My week began with a billing issue for critical services we use for home and business. Lest I be sued for defamation, I’ll create an unidentifiable acronym for the purposes of this blog.
I always check the statements we receive from XFIN. Many entries are perfectly understandable: Movies? Yes, we did those, and admit we got weepy at the end of “A Man Called Otto,” but what fresh hell is this other entry? I didn’t cancel anything on May 3rd, and yet there, on the statement, it says that the equipment allowing us to use phone lines through the internet was canceled. I received a credit but would have preferred a detailed explanation. And so I took a trip down the Customer Service Rathole. I had choices for my descent: Chat. Phone. Email. Round-robin discussions with other customers on forums where one in ten is a snarky expert. It appeared that the possibilities for getting help were endless, but in truth, easy answers are hard to come by. I tried the Chat process, but soon slammed that window shut as I was reminded that Chats appear to have been designed by dismissive pre-teens stoked on caffeine, the only difference being that Chats say they’re sorry. I also tried the 1-800-Cycle-of-Death call, and after I rode that merry-go-round a couple times, ending up where I started more than once, I went another route. I’ll confess I don’t remember which route I took, but in time, this message popped up:
I … what? What’s that again? I’ll have you know that my mother and father were married in 1949 and DNA on Ancestry.com can prove that. Or perhaps the above-mentioned “unknown source” is another planet, which is certainly more feasible since I’ve been accused of that before.
In the end, I managed to answer the question on my own without the help of my digital overlords. Actually, this company’s customer service has improved measurably in the last several years, but still my Boomer sensibilities crave a friendly voice that’s easy to access. I understand the need to use these tools in monstrously large national corporations, and I also understand using digital solutions in small businesses based on circumstances, but I would urge any owner or sales rep to retain as many human points of contact with customers as you can afford, at least until OpenAI replaces us all and sales reps come to your aid by hovering outside your office window as three-dimensional holograms.
May 10, 2023