Friday, May 25, 2012

A Luci Rant - The Lost Art of Customer Service

The internet has given us so many wonderful things.  Things like 24 hour shopping from the comfort of home, access to information that was unimaginable, a fabulous way to kill time, and the disappearance of customer service.  Once business became as impersonal as the internet, customer service wasn't something a lot of companies felt they needed to invest in anymore.  It doesn't matter to them if they lose a customer.  They have millions of potential customers all around the world that they can make up the loses from.  Clearly from my tone I have been denied customer service this week.  It is true.  This rant is inspired by Twitter.

Admittedly, I am something of a Twitter hater anyway.  First, you can only "tweet" a 140 character message.  My cell phone 6 years ago could text a 400 character message.  So they are starting out technologically behind a 6 year old cell phone.  Not a good starting position in my book, but I deal with it because people seem to like it and it is probably important to my business.  Although I have not seen any evidence of that yet, I hang in there.  The hashtag thing would be great, except that by the time I truncate a message to fit in 140 characters I don't have any room to use a hashtag.  Yet, I am getting used to it and could deal with that if I received customer service when things went wrong.  Like my account being hacked.  Repeatedly.  I tried to get some assistance.  I sent several emails detailing exactly what had happened and begging for someone to help a girl out, but all I received in return were form emails that clearly showed no one had read my messages to them.  I felt like I was beating my head against a brick wall and finally gave up.

Now I understand that these things happen.  I worked in tech world for several years.  I get that things go wrong.  That is just the nature of the business.  That is all perfectly understandable, but the lack of customer service is unforgivable in my book.  With this being a repetitive issue, I feel they should have looked at the messages and investigated what had gone wrong with their security.  My security on their site should be a priority to them, right?  I guess not because they didn't seem the least bit interested.  By their lack of responsiveness, I can only assume that my security doesn't matter to them in the least.  The result is that I still have my Twitter account because I don't feel right bailing on my followers, but it is only out of a loyalty to my followers that I have decided to keep the account open.  If not for them I would have told Twitter exactly where they could shove their form emails and closed my account.  I don't feel at all confident that my Twitter account is secure and they have done nothing to reassure me that it is.

The real problem is that Twitter isn't alone in this.  This isn't even a problem that is limited to online companies.  Many companies have let customer service slide.  They set up confusing help sites that don't clearly offer you a way to contact them and if you do find something to use to contact them with your problem you will only receive form emails in return.  There is never a phone number and if there is it will likely be to a call center and you will speak to someone that is very limited in what they can do to assist you.  It is easy to feel like you and your business or membership just doesn't matter to them.

I would be embarrassed if any of my customer received service like this.  I never forget that my customers are the most important part of my business.  I think many small businesses and artisans feel the same way. I often see artisans and small businesses wondering how they can compete with the large corporations and my answer is always customer service.  Give your customers the service they deserve.  The service that they won't receive from a corporation.  That is how we will get the consumers.  By knowing that our customers are the foundation of our businesses, we will be able to provide the service that the large corporations do not.  As a customer, I am always going to return to the business that gave me the best service.  If you want my money, you will need to appreciate me and make me feel like my business matters.  I know that my customers rightfully demand the same and I adore them for it.

For good or ill, corporations are a large part of our modern world and we all purchase from them, myself included.  I keep it at a minimum (really it is only a limited amount of food items that I end up going to a corporation for), but it is difficult to escape.  So how do we get the service from these monstrous entities that we deserve?  I honestly don't know, but am open to suggestions.  Anybody have any ideas?

Peace and Love,

Idle Hands Yarn Supply


  1. I had a similar experience dealing with the so-called support service on eBay. A scammer had bought something from me and had been threatening me via email. I sent a message to them, including copies of the emails and any other evidence they might need. All they told me was to ignore the emails. No word on the security of my account or my details, no information about what had happened, and no advice on what to do regarding cancelling sales, getting a refund on fees and whatnot since I was new at the eBay thing. I got a pre-written message. Thanks a bunch

  2. These stories are so frustrating to me. On the thread I posted on Regretsy, someone reminded me that we were "cattle" and "not advertisers or people who PAY". This is true, but it isn't complete. It isn't complete because socia media sights depend on activity and open active accounts to determine their viewers reached. The more viewers they reach, the more money they can charge on advertising. In this case, Twitter. I not only spent several years in tech world, but was an account no less. The amount they can charge in advertising is based on a formula of activity and open accounts to determine the viewers reached. This is how they project their profitability. Their user numbers and user activity has a direct effect on their revenue. Same thing with Ebay and Etsy and all the rest. Part of their profit is a percentage of what you sell. They depend on that revenue. That and listings, and who would list there if they didn't think they could sell anything. It is all connected. So I am just baffled by their unresponsiveness to their customer's concerns and issues. It is just beyond my comprehension.