are longer than the menu at the Cheesecake Factory. I do not have all day.
Option Number 1 is billing. Lucky me. I have a question about billing so Option 1 must be the correct choice. Unfortunately, after pressing 1, I get a new menu of various recorded information about the bill, everything that is already in the bill that I was holding in my hand and that I had a question about.
So, at the end of that menu, they tell me to press pound to go back to the previous menu. I press pound.
Now, I am forced to listen to the entire 20 minute rendition of the Cheesecake Factory menu, and it is only at the end, the recording says "If you want to speak to a representative, stay on the line."
I stay on the line. However, half the time when I stay on the line at this point, the call just disconnects. They hang up on me. However, today, I am lucky. They did not hang up. I can tell because they start blasting pleasant music in my ear.
After two minutes, I hear someone talking. It is a recorded voice.
"Do you know that you can get the same award winning high quality customer care service by simply going online at www.confusinganduselesscustomercare.com?"
I say to myself "yes" and that is why I am calling. I went online. It was both confusing and useless. That is the reason I am calling in the first place. However, I should have taken that to be a clue as to the service I was going to get.
More music. Then, a recorded voice comes on again.
"Your call is very important to us. It will be taken in the order received."
This is very confusing to me. "My call is very important to them? I was just calling about a question on my bill. I hope they do not expect me to give them advice on how to double their profits."
"And, if my call is very important, it only makes sense that I would be talking with a very important person. Maybe, my call will be taken by the President of the Company!!"
I think further.
"Wait a second. If my call is so very important, why is it being taken in the order it was received? I should be told that my phone call will be placed first in line!"
So, after waiting two hours because I was 83rd in line, the representative answers and it is obvious that this person not only can barely speak English, but understanding is a problem as well. The representative again asks me for my fourteen digit account number, my seven digit invoice number, my zip code, the last four digits of my social security number, and my six digit numeric phone password.
I once again supply this information, and then the Customer Care representative replies:
"Can I place you on a brief hold while I try to find your account?"
"Sure. Do I have a choice?"
"Also, can I get a call back number in case we get disconnected?"
I give this person my call back number. However, I have to say that these are the only people who ask for a call back number because, for some unknown reason, these are the only people who hangs up on me from time to time. But, they never call back. They just ask for the number to make me feel a bit more secure about the possibility of this person coming back on line to talk to me.
This time, amazingly enough, the Customer Care representative gets back on the phone. I ask the question. The answer is that he or she does not understand the question. I try again. After the fifth time rephrasing the question, the Customer Care representative tells me that they are unable to help me with my question. He or she then asks:
"Have you tried going on line to take care of this issue?
"Yes!!!", I scream. A TyrantoCrankaTsuris scream because I no longer have any patience.
In a final feeble attempt to try to console me, the Customer Care representative asks:
"Is there anything else, I can help you with?"
I reply. Another CrankaTsuris.
"Anything else? That would imply that you helped me on the first thing!!!! But, you didn't. No help! Four hours of my life down the drain! Wait. One second. There is something you can help me with."
The Customer Care representative asks curiously; "What is it?"
"The Quality Assurance recording. I need it for my Shiva. The Jewish period of mourning. I can pay for expedited shipping because after this phone call, there's going to be some mourning pretty soon. And also, if you can listen to the recording first so you can complete the survey, that would be great too!!"
Let's pass the Customer Care CrankaTsuris Protection Act today!!