Friday, May 08, 2009

The Company Line

Today I called TXU Energy to discontinue electric service to Mom's house. One of the problems I have with "customer service" these days is the totally transparent, overly friendly, read-from-the-script attitude from the human at the other end of the line. Of course, just getting a breathing, living organism to talk to you is something of journey.

Anyway, after 3 or 4 minutes of talking to a machine that refused to understand my words, I got a live fellow to talk to me. Here is exactly how the conversation went down:

"Good afternoon, how may I assist you today?"

"Yessir, my mother passed away in December and now we've sold her house and are ready to discontinue the electricity."

"I apologize for your inconvience, sir. And I can take care of this for you."

Yep, Mom's passing did mean that I had to miss work a couple of days. The funeral was during a time I normally take a nap, you see. I didn't really say that, but I was so shocked that I didn't say anything. This guy was so intent on regurgitating the company line at all costs that he glossed over my mother's death.

Advice to customer service supervisors: Just put friendly, caring people on the phones. Don't give them any lines to say. Don't tell the caller that "you are one of our valued customers." And please, prohibit this line at the end of the conversation: "Are there any other ways I can be of assistance to you today?" Caring is one thing. Artificial caring is an affront to the caller and as easily recognized as wart on your nose.

No comments: