Monday, 6 April 2009

Customer Service









Businesses and other places that talk with money keep going on about 'good customer service,' so I decided to try and find some.

I wasn't sure where to start, so I went to the source of all knowledge: the information desk at Victoria coach station in London. 'Hello,' I said to the man wearing a bright yellow vest sat behind the counter. "Could I have some good customer service?"
He put down his sausage roll and said, "What can I do for you?"
I told him I wanted some good customer service, but he seemed confused and after five minutes  sat back down. 

As I was leaving the coach station I noticed an advert on the wall,  'Confused.com.' I did feel confused, so I decided to ring the phone number on the bottom of the poster. I was told it was a free number by a man wearing a cow skin jacket, whatever that meant, so I dialed the number in a telephone box. The telephone box was decorated with lots of colorful pictures of men and women requesting to be called, some of them must have been living in hot places as they didn't wear many clothes. I wondered if they knew about good customer service.

The confused.com number was ringing and a woman, who sounded like a robot from the planet Wood, started to ask me questions. When I tried to talk to her she didn't reply, but instead kept repeating herself - telling me to press one, or two, or three, or four... After five minutes of pressing buttons the lady stopped speaking and music started playing. I thought this was very beautiful and thoughtful. This is indeed good customer service - a free number to call and listen to music...

This didn't last though, as every 30 seconds the woman returned and told me that I was important to her or something. This was confusing and also destroying my listening pleasure: why play music if you're going to interrupt it every few seconds? After about one hour a man asked me what my name was. At first I didn't reply as I thought he was a robot like the woman, but after a while I knew he wasn't. 

"How are you today?"
"Good."
Sorry to keep you waiting. Can I take your name?"
"My name is Conisholme."
"Unusual name sir."
"What's your name."
"Gary. So how can I help you sir?"
"What is 'sir'?"
"You."
"I'm Conisholme."
"Okay Conisholme. What can I do for you today?"
"I'd like some good customer service."
"I'm just going to put you on hold sir."

The music came back and lasted for 36 hours, but there were only four songs so I know them very well now. I thought about calling one of the hot people, but I suspect good customer service doesn't exist anymore and it's simply an old term from a time past. 

Customer service today, is a hollow world of empty smiles, greedy eyes and robot voices...

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