Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Service (With Video)

This post is a little different than most. Normally, the video is my rambling thought process that went into what’s ultimately a more condensed, concise post on the topic but this one’s basically just a big ol’ rant. When I write about a topic, I try to also put in a potential solution along with my complaints but this time, I don’t really have one. The video is long but contains the stories behind what this post is about, stories that would make this an epic wall of text if I repeated them out. If you want to know the stories, watch the video and feel free to relay your own stories in the comments!

A sad reality most of us have come to accept these days is that good customer service is something that’s generally the rule and not the exception. Big companies have learned exactly how bad their service can be before people will go from just complaining to actually taking their money elsewhere (there are people who actually figure this out for a living) and they ride that line with precision. However, if you do your research into who you buy stuff from, you can often find the few diamonds in the rough and proceed to hold on to them for dear life. If you can find a small business instead of a big chain, that used to be almost a sure bet. You may end up paying a bit more but you know you’re dealing with a place that will treat you right and make up for that. Nowadays though, it seems we can’t even count on that and that even when you do your due diligence, you still can’t be guaranteed you won’t be treated like shit.

In the last month and a bit, my girlfriend and I have experienced a near constant string of some of the worst customer service we’ve ever seen (again, watch the video if you want to hear the stories.) Appliances, parts for said appliances, computers, cars, video games, retail, these nightmares cross all kinds of genres. If you look at the video thumbnail, you’ll see many large, familiar names that you might nod your head with but there’s a couple in there you might not know either. Indeed, the kinds of small companies you thought were the bastions of treating customers with respect seem to be just as bad as the big dogs now. When it came to my RetroN 5 experience, I actually would have had an easier time had I purchased it from a big box retailer instead of supporting one of the few Mom N’ Pop video games stores left in this country.

I’ve been on the end of bad customer service most of my adult life. I’m largely steeled to it and and the fact that I should be pleasantly surprised when a company treats me like a valued customer instead of just a profit centre. I have learned to expect when dealing with certain companies that I often need to work up a good mad before I call them because I know a fight will likely ensue. Nothing in my long history in the trenches of this stuff can hold a candle to the last month. It is simply astonishing to me not only how customer service standards have slipped but product quality standards as well. High-end products, in some cases brand new in the box, have had major defects. We’ve dealt with multiple companies that even in this age of hyper-computerised supply chain management, still can’t accurately tell if they have a simple product in stock or not. We’ve had to spend hours trying to find a part for a dryer that’s less than 10 years old. I’ve dealt with a small retailer that actually misrepresented the features of a product before selling it to me, admitted to doing so and yet still expected me to cover the cost of returning the item to them. All of this accompanied problems that were actually not that major and shouldn’t have been hard to get sorted out.

All of this is due to what is known to cold capitalists as “what the market will bare.” In plain English, that means that companies treat people like shit because they know they’ll tolerate it. However, it feels to me like this had reached a new height or more accurately, depth the last while. The vast majority of companies seem to place no value whatsoever on their customer’s business any more. Indeed, they feel they’re entitled to our money and that anything we ask of them after they’ve taken it is a burden that they should try to divest of as soon as possible. In the era of social media and outrage culture we now live in, you think if anything, the ability of people to broadcast their dissatisfaction would have forced an improvement but the opposite has happened. These companies have learned that what people bitch out on Twitter and Facebook doesn’t really matter in the end because like so many other things, it’s all just become noise that no one pays attention to. As long as the company feigns concern, most people won’t see anything past that. When everyone provides shit service, no one has to provide good service and it seems even the small players have gotten wise to that.

Like I said up top, this isn’t a problem I can really offer a solution to. I still don’t tolerate bad service but I’m one person and have no means to make a real difference. The last month has made that abundantly clear. Indeed, it’s much like politics. Everyone bitches about how the government isn’t doing right by them but a lot of us don’t go out and vote, yet think we still have a right to bitch. The fact is, if you don’t fight for the respect you deserve, you kind of don’t deserve it in the first place. If you keep giving your money to companies that disrespect you and don’t demand better from them after you have, why would any of them change? They know they don’t have to and good service costs money so why spend it? People need to step up and demand better but we don’t seem to be. Everything has a tipping point and I’ve said for years now that people are only going to tolerate this crap so much and we will reach a point where various industries will have to step up their game but it hasn’t happened and the goalposts of good quality products and service seems to be moving further and further away each year. We keep putting up with this crap so the companies keep trying to push further and further back and there’s no breaking point in sight.

I’m seriously waiting for the day when some large corporation just decides they’re going to make money by charging like $5 to every credit card and bank account in the world and saying “If you don’t want us doing that, you have to tell us.” They won’t provide any actual product or service, they’ll just take the money and give it back to whoever complains. Hell, some cable companies have already tried what’s known as “negative billing” before, where they add service onto your bill and charge you for it until you tell them to shop. I swear at this point, some company could try that and they not only would get away with it, they’d probably actually make a huge profit on it because a bunch of people either wouldn’t notice the $5 missing or wouldn’t care to jump through the hoops needed to get it back. That’s like the capitalism singularity, when companies can literally charge money for absolutely nothing and I swear, one day someone is going to try it. If people don’t stop putting up with this shit, they’ll get away with it too.

