This is a story about customer service in the digital age.
Here’s the issue: I have a charge on my credit card, which I don’t understand. I want a simple explanation.
In the customer service section of the credit-card company’s website, there are plenty of options: to do this click here, to do that click there, … None of them apply to my issue.
I can fill out a form or use their WhatsApp service. After some digging around I find a phone number. Hallelujah!
First, I get an announcement that the number currently can’t be reached. Huh? Can’t be.
On my third attempt, I get through, type in my ID no., the last digits of my credit card, and everything the friendly lady-voice tells me.
Then, again, the friendly lady-voice requests to identify me. She announces that a code was sent to my mobile phone. I thought I had identified myself with the ID number? Whatever!
No code arrives at my phone, and the friendly lady-voice keeps reminding me to type the code again and again and again. Then suddenly she offers to pass me to a rep. Yey!! That’s what I wanted in the first place. Good thing I didn’t do as I was told.
So I wait, and wait, and wait, and wait. After 20 minutes I hang up.
I call again, go through the whole identification procedure with the lady-voice – including the code to my mobile (it arrives) – but this time I’ll have them call me back. So, I listen carefully to what the lady-voice announces at every stage. She says I have the possibility to leave my details and a rep will contact me by the end of the day. O.k. that’ll have to do.
Next, she gives me two options: To speak to a rep, press 1, to get a link to our WhatsApp press 2. Excuse me, where do I leave my details?
I press 1 and wait again. …
Wrong choice, start from the beginning.
This time – after a few attempts, because again the number is not reachable and the code doesn’t arrive – I choose the WhatsApp option. The voice (is she starting to sound impatient?) notifies me they’re sending a link to my mobile and asks me for my mobile no. Wait, you have my mobile no, you use it to identify me with a code, so….? Never mind. Just do it.
Sure enough, on my mobile, a link. It leads me to the credit-card company’s website. How swell! Couldn’t have done that on my own.
I click on where it says WhatsApp service just to be informed that the service is not available at the moment…….
Like, I am back at square one!? Searching for the best option to contact customer service on the company website? And all roads lead to either endless waiting or a WhatsApp service that doesn’t work?
I need to calm down! A glass of water and a walk through the garden. Should I try again and wait on the phone?
Maybe I should send a formal letter by regular mail. I best use a dove to deliver it.
Here’s how the story ends: I wait on the line for at least another half hour and then get a very nice young lady who patiently listens while I pour out my frustration. Poor girl, it’s not her fault. I apologize and explain my issue.
She has no answer. After another few minutes, she returns to the call, thanks me for my patience, and starts explaining. The entire conversation takes no longer than three minutes. I understand what happened; she makes the necessary amendments so that it won’t happen again. That’s it. End of story.
I cannot help but wonder what kind of world we are creating with all the digital technologies. They are said to make our lives simpler and processes more efficient. Do they?
Whose lives are simpler, and which processes are more efficient?