I don’t know what the answer is and I don’t know where the line is where people will finally say enough is enough but when we have put up with the kind of shit we have in the last month, I get as mad at the faceless people who don’t stand up to it as those who perpetuate it. When I have to kick up a massive, time wasting fight with some company to get the service I should expect out of the gate, it’s not just them I’m fighting, it’s all the lazy, complacent other people who didn’t mount fights of their own. As someone who strives to provide good service in my own endeavours but also demands it from others, this is immensely frustrating. Consumers are supposed to be the ones with all the power. We’re the ones with the money after all. When did we all stop giving so much of a fuck that we just shrug when a company takes often thousands of dollars from us with one hand and slaps us in the face with the other? We need to snap out of this. I’m sick of fighting for all of you as well as myself. Demand better, we all deserve it.

This entry was posted in Business, Personal, Technology, Video Games and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Service (With Video)

  1. Craig says:

    I work corporate customer satisfaction for a very large, but very niche company. When you get so mad, that you need to talk to the “CEO” he sends you to me. Honestly, our company takes customer satisfaction VERY seriously. Most of the time, a customer’s request is so beyond ridiculous for the circumstances surrounding their aggravation, that it borders on (or crosses into) absurd. We always justify a resolution on a case by case basis (we have no standard method or policies.) Sometimes the customer is pleased, sometimes they’re not.
    As much effort as we put in to making a customer satisfied, it can’t always happen. Actually, it mostly doesn’t happen. Without divulging too much information, I’ve gone so far as to provide a full refund, plus items at no charge, plus additional expenses. My job causes my company to lose a LOT of money to make one customer happy, and it rarely works.
    That being said, I know most companies aren’t like that, but I understand why. We regularly lose money to make customers happy, when it rarely makes any difference whatsoever. It doesn’t make sense for a company to function like that.
    From the employee’s view, it’s even worse. Going against a company is one thing, but usually these situations turn personal Just last evening, I received yet ANOTHER personal threat because a customer didn’t feel that their outcome was satisfactory, regardless of the fact that he’s already been waived of $1,200 in fees. He didn’t receive a $100 refund (that he wasn’t entitled to receive in the first place) and now has began a lawsuit against my company, and possibly against me personally. In the past I’ve had threats against my life, my children, my home, my job….the list goes on, all for the sake of a positive customer experience.
    I’m not saying that these, or any company, shouldn’t attempt to provide excellent customer service. I’m appalled at the lack of it, just as you are. My point is, most companies don’t provide excellent customer service, because most customers don’t deserve it. And I honestly hate that I have to say that.

    • This is actually a very good point and trust me, it’s one I empathise with. I used to work for a big cable company doing cable Internet installations for all manner of people. I also worked in on-site computer repair full-time for almost a decade after that. Trust me, I’ve been on the end of things that you describe and I’ve also had me safety threatened, by a person standing right in front of me no less. I used to do Internet installations in rough neighbourhoods where the customer was clearly a drug dealer and who had his “boys” surround my car while I was in his house to make sure it was “safe” by which he meant “they’ll fuck your shit up if you don’t do this right.” The amount of incredibly entitled people there are out there (especially in this social media era where outrage culture is encouraged and celebrated) is something that makes you weep for humanity. I truly do understand where you’re coming from. The saying “the customer is always right” is complete bullshit and always has been. I’m lucky in that my Capital Tech Support gig isn’t my full-time job and I purposefully keep a small customer roster. If I get any entitled douchebags, I don’t hesitate to say “You’re not worth my time with your attitude, don’t call me again.”
      I’m usually very good when it comes to dealing with customer service people. If a rep isn’t telling me what I want to hear but I know it’s beyond their control, I never lose my cool with them and always say “Listen, I know it’s not your fault but this isn’t an acceptable outcome. I’d like to talk to someone higher up but not because of you.” I’ve also been known to send e-mails giving kudos to reps who go above and beyond for me. All I can say is that the experiences I’ve had the last month have been anything but that. Everyone I’ve dealt with either just hasn’t given a shit or has just refused to provide good service because they know they don’t have to. It’s really the opposite end of what I talked about above, it’s companies acting like they’re entitled to my business without providing any value in return. That’s no less acceptable to me and that’s what the crux of this blog and the video were about. Trust me, I get the other side as well but that’s not what I’ve experienced lately. It goes beyond customer service too and just into companies providing garbage products as well as the service that’s supposed to go with them. Spend money on a higher-end product used to mean quality, now it just seems to mean it costs more and little else.
      There’s a lot of shitty consumers out there but those of us that are good are getting screwed over as well. It really sucks for everyone, except of course the people running these companies who get rich regardless.

      • Craig says:

        I certainly do not envy anyone who has to be the face of a cable company….that takes balls! I do have to admit, that over the last few years people have gotten better at remaining calm with lower level employees. The “I know you can’t help me, but send me to someone who can” thing. I unfortunately, am the final link in the chain….which means I end up with the brunt of it.
        I agree with everything you said…and I’m not sure how to proceed because this is the internet and I don’t have an opposing view.

        • Yeah, see even if I get to the top of the chain, I still keep my cool. There is a way to be firm and demand what you feel you should be getting without screaming and making threats. One thing I’ve learned is that if you can’t get what you want by being simply stern, being mean gives you a 0% increased chance. Sadly, a lot of people either don’t know that or just use the fact that they’re not in the room with someone as a chance to vent their anger. It’s basically a real life version of being on a forum and that really sucks.
          Also yes, agreement on the Internet is forbidden so yeah, you’re totally wrong you stupidhead! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.